Category Archives: Calling Spots

And the surprise entrant is… — ROYAL RUMBLE 2016 Predictions

It’s that time of year that we all look forward to and end up leaving bitterly disappointed. We decided to go over the card and craft for you how we think Royal Rumble 2k16 will playout.

Pre-Rumble Tag Match

With all our feelings towards ECW it’s with great shock to say most of us are leaning towards a Dudley Boyz win since the pairings of Henry/Swagger and Young/Sandow seem quite far fetched, but it’s be cool to see what they could do with the latter of those teams.

rr_graphicss3Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens

Same as before, we seem to be at a draw on who we like more out of the two. There’s been some speculation that it might have to end with a double count out with both men trapped under a pile  of rubble and debris just to continue the trend of Ambrose losing due to hilariously convoluted means in gimmick based matches. If Owens wins then it can lead us on the pathway to the Owens/Sami Zayn title match that we all wish to see at Wrestlemania!

Charlotte vs Becky Lynchrr_graphicss2

Like a plot straight out of Mean Girls we’re going to see Becky show up and burn Charlotte’s diary since she’s just too darn mean. The inventor of the #DivasRevolution, the every woman – Steph McMahon, will then call out for a lumberjack match of the entire Divas division. Becky will call a no contest and snatch the belt and break it into pieces– one for each Diva and all they’ve contributed.

But in reality there will be a win for Lynch with a finish that allows Charlotte to keep the strap all to herself. Becky getting cheated will allow for a triple threat or 4 corners match at Mania between Charlotte, Becky, Paige and Sasha Banks. Becky getting cheated will get the crowd on her side for what will make for a really interesting future for the booking of the main roster women’s division.

rr_graphics2The New Day vs The Usos

Most of our predictions are looking towards how it’s going to play out as part of a Wrestlemania lead up, and this tag team belt match is no different. New Day is going to retain, and they have to avenge Francesca at this point. The only other way for them to do this is to give the Usos the belts so that they can win the rumble as a trio and then turn on another another– and let’s hope that this doesn’t happen. We need a good faction to stay in tact for a little while longer, I can’t handle another Shield upset.

Alberto Del Rio vs Kalisto rr_graphicss

The US Championship belt is almost like a poorly attended game of hot potato, so it’s looking like it’s Kalisto’s turn. It’s be nice to see someone hold onto it for longer than a week this go around.

rr_graphicsLet’s Get Ready to Be Disappointed!!!!!

We all know the only reason to truly watch the rumble is to see who the old school entrant is and we’re going way out of left field with The Great Khali.

As for the surprise entrant will most likely be Triple H. Even though there’s slight whispers of Styles, Triple H is going to come at the end just so someone can beat Roman. Who knows, maybe Sledgie will make an appearance. The smart move, despite our iffy feelings about Bullet Club, is to have Finn invade with Balor Club up from NXT and NJPW. It’ll at least make for something interesting to chatter about. Other things we’d like to see is a Diva entering the rumble, maybe even Natalya, and having them go far or even win.

So there you have it, folks. Don’t forget to follow us on the twitter for all the nonsense during the show where we consistently outshine the official commentary.

 

 

Ring of Honor’s Women of Honor: December 12th Review

Veda Scott at Women of Honor December 12

When WWE introduced the “Divas Revolution” in an attempt to make up for decades of treating their women talent as “less than,” every wrestling promotion took the hashtag and ran with it. Some pointed out they had been doing not only women’s wrestling, but intergender matches, for years. TNA boasted that they had given women’s wrestling plenty of airtime, in addition to World Title shots. However, Ring of Honor had been noticeably quiet up until fairly recently. While women are included in their shows and on television, it’s only in the context of a managerial role–Veda Scott and Moose, Maria and the Kingdom, Veda Scott and Cedric Alexander, Taeler Hendrix and the House of Truth. While’s there’s nothing wrong with women valets and managers, to choose not to do more in the midst of this was a little annoying for myself as not only a fan of women’s wrestling but also as a fan of Ring of Honor. I knew they used to have women’s wrestling, so where is it now?

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Enter the return of Women of Honor. As of now, they are dark matches being taped for YouTube, but something is better than nothing. I hadn’t had the opportunity to see any of these matches, but I finally had my chance on December 12th in Philadelphia during the TV tapings after Final Battle. We were going to get not one, but two women’s matches–a tag team match, and a four corner survival match. Eight women were going to be wrestling, and I was looking forward to seeing it, but nervous of the crowd’s reaction. So I held my breath and waited.

Tag team match: Deonna Purrazzo & Hania the Huntress vs Mandy Leon and Sumie Sikai

I’m not at all familiar with Hania or Sikai, but I had seen Purrazzo on NXT recently, in addition to wrestling Leon previously on YouTube. Leon definitely has shown improvement since the last time I saw her, and I think she could be great if she keeps working at it. The crowd was initially quiet, but eventually some “Let’s go Mandy” chants popped up. The Sikai and Purrazzo were definitely the strongest wrestlers, which helped the match considerably when they were in the ring. I thought I could relax regarding the crowd and then Sikai got some “Asuka,” chants, which, well, fuck you.

The match ran about 9 minutes, and Mandy and Sumie walked away with the pin.

Four Corner Survival: Kelly Klein vs Taeler Hendrix vs Kimber Lee vs Veda Scott

I was slightly more familiar with the competitors in this match, I’d seen Scott and Lee wrestle before, and Hendrix has become a familiar face with the House of Truth. I knew of Kelly Klein, but hadn’t seen her wrestle yet.

