When, in the course of being a professional wrestling fan, it becomes necessary for one group of fans to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with mainstream wrestling, a decent respect to the opinions of other wrestling fans requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
I hold these truths to be self evident:
- That WWE and their camp, cartoony and intelligence insulting programming holds no interest for fans of real professional wrestling over the age of 10.
- That there is a world outside that which is created by God All-Mighty – Vince McMahon – and within that world wrestling fans can find professional wrestling as it was meant to be.
- That without independent professional wrestling there would be no CM Punk.
- That ‘Dem Boys’ Mark and Jay Briscoe are the baddest tag team on the planet and will never be ‘cosmetically pleasing.’
- That ‘Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare’ Kevin Steen is independent wrestling’s own Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- That the names; John Cena, Zak Ryder, Kane and Eve Torres will never be mentioned on these pages.
- That no matter what any detractors may say and even when the ‘production levels’ don’t match the sparkle of sports entertainment – independent professional wrestling is vital, endlessly entertaining and worthy of your time and money.
- That within these pages you will read only the best comment, news and reviews of Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Chikara, CZW, EVOLVE, Dragon Gate USA and the countless other promotions in the myriad of professional wrestling’s independent scene.
- In the words of the legend Nigel McGuiness, there is no such thing as sports entertainment, only an entertaining sport.
Hello faithful readers of Wrestling Rambles and welcome to the first edition of my new weekly column, ‘Duckman’s Declaration of Independence.’ In case you haven’t worked it out yet from that hilarious opening this is the new home on Wrestling Rambles for all you fans of independent professional wrestling. That’s right, no longer will you have to go without articles on ROH, DGUSA, CHIKARA and the like! Oh glory days. I’m sure you’re all just as excited by this as I am. If you’re not, well here’s your giant foam hand, your ‘Hustle, Loyalty and Respect’ t-shirt and there’s the door.
Each week I’ll bring you my take on the best and worst of indy wrestling news. I’ll also be reviewing shows. Taking an in-depth look at some of the top personalities on the indy scene and looking in detail at the biggest feuds currently rocking independent pro wrestling. I’m also always open to suggestion (hence my arrest record) so feel free to send me your ideas for articles you’d like to see here in the future and I’ll do my best to shamelessly rip them off and then refuse to give you any credit for them.
No doubt you’re all sitting there thinking, “who the hell is this guy? He’s a bit cocky for a first timer writing here.” Well, without trying to sound too much like Troy McClure from The Simpsons, I’m Duckman and you may know me from such places as the awesome Wrestling’s Last Hope as well as The Marks For Xcellence Podcast (cheap plug coming alert) – http://www.mfxpodcast.com
Every week on MFX you can hear Sir Ian Trumps and myself review all the big news in mainstream wrestling. I say ‘review’ but if you listen to the show you’ll know it’s more a chance for two opiniated Brits to make fun of a variety of wrestling related topics in a semi entertaining fashion. MFX is also home of The Indy Corner with Stu Rodgers (cheap plug coming alert) where you can hear Stu and I discuss all things independent wrestling, as well as interviews with independent wrestlers and others involved in this crazy business of pro wrestling.
Ok, no more cheap plugs. I should point out that I’m not one of those indy fans who hates everything about WWE and TNA. I like to think of myself as one of the 10%ers that Eric Bischoff hates so much but can’t stop booking to. I have been a fan of pro wrestling since the age of 9 or 10 and now in my early 30s I feel increasingly detached from the WWE Universe and TNA. I did worry for a while that I would soon give up on wrestling and move on to something less frustrating.
Thankfully about 6-7 years ago I discovered Ring of Honor which lead me into a becoming a fan of independent wrestling in general and my divorce from pro wrestling was put on hold. And while I may now only see WWE on weekends or special occasions, I’m still very much in love with pro wrestling and everything that goes in to making it one of the most compelling, entertaining, annoying, crazy, intense and loved sports in the world. Oh yeah and I’m one of those guys who calls pro wrestling a sport.
Anyway, that’s more enough schilling and pandering for my first article. If you’re still with me let’s get into the very first edition of Duckman’s Declaration of Independence!
