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The Exposed Turnbuckle: Heel Is Jericho!

A weekly review of wrestling villains, brought to you by a former wrestling villain.

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Chris Jericho NJPW Exposed Turnbuckle
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To say this has been an exciting week in wrestling, with impact that will be felt for weeks, months, and possibly years to come, is nearly an understatement. Tension has been building towards WWE’s annual “Money In The Bank” pay-per-view, “Takeover” Chicago from NXT, Impact wrestling’s “Slammiversary”, and Ring of Honor’s “Best In The World”, yet most of it was eclipsed by the glorious opus that was New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s “Dominion”  where major hardware changed hands in dramatic fashion.

Possibly more exciting, and exhilarating than all of the great matches that took place this week, is the “history making” debut of yours truly, Mike Neon as a weekly contributor to this great organization, The Chairshot.  As a former professional wrestler and valet, and current creative and graphic design guru, I am here to provide my “unique and enlightened” perspective on what it takes to survive and entertain inside and outside the ring.

NJPW

The fourth match of the Omega vs. Okada series is being hailed as possibly the greatest match of all time.  While congratulations are in order for Kenny Omega finally achieving his dreams, with the help of his friends, and all of that warm, fuzzy, feel good, nonsense my interest lies in the legendary Chris Jericho.

Jericho has taught everyone in the world a very important lesson, by conquering Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.  That lesson would be, if you get too complacent, tranquillo,  perhaps, Chris Jericho can and will come out of nowhere and put your belt around his own waist.  From appearing in disguise from within the stands to launch a brilliant and courageous offensive on Naito, to cutting memorable promos, keeping the pressure on, and finally sealing the deal with a win in Osaka, Jericho did the unthinkable.

While every “insider” whistled the tune of “It will be a great match, but Jericho won’t win an IWGP title, he’s not actually even in New Japan”, Jericho came in, pulled out all the stops and did what was necessary to put yet another Intercontinental strap around his waist.

A shock like this could send Jeff Hardy hiding out for at least another month, and when he does finally decide to show his face around Smackdown, he’s going to be watching the front rows out of the corner of his eye to make sure he too, doesn’t get his “bell rung” like Naito did.  No one, anywhere is safe from Chris Jericho.  Obviously, no titles are safe, either.

NXT

In other parts of the wrestling world a cowardly attack during the taping of NXT at Full Sail University, saw Tommaso Ciampa busted open at the hands of his rival Johnny Gargano, with NXT Takeover Chicago coming quickly on the horizon.   The attack on Ciampa has left the “Psycho Killer” with staples in his head in the aftermath.  If you want to see the “healing process”, Tommaso, one of the most “engaging” stars on twitter, has been posting pictures of his injury every single day, with a countdown to the Gargano/Ciampa “Streetfight” taking place in Chicago.

“Johnny Wrestling”should be ashamed of his actions, constantly taking up Ciampa’s time on his unjustifiable mission of “revenge”, while Ciampa has tried to move on.  Even, going so far as to wear Gargano’s “Johnny Wrestling” shirt as a sign of support for his former “DIY” tag team partner during NXT tapings.

Hopefully after the sun sets at NXT Takeover Chicago, “Tommy Sports Entertainment” will take the victory and go back to business of entertaining his loving fans in the WWE Universe.

Speaking of NXT, Nikki Cross, don’t even think about it.  It’s far too early for the sun to set on the reign of “The Queen of Spades” Shayna Baszler.  Cross inserted herself into a “makeshift feud” with Baszler, seemingly on behalf of Dakota Kai, whom the NXT women’s champion was educating on the necessity of correcting her recent behavior.  Behavior that, like a disease, could spread through the locker-room at NXT and undo the very ideals that Shayna has been instilling in the women’s division since her reign began.  Ideals, like sacrifice, discipline and loyalty paired with the understanding that everyone has a role to play.

