Tuesday, August 26, 2014

WWCBD?, ep. 33: a review of PWA: Thin Red Line (August 23, 2014), aka "Lost in Liverpool"

IN WHICH I give my pre-show thoughts while driving to the PWA: Thin Red Line event at the somewhat isolated Casula Powerhouse last Saturday night. It's followed by my post-show comments once I'm safely home again. It's interspersed with drops from Edge & Christian and John Cena (back when he was entertaining on the mic), a musical interlude from Rubberbandits (above) and a four-minute "as-it-happens" summary of me getting lost in Liverpool on the way home.
It's 25+ minutes of wrestling stupidity, brought to you by Australia's most loveable pornographer.
Find the podcast HERE.

Friday, July 04, 2014

WWCBD presents "An Audience With Lord Mark Williamson" #1: KrackerJak


AUSTRALIA'S leading manager and this country's most dangerous peer of the realm, LORD MARK WILLIAMSON, sits down to chat with the always entertaining, always incisive Mad Bastard, KRACKERJAK. Enjoy the 80+ minutes of intelligent conversation about the local wrestling business. Maybe you'll even learn something.
http://kirbyyourenthusiasm.libsyn.com/wwcbd-presents-an-audience-with-lord-mark-williamson-1-kracker-jak

Friday, June 06, 2014

SHOOT DVD REVIEWS #2: Looking For Mr Gilbert (1993)








“Paul E. learned too well…I’ll leave it at that.
I trusted him.”

FIRST off, Looking For Mr Gilbert is a very amateurish production. Legendary tape trader Bob Barnett is not the world’s greatest interviewer and his questions are all over the place. The sound is poor, the room they’re filming in is poorly lit – in fact, there are constant lighting issues early on. And what I watched was the raw footage with no editing. Also, someone off camera – Eddie’s then-girlfriend? – occasionally chips in with muffled, irrelevant comments that can be distracting.
That aside, this near-two-hour shoot tape – the very first of its kind – is a must see for all hard-core wrestling fans.
Filmed soon after Gilbert had left ECW (then Eastern Championship Wrestling) in 1993, the tape captures a guy who was still something of a major player in wrestling (both as a wrestler and a shrewd booking mind).
His fall from grace was swift, however. Within two years, Eddie was dead at the premature age of 34, at the time practically blacklisted in the US and having to eke out a miserable living in Puerto Rico. That future tragedy was still ahead of him when Gilbert took the revolutionary step of doing a shoot interview, something that was unheard of at this time.
The tape kicks off with Eddie listing his many injuries: bad neck, bad shoulder, bad elbows, bad back and bad hip – some of them stemming from the car accident he was in while working in the WWWF in the early 1980s.
He honestly examines his relationship with Jerry Lawler, admitting he grew up idolising Lawler and wanting to be the “King of Memphis”. He talks about being a heel in Memphis, then moving to Mid-South and managing Korchenko, the Blade Runners and others, while coming up with ideas and angles that impressed promoter Bill Watts.
This is followed by a short discussion over the real/fake Missy Hyatt/John Tatum love triangle feud, but Eddie clams up because it clearly still affected him. But he later opens up about his tumultuous relationship with Missy, how he nearly went to WWF with her in 1986, but instead stuck with Mid-South/UWF after being promised booking duties. He stayed on through the ill-fated buy-out by the NWA and how that inter-promotional feud fell apart due to tension and jealousy from the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair.
Eddie then goes into great detail about his return to Memphis in early 1988 his growing success as a booker of territories, even if he never lasted long in any of them. Next, he discusses his move to the CWF in Alabama in 1988 with Paul E. Dangerously (Paul Heyman), giving viewers some great anecdotes about several angles he shot there. He also explains why he fell out with CWF owner David Woods and left the promotion.
Gilbert's return to WCW in late 1988 is covered, particularly his involvement with Ricky Steamboat’s return in early 1989. He discusses how internal politics eventually led to his divorce from Missy and caused him to leave WCW.
Next, he goes into great detail about returning to Memphis and coming up with the notorious angle where he ran over Jerry Lawler with a car in 1990. This incident nearly led to Gilbert winding up in jail.
Eddie talks about how he and Cactus Jack felt in going to extremes to entertain the fans for Joel Goodhart’s promotion in 1991 – the pride they took in making their matches as real and as violent as possible.
His Eastern Championship Wrestling run in 1993 is briefly touched on and, clearly, there was still a lot of bad blood between Eddie and Paul Heyman: “Paul E. learned too well…I’ll leave it at that. I trusted him.”
Then it’s on to the infamous W*NG incident involving Jason the Terrible and his brother Doug.
Barnett gets Gilbert to backtrack to discuss how the second Tupelo concession stand brawl in 1981 came about involving him, Ricky Morton, Atsushi Onita, Masa Fuchi and Tojo Yamamoto.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ILpoJzDg8c
It was this brawl that inspired Onita to create his hardcore FMW promotion in Japan and, indirectly, led to the birth of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
When Jim Ross’s name is brought up, Eddie gets very serious. He had a major falling out with Jim in 1987 during the UWF sale and it wasn’t resolved by the date of this interview: “He’s a very good politician.”
Gilbert touches on his relationship with second wife Madusa. He calls her a good person and has nothing bad to say to her. He talks about the AWF debacle in 1991, involving inept promoter Gordon Scozzari, his then-wife Madusa and Jeff Gaylord, who Scozzari paid to attack Eddie.
Finally, Gilbert briefly chats about the next big thing in wrestling: Sabu.
CONCLUSION: I have to say this historic DVD is incredible, flaws and all. Eddie had demons but he was a genius and a visionary (the fact he was willing to do a shoot tape before anyone else is a good example). A smart man, a likeable and funny guy. It’s a real tragedy that he died so early, not only on a personal level but also when you consider what he could have brought to the wrestling business during the Monday Night Wars.
RATING: *****

