Category Archives: Misc

Review – Daniel Bryan/Craig Tello – YES: My Improbable Journey To The Main Event Of WrestleMania

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

 

If anybody from World Wrestling Entertainment has had an up-and-down career in and out of the ring, it’s Daniel Bryan.

Elevated from “Indie Wrestler Comes To WWE” status  in 2010 to an actual main event player in 2014, he went though a journey like none other.

His own “Cinderella Story” occurred between 2013 and WrestleMania XXX where he emerged an Undisputed Champion and married five days later to Brie Bella. It’s literally as perfect as one professional wrestler could dream of, especially one who didn’t fit the “corporate style” of what WWE traditionally spotlights.

How would this all translate in a book? With some help by WWE.com’s Craig Tello, we’d finally get that tell-all where Bryan describes his joyous upbringings and subsequent dream chase, with all the little things in-between.

Branded now as a New York Times bestseller, this 2015 autobiography provided a perfect perspective of his career to that point in time.

Let’s start with the basics – the design. One could look at the cover and automatically associate it with Bryan. The title’s aptly named after his 2012 catchphrase that originally became a heel tactic of “over-celebration” to rile up fans and worked instead towards the opposite, as hardcore fans who were familiar with him from his indy days used it to embrace him, despite several attempts by Bryan to undo that.

The colors are also appropriately maroon-and-white, which he has sported for the majority of his career, even back from his Ring Of Honor days with his ring jackets and simple trunks. Even as he adopted his “Yes!/No!” persona, he only got more involved with these colors.

The story also nicely goes back and forth between “present” – set for pre-WrestleMania XXX week filled with training and media appearances – and whatever point of his career he was up to. While it proves to be a faster read than other wrestling autobiographies (we’re looking at you, Bret Hart), you still get to know Bryan personally and professionally.

A good chunk early on covers his days in Shawn Michael’s Wrestling Academy and the close friendship with Brian Kendrick that developed, which still continues today. A real-life aspect of it was brought out during the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic when the two embraced in the ring.

From there, he describes his ROH days with no filter (this being a WWE book, you’d wonder how much he could get away with) and anybody in those hardcore crowds will appreciate his recalling of intense battles with Nigel McGuinness, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Takeshi Morishima, to name some.

The most interesting parts are his stories revolved around his original WWE days as an “NXT Rookie” when WWE experimented with the NXT concept as a “reality competition” show and revealed that a lot of it was in fact, unscripted. He was left in the dark about certain angles, which actually might’ve worked in his favor because he organically “got over” as he feuded with his “Pro” The Miz and Commentator Michael Cole simultaneously.

Many are already familiar with his first termination by way of a chokehold on Ring Announcer Justin Roberts (he coves it in his book too), so we won’t bore you with repetition. Some criticisms if any, was that they sort of skimmed the time he emerged as a fan favorite by way of the “Yes!” chants, but just enough’s described about his close relationship with Glenn Jacobs (aka Team Hell No partner Kane) to salvage it. You still got the sense that he was the guy the company would run with if there was no one else around, as he described.

We are dreamers and could only imagine how the book would’ve been had it been released in 2017, as the “Cinderella Story” came to crashing reality, as he vacated that WWE World Heavyweight Championship less than two months after he won it due to injury.

2015 saw an in-ring return for Bryan around Royal Rumble time, but for the second straight year, he was ignored for somebody fans didn’t want in the spotlight. Try as they did, they had Bryan come close to the WrestleMania 31 main event as he fought Roman Reigns at Fastlane for that spot, but came up short.

While he became WWE Intercontinental Champion at WrestleMania 31 in a multi-man ladder match, he faced the same fate as the year before and vacated the belt shortly after, his last in-ring match ever on a SmackDown before that.

Follow that with his infamous in-ring retirement speech in Feb. 2016 and you’d think Bryan would fade back into obscurity. That did change, when he was announced to be the new SmackDown Live General Manager and has since been on a prominent on-screen role, mostly known for his “feud” with Miz.

Will they ever write a sequel book about Bryan’s time after WMXXX? That to us, would be a more interesting story to tell. Chalk it up to fate or whatever you may wish, but there’s more to Bryan than just a classic “Cinderella Story.” The real struggle would be what to name a second Bryan book if it were to ever come out.

Fantasies aside, “YES” is everything you come to expect from a Bryan book that ends at WMXXX. It’s a happy ending and we know Bryan worked hard to get there. It masters enough credibility to hang with both the independent and casuals alike. In many ways, Bryan’s one of the few pro wrestlers to organically get over in the modern era and we hope his future’s as bright as this story’s end.