Cross, who often makes her own “rules”, decided to interfere in Baszler’s demonstration, which many NXT fans were fooled into believing that she was acting out of compassion.  Behind that mask of crazy, is a devious mind.  What better way to pass by your peers into title contention by starting a rivalry with the champion just before a major PPV event.  Clever ruse, Ms. Cross, but I see right through it.

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Opinion

TIME AND FATE: NOAH’S GHC HARDCORE CHAMPIONSHIP

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“It seems there was once a belt a long time ago I guess.”
Hi69 (May 4th 2018 after a hardcore match with Daisuke Harada).

I hope to present here a brief history of what was known as the GHC Hardcore Championship.

NOAH is not a hardcore promotion that does deathmatches (although they did run one in May 2018 between Hi69 and Daisuke Harada, this was Harada’s first time doing hardcore), so you weren’t going to win this belt by lighttubes, blowing the ring up, electric barbed wire or stapling paper to your opponents head; although it was defended in some matches termed as “hardcore”, or at least as hardcore as NOAH got in that era.

In this situation “Hardcore” meant that anyone could challenge for it regardless of division as it was openweight, you just had to survive and have incredible endurance. The title could be won by a count-out, and if the challenger was smaller than the champion and lasted fifteen minutes, the title could change hands. A win could only be gained by a pinfall, no submission was allowed.

The title could only be challenged for by NOAH wrestlers (or those working for NOAH at the time, such as Scorpio in 2005), not from anyone by an outside promotion.

The title began in 2004 when Jun Akiyama came up with the idea. He felt the concept would be exciting as it would create matches regardless of weight and size and would be open to anyone of any division. Mitsuharu Misawa agreed to the idea, funded it, and the belt was created. For this reason Misawa was considered to be the chairman of the belt (in the same way that the GHC has its own committee who decide who gets it etc), and the belt was thought to be Jun Akiyama’s as it was created in his style, the same way that the GHC Heavyweight is Misawa’s.

The GHC Hardcore belt differed from the other GHC belts as the main belt was white (Jun Akiyama’s colors) with the crest being silver, and for that reason it was sometimes known as “The White GHC”.

In the beginning it was decided that the belt would only be defended outside of the Kanto area (outside of the metropolitan Tokyo district which included Chiba, Saitama etc), with a fan who won a competition reading out the match announcement (like Joe Higuchi did for championship matches). After the match they would have the honor of handing the belt to the winner, and posing for a commemorative photo afterwards. This didn’t happen as the belt would be defended very much in Tokyo.

Immediately the rules caused confusion as in Jun Akiyama’s first defense, Takuma Sano was put in a front necklock and passed out, the referee not hearing his “I quit”. The belt then passed to Naomichi Marufuji who lost it to Mohammed Yone. NOAH held a rare deathmatch, where Yone faced Morishima in a “Chain Death Match” in Osaka in April 2005, it went to a double knock out. Yone’s fourth defense was against Scorpio, who was taken to hospital after the match having injured his leg.

Scorpio lost the title to Kentaro Shiga in September 2006, and the title became a tag title as Shiga unified it with Kishin Kawabata after vacating the belt as he declared he wanted to make a tag with it, (although there were never two belts made for this purpose), and the belt was billed as the “GHC Openweight Hardcore Tag Team Championship”. It was defended that December at Korakuen Hall in a “Lumberjack Deathmatch”.

By late 2007, the championship belt was becoming sporadic as NOAH booking and NOAH fans were losing interest in it, compared to the turn around of roughly six months when the belt was first inaugurated, Kishin Kawabata made only four defenses in eleven months before losing it to Makoto Hashi in October 2008, he made only two in nine months before losing it to Kenta Kobashi in June 8th 2009 who defended it four times before vacating the title after becoming injured that December.

No one after this it seemed to have much interest in reviving the belt and NOAH had little interest in booking it. Simply put, the concept had run its course, and by late 2009 and early 2010, NOAH were facing serious problems with the death of Misawa and internal fighting about the company restructuring. In the following years talent walkout, scandal, a decline in business and money issues became a far more pressing problem than who held a little white belt with a silver crest.