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

SHOOT DVD REVIEWS #1: Kayfabe Commentaries with Jim Cornette (2014)

“Kevin Steen is the perfect guy to be your top star and champion if you want to work in front of 400 people in a rec centre.”
WHAT do you expect from a Jim Cornette shoot DVD? If you want hilarious, outta-control ranting, then that's what you're gonna get. But what could Jimbo possibly add to this latest shoot DVD that he hasn't already said on the dozens he's done in the past. Well, quite a bit, actually. In fact, THREE HOURS WORTH!
Host Sean Oliver covers the gamut of the past 2-3 years in Cornette's life: from Sean's own falling out with Jim (they're now friends again - I guess money heals all wounds), Cornette's final weeks in TNA and his dealings with Vince Russo, Dixie Carter, Terry Taylor and Jeff Jarrett. Cornette then goes into minute detail about everything that went wrong during his tenure booking/co-booking Ring Of Honor.
If you hate Cornette, then this section will make you hate him more, especially when he buries the likes of Kevin Steen, Grizzly Redwood and the Super Smash Brothers. If you love him (as I do), then you still may get tired as he itemises every single thing that ROH did wrong and how NONE of it was his fault.
The wrestling legend saves his main vitriol for ROH management and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Oh boy...does he bury those guys. He especially sprays Greg Gilliland ("Greg the office boy") and merchandise guy Ross Abrams (who he directly says on camera is a "pussy" and a "prick"...and that's his kinder descriptions). He also buries (former?) friend Gary Juster for being gutless.
Basically, as fascinating as this two-disc set is, I think it ran too long and Sean Oliver really should have reined Corny in as he almost gets boring with his anal detail on ROH's incompetence.
The DVD wraps up with some quick questions on pop culture, organised religion and why having his wife Stacey work in OVW WASN'T nepotism.
In the end, I can't rate this DVD higher than **** out of a possible 5 stars. Still, I'd recommend you check it out, especially if you're an ROH fan who was wondering what the hell happened to the promotion during 2012.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wrestling Revolution: The story of a male wrestler trapped inside a woman’s body: 2022


 Moustaches make everything more butch
 
DANN had a change of heart over Christmas and rehired General Genecide as his manager. It was the right move, as he helped the wrestler renegotiate a new, lucrative deal that saw Dann become a millionaire for the first time.

However, Dann and General Genecide parted ways at the end of January due to Dann’s lack of success under his guidance. As soon as Dann went solo, he pinned Perry Class (Ric Flair) the following week in a singles bout.

Ongoing tensions with AAW management affected the young grappler's in-ring performance and it led to a premature termination of his contract in early March.

Dann bounced from Wrestling School to UK Wrestling to Maple Leaf Wrestling where things seemed to be settling down for the 28-year-old. In early November, he scored a lightweight title shot against the champ Gabriel (Christian) that he lost by count-out.

The following week, Dann took a battering in an eight-man brawl. Although his team won...well, erm......this was the headline from that week’s POWER SLAM.

