R.I.P Chyna 1969-2016

R.I.P Chyna 1969-2016

Don’t treat her like a woman. Don’t treat her like a man. Don’t treat her like you knew her. Treat her for who and what she was.

And what was she? She was a trailblazer, a groundbreaker, an icon in the world of sports entertainment. Chyna was the 9th Wonder of the World. There’s nobody before or after like her and there never will be again. If you wanted woman empowerment in the late 90’s, Chyna was it.

Chyna’s legacy will live on forever. We refer to what happened to the women’s division last year as the ‘Diva’s Revolution’. But in the late 90’s, Chyna was a one woman revolution. She broke gender barriers and changed the way women were viewed in WWE for the better and she can’t be thanked enough for that.

Thank you Chyna, for everything you did in your career. Your impact on the world of sports entertainment will be felt forever and you will never be forgotten.

R.I.P Chyna (1969-2016)

WWE Raw Commentary April 19th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary April 19th 2016

This is my first time writing a recap, review or whatever you want to call this. So please forgive me if this isn’t the smoothest read, it’s going to be a very casual one. Consider it a friendly chat about the show… Only you can’t respond instantly like instant messaging. I mean you can in the comments but, ah never mind. Let’s talk RAW!

This edition of Raw I viewed from my broom cupboard of a hotel room in New York. I was sat on the top bunk, my head way too close to the ceiling fan and I had New York Pizza. Great stuff! As an Australian, it’s a novelty to watch Raw on a Monday night as it airs 9:30am on Tuesday back home. I’m usually eating a bowl of cereal as I watch Raw. I guess I could eat pizza in the morning, but I haven’t reached that point of no shame yet. It’s coming though.

Raw hailed from London, England which means it was taped a number of hours beforehand. I had managed to avoid spoilers throughout the day during tourist stuff around the city so I’m ready to go. I love the UK episodes, you Brits know how to have fun, but not obnoxiously like those that are at the Raw after WrestleMania. I was at that Raw… Did I inadvertently insult myself? Possibly, moving on.

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Kicking off the show was the newest talk show, The Ambrose Asylum. Dean Ambrose has his fun pretending he’s hosting The Tonight Show, I thought it was a pretty spot on impersonation. Mannerisms and everything were great. I wouldn’t mind seeing him DDT Jimmy Fallon actually. Shane McMahon is the guest this week and he’s inexplicably running Raw again. It’s refreshing but it’s for a cop out reason. “Overwhelming fan support”? Wow, if that’s the way we’re doing things, Roman have fun feuding with the Social Outcasts and Nakamura is going to be running around kneeing every man, woman and child in the face and twice for Byron Saxton.

Shane McMahon says if he was in charge permanently he would use his power to help the future and push people like AJ Styles, Sami Zayn and Sasha Banks. He’s buttering us all up and we’ll allow it. Next, the violent care bear, Kevin Owens arrives to say Shane is drunk with power and he has a vendetta against him. If these are all subtle hints to Shane McMahon vs KO, I will be front of the line to get tickets to that. Majestic ray of wrestling sunshine Sami Zayn (I have a lot of feelings on Zayn) arrives to say that all KO does is use people. Now the most haphazardly dressed mannequin Y2J comes out to say that Owens was right, Shane is drunk with power. Shane realises the ring got a bit too Canadian and decides to do something, he makes Zayn/Owens and Jericho/Ambrose at Payback. He leaves the ring, they fight, Ambrose and Zayn clear the ring and Zayn vs Jericho is made during the break on Facebook… Because, sure.

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Sami Zayn and Y2J have a good match, which was to be expected. Jericho wins after a poke in the eye and a code breaker. Sami Zayn can’t catch a win and it’s making us all want that win for him even more. Jericho is doing some of his best character work in years too. His ‘stupid idiot’ insult makes me laugh every time and he’s delusional as all hell, it’s fantastic.

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Mauro Ranello is doing Renee Young’s job tonight as damn it, there are only so many Canadians allowed on this show at any one time. He’s interviewing AJ Styles when Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows interrupt. No-one really noticed what else was said because the entire internet was in melt down. Just a lot of caps lock was used.

