WrestleWipe 2020: May

– The Santino Brothers close down their wrestling school due to having no monthly income during lockdown.

– Big Japan unveil their crowd funding campaign with hopes of making through the lockdown season in one piece.

– ROH cancels all the events scheduled for June due to COVID-19 to keep wrestlers, fans and staff safe.

– Governor of Florida Rod Desantis announces that Florida is open for business, meaning that WWE can continue with their shows, & can even look for venues in FL to have live fans. It also means that Florida indies can start up again, including Chasyn Rance’s peado wrestling ring.

– Ian Rotten, the incredibly clean and wholesome wrestling promoter, lets the world know that IWA-MS plans to run FOUR shows in June, just mere days after Indiana reduce the restrictions.

One show? Fine. Four of the fuckers? And by IWA-MS, at that? Christ alive.

– In another massive casualty of COVID, GCW is forced to cancel their junkyard joint show with Zona 23.

– RAW hits a 1.560 rating for the third hour, which borders on what Dynamite pulled in during AEW’s first shows.

– Some lad called Brendan Vink pinned Ricochet on RAW in a tag team match. Yeah, I am not making that name up. Brendan…Vink. Over fucking Ricochet. What the fuck…

– NJPW cancels the Best Of The Super Jrs tour, which would’ve gone ahead between May 12th and June 6th.

– Enzo Amore, bright spark that he is, has a rant about wearing masks during a pandemic. He states that his parents have Corona but believes the best way to protect kids is to NOT wear masks. Is common sense also something they don’t teach, mate?

– Former announcer Chris Cruise, tired of nobody knowing he is as and begging for a job with Vinne Mac, tells on AEW to the Maryland State Athletic Commission for using weapons and blood in the Omega vs Moxley match at Full Gear. AEW are fined $10,000 & people still don’t know who Chris Cruise is (apart from being a fucking cop caller).

– CZW is forced to cancel their up-coming annual Tournament Of Death due to, believe it or not, safety concerns during a pandemic. Who’d a thunk it?!

– Scarlett Bordeaux and Karrion Kross debut on NXT, with a really over-the-top choreographed entrance. Which is fine and all, and it’s certainly a look, but Scarlett’s lip syncing during the entrance was embarrassingly bad. Minus points to whoever suggested and okayed that one.

– AEW holds TV takings in Jacksonville, and they coincide with UFC’s 249 event in the same vicinity. Ariel Helwani reports that most of the staff and talent from both companies are sharing the same hotel, and three days later Jacare Souza tests positive for COVID-19.

– Rumours about AEW’s leadership also appear around this time. Apparently Tony Khan took December to mull over the dire status of Dynamite & took more control of AEW’s booking/creative direction in 2020, which caused the Bucks to begin sulking & being distant & hard to contact.

– Jake Roberts cuts a really uncomfortable promo on Dynamite where lays on top of Brandi Rhodes in the missionary position. Creepy, needless shit, even when we’re not in a pandemic.

– Total good boy & very nice person Brad Sheppard is fired from his postilion at Pro Sports Extra, with PWS citing reasons such as Brad starting a wrestling group & filling it with fake bloggers, & realising that there are more people who hate him than there are real fans of his.

– Wrestlenomics reports that WWE is on track to record massive profits for 2020, and it may be WWE’s most profitable year to date. I’m sure WWE upper-management will pass this cash around to the wrestlers and staff, and make sure everyone’s job is secure…

– Roman Reigns reveals that he isn’t back as he’s trying to protect his family & children (as well as himself due to his impaired immune system). What a top bloke. WWE continues to avoid mentioning him wherever possible though, including editing clips from the past to remove him.

– In what had to be an undercover sting operation to lure sweaty wrestling fans into a woman’s DMs, Charly Caruso tweets out her phone number. I’m sure this went very well.

– Former XPW wrestler Supreme sadly passes away at the age of 49.

– Chris Jericho records a message for Triple H’s 25th anniversary, where he sarcastically mocks their chemistry and matches. Fantastic work.

– Kazuchika Okada donates 5 million Yen (around £37,000) to the Nippon Foundation’s COVID relief fund.

Alberto Del Rio is arrested for physically and sexually abusing his partner, and then threatening to take her son and “drop him off in the middle of the road somewhere.” Hope the prick fucking rots, to be perfectly honest.

– After severing ties with WWE and much of the wrestling circuit last year, ACH says that he’s regretful in the way that he handled the situation but feels like he is in a good place after some time to reflect. Those WWE t-shirts are still the dirt worse though.

– New Japan postpones their up-coming Wrestle Dynasty MSG show to a TBA date in 2021.

– Ever the mature and healthy company, WWE edit out Roman Reigns from a video package that shows Seth Rollins cashing in his MITB briefcase and winning the WWE title during the Lesnar vs Roman match at WrestleMania 31.

– The Revival have the traditional post-WWE podcast interview with Chris Jericho only to serve up a dull, lifeless chat that falls incredibly short of the Moxley and Brodie interviews. Very disappointing.

– Former WWE champion Kofi Kingston, who won the big strap in an emotional, culturally important match at last year’s WrestleMania (before shortly dropping in to Lesnar in mere seconds), goes onto an interview to talk about how ‘special’ WWE’s tag team division is. Christ.

– Irony strikes the Wrestling Observer when they have to issue an apology for accidentally referring to Akira Tozawa as “Tajiri” in their coverage of Jerry Lawler’s “Ramen Noodle” comment the month prior.

– The Money In The Bank match is a gigantic mess of cringe ‘comedy’ and an accurate representation of WWE’s stagnant creative output and direction. This was an embarrassing display of bad ideas, bad direction and a frustrating lack of self-awareness. Fucking awful, all round.

– During the MITB match, Baron Corbin throws Mysterio and Black off a roof, seemingly to their deaths. There are cartoon sound effects added to in post. Black and Msyterio would appear unharmed on the very next RAW.

– Also, Bray Wyatt is defeated by Braun Strowman, who put on his old goat mask while Bray hammed it up in the ring, but it was a distraction for Braun to win with his slam. It was also shit. Very, very shit. There’s no justification for how shit everything was on this show.

– Seth Rollins takes out Rey by injuring his eye and WWE runs a storyline about this ‘critical injury’. THE MAN WAS THROWN OFF A FUCKING THE ROOF THE PREVIOUS NIGHT, FOR FUCKS SAKE.

– TJP logs on to spew some COVID conspiracy bollocks, only to be dunked on by everyone, and for all those dunks to be liked by ‘Good Lad’ Kevin Owens.

– The night after MITB, Becky Lynch reveals on RAW that she is pregnant and awards the Women’s title to MITB briefcase winner Asuka. It’s a very rare, emotional, organic scene from WWE and apparently Asuka had no idea it was going to happen.

– WWE kickstarts the promotion and hype machine for Edge vs Orton 2: THE GREATEST WRESTLING MATCH EVER, and they will escalate the hype further and further with each passing week. The stock in Edge’s comeback plummeted harder and faster than the Gobbelygooker.

– Michael Elgin has a big ol’ moan on Twitter about how he doesn’t like wrestling anymore, how everyone is “so soft”, and how fans and outsiders dictate how wrestlers should act. He would later claim that he was just tweeting in-character. Riiiggghhhtttt.

– WWE fans prove themselves to happily brainwashed mutants when the opinion of Otis being the “new Dusty Rhodes” is widely circulated online and readily agreed with. Fucking hell.

– After signing Rachael Ellering and barely using her (she worked the NXT house show loop and dark matches), WWE releases her (after she spent a year out with a torn ACL) as part of their COVID budget cuts.

– NOAH cancels their June 14th Korakuen Hall event due to the pandemic.

– AEW hit’s their lowest TV rating with 654,000 viewers despite being up 25% in the females 12-34 demographic.

– Keeping the boring ratings talk going, NXT’s see-through aesthetic as the hip, cool show for young adults is clearly working as they continue to lose all the key demos to AEW Dynamite apart from the all-important adults over 50 demographic.

– Jim Cornette goes on a massive rant during his podcast about how Becky Lynch chose to have a baby than make a million dollars a year, conveniently forgetting that her partner is Seth fucking Rollins, who has more than enough cash flow to help compensate for that. What a creep.

– CZW continues it’s wholesome programming with PPVs like CZW GIRLZ: TOP HEAVY AND TOUGH, CZW GIRLZ: ALL ASSETS REVEALED & CZW GIRLZ: HOT & SWEATY COMBAT. CZW issue a non-apology on this, saying that the media distributor has the right to utilise their footage without limitation.

– Undertaker (or Mrs Undertaker with his Twitter password), in all the hype of his right-wing t-shirts getting attention in the The Last Ride, decides to become very online by vanity searching his ring name and talking about THE FLAG USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

– DDT re-brands it’s on-demand service from DDT Universe to Wrestle Universe, and now houses NOAH, Ganbare Pro and Tokyo Joshi Pro.

– PROGRESS cancels the Super Strong Style 16, all their UK shows up until September and their US tour.

– With CZW’s name out there for being really skuzzy, more wrestlers tell their tales of dealing with the company & DJ Hyde, including Hyde booking hotel rooms with women so he can “cuddle with them” & former ref Kris Levin talking about the incredibly toxic atmosphere & bullying.

– After a well received match vs Daniel Bryan on Smackdown, Drew Gulak is released by WWE as his contract expired. WON reports that Gulak asked for more money & WWE declined, leaving Gulak on the open market without a 90-day no-compete clause.

He’s quickly rehired 2 weeks later.

– Sami Zayn is stripped of the IC title (as he’s being a good lad & staying at home during a pandemic). The Observer reports that WWE aren’t happy with Zayn exercising his option to stay at home…y’know, the option that they gave to all their staff without fear of reprisal.

– After being released, Lio Rush alludes to being done with the wrestling business for the foreseeable future, and more permanently for WWE. He also noted in an interview with Forbes the utter lack of African-American representation in WWE’s backstage crew.

– Wrestling reviewer mainstay Larry Csonka sadly passes away. Wrestling fans and wrestlers have raised over $38,000 to date in order to help Larry’s family.

– John Oliver rips into WWE on ‘Last Week Tonight’ for their continued, consistent clumsy handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

– In the lead up to the Owen Hart Dark Side Of The Ring, Martha Hart goes on Talk Is Jericho to reveal the hellish legal battles with Vince McMahon’s unlimited supply of lawyers. During this, Vincels spew bile about Martha & how “OWEN NEEDS TO BE IN THE HOF!!!”. Fucking gross.

– NJPW senior guy Harold Meij conducts a charming online address, where he doubled down on wrestler/staff safety as the number one priority in regards to live events. Meij also mentions terms such “pandemic” & “Coronavirus” instead of “current events” & “current circumstances”.

– Francis Kaspin, wXw regular and up-and-comer, announces hit retirement due to a herniated disk in his lower back.

– Stardom announces that Arisa Hoshiki has officially retired due to neck and head injuries. Her Wonder Of Stardom title is relinquished.

– WWE’s Vice President Of Global Television Production, Michael Mansury, leaves the comp[any after giving in his notice several months prior. This is another blow to the Paul Levesque regime as he was part of his inner-circle, and was unofficially dubbed as the “next Kevin Dunn”.

A piece on PROGRESS’s hefty bank balance causes a stir (they’d been asking for fan donations & begging for merch buys over the past month), causing Brit Wrestlers to ask the wrong questions & conjure up weird arguments about fans not being fans anymore.

– Shad Gaspard sadly passes away whilst swimming with his son in Venice, LA. He was swept away by a rip current, but in one last selfless act made sure his son was rescued by lifeguards first. It’s a massive tragedy that sweeps the wrestling world.

– Matt Striker is a contestant on a new reality TV show called ‘Labour Of Love’, where a group of men try to win the affection of a woman who is desperate to have a baby. Yes, you read that right; Matt Striker competing in a reality TV show to shoot his load & win a baby.

– The Owen Hart Dark Side Of The Ring breaks VICE TV records, & the lack of immediate investigation around Owen’s death garners mainstream attention. More WWF nutters flood social media, begging for Owen to be inducted in WWE’s HOF so they can have him as DLC in WWE 2KWankFest.

– WWE’s hellspawn shitbag Jerry McDeviit comments on Martha Hart; “(she) was not even remotely interested in finding out what happened that night; she just wanted to use it as a vehicle to beat up a business that she didn’t like that her husband was in.”

– Marty Jannetty goes on FaceBook to ask whether or not a girl looks 20 & get opinions on his plans to head to Alabama to have sex with her AND her mother. In another twist to the story, it’s revealed that someone was just trying to catfish Jannetty and that the girl was 16.

– CJ Banks drops some worrying tweets that feature several racial slurs. It’s later revealed that he was suffering with mental health issues and was apparently was in a bad place, and thus a discussion arises on how much mental health plays into someone spewing offensive terms-

– During an episode of The Last Dance, Sandman appears out of nowhere to celebrate Michael Jordan’s 6th ring

– Drake Maverick secures his place in the Counterweight Championship finals by defeating Kushida and Tony Neese. Oh boy.

Fans and wrestlers raise over $155,000 for the Shad Gaspard Family Fund.

– Mauro Ranallo refers to Damien Priest as the “Toxic Toxophilite”. This commentary audio actually aired on the USA Network during a two-hour episode of a professional wrestling show called NXT, where actual people with actual ears heard it and processed it.

– After attempting to use the name THE REVOLT, ex-WWE superstars The Revival are sent a ‘cease and desist’ by established indie tag team The Revolt. The Mechanics then issue an apology and stated that they “never interned to use the name as a team’. Sure thing, lads.

– Brian Cage debuts at Double Or Nothing, winning a ladder match with weird battle royal rules to become the number one contender to the AEW title.

– Also at DoN, COdy defeats Lance Archer to become the first AEW TNT champion, complete with a nasty looking belt that wasn’t even finished. Like, you couldn’t have found a solution in this fake predetermined industry to work your way round that??

– Mike Tyson, acting as an enforcer during the Cody vs Archer match, is shown yawning on-screen during the engaging contest. Almost on queue, he is then shown afterwards suddenly all engaged and emoting.