This match was miles better than the tag team match, which makes sense considering the collective experience in the ring. Kimber Lee just recently won the CHIKARA Grand Championship, and Veda Scott has won her fair share of championships. It was a hard hitting match and the crowd was very into it. Klein won via submission on Scott after about 12 minutes (music to end).

Something that stood out to me before the match was that Veda, Kelly, and Taeler all came out to Cedric Alexander’s, The Decade’s, and House of Truth’s music respectively, and Kimber Lee came out to generic music with no video package. Now, Taeler makes sense considering her affiliation with the House Of Truth, even Kelly and The Decade. I wish Veda at least came out to her own video, even if she came out to Alexander’s music.

I’m hoping Ring of Honor keeps up with the Women of Honor matches and thinks about giving some television time to these matches, and develops some storylines around them so they can fully integrate into the promotion. I was thinking out loud with my friend on the drive home from Final Battle about my concerns that Ring of Honor wants the benefits of claiming women’s wrestling, but not fully committing to it. Having 8 women in 2 matches that will never make it on TV fits that narrative, but I would like to be proven wrong.

NXT Takeover London: Predictions

In a surprise turn of events, NXT is going to have to pull out all the stops to measure up to the TLC PPV; that being said, we have no doubts that our fave wrestlers are going to deliver quality entertainment. This makes it harder to tease since there’s not a match on the card we’re not interested in.

Let’s take a look at what we have in store and our thoughts on how it’ll pan out:

Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

Baron is surprisingly forgettable, despite the potential his character holds. This will be an interesting chance for Apollo Crews, actual ray of sunshine, to bring some excellent talent to an otherwise mediocre match.

We’ve had the joy of seeing Apollo crews climb through the roster pretty quickly, and can’t wait for what’s to come from him next… hopefully next time it will be against a more worthy adversary. Nothing can really stand in his way with the exception of Asuka and Joe, who we will see later tonight, but maybe the three of them will team up and do a little dance in the centre of the ring catching us all by surprise.

*Surprise twist: Apollo lifts Baron’s motorcycle and crushes him with it, but since Apollo shines bright like the moon he actually helps Baron to transform into a werewolf. Sadly, no one is packing and silver bullets, so it’s time to call up to our main roster comic book characters to help this story unfold.

Asuka vs. Emma

There is going to be some obvious interference on Emma’s behalf here, since that’s what’s been pushed over and over again, but it’s working. Asuka is our clear standout  in what will be a brilliant match of submissions.

*What can’t happen under any circumstances: In an effort to continue turn the tables on Asuka mocking them, Emma comes out in a kimono and Asuka’s mask. Thankfully, this won’t happen, but we don’t rule anything out in the WWE Universe.

Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady

It’s about time the realest guys in the room took home the tag championship since they’ve already turned our hearts SAWFT. The boys have recent pulled away from their comedy stylings as revenge for Colin’s knee injury, and it’ll be a feat of victory if they steal the titles and continue this aggressive streak they’ve started.

*You can’t teach that: What is “How to retain a tag belt in NXT for any substantial period of time?”

Bayley vs. Nia Jax

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Bayley has hugged us all, but she can’t hold that belt forever, and it only seems obvious that Nia continues her undefeated streak and snatches the title from Bayley. It can honestly go either way for a multitude reasons, and it’ll be a treat no matter the outcome.

*Next level staring contest: The match has the potential to turn into a battle of who can hug the other for the longest, and the entire universe takes a nap and falls more in love with one another going forward.

Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe

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Do we dare predict that all three titles switch hands tonight? Why not go for broke and continue the upset.  Balor and Joe have had an interesting story ever since Joe came on the scene, from tag team partners, to a blow of disrespect, to sworn enemies, it’s nice to see characters develop and evolve over time.

*Montreal screw job gains a newer, happier meaning: Sami Zayn returns and blindsides both of them taking the title for himself and reigns over NXT before summoning Kevin Owens to come back down and prove himself once more.

 

Bald Spots, Beer Guts and a Champ No One Likes: Or TLC 2015 Predictions

Going into this weekend’s final PPV of the year for WWE we are met with the realization that TLC 2015 is completely unrecognizable from something in the Invasion angle. All guffaws aside, we put our minds and feminine wiles together to bring you a very accurate, and somewhat irreverent prediction of what is going to go down this Sunday night on the WWE Network. We aren’t emotionally invested, but some of us did shell out $9.99 for it, so here we go.

Continue reading Bald Spots, Beer Guts and a Champ No One Likes: Or TLC 2015 Predictions

Princess Kimber Lee as Chikara Grand Champion

At the 2015 season finale, Chikara’s new Grand Champion showed that gender has nothing to do with who is the best wrestler in the company. After the gruelling Challenge of the Immortals tournament final bout against the Wrecking Crew (Devastation Corporation and Jaka), Princess Kimber Lee’s team, Crown and Court (The Princess, Gentleman Jervis Cottonbelly and Los Icecreams) won 3 points to use at any time to earn their chance at immortality AKA title shots.

Following the title bout, in which, then champion, Hallowicked successfully defended his title against former champions Eddie Kingston and Icarus, Princess Kimber Lee exchanged her three points for an immediate title match. The reaction of the crowd was defeaning in its positive exclamations.IMG_1621 Hallowicked was not a well liked champion and Kimber Lee’s never say die attitude and technical prowess instantly wins her cheers every where she wrestles. Perhaps showing immortality on her part, the challenger repeatedly kicked out of the most devastating attacked the champion could muster. Using the nearly unbreakable Chikara special submission hold, Kimber Lee found victory via tap out.

