Hello and welcome to Duckman’s Declaration of Independence – your regular fix of independent pro wrestling news, views, opinions and reviews here on Wrestling Rambles.  Thanks to everyone who left comments last time, much appreciated.   A couple of pieces of business to take care of before we officially kick off.

First, a major note of thanks to current ROH Television Champion Adam Cole for joining me last Friday on the very first edition of the Rambling Personalities Podcast.  We discussed his career, wrestling in general and so much more.  Adam is one of the most laid back, humble, interesting and well spoken guys I’ve ever had the privilege of interviewing.  As far as a first guest goes?  I think we nailed it!  The interview is a must listen for any young aspiring wrestler out there.

Secondly, a shout out to Ray for asking me to do the interview and being so damn supportive and encouraging once it was done.  I appreciate that to a lot of people I’m pretty much an unknown coming here.  Some of you may have heard me on the MFXPodcast but to the majority I’m just some random Scottish dude with an opinion on wrestling he has to share with strangers.  Ray made things really easy and his reaction to the interview was great.  So cheers Ray, much appreciated!

If you haven’t heard the interview with Adam yet then stop what you’re doing (finish reading this sentence of course) and go and check it out.  You won’t be disappointed.  Ok, you’ve done that?  You’re back?  Good.  See, told you it was good.

The interview news continues as we’ve confirmed our next guest for Rambling Personalities (which will record on either 31st August or 1st September) will be none other than the man who learnt his trade under Paul Heyman in ECW, before becoming the creative force behind Ring of Honor from its inception in 2002 through to his headline making departure in 2008.  He is the current owner of EVOLVE and the man behind DGUSA, he’s a four time Wrestling Observer Booker of the Year – Mr Gabe Sapolsky!

I’m really looking forward to this interview as Gabe is a man I’ve long respected for his booking ability and his knowledge of pro wrestling.  Plus he first spotted the talent of guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe and countless others.  In ROH he gave them a platform to hone their skills which set them up to become the stars they are today.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to talk wrestling with Gabe and I’m sure Ray will be working overtime to get your questions in for Gabe on all subjects!

Duckman’s Headline News.

***Wrestle-Con begins to take shape.***

One of the topics I’ll be talking to Gabe about is Wrestle-Con, the big indy wrestling convention he’s heavily involved with, which takes place during Wrestlemania weekend next year.  Here’s how the schedule of shows is shaping up so far:

Friday 6th April 2013

4pm – EVOLVE

8pm – CZW

11:55pm – Kaiju Big Battel (apparently this involves dudes dressed up in cardboard Godzilla monster style costumes fighting it out in a pro wrestling style.  I say ‘apparently’ because I’ve only just heard of this today and have probably just earned the scorn of a lot of fans for my ignorance.  It does look like a lot of fun.)

Saturday 7th April 2013

Noon – Shimmer


8pm – Dragon Gate USA

11:55pm – $5 Wrestling

Sunday 8th April 2013

1pm – Dragon Gate USA

So far the biggest name legend confirmed for Wrestle-Con is Bruno Sammartino.  In recent months Bruno has indicated he is reducing the number of appearances he will make.  So this will be a rare opportunity to get to meet the longest reigning WWWF Champion of all time and a true legend of professional wrestling.

Wrestle-Con have a scored a real coup in getting him to come in for the convention.  Bruno recently turned down an invitation to be inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden next year.  If you’re going to Wrestle-Con make it your mission to meet this man, shake his hand and thank him for everything he’s done for professional wrestling.  They say respect is earned?  No one has earned more respect than Bruno Sammartino.

Other legends appearing at Wrestle-Con include: Demolition, Mr Fuji, King Kong Bundy, Honky Tonk Man, Ken Patera, Bob Orton Jr, Tito Santana, Sandman, George Steele and Kamala.  Expect more names announced as we get closer to Wrestle-Con next year.

Wrestle-Con have launched their official website where you can get more information on tickets, hotel accommodation and information for vendors etc.  Not surprisingly you can find it at http://www.wrestlecon.com

***EVOLVE 17 – Which Match Main Events?***

The final card is taking shape for EVOLVE 17 on 8th September 2012 which will be live on IPPV via http://www.WWNLive.com.  At the time of writing there is a lot of discussion between Gabe and fans of EVOLVE on which match should be the main event of the show.  It’s a straight call between the third match in the jaw dropping in-ring series between El Generico and Samuray Del Sol (currently tied at one apiece) and a clash between two of the greatest  and most innovative highfliers in the world today in AR Fox and Ricochet.