Notes In Observance – WCWC 2/4/17: Heavenly, But Not So Gentlemanly

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post. 

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 2/4/17)

Heavenly, But Not So Gentlemanly

– Caleb Konley came out, recently returned from whatever he worked on prior. Instead of being an honorary Wrecking Crew member, he remained a friendly associate. That’s fine, though. Konley shines better as a solo heel act in WCWC. His opponent was Damian Drake in an odd take on “Hero Vs. Villain.” That “story” will happen no matter who Drake’s opponent is, frankly. This was a confusing pairing if the plan wasn’t to put Konley over in spades. We actually wish we could get some advancement with the vague superhero characters in the Midnight Marvels. What if they ever became heels in a “Hero Becomes The Villain” type of thing? Some touch-and-go mat-based grappling dominated the pace early on. This was more competitive than it had any business being, which we had no problem with. Drake has strong potential as a midcarder down the road if they want to go that route. He pulled off an impressive spinning basement enziguiri. We got back into familiar territory as Konley took Drake’s momentum and swung into his side with a long-winded chop before he struck with the Cradle Shot to get the three count. In essence, Konley gets the win and Drake got to show some endurance, but it seems we type the same things every week. Will they finally be serious about a Drake push? What’s next for Konley to do here?

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Notes In Observance – WCWC 1/28/17: Legacy Royale

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 1/28/17) 

Legacy Royale 

– The WCWC Pacific Northwest Championship match between Damian Drake and Champion Grappler III was an alarming mismatch off the bat. Firstly, what did Drake even do to earn a shot at the big belt? We assumed this’d be a squash for the sake of one, but a little background on why he got the shot would’ve sufficed. Hell, don’t even put the belt on the line. It’d build more hope for a Drake upset that could lead to a future Title shot. Drake had the right idea strategically to use his aerials and there was a prominence of that early on, but Wrecking Crew gonna wreck. Jeremy Blanchard war ringside and literally yanked down every effort Drake used to get ahead. We got more downplays of Blanchard’s interferences by Commentator Morty Lipschitz. Hilarious stuff. G3 remained firm as he didn’t take Drake seriously and can you blame him here? Blanchard bounced Drake’s head off the bottom rope, as Lipschitz defended that he “made his hair look longer.” So outlandishly ridiculous, but that’s why we love ya, Morty. Okay, Drake began to fly around for some hope spots, but a missed top rope splash set the stage for the orthopedic boot to end things. Easy finish that you can chalk up to Drake’s inexperience and G3’s dastardly ways. However, with weeks gone by and G3’s victories in the same fashion, nobody ever questions the boot? Gosh, it’s sad when even the kid in the first row has a sign that reads, “Referee, Check The Boot!” and WCWC management don’t.

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Review – Justin Roberts – Best Seat In The House: Your Backstage Pass Through My WWE Journey

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

Off the top of most professional wrestling fans’ crafty craniums, one former World Wrestling Entertainment Ring Announcer named Justin Roberts was synonymous with sharp suits, short black hair and emphatic introductions. There was also that time he was choked with his own necktie by Daniel Bryan in the infamous 2010 Nexus debut angle that resulted in Bryan’s termination.

Roberts released a blog post not long after his termination that complained about WWE’s public image trickeries as they twisted stories around to come off as a kindhearted company whilst they simultaneously talked down to their own talent and overworked them with little time off and insane travel schedules.

The prime example of this was Connor “The Crusher” Michalek – a sick eight-year old boy Roberts noticed at ringside and helped bring joy with constant FaceTime conversations added with daily communication with his father Steve, who noted that his son had little time left.

WWE portrayed the relationship between Michalek and his favorite wrestler Bryan as close in video packages. The two had interacted a few times, but the close relationship was actually between Roberts and Michalek. We’ll get more into that later on, as we hoped for more details.

Also, just the idea of a ring announcer autobiography intrigued us. Roberts’ WWE tenure lasted from 2002 through 2014. In turn, he experienced various company “eras” and it was cool to finally get his full perspective.

