Tag Archive | "WWE"

The ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable recaps SummerSlam

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The ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable recaps SummerSlam

Posted on 28 August 2016 by Jonathan Williams

ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable Episode 34On episode 34 of the ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable podcast, Wrestling with Pop Culture, John Neal, Richard Ewell, Michael A. Gordon and Mark Bousquet discuss the aftermath of SummerSlam, including the subsequent Raw and SmackDown Live. We also talk to Dragon Con Wrestling booker Slim J about this year’s DCW event, his work with Total Nonstop Action and Ring of Honor, and more.

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Wrestling with Pop Culture joins the ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable to review 1988’s The Great American Bash

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Wrestling with Pop Culture joins the ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable to review 1988’s The Great American Bash

Posted on 05 July 2016 by Jonathan Williams

ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable Episode 30On episode 30 of the ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable, Wrestling with Pop Culture‘s Jonathan Williams joins John Neal, Richard Ewell and Jerry Chandler to review the 1988 National Wrestling Alliance pay-per-view The Great American Bash. This episode also features Joe Crowe’s interview with NWA referee Roy George.

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Wrestling with Pop Culture joins the ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable to discuss animals in wrestling

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Wrestling with Pop Culture joins the ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable to discuss animals in wrestling

Posted on 18 June 2016 by Jonathan Williams

ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable Episode 29Episode 29 of the ESO Pro Wrestling Roundtable goes to the dogs. It could also be said that this episode is for the birds. That’s because Wrestling with Pop Culture joins John Neal, Richard Ewell and Joe Crowe to discuss animals in wrestling. I also review the recent WWE NXT live event at Center Stage, and I talk to Ring of Honor‘s Action Ortiz following his recent matches at Universal Independent Wrestling and Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment.

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“Undertaker: 25 Years of Destruction” chronicles the Deadman’s WWE career

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“Undertaker: 25 Years of Destruction” chronicles the Deadman’s WWE career

Posted on 17 December 2015 by Jonathan Williams

Surviving a quarter century in WWE is an impressive accomplishment that rivals any main event victory or championship reign. Doing so while also amassing an impressive career that makes you arguably the most respected active competitor in the business is an even rarer feat. Maybe his survival can be attributed to the fact that he made his on-camera debut at Survivor Series, or perhaps being undead has something to do with it. There are obviously many reasons for the Undertaker’s sports entertainment success and they can all be found in Undertaker: 25 Years of Destruction.

Undertaker: 25 Years of DestructionWritten by longtime WWE scribe Kevin Sullivan (ironically not the same Kevin Sullivan that had a dark demeanor similar to the Undertaker’s in World Championship Wrestling), this book is a beautifully-presented collection of images and text that offers an encyclopedic look at the Undertaker’s ominously illustrious career. Beginning with his 1990 debut as part of Ted DiBiase‘s Million Dollar Team and concluding with his WrestleMania 31 victory over Bray Wyatt25 Years of Destruction spans the Deadman’s evolution in great detail. More than just a beginning-to-end timeline (though it does include a few of those), this book chronicles the Undertaker’s numerous championship achievements, his greatest in-ring rivalries, his unstable relationships with various managers and tag team partners, and his amazing accomplishments in brutal stipulation matches and pay-per-view encounters.

As evidenced by his match at this year’s Survivor Series, re-teaming with his brother Kane as the Brothers of Destruction to take on the Wyatt Family, family has been a big part of the Undertaker’s allure. From the fatherly guidance he received from the likes of Brother Love and Paul Bearer to his hot-and-cold relationship with Kane, the dramatic turns of events in the Undertaker’s personal life have often been the most intriguing parts of his matches. That also goes for his numerous rivals, with whom he has created some of the most memorable moments in WWE history. 25 Years of Destruction provides the backstory to the Undertaker’s relationships with relatives and rivals such as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Mankind, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Brock Lesnar. It also highlights key moments in these rivalries and examines what made these such important moments in the Undertaker’s career.

From his evolution from cartoonish Wild West mortician to minion of Satan to bad-ass biker and back to mysterious menace, no moment in the Phenom’s legacy is overlooked. In fact, this book goes into so much detail and breaks down the Undertaker’s career in so many different ways (the aforementioned chapters on specific rivalries, timelines, etc.) that the reiteration of details becomes a bit redundant at times. However, whether you’ve been a fan since he was wreaking havoc on the Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man or you’re just discovering the enigma that is the Demon of Death Valley, this book is a great resource for remembering your favorite moments or learning about them for the first time. Considering the legacy he is going to leave behind, preserving the Undertaker’s history in such an elaborate manner is an appropriate tribute to one of WWE’s greatest successes. Regardless of how many more years the Undertaker remains active in WWE, 25 Years of Destruction shows us just how his dominance has kept wrestling fans in awe for more than two decades.

www.dk.com/us/9781465439420-undertaker-the-world-of-the-deadman/

Wrestling with Pop Culture is giving away three copies of Undertaker: 25 Years of Destruction. Share a link to this review on Facebook or Twitter with #UndertakerWPC for your chance to win. Winners will be chosen by noon EST on Dec. 31.