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We move on to the first of two semi final matches in the tag team tournament. Dudley Boyz facing Enzo & Cass. Before the match, the realist guys in the room cut another stellar promo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Enzo & Cass miss the mark, just consistently good. I find myself hanging on every word Enzo says, he’s a crazy human being. And he looks like a feather duster on crack, it’s outstanding. Enzo & Cass get the win in impressive fashion, but I don’t see them winning the tournament. I have a feeling Dudleyz aren’t taking a clean loss laying down.

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Up next, the most popular guy in the world, everything is fine, why do you ask, Roman Reigns is in London! For the… I’ve lost count of the number of weeks, he was booed very heavily. Roman starts off his promo with what we expect, to the point it’s either comical or purposely supposed to make us dislike him, but he’s not a good guy. He’s not a bad guy. He’s the guy. AJ Styles walks out and says he has to give the fight of his life to beat Reigns. Anderson and Gallows ambush Reigns from behind as Styles watches from the ramp, looking confused and disappointed.

A couple of things about this segment, in the past WWE just ignores the hate for Roman. Not only are we getting an obvious change in character for Roman, but I feel like they brought a lot more attention to the fact that Roman is quite unpopular. Whether or not this equates to a full blown turn remains to be seen, and I’m doubtful, but this does look like Reigns will remain in tweeter territory. Also, what is happening with Bullet Club? Are they really on the side of AJ? Is this a set up for another leader? I genuinely have no idea and I’m excited for the story to play out.

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Baron Corbin beat Fandango. Corbin is feuding with Ziggler just ’cause. Baron Corbin was the NXT call up I was least looking forward to. He’s not my cup of tea, I get what he is and I see his purpose, but I just don’t care about him. And he looks like the head goblin of Gringott’s… So there’s that.

Natalya and Titus O’Neil had, by far, the most f****d up ad I’ve ever seen! It’s basically Natalya saying how great Titus is and how she does all these things but the best thing is that he stops her from smoking. I… There’s just so much to talk about here I do not have the time. All I could think about was how this was the guy that was suspended for putting his hands on the boss. But isn’t he just swell!?

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Miz TV with Miz & Maryse. These two are magic and I find them so entertaining together. And they are featured just the right amount without their schtick getting old. It took 2 years, but Maryse finally completed the puzzle for Miz’s Hollywood character. All of the thumbs, all of them up. Speaking of things that are now perfect, Cesaro. His James Bond secret agent look is so cool. Cesaro’s mic work is not totally there, but it’s fine, I don’t want him talking too much anyway. Miz and Cesaro trade movie scenes, and we’ve got ourselves an 8-man tag match. League of Nations and Miz taking on Cesaro and New Day. Cesaro is a unicorn everyone!

This was a wild, fun and action packed 8-man tag match. Usually tag matches this big are hard to execute because there’s just too many moving parts, but everyone played their part. Cesaro with a swift and wicked looking counter into the Neutralizer picks up a win. Cesaro is on a roll and it warms my heart.

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Backstage segment time with Charlotte, Flair and Natalya and its announced at Payback Natalya gets another shot at Charlotte’s Women’s Championship, only this time Bret Hart will be in Natalya’s corner. It’s a total rehash of their NXT Takeover encounter, but that was great. Anyway, it looks like we’re getting an old man fight guys! It’s going to be fun!

8-woman tag team match. Everyone gets their own televised entrance and it’s top of the hour too. It was a fine match, nothing bad about it. Charlotte taps out very quickly to the Sharpshooter, makes sense as the title isn’t on the line and she wants to avoid the pain. Only thing though, I’m not a fan of seeing Sasha Banks raise anyone else’s hand. She should detest everyone.

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It’s the second and final semi final match of the tag team tournament, Roman Reigns’ cousins take on The Vaudevillians. I love Gotch and English, Gotch is such a strange human being, he’s a hard one to describe. Vaudevillians get the win so in the finals it’s Enzo & Cass vs Vaudevillians and they’ll face each other at Payback. Isn’t that just coolest thing!?

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Apollo Crews beats Heath Slater. Okay. I don’t care. I want to like Apollo Crews, I really do! His ability in the ring is off the charts, they just have not given us a reason to care. “He’s big and can flip!” Cool, what else? “He’s such a hard worker” yeah? So is everyone else on the roster. Even in NXT, we didn’t get a reason to get behind him. I hope that the run of squash matches is coming to an end because I’m so bored of that style of booking new guys.

