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Top 5: Things For Wrestling Fans To Be Thankful For

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It’s the one week of the year where everybody takes stock of what they’re thankful for. Writers write about it so they can get done early in the week & go eat turkey. That’s why we’re here, I ain’t gonna lie.

Here are the top 5 things that pro wrestling fans are thankful for in 2017.

5. Social Media

@stevecook84

How did we watch wrestling without Twitter? As much as we make mockery of WWE for making everything about hashtags, the social media is a godsend during these television shows. The life of a wrestling fan could be lonely back in the day. It still can be if you live with people that don’t share your obsession. Now, all you have to do to find people to talk with during wrestling events is turn on your smartphone.

Sure, there are plenty of evils with social media. Our political process has been pretty much ruined by Twitter. People spend way too much time in other people’s business. But the positive of having a collective wrestlegasm a couple of times a week makes the other stuff worthwhile.

4. Liking Wrestling Has Rarely Been Less of a Stigma

I was a happy kid in elementary school. I had no cares in the world. Everybody seemed to like me. Then middle school came and I met new people that didn’t like me at all. One of the main reasons was the fact I was a professional wrestling fan in 1995–96. I was made fun of and ignored for the entirety of my 6th grade year. In years afterward I gained a certain level of acceptance among my peers. There were even a couple of years there where the same people that made fun of me then got all excited about Stone Cold & the NWO. I never forgot how everyone tossed me aside that first year out of my comfort zone. I’ve never been the same happy trusting soul that I was in elementary school. It’s still inexplicably hard for me to get to know people & make lasting friendships.

Obviously, this is still a problem in our schools. Kids are ostracized & made to feel unwelcome, curtailing their development & ability to function within the norms of society. The good news for people whose weirdest attribute is watching wrestling is that sports entertainment has been accepted as part of nerd culture. Being a nerd isn’t the faux pas that it was twenty years ago. Wrestling fans are now known to be in on the joke. Whether it’s “fake” or whatever, it’s a television show just like anything else. The stigma is no longer there. You can wear your wrestling t-shirts out in public. It helps that the t-shirts are wider in variety & you can find ones that look cool.

3. Variety Is Back

There was a period of time where WWE was the only real outlet for wrestlers & wrestling fans. WWE was the only place for wrestlers to make money. WWE was the only wrestling that the majority of Internet wrestling fans wanted to talk about. I remember when Larry Csonka & I were the only two people on 411mania that wanted to talk about something other than WWE. Then Ari Berenstein became the only person on 411 that wanted to talk about Ring of Honor. Readers would complain because they only wanted to hear about the almighty WWE & HLA & the never-ending Triple H title run & all the wonderful things that were going on back then.

Now we have plenty of choices for our wrestling dollar. New Japan is making waves over here, along with their business partner Ring of Honor. Guys are making money there & on the indies. T-shirt sales are through the roof. Lucha Underground is pretty cool when it’s around and has increased exposure of key talent. And Impact Wrestling is still alive somehow.

Not to mention how WWE has convinced a lot of people that NXT is a different company.

2. Women’s Wrestling Is Legit

Back when I first started watching pro wrestling, it was easy to forget that women even competed. Sure, there were managers like Sensational Sherri & Madusa, but young me had no idea that they started out as accomplished wrestlers & got into managing simply because there weren’t opportunities for women in the ring in the main North American promotions. Once the Attitude Era came around, women were allowed to wrestle because it was hot. Sable wasn’t exactly a top-notch competitor, but she was popular with WWF crowds because of her assets.

WWE still pushed that aspect of women’s wrestling for a long time. I did it myself in my writing. It was what the people wanted at the time. Fortunately, women’s wrestling has evolved. It’s not a T & A sideshow. Sure, cosmetics still plays a role, but it always will to some degree. It plays a role with the men too. The main focus is on competition. As somebody that’s pushed women’s wrestling for years, I’m thankful that now when I do it people aren’t rolling their eyes at me.