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Dolph Ziggler not ready to give up his WWE spot for rising NXT showoffs

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Dolph Ziggler not ready to give up his WWE spot for rising NXT showoffs

Posted on 07 December 2015 by Jonathan Williams

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

Since his WWE debut ten years ago, Dolph Ziggler‘s image has gone through a few changes. Until recently the Showoff was known for his flashy, ’80s-inspired ring gear. Over the past few months, however, the former World Heavyweight Champion has adopted a look just as influenced by the ’80s, with more of a hair metal flair. These entrance outfits of leather, chains and studded denim jackets covered in rock band patches are created by Rick Michaels’ Global Wrestle Wear, maker of custom wrestling gear for several WWE talents.

“I love ’80s and ’90s rock and metal,” says Ziggler. “Mötley Crüe, Poison, everybody that was on my vest I love and he makes the craziest, most awesome gear. I’ll say, ‘Hey, I’ve got 12 hours. Can you make this thing for me?’ He gets it done and it’s amazing. This guy’s work is so well done, I can’t wait to see what he’s going to come up with next each month. He’s awesome and I love my gear. I model all my stuff after Vince Neil and Mötley Crüe in the ’80s.”

While image has always been almost as important to Ziggler as his in-ring accomplishments, an even more self-absorbed, selfie-loving NXT talent has made a name for himself on the main roster at Ziggler’s expense over the past few weeks. With his bleached blonde hair and flamboyant persona, Tyler Breeze could easily be mistaken for Ziggler’s younger brother. (Ziggler’s actual younger brother, former NXT competitor Briley Pierce, is now a Los Angeles improv and standup comedian.) Breeze, with Ziggler’s longtime female foe Summer Rae by his side, has gotten the better of Ziggler on a few occasions, jumping him from behind and even defeating Ziggler at Survivor Series.

“I get it,” says Ziggler. “He’s a young, up-and-coming kid who has blonde hair and I kind of used to look like him. Most importantly, once you get past all that, he’s a really good wrestler. Hopefully he gets a chance to show that and hopefully I get a chance to show him why I’m still here ten years later.”

Having gained a vengeful victory over Prince Pretty on the Nov. 30 Raw, there’s no way of knowing if Ziggler will cross paths with Breeze again in the near future. But with no opponent yet announced for TLC, Ziggler is ready to put Breeze, or any other rising star, in his place should he need to.

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

“Every generation has had a different way of coming up, whether it was in the territories, whether it was in the old OVW, whether it was in the new OVW, which is where I came from, then FCW, then NXT becoming its own brand and this worldwide phenomenon,” he says. “In the old days you used to have vignettes to show people who you are. With NXT getting so big and being so fun and exciting for people to be part of, you don’t need those vignettes. People know you already and you just show up and walk in the door. That is a huge step in this business of just getting people knowing who you are. My first month, I walked around shaking hands saying, ‘Hi, I’m Dolph Ziggler,’ because we didn’t have a vehicle like that. All of those superstars-to-be have this awesome opportunity with NXT. They’re already getting their name out there and they’re already stars when they walk in the door. A lot of people on the main roster, myself included, love working with the guys. But I’m not ready to give up my spot just because Triple H is buddies with them. I’m happy for them, but I’m sure as hell not going to give up my spot without a fight.”

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WWE Diva’s Champion has a natural Flair for wrestling

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WWE Diva’s Champion has a natural Flair for wrestling

Posted on 04 December 2015 by Jonathan Williams

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

With two-time WWE Hall of Famer “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair as her father, it’s no surprise that WWE Diva’s Champion Charlotte has a natural talent in the ring. Even though her late younger brother Reid amassed an impressive record on the independent scene and in Japan, and  her older brother David is a former World Championship Wrestling United States and World Tag Team Champion, Charlotte has followed a very different path as one of the leaders of the WWE Divas Revolution. Rather than prove herself on the indies before making her way to the WWE Performance Center, Charlotte has the distinction of being NXT‘s first completely homegrown talent to make it to the main roster.

“Just because you have a parent or sibling or someone in your family that wrestles doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you want to do,” she says. “I played sports my whole life, then this opportunity came up. I wasn’t doing much at the time accept personal training. So, I showed up and fell in love with it.”

The opportunity to start training with WWE arose in 2012 when she was in Miami to see her father be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for his second time, this time as a member of the Four Horsemen. At Reid’s encouragement, Charlotte began wrestling shortly thereafter. It didn’t take her long to display her natural Flair for sports entertainment as she won the NXT Women’s Championship in 2014 with her father in her corner.

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

“He always believed that wrestling was something you had to learn on your own,” she says. “He was very much hands off up until the point that I won the NXT title. He only gives me advice when I want it because he still wants to be dad, he doesn’t want to be a coach. Knowing my dad’s background and what he means to the business, I don’t think he wants to add to the pressure. He wants me to grow, learn and adapt to how WWE is today because it is much different than the territories, NWA and WCW. But if I have questions, he’s open to answer them.”