The year end season finale show of 2014 saw its first Young Lions Cup winner go to its first woman, Heidi Lovelace.  IMG_1002One year later, Princess Kimber Lee is their first woman Grand Champion. These strides are so important to see some more diversity in wrestling and get us out of this horrendous rut we’ve been stuck in for quite some time.

***Big congrats to Kimber Lee, and we will have an exclusive interview with her soon.

At Ringside: Women Superstars Uncensored in Philadelphia, 7/11/2015

IMG_5271WSU holds a very special place in my heart. It brought some of my favorite wrestlers to a very near, convenient location to me. I have fond memories of excited chats and jokes shared with admirable athletes and being licked by Mickie Knuckles. I may be biased in favor of WSU for all the wonderful memories, but the product itself has given me very little reason to dislike it.

Yet, Sunday, July 11th began with some disappointments. My car proved to be unsafe to use when I had promised two friends I’d be the driver for both this and the CZW show later that night. I had to shell out for a rental, but at least made it early enough to find decent parking at the 2300 Arena (Formerly known as Viking Hall or Alhambra Arena, but most notably to everyone else: ECW Arena). The other disappointment: I knew I wouldn’t be seeing my long time favorite LuFisto, since she was suspended for attacking management in the previous show (after management interfered, costing her the company’s top belt)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayflI5g0IMM

While she’s snuck into other events in the past https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7f_lz5wSrk I knew she was scheduled to appear at Atomic Pro. She’s been a professional wrestler for 18 years and I knew full well she would not disappoint the fans that were expecting her there.

But I did have plenty else to look forward to. I was surrounded by friends. Excellent wrestlers were scheduled to appear and I looked forward to the double header with CZW.

But it’s wrestling. Can’t start it off without … lengthy promos! I gave up cable TV years ago—I hear y’all folks deal with hour long promos now. We didn’t have to suffer that much.. For the uninitiated, WSU, while owned by DJ Hyde/CZW, is directed, at this time by The Office, a cadre of multi lingual members: speaking Spanish, wrestler Amanda Rodriguez; articulating in French, manager Mille Rachelle, and leading the Office and elucidating in English, former spirit and tag champ, Sassy Stephie. It’s hard to find a more unsympathetic trio in the company at this time. It fell on this administrator to deliver the bad news that Shanna, Portugal’s Perfect Athlete, couldn’t  attend this show due a legal mix up with customs and was forced to return home. I understand that wrestlers have a bad rap with customs in Canada and the US. This was enough to prompt Shanna’s would-be opponent for the event, the Boy Diva Rick Cataldo, the company’s outspoken, cross-dressing baddest bitch, to come to the ring.

After a hilarious interchange of insults, it was conceded that Rick had won that match by default. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a live victory for a Cataldo match, so I was happy for him! BUT, if you know him, you know that he’s had dreams for this night. His previous appearance at the ECW arena was as a manager. Why should he be denied his chance at a match there? He was granted one with a challenge to Sassy Stephie herself. Satisfied, the Boy Diva left.

IMG_5712Amanda Rodriguez vs Pink Flash Kira

Amanda Rodriguez, oddly, was not dressed in business casual wear, but in wrestling gear. Stephie had promised her a chance at revenge on LuFisto via her student, Pink Flash Kira (LuFisto had later confirmed that she given Kira “wrestling clinics” but did not fully train her). Kira arrived to the ring, positive, confident and with dazzlingly colorful hair. Any concerns for the Office members outside the ring weren’t apparent on her masked face.

The opening bout moved more quickly than I expected and set a great tone for the quality of fights we’d see later on that day. Amanda seemed to be at a disadvantage in physical strength and Kira hustled, rushing her opponent frequently, denying a chance for a breather early on. Rodriguez retaliated by tugging at Kira’s mask. I thought Kira would have the final fall with a devastating lung blower but Amanda had just enough breath to kick out. She caught Kira with a DDT, and proceeded to test the wrestling knowledge of those in attendance. The CZW crowds that tend to populate WSU shows have a reputation for being bloodthirsty lovers of ultraviolence, merciless to perceived “fuck ups” in the ring. That reputation held true this evening but this crowd knew enough to erupt in boos at the final pinfall when Amanda blatantly pulled the tights, preventing Kira from getting the leverage needed to kick out.

IMG_6164Round 1 of the WSU Spirit Belt semi finals – Brittany Blake vs Hania the Howling Huntress

With the warm up match out of the way, it was time for the Semi finals with Brittany Blake vs Hania. At the preliminaries, Blake scored what was seen as an upset victory over Hania the Howling Huntress and “AK47” Allysin Kay eliminated Solo Darling. Due to scheduling conflicts, AK couldn’t make it and the Office, in a case of blatantly not watching the tape, had reinstated Hania (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nid8QipwmtQ).

Blake has over a year’s worth of wrestling experience, is a graduate of the CZW’s Dojo, and for a time, underwhelmed me, but I saw her style and skill evolve at other events in the Northeast.  She used to have slow strikes that barely registered. Her offense seemed limited except for a top rope dive, that felt out of place. Her style is now harder hitting. One of her best assets was her ability to take punishment. She still takes a licking, and when she reacts, you feel it but now, she gives it back as well. Impressive for someone with such a small frame—and the Tequila Sunrise she added for submissions is a great fit for her!

Hania on the other hand is trained by Sara Del Freakin’ Ray. She has a powerful and disciplined build. She toys with gravity mid-leap. Out of all the accidental hits I’ve taken from pro wrestlers (non work punches, errant dives, etc), she’s caused me the most pain from her HIGH FIVES alone. Despite Brittany’s improvements, the odds were still stacked against her. Hania still had a reach and strength advantage. As aggressive as Brittany became, Hania still had a bigger mean streak. Yet, the crowd that had previously watched near mute or with taunts to her matches suddenly found themselves cheering loudly for this spirited underdog. She struck Hania with force that even surprised the Huntress. But despite great escapes and an array of painful looking attacks, including that fantastic Tequila Sunrise, Hania handily won and proceeded to disrespect Brittany post match.

