Happy New Year! Welcome to the July 2020 WrestleWipe thread!
What was bad? What was ugly? Was anything actually good?
Only one way to find out…
My podcast reviewing old indie wrestling tournaments is now live! Listen, subscribe & relive the glory years of independent wrestling.
Before we start, there will be references to Speaking Out here. Whilst I won't go into much detail, there are stories regarding the likes of Matt Riddle, Joey Ryan and Mike Quackenbush so please use this as a trigger warning forward.
Lets roll on with the July Wipe!
– New Japan announce a Twitter Q&A with Zack Sabre Jr. The Q&A is quickly cancelled and the initial tweet is deleted due to a massive surge in questions about Speaking Out and Zack’s stance on the matter.
– In what would be the least surprising news of July, Austin Aries made an absolute fucking fool of himself again. You know that rule about a bad TV show season cancelling out a good season until it's all terrible (eg The Simpsons), does this apply to ex-ROH champions too?
– The wrestling world is brought back to some normalcy when SANADA competes in the New Japan Cup tournament with a Skull End so loose you could park a fucking jumbo jet in it.
– Taz refers to AEW not running a "sloppy shop" on Dynamite, with Brian Cage making a gun gesture behind him. WON reports that this was taken as a shot at WWE's COVID outbreak & upset some people in WWE. You may hate it but fuck I love this petty shit. WRESTLING WARS, BABY!
– A proposed UK law that would close a loophole around football trainers being able to have sexual relationships with students between the ages of 16-18 is set to be amended following Speaking Out to also cover pro wrestling trainers. It’s said to be coming in 2021.
– WWE buys out EVOLVE, which includes the rights to use the branding on shows & full ownership of the video library. WWE loved EVOLVE's presentation of indie wrestling in front of quiet crowds in gyms & halls as it fits their "big leagues are better" narrative.
– The Wrestling Observer confirms that Kari Sane will be returning to Japan after her contract lapsed. It's a massive shame as she's a helluva talent and has all the tools to be a massive crossover star, but like 99% of all NXT hopefuls, WWE had no idea what to do with her.
– ON JULY THE FUCKING THIRD, WWE begin official enforcement of masks worn by everyone off-camera. It would later come out that these restrictions & more came into place due to Kevin Owens lobbying for more COVID-aware attitudes backstage.
– Unable to secure the trademark for GREAT AMERICAN BASH from WWE, Cody ‘And Brandi’ Rhodes settles for a logo that reads THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE CODY in a very similar style to the classic GAB logo.
– Austin Aries further cements his fucking stupidity by going live on social media to talk about the hows, whys & whodunnits of COVID being a hoax. He looks like he’s aged 20 years since we last saw him wrestle in November 2019, most likely due to his big galaxy brain worms.
– As a complete 180 to Aries, Toshiaki Kawada declares infection control measures for his restaurant, like not allowing in customers who don't wear masks. Well that's the All Japan vs ROH argument sorted out then.
– Seven months after her main roster push, Shayna Baszler is taping matches for WWE Main Event. Most of us have accepted that NXT stars are reduced to nothing in WWE, but it still sucks to see. All those fans thinking Adam Cole will be a huge WWE star are in for a shock.
– Mayor KANE, the one guy you'd think who would advocate for masks, votes against a mask mandate in Knox County, Tennessee. The mask mandate still goes through though as ol'Glenn was the only one who shot it down.
– AEW starts to allow a small number of fans to their shows. Some fans are given a temperature check and are required to wear a mask, and there are buffer zones to separate these fans from those who are actually fully tested.
– GCW run a socially-distanced backyard wrestling show, which involved much blood, violence, scaffold bumps, handguns, fork lifts, cringe meme wrestlers and a dude getting hit by a car and having his dick presumably blown off by fireworks.
– Kelly Klein talks about how ROH released a small-time indie wrestler for harassing a female roster member, but how ROH still covered up several sexual harassment complaints about Jay Lethal. Lethal would go on to defend himself on Twitter via notes app screenshot.
– BIG BRAIN WWE begin the build to Seth Rollins vs Rey Mysterio in an EYE FOR AN EYE match at EXTREME RULES: THE HORROR SHOW (in July). Yep, one of these men will wrestle until the loser is missing an eyeball. What fucking timeline is this?