Charlotte has continued her ascent as she made her Raw debut in July of this year, going on to defeat Nikki Bella for the WWE Diva’s Championship at Night of Champions in September. While she and other former NXT women continue to change the audience’s perception of what women can do in WWE, her reign as Diva’s Champion has cost her at least one friendship as former friend Paige has become her biggest foe. But considering the rivalries she had with Paige and others in NXT, it should come as no surprise that every woman in WWE is after Chalotte’s title.

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.

“With the Four Horsewomen – me, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch – it was almost lightning in a bottle,” she says. “It only happens once and it was just meant to be. With Ronda Rousey, Serena Williams and the [United States] women’s soccer team, it’s kind of like the year of the woman. People want to see women do well. With how hard we worked in NXT, it was just a matter of time before it transitioned to the main roster. Everyone’s so competitive and each girl wants that.”

With TLC only a few days away, it remains to be seen who Charlotte’s next opponent will be. Regardless of who it is, she’s proud of what she has accomplished so far in WWE.

“I really haven’t had a chance to sit back and take it all in because once you debut, you just take off,” she says. “I just had my first overseas tour and I’ve had a few pay-per-views now. It’s been great having Becky Lynch by my side. I’m just looking forward to seeing where this Divas Revolution goes. I’ll continue to work hard and I’m looking to keep my title.”

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WWE’s “Attitude Era: Volume Two” is the B-side collection to 2012’s “The Attitude Era”

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WWE’s “Attitude Era: Volume Two” is the B-side collection to 2012’s “The Attitude Era”

Posted on 30 November 2014 by Jonathan Williams

 

 

 

It was two years ago that WWE released its three-disc The Attitude Era DVD set. Chronicling one of WWE’s most popular and successful periods, The Attitude Era features a documentary about the late ’90s/early ’00s era during which “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock and other mid-card wrestlers became mainstream superstars. It also features numerous matches and other footage that showcases the fact that stars were made during The Attitude Era not only because of their in-ring abilities, but also because of their rude and rebellious personas and over-the-top antics. If The Attitude Era was a greatest hits compilation, Attitude Era: Volume Two is the B-sides and rarities that complement the first volume.

Attitude Era: Volume TwoInitially, I was a little disappointed to discover there was no new documentary included in this second volume. Then I realized that just leaves more room for matches, which isn’t a bad thing. In place of a documentary to start things off, there’s an introduction and conclusion by Michael Cole basically welcoming you to Vol. 2, then thanking you for watching it. In between the matches some of the Attitude Era’s biggest stars discuss road stories, how their Attitude Era personas came to be and other defining elements of that time period. Particularly entertaining are Jerry “The King” Lawler discussing how he came to call the oft-exposed breasts of the divas as “puppies,” the Godfather explaining how true-to-life his pimp gimmick is (and later revealing his surprising musical tastes) and Edge recalling how unpleasant the Brood’s bloodbaths were for their opponents. For the most part, these vignettes help keep things flowing and provide some backstory for the matches that follow. There are a few instances, however, where the interviews are a bit confusing when coupled with their concurrent match selections. For example, Chris Jericho talks extensively about his 1999 WWE debut, when he interrupted The Rock on Raw, which is followed by an Intercontinental Championship defense against Kurt Angle the following year. Granted, Jericho’s WWE debut was featured in The Attitude Era DVD, but it just seems odd to have Jericho talk so passionately about that moment only to be followed by a completely different (but still impressive) match.

While the Attitude Era tends to bring to mind bikini contests, beer guzzling and politically-incorrect rebelliousness, Vol. 2 effectively illustrates that there was a lot more to it than that. Sure, this DVD set includes a couple of swimsuit/bikini contests (both of which feature a nearly-nude Sable), the sex therapy sessions of “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry, and two ridiculous Hardcore Championship matches featuring Gerald Brisco (one of which involves him and Pat Patterson in evening gowns, the other of which includes the use of Patterson’s poop-stained underpants as a weapon). But for every puppy reference or poop joke, there are WWE Championship matches pitting Austin against Ken Shamrock and The Rock against X-Pac, a European Championship match featuring Angle, Jericho and Tazz, and Eddie Guerrero facing Dean Malenko. In much the same way that people often forget that Extreme Championship Wrestling was more than just flaming tables and barbed-wire bats, Vol. 2 reminds us that underneath the button-pushing antics were some amazing matches involving some of the most talented grapplers in history.

While it was the T&A of Sunny, Marlena and Sable that likely attracted many new WWE viewers during the Attitude Era, the equally attractive Lita, Trish Stratus, Jacqueline and Ivory were going toe-to-toe (sometimes literally) with the likes of Triple H, The Rock and Angle. So it’s refreshing to see the in-ring talents of these women showcased towards the end of Vol. 2. Another thing that made the Attitude Era special was that even those who weren’t main eventers like Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and the Undertaker were important parts of the show. Even if some of the multi-person matches included here seem inconsequential, it’s still good to see the contributions of Owen Hart, Gangrel, Val Venis, Al Snow, D’Lo Brown, Marc Mero, Goldust and Hardcore Holly to WWE’s success at the time. It’s this type of diversity that made the Attitude Era the most popular era in WWE history. And Vol. 2 does a good job of highlighting as much of that diversity as possible.

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