1. Streaming Services

I can sit here all day and tell you about how much better pro wrestling was back in the day. Back when we had blood & guts. When we had guys that could call it in the ring. When we had bookers instead of writers, bullet points instead of scripted promos & crowds full of fans that believed & gave a damn about the wrestlers winning & losing instead of fans trying to get themselves over at the expense of the show.

You know what wasn’t better back then? Access. We had video tapes. We could trade them if we wanted more wrestling from a far-off location. We could go to Blockbuster & rent major releases for a few days. We had satellite dishes & VCRs. It had its charms, but wrestling addicts only got their fix a couple days a week. Now, we can get it whenever we want it. WWE Network has a pretty good percentage of WWE’s library. New Japan has a service. Impact Wrestling has a service. ROH has their thing. Smart Mark Video has one. Pretty much any wrestling company you can think of has some service that will let you watch whatever you want whenever you want.

We’re spoiled. I, for one, am thankful that these companies figured out that their fans will fork out money to watch an excessive amount of wrestling. Can you believe that promoters used to tape over their old shows to save money? No wonder they all went out of business.

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Top 5: WWE Finishers That Actually Finish a Match (The First Time)

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Brock Lesnar F5 Triple H WWE WrestleMania

A major criticism of modern WWE is that finishers rarely finish a match when they are executed the first time. These days it takes two to three to put an end to an opponent. Cameron Shank looks at the Top 5 finishers that actually work on the first try!

John Cena normally hits four to five Attitude Adjustments before hitting one off the middle rope and he ends up still not winning the match. There are those select few, however, that actually lay out an opponent for the three count. Here are the top five finishers that actually finish people.

5. F5 (Brock Lesnar)

It may only be putting guys to rest for the last year or so but the names it has beaten is a who’s who of men who would kick out of any other finisher. It toppled Samoa Joe at Great Balls of Fire, Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, Braun Strowman at No Mercy, and AJ Styles at Survivor Series. The finisher is likely being protected for a certain someone to kick out of it at WrestleMania, but even though Lesnar’s recent run has been heavily criticized, one can’t deny it’s good to see a finisher that actually finishes big matches.

4. Coup de Grace (Finn Balor)

Despite fans being disappointed with Finn Balor’s main event run after returning from injury, he’s actually been a strong force on RAW (when he’s not losing to Kane). Some of this is due to the strength of his finishing move. Let’s face it, a man jumping off the top rope to stomp on your stomach and chest wouldn’t be the most entertaining experience. A lot of Finn’s move set also focuses on the midsection, which can soften the body up for the most apt name for a finisher.

3. Asuka Lock/Coquina Clutch (Asuka/Samoa Joe)

The only submission to make it on the list comes in the form of Asuka and Samoa Joe’s choke, and both use the move to staggering results. If the legs are locked, there is no getting out of it, and if the opponent doesn’t tap, they’ll pass out instead. It’s a devastating finisher with its victims struggling to break free only to find the hold cinched in tighter.  The hold was even a formidable threat against Brock Lesnar in the build up to Great Balls of Fire, and that isn’t anything to sneeze at. Asuka also used it well, making Sasha Banks and Bayley submit to it. It if a weapon both women’s champions should be weary of.

2. Lumbar Check (Cedric Alexander)

There might be a competition between the other cruiserweights to see who can get the most height after being hit with Cedric Alexander’s finishing maneuver. It is possibly the best sold maneuver in WWE today, not to mention it simply looks devastating. It’s a wonder how Cedric hasn’t won the Cruiserweight Championship in the year and a half its been active, but perhaps this will change with the new cruiserweight tournament on 205 Live. Even if it takes him a while to reach the top, it doesn’t hurt to have an effective finisher.

1. End of Days (Baron Corbin)

Not a single soul has kicked out of the End of Days, and while one day we’ll likely see someone roll their shoulder off the mat, for now it is something Baron Corbin can hang his hat on. It’s a beautiful move as, looking poetic in nature. It is most people’s favorite thing about Baron Corbin, even to Baron Corbin fans. It is unfortunate that Baron hasn’t seen the success we all thought he’d see, but there is still hope for the big man, and having a finisher like his is only going to help.