– Heath Slater appears on RAW, after being released in April, in an angle with McIntyre before he is booted off WWE screens for good. Heath really should’ve gotten more for eating shit for a decade. Real nice way to play up needlessly firing your workers during a pandemic.
– Nick Gage pops onto Cameo and almost immediately starts filming incredible statements about trans rights because he is the fucking GOD OF THIS SHIT! Murder Death Kill Gang! Eastern Block! Gang Affiliated! MDK ALL FUCKING DAY! The King! Nick FUCKING Gage!
– WrestleCade, a 3-day wrestling fest set to take place in North Carolina in November, is cancelled due to the pandemic. The organiser states that all guests & vendors will be refunded, & that they “want to be part of the solution & not a part of the problem”. Nice one, lads.
– Riddle tweets a video in defence of his accusations (whilst also admitting to having an affair with the accuser) & says he had a restraining order against the victim for two years despite photos showing them together a year ago…Oh, the video is 'liked' by Jordan Devlin.
– Keith Lee makes history by becoming the first wrestler to simultaneously hold both the NXT North American title and the NXT World Heavyweight title.
– IPW:UK, who were at the centre of some horrific Speaking Out accusations, try to do damage control by selling IPW:UK branded t-shirts with the "profits" going to "charity", which is probably a scheme to recoup the costs of that WrestleMania weekend show that drew 20 people.
– NXT Great American Bash defeats AEW Fyter Fest in the continuing ratings war, 759,000 to 715,000, proving that fierce patriotism and nostalgia will always beat old memes & out-of-date references.
– ZERO 1 is bought out by a new company and will be providing free off charge COVID antibody tests at their future shows.
– Minoru Suzuki develops a fever and is pulled from New Japan events whilst he recovers. We all join hands as a wrestling community and pray for a COVID-negative diagnosis and a speedy recovery.
– WON reports that Vince McMahon doesn't "conceptually grasp" Shayna Baszler's style and that she doesn't "check his buttons" when it comes to what he likes in the women's division, hence her push ending abruptly in May, her two month absence & sporadic July appearances.
– A few promotions post statements pledging to do better after Speaking Out but lacking essential transparency, which stems from the problematic secrecy of wrestling, so you have wrestling schools announcing opening dates whilst "finalising policies". It's not a good sign.
– Fighting Spirit puts out a vague statement regarding their safeguarding polices in which they mention how they're not "virtue signalling on twitter". The statement is deleted soon afterwards & is a clear indicator of what some UK promoters think of Speaking Out.
– "I wouldn’t say it's helped the UK scene. I would say it’s helped the wrestlers who have been signed, but outside of that, I don’t think it’s been beneficial." – Stu Bennet talking about NXT-UK in an interview with 411Mania. Hindsight is truly marvellous, isn't it?
– Over at NJPW, things are looking very normal as over the space of two days; EVIL turns heel, joins Bullet Club with a debuting Dick Togo & defeats Naito for the double crown whilst being horrendously boring and all-round crap. Yep, nothing to see here, everything is normal.
– During a live stream, Rusev lets loose that he has COVID and the same day Lana would reveal that both parents also have COVID. Ah, pro wrestling; the world's most hygienic contact pseudo-sport.
– The far right-wing underbelly of WWE has always been visible, but the culture of red-pilling and QAnon schooling takes a big upswing in July with Drake Younger and Bobby Fish hitting the child trafficking lectures hard on social media and in real life meet-ups.
– NOAH posts information about participation at Korakuen Hall shows. This includes; no shouting or chanting, social distancing, no banners, no streamers, no intervals and no gifts will be accepted by the wrestlers.
– Tammy Sytch finds herself in jail once again when she is arrested for driving whilst suspended and eluding a police officer. Boy, the lengths that ex-wrestlers go to get that thrill again.
– Remember TRUST Wrestling? Well it turned out to be a co-opted vanity project by people in wrestling who wanted to control the narrative, including one person who defended Bubblegum for entering into a relationship with a 17 year old trainee. It all pipes down within a week.
