All posts by Deathlock

Kanellis & Gallows return to NJPW, in non-wrestling roles

Maria Kanellis and Amber Gallows are scheduled to appear at the NJPW DOMINION event on July 5th, as well as the “road to” house shows beforehand in late June and early July. As of now they’re featured in the match graphics, but not as competitors. That doesn’t mean they won’t get involved as the storylines between The Kingdom and Bullet Club unfold.

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To complicate matters (and also make them more exciting), The Kingdom has officially joined forces with CHAOS, one of the main factions in NJPW, forming The Kingdom of CHAOS. As a result of this, the multi-person tags now feature CHAOS talent like RPG Vice and Kazuchika Okada as well as Matt Taven and Mike Bennett.

 

A return to manager-shenanigans for Amber & Maria on this tour doesn’t mean NJPW is abandoning the idea of women wrestling at its events, but I think if they do move forward in this area, it will be rare and involve women the company is already invested in, like Maria and Amber. It’s possible that they could bring more women in, but I don’t see them ever creating a new division specifically for the purpose of showcasing women wrestlers. NJPW booking women to actually wrestle on their shows to advance established storylines is always welcome, though. I will, as ever, keep you posted!

 

Femmezuigiri Takes Over NJPW/ROH

Shelly and Alex were on hand live this week for the New Japan Pro Wrestling & Ring of Honor joint shows in Philadelphia and Toronto to represent Femmezuigiri. What did the gals think?


I, Shelly Deathlock, attended both nights of War of the Worlds. Here is a quick recap of the experience!

War of the Worlds Night 1, May 12, 2015, Philadelphia, PA

I arrived too late for the meet & greet with the wrestlers but I got to meet a lot of great internet friends. My seats were not great for this show because I bought them last minute and I could still see pretty well. okada2Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. the Briscoes was match of the night for me, followed by KUSHIDA vs. Roderick Strong. Roddy Strong had quite the showing at these events this week and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him in high profile matches against great wrestlers.

The Night 1 VOD is already up for purchase at rohwrestling.com.

War of the Worlds Night 2, May 12, 2015, Philadelphia, PA

I had front row seats for Night 2, and also attended the meet & greet! I talked to The Kingdom’s Maria Kanellis about her role in New Japan Pro Wrestling going forward, and she said her goal is to do more wrestling and have women make more of an impact in the company. This is great news. I also congratulated her on winning the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship and she agrees the titles are hers. So there’s that cleared up for anyone who was wondering.

I waited in line for like thirty seconds for the women’s restroom. The men’s line was wrapped around the lobby, but it was a delight to be at a wrestling show and have to wait in line during intermission. It’s never happened to me before. So many women! Here’s to wrapping the bathroom line around the lobby someday!

The show was awesome, and I think Naito and Kyle O’Reilly stole it. Philadelphia ended the match with a “Thank you Naito!” chant and warmed my heart.

shinsuke_streamers1Shinsuke Nakamura was, as ever, a godking of strong style and charisma, and the cheers for him erupting every five minutes both nights were deafening. Nakamura is easily the Japanese wrestler that American fans have taken to the most. It’s not surprising, as his flamboyance, technicality, and brutality fit right in with all our familiar favorites like Ric Flair, Randy Savage, and Eddie Guerrero. We’d keep him here forever if we could. It felt really wonderful to be part of a crowd that appreciated his greatness and showed it.

 

 


On behalf of the right-minded wrestling fans of the GTA I, Alex Martino, would like to apologize for the excessive enthusiasm many had towards Bullet Club at Global Wars this weekend.

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This weekend felt like MY CHANCE to see my favourite wrestlers in the flesh and not on a 5am livestream. It was also my chance to blow some money getting signed 8 x 10’s and pictures with my faves which I will soon frame and showcase along with lesser accomplishments like diplomas.

On the first night I decided to meet one of the wrestlers only, who I hadn’t decided yet. I’d first accompany a friend to meet Shinsuke Nakamura, my absolute number one favourite in all of the entire world right now, and take their picture with him. When time came for them to meet him I couldn’t help myself from becoming a human earthquake, hands shaking like crazy trying to take a good picture. I didn’t even notice Nakamura shaking his hand asking if I was okay. I was of course, just allowing the overabundant amount of feels of being feet away from some of the top stars in NJPW to come through.

I decided on getting a picture with Okada night one specifically because he was wearing loafers with rhinestones on them, which I complimented him on, and he chuckled while thanking me. Pro tip: always try and make Okada laugh or giggle or something. If it means carrying a picture of YOSHI-HASHI or Tomohiro Ishii sleeping with you, do it.

With all that excitement out of the way you know I was ready for some wrestling. The iPPV was the card I was most looking forward to because of three of the best match ups of the night, and the fact that the Bullet Club were all in the main event, so I only had to deal with them once all night. 🙂

What you guys all missed by being at home watching the streams was the most enthusiastically watched dark match I have ever witnessed: Donovan Dijak against Dalton Castle. The crowd was amped up for Castle, who won the match. I’ll take this time now to point out that however quiet the crowd sounded was not at all how it was in the arena. Granted, my end of the arena was quiet for stuff like Tanahashi/Elgin, and they weren’t too hyped about Naito/Lethal, the latter likely due to not seeing all the action, at least from my view.

Night two I wasn’t sure what to expect, turned out it was a TV taping. This was my chance to go back and get that precious photo with Shinsuke. Nakamura remembered me from the day before and said “nice to see you again”. This photo was the most overjoyed I’ve been since the Canada won gold in women’s hockey.

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I had a little difficulty with seats but being up in the general admission stands behind the boards gets you the most ideal visibility as well as it’s cheaper. If ROH does a show at the Ted Reeve Community Center again, just go for GA, you can wander, you can stand in a nice spot where you’ll be on camera, you can get great photos of wrestlers posing on the ropes, it’s the ideal experience in every way except for your lower back. If you weren’t there, don’t fret as everything taped will be on ROH TV over the next few weeks and some matches are definitely worth watching.


 

Overall, it looks like everyone had fun at Global Wars. DoubleCakes and AV stayed in on the wrasslin’ action by taking in WWE Payback, some wrestling podcasts and the WCW Uncensored ’96 8-on-2 handicap match.

 

Update: Womens’ Wrestling at NJPW Dontaku 2015

Last week, I speculated on the nature of Wrestling Dontaku’s six-person tag featuring Maria Kanellis and Amber Gallows alongside their respective husbands and their husbands’ tag team partners. Now that the event has come and gone, let’s look at it.

The backstory is silly, and very pro wrestling: Karl Anderson was obsessed with Maria, and his obsession had led to the loss of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship for him & Gallows. As a result, Gallows brought in his wrestler wife Amber to try and keep Maria under control in the grudge match. It’s funny that Maria, a professional temptress, gets into so much trouble when she does her job well. Maybe she should tone down her siren song or something.

Let’s take a minute here to examine the dynamic of Maria Kanellis in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Her boys are the champs. Maria has her own t-shirt. Her tag champs don’t. This is in the pre-match video package:

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This is Amber’s entrance:

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This is Maria’s entrance:

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This is Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance, just as a point of comparison:

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The depictions of Maria & Amber are nearly night and day, though they’re both beautiful women. To be fair, they zoomed in on Amber’s chest a bit as she walked to the ring, but her ring-announced in-ring intro was flashy and athletic. I’m not sure whether Japanese wrestling fans and/or NJPW are so obsessed with Maria that they’d legitimately prefer to film the whole show with a picture-in-picture of her ass, or if the gimmick of Maria-in-Japan has reached some apex of self-parody that they’re just pushing every time they get her on TV. In any case, Maria’s depiction in NJPW doesn’t make me uncomfortable as a female fan — I think it’s hilarious, if a little much. The ass zooming shots went on for a minute or more, when thirty seconds would have been more than sufficient for both lusty and parody purposes.

The match itself was fairly standard. The rules were mixed-tag — when Maria was tagged in, Amber had to be tagged in. The highlight of the entire situation was Karl Anderson daydreaming so hard about Maria that he forgot to do his signature machine gun taunt in his entrance. I was actually shocked, and so were Amber & Doc. So was referee Tiger Hattori.

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The wrestling match was a wrestling match sprinkled with shenanigans. The women hit some nice moves on each other and it looked like Amber wanted to murder Maria. The culmination, as you might have anticipated, was Maria hitting a low blow on Karl Anderson to get the advantage for her team, and then rolling up Amber for a surprise win. Amber went into full-Wicked-Witch-of-the-West meltdown mode, which was another highlight.

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Post-match, Doc and Amber still want to murder Maria, but Karl Anderson protects her. That is, until he SURPRISE turns on Maria, and he and Doc hit the Magickiller on her.

Some points:

  • This wasn’t an intergender match, so Maria was not competing against the men — they’re bad men who just assaulted her post-match (at Amber’s urging) outside the bounds of competition because they were mad that she got the win.
  • It’s reasonable that a bad girl like Amber would sic her men on Maria when she herself couldn’t get the job done.
  • It’s oddly refreshing in entertainment when bad guys are beating up a woman because they’re mad at the woman rather than using the woman to get at the woman’s husband/boyfriend/otherwise associated man.
  • I’m not even sure Gallows & Anderson care about Taven & Bennett at all. Maria’s match, Maria’s belts, Maria’s feud, Maria’s win, Maria’s post-match consequences.
  • I don’t know where this leaves the feud. Reasonably, Amber could want to get her win back. Taven & Bennett could want to beat up Anderson & Gallows for beating up Maria. Or it could just be over for now.

For it being the first time women are featured as wrestlers in NJPW in thirteen years, we’re off to a decent start. Let’s hope this opens up the door for future storylines with women and even more talent.

 

NJPW will feature women wrestlers at Wrestling Dontaku 2015

For the first time in 13 years, women are going to compete in a NJPW ring.  Maria Kanellis, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett (the Kingdom) have been booked to wrestle Amber O’Neal Gallows, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson (the Bullet Club) at Wrestling Dontaku 2015 on May 3. This comes after the Bullet Club suffered the devastating loss of their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships to the Kingdom, due in part to Karl Anderson’s obsession with Maria (same, Karl, same) and also Maria’s excellent distraction skills.

The last time a woman was featured in NJPW matches was in 2002, when Chyna competed against much of the roster in tag and singles matches.

Sunday’s match is described as a “six person tag team match” but I don’t know whether it’s mixed-tag (the women can only fight each other and a man must tag out to his woman partner if the opposing woman is tagged in) or intergender (men and women can fight each other) rules. We’ll find out for sure come Sunday, but as everyone saw at War of the Worlds last year, even NJPW’s good guy heartthrob ace once in a century talent and most decorated IWGP champion in history  Hiroshi Tanahashi doesn’t hesitate to engage Maria in combat if she enters the ring. 

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This match could either be pretty good and a step toward getting women featured on NJPW programming in a capacity that is more than “look at all the beautiful parts of this very beautiful woman please” or it could be a bunch of Bullet Club shenanigans. I’ll check back in afterward and let you know!  But I have to say, after all the talk about how the Kingdom’s accolades in NJPW are really due to Maria, it’s nice to see her getting a chance to compete for some herself.

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Maria Kanellis and Amber Gallows now have profiles up on the NJPW roster page.

Varied Ways of Feeling about Boy Wrestlers: A Confessional

Babygrrls, today I want to tell you about something that bothers me a lot. As a heterosexual woman and a wrestling fan, many people assume I’m attracted to the boy wrestlers. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll set aside the weird creeps who think women like wrestling only because of the attractive boy wrestlers.)

I’m attracted to men and some wrestlers are men — assuming I’m attracted to some wrestlers is reasonable. What bothers me is that this assumption implies that I feel the same kind of attraction to every kind of boy wrestler. This is flatly insulting because frankly, I’m a very introspective person and I’ve spent the better part of a decade parsing all my varied and delicate feelings about so many wrestlers in so many circumstances.

I feel differently about every wrestler I’ve ever had feelings about, and all of those feelings are important and valid and contribute to my enjoyment of and engagement with the whole sport. This is serious and nuanced, people! The world will be better when we articulate and embrace the complex ways that all kinds of people (cis people, trans people, men people, women people, nonbinary people, kids, grandmas, etc etc) deal with their wrestler feels. I want to hear yours, too, so let this serve as the start of a discussion.

So here are some ways I as an individual human person feel about some of the wrestlers that so many fangirls like to do the fangirling over lately (fangirling is also a serious and valid feeling, yes):

Shinsuke Nakamura

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Let’s just get this out of the way: Shinsuke Nakamura is the most beautiful human ever to set foot in a wrestling ring. His physical beauty is actually distracting during his matches and this has never happened to me before ever with anyone else and kind of makes me angry honestly Shinsuke PLEASE. Why and how does he carry himself so? How can I learn to have such swag? Like the Toshiro Mifune of pro wrestling, he communicates more with a facial expression that some wrestlers do in an entire match. Why does it seem like he has sunlight trapped just under his skin? Does he know that his hair is always perfectly placed to make someone wanna reach over and push it away from his face a little? I mean goddamn. I bet he knows. I’d join a religion if he started one. I cannot even.

Shinsuke Nakamura is also the best wrestler I’ve ever seen and the fact that in my world the Venn diagram of most beautiful wrestler and best wrestler is a circle is just amazing, 10/10 five million stars A+ thank you strong style gods. That said, I’d never want to carry on a personal relationship with him. I’m sure he’s a great friend. Just, no thanks, I’m busy absolutely worshiping him, you know? Let’s leave that there where it belongs. But all the warmth and sensuality he shares as a performer — oh, I will take it so gratefully and for as long as he will give it, from a respectful distance.

Minoru Suzuki

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If I weren’t already happily married I’d be actively trying to marry Minoru Suzuki. I mean, probably to no avail, of course, but I think you have to try for the things you want in life. These feelings stand in stark contrast to my feelings about Shinsuke Nakamura. I respect and love and worship Shinsuke from afar, but theoretical-target-of-my-affection-Minoru-Suzuki would probably have to be like “Hey lady, it’s great that you pay money and come to all my shows, but could you like not stare at me so creepily, maybe?” I don’t even know. I don’t understand these feelings myself but it probably has to do with fishing and One Piece and maybe even a good amount of mind control. I spend my days trying not to capslock shout at him on Twitter about how much I love him. It’s pretty terrible but my husband is kind of okay with it and I know lots of people (or at least two other people okay whatever) share these feelings and they help me deal with my life. Maybe it’ll pass? God I hope it passes, this is exhausting.

Kazuchika Okada

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I don’t actually know what happens to my brain when Beautiful Actual Angel Kazuchika Okada is on my television but it’s just incessant high pitched squealing. I wanna hug him so hard he can’t breathe. He’s like the human version of the cutest puppy. If I were gonna write fanfiction about us (and dude I MIGHT) he’d be my little brother and I’d buy him ice cream all the time and we’d play video games and I’d probably paint his nails and I’d finally get to hear him sing the Gatchaman theme karaoke. Actually, I wonder if his parents would adopt me. I would call him Kazu-kun and bite Tanahashi’s face off for making him cry at Wrestle Kingdom 9. I’d be the best big sister, you guys.

Dean Ambrose

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My feelings about Dean Ambrose make sense to me, but it’s hard to articulate them. I’m not attracted to him. I have eyes and a brain, I know that he’s an attractive young man. His physique is like a young, leaner Tully Blanchard. It’s amazing. He’s beautiful. He’s charismatic. But. Nope. All my feelings about Dean Ambrose lie so squarely in the workratecompartment of my brain with a few bonus feels sprinkled in the goddamn how can I get a waistline that good? compartment. I love his wrestlery charisma and his silly promos. I love his technical-brawler style. I love that his character is what would happen if the Hollywood Blondes were fused together in a transporter accident and then tried to grow into their later personas simultaneously. I LOVE it, I love him. But it’s all pure prowres love, and hope, and enthusiasm, amen.

Kota Ibushi

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I have no feelings about Kota Ibushi. I like to watch him wrestle sometimes. He’s really good. He was in my favorite match ever. But I don’t need to see every match he’s in. I don’t even think about him at all unless I’m watching a match. His physique is obviously remarkable but the extent of the fucks I’ve ever given about that is “His trunks are great, they really highlight the unique angle of his thighs in relation to his hips.”

Hiroshi Tanahashi

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This one is difficult. I don’t want to hate him, but I do. I feel like things might be a little backwards either in my head or in his, but he’s an incredible heel. His tactics infuriate me. His air guitar infuriates me. As a person, I recognize his amazing skill and incredible devotion and the fact that he deserves every last shred of my respect for helping to revitalize New Japan Pro Wrestling when everyone else was kind of sucking. But as a wrestling fan, oh my god, I hate Hiroshi Tanahashi and I LOVE hating Hiroshi Tanahashi and I pray that I never stop hating Hiroshi Tanahashi because hating a wrestler for the right reasons is a deeply satisfying feeling that has been missing from my life ever since Bret Hart retired. In other feels: holy shit, that haircut. Amazing.

So that’s a brief-ish summary of where I’ve been for the past couple years, rummaging around in my brain and trying to articulate the discrete and potentially unique feelings I feel for the performers I admire so much in so many ways. There’s more to dig up from childhood, to be sure (I was a wrestling fan before I knew I was a heterosexual woman, so that’s pretty interesting!), and I didn’t even discuss women at all this time! Watch this space for more things-that-women-feel-about-wrestlers.