 

 

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Top 5: Jeff Jarrett Moments

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From guitar shots to on-air firings to MMA enthusiasm, Jeff Jarrett is bringing a slew of memorable moments with him to the WWE Hall Of Fame. Steve Cook looks at the best of the bunch in this Top 5!

We all know that Never Say Never is pro wrestling’s mission statement. No matter what bridges are burnt between wrestlers, companies & promoters, they can be prepared if there’s money to be made.

WWE has been Ground Zero for this in recent years. Pretty much everybody we said would never be back in the company’s good graces has been welcomed back with open arms. Bruno. Bret. Warrior. Savage posthumously. The list goes on and on.

The latest addition to the list, however, is a shock even by wrestling standards.

Jeff Jarrett, founder of TNA Wrestling & Global Force Wrestling. Even with that small fact in the way, there’s also the matter of recent personal issues that led to his departure from Impact Wrestling for at least the fourth time off the top of my head. All of this has been put aside so Double J can take his place in the HOF.

Some wonder if he’s deserving. Putting Jarrett’s previous issues with WWE aside, his merits as a performer have been debated for decades now. Some think he’s a solid hand that can be relied on for a good match & can be a main event guy in the right place. Others think he’s never drawn a dime & never had a good match. There isn’t much middle ground.

I wasn’t a fan of Jeff Jarrett as perennial NWA Champion. I did think he was a solid worker that did a good job in his various personas. I was fine with him as a top heel in WCW & TNA, though not as dominant as he was often portrayed. Here are his Top 5 moments.

5. Getting Fired By Vince McMahon

March 26, 2001 was quite the fateful evening in pro wrestling history. It marked the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro and the acceptance of the WCW brand under the WWF umbrella. It was a fateful evening for Jeff Jarrett as well, as his potential future with the WWF was discussed by Vince McMahon.

Jarrett was cool with this as he was getting paid by Turner for months to come. While on holiday, he came up with something else to do. This segment also makes for a pretty cool story, as for years we’ve figured that it might have had something to do with Jeff creating TNA Wrestling. It very well may have even if Jeff now denies it. I’m not calling Jarrett a liar, but he’s been known to stretch the truth here & there.

4. In Your House vs. Shawn Michaels

Jarrett has had a number of great matches during his career. His TNA run saw some really good stuff with the likes of Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Raven & many others. The one that stands out in my mind is the final match of his first stint with the WWF.

It was In Your House. It was Jarrett’s backyard of Nashville, Tennessee. He was defending the Intercontinental Championship against Shawn Michaels. Since it was 1995, Michaels was near the peak of his physical powers & ability to take crazy bumps. HBK was having outstanding matches with everybody at this point, and Double J could definitely bring it.

It was a star-making performance for Jeff Jarrett. The only problem was that he left the company right afterwards.

3. Vs. Women

Don’t get me wrong. There’s no way in the world that WWE would green light a storyline with a male wrestler beating up random women at every opportunity in 1999. It’s a good thing wrestling has moved past using this sort of thing to get heat.

However, I will defend the storyline of Jeff Jarrett beating up women leading to a match with Chyna where he got his comeuppance for one simple reason: he was the heel. Tommy Dreamer pile drove women in ECW all the time and those sick freaks in the audience cheered him for it. Here, Jarrett was beating up the likes of Cindy Margolis, Fabulous Moolah & other harmless women for no reason. It got the right reaction. Jarrett got tremendously over as a heel during this time & upped his star power. The only problem was that he left the company right afterwards.

2. With My Baby Tonight

You knew that this song would be playing at some point during Jarrett’s induction announcement video. We later found out that the Double J providing vocals for this song was Jeff’s Roadie, Jesse James. We still associate it more with Jarrett than the Road Dogg, as it was the focal point of his run as J-E-DOUBLE F HA HA HA J-A-DOUBLE R-E-DOUBLE T.

I for one think it holds up pretty well.