– Will Ospreay, who became a big focus for Speaking Out frustrations, reveals on Instangram that he came close to suicide. The outcry against Will is very understandable & demanding answers is good, but hoping he paralyses himself in the ring or kills himself is vile behaviour.
– All in all, BritWres is in a dogshit state of disrepair; there's a thick layer of "Can't we just enjoy wrestling?" to go along with all the bullshit 'anti-bullying' lines & wrestlers using any link they can to associate themselves with the unfortunate passing of Hana Kimura.
– AEW announce that they'll be supporting the Florida COVID operations by releasing a Fight For The Fallen charity t-shirt, with ALL PROCEEDS going towards the First Coast Relief Fund and Feeding Northeast Florida.
– After shutting down CHIKARA & his students/colleagues making measures to distance themselves from him, Mike Quackenbush goes on record to say, “It does feel like a couple weeks ago like a mob ran into our house, lit it on fire and ran out”. Riiiiight.
– Video is posted showing Ricochet, Moose & others practising backflips at the TEAM VISION DOJO, the school run by infamous slot badger, Chasyn Rance (who was also in attendance) .Moose defends the nonce video by doing the "STOP BEING SO NEGATIVE!" routine & Ricochet plays dumb.
– To the surprise of no one, when notable wrestling journalists would comment & report on the Chasyn Kids/Moose/ Ricochet saga, Impact Wrestling fans get really defensive and weird and oh my fucking God why are Impact Wrestling fans always so terrible.
– Chris Jericho gets into a back and forth with Sebastian Bach, where the Skid Row frontman ruthlessly owns Jericho by mocking his hair and his habit of miming songs at gigs.
– Born-again Christian Penis Wrestler Joey Ryan posts an hour long video where he tries to defend himself against all the allegations made against him. It doesn't go well, obviously.
– Eric Young debuts for NWA-TNA at Slammiversary as a surprise replacement for either Micheal Elgin or Tessa Blanchard. Also at Slammiversary, the Motor City Machine Guns answer The Rascalz open challenge. This would be Chris Sabin’s first match since January 2019.
– At EXTREME RULES: THE SUMMER HORROR SHOW IN JULY, Seth Rollins successfully extracts Rey Mysterio's eye by pressing Rey's face into the steel steps. Rey is seen holding a rubber eyeball against his mask whilst Seth throws up near the barricade. Honest to fucking God.
– WWE accidentally books Aleister Black to win every one of his televised singles matches for an entire year. Seth Rollins then beats him on RAW in 11 minutes with no mention of his streak at all. WWE had their new Undertaker handed to them on a plate & they still fucked it up.
– CZW alumni Z-Barr sadly passes away.
– Mark Haskins tweets that he wants everything to go back to normal so he can wrestle in front of crowds. It's a naive move, & I believe Haskins was genuinely tweeting about COVID, but he should've realised how tone deaf his "I WANT RESSLIN BACK UWU" act comes across.
– The King Of Pro Wrestling title is born (a comedy championship with different stips for each qualifying match) and thus New Japan continues to cope with the pandemic by alienating it's audience.
– Ricochet gets lumped into the Akira Tozawa ninja storyline, battling over the 24/7 title and appearing in sketches to make an extremely old man laugh through his steak wraps. WWE have possibly the most stacked roster of all time and have no idea what to do with it. It's insane.
– Eddie Kingston makes a surprise debut for AEW when he challenges Cody for his TNT title & cuts two great promos (but what's new?!). He'd be signed by AEW before July ended & it's a genuine feel good wrestling moment after a month of sheer bleakness.
– Over on NXT, William Regal puts the newly-vacant North American championship on the line in ANOTHER ladder match. To make it even better, all the entrants have to qualify by winning triple threat matches. Regal has obviously been binging his CZW Best Of The Best tapes.
– Sammy Guevara returns to AEW after his suspension. Tony Khan comments on the matter, saying, "He’s shown that he’s very sorry & that he can change. He’s spent every day over the past month trying to prove that.”.
– On the AEW post-show, Taz and JR talk about WWE's lack of self-awareness and the absurd nature of them not talking about the real world situation. JR also adds; "Why is there even a choice on Wednesday night? Ya know, DVR NXT. Watch it later, our shit's better.".