 
[AND that was the swift, brutal end of my misunderstood transvestite character. And the end of this game. At least I lasted longer than the first time I played Wrestling Revolution. That said, my first character didn’t die in the ring. Oh well, time to find another time-waster on the toilet. :P]

* For more info about Wrestling Revolution, either buy it from the iTunes store (it’s cheap!) or head to http://www.mdickie.com/mobile.htm.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Wrestling Revolution: The story of a male wrestler trapped inside a woman’s body: 2021

Dann thought growing a moustache would make "her" look more masculine 

ANOTHER bad start to the year. Nothing happened for much of the first six months. Dann the Mann won a lot of matches but little else.
He defeated Boar Miller (Bob Sapp) for the heavyweight title in the second week of June in a hardcore match. But he lost his ring gear, then histitle to Mario Sanyo in the third week of July.
Dann defeated hisold tag team partner Charlie Grace in a lights-out match in late August, then he was told to come out as gay by MLW management immediately afterwards.
Dann formed a short-lived tag team with Julian Damn (Ron Simmons), but he quit the team to take a lucrative short-term contract with Hollywood Wrestling. And gain some new clothing.However, he jumped to All American Wrestling a week after after he impressed the AAW hierarchy in an inter-federation match in early November.
He was asked to copy the move set of a luchadore from another fed, which was great as it finally got Dann away from moves he'd been stuck with for several months.
[One of the glitches of this game is that I'd been unable to change my wrestler's moves for ages, no matter what I tried. Luckily, the game finally did it for me. Not sure if this glitch is temporary or permanent as I proceed further into the game.]


Dann took on the illiterate General Genecide as his manager in early December.
Overall for 2021, he had 39 matches and won 89% of them.
Dann lost his final bout of the year to Brad Goodman via DQ, had a falling out with General Genecide and sacked him as his manager.
As 2022 approached Dann was once again on his own, which is just the way he likes it.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Wrestling Revolution: The story of a male wrestler trapped inside a woman’s body: 2019-20




DANN turned 25 and celebrated by losing creative control at Maple Leaf Wrestling. He had his ring name changed a couple of times – including “Ruth McMahon” – and his ring gimmick changed. Dann was still winning, but career satisfaction low as we approached March.
He then regained creative control but after contract negotiations stalled, he was stripped of my belt and went back to Wrestling School.
At the start of July, Dann re-signed with Maple Leaf Wrestling and formed a tag team with Charlie Grace (Harley Race).
He adopted a more masculine outfit and was the happiest he’d been for several years.
In a 2/3 falls match at the end of July, the fledgling team beat Andy Aniston (Arn Anderson) & Jay Enrico to win the MLW tag belts. Following a gruelling feud with the duo, Dann suffered an injured arm in early September and missed three weeks.
Grace and Dann were stripped of the belts, but were invited to join the stable of Bubba Keenan (Bobby Heenan).
But there was already growing dissatisfaction with his team. An inability to score another tag team title shot led to Dann’s shocking decision in early November to abandon Charlie during an inter-federation eight-man bout with UK Wrestling.
Dann then jumped to Federation Online in the second week of November.
Looking back at 2019, he competed in 35 matches and won 94% of them.
----------------------------

NOW 26, Dann didn’t stay long with FO. Feeling restless, he returned to United Kingdom Wrestling in late February but was treading water before getting his contract cut and going back to Wrestling School in early August.
Later that month Dann got the chance to sign with Rising Sun Puroresu, but he lacked motivation and drifted before being cut in early November and returning to Wrestling School, where he stayed unbeaten till the end of the year.
Looking back at 2020, Dann competed in 40 matches but won only 77% of them. On the plus side, he suffered no injuries, but on the downside he was frustrated by the lack of upward mobility. He also scored no titles, barely built on his bank balance and dropped in prestige. It was a poor year in summary.
Could Dann the Mann turn things around in 2021?
--------------------------

Wrestling Revolution: The story of a male wrestler trapped inside a woman’s body: 2017-18

 

DANN came back from injury and spun his wheels for the first few part of the year, until the second week of March, when he beat Chi Guy (CM Punk) to win the UK Wrestling world heavyweight championship.
A week later, he beat Tug Jaffazero (Takayama) in a loser leaves fed match, then defeated female grappler Mid Knight in 15 seconds in the last week of March.
In June/July, Dann engaged in a feud with one half of the tag team champs Ethan McCloud (accompanied by his tag team partner). There was no clear winner in their two bouts.
Showing little loyalty to UK Wrestling, Dann made the big move in the third week of July after being poached by Federation Online without dropping the belt. This was after being promised an immediate intercontinental title match with old foe Whack Ax. Dann won the match decisively to become new inter champ and dominated the fed till he vacated the title and jumped back to UK Wrestling (for an admittedly better financial deal, but with no creative control) at the end of September.
[I felt like Riki Choshu in the mid-80s here.]
2017: 38 matches, and I won 81% of them
------------------------------

