WrestleWipe 2020: March

– Nick ‘Magnus’ Aldis has a moan about “fetishizing” Japanese wrestling, probably because he didn’t do very well over there. Ironic considering his fetishisation of territorial wrestling.

– Sonny Ono tries to interfere with The Great Muta’s bookings by suddenly claiming to be his agent, thus jeopardising Muta’s booking for Spring Break. Ono demanded four Disney World tickets, lucrative commission fees, four Skybox tickets to ‘Mania and a stay at a pricey Disney hotel.

– More rumours hit the mill around HHH and Co possibly buying out AJPW for their NXT Japan territory due to Jun Akiyama being announced as a guest coach at the Performance Centre.

– Christy Hemme, Amy Dumas, Gail Kim, Chavo Guerrero and Jimmy Jacobs kickstart a…uh…Kickstarter for a new stylised wrestling TV show called ‘Kayfabe’. I’m sure this will work out wonderfully, like the Wrestling Retribution Project and Nigel McGuinness’ LA Fights. The Kickstarter would be ultimately unsuccessful, with only £50,721 pledged of a £322,450 goal, with 406 backers.

– Continuing his great WWE run, Ricochet is soundly defeated by 2003 throwback Riddick Moss on RAW. In a 24/7 Title match, no less. Ricochet would go on to wrestle Eric Young on Main Event a week later.

– Aleister Black loses his first singles match in over a year when he stares at the lights for AJ Styles on RAW at the end of a gauntlet match. Styles beats Black in two minutes, and it’s all to build AJ Styles’ match with the Undertaker.

– Erik Rowan reveals that the animal inside his cage is a giant animatronic spider. Yep, the cage that he had been carrying to the ring for ages was paid off in a backstage skit where he scares the shit out of No Way Jose with his pet arachnid.

– Ever the progressive company, CZW runs a PPV compilation sequel to “CZW GIRLZ: DOUBLE-D DESTRUCTION” called ” CZW GIRLZ: HOT AND SWEATY”.

– Dragon Gate cancels all shows in the first half of March, including a live broadcast at Korakuen Hall. AJPW would also go on to cancel shows in the middle of March. NOAH cancels shows going into May. Big Japan are even cancelling shows. COVID-19 is serious.

– Lio Rush is pulled from wXw’s 16 Carat Tournament, mere days before the tournament is due to begin. WWE continue to be super cool to their super best friend partner promotions. Jeff Cobb is brought in as a replacement.

– A tornado hits Nashville, causing massive damage and destroying Basement East, the home venue of SUP Graps.

– WrestleCon are forced to cancel’s Sid’s appearance at the ‘Mania convention due to Sid being his unreliable self, which means we’ll miss out on the Sid Vicious Softball Invitational.

– As well as a slew of other issues and Alex Shelly pulling out due to his IRL job, wXw’s big 16 Carat weekend also has to deal with Flybe going under (this costing some fans and wrestlers their means of travel), Veit Müller cancelling his bookings, train lines being cancelled, political demonstrations at borders, and the impending COVID-19 measures.

– ‘Big Daddy’ Dave Meltzer awards Omega/Page vs Young Bucks six stars and it deserves every single snowflake.

– Kevin Kelly (your cuddly, kind-hearted right-wing uncle) won best Television Announcer in the Observer awards by a large margin, and Corey Graves (that insipid alt-right cousin who’s constantly posting Breitbart articles on Facebook) wins Worst TV announcer.

– It’s also worth noting that Jim Ross got more votes in the Worst TV Announcer category then he did the Best TV announcer category. When Mauro Ranallo is beating you in votes, you may have to consider hanging up the microphone.

– Seth Rollins vs The Fiend/Bray Wyatt won the Observer Worst Feud Of The Year. Out of the six feuds that got the most votes, Baron Corbin appears in four of them. FOUR OUT OF SIX. Insanity.

– During an Impact taping, Scott Steiner is rushed to hospital after collapsing. He is expected to make a full recovery.

– NXT-UK continues to draw embarrassing numbers to their TV tapings. The stubbornness to not run smaller venues is astounding.

– OTT films a scene on a beach for their David Starr vs Jon Moxley video package. It involves three decapitated pigs heads on spikes & is grisly yet accurate imagery for the story they were telling. Unfortunately, the film makers forget to remove them after filming, scaring many unaware Dubliners the next morning.

– In an interview, Tiger Hattori refers to Bully Ray as “…that annoying guy. Works in ROH, wears street clothes when he wrestles”. Glorious. He also takes the WWE’s Performance Centre to task, saying that they only teach one way to work whereas a Japanese dojo teaches you to work anywhere.

