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Velveteen Dream VS Ricochet – The Battle for the Crown

The Velveteen Dream and “The One and Only” Ricochet are set for an epic clash of King VS Prince at NXT Takeover: Chicago II. Who will wear the crown?

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“There’s a monarchy here in NXT.  And Ricochet believes that he’s the King.  And that’s funny to The Dream. He he. Well, if The Dream were to pick a crown, he’d choose to be the Prince.  The difference between a King and a Prince? The King was good, but that Prince… he knows that there’s a bigger crown.” – The Velveteen Dream

If you haven’t been watching NXT, which is the best wrestling product in the WWE, you may be missing what could go down as one of the best feuds of the year.  Ricochet – the high flying, record breaking, Indy legend – is currently feuding with The Velveteen Dream in a perfect match of opposites in personality but equals in ability.  Dream – the former Tough enough contestant turned flamboyant Prince-esque showman – has taken umbrage with Ricochet’s emergence on NXT and his Indy beginnings, wanting the spotlight only for himself.  Ricochet, known as the “One and Only”, has dared The Dream to prove that he deserves it. This game of one-upmanship has captivated viewers and turned their scheduled encounter at NXT Takeover: Chicago 2 into a must see match.

This, however, is more than just two tremendous wrestlers just wanting to prove their the best.  Both men have layered histories riddled with nuance and hurdles that they’ve both had to climb. And as such, both have created personas that have been built from those very hurdles and bred to exhibit not only their skills, but their true inner selves as well.  That’s what makes this matchup so interesting.

The Velveteen Dream, who’s real name is Patrick Clark, first came into wrestling fame as a member of the 6th and most recent season of WWE Tough Enough.  Clark was an avid and knowledgeable fan, and was quite arrogant about it, as well as his prior training. Because of his arrogance and perceived lack of humility, he was eliminated on the 5th episode.  Still, due to his clear aptitude in the ring, youth, and passion for WWE, he was signed to a developmental deal. Clark went through a few different characters in NXT before he found his current one, one most notably being a politically charged version of himself seeing as he’s from Washington D.C.  Fortunately for him and us, he’s landed on The Velveteen Dream. He plays the character with a real sense of flair, vibrancy, and animation. His act would surely make Prince, the basis for the character, proud.

The beauty of how he portrays the character, however, is in the subtleties.  Through the bravado, there’s clearly an insecure man begging for recognition.  All of Dream’s feuds revolve around some sense of respect or acknowledgment. He’s is on a constant quest for validation, only matched by his need to be unique.  A man genuinely proud of his luminosity, he is always fighting to prove that he is in fact luminous. Something that Ricochet, in his own way, has fought for his whole career.

Born Trevor Mann, Ricochet has taken a much longer journey to NXT and WWE.  A 15 year veteran, Mann has been everywhere and done everything. He’s wrestled in the frenetic energy of PWG in Reseda, been in the family friendly world of Chikara, went overseas with the ultra competitive Dragon Gate promotion, and been the face of the upstart Lucha Promotion.  He’s even done significant time in the second biggest wrestling company in the world – New Japan Pro Wrestling. There, he won the 2014 Best of the Super Juniors tournament and is a three time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. His success is almost unparalleled, but what’s most notable about him isn’t his successes.  It’s his style. Ricochet has created quite possibly the most exciting style in all of professional wrestling. He’s arguably the best high flyer in the game today, maybe ever, and he matches that with a speed, precision, and attitude that makes is 5’9 frame seem twice that. Despite all that, unfortunately, it still took him 15 years to make it to NXT.

That’s not a fact that he takes lightly.  The landscape of WWE as a whole is tremendously different than it was just 10 years ago.  Before then, a guy like Ricochet likely wouldn’t have been signed, but now? He’s not only gotten signed, but he’s become a marquee performer in just a small time.  Which directly leads him into The Velveteen Dream’s spotlight and quest for validation.

There is a certain beauty in the dichotomy between the two.  Dream is a showman who is an opportunist. He takes advantage of every situation and outlasts his opponents, utilizing a bevy of awkward looking but effective moves.  But when it comes down to it, he’s a high flyer at heart, utilizing his beautiful Purple Rainmaker elbow drop to finish the job.

On the other hand, Ricochet is known for his high flying – nobody does it better – but is a truly adept grappler and mat wrestler.  He may fly around the ring with ease, but he is one of the most savvy wrestlers around, having seen everything and come out on top. Still, he’s utilizes the most show-stopping move in all of NXT to end his matches – the mesmerizing 630 splash. As seen in their few encounters so far, they’re a perfect match for each other because they’re essentially two sides of the same coin.

Both performers have a flair for the dramatic.  They both have a sense of the moment. And they both want the spotlight.  But only one can have it. At NXT Takeover: Chicago 2, the best NXT has to offer will face NXT’s future.  

King VS Prince: Who will wear the crown?

Heavy is the head.

FIN


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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


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