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Main Event time! Kevin Owens faces Dean Ambrose. I want KO in everything forever. He throws Ambrose over the announce table and you just know he’s constantly aiming for Michael Cole. One day he’ll get him. The match was fine and Dean Ambrose gets the clean win with the Dirty Deeds. Cool! I’m happy seeing some decisive finishes in the main events for a change, I like it! Jericho comes back out, who somehow is dressed even worse than earlier in the night and he lays out Ambrose to close the show.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this show. This is the third Raw in a row I’ve given two thumbs up and it’s been a LONG time since that happened. The great thing is I reckon they can keep this going! Just the names that are so prominent right now, Shane McMahon, AJ Styles, Ambrose, Jericho, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Cesaro, New Day… It just keeps going! This is our generation and the future looks good!

Final Rating: 8/10

8 Reasons You Should Be Excited For WWE In The Next Year

We’re in Post-WrestleMania season folks and instead of getting all down in the dumps about the hottest period of the year being over, think about it for a second. Look at what’s on the horizon, because things are about to get very interesting.

I’ve taken the liberty to list the 8 things you should be most excited about in WWE in the next year. Ranging from upcoming feuds, character changes, returns and debuts, us fans have a lot to look forward to. So let’s talk it out.
A Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens Feud

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Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens is a feud that could go on until the end of time and no-one would tire of it. Those two just have a chemistry that is so rare that you only get one or two combinations of these in a generation. Like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels or Steve Austin and The Rock, they’re destined to cross paths forever.

After Owens put Sami on the shelf at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable, Owens moved to the main roster where he would have an incredible series of matches with John Cena, most notably pinning him clean in their first encounter, he would also hold the Intercontinental title twice. But his past would catch up with him.

Sami Zayn is back! He eliminated Kevin Owens from the Royal Rumble and then a month later would attack him on Raw. After the ladder match at WrestleMania where neither man were able to get their hands on the IC title, both moved onto to bigger things and made their intentions for the WWE World Heavyweight Title known. KO is not pleased with Sami’s intentions.

KO put Zayn through a table backstage to put him out of the main event on this past weeks Raw. It looks as if the next chapter of the Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn saga is ready to be told over the next few months. Buckle up, because it’s going to get real good and I don’t think WWE is able to stuff this one up, it’s too simple!

The Revival of the Women’s Championship

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This is something everybody from the fans to the women of the WWE themselves have been wanting for years. Back in 2010, WWE decided they didn’t need two championships for the women, so they ditched one. Which was a fair decision, the brand split was coming to an apparent end and this had already occurred with the tag team division.
Downside though, they retired the women’s title, the one with the lineage of over 50 years in favour of the Diva’s title, the one that had been around for 2 years and had a design like it had taken from a pre-school sticker sheet. The decision was widely panned by fans and former champions alike, because no s**t, it was dumb.

Fast forward some dark times for the “Divas Division” and NXT is giving their women stories, characters and time in the ring… You know, as if they were actually wrestlers or something. The main roster began to take notice, but not after being dragged kicking and screaming into change because of social media reactions and opinions of their own employees were widely like “why are we not doing this too!?”

This past week at WrestleMania, before Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Charlotte were scheduled for their triple threat title match, Lita came to the ring and announced that change was here and the Divas Championship would be retired and the winner of the triple threat would be crowned the first WWE Women’s Champion (following a brand new lineage, almost like a blank slate).

They aren’t ‘Divas’ anymore, they’re all superstars. They have a brand new championship, they have the talent pool and it looks like (FINALLY) the company is behind them. The future is bright for women’s wrestling, it’s now time to enjoy what we’ve asked for.

Cesaro Is Back!

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Cesaro has always been one those guys on the cusp of greatness, but for one reason or another, the trigger is never pulled on him. He won the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and we thought that this was it… It wasn’t.

Vince McMahon while on the Steve Austin podcast was asked what Cesaro was missing and he said that he “wasn’t connecting as much as we’d have hoped” and then added “maybe it’s because he’s Swiss, I don’t know.” Suffice to say the majority of viewers at home threw their hands in the air in utter frustration.

Cesaro suffered a shoulder injury and required surgery this past November and shockingly made his return the night after WrestleMania to a HUGE reaction. Is he connecting yet Vince?