– The ROH Pure Title Tournament begins to take form rather wonderfully with Doug Williams, Jonathan Gresham, Alex Shelly, Rocky Romero, Mark Haskins, Slex, Tracy Williams, Fred Yehi and Yugi Nagata all announced to take part. ROH continue to rebuild their reputation.

– After returning to wrestling the previous month at a TNT show to a mix of raised eyebrows and indifference, Ryan Smile no-showed his actual TNT return match…kind of. He tweeted the next morning that he was injured, hence not being there.

– Shayna Baszler steamrolls through the Women’s Elimination Chamber bout, often left by herself in the ring for ages whilst waiting for the next pod to open. It’s a bit weird, and was either brilliant or shit depending on your stance on the Women’s Division.

– Drew Gulak vs Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles vs Aleister Black both turn into triple threat matches when they have to also battle a dead Philadelphia crowd. Philadelphia of all places. Fucking hell, Philly. What happened to you?

– Yuki Ishikawa (53) & Daisuke Ikeda (52) batter the fucking tar out of each other at wXw’s AMBITION 12. It’s fucking tremendous.

– David Starr loses a Title vs Career match at 16 Carat Gold. Starr cuts an out-of-character promo afterwards where he thanks the fans and explains that neither he nor wXw wanted him to leave but that his freedom of speech does carry consequences.

– Cara Noir wins wXws’ 16 Carat tournament. Noir had only recently debuted and was entering his first Carat, so the co-opted PROGRESS champion winning 2020’s co-opted 16 Carat carried considerable weight for the future of both wXw and Cara Noir.

– On another Carat/wXw/WWE note, Alexander Wolfe made a surprise appearance (again) and won their Shotgun title. This, along with the other WWE-centricities, left a lot of fans feeling dour about the promotion at the end of tournament.

– Pro Wrestling EVE advertise an event as being for “women only”, but they trip over their language a bit when getting into non-binary/trans specifics when someone DM’s them questioning their position on this. It gets messy, and neither side comes out smelling like roses.

– As COVID-19 takes a hold of the world and states, cities and townships are put on lockdown, the future of WrestleMania hangs in the balance. The best option is to postpone it until the pandemic has been controlled, but this is WWE and the real world doesn’t exist to them.

– After a big boss meeting, the big boss lads behind the State Of Florida don’t exactly tell WWE to cancel WrestleMania, and WWE don’t exactly cancel anything in response. The resulting stalemate isn’t exactly a good sign.

– This staring contest between WWE and Florida really fucks with all the independent promoters and wrestlers who have shows that weekend, as they stand to lose a shitload of money unless they are forced to cancel by the government. Even then, they’ll still lose money. It’s pretty shit.

– Josh Barnett pulls Chris Dickinson from an ICW show on ‘Mania weekend. His reasoning? Despite not being Dickinson’s boss, Barnett thought Dickinson wrestling someone else after wrestling Minoru Suzuki at Bloodsport was too far-fetched. Barnett going into business for himself isn’t anything new.

– Nick Gage is announced for Effy’s Big Gay Brunch at WrestleMania weekend, being part of the Bi-Curious battle royal. Just…magnificent stuff. Proper Ian Rotten 420 booking.

– OTT are forced to cancel their big ScrapperMania show set for St Patrick’s weekend due to COVID-19 measures, as well as other shows set for April. Jon Moxley was set to be on the card and he still donates a large sum of money to OTT’s fan supported GoFundMe.

– In the least surprising reveal of all time, Austin Aries outs himself as an anti-vaxxer.

– Lance Archer debuts for AEW by wondering out through the crowd in the middle of a match before taking a seat ringside. Bit of a miss there, lads. Doesn’t really scream “BIG DEBUT” does it?

– wXw cancels their WrestleMania weekend show due to the USA government issuing a 30 day ban for Schengen residents. Will Ospreay also announces that due to the USA travel ban he too has to cancel his ‘Mania weekend appearances.

– Due to California’s policy of no gatherings with more than 250 people, PWG postpones their up-coming KOBE show. West Coast Pro also cancel their March show, despite their venue telling them that they can still go-ahead. WCP still pays all booked talent despite the show not taking place.

– NWA cancel all their shows until June, including the Crocket Cup and their April tapings. GCW and Black Label Pro cancel their events. IWA-MS also cancel their shows, despite the risk of them bring more than 50 fans to a show being quite minuscule.

– Triple H is quietly demoted from “Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative” to “Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy and Development”.‬ No word on whether this means he has a smaller office and cannot ride the corporate jet anymore.

