Posts Tagged ‘Ricochet’

What I Love About Pro-Wrestling: WWE 30 Day Challenge Pt. 7

May 4, 2019

27 – Favorite NXT Match


Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream
TakeOver: WarGames 2017

This was at a time when both Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream were new to the NXT scene and therefore were relatively unknown by the WWE Universe. In a short time, Aleister Black had earned a reputation as a brutal striker. With his Black Mass kick, he instantly obliterated his opponent and made them “fade to black”. He was clearly on the warpath toward the NXT Heavyweight Title and it was only a matter of time before he got his opportunity. At the same time, Velveteen Dream was extremely new and people did not quite know what to think of him. He was doing anything and everything to get a rise out of the crowd by being flamboyant and an instigator. He decided to confront Black to make a name for himself but Black’s indifference drove him insane until he was basically stalking Aleister Black. When their big match happened, it was less about winning for Dream but he just wanted acknowledgment from Aleister Black. He wanted acknowledgment from the NXT audience as well. Aleister just wanted to shut this man up and get him out of his face. The two went back and forth and Dream shocked the world by going toe to toe with a dominant performer. Finally, Black knocked out Dream and finished him off but before he left, he leaned down and spoke Dream’s name into a microphone. He gave the devil his due and so it ended up being a victory for both of them.


Matt Riddle vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Ricochet
NXT Television – March 20, 2019

With a week left to go until Wrestlemania weekend, the show opened with the bad news that Tomasso Ciampa was going in for neck surgery and his spot in the big TakeOver match was now open. That was the bad news. To make up for the sudden stop in a storyline years in the making, they decided to give the gift of a match for the honor of being in the main event. Getting to see all five of these guys in one episode was definitely special but having all of them in the same match was great. Their good conditioning made it so that all of them could keep going without as much of the usual rest periods during that match type. Riddle had not really gotten much of a chance to show his stuff and shined as an absolute beast. Dream got to mess with three of his past opponents and one future one. Aleister Black and Ricochet got their television farewell match as singles stars. Adam Cole got to show why he should be feared as a tough competitor and a fantastic opportunist. This was a great showcase for some great talent and made Cole a credible threat for his match with Gargano.

28 – Favorite NXT Takeover

TakeOver: New York (2019)

Proof that each TakeOver event is better than the last. While we were cheated out of the conclusion of the epic rivalry between Jonny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, there was still plenty more to love here. It started with an awesome tag match between the team of Aleister Black and Ricochet and the War Raiders. This was Ricochet and Aleister’s big sendoff as they would be off to the main roster the next night. Often when two giants face off against two smaller guys, the smaller guys get crushed. However, it was cool to see a highly competitive match between four potential hall of famers. Again, we got a similar story between Walter and Pete Dunne for the UK Championship. Walter is like a Terminator robot but Pete Dunne is a sadistic torturer and it went back and forth. Shayna Bayzler showed while she is still the champ by beating three women at once but Belair, Shirai, and Sane all got time to shine. Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole was a roller coaster that could have gone either way and made me happy. Velvet Dream vs. Matt Riddle stole the show as a great bout between two different personalities and two very different fighting styles. Riddle’s technical mastery and rage strength was no match for the sheer force of Dream’s will and resilience. Every match had me on the edge of my seat.


TakeOver: Toronto (2016)

First, we got Tye Dillinger during my favorite part of his career so far against Bobby Roode and both also got great entrances. This really felt like “The Great Entrances Takeover”. The Authors of Pain faced off against TM-61. It was a classic battle of two never say die high fliers throwing themselves at the big brutes to try and win but falling short. It was a shame that this was kind of the beginning of the end of TM-61 as a team. Mickie James made her return to the WWE after being a champ in TNA to face off against the undefeated Asuka. Asuka was a whirling buzzsaw of death but Mickey still gave the Empress of Tomorrow her first bit of trouble in a while. Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura was a brutal affair with Joe basically being Godzilla and Nakamura attempting to still win the day. Finally, DIY vs. The Revival stole the show. This was back when Gargano and Ciampa were on the same page and they truly had all of the heart in the world. At the same time, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder of The Revival were built to be a tag team together. On top of that, this was a tag match with three falls which saw both teams try to steal each other’s best moves and gut it out for the win.

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Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: The Death of Kayfabe

November 18, 2017

WILPW


Al Snow gives his opinion.

In an earlier post, I described the magic of Kayfabe. For those who forgot and do not want to click back: Kayfabe is the old carny term which basically means the story or false reality that sports entertainment companies weave around their product. Of course, the term was created when everybody was using the term “wrestling” instead of “sports entertainment”. This is the agreed upon device which creates babyfaces and heels (good guys and bad guys) so that there is enough friction to continue fighting. It is also the thing that turns an American named Nelson Simpson into “The Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff. It is a necessary part of the business and it has been a big part of how most businesses do things.


They fought over a shampoo commercial.