Now Cesaro is back in the mix, what will he do first? Is he in the main event picture now? Does he need a US or IC title reign first? But I know I’ll be tuning in to find out what’s next for the Swiss Superman.

A Potential Roman Reigns Turn

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If I was to say Roman Reigns has been welcomed warmly to the top of the mountain in WWE, I would be flat out lying and nobody likes a dirty liar. When Reigns debuted in The Shield everyone had that inkling that he was going to be big in the future, we just didn’t think WWE were going try and force it to happen so soon rather than let it happen organically.

Once The Shield split, Ambrose and Rollins went off and got new gear, new music and found their new character. Roman kept the music, the gear, the entrance through the crowd and his character didn’t change. That’s already not a great start. The WWE Universe had just been on a decade long run with John Cena playing superman, and with what WWE had been doing with Roman since he went solo, it was looking like we were heading into another 10 years, but with Roman Reigns.

Many, like myself, don’t have an issue with Roman Reigns the person. But it’s clear that everyone wants to boo him. He’s been booked as this guy who has struggled and has had to overcome all odds and ‘The Authority’ don’t want a guy like him as champion. Uhh, okay. So we’re supposed to believe, in storyline, that WWE don’t want a good looking, long haired Samoan with a massive physique and an incredibly rich family heritage to be champion. Sure.

Anyway, so as WWE does, they persisted with it despite it just being a bad idea. Reigns won the title at WrestleMania in a nothing match to a frosty reception. He then came out on Raw the next night (to an even worse reception) but this time he appeared to show a new attitude. “I’m not a bad guy. I’m not a good guy. I’m the guy.” He looked down on challengers like Sami Zayn and AJ Styles, treating them condescendingly.

It looks like they’re changing up Roman Reigns attitude a bit. Could it morph into a full fledged heel turn? Who knows, but the next few months will be interesting to see.

Global Cruiserweight Series

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WWE doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to the Cruiserweight division. Hornswoggle was the last Cruiserweight champion for christ sake. But earlier this year some exciting news was announced, the WWE Network will air a Global Cruiserweight Series.

A 32 man single elimination tournament over 10 weeks starting on July 13th from Full Sail University, all to determine the best Cruiserweight in the world. WWE have yet to formally state what the winner of the tournament will receive or how many of the talents they recruit will be signed to WWE deals.

However Triple H has announced a few names that will participate. Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, Zack Sabre Jr and Rich Swann just to name a few. It was also revealed that independent promotions Evolve, Revolution Pro Wrestling and PROGRESS Wrestling will all host qualifying matches for the tournament.

Are you excited for this now? Because you better be, it’s going to be amazing.

Seth Rollins Return

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Seth Rollins had an amazing 2015, if you ignore that whole nude photo leak thing. He held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for seven months and in the process had PPV main events with the likes of Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, John Cena and Sting. Seth Rollins was unstoppable… We thought.

Sadly it all came to a crashing halt in November when wrestling at a house show with Kane, Seth Rollins blew his knee out, tearing his ACL, forcing him to relinquish the WWE Championship. He was expected to be out 6-9 months. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. Mainly because we got Sheamus as champion afterwards. That was not a fun period.

This was 5 months ago, which means Seth Rollins’ return is somewhere on the horizon. Get excited because think about what’s changed since Seth was last on TV. Chris Jericho’s back, Sami Zayn is on Raw, Kevin Owens has been elevated past the Intercontinental title, Cesaro’s back, AJ Styles is here.

Plus with a fresh attitude change for new champion Roman Reigns, could Seth Rollins be ready to make a long awaited face turn? Or is WWE in desperate need of any convincing heels they can get their hands on? That’s the point, stay tuned.

Future NXT Call Ups

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Between WrestleMania 31 and 32, the following superstars were called up to the main roster. Neville, Kalisto, Kevin Owens, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Sami Zayn, Eva Marie, Braun Strowman, Emma (again) and Tyler Breeze. That’s quite an impressive list… And Eva Marie.

That also sounds like NXT would’ve suffered because of it, but they haven’t! They still have the likes of Finn Balor, Bayley, Samoa Joe, Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, Hideo Itami, American Alpha all hanging around there.

This begs the question, who’s next? Just this past week The Vaudevillians, Baron Corbin, Enzo & Cass and Apollo Crews have all made their main roster debuts so it’s more than likely we won’t see another main roster debut for a while.