– AAA and CMLL both decide to cancel and postpone events, including AAA’s Rey De Reyes. AAW out of Chicago also cancel their 16th Anniversary show due to their venue limiting events to 100 people. Ottawa based C*4 are forced to cancel their March show.

– As for the UK; ATTACK!, TNT, Resurgence, Riptide, Breed, SCHADENFREUDE & FRIENDS, PROGRESS, Fight Club Pro and For The Love Of Wrestling cancel/postpone their up-coming events. Boom Leeds, a venue often used by TIDAL, is shut down.

– AEW’s Rochester show is cancelled and tentatively rescheduled for July 8th. WWE start cancelling up-coming live events and moving shows to the Performance Centre. EVOLVE also postpone two shows but they’re obviously just using COVID-19 as a convenient excuse.

– The Bullet Club Beach Party set for ‘Mania weekend is cancelled, which is a good move as that would be the fucking epicentre of a USA outbreak.

– To add more to WrestleMania’s weird status, the Tampa Convention Centre had someone test positive for COVID-19. This happens to be the venue for Axxess.

– Additional WWE woes come with the XFL’s season being suspended and WWE Backstage being put on temporary hiatus.

– Due to the massive blow-out from the EVE women-only show, Emily Reed steps down from running the promotion. The fact that arguably the most woke wrestling promotion on the scene can be forced into a position like this just shows how massively toxic and backwards social media can be.

– During a live edition of Smackdown at an empty Performance Centre, the satellite feed doesn’t cut for the commercials properly so some viewers witness the wrestlers effectively down tools and stop wrestling to have a little chat and a break.

– These WWE shows are still filmed, produced, laid out and wrestled as if there is an actual crowd there which makes for extremely awkward viewing and only shines a light on WWE’s needlessly wooden and graceless production.

– WrestleCon and The Collective, two umbrellas of wrestling shows and events set to take place over ‘Mania weekend, try to calm down potential travellers and ticket holders about their plans but are left with no real answers. I can’t imagine the stresses those promoters, organisers and event he wrestlers went through.

– Thomas Williams, promoter of W.A.R in Ohio, logs on to offer the sound advice that wrestlers should lower their rates if they want to work from now on. Pro wrestling will forever be a carny business.

– The CDC recommends that ALL events with more than 50 people in attendance should be cancelled, prompting tremendous banter about EVOLVE/ROH/NXT-UK being okay to run still.

– AEW officially signs Luther. I could just copy and paste WHY WHY WHY several times over but it’s not worth the effort.

– CZW is forced to close the doors for their up-coming shows and looks to film them with no fans in attendance instead. Don’t worry, this won’t detract from the CZW seal of quality, as it’ll still be the same dead, muted atmosphere that’s become a trademark at CZW shows.

– Shortlist of wrestlers who had very bad takes on COVD-19 being a scam/hoax/conspiracy; Angel Garza, Pillma JR, Sam Gradwell, Austin Aries, Bully Ray, Chris Jericho, Silas Young, Jerry Lawler, Beau James, Tyler Bate, Eli Everyfly, Ken Shamrock, Paige, Jaxon Ryker. Well done! ( Thanks to @garethelton and @kylenotguile for curating this list).

Here, enjoy a lovely slideshow of wrestlers thinking they know better than scientists:

– Martin Kirby, beloved BritWres staple and ambassador for the scene announces his retirement. There’s now a hole where the BritWres scene’s heart used to be.

– WrestleTalk TV hold a no-fans show to help support independent wrestlers (good) and also features Adam Blampied (bad). The show raises over £10000.

– On Match 16th, after a fortnight of posturing, WWE confirms that WrestleMania is being moved to the Performance Centre. Not only does this mean that ‘Mania will consist of lifeless matches, it means that all those independent wrestlers and promoters are further up shit creek.

– As WWE cancelled before a state or city could force them to, WrestleCon and The Collective are put into a bad situation with their venues. WrestleCon go into a lot of detail about this, with the Marriott Hotel still demanding the hire costs and fees.

– Steve Austin appears on a PC RAW and does his “Give me a hell yeah!” spiel on the mic. The camera pans over the empty chairs of the Performance Centre for the non-existent “HELL YEAH!” response. This felt like it belonged on the Eric Andre Show.

– Next Evolution Wrestling, based out of North Carolina, are forced to cancel a show due to the pandemic. They tweet out an altered version of the event poster, which has the COVID-19 cell pasted on top and the words “CANCELLED DO TO A SUCCESSFUL MEDIA CAMPAIGN OF FEAR”. That spelling is verbatim, BTW.