– AEW hold their own madcap DDT-style match at DoN and, with the exception of some very questionable stuff with Matt Hardy being dunked in a pool, it’s a rousing success. Fresh, innovative, exciting and with little-to-no embarrassment for any fans watching. Wonderful stuff.

– Crap comedian Tom Segura does a bit mocking wrestling. It’s not my kind of comedy (It’s lowest-common denominator shite) but Satin, wrestling fans & wrestlers throw their dummies out over someone taking the piss out of this very serious sport involving men in their underpants.

– In an interviewer, Undertaker does indeed confirm the long-lasting rumour that has had forums and social media battling for decades; he is indeed afraid of cucumbers, especially cut-up cucumbers.

– Ricochet, still plugging away at Main Event, goes online to talk about how thankful he is to be part of the WWE family and bigs up Main Event. He’s thankful for his paycheck, you can’t deny that, but you also can’t deny that the fucker should be in the upper-card of PPVs.

– Hana Kimura passes away at 22 years old due to the incredibly toxic social media around her appearances on reality TV show, Terrace House. It’s a tragic and alarming story that details just how vicious social media can be.

– Shitty professional wrestles will constantly use this horrible tragedy as a way to moan about fans being critical of their work, as if telling someone to die and saying “Well I didn’t really enjoy this match…” are the exact same.

– Rob ‘Why don’t you have a seat?’ Feinstein is caught selling fake autographs of the British Bulldog for $500.

– Tony Khan reveals the original plan for Fyter Fest 2020 was to hold it in London, but this was scuppered by COVID. The UK collectively & openly weeps at this.

– Tony Khan also talks about how the Young Bucks have a “Deadpool inspired” booking approach. A fucking what, mate?

– Sunny has a rant about how she was bullied & called horrific names in the business, and then swerves us all by saying “not ONCE did I ever think of killing myself over it” and how she just made money of it all instead. Get in the fucking trash.

– WWE takes the next steps with their robotic shell of a promotion by filling the PC with NXT wrestlers to act as robotic fans for the RAW, Main Event, 205 Live and Smackdown tapings. No chairs, no pillows, just straight-up standing for hours and hours and hours of WWE content.

– OTT cancels two more of their up-coming shows, as live wrestling seems to be a blurry distant pastime of a generation ago.

– Despite filling their shows now with crowd members, Meltzer reports that WWE still isn’t swab testing at the PC, opting only for temperature tests.

– Jim Cornette rants about AEW’s Stadium Stampede and swears off AEW for good this time! (And he really means it this time, I swear!).

– FTR debut on dynamite on the same show that has Mike Tyson, Vitor Belfort, Henry Cejudo, Rashad Evans and some actor called Mickey Gooch in weird black face paint for some reason. I hope the TV rating was worth it (it wasn’t), because most of this was terrible.

– In the immediate wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police, Washington-based wrestler Rob Rollenbeck takes to FaceBook to demonstrate that the hold applied to Floyd is apparently ‘harmless’, which is easy to say when you’re a white man in a controlled environment.

– On NXT, the Kushida vs Drake vs Atlas match ends with possibly the worst finish of 2020; KUSHIDA catches Atlas in an armbar, & Drake drapes his arm over Atlas at the same time, so the referee counts three for Drake, despite Kushida’s legs also being on top of Atlas. Fuck me.

– We won’t gloss over the Drake Maverick ‘redemption’ story line either, where either it’s all work and extremely tasteless, or it’s legit and speaks volumes about how to stay afloat in a toxic, carnivorous industry.

– Wales-based wrestler Sierra Loxton announces her retirement due to a lower-back injury.

– After being postponed back in March, AJPW announce that the Champion Carnival tourney will be going ahead in September.

– Nigel McGuiness is furloughed by WWE. Remember those high-profit projections laid out by Wrestlenomics? Yeah, real high protections. Very promising.

– Despite being at the high price point of $50 for a wrestling event during a pandemic, Meltzer reports that DoN did well over 100k buys. Well worth the accolades for the Stadium Stampede alone in my very humble, very important opinion.

– Randy Orton begins his online face turn by advocating hard for the BLM movement. Good lad!

– WWE run an incredibly ill-advised angle involving Jeff Hardy getting arrested for an apparent drink driving-related hit and run. He is shown being taken away by a group of police officers whilst Elias is loaded into an ambulance. Holy Christ.

– Bushiroad cut executive salaries in order to ensure no one loses their jobs during the pandemic. With ROH, AEW and Impact firing nobody and actually signing people where they can, WWE are still cutting wrestlers and staff despite their profits looking astronomical.

– Chris Jericho bounces back from his great Trans Rights stance to become problematic once again when he takes a stand for All Lives Matter. He then doubles down by telling people to stop rioting and “spread peace and love instead”.

– Scott Hall gets in on the action too

Wrestle Wipe 2020: April

– April 1st, 2020: The Governor of Florida, Rob DeSantis, issues a stay-at-home order. The new ruling allows for ‘only necessary movements’, and hits in the middle of WWE filming their TV shows and WrestleMania.

– With shows being cancelled, promotions across the world are in big danger of folding due to the lost business & revenue. Smaller promotions in Japan are especially at risk as running live shows is their bread & butter, with Big Japan being one of those really struggling.

– Kylie Ray, once the face of the AEW women’s division and sure to become their red hot underdog babyface, signs a long term deal with Impact Wrestling. I won’t ask any questions about this I’ll will be immediately swamped by Kylie stans, Impact hardcores & those who still refer to the wrestling media as ‘dirthseets’.

– WWE sends out a survey that tests the waters of potentially having fans live stream their reactions onto the screen during RAW via web cam. THANKFULLY, as of August 2020, they haven’t gone through with this monstrous idea. (EDIT: THEY FUCKING DID END UP DOING THIS, BUT ON A LARGER SCALE; THUNDERDOME).

– New Jack’s Dark Side Of The Ring documentary airs, with Jim “BREAKING KAYFABE IS A CRIME” Cornette explaining how blading works.

– All Japan’s 2020 Champion Carnival is cancelled, and New Japan cancels their Wrestling Dontaku shows set for May.

– WWE’s attempts at empty venue wrestling are a disaster of awkwardness, robotic habits and cringe. There’s little-to-no attempt at adapting the shows or matches to work in such a dead atmosphere, which is amazing considering the dead crowds they usually work in front of.

– On NXT, Keith Lee, Damien Priest & Dijakovic do battle in a hilariously awkward three-way that doesn’t work because there’s no crowd to react to all their impressive moves. They even do the spot where they all trade moves & fall down to evoke imaginary “THIS IS AWESOME!” chants.

– Jake Atlas debuts on NXT without any of his rainbow gear and is destroyed by Sam fucking Shaw and his super dumb offence.

– As for AEW, they fare better at putting on something worthwhile (despite having Shawn Spears in the main event) because the company is still somewhat fresh, but good fucking God the antics of Matt Hardy reach boiling point, with the AEW ratings dropping considerably.

– Ryan Satin continues to plead that he is an unbiased wrestling reporter, and adds to his bootlicker resume by defending his time working with noted anti-immigration aficionado ‘Sheriff’ Joe Arpaio on’ Smile…You’re Under Arrest!’, a show about luring felons with outstanding warrants into fake scenarios for the waiting police. Classy.

– So with ‘Mania still scheduled to take place within mere days & Roman Reigns still being advertised for the main event despite pulling out to keep himself & his family safe, HHH explains in an interview that Roman will eventually be removed from the match in a “Unique Manner”.

– HHH goes on to say, “…there’s going to be critics of everything. I think we’re doing this to provide what we believe is an essential service in entertaining our fans”.
Lads I assure you, WWE is not an essential service to anyone, & if it is they should be put on a register.

– Bear in mind that in order to provide this essential service, 18 matches are taped with 45 wrestlers brought in and out the Performance Centre to mingle with the production team and on-site staff.

– Black Label Wrestling raise over $5000 for independent wrestlers due to appear on cancelled shows.

– With ‘Mania already being taped and spoilers being strictly guarded, we do learn from reports that the tapings went overnight from 11pm to 5am. Fuck. Imagine working a ladder match at 2am for a company who do not give a fuck about your own well being.

– It’s also reported that The Miz turned up but didn’t wrestle as he was feeling ill. No word on if he was feeling ill at the time when he arrived. Either way, this is probably what caused Roman to throw his hands up and say “FUCK. THIS”, ever so rightly.

– To make ‘Mania even more of an awkward slog to watch, WWE refuses to announce the complete line-up for any of the nights, meaning you’ll still have to watch both shows if only a few matches tickle your fancy, with traditional PPV demanding $30 per night. The way this company makes even the simplest shit so hard is baffling.

– So, let’s have it it then. Wrestle fucking Mania. The Grand Daddy of them all. Stephanie opened the show & alluded to the “CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES” which is inline with WWE’s ethos of not mentioning the outside world at all (for fear of reminding people that there are better things to do).

– Braun Strowman is announced as Goldberg’s opponent for WrestleMania with no explanation at all. Huh. Really unique, that.

– There’s a ladder match that was probably filmed at 3:30am, with three guys sweating all over each other, taking bumps onto ladders to the sounds of silence and bumps onto off-camera crash pads. Undertaker & AJ had a cheesy fight in someone’s back garden, that split everyone evenly into either “IT’S SO BAD, IT’S GOOD” and “IT’S JUST BAD”.

– You can read about my extended thoughts on the ladder match (which included Kofi Kingston, the man who won the WWE Championship at the previous year’s Mania in an incredibly rewarding moment, now demoted to the mid-card tag division) HERE

– Gronk was there throughout the show to play the annoying twat figure. He dives off a staging area onto a big pile of NXT dweebs (a move which Vince had to do himself to prove it was safe) & ends up winning the 24/7 title, which I’m sure will pay off handsomely for WWE.

– Edge & Randy Orton do battle around the PC in the most overly-long, scenery chewing, boring as fuck Last Man Standing match ever, & it also included a Benoit tribute spot with Edge hanging Orton in a weights machine. This match so bad that it was even mocked by UK media critic Charlie Brooker on national television.

– I just want to reiterate that the Edge vs Orton walk’n’brawl was 36 MINUTES AND 41 SECONDS LONG, & is the 2nd longest match in ‘Mania history. I’m sure Edge isn’t too bothered by this because of his big paycheck, but no one imagines their big comeback match to be something so dull & shite.

– After taking Shayna’s place as the Rumble winner, Charlotte defeats Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s title in booking so politically predictable that my I almost lost consciousness as I buried my head deep into my hands. Rhea then cuts an emotional promo afterwards where she admits that Charlotte is better. Way to build new stars there. Christ.

– Oh, and Braun beat Goldberg for the big strap with little-to-no explanation of why Roman wasn’t there, even on the night. Still, it was only 2 minutes long and is thus automatically the Match Of The Night.

– AEW shuts down temporarily after filming multiple weeks of TV, including most of the TNT title tournament, in someone’s garage in Georgia. A simpler and more ethical way to handle things, but still a bit shit.

– BritWres wunderkid Mad Kurt begins his campaign of showing up the old guard and tripping up the establishment when he upsets Pete Dunne on Twitter, with burner accounts suddenly appearing out of nowhere to call Kurt a bully. NXT-UK; not the way.

– With plans to also pre-tape several weeks worth of content in a single week, WWE lets slip that they’ll be changing the ring ropes, canvas, turnbuckles and aprons between every match. I hope the staff there get paid by the hour.

– Rhea Ripley’s VISA expires and she returns to Australia, where she’ll hopefully think about how she was used at WrestleMania and get real fucking mad about it.

– RAW loses it’s marbles as Aliester Black vs Apollo Crews goes 27:30 and runs through three commercial breaks. I wouldn’t really recommend seeking this one out unless you’re a glutton for punishment.

– It’s 2020 and, after winning the big strap at WrestleMania, Drew McIntyre is challenged by the fucking Big Show, everyone’s favourite up-and-coming rookie.

– Gargano and Ciampa do battle in an NXT-HBK Wankerpiece of cinematic proportions. This was so fucking cringe that my body actually rejected my ability to turn my head away. Holy Christ. One Final Beat? One Final Beat-Off, more like.

– The NXT-UK tapings scheduled for May are cancelled, hopefully for good.

– There’s a whole to-do on Twitter when people are SHOCKED that Cody Rhodes, a rich white straight man from the south, just might have a hint of right-wing about him when he liked a clearly sarcastic post about Sami Zayn’s left-wing views. Twitter never ceases to frustrate me.

– 70 year old Jerry Lawler, who has a history of major, public heart problems, returns as an announcer to RAW. IN THE MIDDLE OF A FUCKING PANDEMIC.

– After months and months of teasing and whining, WWE release The Revival from their contracts, as fans of proper professional tag team wrestling rejoice. They even get a “future endeavours” post with a photo on the main WWE twitter feed. Lucky them!

– Throughout the pandemic, WWE fans online still shower WWE shows with praise for being ‘brave’ and ‘creative’ during all this. “We just want escapism!” they collectively cry, as watered down, over-produced wrestling takes place in-front of an empty warehouse and cold silence.

– Despite putting their performers & staff in danger by going along with these shows, WWE still go through the motions of releasing advice videos regarding COVID safety such as washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes. This, coming from sweaty professional wrestlers.

– WWE tapes a whole episode of Smackdown only for Vince McMahon to scrap it in favour of going live. All these unaired shows are going to make for a hot-seller BLU-RAY in a few years.

– So, instead of just going down the route of doing mass tapings and shutting down completely until the next set, WWE returns to live shows for RAW, Smackdown and NXT. Essential service, remember.

– Without a USA-based cruiserweight champion, WWE announces a tournament to crown a new interim champion with two groups of four battling for the highly prestigious honour.

– Right before they’re due to commence with live shows, WWE confirms a positive COVID-19 case with an on-screen talent. Surely this will have them be more careful now, right? Especially with all their fly-in talent and old timers, Right?