With every debut, more hope is brought to the main roster that we’re going to see fresh match ups and providing us with can’t miss TV. So who do you think is coming up next? We shall watch and find out.

Shinsuke Nakamura Is In WWE

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Shortly after Wrestle Kingdom 10 it was announced that WWE had offered contracts to 4 of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest stars. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and most shockingly, Shinsuke Nakamura.

If you hadn’t heard of Nakamura before, he’s a rockstar who will knee you in the head over and over again… And you’ll still want to see him do it again, after all he is the King of Strong Style.

Once Nakamura completed his contractual obligations with New Japan he made his way to Orlando. He had his debut match at NXT Takeover Dallas against Sami Zayn and it was good. Really good. Chants of “Fight Forever!” happened it was that good.

Shinsuke Nakamura is here in WWE. We don’t know who long he’ll be in NXT, what his first rivalry will be. It’s all so new it’s up in the air at the moment. In my opinion, Nakamura’s future is the most intriguing thing in WWE at the moment.
So, let me know. What are you most excited for in WWE in the next year? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @MichaelFarrer92

I’ll catch you next time.

Let’s Get To Know Each Other

Hello again!

So, seeing as this blog is just getting started and before I get too far into these posts, I figured now would be an appropriate time for you to get to know me, how I became a fan and other fun questions. So like the first day of summer camp, lets have a get to know you game!
Shall we get started!?

Name: Michael

City/Country: Adelaide, Australia.

Age & year you started watching wrestling:
7 years old, year 2000

First Wrestling Memory:

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I’m sitting in the lounge room with my Dad and sister. Dad is in control of the remote, flicking through channels when he lands on an edition of Smackdown. He landed on it at the perfect moment, Lita was climbing to the top rope and she delivered a picture perfect Litacanrana to a member of Right to Censor I believe.
That was all it took, one high risk move and I haven’t looked back since.

Favourite Male Wrestler (top 3):

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Edge, Shawn Michaels & Cesaro

Favourite Female Wrestler (top 3):

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Lita, Victoria & AJ Lee

Favourite Wrestler Overall:

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Lita

Guilty Pleasure Wrestler:

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Paul Burchill

I’m not sure why I liked him as much as I did. Was it the pirate thing? That rope swing entrance was wicked, but it didn’t last long. Then his run with “sister” Katie Lea Burchill I was really into! He didn’t have much personality, but his matches were usually good.
I don’t know, all I know is when I’m bored and on YouTube I sometimes watch some Paul Burchill matches.

Favourite matches (top 3):

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TLC II – WrestleMania X-Seven
Trish Stratus Vs Lita – RAW, December 6 2004
Sami Zayn Vs Shinsuke Nakamura – NXT Takeover Dallas

Yep, that last match only happened a week ago and it’s already one of my all time favourites. Does it get bonus points because I was in attendance live for it? Yes. But even so, it’s just too good to look past. It’s going to go down in history as the best match of 2016, calling it now.

Most Hated Match:
Wow, there is so many to list. The likes of “Donald Trump” Vs “Rosie O’Donnell” comes to mind. But I’m gonna choose a match that actually contained proper superstars.

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Here’s a fun fact; A man has won every Battle Royal in WrestleMania history, including an all-female Battle Royal. And for that reason, the Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal gets the “honour” here.
WWE’s view on women’s wrestling in 2009 was basically “lol, who cares.” So when they announced a 25 Diva Battle Royal at WrestleMania 25, I was cautiously optimistic. However WWE decided to ruin it all by having Santina Marella (Santino Marella dressed as a woman) win the Battle Royal. That was the plan the whole time. WWE reached out to the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita but when they were told the creative plans they declined. Good call.

Favourite PPV (top 3):

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WrestleMania X-Seven, WrestleMania 30 & Money In The Bank 2011

Favourite finishing manoeuvre (top 3):

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Widow’s Peak, Stone Cold Stunner, Moonsault

Have you cheered John Cena at an event:

Yes, at my first ever WWE event in Melbourne in August 2004.

Have you booed John Cena at an event:

Yes, at pretty much every event since then.

When was your first “Mark Out Moment”:

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Edge cashing in Money in the Bank for the first time at New Years Revolution 2006. I was getting quite tired of John Cena at the time, it was Edge’s first title and it was won in a surprising, innovative way. I was jumping around my lounge room.