IMG_5566Round 1 of the WSU Spirit Belt semi finals – The Fallen Goddess, Athena vs Leva “Blue Pants” Bates.

Athena was my pick for the most logical winner from the start. She was a #1 contender for the WSU Championship and, pound for pound, she is an amazing athlete that manages to hold her own in all aspects in wrestling. Her repertoire of attacks leaves me breathless or screaming in fear for her opponents. She entered with three standard bearers to her theme song and emerged with a wolf like mask tucked under hood. I still get chills whenever I see photos from that entrance.

Leva is no slouch, either. Trained by the Dudleys, she is deceptively tough for her wiry frame, but I couldn’t see her besting Athena despite a slight reach advantage. Leva returned in her Netflix ninja Daredevil in training outfit from her previous WSU appearance. She had lost her planned outfit and luggage and apologized to the crowd before the contest began. I sincerely doubt anyone was holding a grudge against her, even without such a disarming and unnecessary apology. Cosplay is her thing; we love her wrestling even more.

The bout went off showing what I expected. Strength and tactical advantages from Athena however, there were many cases where Leva managed to use the Goddess’ momentum against her and a few counters that backfired. Most impressively was Leva’s arm bar being thwarted by a deadlift single arm power bomb. This counter couldn’t come soon enough and Athena had visibly nagging pains in her arm. Bates surprised me with her resiliency. She resisted painful submission holds and held her own in strike exchanges. She was surprised as well by her victory! Hania, a fierce rival to Athena, returned to distract her long enough for a roll up (no tights pulled). It did not seem like a welcomed or coordinated effort. Athena was quick to chase Hania after her loss.

Rick Cataldo vs Sassy Stephie

Cataldo’s presence is maligned by many in the crowd but I was happy to see cheers and bows from many of the faithful. But I’d think the self proclaimed, “Baddest Bitch of Them All” and frequent tag team fighter would have recruited some back up to counter Stephie’s Office mates (Bring in Eddy McQueen?). Full disclosure: as a hardcore fan of Cataldo, I knew that he was excited for this match. His wrestling bucket list included having a catfight in the ECW arena and he got his wish, rolling after a pounce from the Sassy one. They quickly spun on the mat, fighting with more conviction than I ever saw from Francine lunging at Beulah. This cat fight rolled over senior WSU official, Nick Papagiorgio, like a demented spandex-clad Katamari, eventually spitting him out onto his butt. The match had some funny bits to it, but I’ve had a grudge against Stephie for all she’s done to keep LuFisto down. I was hoping Rick would get his first win in the longest. But despite innovative and classic attacks from Rick, the Office worked together. Mlle Rachelle distracted the ref as Amanda Rodriguez tossed a, what seemed like, an over sized knuckle duster to Stephie, easily helping her get a win. The office was 2 for 2 that evening.

IMG_5930Tag Team Championship – TNA’s Doll House: Jade (FKA Mia Yim) and Marti Belle vs Annie Social and Kimber Lee AKA: Chicks Using Nasty Tactics (c)

Oh fuck, this was just all sorts of crazy-awesome in a ring. I lack cable, so I’m not sure what the Doll’s House was all about. It looks like two preeminent bad asses were playing the part of childish adults. Fortunately, seeing their pre-fight stretches in the ring after their toying with lollipops belied this image. They were hilarious, though, hamming up things with immature in-ring banter. Confidently striding to the ring was another pair of badasses: Kimber Lee sporting new violet hair and Annie Social rocking a mini mohawk. I could picture all the complaints people must have been making on the internet to the new look and I couldn’t wait for Annie not giving a single fuck to other people’s opinions.

Kimber Lee better be on everyone’s radar on the indie circuits. She’s a bump machine that has made a name for herself for taking savage attacks and getting through just fine, doing intergender fights and nearly decapitating people with her round house kicks. Annie’s a veteran no nonsense brawler that slugs the shit out of her opponents when she isn’t grappling. Seeing the speedy style of my fellow Caribbean, Marti Belle and the complementary power and submissions from Mia Yim/Jade made for a match packed with violent wonders. Displaying her own raw strength, Kimber Lee pulled a delayed vertical suplex to an unsuspecting Yim as well as trading and no selling each others’ over the head german suplexes. My only disappointment was the match ending too quickly when Annie snuck a pinfall victory over Marti. Clearly the champions took the worst of this exchange, but Annie had the wherewithal to shift from “punch people until they stop moving” to win quick and get out.

As they were leaving, the Doll House exacted revenge. They’d been using double team methods throughout the match to stay fresher (who’s using nasty tactics now?) and came from behind to choke out Annie and Package Piledrive Kimber Lee! The champions helped each other to the back, victors; the formerly saccharine smiles of the Dollhouse suddenly looked predatory.

IMG_5481CZW crowds love their badasses, so of course they chanted, “Please come back!” They also chanted “suplex city” for like two suplexes, so whatever.

INTERMISSION was an orgy of sweaty hugs and greetings from fantastic performers and friends travelling long distances to catch this show. Annie shared an anecdote about her hair cut. PWG was trashed in my presence. DJ revealed he would be debuting a new outfit. Dan Barry drew ISW’s Mike Rotch as an anthropomorphic penis. Lines were incredibly long to give financial support to some of my favorites and I wound up missing the entrances for Veda Scott vs Solo Darling!