– BTW, shout ” YEAH BUT TV DEALS!!!” at me all you want, but how many meetings did WWE & the TV networks have in order to find a more suitable path through this incredibly delicate and perilous situation? You telling me something couldn’t be worked out? Eat the rich, you fucks.

– In order to give their decision to go live some stability, WWE release a ludicrous statement where they claim that WWE is “woven into the fabric of society” and that they “bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance”. The sheer delusion.

– On RAW, Jerrly Lawler refers to Akira Tozawa’s “ramen noodle moonsault” in an ill-advised line that was edited out of the Hulu version. Oh, you daft racist.

– After shutting down all day-to-day operations, terminating all team & league employees in a 10 minute conference call with no questions taken, & filing for bankruptcy, Vince McMahon puts the XFL up for sale in order to pay off it’s creditors. Oh & he also tries to cheat his partners out of money.

– Vince McMahon joins such luminaries as Dana White, Adam Silver, Jerry Jones, Rob Manfred, Robert Kraft, Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman in Trump’s “Won’t somebody please think about the rich people?” advisory board in kickstarting the economy with sports, for some reason.

– Linda McMahon’s Super PAC (no not the Newcastle one) pledges $18.5 million to Florida on the same day that WWE is officially declared as an “essential business” by Florida. That transaction wasn’t exactly subtle, was it?

– “Originally, they were not deemed an essential business. With some conversation with the governor’s office regarding the governor’s order, they were deemed an essential business.” – Mayor Of Orange County Jerry Demings, with a puppeteers hand moving majestically up his arse.

– April 15th: WWE cleans out their closet in order to scrimp and save every dollar despite being on track for record profits. The releases come thick and fast through the day, and more emerge a few days later. It’s a travesty & example of the greed that flows through the company.

– Vince McMahon prepared his staff and talent for the incoming cutbacks, firings and furloughs in a five minute conference call. People would be notified via text in regards to their future. This all actually happened.

– List of people fired or furloughed by WWE:

Heath Slater
Curt Hawkins
Karl Anderson
Luke Gallows
Lio Rush
Erik Rowan
Mike Chioda (been with WWE since 1989!)
No Way Jose (travelled all the way to RAW during a pandemic only to be fired 48 hours later)
Kurt Angle
Aiden English
Ace Steel
Drake Maverick (kind of)
Serena Deeb
Zack Ryder
Tino Sabbatelli
Sarah Stock
Kassius Ohno
Curtis Axel
Lance Storm
Billy Kidman
Shane Helms
Eric Young
Mike Rotunda
Fit Finlay
Pat Buck
Shawn Daivari
Scott Armstrong
Sarah Logan
Mike Kanellis
Maria Kanellis
Deonna Purrazzo
Dan Matha
Kendo Kashin
Taynara Conti
Gerald Brisco (after 36 years with the company…)
A whole slew of PC trainees
All released into an extremely unstable environment for the sake of profit. Indefensible and utterly gross behaviour.

– Drake Maverick posts a heartbreaking video about his release & how he’s going to miss his friends & family. We’re all extremely supportive & feel for him as he’s fired during a pandemic. Wearing a WWE tshirt & mentioning the cruiserweight tournament is a little fishy though…

– In this time turmoil and hardship, we all look to Seth Rollins for moral support, who lets us all know that we need to “come together on this, unify and lift each other up”. He could lick a boot through a garden hose.

– A large bulk of Japanese wrestling companies come together for a meeting with Japanese officials to ask that testing be made available to talent, and compensation made available for their unemployed wrestlers. They did this as one unit, together.

– During this meeting, Tanahashi spoke passionately about how pro wrestling should be the very very last sport to return. That man…God bless him.

– Vince’s week (oh boy);

– Howard Finkel sadly passes away, aged 69.

– Whereas WWE are slashing people’s livelihoods left, right & centre all in the name of cold hard cash, New Japan continue to pay their employees full salary and benefits. ROH also continue to pay all wrestlers on guaranteed contracts as well as paying staff for cancelled shows.

– COVID-19 throws a major nail into the coffin of NXT-Japan as we all rejoice and shout to the heavens with glee.

– WWE begin their build to Money In The Bank (in which the contestants start at the ground floor of WWE HQ and make their way to the roof) with the tagline “Climb The Corporate Ladder!”, in the same time frame that they released a shed-load of staff and talent.

– Wrestling fave Maffew is informed by Vimeo, his primary upload haunt, that they will CHARGE HIM $10,000 annually for all the bandwidth his videos use up. Averaging 17,500 hits per video is too popular for them to handle, apparently.

– Nia Jax adds another reckless assault charge to her wrestling CV when she drops Kari Sane hard into the buckles, resulting in turnbuckle powerbombs being banned by WWE. I’ve seen Josh Bodom work safer than Nia Jax.

– Former XLF commissioner Oliver Luck sues Vince McMahon as he alleges that Vince fired him in order to take his contract out of the equation in regards to bankruptcy proceedings.

– Gronk, our lovable and extremely well liked 24/7 champion, returns to football with the championship still intact. I’m sure this will lead to worldwide exposure for WWE and their exciting, cutting edge, innovative brand of sports entertainment.

– “I’m fighting my opponent and myself…maybe everyone was right about me” – Drake Maverick in a backstage interview with NXT, after his continued participation in the cruiserweight tournament. The exploitative nature of this angle is just absurd.

– During a live Q&A session, Corey Graves admits out of nowhere, to a very surprised Carmella, that he no longer wants to have sex with her in lockdown. The clip will be included in cringe compilations for the next decade.

– Kenny Omega has what some would call a competitive match with a local wrestler, Alan Angels, on Dynamite. Queue some excruciating discourse about whether Omega loses ‘star power’ because of this. I guarantee none of you even remember this happened until I just brought it up.

– In their quarterly earnings conference call, WWE pass off all the cuts, redundancies and furloughs as just being “properly cautious” and Vince personally adds that “cash is king”. Get to fuck, lads.

– Also, Vince comments on their current position regarding wrestling shows with no fans; “I don’t know if we’re going to be in the live event business as we were before…It’s going to be more content oriented. It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity.” This isn’t a good sign.

-Vince McMahon also talks about the pandemic and the dangers; “Our talent has taken this as a challenge. Our talent has taken this almost as a duty.” GET TO FUCK.

– WWE confirms that there will be no 2K game this year (good) but we will find out that it will soon be replaced with a lazy-looking ugly beat-em up called BATTLEGROUNDS (bad).

– An anonymous WWE employee named ‘John’ submits public comments to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, stating that they’re being forced to work despite the stay-at-home orders, and that he’s remaining anonymous to avoid disciplinary action.

– Vince McMahon, obviously losing the last of his marbles, cuts a really odd promo on Smackdown during an already cringe HHH Appreciation Wank-Off, where he mentions Katie Vick, the Gobbledey Gooker and Bayley’s THIS IS YOUR LIFE segment.

– Despite all the releases and cuts, WWE stock shoots up a little! Hooray for the investors! Hooray for capitalism!

– Although Maverick released a video about his release and subsequently being entered into the cruiserweight title tournament, WWE constantly deny that the initial release was a storyline. Whatever the case, it’s a sure-fire hot contender for ‘Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic’.

– AEW confirms that they’ll be going ahead with some live shows from the start of May, as well as announcing a PPV . The whole thing feels real icky. You can argue the toss about their TV obligations but did they really need a PPV? Disappointing.

– Velveteen Dream is accused of conducting inappropriate relations with a minor, with some damning evidence including pics & a voice capture where he asks “What school do you go to?”. Dream denies the accusation and would still go on to face Adam Cole for the title in May.

– Former NJPW & AJPW wrestler Hiroshi Hase is accused of sexually harassing an underage girl at a Colabo bus cafe (a group set up to help girls suffering from poverty and abuse). Hase apologised for his actions but still denied the harassment allegation.

– In their continuing quest to engage their fans when there are no live events, FITE TV tweet out a photo of Chris Benoit and ask for Twitter’s opinion on him. The tweet is quickly deleted, and they’ll soon move on to asking fans about their first cars & favourite pasta dishes.

– Rumours of Sami Zayn being difficult to work with backstage are abound, as he’s clearly lost his enthusiasm and love for wrestling, and who can blame him when you’ve had WWE beat that passion out of you?

– After his “Ramen Noodle” comment, Lawler issues a weak ‘apology’ where he refers to “heel heat” and the good ol’days.

– After releasing, cutting & furloughing a whole slew of staff & wrestlers, WWE reported a net income of $26.2 million (31 cents a share), with a 60% improvement in revenue compared to the prior year quarter ($182.4 million to $291 million) in their first-quarter revenue report.

– “It’s like, my goodness…I do everything you ask and, like, I can’t get a bone?!” Heath Slater on the mental toll that ten years of WWE booking can have on someone.

– In another example of “WWE FANS WILL BUY ANYTHING!”, WWE sell authentic dirt from the Boneyard Match (during a pandemic, no less). Be sure to hang it on your wall whilst evaluating your life choices.

– After an amazing career spanning two matches in seven months, WWE releases Cain Velasquez. He leaves behind an incredible legacy RIP KING.

– The copyright heathens at WWE take down the TDE Twitter account, because people are quickly realising that WWE’s product is so shitty that they can get the highlights in 3 minutes on Twitter. Even then, TDE was always incredibly positive about WWE no matter what.

– Joey Ryan has a go at Vader for being an alleged ‘bully’ when working with jobbers, only for one of the jobbers who worked with Vader to compliment him on how safe & good he was. Hindsight is a wonderful thing to have in August 2020. The fuck can Joey Ryan call anyone a bully.

– Bill Eaver records an incredibly shit and weird promo in his car where he name drops infamous BritWres nonce D*n E***r for some fucking reason. (Censored the name because the guy is a vanity searching noncey cunt).

WWE has several class-action lawsuits filed against them due to their ties with Saudi Arabia. In layman’s terms, the suits refer to WWE not giving clear enough information, or misleading information, about their income in regards to those deals.

– After a good TV match, Darby vs Cody Rhodes has pretty weird finish that sees Darby hit the Coffin Drop on Cody, but Cody rolls slightly immediately after the impact for Darby’s shoulders to be on the ground for the win, making Darby look stupid and his finisher look useless.

– NXT continues to be a weird bag of shite by having Keith Lee awkwardly say “I…am…limitless” in an empty venue whilst his opponent, Damien Priest, just stood next to him like a fucking lemon. How do people watch this?

– WWE rename the build for Money In The Bank by adding the tagline “THE RISK IS WORTH THE REWARD”. Honest to God, this tone deaf, gross fucking company.

– Wednesday Night War standings for the end of April: AEW leads 24-5-1.

Ladder Match Reviews #11

NXT Takeover: Tampa Bay
NXT Episode #398 – 08/04/2020

WWE NXT Women’s Title #1 Contendership Ladder Match
Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim vs. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez) vs. Tegan Nox vs. Chelsea Green (w/Robert Stone)

Ah yes, empty arena wrestling! My favourite! And it’s NXT, my favourite cutting-edge wrestling sub-division and it features Mauro Ranallo, my favourite energetic commentator!

This was filmed before THUNDERDOME and before Full Sail was filled with developmental talent being told how to react, so the women are wrestling in front of black curtains and guard rails. Feels like the house show set from WWF Attitude on the Playstation.

Io Shirai makes her entrance and Mauro fucking Ranallo immediately shoots off the “JOSHI JUDAS!” tagline, making me want to turn off this VLC player window…that’s streaming the award-winning WWE Network, of course!

Good save there, Shane.

“The daughter of the devil herself!” – Mauro, again. Y’now, I can’t possibly comprehend it anymore. He does it on purpose, right? Apparently, Io said her dream opponent is Charlotte Flair. She knows how to work the media, I’ll give her that.

Out comes Tegan Nox, and I’ve seen her in a few good multi-person ladder matches at local promotions when she was on the indies. I swear, during one month she did three of them and I was there live for two. Robert Stone accompanies Chelsea Green, and he looks like a Poundland Mortimer Plumtree. No fucking socks with his suit and shoes either, the heathen.

Christ, I hate how soulless these entrances are. The “Here I come, here’s my entrance, here I come, here’s my pose in the middle of the ring, now I’ll stand in the corner” choreography of this is so sterile. No character or feeling of it being real. Io tries to inject something into it, but it’s awash in a sea of drab.

Imagine telling two MMA opponents “Right you; sulk in the shadows whilst your opponent makes his entrance. And you; meet with Clair and James to iron out your pose, routine and correct walking footwork”.

Mauro just rolls out catchphrases and bullshit as Mia comes out, and all of it goes right through me. It still sucks but I’m at least able to ignore the majority of it now. Ah, here comes Shawn Michaels and Diesel! I mean, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzales. Great looking double team here. Real potential for that 90’s throwback. Talking of the 90’s, Dakota has the same hair style that my mom sported at the start of that decade.

Christ, Candice as well? Do we really need this many people in this match? Oh, her music is bad, and I’m saying that as an unapologetic pop-punk fan. I still have no idea why there are guard rails. Gotta keep those invisible fans at bay, am I right?

So six women fighting in a ladder match during a pandemic (in a venue where there’s little-to-no actual COVID testing). Cool, cool.

Kai gets surrounded by the babyfaces at the start for trying to get Raquel to help out, and with it comes the first bit of NXT over-acting cringe, with all the faces milking it and taunting Kai like it’s an amateur stage show. JUST HIT HER, FOR FUCKS SAKE. The silence makes it so much worse too.

Candice finally takes it to Kai with her Super Dragon tribute strikes and they all take turns battering Kai. The three faces work like a team, helping each other with big smiles on their faces and none of it works because, a) this isn’t a tag match and ,b) there is no crowd for this high energy to bounce off.

We don’t even get the moment where the faces all square off and battle it out, because Io interrupts with a missile dropkick. This match is basically a 6-person tag from this point. I know it’s tough to work face vs face and heel vs heel, but you also didn’t have to book a big mulit-person ladder match either.

