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Top 5: Kids In Pro Wrestling

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WWE Nicholas Kid

One of the most divisive matches of WrestleMania 34 involved the Raw Tag Team Championship. Braun Strowman was forced by Kurt Angle to have a tag team partner in his match against Sheamus & Cesaro for the championships. Braun, apparently a fan of procrastination, waited until the last minute until finding one in the Superdome crowd.

Some felt that Braun teaming with Nicholas was a travesty of justice & a mockery of Sheamus, Cesaro & the Raw Tag Team Championship. Some thought it was awesome, and were disappointed when Nicholas had to forfeit the title the next evening on Raw. I thought it was funny, but it seemed like one of those things where they had no idea where they were going when they started.

“We need to have Braun on the WM card. People like him.”

“True. We don’t have many people for him to wrestle though. Half the mid-card is in the IC title match.”

“What about Elias? They’ve done some stuff on Raw & people seem to dig it.”

“We need Elias to get squashed by Cena to set up Taker.”

“What about The Bar?”

“OK. Who’s Braun’s partner?”

“I dunno, we’ll find somebody before WM.”

“Cool.”

I imagine they spent the next few weeks thinking of people & making phone calls, and everything fell through until somebody suggested John Cone’s kid. Which, to be honest, ruined the gimmick for me. They could have had a Make A Wish kid get to be Tag Team Champion, and instead they give an employee’s kid the rub. Lame.

To be honest, the best way for a kid to get into wrestling is to be the son (or daughter, though it’s mostly sons) of a wrestler. Easier to get around child labor laws that way. Nicholas’s recent success made me wonder who the most talented kids to take part in pro wrestling were.

Here are the Top 5 Kids In Pro Wrestling.

5. Colby Corino

Colby is the son of the King of Old School Steve Corino, and is currently an indy wrestler of some note. He was invited to train in the New Japan Dojo until he got arrested on drug charges. He’s still bouncing around the indies & looking to make his name. He reportedly started wrestling around the age of 13, but he was taking bumps in England’s 1PW somewhere around the age of 9.

The fans’ response of chanting “ohhhhhh Abyss” didn’t show much concern for the welfare of young Colby.

4. Owen Steen

Six-month old Owen is the youngest competitor to hold a victory in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. His father Kevin was going back & forth with Excalibur when the Commissioner of Food & Beverage decided it was a good idea to mock Owen’s appearance.

After a couple of Package Piledrivers, Kevin got Owen from the crowd & placed him on top of Excalibur for the three count. This wouldn’t be Owen’s last wrestling-related appearance, as an online video of him reacting to his father’s debut on Raw got quite the fan response.

3. Tyler Fullington

People weren’t sure that The Sandman had feelings. After all, he usually drank to the point where he couldn’t feel feelings. Raven did his best to get to Sandman by joining up with his ex-wife. When that didn’t work, Raven raised the bar by turning Sandman’s seven year old son against him.

When people talk about great ECW storylines that couldn’t be replicated today, this was one of them. Could you imagine WWE going here with one of Shane or Stephanie’s young kids? Absolutely not. Tyler has done some indy wrestling over the years, but from what I can tell on Twitter he spends most of his time watching Philadelphia sports teams. They have a lot of teams so I can see how that keeps one busy.

2. Haruka

Before Kenny Omega was known as The Cleaner & one of the best wrestlers in the world, he was largely known for wrestling a blow up doll & a nine year old girl. We’ll talk about the girl here.

Haruka was a youngster that was in a beginners’ class at a shoot boxing academy. She was sad because older girls were getting lured away from the academy to get into pro wrestling, & she was the biggest wrestling fan out of any of them. So DDT Pro-Wrestling signed her & enlisted Omega to train her. She had a run of matches in 2011, including one with Omega that became an online sensation.

Kenny did good work training her. Unfortunately she retired not long afterwards to pursue something resembling life.

(Tie) 1. King Maxel Hardy

Owen Steen may hold the record for youngest wrestler to win a match, but King Maxel is the youngest to do so on worldwide television. He made his in-ring debut at Total Nonstop Deletion on December 15, 2016 in Cameron, North Carolina. With some help from Senor Benjamin, Maxel scored the victory over Rockstar Spud.

You can’t deny that Maxel inherited the charisma gene from his parents. The lovable tyke has over 33,000 Twitter followers & stands to inherit the Hardy Compound & whatever gold his father Matt & Bray Wyatt end up collecting during their expedition. Indeed, his future appears to be…

(Tie) 1. President Ramu

President Ramu Kid

[Editor’s Note: You didn’t think we’d leave out President Ramu, did you? Hell no!]

President Ramu, also of Japan fame, spent most of her time in Japanese promotion 666, but is also one of the approximately 500,000 people to fold the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship.

Originally dubbed La Hija Del Undertaker, after her original gimmick, she had a four year career before retiring in 2009, wrestling her final match against Tajiri.