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Notes In Observance – WCWC 1/21/17: Feeling The Blackout

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 1/21/17)

Feeling The Blackout 

– The WCWC Legacy Championship match between Champion Ethan HD and “Mr. Adrenaline” Adrian Matthews had some build when Matthews earned the right after he beat “The Rock God” Ricky Gibson last week. Matthews had an early advantage as he sent the Champ out of the ring after being spit on. Ethan answered with a body slam on the cold concrete. We cracked up at Commentator Morty Lipschitz’s claim that the Referee “should be disqualified” when he kicked the ropes as he noticed Ethan using them for leverage. Carney provided some outside physicality, as Lipschitz dismissed it as “waking him up.” Hilarious. After a superplex by Matthews, Carney brought in a chair, which was set down by Matthews. Ethan tried to take advantage but got clotheslined to the canvas as Matthews climbed to the top. Carney shoved Matthews off the top rope for the disqualification finish. Sigh. We say this though – when heels get themselves disqualified to retain Titles, why do they get upset that they lost the match? Anyways, Matthews chased Carney backstage and Ethan threatened the Referee with a chair. He put put it down and made like he’d walk away, only to come back and land a Blackout, as the Referee’s face landed on the chair. That was actually awesome. For extra heel points, he lightly kicked the Referee’s head afterwards. If not for the fact we question why he’d be mad in the first place since he retained anyway, still good for shock value alone.

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Powerbomb.TV Break The Barrier 2017 Reaction

Photo courtesy of Powerbomb.TV.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

May 15, 1999 was a historical day for independent wrestling as the former ECW Arena hosted an event called “Break The Barrier.”

BTB I was put together by Al Isaacs, Remy Arteaga and Barbi Bistrowitz of “Scoopswrestling.com,” as a way to showcase the best independent wrestlers as the card represented 12 different promotions.

Talent like “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush, Lou Marconi, Joey Matthews, Christian York and Nick Gage appeared and made names for themselves.

History repeated itself this year on Jun. 11 in Old Forge, PA., as Powerbomb.TV – a streaming service that provides 267 hours of content from 41 promotions as of press time – hosted “Break The Barrier 2017” in a similar supercard that included the likes of Colt Cabana, John Silver, Dasher Hatfield, Ophidian and Desean Pratt.

With Bryce Remsburg back and forth between commentary, pre-show duties and officiating, the broadcast had a CHIKARA-esque feel with a logical edginess.

Without much further ado, we’ll assess just how “Broken” this “Barrier” was nowadays.

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Notes In Observance – WCWC 1/14/17: Presence Of Mind

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 1/14/17)

Presence Of Mind 

– The Gallo-Ian Sutton match served its purpose as a misguided glorified squash to further establish The Wrecking Crew’s newest “pet.” Maybe literally. Think of Gallo like a more muscular version of Rick Steiner’s “barking dog” gimmick. It worked in a sense since WCWC Pacific Northwest Champion Grappler III was with him at ringside. We also liked the idea of Sutton as his opponent because he could use a rub from some offense put in. The downward side of Sutton’s stereotypical redneck gimmick’s exactly that – it’s limiting. Luckily, Sutton showed more depth to his in-ring skills and actually put in a few decent shots that had Gallo reeling. The pulverizing party didn’t last long, as Gallo took control after a mighty powerslam to earn his way to victory. Sutton’s one-match win streak would remain that. G3’s post-match promo was fine, as it reminded us of the impending tag match where Gallo/Caleb Konley would battle Mikey O’Shea/Alexander Hammerstone next week and G3 would be handcuffed to the ropes. This was the heels marveling over their high victory chances.

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Notes In Observance – AML Wrestling LIVE! 1/13/17: Going Hardcore

Photo courtesy of Eventbrite.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 1/13/17)

Going Hardcore 

– This review will chronicle Episodes #79-85, with the first being the AML Prestige Championship Four-Way Elimination between Cedric Alexander, Jordan Kage, Caprice Coleman and Sean Denny to crown the inaugural Champion. We liked the idea of the Prestige Championship as a means of an Intercontinental Championship of sorts to give upper midcarders a nice accolade. There was plenty of buildup here too, given how everyone in the match won four-ways of their own. The twist here was that this was elimination style, as opposed to the one-fall qualifiers. The contenders also made sense too. Alexander had momentum with THE Tommy Thomas as his manager, Kage had his “Picture Perfect” gimmick going for him, Coleman was probably AML’s most over guy and then Denny had an injury to overcome given to him from AML Tag Team Champions The Heatseekers. All the ingredients here for a thriller. There was a brief production blunder since they gave a “Let’s Hear From The Contestants” graphic without any actual promos to follow. Alexander had a big pop upon his entrance with “Best In The World” chants galore. In swiveling heel fashion, he also trolled a little girl at ringside by pretending to give her a high-five only to pull out at the last second. This Alexander’s awesome. Sean Denny smartly sold his injury as he walked to the ring. Coleman had the biggest reaction and hugged a group of kids by the ring. What a gentleman. As things went underway, Alexander lured the injured Denny to take him on as he mocked his walking stance. He targeted the knee and hit the Lumbar Check to quickly eliminate him. Makes sense after all. It did get a little predictable here, since Coleman was being worked over by Kage/Alexander (two heels), that it’d come down to him/Alexander. Coleman battled back with a nice double huracanrana. The Trinity eliminated Kage as we figured, to leave it down to the final two. At this point, it got ultra-competitive and it worked because of their similar styles. Lots of history to play up on too as they were former partners in the C & C Wrestle Factory. Coleman hit an awesome huracanrana from the canvas to the floor. Alexander landed on his feet off a Leap of Faith attempt. Alexander had the Sky Splitter scouted and went for a brainbuster for a two. Some shenanigans from Thomas and a foreign object slipped into the ring in the finish made it clear that Alexander would emerge victorious. Still great though, as was Alexander’s post-match trolling with the fans, as he literally went around the first row and made them individually say he was the “Best In The World.”