How do you handle it when someone calls wrestling “fake” and/or dumb:

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This is a hard one as it depends on the tone in which it’s said. If they’re being a total douche and trying to tell you like “it’s all fake, you know that right?” as if they’re the one with the big scoop or something. In that instance, I treat them with the same respect they just showed me.

If someone asks in a genuine way such as “I know it’s fake, so what is it that you like about it?” Well that’s easy to answer. I just tell them that’s like any other TV show out there. You don’t have to tell someone “you know Game of Thrones is fake right?” It’s like what Max Landis said in ‘Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling’ “It’s a TV show about a wrestling show”. And honestly, that’s the easiest way to describe it.

If all else fails just show them Edge or Randy Orton going into thumb tacks. That’s always fun to see their reactions.

 

Someone who has never watched wrestling before asks you to show them a match, which do you choose:

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NXT Takeover Brooklyn: Sasha Banks Vs Bayley.

It’s just as close to a perfect match that you can get. Build up, characters, length of match, quality of match, excited crowd and the correct result with a story well told. It’s pretty much a masterpiece.

I had a squeamish friend want to see something so I showed her Edge vs Mick Foley from WrestleMania 22. That was fun.

Has wrestling made you cry? If so, when:

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Wrestling has made me cry like a baby on so many occasions. Eddie Guerrero’s Tribute Show was the first time. More tears flowed for Randy Savage, Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Pipers ‘In Memoriam’ packages. The retirements of Edge, Shawn Michaels, Daniel Bryan and Lita. Though I mainly cried at Lita’s retirement because of how awful and disrespectful it was. Seriously, f*** WWE in 2006.

My most recent emotional moment was this past week at Axxess when WWE unveiled Dusty Rhodes’ statue. Cody went up to it, kissed the statue’s finger and started to bawl. As did I.

Have you cancelled plans with people because wrestling is on:
This question is asked assuming I ever have plans. I’m desperately lonely. Honestly though, yes. Multiple times.

Your Dream Match:

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Male: Sami Zayn Vs Shawn Michaels

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Female: Sasha Banks Vs Lita
I think that’s enough for today! Please, let me know your answers too! Answer in as much or as little detail as you wish. I’ll provide an easy copy + paste question list below.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon.

 

Name:

City/Country:

Age & year you started watching wrestling:

First Wrestling Memory:

Favourite Male Wrestler (top 3):

Favourite Female Wrestler (top 3):

Favourite Wrestler Overall:

Guilty Pleasure Wrestler:

Favourite matches (top 3):

Most Hated Match:

Favourite PPV (top 3):

Favourite finishing manoeuvre (top 3):

Have you cheered John Cena at an event:

Have you booed John Cena at an event:

When was your first “Mark Out Moment”:

How do you handle it when someone calls wresting “fake” and/or dumb:

Someone who has never watched wrestling before asks you to show them a match, which do you choose:
Has wrestling made you cry? If so, when:

Have you cancelled plans with people because wrestling is on:

Your idea of a Dream Match:
Male:
Female:

 

An Aussie’s First WrestleMania

An Aussie’s First WrestleMania

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WrestleMania is something special. It’s the place where legends are made and some of the most unforgettable moments in WWE history occur. For over 15 years as a fan in Australia, it was always told to me over the TV that WrestleMania is the best fan experience you can ever do in your life.
It took until 2016, at the age of 23, that I finally took the plunge and booked a trip to my very first WrestleMania.

I’m going to go through some of my experiences, my initial observations as a ‘Mania virgin, the atmosphere of being in a rabid crowd and how I’d do things differently if given the opportunity.

Ticket Purchasing and Booking:

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Once I had decided that 2016 was the year to go, naturally the research begins. Well and truly before any announcement of ticket sales, travel packages or even venue location is announced, I began to delve into other people’s previous WrestleMania experiences.

If there was one thing that intimidated me about the booking process, it was the idea of purchasing every ticket separately. As a newbie, I made the decision that the travel package would be the easiest choice. I was correct.

If you’re planning to go to all the events WWE have up for offer, then the travel package is for you. I knew full well that there was a lot more to WrestleMania weekend than just WWE, but I figured if I was attending ‘Mania weekend for the first time I might as well do it properly and go to everything.