Veda Scott vs Solo Darling

The date for this event was July 11th or 7/11. Solo Darling, the sugared up squirrel girl came to the ring with her Slurpee and a separate one as a gift for Veda. Scott refused this gift on nutritional grounds. After that previous hard-hitting match and the craziness of the cramped merch table space in ECW’s hallowed halls, a comedy match was overdue. Solo’s affectionate tendencies and fingers sought Veda’s for a handshake. While Veda was grossed out by the sticky, candy-covered grip, Solo soon discovered it was effective for multiple arm drag take downs. Veda sought to regroup outside and Solo adorably chased after her for a hug! Solo Darling is freaking adorable. She’s this tiny lady (that is taller than a stack of pancakes) that always tries to sneak in hugs to her opponent. Veda wasn’t having that. She struck the squirrel and then walked the GUARD RAILS in an old school rope walk variation ending with Solo’s cranium smashed to the guard rail… and then Veda yelled at me to take pictures (I love pro wrestling!). Veda kept the upper hand barely as they grappled back in the ring.

While Solo recovered from submission attacks, the fashionable lawyer-turned-wrestler finally accepted a drink from her gifted Slurpee and made a fatal rookie mistake. She reeled quickly from a brain freeze and spat the contents in the face of concerned referee Dan Yost. Solo rallied the last bits of her strength but her sugar rush was clearly near its fuzzy tail end. Solo refueled with her Slurpee and went a sucrose powered rampage. Solo ended the bout with her — get this — HUG FACTOR attack! A defeated Veda mewled for a Slurpee once she regained her wits. In her weakened state, she dropped her gift and cried all the way to the back.

WSU Championship – Tessa Blanchard vs Cherry Bomb (C)

An odd trend in WSU and CZW: the main championship isn’t always the main event. I find it odd. The part of me that listened to too many old wrestler rantings thinks this waters down the prestige of the title. I’m not a pro or promoter, so I don’t know what makes money. I know that I bought my ticket mostly to see Solo vs Veda and anything with Athena and was more than satisfied.

It was touching to see Tessa enter with the tribute yellow polka dotted knee pad. It had been a month since Rhodes’ passing and I don’t know if her upbringing had her meeting Dusty but he certainly made an impact on her family. My heart goes out to 2nd and 3rd generation wrestlers, especially if their kin were famous in the business. Standing in their shadows and being expected to take up the business like their forebearers must be intimidating. I won’t deny that this young wrestler overflows with charisma and is a —no pun intended— thoroughbred athlete.

Cherry Bomb was a controversial champion going into this match. Despite her prowess and experience in the ring, blatant interference resulted in her being awarded the belt. She is currently in the CZW faction #TVReady and regularly meddles in matches to aid their champion BLK Jeez alongside her husband, Pepper Parks. Furthermore, she sonically assaults the audience with a high pitched squeaking voice and appears to be half unaware as to how annoying it is. So in short, she’s a fantastic person to boo!

It is confusing as to how Tessa received a title shot. She hasn’t won in the appearances I caught her in WSU. She did remark on it in her pre-ring interview that it was a surprise to her as well that the powers that be saw something in her and she vowed to make the most of her chance. Oddly enough, I’m told that this is one of the few venues in which she’s not a heel. If her villainous behavior is like the 4 horsemen of old, however, I bet she’s just as beloved.

Maybe it was the rising temperature and humidity, but this didn’t feel like a main event fight. It wasn’t bad. There was some great wrestling but it felt more like a solid above average midcard fight. Cherry shrieked, eye raked, pulled hair and threw Tessa out of the ring. It’s not that it was bad, far from it, but I saw no way, short of interference, for a relative rookie to defeat Cherry Bomb. A BSE (“Best Superkick EVER!!!” her move title, not mine) caught Tessa and Cherry retained her title. When Blanchard came to, I was impressed by the defiant set of her jaw. Definitely easily getting everyone’s sympathy as a determined challenger but not giving me the feel of someone to be champion (yet).

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WSU Spirit Belt finals – Hania the Howling Huntress vs Leva “Blue Pants” Bates

Leva entered in costume again, but instead of Netflix Daredevil in training, she was a full on comic book Daredevil with a lucha style mask, Daredevil logo shirt and red pants. Bless the crowd for spontaneously cheering, “Red pants! Red pants!” I don’t even watch WWE shows and got the joke.

Hania entered with an air of arrogance that was delightful. Sometimes I forget how grueling it is to come back to fight more than one match after being spoiled by other tournaments. The main event started off slow and I was mentally writing it off until Bates did an impressive turnbuckle assisted knee dive into Hania, only to get her mask ripped off seconds later (PS: Daredevil was Leva all along!!!). Hania displayed that raw strength again, casually lifting and choking Leva.

The match was easily going in Hania’s favor and she was obviously more lively of the two. Hania critically miscalculated an attack and left herself stranded on a corner for Leva’s knees to once again strike her statuesque abs. You’d think with her physique, she’d work a gimmick where people would hurt themselves striking her abs. Leva’s follow up was a horrifying double stomp but this combination was not enough to stop the Huntress. Hania gained the upper hand and was getting ready for what appeared to be a superplex when Athena arrived. Tit for tat, she distracted Hania long enough for Leva to recover to a degree. Rather than come off her seat on the top turnbuckle, she played possum, waiting for Hania to climb up. Bates double under hooked, stood and jumped for the Pepsi Plunge. Head driven to the canvas from such a height, how could Hania get up in less than 3 seconds? Spoiler, she didn’t.