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June 11th: Powerbomb.TV Hosts Indie Wrestling Festival In Northeast PA

Photo courtesy of Powerbomb.TV.

*Courtesy Of Powerbomb.TV*

 

Break The Barrier was a professional wrestling supercard held at Viking Hall, better known as the ECW Arena, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 15, 1999. The event was organized by the founders of Scoopswrestling.com, Al Isaacs, Remy Arteaga and Barbi Bistrowitz, and brought together some of the top independent wrestlers from around the country.

Powerbomb.TV presents
Break the Barrier 2017:
Independent Wrestling Festival
Streaming LIVE!

On Sunday June 11th, Powerbomb.TV will host “Break the Barrier 2017” – an independent wrestling festival – starting at 3:00PM at the GSW Arena in Old Forge, PA (conveniently located between Philadelphia and New York City). The event will also stream live through Powerbomb.TV.

Tickets are on sale now for $15 and if you’re a Powerbomb.TV Subscriber, you can reserve your ticket for free!
https://www.powerbomb.tv/gettickets

Confirmed Promotions participating in “Break the Barrier 2017” include C*4 Wrestling in Canada, Cara Lucha Promociones in Mexico, IWRG in Mexico, Georgia Premier Wrestling, Deep South Championship Wrestling, Grand Slam Wrestling, Tier 1 Wrestling and Top Rope Promotions.

Already confirmed for Sunday, June 11th:

Tiger & Puma vs Guerrero Maya Jr & Triton (CMLL)
Joey Janela vs Buxx Belmar (C*4 Wrestling)
Colt Cabana vs Orange Cassidy
Plus: Chuck Taylor, Fly Warrior, Jigsaw and more to be announced soon!
Bryce Remsburg & Joe Sposto will be providing live commentary to Powerbomb.TV

Powerbomb.tv is an independent wrestling video streaming network available on Web and Mobile Devices featuring over 30 promotions and 165 events. The company plans to launch on Roku and Apple TV for their Grand Opening event on Sunday, June 11th.

Start your 10-day free trial today by visiting
https://www.powerbomb.tv

 

Notes In Observance – WCWC 1/7/17: Heavenly Surprises

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post. 

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 1/7/17)

Heavenly Surprises 

– The Heavenly Bodies-Northwest Express match opened 2017’s first telecast (as commentary made it known throughout the opening minutes) with HB’s debut. The good thing was that they hyped this out from about two to three weeks prior. It probably also helped us that we remember HB from Pro Wrestling Syndicate where they tore it down as associates of “Shining” Edward Jackson. Gosh, was it really that long ago? It was also good to see that they’ve decided to stick with Phlex Walker/Marcus Malone as a team, despite their matching color scheme looking a little Men On A Mission-esque. The heels garnered immediate heat even before the match as they prepared to lock up, only to leave the ring and jaw with fans. Disappointingly, the first commercial break came before we saw anything more than collar-and-elbow tie-ups and arm rest holds. We also loved how commentary played up on the fact that it’s hard to tell off the bat who was Desirable Dustin and Gigolo Justin before they pointed it out. The heels tried to evacuate the premises mid-match, which was met with chops galore. Justin hit a nice rolling lariat off the apron onto Walker before he shoved him into the steel steps. Both HB members were in the ring as Malone got the hot tag. A collision course spot sent the HB bumping into each other headfirst. As NE geared up for some sort of variation of the Doomsday Device, Justin put a stop to that and set up the team’s sick finisher, The Pearly Gates. The wheelbarrow cutter double-team was more than enough for them to score the pin. A nice dip in the water and it made us want more.

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