The only downside of booking it that way is that you have to pay for it all upfront. If you’re in the financial position to do so, then it’s just the best way to guarantee yourself a ticket to everything with comfortable accommodation.

Also, they sell out in an hour usually, get on them quick.

Axxess:

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Axxess is a mess. A confusing, frustrating mess. If you’re going into Axxess expecting to meet all your favourite people that you’ve watched on TV for years, throw that plan out the window because that isn’t happening.

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. You may meet some people but you’re gonna have to work for it. But do you love queuing and paying $55 to do it? Then WrestleMania Axxess is for you.

The way it works is there are about 8 or so signing stages. Axxess runs in 4 hour sessions, superstars only sign for 2 hour shifts. So, once 2 hours is up they tag out and a new superstar starts. That’s all well and good, however it is never announced who is replacing who and which stage any superstar will be at. “Oh what’s that? You’ve been lining up for 2 hours for Sami Zayn? Well too bad, times up, you get Primo & Epico.” Luck of the draw folks!

I made the decision to attend 4 Axxess sessions. Mistake. My thought process was that I should go to everything and experience as much as I could, but in reality you don’t experience all that much standing in a queue for 80% of the time. That’s not to say all my experiences were bad, I managed to meet Becky Lynch, Molly Holly and a host of others. But 4 sessions again? I’d go to WrestleCon instead.

NXT Takeover Dallas:

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This was when I knew I chose the right year to attend ‘Mania, when it was announced that NXT would be holding one of their Takeover specials the Friday before and those who had Travel Packages would be getting tickets.
NXT had been absolutely on fire over the previous 2 years. Every special better than the last with outstanding matches, nonstop excitement and passionate crowds. What’s not to like?

As we got closer to the event, matches were announced. Balor/Joe II, wicked. Bayley/Asuka, wow! Sami Zayn/Shinsuke Nakamura, HOLY S***! And with that I was almost more excited for this than WrestleMania!

Takeover was held in the same building as Axxess, so after a relatively uneventful evening there (okay, I saw Kofi Kingston twerk like his life depended on it, I have footage, so it’s not all bad) we moved over to NXT. You could feel the anticipation levels rising in the people as they started to congregate around the doors and eventually let in.
This was a kind of crowd that I had never been a part of before. Australian WWE house show crowds are dead, they sit on their hands and react to nothing. I’m sorry fellow Aussies, but we suck. By proven track record, NXT crowds are loud. Add that with a WrestleMania weekend crowd and you’ve got some magic there.

My first NXT show turned out to be sensational, not that I ever expect led it to be bad. The debuting Shinsuke Nakamura got a reaction one can only dream of. If I had to make the choice of feeling the pain of being hit by a truck or a knee from Nakamura, I’m taking the bus!
Everyone around me were shocked, standing up with hands over mouths when Bayley lost the women’s championship. Also, the Balor/Joe match with constant referee stoppage due to a cut near Joe’s eye proved quite distracting. The crowd were not happy one bit at the constant pauses to the match. Chants such as “PG SUCKS!” and “F*** PG!” were super audible to the fans watching at home.

NXT proved once again that they are the hottest thing going in wresting today, and the people up at the main roster are simply playing catch up.

Hall of Fame:

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I love the Hall of Fame ceremonies. The stories told are entertaining and it’s always great to be able to pay respect to some legends. Some guys almost have an open mic for their speeches, which is always great to listen to.

The 2016 class had mixed reviews as to who WWE inducted this year. A lot of people either sold their Hall of Fame ticket or just simply didn’t go. I always have enjoyed the shows and still being my first time I definitely was going. I even went to the effort to get dressed up.

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Scrub up okay don’t I? Okay, don’t answer that.

Was it going to compare to previous all-star classes like 2013/14? No. But you could still expect a fun night out and it was. Speech of the night obviously went to The Freebirds. Although the whole building was a thoroughly confused by Kevin Von Erich’s unfortunate “New Gay Guys” stuff up. He didn’t mean any malice, so it’s all good.

Snoop Dogg was inducted into the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame, and it was a controversial choice as the crowd were not on board whenever he was shown on screen. But props to the D-O-Double-G, he won the crowd over with an honest and a truly grateful speech.