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The Exposed Turnbuckle: Carmella is Awful(ly Good)

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by: Mike Neon

I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant at first when the IIconics debuted on Smackdown Live, pummeled Charlotte Flair, and Carmella ran down to cash in the “Money In The Bank” briefcase.  If you read this column on a regular basis, you know that treachery is my “drug of choice”, but I couldn’t help but wonder how Carmella who mostly seemed like a “background player” to me would handle the biggest spotlight in the women’s division on one of the biggest stages in professional wrestling.

Now, as we head into Summer Slam, after multiple successful title defenses and months of shining in the spotlight, I have never been more sure of the fact that “Mella is Money.”  The “Staten Island Princess” has taken her “moonwalking, trash talking,” act to a whole new level, that even I had not anticipated.

She is a like a Lodi Valley Cabernet-Zinfandel circa 2013 (which was just a prime year for red wines from northern California) a perfect blend.  The best parts of “old school” heel and “new age” Internet troll, coming together in a way that makes modern day sports entertainment so enjoyable for a great many fans.  If you aren’t following her on social media (@CarmellaWWE on twitter) you are missing half of the magic.

Like it or not, in this new era of sports entertainment, social media savvy is becoming an increasingly important skill for wrestlers at every level of the industry.  Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitch, and Facebook have very much changed the ability for wrestlers to “put themselves out there”, sell merchandise, interact with their fan bases and even enhance their finances.

Social Media also allows a place for wrestlers to fill in their storylines, develop their characters, and escalate their feuds, which is extremely smart in such a competitive industry, overflowing with much more talent than available screen time.

 

I was fortunate enough this week to actually have an opportunity to prove my hypothesis, as I have a friend from work who is extremely into all forms and promotions of professional wrestling, but also completely abhors and refuses to take part in any form of social media.

He told me that he couldn’t stand Carmella.  I told him “good”, that’s how you should react initially.  “Now, let’s take a moment to examine the nuances of her performance.”

He agreed that she plays the role of “the heel” and generates “heat” in a proficient manner in the amount of screen time she receives during weekly episodes of Smackdown Live and Pay-Per-View events, and then I exposed him to her work on twitter.

I showed him various tweets and her quick witted and hilarious responses to haters.  Mella is Money, but she’s also Teflon.  She’s a technician of snark, and the “excellence of execution” when it comes to analyzing, reversing and locking her “haters” into submission, which usually results in the author deleting their posts.

After seeing these examples, It clicked for him.  “So she’s doing the old school “Honkey Tonk Man“, paper champion angle, but with a new twist of being an “Internet troll”, instead of an “Elvis impersonator” he asked.

“Yes, that’s the beauty of it.”

“When you get in an online argument with someone else, the stereotypical (and comforting) thought is to imagine them as a “basement dwelling neckbeard” who lives in their parents basement.  Except in this case, the M. Knight Shyamalan twist is that, the “keyboard warrior” you would try to dismiss, by insulting their appearance, social status or occupation, is a beautiful, fashionable and extremely athletic woman, who is in one of the top spots in the top promotion in the world.

Carmella has used this time in the spotlight efficiently, to build her brand and move her merchandise.  If you don’t believe me, follow her on social media and look at all the fans sending pictures of them wearing her gear from the WWE store.  She is very good at being supportive and grateful to those fans who truly enjoy her, and quick to take the “haters” down a notch or two.

Social Media interaction is relatively new to the wrestling business, but now and in the future, it’s incredibly important and “The princess of Staten Island” has proved that she is one of the best when it comes to capitalizing on this, and is building a bright future for herself.

There is no falsehood when she says “Mella is Money” because her stock is rising fast, due to the time and effort she puts in with the WWE universe.

Follow Mike Neon: @TheRealMikeNeon

and @neoncolossem to see art and opinions

 


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Can Velveteen Dream Work as Face?

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When you look at the landscape of NXT I don’t think there is anyone who is as over as the Velveteen Dream. A gimmick that could easily have flopped has become one of the most encapsulating characters in the entire company. A lot of that is down to the charisma and the commitment of Patrick Clark to make the gimmick work.

When you look at the gimmick it natural feels like a heel because he’s so obsessed with the spotlight and getting all the attention for himself. If you didn’t know that and you tuned in to NXT, you could be forgiven for thinking he was a face. The Dream seems to have captured the attention of the fans ever since Takeover War Games when he put on a match of the year candidate with Aleister Black. Ever since then the reactions for him have just gotten louder.

I think this was a combination of The Dream’s charisma and the fact that the match with Black was better than anyone could have expected.

This has me thinking: Could the Velveteen Dream work as a face?

He’s certainly popular enough to warrant a face turn. It’s just a matter of how you turn him. You can’t just have him come out one-week high fiving kids and giving generic babyface promos.

There are certain characters whose gimmick can work as both a heel or a face and don’t really need to change much about them. The Rock was pretty much the same when he was a heel or face he would still cut biting promos and still use all his memorable catchphrases.