1. Double J Double M A

This was just wonderfully random. Jarrett was feuding with Samoa Joe late in 2010 after turning heel to join TNA’s newest top heel faction, Immortal. After defeating Joe in a submission match, Jarrett decided that made him a mixed martial-arts expert. The logic was a bit dubious, but it led to some classic television, like the time he did an MMA demonstration on Impact.

It got even better, as the next week we were treated to footage of Jarrett training little kids at a dojo.

I’m not sure what it says about Jeff Jarrett that my fondest memories of him mostly involve defenseless people getting beaten up. In any event, the Double J Double M A era still ranks as one of TNA/Impact’s best.

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Official Chairshot Ratings & Review: WrestleCircus The Show Must Go On

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What looks like an independent scene all star show, WrestleCircus returns with The Show Must Go On. Firstly, let me say it’s nice to hear the Al Lenhart’s health is trending up. No one likes cancelled shows, but someone’s health is more important. So this whole show is built on a wonderful premise of hope and future health.

God that last sentence was a little more fluffy than I go for. So…let’s get to the card before I break into a sonnet or something.


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Jervis Cottonbelly vs Colin Delaney

Hmm, a guy with a mask that has a mustache on it and cotton on his stomach against…a guy in a Spongebob shirt. Kay.

If the entrance didn’t scream comedy match, then I don’t know what else would. Perhaps a dance scene? Dirty Dancing Chant? A ref bump that has the two men fight over the Eddie Guerrero spot, so much so, when the ref comes to they keep fighting over the foreign object and has the ref hit both of them?

I suppose this match was what fans of both wrestlers expected, but there were too many slow points to even really call it a match. I think there might have been 5 real spots that ended in a roll up finish. So yeah, I’m not Jim Cornette, I just felt the action in this match was too stilted to be considered even average from a random observer.

Rating: 1/4 (Bronze V)

 

The Dirty Devils vs The Boys

Well Dalton Castle’s Boys and Dirty Devils are fighting over the number one contender slot, for the tag titles.

This match was paced very deliberately early on, and had some outside interference from the “Insidious Follower”, but was all in all a decent match. The Boys showed off some chops, nice double Eat Da-feet, a few high flying spots, but the Dirty Devils eventually edged them out. After a Brainbuster/Best Moonsault Ever combo, the Devils pick up the pinfall victory.

Rating: ** (Silver V)

 

Shane Taylor vs Space Monkey

Well Trent was supposed to be Shane Taylor’s opponent, but due to injury Space Monkey stepped up.

Now, this was… a special kind of different. Space Monkey started off with mostly comedic spots (He’s a Canadian monkey from Space, that only communicates in monkey), but it turned into something eventually. It seemed like Taylor was toying with Space Monkey for a time, but the monkey got some good offense in.

A bunch of nice springboards, dives and flips showcased he was more than a gimmick and some bananas. He showed the heart of at least…a dozen monkeys. Kicking out of piledrivers, 2 big right hands and a multitude of other power moves, the monkey just wouldn’t die. A little more offense from the Space primate, including a nice backflip double stomp variation, but still no victory for Monkey. A third big right hand was “Monkey got knocked da eff out”.

Pretty good match after a goofy beginning.

Rating: ** 1/4 (Silver IV)

 

Shane Strickland vs Scorpio Sky

Both men have reputations that precede them, along with a little heat with one another.

This was a nice combination of high spots and hard hits. Sky nearly kills Strickland with a Cutter on the apron, Strickland nearly breaks Sky’s arm, along with many others. The best spot of this match was Shane throwing Sky’s Manager into him, while seated in a chair on the outside, and hits a Swerve Stomp on both of them amidst the fans.

One more Swerve Stomp gives Strickland a hard fought victory. Great match, could’ve easily main evented. Gonna be hard to top.

Rating: **** (Platinum V)

 

Elimination Match: Chelsea Green vs Christi Jaynes vs Deonna Purrazzo vs Leva Bates

Leva Bates enters this match to Zack Ryder’s theme, even dressed as him…much to Chelsea Green’s chagrin.