Io and Candice battle over a ladder until Chelsea interupts with what I assume was a double facebuster but it looked off so it could’ve been anything. It’s also time for everyone to indulge in the ‘Survivor Series Selling’ trope, where regular moves hurt more because they’re in a ladder match, so the wrestlers spend ages outside the ring, licking their wounds from devastating bodyslams and dropkicks.

Tegan and Kai go through a sequence that might be good if there was a crowd to react to it (I know I keep bringing that up but, honestly, it can’t empathised enough just how important that factor is), so it just comes across as flat. Mauro calls Tegan “Lady Kane” for using a chokeslam and adds that it’s “Big Red Machine approved”. I swear to fuck.

There’s an awkward tug-of-war spot and it’s then that I’m glad I’m alone watching this. I met up with some friends at a socially distanced BBQ a few weeks back and my wife brought up the empty venue WrestleMania that she caught me watching (Edge vs Orton, FYI) and she went on about how embarrassing, and bad it was. Surprised she didn’t file for divorce there and then.

Candice and Tegan find themselves at opposite ends of an upright ladder, and they simultaneously pause for dramatic effect because they’re both wholesome, good people and they can’t comprehend the inherent moral quandary that they find themselves in. OH FUCK OFF.

All six women suddenly recover from their Survivor Series finishers on the outside and race up and down the ladders at a manic pace. Chelsea gets her foot caught in a ladder and waits patiently for Mia to hit her with a chair. Honestly, even with all the complaints it’s still just your average WWE TV ladder match so far but it’s hard to even enjoy the averageness without a live audience. It’s still got nothing on the empty atmosphere of a Fight Club: Pro show though, where most of the crowd treats the wrestling as a coffee shop acoustic guitar act.

To highlight a general positive about the match, you can’t go wrong with Io. I am all in on Io; everything she does is crisp and done with urgency and character and life. Even the shitty ladder-in-the-ropes slingshot spot is made better because of her sheer aura. Raquel then sends Io off the top of the ladder onto everyone outside the ring, which takes Io out too despite her turning it into a crossbody.

Raquel grabs Dakota and carries her into the ring and then up the ladder, but she has to stop and think about it first, staring at the briefcase before climbing. Can anyone in this company act naturally and on a whim? Why does every little act and reaction require some sustained, prolonged thinking time? AmDram hour.

Yim stops Raquel in her tracks and Candice drags Dakota off the ladder very roughly. She lands awkwardly on her leg, not pleasant at all. Yim and Tegan send Raquel through a table with an Awesome Bomb ’99 but the camera cuts on impact because this is WWE and nothing can just be allowed to be good.

Dakota then sends Nox down to her doom with a brutal kick, sending her off the ropes and through a ladder in a crazy bump. Io springboards in to knock Dakota off the ladder in what was probably a botch but who the fuck knows, and then Candice and Io exchange German suplexes. Mauro is still referring to Io as the JOSHI JUDAS and it fills me dread.

Chelsea’s leg is fucked so ROBERT ‘LAUNDRY DAY’ PLUMTREE takes matters into his own hands and he climbs the ladder to help pull Chelsea up (really showing off those ankles Rob, for fucks sake.) Fucking hilarious hearing the refs deadpan shout “Get down Stone!” with all the enthusiasm of Willy Wonka pleading with Mike Teavee.

She grabs the briefcase after Robert pulls her up but of course she has to fuck around a bit and feign idiocy whilst Candice and Io get in postilion to send them both to the ropes and to the floor.

It’s now down to Io and Candice (because I guess Yim has broken her tailbone, or something?) and she sends Candice off the ladder onto another bridged ladder in the ring , and Io grabs the case.

Man, that would’ve been a bit of alright if there were a crowd, despite the usual WWE habits and tropes. The big bumps were devastating and they came off as organic without much bullshit, it’s just that the actual bullshit wasn’t able to hide behind a natural atmosphere created by live fans.

Still, it was fast-paced with little down time, which for a 22 minute match in an empty venue, involving the best women’s division in North America, you kinda expect nothing less than that. The first two thirds are iffy, but the final third with all the destruction is fun.

Shame about the lack of audience and shame about the WWE/NXT-isms but it’s probably about as good as a multi-person WWE TV ladder match with no fans can get.



Ladder Match Reviews 2020: #9 & #10

WWE Money In The Back – 10/05/2020

Asuka vs. Nia Jax vs. Carmella vs. Dana Brooke vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Lacey Evans
Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles vs. Aleister Black vs. King Corbin vs. Otis

Well, I guess I’m reviewing this as well. I had to leave this for a few week’s before editing the first draft because SPOILER ALERT this fucking sucks. If this were any movie or episode of a TV show it would suck, and the musical equivalent would also fucking suck. I’m hardly being engaging in this opening paragraph but you have to know how terrible I thought this was from the off.

Here’s some behind-the-curtains gossip for you; all these reviews are simply tidied up notes from my first viewing of a match. I’ll expand upon some thoughts, add some depth and detail, clean up the many spelling errors and that’s it. What you are reading are my real reactions to my first viewing. There’s no exaggeration to go along with any perceived anti/pro WWE ‘narrative’.

In short, if you enjoyed that match, you will not enjoy this.

So, the ring is on the roof. The lads and ladies will have to battle through WWE headquarters to the top and I just cannot take this shit seriously. WWE isn’t DDT, and them trying to emulate another successful niche promotion seems to be their game here. I’m going to assume this will lack the charm and care of a DDT show.

Oh my God, the wrestler’s make their entrance in the fucking lobby. Lacy is introduced then Nia, then it cuts to the gym section (a gym at WWE headquarters, but of course) for AJ STYLES AND OTIS. Wait, they’re doing the two matches at the same time? That’s inspired, I’ll give them that. What isn’t inspired are the awkward as all fuck entrances. There’s post-production entrance music and all! This is bad. It’s also an absolute shambles that Aleister Black and Shayna Baszler have to take part in this bullshit.

So everyone enters their respective areas one by one, and this is just so cringe. I don’t think I’ll be able to go through this review without using ‘cringe’ and/or ‘awkward’ in every paragraph. But I’ll try. For you. Michael Cole sounds less than enthused to be calling this. He sounds very dour. Cole, my dude, I get it…I totally get it. I’m not a fan of your main roster commentary and I never have been, but right now I understand your tone. Poor bloke.

Talking of not looking enthused, some of these guys look less than thrilled to be here. Nia Jax and Dana Brooke look like they’d rather be safe at home. Asuka gets the upper hand by starting out on the floor above, as all the girls argue with her, and all the lads get in a circle and bop around like they’re at the local rock dive club bouncing along to MakeDamnSure. I wish I was 22 again and getting fucked up the sounds of New Found Glory rather than watching this tripe.

This is going to be tough to recap from here on out with all the cuts and editing, and I hate pausing for these reviews as it kills the flow (not that it matters for this but hey I’ve got to be fair) so I’ll jot down what I can and fill in the gaps in post. Hey, kinda like WWE’s production right now!

Holy fuck, the ring bell sound effect! As if the entrance music wasn’t bad enough. Asuka starts by flying off the 1st floor balcony onto the lasses, and it’s cut like a 00’s B-movie (as in, the least entertaining form of B-movie). There’s also background music too, straight from some struggling musician’s drafts. Superb.

So not only did Asuka’s dive look like shit due to the production, it also makes no sense; she’s already got a head start; why not just carry on up to the next floor and leave the rest of the ladies to eat your dust? To be honest, Asuka and her mannerisms are great. She s incredibly entertaining in this environment, and she’ll probably be one of the lone highlights. She heads into a lift where a camera records her being brilliantly weird, and I guess conveniently placed cameras are a thing now.

Baron tries to launch a dumbbell at Bryan, who ducks and it smashes one of the wall mounted mirrors. Baron looks into the smashed remains with regret, as if he’s just realised how much of knob he makes himself out to be on social media. Rey does all sorts of spots with the equipment but the lads aren’t bumping for it (good) so it looks like the kind of backyard wrestling me and my mates did in the 6th form common room (bad).

The men do a chase sequence around the building, and it’s a God damn travesty to see Aleister Black there running along. Brother Love appears in the toilets, as I guess that’s where the agents laid out the plans for the match. The lads and ladies run into each other on the next floor. Lots of Attitude Era punching and kicking going on. Bryan is doing his best and putting in the effort, despite the shitty situation. The odds are high that he had to self-isolate from his family when he got back home. Hope it was worth it, mate.

Some imposter Doink The Clown is shown hiding behind a chair for some reason. What in the fucking fuck. You can’t just poorly reference something and have that be the joke! That’s incredibly lazy, incredibly shit ‘comedy’ for incredibly dull people. Escapism my fucking arse.

Nia throws Carmella into a random board room where a camera conveniently awaits them. Nia and Shayna then have some sort of stare down, like they’re Hulk and Andre. I can’t imagine how many people were leaping out of their seats with the tease of Nia vs Shayna. Oh wait, there’s a briefcase in the room hanging off the ceiling! The fuck? Brooke leaps onto the table and pulls it down. She’s won!

But here’s Stephanie McMahon filmed in a totally different location, time and dimension to tell her that this is, and I’m not making this up, the MONEY IN THE BANK CONFERENCE ROOM and that briefcase is just part of the room decoration.

Holy shit, how is this company still alive?! It’s like a seedy theme hotel.

“You guys are destroying the building!” Steph bellows! YEAH GUYS, WE PUT YOU HERE IN THIS MATCH TO DUKE IT OUT BUT DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. For fucks sake, Steph, Great way to diminish your women’s division and keep to that vision of the WWE name being bigger than any wrestler alive. There’s so many layers to this.

“Can you clean that up? Nia is drooling all over the place. It’s gross”. Fuck off, Steph.

Styles is stalking after Rey Mysterio and gets scared by a poster of him. Then he gets scared of a poster of the Undertaker. These guys aren’t real. This life isn’t real. What the fuck am I doing here?

He opens a door to a blue lit room and a casket. Oh Christ. It’s edited with actual flashbacks to the Last Ride match. Styles shits himself, because for some reason this publicly traded, big $$$ corporate head quarters has a room with a casket in it. He’s locked in the room by Black and I hope we’re now slowly eliminating guys and coming to a conclusion.

We cut to Paul E sat at a drab looking buffet table as all the wrestlers rush in. Is that a thing with Paul that’s been pre-established? He loves food? Otis has a fit over a sandwich and proclaims that this is now a FOOD FIGHT as he throws a big dish all over Paul E. All the wrestlers pull exaggerated shocked faces, including Black and Shayna. FUUUCCCKKK.

Then we get an awkward edit as all the wrestlers suddenly join in and have an inter-gender food fight IN THE MIDDLE OF A GLOBAL PANDEMIC. Shayna chokes out Rey, Nia powerbombs Carmella through a table and everyone gradually fucks off.

Not before Nia and Otis share a moment together though. Because they’re both larger wrestlers? I don’t get it. Vince must be in fits of laughter at all this. All this, this whole match, is there to appease one man’s low-hanging sense of humour. Christ, imagine going back to work for this company once the world is at some degree of normalcy.

To be perfectly honest, Otis is also (usually) entertaining in this. If the match was full of big characters like that then it would, a) make more sense, and b) be 100 times more fun. Give me Otis, Big E, Montez Ford, Big Show, Kevin Owens, R-Truth and The Miz next time.

Otis stumbles across John Laurinaitis on an electric pushchair (another agent hanging around the gaff) and I go blind with confusion. References without context aren’t funny! All you’re doing is pointing at something from the past whilst shouting “Look! Remember this!! REMEMBER THIS?!?”. Nostalgia from barley ten years ago, literally being rolled out for a 5 second cameo is the laziest shit.

Asuka stops MMA expert Shayna Baszler by lightly chucking a mop in her general direction, and she sells it as Nia and Lacy run by, followed by Brooke who slips and falls on the mop water. They’re not doing her much justice in this one. Someone really has it out for the poor woman.

Nia clobbers everyone in her way, and remember guys; a forearm to the back hurts more when you’re doing it whilst standing on a solid floor as opposed to in the ring. Science is amazing. Ric Flair could learn a thing or two from this.

Bryan and Styles do battle into a room with a massive fuck-off dinosaur’s skull on the wall and it’s Vinnie Mac’s room of course. And he’s in there! Sat at a desk that’s behind his…uh…desk. He stands up and looks like he’s only mere days away from death. He looks like someone who got bitten in a zombie movie and he’s seconds away from turning. Styles and Bryan actually stop fighting when Vince shouts at them, because remember, NO ONE IS BIGGER THAN THE WWE.

“Out!” he shouts, and both guys leave awkwardly but not before straightening the room back like a couple of schoolboys caught fucking around. In what I’m sure was meant to be a nod to what’s actually going on in the outside world, VKM washes his hands with sanitizer before siting back down to his legal paper. He’s probably figuring out who else he can fire to scrimp and save his fortune.

I’m sure Ryan Satin was forcibly laughing through all this, like he’s never seen another comedic performance in his life.

(He did).

Baron takes over like that one bossy backyard wrestler in your backyard fed that no one likes working with (and is only there because we can use his dad’s ladders), and he exclaims “IM GOING TO THE ROOF!” as we’re all too brain-dead by this point to catch onto any plot without awkwardly saying it aloud. Those Kevin Dunn porn rumours are true, I swear.

Nia is already on the roof, sets the ladder up in the ring and now THE MATCH BEYOND BEGINS! It’s just basic stuff from this point on from the ladies. Someone climbs, they get pulled down. That person climbs, she is yoinked off. Repeat ad nauseam. The musak is still playing too, as it has been all through this disaster. Asuka knocks Lacey off, who falls a staggering 3 feet off the ladder onto Nia knocking them both out.

So now Asuka is at the top of the ladder, where there’s two briefcases, and Baron quickly joins her screaming “No! No! No!” and stops her. What, does he want both cases? Or is he just a daft sod? They could both pull down their respective cases and win here, I am so fucking confused. Asuka kicks him off anyway because I guess she wants both too? I can’t comprehend this any more. Anyway, she lifts off the one briefcases as she’s announced as the women’s winner. Ah, Michael Cole is back, as he talks over the replays, sounding dishevelled and depressed. I feel for you, Cole.