– As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough to deal with, WWE sent a Cease & Desist to Freelance Wrestling over their up-coming ‘In Our Warehouse’ show. Small-minded, two-bit, nickel & dime WWE. Fucking scroungers.

– In this time of dire need, Independent promotions, wrestlers and even fans themselves launch DIY programs and social media campaigns to raise money and awareness for all who will lose money and bookings due to ‘Mania weekend being cancelled. Punk to the very end, brilliant stuff.

– During this weird time where WWE and AEW are filming their weekly shows in front of empty venues, AEW are the ones who allude to the real world and why this is all happening, which makes their programming so much more tolerable and humanising than WWE’s weird robotic bubble.

– Despite all their hard work in booking some great looking shows and forging a better perception of themselves, ROH don’t even get the chance to fail or succeeded as all shows running through May 31st are cancelled.

– WrestleCon are finally able to proceed with damage control after the Marriott Hotel agrees to honour the Force Majeure clause. Signal boosting from the likes of Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho and Will Ospreay helped their plight, as well as Gov DeSantis cancelling all events for the next 30 days.

– EPW, a wrestling promotion based in Perth, announce that their catalogue of shows will be free to access until live events are allowed to return. Generous gestures like this keep the spirit of wresting alive during this bleak time.

– Brodie Lee debuts on Dynamite, complete with a video where he calls Christopher Daniels an “out of touch old man that doesn’t understand me”. Quality stuff. He quickly morphs into a Vince McMahon caricature, complete with angry outbursts and a hatred of sneezing. I’m always up for poking fun at Vince, so this is also good.

– Sammy Guevara cements himself as GOAT when he sings along to ‘Judas’ during Chris Jericho’s entrance, causing the man himself to corpse badly.

– GCW raise $12,300 from their 2-night Acid Cup tournament, again in front of no fans. I’m not a real big fan of these no-fans shows (wrestling needs a live audience reacting to the action), but GCW do a better job than WWE at putting on something entertaining whilst not ignoring why they’re in that situation.

– Also the Acid Cup is where Joey Janela and Jimmy Lloyd do battle in a Social Distancing Match, which causes pillocks from across the land to furiously wank off into Jim Cornette’s mentions.

– It’ll get worse in April, but Ryan Satin planted his face firmly in the middle of WWE’s gusty, unwashed, grisly anus with his vehemently pro-WWE takes during March. He’s as far from a real, unbiased journalist that you can get in wrestling.

– WWE splits WrestleMania into two nights, something we’ve been clamouring at for years. It’s just a shame that it’s during a pandemic and being filmed in front of no audience. “Too big for one night!” is the catchphrase slap-dashed on top.

– A lot of folk go out of their way to defend WWE going ahead with ‘Mania, classing it as ‘escapism’. Yep, nothing takes my mind off a worldwide lockdown more than WrestleMania, the Grand Daddy Of ‘Em All, in an empty fucking warehouse.

– WWE has to tape WrestleMania way in advance due to a new mandate from Orange County, which means changes to the originally announced card are expected. WWE are wrapped up with all their top-secret tapings by the Thursday night.

– STARDOM return to doing some live shows with fans in attendance, with every fan under going a physical check before being allowed into the building. Whether they were also subject to having their hard drives checked remains to be seen.

– Jeff Katz decided that the world is distracted and desperate enough to forgive him, so he starts releasing some precious Wrestling Retribution Project matches. Do they live up the $1000,000 Kickstarter dosh? No. It looks like shit. It is shit.

– Freelance have to cancel a show on a day’s notice due to the Shelter In Place act by the Governor of Illinois. Mustafa Ali still donates money to help the promotion and roster recoup costs.

– Good guy Shelton Benjamin shows support for independent wrestlers and promotions by publicly encouraging fans to buy their merch. What a lad. It’s no wonder he was never given that world title run. He’s just too good.

– Despite having a pregnant wife at home, Daniel Bryan still has to go to Orlando for WWE tapings and has to isolate after getting back home. Each and every time. Stop it, Dan. C’mon.

– Braun Strowman logs on and has a rant about indie lads and the likes of Evil Uno asking for support during this perilous time. His ravings simply boil down to “Stop being poor”. Yes, he is a gun-loving republican who probably throws axes at the NHS logo stapled to oil barrels.

– Gronk, some NFL guy that no one outside of the NFL fandom gives two shits about, debuts energetically on Smackdown in front of an empty performance centre. It’s cringe and terrible and even more cringe. He’s the host of ‘Mania too. Gold help us.

– New Japan cancels Sakura Genesis and the Dontaku shows. AEW also cancel more shows heading into May.