Your new WSU Spirit Champion was crowned and, oddly enough, began bleeding precipitously from the nose. Again, Leva’s expression was of surprise at her victory soon replaced with the sweetest expression of joy.  Announcer Emil Jay thought the afternoon’s show was over and began announcing the closing when Hania rose in anger to confront all involved. Athena answered her with strikes. Leva joined in, clearly not a friend of the Huntress and volleyed her between the Fallen Goddess. Hania thought to escape while she had her wits to the entrance way but was blocked off by Athena’s Standard Bearers.

Trapped with nowhere else to go, the villain ran and jumped the guardrail, hopping seat to seat towards the main exit of the building. Athena followed suit, seeking revenge. Leva stayed in the ring, trying to stop the flow of blood but still smiling at her victory. We’ve been denied happy endings for a while at WSU. The former champion was frequently attacked at the end of shows, or we’ve seen betrayals after other main events. This was a long time coming.

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I got to speak with Leva after the match. She was in high spirits, doing her best to be sanitary and not bleed on fans. She is the real deal with her enthusiasm and kindness. Also, to the chagrin of the ultraviolence lovers, had spilled the most blood of the entire evening out of both CZW and WSU shows. HA!

Those interested in watching this show and more can always order VOD from SMVOD or go now to the new CZWStudios.com which has all WSU and CZW content in one location for the monthly fee of $9.99 and is good for mobile streaming. I don’t use smartphones, so I can’t confirm that. The next WSU event “Excellence” will be September 12th at the Flyer Skate Zone at Voorhees, NJ. Details here. https://www.facebook.com/events/1663682497194281/ See you there!

HulkaRacism: When It Came Crashing Down

Today millions of wrestling fans around the world have received a monumental, unavoidable surprise: their fave is problematic.

As you may have seen on our front page, we at Femmezuigiri promote a Hulkamania-free space to grapple with the nasty -isms rampant in professional wrestling. So when the hot button issue of the day is the icing on the red and yellow cake which sent Hulk Hogan abruptly out of WWE, it brought up a lot of different feelings.

If you’ve been anywhere on social media since yesterday evening when warnings of a breaking story — as well as the removal of the Hulkster from WWE’s website — first got out, you’ll probably find most everyone else is at varying stages of processing the information, and are there ever levels to process.

It started last night when a thread on forum site thecoli warned of an audio recording that would be published so full of racial slurs it would lead to WWE severing all ties with Hogan. Several hours later WWE.com had removed as much Hogan-related content from its site. His profile was removed from the Superstars roster, he was no longer listed as a judge on the Tough Enough reality series already in progress, Hulk Hogan merchandise was removed from WWE Shop and Curtis Axel who had been running wild with Axelmania as of late returned to his pre-Royal Rumble incarnation.

Hogan’s first statement on the matter was a brace for impact tweet at 1:00 am EST suggesting what was to come was in the hands of God.

Even before the Enquirer’s article was published word had spread of Hogan’s potential wrongdoing through a misleading article which cited a podcast where Hogan uttered a racial slur. The Enquirer would then publish the content of the recording, thoroughly demonstrating the degree of trouble the Hulkster had gotten himself into.

WWE would soon follow up the story with a statement confirming the termination of Hogan’s contract stating they are “committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of [their] employees, performers and fans worldwide.”

The termination also includes Hogan’s removal from the WWE’s Hall of Fame which he was inducted to in 2005.

Hogan has since apologized, expressing disappointment in using language “inconsistent” with his beliefs. Hogan has also selectively replied on Twitter to fans pledging their continued solidarity to Hulkamania, and standout members of society have been at ready to have Hogan’s back such as MMA fighter and domestic violence enthusiast Tito Ortiz as well as Dennis Rodman.

In a situation where the largest professional wrestling company in the world unsanctimoniously excommunicates the biggest star wrestling has ever seen — and the one who arguably put said company on the map — it comes as a surprise to no one that the news has garnered attention from out there in the real world, and it hasn’t all been pats on the back for WWE removing a racist from its payroll.

Articles from several well known publications’ online platforms have made ample light of the numerous occasions where WWE’s characters, storylines and Chairman of the Board have far from celebrated and embraced cultural diversity. Many of you reading right now can probably count at least five of these occurrences off the top of your head, onscreen and off (take your time, I’ll wait it should only take you a few seconds). On top of that, it is an open secret that POC wrestlers are rarely if ever granted the opportunity to propel themselves to the main event. With the extensive (and The Rock means EXTENSIVE) laundry list of terrible race representation in the WWE, it’s incredibly suspect that only now and in this moment they’ve decided to rise above racism. After all, Michael P.S. Hayes is still employed.

For WWE, this was a case of the receipts being so good they couldn’t not do something. It’s conclusive evidence of one of the most recognizable names in wrestling and greater pop culture being overtly racist. An offensive storyline, gimmick etc. is only a problem when the negative backlash goes beyond the fanbase eg. that fucked up Muhammad Hassan bit on Smackdown (interesting to think about whether WWE would have even backtracked were there no timely real life terrorist attack). If D-Generation X puts on blackface to impersonate the Nation of Domination or another POC wrestler debuts with a painfully stereotypical gimmick a few of the overly-sensitive lefties may go up in arms but WWE figures they’ll be back next week tuning into Monday Night RAW anyway. Once the outer reaches of society uncharacteristically pay attention to professional wrestling for once, then it’s an issue. Then a McMahon has to actually be accountable to someone who has no shares or any ownership of the company.