Otis is now here, and Asuka and the rest of the women have mysteriously vanished. They do the Big Show gimmick with the steps breaking under his weight and Baron is now alive to stop him. It’s somehow even more awkward now that they’re in the ring and wrestling in front of silence. The BGM makes it feel like a really shit version of the early Smackdown games.

All the lads have now made their way to the roof and BARON THROWS REY OVER THE TOP OF THE ROOF. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK. There’s a splash sound effect too! Did he land in some sort of swimming pool?! What in the actual fuck. He then chucks Black over the roof too! With the sound effect! What the fuck! What the fuck?? Imagine committing double homicide just to get a fucking briefcase. Baron is obviously taking tips on taking out competition from WWE’s deals with the Saudis.

So, lets talk about the finish here.

Corbin and Styles are battling on the top of the ladder and both bring down the case together. They argue a little, Elias runs in and smashes Corbin with a guitar and he falls to the mat. Styles is your winner then, right? Well, no, because he fumbles the case up in the air for some fucking reason and it lands in Otis’s hands and therefore he’s the winner??

THATS NOT HOW LADDER MATCHES WORK. The rules aren’t, “The first person who retrieves the briefcase and stands on the ring mat wins”. No one grabs a briefcase or title belt in a ladder match but aren’t declared the winner until they climb back down with the McGuffin. Styles and Baron brought it down, in their hands, and Corbin fell. At best Styles wins. At worst, it’s a draw between Corbin and Styles. They did a similar finish at WrestleMania but this was, somehow, much worse.

Cole does more lifeless commentary over the replays as we close out.

That was torture. Fucking torture. Of all the 2020 ladder matches so far…Hell of all the matches in 2020 so far…That’s the worse. Possibly of all time.

Fucking wank. And shit. And shit and wank.

To everyone who thought that was funny, please do me a solid; watch something other than wrestling for the love of God. Watch Monty Python’s Life Of Brian. Watch Airplane. Watch Naked Gun. Watch Ghostbusters. Watch This Is Spinal Tap. Watch Blues Brothers. Watch Four Lions. Watch Hot Fuzz. Watch a few episodes of 30 Rock, or Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, or Blackadder series 2/3/4, or Bottom, or Faulty Towers, or Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Then get back and say to me, with a straight face, “WWE Money In The Bank 2020 was good”.

Ladder Match Reviews 2020: #8

WWE WrestleMania 36 – Night 1, 04/04/2020

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Title Triple Threat Ladder Match:
John Morrison (c) vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jimmy Uso

Man, this is going to be a weird one. I’ll just say first and foremost that I really appreciate that these three men risked their careers and lives in this match, in more ways than one. But this match should not have happened at all. If you’re reading this from beyond the thunderdome, and life as we knew it has collapsed due to the USA and UK governments failing to act properly, and the public choosing to ignore the warnings of scientists, and thus we are living in tiny huts and living off spam due to the massively depleted population, then this took place during the COVID-19 outbreak of March 2020.

So it’s emanating from an empty WWE Performance Centre, on a closed set. Though this match aired on a Saturday night, it was taped earlier that week. God knows what time of night this was filmed at. Imagine working a ladder match at 2am.

I also have to put it out there that I am not a fan of matches in front of no fans. Dead crowds in general are the worse, so this guarantees that same empty, dead atmosphere but with even more awkwardness.

To combat there having to be six men in this match during a pandemic, one member of each team is battling it out for the tag titles in this ladder match. Please read that sentence and tell me this was a better solution than the match just being scrapped and re-scheduled.

Fucking hell.

All three men battle to a stalemate before individually grabbing their own ladders and climbing, which results in another stalemate. Kofi and Morrison tease taking bumps onto a ladder and I cringe as that would just be the worst thing to do in this environment.

Uso climbs the ladder whilst those two are battling it out, and is taken down by Morrison. Morrison then tries to grab the belts and is stopped. They’re actively trying to win which is something lost in modern ladder matches. Fingers crossed the lads work logically with their highspots and don’t fuck themselves up.

Now, just a quick word on that. I’m not usually one to fanny about with how many people are in a building for a wrestling show, and I think that no matter how many fans are there the wrestlers should give 100%. If that means insane highspots and headrops in front of 50 people, then that’s great, as those fans deserve a great show regardless of how many people are there, and regardless of how much the wrestlers are getting paid (if at all). This situation though, is a totally different kettle of fish.

These men bumping off and onto ladders in front of no paying audience, to the sounds of silence and during a pandemic where any cut or laceration is a massive concern for all involved is the definition of “incredibly irresponsible”. Did this show have to take place? No. Did this match have to take place? No. Would it of made any difference if this match was postponed for later on? No.

Right, back to the action. Kofi tries a cool spot where he springboards through a ladder into a ‘rana but is caught and dumped safely to the outside. Uso gets laid on a ladder balanced in the corner and Morrison hits a flippy mcdippy off the post into Uso which looked good, and then Kofi tops that with a springboard ‘rana off the ropes to take Morrsion off the ladder!

In front of no one!

I’m having very mixed feelings about this. At least they aren’t bumping ON the ladders. The action is innovative and risky, but I can only imagine how well this would be playing out in front of an audience.

Kofi then dives onto Morrison, who’s conveniently standing for ages outside holding a ladder. Uso tries the Jeff Hardy rail run but Kofi chucks a ladder into his face. I’m glad it wasn’t as brutal as the infamous Jeff/Bubba spot from WM2000.

It’s pretty clear these guys are going all out in order to entertain the viewers at home. They could’ve phoned this is in, but they want to put in the extra effort to disguise the inherent awkwardness that these shows bring. It definitely isn’t escapsim though. I’ve seen that term pounded around a lot during this epidemic. “Escapism”. I’ll tell you something, watching three men duke it out in a ladder match in an empty warehouse only reinforces whats’s going on in the outside world. The WWE and it’s hardcore fans will have you believe that it’s “escapism”, but I’ll have you know that it’s actually bollocks.

Uso is placed onto a ladder bridge outside, and Kofi slowly makes his way up top only for Morrison to tightrope walk the length of the ring and Spanish Fly Kofi into the ring.

Amazing! I wonder how many takes that took? I have no idea if any of this is edited by the way, whether spots were retried and fuckups re-filmed or whatever. Uso follows with a splash and they all stay down for non-existent “This is awesome!” chants. Even with no one there, they have to follow WWE’s tacky production habits.

The lads have left the belts alone for awhile to have fun with all those highspots but now they’re back to climbing properly again. Morrison tries to drag Kofi down but Kofi fucks him up with a deadly double stomp. They conveniently get a ladder bridge inside the ring setup, as WWE likes to do. Uso violently drives Kofi into the bridge. Christ.

Morrison tries some parkour shit but gets superkicked for his troubles. Man I’ve missed Morrison. Dude should’ve been a world champ in the early 2010s. Show any non-wrestling fan/lapsed fan a picture of Miz and Morrison and ask them who they think the former world champion is. Miz being champion was, and is, a mind-boggling experiment that didn’t pay off. It took him until the late 2010’s to really come into his own, and even then it could’ve been done better. WWE in a nutshell.

Uso climbs a ladder in the corner and Morrison THROWS HIM OFF THE TOP TO THE OUTSIDE and out of camera shot. That must’ve been a 16ft drop to the floor….or a crash mat. There’s definitely some editing going on. While i’m thankful that Uso didn’t take a gigantic bump like that in front of no one, having editing and camera tricks in a pro wrestling match is still crap. ‘Taker chokeslammed HHH off a camera rig in front of live crowd at ‘Mania 17, and HHH landed safely on a crash mat obscured by technical equipment. Trickery like that is fine. If this was a live crowd, they could not have pulled that off and it takes me right out of the match.

Morrison tries to climb, and is met by Kofi and JIMMY FUCKING USO, back from the dead after that hellacious bump to the floor. “How is he even conscious?” JBL there, holding back his laughter on commentary. Morrison is sweating all over the place and it makes me feel ill given the current situation. It’s not on. Absolutely horrendous behaviour.

All three men bring down the copyright WWE coat hanger with the belts still attached, and they battle over it on top of the ladders. I already hate this finish, no matter where it goes. Kofi and Uso headbutt Morrsion off, and of course he takes a bump onto the ladder bridge, for fucks sake.

Kofi and Uso do a cringe comedy double take as they realise that the titles aren’t attached to the coat hanger anymore because Morrison fell whilst holding onto the straps. The ref realises this at the same time and the bell is rung, Morrison is the winner. Fuck off.

If this were in front of a crowd, I’d give this 4 stars. Hell, if the crowd was crazy into it, it would’ve been easily awarded more. The finish lets it down, but the rest of the match was tight and inventive.

But it should not have happened in the first place. All three men sweating all over each other in the middle of this pandemic. The blatant editing. The shit finish. No crowd or atmosphere. Morrison bumping onto a ladder for no fucking reason. Commend the men, Fuck the company.

Unrated. Sorry lads.

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

WrestleWipe 2020: February

– The main event of the February 1st Smackdown is a 6-man tag where the loser has to eat dog food. This match also involves Baron Corbin.

– New Japan remind us what professional wrestling over the course of February with their New Beginning tour that featured Jon Moxley vs Minoru Suzuki, Hiromu Takahashi vs Ryu Lee and Zack Sabre Jr vs Will Ospreay. All incredible matches, all completely different from each other. Unfortunately, one of those matches is Jay White vs SANADA. You can’t win’em all…

– WWE hold meetings with NXT talent about the importance of not spilling the beans about company issues, small or large, to the wrestling media. They’re really trying to cover that stink.

– In what may be the peak of gross deathmatch wrestling, Orin Veidt slams Masashi Takeda onto a board of kitchen knives and the match is immediately stopped due to the aftermath. Takeda needed 50 stitches on his back and arms.

– Tim Thatcher is snatched away by WWE and appears in photos at the performance centre. We mourn the loss of another pillar of the BritWres/EuroGraps scene. We’re happy that Tim is getting paid, but we aren’t happy at WWE hoarding talent in a bloated roster they have no intention of using.

– Killer Kross also reports to the WWE Performance Centre and we’re mostly cool with that one as Kross had been hammering away on Impact for ages. It also means that we might get that Batista match that he asked for.

– Both the Kross and Thatcher signings are reported by Ryan Satin on WWE Backstage, where Satin refers to Thatcher as being an original member of Imperium. Oh fuck off.

– Jazzy Gabert opens up about asking for her WWE/NXT-UK release. Her reasoning? In an interview with Wrestling Inc she said that the sacrifice she was putting into NXT-UK was not worth it to jeopardise her health, and the low pay she received solidified her belief that it wasn’t worth it.

– WWE file a trademark for the recently released Viktor of the Ascension, likely so he can’t use the name on the indies. I’m sure he’s heartbroken.

– Mustafa Ali, once a really promising figure on 205 Live and Smackdown, tweets out “12.13.19”, which just so happens to be the last time he was used on TV. As of this time, he still hasn’t been used on TV and his last match was 7th Feb.

– Jim Cornette burns one of the only bridges he has left when he has a MASSIVE falling out with Dave Meltzer over trivial opinions on Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and Orange Cassidy. Cornette’s massively obsessed fans don’t help matters with the constant snitch tagging.

– After the firing of their two most important executives and the stock plummeting into the ground like a fucking dart, the WWE conference call went as well as you’d imagine. Vince gave no real insight, he talked about having “broad shoulders”, the stakeholders were worried about his XFL involvement & there’s talk of PPV’s being removed from the network.

– The WWE 10-K filings reveal that WWE has 300 talents attached to a contract, which is double the amount from 2015.

– Former WWF wrestler Emmett Bryan Clark Jr. (Adam Bomb) was arrested and faces various narcotics charges. His partner in crime? Dennis Miccolis, the original keyboardist for the band The Buckinghams (King Of A Drag?…anyone?)

– Throughout Feb, ROH claws back some of it’s credibility with fans through some clever ideas for future shows including a Past vs Present show, a Women Of Honor reboot & the return of the Pure title in a stacked tournament. Whether this actually pulls ROH from the brink remains to be seen.

– The Revival requested their release yet again. Despite a bigger 5- year deal being on the table, The Revival turned it down. They still haven’t been released.

– The WWE name-change machine is brought again and Buddy Murphy is shoved into the entrance pipe, tag team championship belt and all, and is spat out as ‘Murphy’.

– During a Team Vision DOJO show (Yep, the Chasyn ‘Kids’ Rance wrestling school), Teddy Hart babbles on the mic about how Chasyn “beat the system”. Fucking hell.

– Cody Hall makes some ill-advised comment about yellow fever in reply to a photo of Chis Dickinson hanging out in Japan. DDT then put out a statement saying that they’ve now cut all ties with Cody Hall, who he was on tour with at the time.

– KUSHIDA spends most of his month working NXT house shows, dark matches and getting dumped into a bin by the Undisputed Era. Don’t worry though, he got to lose a 13 minute non-title match with Adam Cole as a thank you.

– In an interview, Minoru Suzuki takes a well deserved shot at WWE piling up everybody, cramming them into their roster and attempting to buy their way into other promotion’s territories. Suzuki says that Japan should be safe due to their strong sense of wrestling culture. I hope you’re right, Suzuki.

– Suzuki also takes down WWE’s way of creating generic create-a-wrestlers and watering down established names to conform with their bland standards. God bless Suzuki; he’s the hero we don’t deserve.

– New Japan announced they would be moving World Pro Wrestling Returns (a program similar to the AXS show airing older matches) to a prime time spot on BS Asahi. They’ll still have World Pro Wrestling, which airs current matches, on Saturdays at 2am.

– Viktor (sorry WWE, I mean Victor), fresh off his release from WWE, takes the time to let us know how disappointed he is in WWE 2K20; “Ok now I’m going to actually say this looks like shit. I’m a gamer and a fan of certain things. This sucks.”

– Beyond Wrestling promote this weird concept show where they’re “filming a pilot for a TV network” and all the “TV execs” are making weird rules, demands and requests, making changes and booking unappealing matches. No one knows what to make of it, but the feeling is that these concept shows are scraping the barrel.