AN UNINSPIRING start to 2018 saw Dann cool his heels in UK Wrestling. No title matches were forthcoming and he grew frustrated, leading to unnecessary losses.
When he was offered a great contract to jump to Maple Leaf Wrestling in mid-April, Dann took it.
After winning a top contenders bout in early May, he defeated Oje Goodman for the light heavyweight title a week later.
Meanwhile, he was facing some great-named grapplers like Jap Sai (Tensai) and Crispin Noir (Chris Benoit).
Dann hung onto the belt with ease, his only setback coming later in the year when he lost creative control of my contract and was renamed “Catherine Loveday”. WTF?
2018: 37 matches and won 83%. Not bad considering my run of injuries during the year.
------------------------------

Wrestling Revolution: The story of a male wrestler trapped inside a woman’s body: 2015-16

DANN (still known as “Delilah Bryant” at this stage) held the Federation Online world title till the first week of March 2015 before dropping it to Adam Bradbury.
In the first week of May, he formed tag team with fellow sexually confused competitor Kampus Kristmas, but a month later made the jump to Strong Style Wrestling.
Here, Dann was given a more overtly transsexual ring outfit. Grrrrr! “I should’ve fought for creative control,” the wrestler wailed.
For a time, he was kept busy enjoying a three-match feud with Mo Qi (Low Ki) that Dann won handily.
He then won the SSW light heavyweight title from Dragon Ryan (Daniel Bryan) in the last week of June, successfully defending the title against him a week later.
After failing to win back the light heavyweight title, Dragon Ryan befriended Dann backstage and suggested they form a tag team. It wasn’t a success, ending when he walked out on Dann mid-match.
In the first week of October, Dann renegotiated his contract and gained creative control. It meant he could change his name back to “Dann The Mann”, but he couldn’t change his gender. He remained a man trapped in a woman’s body.
The following week, Dann gained revenge against Dragon Ryan, convincingly beating him in an iron man match inside a cage, and hurting him so badly he was put out of action for two months.
Dann finished 2015 with a record of 40 matches and an 80% success rate.
------------------------------------------

2016 saw Dann’s feud with Mo Qi reignite during April and May. He injured Dann’s ribs in a tag match but the transvestite scrapper came back to decisively beat him in a shoot fight at the end of May, thereby ending the feud.
After beating seven men in a cage match, then four men in a bout the following week, Dann faced Taibo Turrican and lost the light heavyweight title in the second week of July in a ladders match.
He pinned Dann, despite the fact “Taibo Turrican sustained an extremely serious injury in that match and was rushed to hospital, where it’s feared he may be paralysed. His wrestling career is almost certainly over.” Who the fuck does he think he is? “Stone Cold” Steve Austin?
Taiban was subsequently stripped of the title, which became vacant. However, the Japanese wuss returned a week later and even interfered in one of Dann’s matches.
And bloody Dragon Ryan was handed the light heavyweight title a week after that.
In the third week of August, Dann regained the light heavyweight title from Dragon Ryan in a last man standing cage match. Fuck yeah!

However, Dann vacated the title at end of August to try his hand at a movie career (while still wrestling Rocky Balboa rip-offs) in Hollywood for three months.
After a good run in Hollywood, Dann hit a speed bump when his contract expired in mid-October. Unable to find a sweeter deal with another promotion, he was forced to return to the lowest rung in the WR ladder, Wrestling School

He signed with UK Wrestling in early November, but in a backstage brawl with Jock Lazer (Brock Lesnar), Dann’s leg was severely injured, putting him out of commission for nine weeks.
Despite the flat ending to the year, the girly-man grappler won 81% of the 38 matches he competed in.

Wrestling Revolution: The story of a male wrestler trapped inside a woman’s body: 2014




SECOND time around, I was older and wiser. I recreated Dann the Mann – the character I’d had the previous time – and knew how I’d play the character better than his first incarnation.
Sadly, I forgot one important element in creating Dann the Mann – I accidentally specified the wrong gender. So now “he” was a “she” – a very masculine she. An Eastern European shotput champion female to be exact. Sadly, one of Wrestling Revolution’s biggest flaws is that you can’t change a character’s gender (just their hair, outfit, move set and practically everything else). SIGH...I soldiered on and decided to ignore my character’s obvious feminine traits (i.e. boobs) and the fact that the game constantly referred to Dann the Mann as “she”.