As of August 2018 NOAH have announced no plans to bring the GHC Hardcore Championship back, and the belt is not listed on the site under a the list of championships.


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Opinion

The Elite Should Not Join WWE

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After both All In and The G1 Supercard were sold out, reports of Vince McMahon wanting to sign The Elite in a way to stop the rise of competition for his monopoly were reported everywhere. More than just The Elite rumors regarding a lot of Indy talent joining the ranks of WWE, thanks of these events and the next lucrative deals that WWE will receive in the coming years, gives credence to the speculation in all wrestling circles. The big problem that comes with The Elite joining WWE is that currently after all these years, the wrestling world is no longer a one place only to make big money. Promotions like ROH and NJPW have grown a lot in the last couple of years thanks to the efforts done by the The Elite to change the wrestling world.

If NJPW loses Kenny Omega to WWE, the promotion based in Japan will lose not only a top player but their ambassador of puroresu in the US. As we know, NJPW has big plans to expand into the American market, and those plans have Kenny Omega as the flagship of that expedition.

The Young Bucks will also face some serious problems if they were to go to WWE. The first problem is that as we all know, WWE and more specificly Vince McMahon, is not a fan of tag team wrestling and teams like Anderson and Gallows coupled with current booking, are a clear example of this. Creative will be bad for them and their creative minds will not be used to the extent we’re familiar with. That would be a shame seeing how beloved their YouTube show is, Being The Elite.  Also let’s not forget the case of the cease and desist letters sent to them because of the Too Sweet sign. Vince McMahon does not forget and could easily bury them in a way to punish them for the case of the situation of the letters and the fan’s saying in the show he got free tickets like most people do to fill RAW

If The Elite stay for at least  2 or 3 years before joining WWE and help the wrestling world grow, the business will not only be good for the fans but to wrestlers not signed with WWE. Like we saw with Flip Gordon, who thanks to the Being The Elite show is a well known name already and his career is just beginning. If we’re to believe the brand is as big as any brand in WWE right now, The Elite should stay away from WWE to preserve their phrase, ‘’Change the world’. If they leave, a big hole will be present in the indy scene and the wrestling world will go five years back in time. Further increasing the gap, in a bad way, between WWE and the rest of the wrestling world.

 


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Opinion

Jim Neidhart: Remembering The Anvil

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Jim Neidhart

A piece of my childhood passed away.  Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart was known best as half of the 1980s tag team, the Hart Foundation.  Along with his tag team partner and brother-in-law, Bret Hart, the Hart Foundation were active between 1985 and 1991, and won the WWE Tag Team Titles in ’87 and ’90:  Then in 1997, the Hart Foundation was revived in the form of a stable. The group’s line up consisted of family members and students of the Hart clan.

The Neidhart-Bret partnership mirrored a relationship between a big brother; protective over his younger sibling; this illustration became evident when the Harts switched from being villains to heroes, in 1988. An example of the brotherly relationship was demonstrated during their matches as Bret would take the brunt of their opponent’s foul tactics while Jim; frustrated and concerned, waited reluctantly in his corner for Bret to escape their opponents and tag him in.

I believe that a lot of Hart Foundation’s success and appeal is credited to Jim Neidhart’s contributions. Bret was known as the cool member and ‘technical wrestling’ part of the team; Bret occupied the ring during most of their matches as Neidhart shouted moral support in the corner while waiting for his turn. When Bret was the recipient of their opponents’ foul play, the fans depended on Neidhart as the ‘big brother’ to make the save.

Bret’s appeal as the ‘cool’ guy was an element to the Hart Foundation’s fan base; however, it was Neidhart’s infectious and loud personality that transformed the Harts into an inclusive brand. The Hart Foundations interviews highlighted Neidhart’s abilities to sell the group with his animated charisma. What Bret did for the team in the ring; Neidhart equaled while promoting the duo in their interviews.

RIP Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart

@Ite_Lemalu
Ite Lemalu Writings


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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