– PJ Hawx, the son of Florida-based wrestler Luke Hawx, proves that he’s all ready 100 times better than his dad by leaping off the first floor of a shopping center into the ring. The width and height make this a spectacular highspot, and gained 8 millions views on Twitter alone.

– Brandi Rhodes go on Observer Live to chat about AEW and blames the terrible Nightmare Collective stuff as coming from someone else’s “creative direction” and says she never wanted to do that infamous commentary segment. The plug is quickly pulled on the angle (thank God).

– During a Toru Sugiura vs Kyle The Beast GCW match, commentator Kevin Gill starts reading off Toru’s stats. Well, he tried to at least, as eagle eared viewers realised that he was actually reading out the Wiki of Takashi Sugiura instead.

– Scottish Wrestling Twitter explodes as they find out that they’re the only ones who think the sun shines out of Joe Coffey’s arse.

– Irish Wrestling Twitter decides to have a go as well, as the positivity police attack anyone who is critical of the up-coming OTT shows. The anti-critical thinking brigade were real bad across the board in general.

– Joey Ryan appears at a set of Impact tapings with a new gimmick that harps on about Cancel Culture. Yes, you read that right; Impact Wrestling. Impact fucking Wrestling. Home of Tessa, Moose, Elgin. Fucking Joey Ryan. Cancel Culture. Impact. Ryan. Cancel. Impact.

– We are all reminded of how small the wrestling bubble truly is when WWE’s financial woes are but a mere “cat stuck in a tree” footnote in a Forbes report on Amazon; “…In lighter news, Amazon may be going to the mat for WWE pay-per-view rights. Yup, WWE is still a thing”.

– Winding out the last weeks of his WWE contract, Matt Hardy has a RAW segment with Randy Orton where he passionately defends the guy who cucked him back in 2005.

– Shayna Baslzer attacks Becky Lynch and bites the back of her neck, leaving a huge blood stain around her mouth. Remember, AEW has NOT CHANGED WWE’s content, they’re still PG and they have no need for an edgier product.

– Jim Cornette decides that the best way to tackle his doubters (in this case, David Bixenspan) is to post photos of him, mock him for his looks and encourage his followers to do the same. What an abrasive little shit heap he is.

– GIF extradition MrLariato has his account deleted due to several copyright claims from Fite.TV due to NJPW GIFs. It doesn’t matter if they were from FITE or NJWorld either. A total dick move by Fite, as Lariato has been responsible for giving a lot of promotions and wrestlers vital exposure. It’s essentially saying no to free advertising.

– The job spec for the position of WWE’s Vice President of Operations hits the jobsites. Preferred qualifications include a degree in business admin, discretion, excellent leadership, poise and grace under pressure, and 24/7 availability. After you’re done choking on that, remember; who wouldn’t want to work for WWE?

– The Daily Mail (an unreliable, shit excuse for a newspaper) publishes a cringey, lazy article about Stardom (“the little sister of the men’s New Japan”), where there the competitors “compete in ‘puroresu'” at Korakuen Hall (“known as the Madison Square Garden of wrestling”).

– Pretty Deadly, a newly established tag team on the UK scene who were beginning to make some waves, sign NXT-UK contracts and are rapidly pulled from an upcoming OTT show on a day’s notice.

– Stardom cancel a slew of up-coming shows due to Coronavirus, and some are reworked as shows featuring no fans in attendance (also know as the ‘NXT-UK TV Tapings’ method).

– Cathy Kelly releases a statement saying that she’ll be leaving NXT the Sunday following NXT Takeover: Portland. She describes leaving as a “difficult decision” and is very thankful for a her position. She seems devastated at having to leave.

– NXT Takeover:Portland is somehow simultaneously good and exhaustingly bad. Lee/Dijak, Broserweights/UE and Nox/Dakota were good-great, but then everything else was either overly long, dull, excessive or all three ( looking at you Ciampa vs Cole).

– In the middle of Black History Month, and wearing spectacular ring gear that celebrated her heritage and with her parents sat in the front row, Bianca Belair is defeated by Rhea Rhipley in an NXT championship match.

– Rickey Shane Page defeats beloved hero Nick Gage to retain the GCW championship at Run Rickey Run, and it results in the outraged fans bottling the wrestlers and the ringside area in scenes reminiscent of Hogan turning on WCW at Bash At The Beach ’96. Take note WWE/Corbin; THIS IS WHAT HEAT LOOKS LIKE.

– NXT-UK Takeover: Dublin (that name…Christ) is announced, and will be on the same weekend as an OTT show. What a massive coincidence, just like them going head-to-head with New Japan as well as their three best mates PROGRESS, ICW and WXW. What a coincidence!

– Due to NXT-UK Takeover: Dublin (never gets any easier to say), PROGRESS (who are best mates with WWE, don’t you know) move their Electric Ball show from April Saturday 26th to April Monday 20th.

– NXT-UK smashes into their BT Sport timeslot with the same old boring, drawn-out shows filled with squash matches and dull, lifeless stories. It does nothing to shake off the popular opinion that NXT-UK is just generic placeholder wrestling.

– MLW alleges that WWE have tampered with their own contracted talents for usage in potential WWE projects.

– Jeff Cobb makes a surprise debut on Dynamite. He’s a free agent there for a cup of coffee and short program with Jon Moxley, and it’s interesting that AEW used a guy still connected to ROH.

– New Japan announce a show set for Madison Square Garden called Wrestle Dynasty. It will go head-to-head with NXT Takeover: Boston, which is all fair in love and war I guess. Still a shit move by the New Japan office in my opinion but it’s probably just a coincidence…

– Val Venis logs on to have a transphobic rant about how Nyla Rose being the AEW women’s champion “isn’t fair”. Wrestling is a work, you melt. He doubles down in various other posts, calling Nyla a man and how he could identify as a dog and win the Westminster Dog show.

– WWE’s revisionist history tactics come into play during their Relentless Aggression Era documentary. Did you know that Vince McMahon changed the name from WWF to WWE because he felt the company needed to push a new creative direction and absolutely nothing else?

– Also revealed on the documentary is Vince McMahon doubling down on his booking logic to have Lesnar defeat Austin on TV by declaring that no one would remember it when they actually come to promote a big money PPV match between the pair down the line. His opinion of his own audience is astounding.

– NXT hits a creative brick wall when they decide to reboot the Gargano/Ciampa feud. As I stated in last year’s Wrestle Wipe, this feud should’ve ended in April 2018. This also means that we’re going to be treated to loads more of NXT’s patented over-acting.

– Cedric Alexander, who got “Please sign Cedric chants!” during his Cruiserweight Classic debut, and Arika Tozawa, one of the most over Japanese imports in recent memory, face off during a Main Event taping where the fans chanted for the ref during their match.

– Maria Manic reveals that Teddy Hart was arrested for possession of weed and steroids in Virginia, thus she has nowhere to stay and still has to take care of Teddy’s cats.

– The legendary Wrestle Kingdom battles of Hiroshi Tanahasi and Kazuchika Okada were referenced on ABC sitcom Black-ish.

– Jim Ross becomes a real life Ron Burgundy when he reads out the points of ellipsis on his script during AEW Dynamite.

– Remember when Baron Corbin complained about AEW & called their fans neckbeards? Well he had a go about Dave Meltzer this time, and said “(Dave) inspires hatred to anything and everything he doesn’t like or agree with”, & said that he himself does the opposite. Of course you do, sugar plum.

– Like clockwork this ignites a massive dumpster fire of discourse about who can and who cannot critique wrestling, and it honestly made me want to fuck this dumb hobby off. “Wrestling fans have a responsibility to support the scene and stay positive!” was the general output of shite.

– During Tiger Hattori’s retirement ceremony, Colt Cabana joins some of the wrestlers heading out to the ring to pay their respects but realises that no one else but CHAOS was out there, thus accidentally joining CHAOS for a night.

– Real heavy rumours of WWE opening a WWE performance centre in Japan begin to circulate. It appears Trips isn’t taking for no for an answer and doesn’t want his totalitarianism vision of “global localisation” to fail.

– Effy sends out an in-character video that talks about beating up fans who shout abusive, homophobic, racist, sexist and other abhorrent language at his Big Gay WrestleMania show. This angers the very nice, very progressive, very good boy Brad Sheppard who moans about being beaten up for saying such things.

– After an incredible return to form at High Stakes that saw the roster given a new boost of life , Rev Pro’s on-demand service gets a kicking when it turns out they used several potatoes to film the show.

– Shinsuke Nakamura splits the back of head open when Braun Strowman slams him onto a grand piano. Jesus fucking Christ mate, I hope the surfing is worth killing yourself and your legacy for.

– Sky Deutschland drops WWE from their programming (including TV content and PPVs) and replaces it with AEW PPVs instead. A welcome upgrade.

– Chris Jericho has “truther” David Weiss on his podcast to have a chat Coronavirus being a satanic conspiracy, mind control and other “supposed” pandemics. Oh boy.

– Samoa Joe suffers an injury whilst filming a commercial and is out of action. This follows disputed reports earlier in the month that Joe was suspended due to a wellness violation. A few days later WWE announce that Joe is suspended due to a wellness violation. This had the anti-dirtsheets reply accounts going insane.

– OTT’s history of having NXT-UK talents pulled from their shows at short notice is thickened when Tyler Bate, one half of their tag champions, is yanked from one of their shows AGAIN, this time three days prior to the show. That’s 5 times in two years for Bate. As of that cancellation, his last appearance for OTT was June, 2019. Fucking state of it.

– Chris Brookes becomes the first ever DDT Universal champion.

– Vicky Guerrero makes a cameo of on AEW DARK and pops along to Chris Jericho’s cruise ship for a bit, and so WWE bans WWE Superstars from appearing on her podcast.

– Some stranger knocks on Arn Anderson’s door, wakes him up and gets him to sign to some championship belt. Wrestling fans continue to be the worse.

– Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee and Rhia Ripley get top billing on an EVOLVE poster for an upcoming show. Well until you look at the small print and realise they were there for a meet’n’greet only, making the EVOLVE roster look like a bunch of nerds.

– Ryan Smile makes a surprise return wrestling after going dark for a few years after Lucha Forever went under and people never got refunds for tickets. This isn’t a very popular appearance but he still gets advertised for a few shows in the coming weeks.

– WWE tweets out a video of Brock Lesnar F5-ing Steve Austin in 2004, and they blurred out Austin’s “FUCK FEAR DRINK BEER” shirt. Remember what the MPAA says; “Horrific, deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don’t say any naughty words!”.

– New Japan feel the power of the Coronavirus as they cancel two weeks worth of March shows including the anniversary show and eight New Japan Cup shows. DDT, Big Japan and NOAH also cancel up-coming shows.

– On NXT, Charlotte batters Bianca Belair post match with chair and a Figure 8, all the while Rhea Ripley tries to make the save but she can’t due to the extremely WWE micor-managing habit of doing her full contrived entrance first.

– AEW continues their hot streak of some of the most consistent wrestling telly in ages with their shows on the way to Revolution, and they punctuated it with a giant exclamation point with the PAC vs Omega Iron Man match being one of the best free TV matches in 15 years.

– Nyla Rose is the guest on Chris Jericho’s podcast which causes a load of very normal boys to get in Jericho’s mentions about gender. “Go study the transgender process and get back to me junior” – Jericho to comments that disregards Nyla’s gender.

– NXT announce a “fan appreciate night” for the March 11th episode of NXT, where it’ll be live from the performance centre. Y’know, with moves like that and them not running other venues/arenas, it makes the rumours of USA paying next to nothing for the show seem almost valid…

– At the Saudi Shite Show, Brock Lesnar pinned Ricochet in seconds, with Rick not even getting in a single offensive manoeuvre. Also, ‘Taker showed up and pinned AJ Styles without taking his entrance garb off, and the WWE nerds explode when Goldberg defeats The Fiend for the WWE strap.

– Despite being destroyed by Brock, and the opening video package saying he had no chance to win, Ricochet still feels the need post about how thankful he is and how is still living the dream. You hate to see it.

– Wrestle-1 announces that they’ll be closing up shop, with a final show scheduled for April 1st. Somewhere, on a throne made of used kickpads, Triple H laughs manically.

– Kenny Omega & Adam Page vs The Young Bucks becomes an instant classic at AEW Revolution. The match turns heads and sparks debate across the wrestling sphere, but for me it was the prefect marriage of great storytelling, great action and was very rewarding for long-term fans.

– Downstait absolutely fucking murder Cody Rhode’s entrance song during his entrance at Revolution. This was embarrassingly bad, and not the way to kick off the heavily hyped MJF vs Cody match. Stick to being a studio band, lads.

– Not be outdone by Jack Gallegher’s awful tattoo of a giant ship on his chest, Cody reveals that he has new ink too in the form a garish Nightmare Family logo on his neck.

– Rush reclaims the ROH World Championship at Gateway To Honor 2020. Despite ROH’s moves to make their product more accessible and less shit, they still have terrible optics by booking large venues that have mountains of empty seats.

– At the end of February, AEW leads the Wednesday night wars, with the standings at 17-3-1.

Wrestle Wipe 2020: January

– A bug in WWE 2K20 causes the game to crash as soon as your system clock changes over to 2020. Players needed to change the system clock to 2019 to play again. More brilliant flaws for a game rated 43% on Metacritic.

– The Joey Mercury ROH tweet storm hits defcon 2 as BJ Whitmer announces that he is divorcing Kelly Klein amidst Mercury posting even more DMs, PMs, messages, texts and phone numbers.

– Chris Brookes announces that he will be moving to Japan and working with DDT for a year, which is a much better option than getting squashed in dark matches in front of lifeless crowds.

– Gabe Sapolsky tweets about how indie promoters should take care of their rings. He then goes on a blocking spree when people bring up Peter Kasaa and the numerous other occasions that EVOLVE’s rings have broken.

– Some very serious allegations pertaining to Rory Gulak come to light and the authorities were notified. Mike Quakenbush gets rid of Rory and cuts ties with him as soon as all this comes out followed shorty by Rory’s Twitter account being deactivated.