I was driving around with my brother recently and I was saying something about the business of pro-wrestling. He turned to me and asked me why the performers compete against each other. He understood, as most people do, that there are a championship belt and a contender for that title. He was wondering why people lower on the card would fight each other. The short answer is that they are paid to do so both in real life and in kayfabe. However, that is not exactly what he meant because that simple motivation is something everybody can understand. There are a lot of reasons for these people to fight for. The main reason people compete so hard is that they feud. A feud can start as simply as one performer states that they are the best and another performer tries to prove them wrong. It can be as complicated as one man stalks another man’s girlfriend. It can be something obscure like two men fighting over who gets to be in a shampoo commercial or who has the right to use the letter T in their name. Whatever it is, as long as it is a compelling story or it is told in an entertaining way, the crowd will buy it.


Jim Cornette gives some excellent analysis on Cactus Jack.

The reason why I started writing this post is actually good ol’ Jim Cornette, a man who I respect a lot. You see, Cornette has been involved in the business for a long time. Most notably, he has been the booker (writer) or booking committee for several prominent companies including TNA, WCW, WWF, ROH, and various NWA territories. He has also been an onscreen manager mostly of tag teams in the NWA, WCW, and WWF. He founded Smoky Mountain Wrestling in the nineties and he was the main driving force behind the rise of Ohio Valley Wrestling as the first official talent development territory for the WWE. He has had huge success in the business. So, going forward, please remember that I have enormous respect for both Jim Cornette and the old school side of wrestling that he represents. I have only seen a little of pre-nineties wrestling because I was not exposed to it when I was younger and I only have so much time in the day now. Still, I respect the old-timers for what they contributed, most of which survives in some form in the present day.


He really, really hates Joey Ryan… who isn’t a dick from all other accounts.

Jim Cornette and the old school contingent have claimed that kayfabe is a device that is dying a horrible death. The most recent example of the supposed ‘death of kayfabe’ is the rise in popularity of Joey Ryan. This is really where I sat up and take notice as I am a pretty big fan of Joey Ryan both in and out of the ring. Joey Ryan was simply a great independent wrestler who got brief stays on television in both Wrestling Society X and TNA. His gimmick was as a sleazy wrestler who was sponsored by the YouPorn website and chose The Pina Colada Song (a song about cheating on your spouse) as his entrance music. The old school’s problem is that Joey Ryan is a comedy wrestler. In Cornette’s words, “Funny Don’t Earn Money” because people want to see something they believe is a real fight. He really lost his mind when Ryan adopted a move called the YouPorn Plex (also known as the Dick Flip). In this move (as shown below), Ryan literally uses only his penis to flip his opponent. Cornette screamed that this pushed the limits of suspension of disbelief and that it effectively killed kayfabe (yet again).


Now that’s sleazy.

Obviously, I disagree. Back in the day, promoters and performers somehow convinced audiences that professional wrestling was real. Babyfaces and heels never talked or hung out in public so that fans would believe that they really hated each other. Dusty Rhodes ‘broke’ his leg in a match against Ric Flair and then wore an actual cast in public. He even wore that cast around his house where only his two young sons could see him. The point is that they went to enormous lengths to keep up the illusion that it was all real as part of a grand tradition. Unfortunately, as technology improved and the Internet was born, us fans all started to talk to each other. We started to figure things out and we peeked behind the curtain and now the cat is out of the bag. We know it’s all a show. There is no way we can go back to where we were and I am not sure many people actually want to go back. I definitely do not want to go back there. I love the way things are now.


Joe Hendry proves that funny can equal money.

This is the new kayfabe. Back in the day, we got a bunch of tough guy characters to boo or look up to. Now, kayfabe is so much more varied. One of the things I love about pro-wrestling is the three-ring circus element of it. If you do not like the clowns (like Joey Ryan, Colt Cabana, Enzo Amore, Joe Hendry) in ring one, you can look over at ring two and see the strongman (Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, Brian Cage). If you do not like that you can look over at ring three and see the acrobats (Ricochet, Ospreay, Neville). However, the business has really grown and we all now have access to hundreds of rings. If you do not like something, there is a good chance that if you turn your head, you will see something you love.


If I can believe the storylines in Lucha Underground, I can believe anything.

Besides, the new kayfabe is not all that different from the kayfabe we have gotten for decades. As long as the internal rules are mostly consistent, I think kayfabe remains intact. Every wrestler responds to Joey Ryan’s genitals in exactly the same way which makes their legendary powers a canon fact. We were told back in the day that Undertaker was dead and we believed it because we wanted to believe it and the announcers and other wrestlers never contradicted it. I choose to believe what they tell me to believe because it is way more fun to play make-believe than pick at it because it does not make sense. We all know that the Upside Down is not real but we choose to believe it when we see that dryer lint floating around. My rule is that if something is fun and nobody is getting hurt, then I support it. Joey Ryan and guys and gals like him is a lot of fun to watch and I am all about having fun. Of course, Cornette is very welcome to earn advertising dollars nitpicking the hell out of it.


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