Then of course Sting announcing his retirement to the live crowd was a sad moment. Everyone knew it was coming, but once people accepted it, they gave him a well deserved standing ovation. An enjoyable night out at the Hall of Fame and I would definitely go to another.

WrestleMania:

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This is the big guns. WrestleMania. Legitimately the largest one in history, and honestly was the deciding factor in choosing Dallas to be the ‘Mania I travel to. Simply so I could say I went and I was at the biggest one.

The day started off with an 8am Axxess session. I met Alundra Blayze and Tye Dillenger, but we left early to go get ready for the big day or ‘Mania ahead. With kick-off plus the main show, that’s like a 6-7 hour show! That’s a long day!

Shuttle busses picked us up at the Sheraton at 2pm. Now, when you purchased a travel package it included shuttle bus transportation as AT&T Stadium is about a 30 minute drive away. The way you get on the bus is you put on the band they give you in the package. When the package arrived to my house and I went through it all, I made the unfortunate decision to snap the bands together not knowing that you can’t unsnap them!
Ripping them apart and super glue followed and everything was fine. That was close.

So we arrived at the stadium by 2:45pm, but we had to wait over an hour to be let in. It was hot, uncomfortable, chants of “LET US IN!” started. Apparently many people had trouble getting into the stadium, I didn’t experience any of that thank goodness so I was able to find our seats about 30 minutes before the first match started.

I know for a fact I look far more favourably upon the show because I was there live for it. I’m not sure I would have if I was at home. But as far as being there in person? Well, sitting in a stadium with the better part of 100,000 people was certainly mind blowing. I can’t describe it other than it’s like seeing the wrestling Grand Canyon. You just can’t prepare yourself for it.

Experiencing entrances from The Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and especially Stone Cold in Texas was too cool for words. Yes the way the show ended was incredibly lacklustre and was quite formulaic. But I’ll be happy to watch back 90% of the show. It’s true what they say though, if you’re a wrestling fan you must attend a WrestleMania before you die.

Monday Night Raw:

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Another first for me, Monday Night Raw. As I was going through this weekend I kept thinking to myself “how have I not done any of these things before now!?”

If you’ve only attended house shows or PPV’s before never attended an edition of Raw, it’s very different. And when I say different I mainly just mean A LOT OF ADS. But I have to talk about one of the notorious parts of this show, that’s the crowd, obviously.

The Raw After Mania is almost of mythic proportions at this point. Everyone expects it to be the best show of the year. Debuts, returns, title changes, face/heel turns, they all go down on this show. And the crowd is always super hot from the night before and this time they were out for blood… Roman Reigns’ blood.

Every time Roman’s image came up on the screen, no matter how short, deafening boo’s. However the time came when Roman (and to be fair, WWE) had to face the music. Like a child coming out of their hiding spot to admit they’ve done the wrong thing and accept their punishment.

Poor Roman, it’s nothing personal honestly. He got it bad on Monday night. However to WWE’s credit they kept his mic time very short and managed to find a way to only have him out there for about 5 minutes, so to not over expose him and let the crowd ruin him… Because they would have.

This edition of Raw was odd. It started strong, slowed down to almost a complete stop in the 2nd hour and then in the 3rd hour it really picked up. Debuts of Enzo & Cass plus the return of Cesaro were insane. I get goosebumps looking back at the footage.
Quick note, when Cesaro’s music hit I screamed so loud I used up all the oxygen in my body and legitimately nearly passed out. That’s not one word of a lie, I really love Cesaro that much.

Final Thoughts:

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From start to finish my first ever WrestleMania weekend was an overwhelming success. Take away some of the disappointing results, I did everything that I expected to do. I saw and did all aspects of Axxess. NXT, WrestleMania and RAW all lived up to the expectations of having a rowdy crowd that would cause me to lose my voice. So I can’t really complain can I!?

If I were to go again (and I plan to at some stage) I would make some alterations. I would definitely diversify the things I do during the week. Make the effort to go see more independent shows and take one of the Axxess sessions and instead go to WrestleCon.

After almost a year of planning the trip, for the WrestleMania weekend to be over is heartbreaking. Post-WrestleMania Blues is absolutely real and it’s a serious thing. I’m not fully out of it yet.
Honestly the coolest thing about it was meeting and making friends with so many people from all over the world, all coming together to celebrate the one thing we all love so much. Wrestling. It doesn’t get better than that.