– Despite placing 4th in his G1 block, Naitio goes on to win the IC and IWGP straps at Wrestle Kingdom. Kota Ibushi won the 2019 G1 and went on to lose twice at Wrestle Kingdom, including a loss to Jay White. Ibushi was robbed.

– KENTA closed out Wrestle Kingdom by sitting atop of Naito’s chest with the two main belts and sends the WWE-defence squad into overdrive as they attack anyone who critiques his abysmal WWE tenure in comparison to his NJPW positioning.

– After wrestling his final two matches at Wrestle Kingdom, Jushin Liger has a wonderful retirement ceremony at New Years Dash. Hiroshi Tahanhashi even sings his theme tune, karaoke style.

– Jon Ian, the iconic voice of PWG’s early years, sadly passes away.

– Rey Mysterio gets hurt on RAW but instead of Andrade being able to organically improv a finish, the ref directs traffic with all the subtlety of a brick just so Rey can get counted out. Homogenised Wrestling Entertainment.

– The 8/1 Dynamite feels like it was written by Vince Russo. The Dark Order & Nightmare Collective are shitting all over the gaff. Brandi has a disastrous time on commentary. 63 year old DDP is beating up MFJ’s crew . The women’s division is a mess. LUTHER DEBUTS. Fucking Luther.

– Despite a horrible edition of Dynamite, AEW beat NXT in the ratings for the week. We all fear the worse and cling to hope that Y2Khan can save us. Interestingly, Meltzer tried not to blame the show’s shortcomings on the AEW EVPs.

– WWE advertises the up-coming Finn Balor vs Ilja Dragunov match as “NXT’s Prince vs The Menacing Muscovite”.

– The WON reported that the former Sin Cara, Cinta de Oro, was the new Director of International Development for the Wolverhampton Wanderers. But…he wasn’t. It was a Feliz Dia De Los Inocentes prank (a Spanish equivalent to April Fools Day). Dave had been gotten again.

– The day before she is to challenge for the IMPACT World championship, Tessa Blanchard sends out a tweet saying that women should support each other. This creates a shit storm of women wrestlers claiming that Tessa has continually done the opposite of this, including bullying and calling La Rosa Negra a racial slur.

– Just for clarity, people in the business who publicly defend Tessa include: Daga (her fiance), TJ Perkins (wrestling’s biggest PewDiepPie fan) and Moose (Oh boy…). Also this controversy also opens the flood gates on those mutant die-hard Impact supporters. It’s ugly.

– After a pretty good match with Jordan Devlin at Takeover: Blackpool II, Tyler Bate poses on the corner as his best mates, Triple H and William Regal, applaud and look down on him from a balcony.

– WWE’s destruction of the WALTER we all knew and loved continues, as he eats a visual pin after a ref bump, needs help from his cronies to win matches and is booked to go toe-to-toe with Joe fucking Coffee at Takeover.

– PWI Insider reports that Marty Scurll has not only re-signed with ROH, but he’s also taking a more backstage role that’ll see him have a lot of control in booking the company going forward. This comes as a surprise to most, and does not sit well with the AEW/BTE hardcores.

– Despite accusations of being a terrible person flying in from every direction, Tessa Blanchard is still treated like a big babyface in Texas for Hard To Kill and she defeats fellow problemat Sami Callihan for the IMPACT World championship. Tessa gets on the mic afterwards and says “I’m not a saint!” and “Nobody’s perfect!” whilst the crowd cheered.

– “I have one of the strongest minds that I’ve ever known.”- Tessa Blanchard, in her post-title victory promo. I think she was DM’ing with Sid for pointers.

– David Starr and Gabe Sapolsky get into a online argument about paying wrestlers properly. Gabe goes on a MASSIVE rant where he brings up Starr crying at Auschwitz, blocks everyone who calls him out on this and then locks his Twitter account.

– During a conference call, Triple H makes a joke about Paige “having kids she doesn’t even know about”. Paige tweets unfavorably about this and it obviously went as well as you’d expect. Trips apologies for the joke soon afterwards.

– A Dark Order vignette airs on Dynamite with the “exalted one” talking in a deeply disguised voice. It was quickly reverse-engineered by the great minds of Wrestling Twitter and the voice is revealed to be Raven’s…

– AEW sign a multi-year extension deal with TNT (reportedly worth $175 Million) to continue Dynamite through 2023, which includes a secondary TV show.

– PROGRESS attempt to undo 2019’s year of bad will by crowning the up-and-coming Cara Noir as their champion after NXT-UK’s Eddie Dennis forfeits the strap due to injury.

– Rumours begin circulating that Bully Ray may be moving out of his ROH management role, starting with him no longer handling the Women Of Honor division. This is met with sighs of relief across the board.

– Several big NXT posters are defaced with “AEW” and “BE ELITE” being spray painted all over in massive letters. Thanks for cementing those basement dwelling virgin stereotypes, lads. Much appreciated.

– It comes out that Sargent Slaughter isn’t actually a vet and hasn’t served in any form of military. Which would be fine if it’s just for a wrestling gimmick, but Slaughter had been maintaining this facade in shoot interviews and in the real world for decades.

– Baron Corbin logs on to have a go about AEW in an attempt to point out how fickle and stupid he thinks it is, and refers to AEW fans as “Neckbeards”. Now remember this, because it will become very importnat later. Also, good to know that Baron watches AEW instead of NXT.

– A tryout form for Women Of Honor is revealed to have very relevant questions such as how many children you have and what your marital status is. After a hammering on Twitter, ROH removes those questions from the forms.

– PROGRESS posts a video of William Eaver doing a fallaway slam into the crowd, and this stirs up a bit of controversy about safety at PROGRESS shows, and whether William gave the audience enough time/notice to move out of the way. PROGRESS then deleted the video (very punk rock).

– Psicosis II has a bit of a fracas with Konnan outside of the Mexico City Impact tapings. Psicosis II gives Konnan a slap in the confrontation, which came about due to some remarks Konnan made about Psicosis II being unable to get booked anywhere big.

– IMPACT gets banned by Twitch for airing what is essentially softcore porn in a segment with RVD and his two girlfriends. I was a teenager during the peak days of Channel 5’s Friday Night Mucky Movie, so I can confirm the softcore quality of the segment.

– WWE hires mid-00’s lower-carder Sylvain Grenier to be a backstage producer, for some reason.

– Asuka escapes with her life when she happens to be at Fashion Show Mall when a shooting goes down. Three people are sent to hospital in the incident.

– A new WWE UK TV deal is set that will see highlight versions of Raw and Smackdown be shown on free TV for the first time ever in the UK. Paramount Network will also be showing NXT-UK at midnight.

– Tessa Blanchard issued a statement about the allegations of racism and bullying against her. Despite a number of corroborating reports from notable women wrestlers, her statement doesn’t include any apology but instead denies any and all allegations.

– Cody Hall hammers another nail into the coffin of his wrestling career as he whines on Twitter about “indy guys” not finishing their matches and “crying in the back”.

– Superstar Billy Graham attends Rocky Johnson’s funeral and says that both Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson acted very weirdly and aggressively. This includes Patterson calling Rocky Johnson a “motherfucker” during his speech. Harry Smith & Melzter corroborated the story.

– WWE issues an announcement to all of it’s staff and talent that the WWE NXT Women’s Championship will be referred to and described as simply the “NXT Championship”.

– Reports from this month’s round of NXT-UK tapings do not sound promising, as shock horror the crowds are dead, bored and don’t want to actually be there.

– Mere days after the news that Scurll has signed on as ROH booker, several big New Japan names are on tap for their WrestleMania weekend show, mending an important bridge between the two companies. ROH seems to have the same elixir of life that Impact uses.

– Before a PROGRESS show, a message comes up on their video screen that says “video piracy is killing indy wrestling”. The fucking gall and irony pouring out that message drowns me.

– Chris Brookes has break away from his Twitter personality just to settle down a bunch of entitled Twitter accounts who are moaning about the Schadenfreude shows not being uploaded to a streaming platform & other weird, pointless shit.

– During a Wrestling Observer Radio interview, Darby Allin was asked to reflect on his choice between WWE and AEW, to which he responded “…205 Live or like proper respect as a performer and as a human being?”.

– ITV shuts down it’s Box Office service, and there goes AEW’s only traditional UK PPV supplier. The AEW-ITV deal has been a colossal disappointment in AEW’s UK coverage, which makes Cody’s “Our UK deal blows the WWE’s out of the water!” remarks last year look awful in hindsight.

– Seth Rollins has to delete an Instagram post depicting druids, as his reputation on the internet is so soiled that people thought it was some kind of racist KKK statement. It turns out that Seth was just promoting “The Boy & The Bear”, his friend’s coffee company.

– Grizzled Young Veterans are pulled from a TNT show on four days notice. It’s to go and work the Dusty Rhodes Classic finals, so it’s not as bad as being pulled to work a dark match or get squashed at NXT-UK. Why any promoter still books NXT-UK talent though I’ll never know.

– Chris Wilson, aka Justice Pain, sadly passed away. He was one of CZW’s original home grown talents and a main eventer for the company during CZW’s glory years.

– Worlds Collide, an NXT vs NXT-UK show, opens with audio of Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight them on the beaches” World War 2 speech, and it’s shown with clips of Imperium that basically equates them to the Nazis. The year is 2020, I definitely double checked.

– Ilja Dragunov makes his entrance at Worlds Collide to the sound of crickets. Just under two years prior, he got a tremendous reaction for his return at wXw’s 16 Carat which had the likes of Kevin Owens and Steve Austin talking about him.

– Santino Marella appears in the women’s rumble dressed as his Santina character. Whilst being tone deaf in 2020, it still had the legs to work if he was actually eliminated by a woman…which he wasn’t, as he eliminated himself.

– Making his massive return to the WWE, 90’s heart throb and the face of WWE’s prime years Todd Pettengill made an appearance on WWE’s Royal Rumble Watchalong.

– Oh, and also Edge makes his own triumphant return to the WWE by entering the Royal Rumble, despite constantly denying that he was ever returning to wrestling.

– Despite Edge’s magnificent re-debut, the WWE production crew fuck up astronomically by focusing on constant crowd shot’s instead of Edge’s entrance and thus missing his first spear (14 camera cuts in 20 seconds. Fucking hell). AJ Styles also injures his own shoulder when taking Edge’ spear.

– Matt Riddle enters the rumble and is almost immediately eliminated by Baron Corbin. Whether this was to garner some non-existent “HEAT” for Corbin, or because Riddle has heat for daring to go after a match with Goldberg and Lesnar, it’s a fucking backwards move by WWE.

– It also comes out that Riddle and Brock had an exchange of words backstage, with Lesnar pulling Riddle aside and telling him to stop tweeting at him for a match as it’ll never happen. WWE’s republican alpha males not understanding the ripped, laid-back, super high bad ass? Of course.

– NXT Twitter has a bit of a mini-meltdown when they discover that Jaxson Ryker is a Trump supporter. Yes, the 40 year old Christian white man from North Carolina who has Old Glory plastered on his wrestling gear is a MAGA guy…what a surprise. Shocked I tell you, I am shocked.

– WWE’s attempts to buy into a Japanese promotion are hindered again by NOAH and DDT joining forces under the Cyber Agent corporate umbrella, with Tokyo Sports reporting that NOAH is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyber Agent. Along with Bushiroad adding Stardom alongside New Japan, WWE are running out of places to hassle.

– Clickbait shitehawks Ringsidenews_ has a Twitter meltdown and gets suspended when they got weirdly obsessed with Sean Sapp, Meltzer, Alvarez etc and kept tweeting disparaging remarks about them, as well as some other awful stuff.

– WWE uploads an embarrassing video of Deonna Purrazzo attacking Shotzi Blackheart backstage that looks like it merely mildly annoyed Shotzi rather than actually hurt her. You can replicate the same attack yourself by simply leaning against a fire escape and slightly bouncing off it.

– Rob Lynch cuts an ill-advised promo that references his extremely problematic ex-tag partner at a CATCH Pro-Wrestling event. Doug Williams and CPW say they never gave Rob the permission to do this and Rob makes an apology on Twitter.

– Kota Ibushi is pulled from several New Japan shows due to having Mallory Weiss syndrome, a condition that I can’t properly explain as I’m an underachieving slob, but it basically means an awful lot of internal damage to the stomach and esophagus.

– Chris Brookes goes off on PROGRESS during a Twitch stream, leading to a Twitter argument between himself and PROGRESS/NXT-UK’s Glen Joseph. It turns out to be a worked-shoot to get Chris on the next show, and PROGRESS still don’t look good coming out of it as they practically made themselves the heels.

– So PROGRESS books the most popular wrestler in the UK at short notice against their new babyface champion at a show that travelling fans will have difficultly attending as it’s in Cardiff. Well done.

– Andrade gets snapped on a Wellness Violation and suffers 30 days suspension.

– At a TNT deathmatch show, DJ Hyde (the Tommy Wiseau of deathmatch wrestling) appears in a pre-taped video to explain that Tournament Of Death will be hitting UK shores for the first time in 2021. CZW sucks these days but I am cautiously optimistic that a UK TOD actually happens.

– WWE co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson (the brains behind the two most lucrative TV deals in WWE history) are fired by Vince McMahon. No real reason is given except for “conflicting strategic visions for the company.” WWE stock plummets hard after the announcement.

– WWE cuts back on live events with the company line being “to give wrestlers time off”. Sure thing, lads. Also most of the talent didn’t find out about this big change until they saw their February booking sheets, which slashes their pay on very short notice.

– Despite no confirmation on the matter, there are rumours abound that WWE is receiving what amounts to penny-change from USA for NXT. Some reports even have the figure down as low as $0. Lets hope those ratings make it worthwhile…

– Bret Hart reveals that he is battling a form of skin cancer. Stay strong, Hitman.

– CIMA and T-Hawk take aggressive liberties with luchadores Dragon Bane and El Hijo de Canis Lupus during an IWRG match. The cause of the issue probably boils down to CIMA being spat on by the luchas, so he fucking pummels them as revenge.