If you have the dream come out still acting the same way but just cut promos on heels and use parody heels in his entrance gear he natural made the switch from heel to face. You don’t have to change much about his character. Allow him to acknowledge the thunderous cheers he’s getting every week. Just imagine Face Velveteen Dream going against heels like Adam Cole, Lars Sullivan or even Tomasso Ciampa.

On this weeks NXT Dream cut a pre-taped promo recapping his Takeover matches and promising to put on another show stealer in Brooklyn. When you look at the current storylines it seems like they might be building to Velveteen Dream vs EC3 for Brooklyn.

Logic would dictate that Dream would be the heel since he abounded EC3 in their tag match at the UK Tournament. EC3 has a right to be angry but he’s another guy whose character is suited to being a heel.

Both guys are over with the crowd, but I have a felling Dream will be the more over of the two especially in Brooklyn. I’m not sure how they’ll handle it but I have confidence in NXT to pull of something good. It wouldn’t be the first time the Dream defied expectations.

As fun as a Dream face turn would be I think it’s sometime away because when he gets called up I think he’ll be heel for his first few months to allow the main roster audience to get an idea of the character. If he can get over with that audience maybe then he’ll turn face. He’s defiantly talented enough to pull it off.


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Top 5: Annoying Crowd Reactions

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I think we all can agree that one of the biggest obstacles to enjoying pro wrestling in 2018 is other wrestling fans. Social media is bad enough, as everybody with an account can express their terrible views on everything & shout down those of us that think rationally. Even worse? The fans that attend the televised events. It seems like most wrestling crowds insist on making themselves the stars of the show. Now that everybody’s so smart, they have to prove just how smart they are by making hilarious chants & telling us who they like & who they don’t like whenever possible.

The thing most discussed about Sunday’s Extreme Rules? The crowd crapping all over the Seth Rollins/Dolph Ziggler main event match by counting down to zero with the clock at the end of every minute. Rollins & Ziggler are guys that “smart” fans have been asking to main event as long as I can remember. They get the chance, and that’s the treatment they get from the Pittsburgh fans.

Here are the Top 5 Most Annoying Crowd Reactions.

5. What?

We don’t hear this one nearly as much as we used to, which is a good thing. Once upon a time, you couldn’t get through a promo without the crowd chiming in during the pauses. Stone Cold Steve Austin unleashed a beast that nearly swallowed the business whole.

Now it seems like it only happens during foreign-born performers’ promos, which is worse in a lot of ways. Alexa Bliss gets it sometimes too. At least they’re not doing it during the National Anthem, could you imagine how upset the President would get over that nowadays?

4. THIS IS AWESOME

I feel like most of the problems with today’s wrestling crowds can be traced back to whenever the “This is Awesome” chant originated. It was part of a change from fans supporting particular wrestlers to cheering for high spots & cool moves regardless of who was doing them. I know I’m being an old fuddy-duddy here, but I preferred it back in the days when fans at least acted like they were genuinely interested in their favorite wrestlers’ well-being instead of going on about how awesome the whole thing was. I mean, did you hear World Cup crowds chanting “This is Awesome” in their native languages? Of course not.

“You Deserve It” is another one that needs to die a painful death, though I thought it was appropriate twice recently: When Miz gave Dean Ambrose a participation award, and when Tommaso Ciampa got power bombed on the floor by Johnny Gargano. The first one was funny, and the second one was telling a heel they deserved a beating. Good stuff.

3. CM Punk!

He’s not coming back, dudes. Certainly not anytime soon. I was ok with people chanting the Straight Edge Savior’s name soon after he left, and at people like the Authority. It was akin to when WCW fans chanted “We Want Flair” at the 1991 Bash right after the Naitch left the company. It was ok then. Enough time has passed where there’s no real reason to do it.

Let it go!

Any random chant can fit into this category too. You know, the hilarious matches where fans start chanting for announcers & whoever else they can think of, whether it fits the occasion or not. It stopped being funny several years ago but that doesn’t stop some people.

2. Chanting for favorite wrestlers during other matches, then sitting on your hands during their actual match

The loudest “Rusev Day” chant of Sunday night didn’t happen during his match with AJ Styles. It was in the middle of the Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley match. See, the fans wore themselves out during that one, so by the time the Bulgarian Brute was out there wrestling everybody was trying not to fall asleep. Jim Ross credits drinking. I credit the length of the show. Either way it’s not a great look for a crowd.

1. Booing Roman Reigns

I know. You think you’re really cool when you boo WWE’s top star. You’re sticking it to the man! What these fans fail to realize is that by screaming themselves silly during Roman’s match, they’re rendering themselves silent for the rest of the show. If you really wanted to stick it to the man & show that Roman Reigns isn’t a main event level talent, you’d go to the concession stand during his match. Or you’d leave. Better yet, sit on your hands like you do the rest of the night.

But you don’t. You’re the loudest you are all night when Roman Reigns comes out. That’s because he’s the Big Dog. Don’t boo it. Embrace it. You know you’ll end up respecting him in a decade or so anyway.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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