This is an ongoing record of my wrestler’s ups and downs over the “years” in the game.
 
Dann the Mann began his career in Wrestling School (the lowest rung in the WR universe) but was quickly signed to Federation Online in late February 2014 and had a swift win over perennial jobber Wally Howitzer.
Without creative control, Dann was quickly renamed by management, first as “Wise Len” (passable), then “Delilah Bryant” (not good).
As a naive 20-year-old rookie, Dann competed in 33 matches in his first year and won 66% of them. This included two world title runs. As a certain rotund Melbourne wrestler might say, “Not badt.”
The key to Dann’s early success was his choice of a foreign object. He would come to the ring carrying a hockey stick – which is illegal to use inside the squared circle...unless it’s a hardcore match. However, outside the ring it’s carte blanche. You can be counted out and lose a match but, otherwise, anything goes.
Dann’s modus operandi was to go through the ritual pre-match taunts (these get a bit repetitive after a while as there are only a handful programmed into the game), then exit the ring, pick up his hockey stick and wait for his opponent to approach. Dann would then beat him (or her...inter-gender matches are common in WR) to death with the hockey stick, get back in the ring and pin his severely weakened opponent. This was highly effective, particularly in singles matches.
At some point, Dann may have killed a referee after attacking him up outside the ring. Oops.
This mishap didn’t affect hisswift ascendancy up the rankings, however. In the first week of June, he defeated Ackrite to win the Federation Online world championship. He somehow lost it in a six-man free-for-all in early August, but regained the title in the last week of November, beating Geno White.

TO BE CONTINUED

Wrestling Revolution: The story of a male wrestler trapped inside a woman’s body: PROLOGUE


WHILE I had the Wrestling Revolution game app on my iPhone for close to 12 months, I didn’t really start playing the career mode till late 2013. I’m normally crap at computer games, but this quickly became as addictive to me as Carmageddon on my iPhone had become a year earlier.
I found myself playing the British-created game whenever I was on the dunny, spare moments during my daily commute to work and so on.
The idea of WR is to build a wrestler (creating a persona, costume, move set, etc), then guide him (or her) through their career. You join feds (angling for good contracts – money up front, guaranteed money, health insurance and, most importantly, creative control). Every week you either have a match or train to improve your levels in a variety of departments (strength, toughness, skill, agility, etc). You can jump federations, form tag teams, go for titles...all while being thrown little curveballs by the app. Your opponents are loosely based on real wrestlers, so it’s fun to face the game's equivalents to Daniel Bryan, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, the Road Warriors and more.
Also, after every match, a screen pops up featuring headlines torn from Power Slam (the British wrestling mag), bringing the latest news and goss from WR feds around the globe.
But there are pitfalls.
Being offered a social beer after a match may lead to you being hung-over for your next bout and easy pickings for your opponent. Win too many matches as champion and the app will deliberately throw you into an eight-man bout where you don’t even have to be pinned to lose the title. Or you will be hauled before management and told that your strength levels aren’t high enough and you need to improve them by a certain date, or they’ll sack you.
If you don’t have creative control (or management strips creative control from you), then you feel like a low-level "superstar" at the mercy of Vince McMahon. They’ll change your moves, your costume, even your name.
The first time I played WR, I lasted four years (actually, about a month in real time), making numerous mistakes, losing far too many matches and somehow winding up in debt. Eventually, I failed to boost one of my categories while in “Wrestling School” (basically the indie scene and the lowest rung on the game’s ladder). I was sacked and the game ended without warning. WTF?
Bereft, I deleted the stupid app and swore I’d never be distracted by it again (like I had been by previous time-wasters such as Carmageddon on the iPhone and Plants vs Zombies on my PC at home).
Of course, I soon missed WR terribly – frankly, I got bored having nothing to do when sitting in the shithouse.
I weakened in February, reloaded the app and was ready to go once more. This time, I wouldn’t make the same mistakes I’d made in my first run. This time, I would be a success.
Dann the Mann was ready to rumble. Or so I thought.        
TO BE CONTINUED

* For more info about Wrestling Revolution, either buy it from the iTunes store (it’s cheap!) or head to http://www.mdickie.com/mobile.htm.