Duckman’s Headline News:
First big news item on the agenda is the announcement of the main event match for Ring of Honor’s 10th anniversary show on 4th March 2012 from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. The show will be available on IPPV for the reduced price of $9.99 (what a bargain – check out Go Fight Live.tv for ordering details) and it is headlined by a tag team match featuring ROH World Champion Davey Richards and his training partner/prodigy/mouth guard holder Kyle O’Reilly going up against Davey’s former American Wolves partner and the man he beat for the ROH World title Eddie Edwards and his new partner Adam Cole.
Cole and O’Reilly were the team formerly known as Future Shock and they had been getting over big time with the ROH faithful for their intense work, great double teams and all round awesome up and coming babyface potential. In recent weeks the team has been split with O’Reilly siding with Richards and recently on ROH TV Edwards recruited Cole. The angle itself has been fun to watch but it’s not been plain sailing as many ROH fans wanted to see Future Shock continue as a team and climb the tag team ladder in ROH.
There’s also been arguments that we’ve now seen enough of Richards versus Edwards and that the angle should have come to an end at Final Battle or a heel turn from Edwards to take things in a more intense and personal direction.
So when ROH fans heard that this match was going to be the main event of the 10th anniversary show a lot of them reacted like Mason Ryan had just become ROH World Champion – they weren’t very happy. The main point behind the complaints are two fold. Firstly that once again Davey Richards is not defending the ROH World Title on an IPPV (fans have been unhappy with Richards going to New Japan and not appearing on a ROH IPPV last year). And secondly that the match does not have enough marquee value to qualify as a main event of such a significant show.
I’m in two minds about this match. While the match quality will be phenomenal and the storyline building to the match is compelling and doing wonders to establish two young talents in Cole and O’Reilly, I can’t help feel those ROH fans complaining with the loudest voices might just have a point. Everyone knows how much significance is put into certain anniversaries and dates. A decade as a company when many didn’t think they’d last ten minutes is a huge accomplishment for ROH and one that should be celebrated. If you’re going to throw a party, you have to invite the guest of honor (pardon the pun) and in this case that guest is the ROH World Title.
Richards not defending the World Title on the show hurts but I do believe there is some method to the madness here. ROH have two more IPPV events at the end of March over Wrestlemania weekend where Richards will be defending the ROH Title. Three ROH World Title matches in the space of 3 weeks would be over kill and take some of the shine off the fact that when the World Title is defended it’s a big f’n deal. So there’s a scheduling issue to take into account.
All roads seem to be pointing to some sort of heel turn involving Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole and this match should be the moment where that happens. The main event is receiving a lot of TV time and ROH are heavily invested in establishing Cole and O’Reilly as the next generation of ROH stars that are coming down the pike. The beef that a lot of fans have is while all that is really important and worthwhile, it still feels like a match to further an angle, rather than the massive ROH World Title match they expected for the 10th Anniversary show.
Personally I’ve never bought a ROH show because of one match and while I can’t shake the feeling this match is in the wrong spot on the card, I will still sit down in front of my PC and eagerly await the outcome of this one, along with the inevitable complaints that will follow. Such is the fickle world of pro wrestling fans.
Also in the news recently on the indy scene was CZW who celebrated their 13th anniversary with a show back on 13th February in New Jersey. Happy Birthday CZW from all at Wrestling Rambles! I’ll have more CZW news, including a look at their upcoming Best of the Best Tournament in future articles.
Wrestlemania weekend is always the biggest wrestling weekend of the year and both DGUSA and ROH will be running shows in Florida at the end of March. The big news coming out of DGUSA is their show on 30th March which is headlined by the first time ever match between Lo-Ki and ‘The Man Who Gravity Forgot’ PAC will be available on IPPV for the insanely low price of $1.99!
This is a hell of an offer from DGUSA who consistently put on state of the art wrestling matches with their stable of Japanese talent while also mixing in the best of the US indy scene. Frankly, if you can’t afford $1.99 for a show that is almost guaranteed to blow your mind, then you need to find a new sport to follow and also seek urgent financial advice.
The only draw back with cutting the price so dramatically is it sets a precedent for fans who think that every show should be available at that price. When the price comes back up to the normal level of $9.99 only the real die hard fans or those completely hooked from the WM weekend shows will follow. It’s a bold move by Gabe Sapolsky (booker of DGUSA) who has admitted they will make a loss on the show. I hope it’s one that pays off for them in an increase in future PPV buys because this is a company that really should have more paying customers.