This match was actually very fun. A few more light hearted spots utilizing the Green/Zack Ryder connection to allow for double Broski Boots and a few other fun spots. Christi Jaynes is the first out when Purrazzo submits her with a Fujiwara Armbar. Leva Bates manages to get the best of Deonna next via pinfall. Then the fun twist is Chelsea took a rough rider and rolled to the outside for a few minutes.

When she appears from beneath the ring, she’s Laurel Van Ness. Hits the Unprettier on Leva and pins her by straddling her and kissing her through the 3 count. Not a bad match at all. Fun spots, technical spots, but a great match for right after intermission.

Rating: *** (Gold V)

 

Death Match: MASADA vs Brody King

Well this was definitely a fight between two big and angry men, not afraid to use weapons.

Brody showed a lot of toughness by taking Masada’s skewer spot, getting them rammed further into his head via DDT and then multiple CHAIRSHOTS in the corner, but he still fought back. A big lariat followed by a Powerbomb on the chair almost won the match for King.

Masada however, catches the chair, breaks the seat out over Brody’s head and then uses it in a chair assisted STF variant. Brody never tapped though, he just passed out, so it still makes him look like a badass.

Rating: *** 1/4 (Gold IV)

 

Jordan Len-X vs El Hijo del Fantasma vs Matt Cross

Well a three way lucha style match, has every chance of being a show stealer.

Matt Cross, much like the commentary team said, is smooth as butter with whatever he does. He was the largest highlight in this match. Jordan Len-X was on the receiving end of the largest “Holy Shit” spot of the match when Cross hits a Frankensteiner and sends him head first into 4 upright chairs.

Nice back and forth the entire match, but some spots looked a little off and the fight in the corner just went a little long. Between trying a Tower of Doom, to some other sunset flip variation, it just lingered a little long, but the pay off ended up being a highlight.

Jordan sneaks in after staying on the outside for a while after his nosedive through chairs. Puts Fantasma’s head through a chair and hits a crucifix style GTS for the pinfall victory. Not a bad match at all.

Rating: *** 1/4 (Gold IV)

 

WrestleCircus Ringmaster Title / WrestleCircus Sideshow Title Match: Brian Cage (c) vs Tessa Blanchard (c)

The opening salvo of crowd chants was actually pretty amusing. Cage and his crew did the slow to start heel thing, and the crowd was heavily behind Tessa.

So Cage dominates the early going, but also plays the part of cocky heel, underestimating his female opponent. Tessa picks up some momentum on the outside after Cage turns his back on her. She goes through about half of the front row, hitting Cage with repeated CHAIRSHOTS. When the action gets back in the ring, most of her offense was built around countering Brian’s power offense.

He flung her in the air, she caught him with a beautiful DDT. He tried to Powerbomb her, she hit a Canadian Destroyer. She absorbed plenty of his signature moves, and even landed her top rope Codebreaker (Magnum). This went back and forth, and had many believable near falls for Tessa. Cage finally ends up keeping her down after a Discus Lariat and Drill Claw, but it was such a good fight.

Even through a few awkward spots, the story the match told was very nice, the in-ring work was impressive and it was damn entertaining. If anyone had thought Tessa got her position based on her last name, watch this match, and shut the hell up. Beautiful match.

Rating: ***** (Diamond V)

 

So even though I opened this article less than enthused after the first match, the show built up nicely. Scorpio Sky and Shane Strickland, the Masada match, and of course the main event were the corner stones of this event. Plus Space Monkey, I mean, I think I invented something like him after a long night of drinking, but I’m still amused.

WrestleCircus put on a very nice show with The Show Must Go On. Comedic matches and spots, brutality, high flying, technical mastery…this show had something for everyone. You don’t get many shows that know how to mix multiple styles and still make it seem true to the brand, but hot damn, this was the most fun I’ve had watching a show, outside of Japan.

I look forward to more WrestleCircus and more Tessa Blanchard.

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