They will be two incredible matches.  It’s almost too tough a call to make.  It’s a bit like trying to decide which of your kids you love the most.  Not that I have kids, but if I did, I’m pretty sure I’d love one more than the other.  Probably the one that was most into wrestling.

If you haven’t seen Generico and Del Sol in action you are missing out on something special.  I would urge you all to get over to http://www.WWNLive.com spend a few bucks and check out the first two matches between Generico and Del Sol from EVOLVE 14 and 15.  If you’re not impressed by what you see then this column and indy wrestling in general probably aren’t for you.

I have yet to see El Generico in an average match.  He has had so many classic matches over the past few years I’ve literally lost count.  The old saying about how Ric Flair could wrestle a broom stick and make it look like a millions bucks has been used to death down the years.  El Generico is that kind of a worker.  A man at the height of his powers.

Del Sol is a guy who I’ve recently become a fan of.  He has a ton of skill and charisma and matched Generico step for step in their last two outings.  He’s a real prospect for the future and the third match between these two will be a sight to behold.

In AR Fox you have a guy who improves every single time he steps in the ring.  This summer he became the CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion.  He has had fantastic performances in EVOLVE and DGUSA.  He innovates in the ring but he has really brought out his character and excellent storytelling in his matches in recent months.

Ricochet is the original highflying wonder of recent years and has forged one hell of a career for himself in Dragon Gate in Japan as well as on the indy scene in the States.  I recently watched his match against El Generico from PWG’s ‘Death To All But Metal’ and once again I was left staring open mouthed in wonder at what Ricochet does.

Now the choice is in your hands.  Fans of EVOLVE have been asked to vote for which match will main event EVOLVE 17.  It’s a tough choice but given the fact that Fox and Ricochet, along with Generico and Del Sol, are four of the best wrestlers in the world today, whichever match ends up headlining EVOLVE 17 it will be a main event worthy of any card.

***DGUSA Champ puts Title on the line in UK.***

By the time you read this current DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano will have put his Title on the line in the UK against CZW veteran Jonathan Gresham for the rocking promotion Fight Club Pro in Wolverhampton.  And yes, they are set up like a legit fight club.  And yes, it is awesome!

FCP have been booking fantastic shows in the UK this year (my buddy Stu Rodgers of Indy Corner fame is a huge fan and attends their shows regularly) and their show on Friday 24th August called ‘International Tekkers’ also has appearances by former ROH World Champ Davey Richards and former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and one of the best wrestlers in the world today – Prince Devitt from New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Richards will go to war in a rematch with hard hitting FCP founder Trent Seven.  Devitt will clash in what will be a show stealing match with current FCP Champion and top young UK prospect MK McKinnan.  I’m not sure if the show will be available on DVD but here’s hoping!  On paper the show has the potential to be one of the best in the UK this year.

***ROH IPPV Boiling Point – a brief review.***

ROH’s most recent IPPV ‘Boiling Point’ was a strange show; a regular house show that became an IPPV at very short notice and, due to ROH’s TV taping schedule, had little to no build up on TV.  The show itself was entertaining but outside of the main event between ROH World Champ Kevin Steen and Chikara Grand Champion Eddie Kingston, none of the matches on the show felt like they were at the IPPV level in terms of build and heat.  In-ring wise it was the usual high energy and entertaining ROH show and the crowd was sold out and hot.

There were none of the technical issues that have dogged ROH’s IPPVs in the past.  Since they’ve taken their IPPV production in house a lot of the technical problems they had with Go Fight Live seemed to have been resolved.  That’s nothing but a good thing for ROH.  They need to restore fans confidence that if they pay to watch a show live on IPPV they’re going to be able to see it.  A string of problem free IPPVs would go a long way to restoring that confidence.

My own highlights, apart from the WAR between Steen and Kingston, were the opening match between Roderick Strong and Mike Mondo (formerly Mikey of the Spirit Squad in WWE and a guy ROH are pushing hard).  The tag match between The Briscoes and Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs.  And an amazing performance by Tommaso Ciampa who torn a knee ligament about a minute into his 2 out of 3 falls match with Jay Lethal and gutted it out to not only finish the match but turn in one of the better performances of his ROH career.  The man is an animal!