The first team for this year’s PWG DDT 4 tag team tournament has been announced with Sami Callihan and Roderick Strong teaming up. Safe to say if you’re a fan of watching people get chopped in the chest ridiculously hard, then this is the team for you! DDT 4 is one of my favourite shows of the year, not just from PWG but by any promotion. With tag team wrestling dying a slow and painful death in mainstream wrestling, the independent scene is really the only place you can still see top class tag team wrestling on a regular basis. DDT 4 last year was one of my top three shows of the year and I’d expect this year to be just as good. If you’re a fan of tag team wrestling then PWG should be your first port of call. I’ll have more news on PWG and the DDT 4 tournament in future articles.
That’s the indy news for this week, I’m Duckman. You stay classy San Diego.
Duckman’s Indy Show of the Week.
The major draw back about living in the UK, in my case the wilds of the west of Scotland, is that it can take what feels like a lifetime for shows to come out on DVD. While IPPVs are great, promotions like ROH, EVOLVE, DGUSA and others that produce them don’t do so on a regular basis. Therefore I need to wait a few weeks, sometimes months, for the shows to arrive. I know, poor me…
This will mean that shows I pick as my show of the week haven’t actually taken place this week. In fact the show I’m picking this week didn’t even take place this year! I know, it’s like some kind of weird paradox in the indy wrestling space/time continuum. Don’t worry though, Ziggy says there’s a 98% chance this show was brilliant and that my next leap, could be my leap home.
My indy show of the week for this first edition of Duckman’s Declaration of Independence goes to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and their final show of 2011 – FEAR! This was a huge show for PWG which drew a legitimate turn away crowd in Reseda, California for the culmination of the Kevin Steen vs. Young Bucks feud which saw the return to PWG after a number of year of one of the company’s founding fathers and one of the most polarising wrestler on the indy scene – SUPER DRAGON!
The main event of this show was Steen and Dragon teaming up (a reprisal of their famous team from a few years ago) to take on the PWG Tag Team Champions, The Young Bucks in a Guerrilla War Fare Match. The clue is in the title, the match was anything goes, no DQ, no count out and a hell of a lot of nasty bumps, big weapon shots and Steen and Dragon beating the ever loving hell out of Nick and Matt Jackson. That match alone is worth the price of the DVD but as always with PWG it’s the undercard and in the commentary both that puts this show over the top.
For those of you who have never watched a PWG DVD you are missing out on quite possibly the most consistently entertaining indy wrestling company on the planet today. A big statement and one I’m happy to defend in a fight to the death. There’s one overriding factor that always springs to mind when I watch PWG – fun. This is a company that is always able to mix the sublime with the ridiculous and it makes for the perfect balance to the show.
One of the true unsung heroes in indy wrestling is Excalibur, former PWG wrestler and current lead commentator. This man is funny. I mean REALLY funny. When he’s together with Kevin Steen in the commentary booth (as is the case for the first two matches on this show) you will find yourself having to pause the DVD to laugh. I know I did. It’s not just comedy for the sake of comedy but entertaining and fun wrestling commentary. Plus when it comes time to get serious and put shit over, Excalibur is always able to switch it up and do just that.
My favourite line from Excalibur on Fear? Easy – “T.J Perkins is the youngest veteran in pro wrestling today. He’s had an 18 year career and he’s only 17 years old.” GENIUS.
So what makes the show so great, other than the main event and the commentary? We’ve got Future Shock against the Rockness Monsters in great tag team action. The American Wolves show they are perfectly able to work a more light hearted style as they face The Super Smash Bros in a match that is an absolute riot of entertainment, hard strikes, playing to the crowd and just downright fun. Plus Willie Mack and Chris Hero beat the shit out of each other and El Generico defends the PWG World Title in a great match against Japanese legend Dick Togo who was in the midst of his retirement tour when he stopped off in PWG to face Generico.
PWG Fear was a great end to a great year for the California based promotion and their mix of amazing matches, hilarious commentary, intimate setting and loud and passionate fans really makes for a viewing experience that left this jaded wrestling fan smiling from ear to ear.
9 quacks out of 10.
So there you have it guys, my first article on Wrestling Rambles. Hopefully you’ve found a few nuggets of gold and remained awake and mildly entertained throughout. If not, I only have one thing to say, #blamemiz.
Thanks for reading guys and remember you can follow me on twitter @WLHDuckman and for all the details on the MFX Podcast check out www.mfxpodcast.com
Until next time…