– Seeing at NXT: Takeover was cancelled, the matches were taped in the giant taping block at the Performance Centre for broadcast throughout April.

– Proving that even the NXT-UK lads have some heart, Eddie Dennis offers his services and experience as a school teacher to help out with anyone struggling with home schooling.

– Roman Reigns pulls out of his WrestleMania match with Goldberg. He’s immunocompromised so it’s a very smart and very understandable move to make. The entitled WWE Universe don’t think so, and Reigns has to film an Instagram video to further explain his decision to not take part.

– Other WWE wrestlers who are heavily rumoured to be in isolation, whether that’s by WWE’s demands or their own, are The Miz, Rey Mysterio and Dana Brooke.

– Rusev pledges $20,000 to all WWE staff who may need it during the pandemic. All of the best WWE lads are proving their worth during this lockdown.

– Brodie Lee does the usual tell-all post-WWE exit interview with Chris Jericho. Ryan Satin, looking for every positive spin he can find, highlights the story of Vince McMahon demanding that the Bludgeon Bros hammers be taken on his private jet to Saudi to make sure they arrive and aren’t confiscated. Mmmm, the taste of boots.

– After debuting on Dynamite. Matt Hardy confronts Chris Jericho in a totally bizarre segment where he teleports across an empty arena. It was shit.

– AEW announces the creation of a championship: The TNT Title, and there’s a tournament set to crown the first champion. And yes, it is weird that they named the title after their TV station, and that may become more weird if they move stations down the line.

– Download Festival, one of the UK’s biggest music festivals, is cancelled and takes the NXT-UK tapings kicking and screaming with it. A silver lining, at last.

– Teddy Hart is arrested AGAIN The charges this time? Strangulation Resulting In Bodily Harm. PROMOTERS: STOP BOOKING THIS SHITHEAD.

– The grave of CM Punk’s WWE career has a few more shovels of dirt thrown in when WON reports that Vince has no interest in bringing him back and has labelled Punk as the one man he can’t do business with. Punk’s lukewarm return to Backstage hasn’t helped matters and not even Heyman pushed for his return.

– Korakuen Hall bans spectators from all shows, which is a massive blow to smaller promotions who still need ticket sales to survive.

– At a Pro Wrestling NOAH 20th Anniversary Show, Go Shiozaki defeats Kazuyuki Fujita in a match that goes just under an hour. The first half of this match consisted of the two staring each other down, before taking a tour of Korakuen Hall. This match was…divisive, to say the least.

– Despite Roman Reigns pulling out of ‘Mania and even releasing a video on Instagram explain it, WWE was still advertising Roman vs Goldberg for WrestleMania on the go-home RAW.

– The final Wrestle-1 show has to go ahead with no fans in attendance. A sad state of affairs.

– The WON votes The Young Bucks as Tag Team Of The Decade. As everyone is stuck at home, the wrestling bubble slash each others throats in bloody, gruesome keyboard combat, attacking and defending this award. My opinion? The Young Bucks are great and are well-deserving of the accolade.

– NXT-UK Takeover: Dublin (Jesus wept) is postponed until October 25th. Not far away enough for my liking. Surprise surprise, it’s the same date as a PROGRESS Ballroom show. Coincidence, probably. Best mates, them lot. Close pals.

– In the middle of a fucking pandemic, Jimmy Havoc sticks his hand in Cody’s mouth and grabs his tongue. Cody then shakes hands with Tony Schiavone and gives Brandi a big ol’ kiss straight after his match with Havoc. In the middle of a fucking pandemic.

– FOX signs a WWE deal to offer ‘Mania as a PPV, priced at $60. I have no idea who on Earth would pay that ludicrous amount, but it’ll be the biggest flex of all time.

– Austin Theory gets fast-tracked to RAW and a WreslteMania spot, only to miss Montez Ford’s massive somersault plancha, with Ford smacking off the floor with a thud. Theory clearly went to the Miz school of catching dives. According to Brian Alvarez, this was an unplanned spot and Theory had no idea what was coming.

– Kento Miyahara’s epic 519 All Japan Triple Crown title run is ended by Suwama. Miyahara was only 10 days away from beating Kawada’s 529 day reign. This would’ve placed Kento with the second longest Triple Crown reign, with Misasa still being first at 705 days.

– During this pandemic, the go-home RAW rating sinks to 1.924 million viewers. The third hour is down to 1.646 million, which was the lowest rating ever, even including holidays. Makes you wonder if putting all those guys and girls at risk is worth it (answer: no, it isn’t).

– AEW vs NXT results for the end of March: AEW leads 21-3-1

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