– During an interview with Pat McAfee on the American Sports Personality’s podcast, Adam Cole storms out after Pat throws jibes at Cole’s title run and stature. Cole even drops some FUCKS like a grown ass man. Even then, it still came across a cringey worked-shoot.
– He came…he saw…he became a weed-soaked sponge with real bad political opinions! Val Venis takes to Twitter to say “Black lives matter is equal to the KKK!”. Big galaxy brain thoughts there from the man with no dick.
– SHLAK posts a video denying his affiliation with nazis. This comes after evidence mounted against him, such as old photos of him with nazis & an earlier video where he said “fuck Nazi Shit & fuck Antifa”. It seems like he’s turned a corner, & I hope he has, but be cautious.
– Avert your eyes! Enzo Amore launches his own "wrestling school" on OnlyFans! That's right, come learn professional wrestling from the man who can't exit the ring without getting concussed, and then have a sneaky wank afterwards.
– After being linked with AEW's high ratings in the 18-49 demo, & talking about the NXT-beating demographic during AEW Dynamite, Chris Jericho launches his own DEMO GOD 18:49 t-shirt in an undercover sting to collect the personal details of potential bush dodgers.
– Lio Rush makes his return to the independent scene when he sneak attacks Joey Janela at a GCW show. Rush was disguised as Yoshihiko's anonymous morphsuit assistant in an awesome angle.
– Andy Quildan does a 4 hour podcast about Speaking Out. On one hand he was the only big BritWres promoter to put himself out there, which is commendable, but there were concerns about him openly discussing the accusations, & he often bordered on likening it to Cancel Culture.
– Due to the financial difficulties presented by the pandemic, DDT and NOAH merge into a subsidiary of Cyber Agent called Cyber Fight. Both promotions will still be separate from each other though, so dream matches such as Danshoku Dino vs Takashi Sugiura will have to wait.
– The Yorkshire Evening Post runs an article on Speaking Out where, due to the two minutes of Twitter research & interviewing one of the accused wrestlers, they compared Speaking Out to online bullying & trolling. The article is eventually taken down after several complaints.
– The CHIKARA twitter account is suspended, most likely due to Quack unfollowing everyone and Twitter automatically detecting it as suspicious activity. Well, they're half-right.
– The former Zack Ryder, Matt Cardona, makes his AEW debut in the Impact Zone by coming to the aid of Cody Rhodes and fending off The Dark Order. It's my second favourite Ryder moment, with first place going to him furiously whipping off his dad's hat at WrestleMania.
– TEE JAY PEE logs on to say that he has NEVER learnt anything from having in-ring experience with a 'name' wrestler. The man has wrestled Jushin fucking Liger, and believes that he learnt nothing from that confrontation. I cannot describe how easily dunkable TJP is.
– Texas reaches 400,000 COVID cases, thus becoming the fourth state to reach such a critical number. Ex-WWE dweeb Tyler Reks sees this a great opportunity to film himself walking around shops without wearing a mask as he's now he's a big old ex-WWE anti-masker dweeb.
– PROGRESS overhaul their HR & safe guarding team and release a new set of written procedures. It's a positive step after a month of real bad decisions, but we'll see how they shape up when it comes to booking shows again and whether certain wrestlers are involved.
– Some old PWG footage of Excalibur dropping a racial slur comes to the forefront & the AEW announcer is suspended. The footage was from the very early 00's & Excalibur had already recently apologised & expressed regret for it.
– Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco sadly passes away.
The big brains at NXT gift Ricochet’s somersault stick-the-landing spot to known high-flyer Dexter Lumis, in a clearly edited moment during a triple-threat match with Finn Balor and Timothy “Deserves Better Than This” Thatcher. Wrestling is dead.
– Mom-&-Pop WWE have a good quarter due to their in-house production & taping schedule during the pandemic. According to WON, they profited over £43 million, which is $30 million above their expectations. Tell me again WWE diehards; why did they fire so many people back in April?
And this concludes the July 2020 WrestleWipe! I hope you enjoyed this waltz through time. Please share and all that good stuff.