– After taking a sabbatical from wXw in October 2018, it’s announced that Christian Jakobi would not be returning to the company (but will remain a shareholder). Christian Jakobi initially left just as the wXw/WWE relationship was heating up in 2018 and wXw cancelled the weekly Shotgun series.

– AEW vs NXT results after the last Wednesday Night War of January 2020: AEW won every ratings battle and leads 13-3-1 overall.

Ladder Match Reviews 2020: #6 and #7

Here’s another double pack of ladder match goodness! Twice the ladders with the same amount of sub-par writing and wit.

Midwest All-Star Wrestling: Lift Bridge Bash, 18/01/2020

Golden Ticket’ Ladder Match: Garrison Creed vs. Sterling Bond

I’m watching this via the promotion’s FaceBook live stream. Well, it’s not live now but you get the picture. But still, it’s coming LIVE from the Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater (my second-favourite fictional band and the setting of GTA4-beater, Saints Row 2 )! It looks like a kick ass place to watch some graps; craft beer AND indie wrestling?!? Good shit.

Sterling Bond arrives to I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING by MAD SEASON, giving me some lovely Justice Pain vibes. “I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING by MAD SEASON” is also a ZandigFans forum in-joke used to poke fun at silly questions as new posters would always ask what Justice Pain’s theme song was.

Both Sterling and Creed look like wrestlers despite Bond keeping his shirt on. This is an upper-body business, Bond! The match is for the proverbial ‘Golden Tikcet’, which I assume is their version of a MITB contract. Very cute. It’s just that due to the camera angle I can’t actually see it. It’s a two camera set-up, both are fixed in place with little movement which may become an issue but the production is clear and crisp. The audio levels are also acceptable and the crowd sounds lively. We are off to a good start!

I see the Golden Ticket hanging off a clipboard when the camera pans out for Bond to run up the ladder. The back and forth action is good, and Creed eventually (and safely) suplexes Bond onto the ladder.

Creed climbs for the belt, and Bond opts crawl to the apron and climbs one of the turnbuckles instead of taking Creed down immediately. A bit shit but still it results in a pretty bad ass looking cutter off the ladder which off-sets the shitness. You can be as illogical as you want (within reason) as long as the end result looks bad ass.

Creed quickly meets Bond up to of the ladder and they get into a headbutt war that Bond wins. This must be a common ladder trope now as he sells the headbutts whilst centimetres away from the contract. Then he recovers, grabs the clipboard and cant get the ticket off. This ticket is obviously made of Gorilla Glue. Creed stops Bond, ties him in a figure four around the ladder, and grabs the ticket-clipboard combo with a little trouble still. And that’s that.

The Verdict:
Nothing bad, nothing memorable. Short but not a sprint. Solid but not spectacular, and the headbutt shit is grating me now. Both guys are obviously good but there wasn’t a lot to make a solid recommendation **1/4

VIP Wrestling: Killin’ Da Business, 31/01/2020

VIP Heavyweight Title Ladder Match Barrett Brown (c) vs. Homicide

Maybe we’ll finally see that Cop Killa off the ladder that I’ve been waiting for all t hes years.

Taped from Dallas! According to the logo this is VIP X. Thus it is edgy. This is XTREME. It’s even got a razor blade for it’s logo. It probably has ‘Headstrong’ by Trapt playing on repeat in the car. Maybe some Adema thrown in there as well to lash out at their parents.

The commentary team is over powering the audience volume and one of them is particularly loud and annoying. His name is Nigel and I want him to stop. Both commentators are bad but Nigel and his fake English accent is going to end me. Grand.

Homicide and Barrett battle on the outside as the two commentators chat obnoxiously about what ladders are made of and making political jokes. “Fake news” is dropped several times. You’re sure making a case for yourselves with this one, Dallas.

At least Barrett and Homicide seem capable of putting on something entertaining. Barrett is the first to climb and Homicide brings him down with a snapare.

“That was a snapmare off the third or second rung, so it’s more like a snapping powerbomb”. FUCK OFF, NIGEL. He’s now alternating between an American accent and British accent. This is dog shit.

The action itself is uninspiring but not bad. Barrett fits in the ladder slingshot and it looks bad, as predicted. It rarely looks good. You’ve really got to go all-out in the momentum and effort to make it look decent.

Homicide quickly fights back with a an underhook suplex but is then backdroped on a ladder which looked like it sucked. However Homicide, indie legend that he is, rapidly turns the tide with his vintage overhead belly-to-belly suplex before backdropping Barrett onto the ladder. Going tit for tat here, fair play. The selling is way off though.

Homicide climbs, Barrett stops him and Barrett feels a ladder to the face for his troubles. Homicide lets Barrett know that he done goofed, and lets him know that the consequences will never be the same, by trying to suplex Barrett onto a ladder balanced on the middle rope. They battle to the top rope and Barrett suplexes Homicide off the top whilst standing on the middle rope ladder, which gets a big reaction. Those spots always puzzle me. It’s no higher than a regular superplex…

We get the Boo!/Yay! punches, Homicide tries a Cop Killah (not the Gringo Killah like commentary said. C’mon guys, where’s your indy cred!) Homi hits a cutter but Barrett strong style no-sells to hit a clothesline for the double-down. The cutter got a reaction, the clothesline never. The no-sell double-down is such an overused spot at this point.

Homicide stops Barrett’s climb with a sit-out powerbomb but soon finds himself on the receiving end of a topé. Homi now is dead on the aisle so Barrett decides to play around with ladders instead of climbing. He’s swapped the regular sized ladder for the big sized ladder. He still goes outside to fetch Homi so he gets battered for his stupidity with a piledriver on the outside.

“Now he’ll have to get the bus with the slow children”. FUCK OFF, NIGEL. He said that one in his British accent too. I bet he doesn’t know how to pronounce TWAT properly, the fucking twat.

A death move like that isn’t enough, and Homi stacks chairs on Barrett but it’s all for nought as Barrett has climbed out of the comfy cushion coffin before Homicide can even climb. The drama in all that didn’t work as well ass they thought it would. In fact the last five minutes has been quite perplexing.

Barrett slaps Homicide with a backfist, the ref goes down somehow, and Homicide grabs the belt. The bell rings! New champ! The ref is down but who cares as it probably got reversed down the line but I have no inclination to find out.

The Verdict:
Fucking commentary was the shits. Absolutely dire. Try-hard shite that pissed all over whatever Barrett and Homicide were trying accomplish, which wasn’t much honestly. The first half was okay to decent, but it all fell down with Barrett fucking around with ladders and pointless segments with piledrivers and getting buried under chairs. It felt like they had more planned but got told mid-way through to hurry up so they just dropped a ton of planned stuff and rushed through to the finishing sequence. Serviceable, probably. **

Ladder Match Reviews 2020: #4 and #5

IWRG Cinco Luchas En Jaula, 01.01.2020

IWRG Mexico Title Six Way Ladder Cage Match (vacant):

Trauma II vs. Relampago vs. Toxin vs. Dragon Bane vs. Lunatik Extreme vs. Puma de Oro

Uh, I have no idea how I’m going to report on this one. I don’t know these folk, the commentary is in Spanish and there are no name plates on the entrances. But who cares about that?? It’s a ladder match inside a steel cage with 6 flippy dippy luchadores! How bad can it be?

Commentary is weird; it’s a separate track and it’s actually laid over the main audio track. It’s echoey and amateur, and if the whole match is like this then I’m in for a very bad time.

No names to faces, no crowd noise and atmosphere to get sucked into, we can only hope that this is the most innovative high flying of all time. That’s the only way this is scraping a recommendation. Also, I’m watching this on the IWGR YouTube channel so I’m treated to 360p like its 2004.

One of the commentators just loudly breaths down the mic during these entrances. Fuck, I’m close to turning off. The things I do for ladder love. The loud breathing continues. And fidgeting too. Fuck. The match starts and the commentary stays at the same annoying levels. FUCK.

Fighting for a vacant title here. It must’ve been a well respected title to have the new champion decided in a STEEL CAGE MULTI-MAN LADDER MATCH.

The guy with the golden puma mask must be Puma De Oro, so he’s instantly my fave. Big brawl to start, everyone has paired off. Puma tries a ‘rana and gets powerbobed into the cage for his troubles. A luchadore in a black and white mask tells the crowd to shush and I wish I knew what he was shushing.

One of the lads is just hanging out and he gets hit with the most casual back cracker of all time. It came like a couple of trainers showing the class how to execute one for the first time. Then all six guys stop and chat, like they’re lost on what to do, then they start up again.

We get a chop battle and I love lucha chops but I wish I could hear them!! More moves, more flippy-dippys and nothing resonates because of the audio issues.

I figure out who Dragon Bane is from the commentary gushing over him and someone drops him with a cradle DVD. That someone else immediately climbs the ladder and grabs the belt.

Well that was fast! I think it’s over and down tools, but one of the other lucha lads knocks him down, grabs the bet and makes a mad dash for the cage. He gets a ladder chucked at him or his troubles. Ooooh, so you have to leave the cage with the belt to actually win? That’s certainly different. Clearly influenced by King Of The Mountain. Jeff Jarrett must be proud.

Sweet DDT from Dragon Bame, and one of the other guys legdrops him Cena style and then tries to pin him. He’s more confused over the rules than I am. Big Canadian Destroyer by one of the guys. This is mayhem but not good mayhem due to the god dam sound and weird camera work. There’s a roaming camera but most of the action is captured through a zoomed in hardcam.

More moves getting popped off here and there. Some of it smooth, some of it not so much. One of dudes grabs the belt and heads up the cage, he almost gets the victory until he is met up top by someone else. He decides to fuck the match off, drops the belt into the ring and dives off the cage onto the pile of luchadores. It looked spectacular, I’ll give him that.

One of the guys just grabs the belt, climbs over and wins.

The Verdict:
Three quarters of a star. Firm but fair, I’m sure you’ll all agree. If the audio was better this could’ve been more enjoyable to watch. It was still a mess of a match regardless of the production woes, but I bet it was incredibly fun to see live. The venue looks superb and the crowd are probably vocal, and the drinks are probably flowing.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. Another ladder match straight afterwards? Gotta get the most out of the cage and ladders. Get your money’s worth for the props.

IWRG Intercontinental Middleweight Title Six Way Cage Match (vacant):

Pasion Crystal vs. Fuerza Guerrera Next Generation vs. Emperador Azteca vs. El Hijo del Alebrije vs. Demonio Infernal vs. Ave Rex

I was about to hit the exit button when I saw the ring crew attaching a briefcase to the ceiling, so we have a Money In The Bank match next! But it’s for the Intercontinental Middleweight title so why is it a briefcase and not the belt itself? I am lost.

Oh wait, this match might have sound enabled! I hear cheers! Claps! Annoying air horns! GANGNAM STYLE! I haven’t heard that little number in a while. Super cool big dick energy to the luchadore who chose that as his entrance music. I’m still none the wiser on who the guys are due to the lack of name plates.

NOPE! I GOT HOPEFUL! THE SOUND HAS BEEN TURNED DOWN AGAIN. They teased me, the bastards. It’s not to the extent as the last match though, I can still make out something but it’s like I’m listening to it through a cement wall.

Brawl to start as one of the commentators coughs loudly into the microphone comeplete with more fidgeting. Why don’t you go the whole hog and start eating custard creams and loudly slurping a hot drink whilst you’re at it, pal?

All the luchadores gang up on a dude dressed like a fly, and then its back to boring brawling. Some of they guys are trying to escape without grabbing the briefcase first and I am so confused. In fact, I don’t see any ladders anywhere.

Two of the guys head up to the top rope and think about doing some avalanche move but they both think “Fuck that” and climb down. I don’t blame you lads. There’s nothing of note to chat about but at least the audio levels are bearable.

Human fly lad does a moonsault. Then he gets powerbombed. Then he gets sentoned by an exotico. Man, remember when Cassandro had that mini-run on the US indie scene? He was killing it on those IWA-MS shows in the late 00’s. I think he only did one Ted Petty Invitational but he left a lasting impression on me.

I don’t think these guys planned anything at all. Just a bunch of lads having a laugh. I’d be surprised if this wasn’t a stag-do gone wrong. Oh, there’s a countdown for the ladders to be introduced into the match, like a ladder match/WarGames hybrid, that’s why they’re were wasting all that time. Three ladders get chucked into the ring and the exotico does the worst Terry Funk ladder spin i have ever seen.

Whoa, hold the phone! If you can only attempt to win once the ladders have entered the match, then why were there dudes still trying to escape the cage beforehand. What the fuck is going on? It’s the “Go Johnny Go Go Go Go!” of wrestling matches.

Finally, some action! Canadian Destroyer! Air horns are going mad! More very rough looking moves happen afterwards. Because they’re drunk. Stag! Stag! Stag! We’ve got an orange ladder! But it’s tiny, so obviously the guys spending ages trying to grab the case, one smell step at a time

The exotico climbs to the top, actually holds onto the briefcase, reliases that they aren’t being stopped, lets go of the briefcase and drops off the ladder with a senton that had to break the other guys ribs.

One of the lads then forces the exotico up top and comes off with an avalanche Angels Wings with the camera missing the actual impact. Two guys climb the ladder and fly dude flies in with a dropkick to knock them off. The no-selling is off the charts, obviously.

There’s a bit more of the guys looking lost. No such thing as structure here. That’s for nerds. The human fly dude basically kills someone with a package piledriver that looked so dangerous that I think he’s only had five matches. One of the guys pulls on a cord from hanging from the ceiling and the case just falls down into the ring. I am not making this up.

So the case is now on the canvas, one of the guys sets up a ladder to climb anyway and one of the luchadores frantically climbs out the cage pursued by everyone else and wins…but he didn’t have the case with him! The case is still lying in ring!

What the fuck just happened??

The Verdict:
One quarter of a God damn star. There wasn’t even any decent action to off-set the confusion and audio/visual gremlins. Fucking hell. Looks like a cracking stag-do though!