***The American Wolf Returns to ROH.***

Interesting news earlier this week as ROH announced that former World Champion Davey Richards will return to ROH on IPPV at Death Before Dishonor 11 in Chicago on 15th September.  There’s been a ton of controversy surrounding Davey following the incident in Iowa I wrote about last time.  As well as his recent interview for High Spots where he took a shovel in both hands and buried both Kevin Steen and certain aspects of ROH’s business and booking over the last few months.

Now a lot of fans put these recent issues down to Davey just being Davey.  He’s an intense man who takes his profession extremely seriously and doesn’t hold back when asked for his opinion.  I always like people like that because they make following wrestling much more interesting.  Personally I’ve always admired his work and after hearing him in an interview on a recent edition of The Indy Corner podcast it seems like he’s starting to see the error of his recent ways.  He even issued an apology to Steen for the comments he made – something I never thought I’d see in my life time.

One thing you can’t deny about Davey Richards is when he steps into the ring he goes full force and usually delivers a high quality match.  He’s also an important part of the main event scene in ROH.  Perhaps his time away from ROH will have reenergised his love for the profession and ROH, both of which seem to have waned in recent months.  It will be extremely interesting to see what direction his career in ROH goes in the next few months and how the ROH fans will react to him on his return.

***ROH Dojo – open for new trainees.***

Good news this week for any budding wrestlers out there.  ROH are opening their dojo for a new influx of trainees on 22nd October 2012.  Here’s a run down from ROH’s press release of what they offer at their training centre:

“The Ring Of Honor Dojo, under head trainer DELIRIOUS, will be starting new classes during the week of October 22nd, 2012. Located in Bristol, PA (close to both I-95 and the PA turnpike), only 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia, the school has been in operation since 2004, and is a facility that includes a full size 18 foot ring, weight lifting equipment, as well as an extensive video library, and other numerous resources at your disposal.
The school is for people with all levels of experience in professional wrestling. From those with absolutely no experience looking to break in to those with previous wrestling experience looking to hone their skills, the ROH Dojo will help you to learn everything you need to know in order to start, or enhance, your wrestling career. The school is open to wrestlers (both male and female), as well as referees, managers, and valets of all shapes and sizes.
Please be aware that each student is different and the length of your individual training will likely vary. Some students may advance more rapidly than others while some will advance more slowly; what’s most important is that you invest your time, energy, and your patience to get the most out of the program.
Some of the things your training will cover include:

-Emphasis on the fundamentals
-Conditioning and weight training
-Ring psychology
-Development of timing and positioning
-Continuous evaluation
-Advice on character development
-Assistance with promos
The cost for the ROH Dojo is as follows:
$900 down payment on the first day of class
$350 per month
*training is a 6 month program so the total cost is $3000.00
$900 will be due upon registration, and an additional $350 is due on the last day of each month of training.
For those individuals who would like to pay for the entire class on the first day of training, you will receive a special discounted price of $2650.00 (essentially one month free)!!!
Also, as part of your training, you are also highly encouraged to take the time to travel with Ring of Honor and participate as a member of the crew. Not only does this allow you the opportunity to really see what goes into setting up an event but it also gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with all the in’s and out’s of Ring of Honor Wrestling in a way only first-hand experience can offer.
Once you have graduated you are allowed and encouraged to participate in the ongoing training sessions. While some schools train you for only a set amount of time then send you off on your own, at the ROH Dojo, once you’ve graduated, you can always come back to train, work out, and meet wrestlers.
You must be at least 18 years of age to enrol in the ROH Dojo.
For more information e-mail rohdojo@gmail.com. For those of you interested, but who can’t make the October sessions, expect a new class to start around 4 months after this.”

That’s the headline news, you stay classy San Diego.

Ok folks,  that’ll do for this week.  Please do check out the interview with Adam Cole, there’s a lot of great stuff in it that even non-ROH/indy fans can appreciate.  Be sure to keep an eye on the site for more on the interview with Gabe Sapolsky and how you can get your questions put to Gabe when I sit down with him next weekend.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter which is @MFXDuckman.  Don’t forget, every week, you can hear me and my partner in crime Sir Ian Trumps dissecting the week in WWE and TNA in a NSFW, comedic and vaguely entertaining fashion on the Marks for Xcellence Podcast over at www.mfxpodcast.com

Thanks for reading, keeping supporting the site, keep supporting indy wrestling and remember –  if it’s not on Wrestling Rambles, it’s not worth talking about!

Until next time…