Because of this, 90% of fans remain incredulous, a little bit puzzled and definitely skeptical that this is a sign of WWE trying to leave the blackface, racist caricatures and glaring inequality on the roster behind. For all we know JBL will be back on commentary saying black wrestlers lack intellect, the Prime Time Players could end up returning to their old spot being a charismatic tag team that’s overlooked by creative and Team BAD may only ever see themselves wrestling on Main Event or Superstars. It’s a horrifying stretch but some would be neither shocked nor appalled, it’s something fans come to expect from WWE.

Despite skepticism on WWE’s policies regarding POC talent, we are still left with the reality that the biggest star in wrestling history has been not only axed, but wiped clean from the records. It’s incredibly difficult to wrap your head around, isn’t it, considering this is someone who main evented seven of the first nine Wrestlemanias, (eight if you count the whole Bret/Yokozuna/Hogan thing at WM IX) consistently drew crowds and admiration, and up until today was praised by WWE for his legacy (read: he got them a buck or two more when he showed up).

Ignoring how weird it’s going to be for WWE to overlook many iconic moments in professional wrestling history, some won’t find it too difficult to adapt to Hulkamania not running wild in the company: the late Lou Thesz did say Hogan “couldn’t tell a wristlock from a wristwatch” and that his “grandmother could do a better leg drop.”

There are still of course, the countless fans who regarded Hogan as a hero, looking up to him during childhood, appreciative of the fond memories his work in wrestling brought to their lives. While the past can’t be erased regardless of WWE redactions, the reframing of what Hulk Hogan means and represents can happen. Remember when you found out that Hogan loved the backstage politics and had a tendency of making it all about him? Similar process, only racism.

Oh Brother Where Art Thou?: Hulk Hogan vs Gawker

At times it took giants, and at times it took 8-on-2 steel cage matches, but under cover of his legacy as the perpetually outgunned but never outmatched American hero, Hulk Hogan has been able to basically rule over wrestling as a feudal lord. At costs incalculable, Hogan has effectively quelled any real consequence for a career rife with bullying, blackmail, and pathological egomania. Because he’s never been named the bully that he is.

Now he’s suing Gawker for $100 Million—a prize that if attained could devastate Gawker and all online journalism in suit—for posting highlights of a sex tape between him and his best friend’s ex-wife.

This could be the greatest spectacle of Hogan jobbing out the odds. The scope of Gawker’s influence, and the consequence of their defeat, is beyond measure.

Gawker is not in the right. In a perfect world, we would destroy sex tapes on site and call out the leakers as fucklemons. No one should profit from a woman’s sex life without her consent and participation.  Full stop.

Gawker deserves to be held accountable.

It still remains, however bold a foot you put down, that in a world where the system of justice is purposely imperfect so as to not be relied upon to disrupt systems of power, the tools and mediums of propagating rape culture are also used to expose and challenge it.

Surveilling male celebrities, especially athletes and entertainers, is the most reliable means to hold them accountable for their transgressions. Without the momentum of a public reaction to seeing an athlete assaulting his partner,  the legal apparatus often find no reason to submit to the hassle of dragging themselves through the media circus of celebrity trials.

So where would a judgment in Hogan’s favor draw the line? What about social media personal messages? Will celebrities like Hogan, whose purported sexual proclivities are at the core of their public persona, be allowed to leverage their fame and power to entice, or pressure, young women into sex without fear of scrutiny from the press?

Will an underage girl have to rely on showing her Instagram account to the police to get any sort of accountability from someone with a net worth in the millions? In a time where police officers body slam teenage girls in swimsuits and are repeatedly revealed to be stalkers and rapists with no societal reprimand of their professions?

To fit all of the wrestlers accused of sexual and intimate partner violence into one battle royal, you would bankrupt yourself just trying to order enough rings to hold them all. Even the federal government lack the strength and resources to rein in the industry and all its excesses.  The business is getting better at dealing with their issues—substance dependency, bullying—but to challenge a man’s ego is beyond clandestine payouts and mock courts. To display evidence of a man’s sexual prowess, or absence thereof, for public consumption requires the legitimacy of a trial.

But this line of thinking, where we must interrogate every sexual encounter as Schroedinger’s rape, leads to needlessly invading the privacy and integrity of women’s lives, judging and ultimately punishing them for their needs and desires.

Gawker is not and must never be, even in the light of this trial, viewed as arbiters of discretion. They, and we who operate within an industry they influence, are the natural born enemies to privacy. Even as some of us fight to preserve that privacy. We are all “the good cops” of our mind’s eye.

But this isn’t privacy. Hulk Hogan is able to sue Gawker for $100 Million because this isn’t about privacy. Where was Paris Hilton’s “privacy” when a court threw out her lawsuit for $30 Million against Kahatani, Ltd., and instead facilitated the company paying Paris Hilton a portion of the profits they made selling a video of her having sex?

Where was the privacy of the countless women victimized by Hunter Moore’s site Is Anyone Up?, allowed to run for two years before law enforcement could find a way to argue that distributing women’s personal information for the purposes of harassment was against the law?

If a man hosts a site where your phone number and naked photos of you are given out, the state will collect $500,00 from him. But if you post a video of a man having sex, that man will sue you for $100 Million.

Gawker has already paid double Hunter Moore’s court-ordered fine in fighting the lawsuit. This isn’t about privacy.

The Hulkster is relying on a mutual societal assumption that sites like Gawker are sleazy, underhanded, and long alienated from the concept of a moral compass. Hogan’s professional reputation as someone almost addicted to betrayal offers him insight into the mind of the media consumer. We feed in godless frenzies over the inane bullshit sites like Gawker provide, not even pausing to swallow our food before we turn around and rant on how they are the bane of all society.  We castigate our own consumption, as if this end our complicity, or at least let it leave the room and re-enter the room under a mask.

If changes are to be demanded of celebrity journalism, it must come from us, the consumers and the purveyors. We must hold Gawker accountable for the lives that it has marred that are not Hulk Hogan’s. We must insist on our refusal to participate in tar-and-feathering of those who have more visibility but less power.

Hulk Hogan taking $100 Million from Gawker will not hold the industry accountable, just as fining a few offenders from a multi-national corporation does not hold those business accountable.

If a lawsuit this big should succeed in a space that public in a court that swayed by public opinion, people will lose their jobs. A lot of people. And not necessarily editors named Josh or Chad who give a voracious green light to stories about what prescription drugs some woman in a TV show is on. It will be reporters and critics and alternative media sites that lack the financial foundation of Gawker had before Hogan lazily leg dropped them for the biggest payday of all.

Hogan winning establishes the precedent that a man’s ego is worth more than anyone else’s privacy.

It allows for Heather Clem, the woman in the tape and also a victim of invasion, to be set up by the media as an obsessive fan who tricked one of the most media-savvy performers of our time into ruining his reputation and his marriage.

Hogan’s fame and status allow him to have sex with beautiful women. And now he’s hoping he can collect a $100 Million payday for it.

He is embarrassed. He is a victim. But Hulk Hogan is not the underdog. And he is not, as he has so boasted over the years, fighting for the rights of every man.

He’s fighting for his right to demand a higher standard of recompense than  the women victimized by celebrity journalism, including the women in his own life affected by our desire to see if his work rate outside the ring matches his claims.

We wrestling fans who grew into reporters are now become Kevin Sullivan: it was you, Hogan, who created us. Your decades of tyranny over wrestling have finally manifested into a reality none of us ever thought would be possible. We used to scream, we used to boo, we would get as close to the ring or TV as we could to tell you that you suck, that you’re ruining wrestling, that we hate you.

And now you’ve hopped out the ring to come into the crowd and show us what’s what.

What are you gonna do, when the bitter ruins of Hulkamania collapse around you?

 

Suplex Reserve

2015 is quickly becoming the rise of the wrestling themed albums, and I will not complain. This year there were two wrestling albums included as part of Record Store Day, The Mountain Goats released Beat The Champ, and just last week A Tribe Called Red dropped a surprise wrestling themed EP called Suplex.

We watch our fandom move in and out of mainstream pop culture and every once in a while it catches the glimmer of the unsuspecting passerby drawing them in. Most of these times, unfortunately, what’s gaining steam is produced by and focused on white men. It shouldn’t feel like we’ve struck gold when diversity comes into the picture, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling a great deal of satisfaction when that’s the case.

Here’s where A Tribe Called Red come into play. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a Native electronica group based out of Ottawa, ON comprised of DJ NDN, 2oolman and Bear Witness, who blend instrumental hip hop, reggaeton, dubstep with elements of First Nations music including chanting and drumming. This wrestling inspired EP is hard hitting and refreshing all in one. The single is titled Suplex, and the accompanying video begins with backyard wrestling on the reservation and centres a child’s passion and dedication to wrestling as he moves up the ranks in the wrestling world as a performer.

Bear witness states:

Growing up in a world where indigenous people are so under-represented in the media, you tend to identify with what’s available to you. The connection between the indigenous communities of the Americas, and professional wrestling, is really heavy. In North America we had pros like Chief Jay Youngblood and Wahoo McDaniel who were indigenous, but had to dress in headdress and tassels to compete. In my generation, we all loved the Ultimate Warrior and hated Tatanka. Even if nothing about the Warrior was indigenous, we made some kind of cultural connection to him. More recently, The Rock has shown us how a proud indigenous man can make it as a wrestler on his own terms. The idea of the video was to show that connection we made to these people beyond stereotypes, but also to see an indigenous character make it, without needing the stereotype.

Wrestling, and western pop culture, are not kind to indigenous people and rely on very dated, and oft offensive, stereotypes. Despite the rich Aboriginal history within the ring, we see a lot of grapplers forced to ‘play Indian’ in order to appease the white viewer. This sort of exploitation ends up with a lot of crossed lines, misinformation and leaves the onlooker between a rock and a hard place where you have to discern whether or the marketing of their ethnicity is damaging to the culture or a proud celebration of one’s heritage and Ancestral traditions. We’ve seen many a performer take on this gimmick from Cheyenne Cher in GLOW, to Tatanka, Wahoo McDaniel, Princess Tona Tomah, and the list goes on. They are all obviously very proud of their heritage, but this representation is something that we are seeing die out. We also had wrestlers such as Jack and Gerry Brisco, Native American brothers, who show their heritage but don’t portray it as a caricature of themselves in the ring. Then there’s the other problem of those like Chief Jay Strongbow – a Native war chief played by ITALIAN AMERICAN Joe Scarpa from Philadelphia. But as we well know, racism and cultural appropriation within the world of wrestling is a huge problem that’s shifting but not necessarily going away.

The stereotypes and storylines that we see played out by Natives in wrestling aren’t always centred around the narrative of victimhood, but the existence of these characters serves as a reminder that we exist and should take these opportunities in order to preserve our livelihood. A match between an Aboriginal wrestler and someone who isn’t a person of colour that doesn’t rely on any harmful preconceived notions is vital in order to move forward.  As a fat, queer, Native woman it would overjoy me to see someone who doesn’t fit the societal norm, and can be a great representation for Native women everywhere, enter the ring.

You can get Suplex over at Pirates Blend, or listen to it on Spotify below: