First, professional wrestling is not the same as fighting in hockey. One takes place on skates and primarily involves punches. The other takes place in a ring and involves many more maneuvers than simple punches. Also – and don’t tell anyone! – outcomes in pro wrestling are predetermined. Shhhhh!
I don’t doubt, of course, that I would do a tremendous job evaluating fights between potential combatants. Furthermore, whatever negative comments I make toward Ron and Eric, I won’t deny that they know the NHL inside and out. Their previews of the Flyers-Penguins series and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs are pretty good, and, as Jesse “The Body” Ventura used to say, I don’t impress easy. (Yes, I know the grammar isn’t correct, but I’m quoting “The Body.”)
It goes without saying that I would do a better job with the previews, but it’s unfair to hold Ron and Eric to such a lofty standard. Besides, isn’t it enough that I share my wrestling knowledge with you plebeians every week? If I wrote articles on more topics – and they would be excellent – I wouldn’t have time to enjoy my life as Achilles Heel, the Greek god of wrestling.
TRAPPED IN CAGE: I’ve never liked events like TNA’s Lockdown pay-per-view, where all the matches are contested using the same stipulation – in this case a steel cage. Steel cage matches should be reserved for red-hot feuds. It should be a settle-it-once-and-for-all kind of match.
When the entire card is contested in a steel cage, it lessens its impact (if you’ll pardon the pun) and makes the cage match seem less special. For example, when Matt Morgan vs. Crimson and Robbie E vs. Devon are contested inside a steel cage, it makes it less special when Bobby Roode and James Storm enter the steel cage for their very personal feud over the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Anything that detracts from the Roode-Storm match is a shame. I expect that match to be the highlight of Sunday’s “Lockdown” from Nashville. Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle should also be very good. It could be great, but that depends on Angle’s alleged injuries.
Another match I’m looking forward to seeing is Samoa Joe and Magnus defending the tag team championship against the Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin). Gail Kim defends the Knockouts Championship against Velvet Sky. Neither of those matches belongs in a cage, nor does the Robbie E-Devon match for the Television Championship and Morgan vs. Crimson.
I have mixed feelings about the Lethal Lockdown match between Team Eric Bischoff and Team Garett Bischoff. Eric Bischoff has Gunner, Bully Ray, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian on his side. Garett Bischoff has A.J. Styles, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Anderson and Austin Aries on his side. There is the potential for terrific wrestling. If TNA is smart, they will book the match to have wrestlers like Styles, Aries, Daniels and Kazarian in the ring a lot, and the Bischoffs in the ring for very little time.
In the end, however, you know the “payoff” in this match involves the Bischoffs, two guys who have no business being in a main event on television, let alone a major match at a pay-per-view. I have a feeling that knowing the ending must involve the Bischoffs will detract from enjoyment of the match.
IS ANGLE FOR REAL? I didn’t mean to cast aspersions by referring to Angle’s” alleged injuries.” All right, yes I did.
I’m not questioning Angle’s toughness. He is a tremendous athlete and tough as nails. But the man has been known to stretch the truth from time to time. He said this past week that he is withdrawing from the United States Olympic Wrestling Championship because he tore his MCL during training. That injury, along with his earlier hamstring injury, is the reason cited by Angle for withdrawing from the championships. At 43 and no longer participating in amateur wrestling, he was beyond a longshot to make the team.
If his reason for withdrawing is true, this also means Angle is going to wrestle Jeff Hardy in a cage match this Sunday despite having a torn MCL and a hamstring injury. That’s a little hard to believe.
ARCH OF THE PENGUINS: I chose not to evaluate the Flyers-Penguins series for PhillyPhanatics.com, but I couldn’t help noticing how well the Penguins “sell” shots from their opponents. Sidney Crosby, in particular, is magnificent at throwing his head back at the slightest contact. During Game 1, it appeared that Jaromir Jagr had elbowed Crosby in the jaw until we saw the replay. He would be a terrific scrub in WWE.
On the other hand, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang oversold Matt Read’s bump after Letang was robbed of a goal by Ilya Bryzgalov. Throwing his head back and crumpling to the ground was such a horrible overreaction that Letang received a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
THE RUSSIAN BEAR: Bryzgalov’s comment before the series about only being afraid of bears in the woods – not Penguins superstars – had me thinking that “The Russian Bear” would be a terrific nickname for Bryzgalov. But he would have to get Ivan Koloff’s permission.
BEST OF THE BEST: Combat Zone Wrestling returns to action tonight (Saturday) at the Flyers’ Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., with its “Best of the Best” tournament (7:30 p.m.). The event, which will be broadcast on Internet pay-per-view, features 13 wrestlers. The first round features one four-way match and three triple-threat matches.
The competitors include Sami Callihan, Drake Younger, Johnny Gargano, Chuck Taylor and A.R. Fox. Other matches include Jack Crist putting his CZW Wired TV title on the line against his brother, Dave Crist, and a dark match (not on pay-per-view) between Adam Cole and Tony Nese.
CHIKARA RETURNS TO PHILLY: CHIKARA heads up the Garden State Parkway to Rahway for a show today (2 p.m.). CHIKARA grand champion Eddie Kingston teams with The Colony to take on Gekido in the 8-man tag team main event. CHIKARA returns to Philadelphia on April 21, at the 23rd Street Armory, as part of the “Road to Ruin” punk festival.
There’s more good news for CHIKARA fans in the Delaware Valley. CHIKARA will be at The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) on June 2. This will be CHIKARA’s first full show in Philadelphia since the old ECW Arena was torn down. Hopefully, the venue works out well for both CHIKARA and the Trocadero, which would allow CHIKARA to once again have a more permanent home base in Philly.
CHICAGO STYLE: It’s interesting that, much like WrestleMania, independent wrestling organizations are beginning to piggyback on the attention WWE pay-per-views generate. Ring of Honor and CHIKARA will team up for two events in Chicago Ridge, Ill., on Sat., April 28, one day before WWE’s “Extreme Rules” pay-per-view in Chicago.
In the afternoon CHIKARA event, CHIKARA grand champion Eddie Kingston battles Ring of Honor’s Kevin Steen. Also on that card is an intriguing inter-gender match between Sara Del Rey and El Generico. The Young Bucks are also on the card.
At Saturday night’s Ring of Honor event, CHIKARA wrestlers Jigsaw and Hallowicked challenge Jay and Mark Briscoe for Ring of Honor’s World Tag Team Championship. Also added to the tag team-heavy evening event is a traditional CHIKARA Trios match (Lucha Libre Rules) featuring The Colony (Fire Ant, Soldier Ant and Green Ant), which has won the last two King of Trios tournaments, against Jay Lethal, TJ Perkins and Adam Cole.
The event is headlined by Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, known as “Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team,” battling Ring of Honor World Champion Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly. The next day in Dayton, Cole will face Richards in a “proving ground” match, which was the result of Cole pinning Richards during a tag team match in the main event of Ring of Honor’s 10th Anniversary event last month.
LESNAR’S RETURN: Brock Lesnar will wrestle his first match in WWE in eight years when he faces John Cena at “Extreme Rules.” Expect stipulations to be announced during the next two weeks.
The other match announced for Extreme Rules is a two-out-of-three falls match between World Heavyweight champion Sheamus and Daniel Bryan. If this were WrestleMania, two out of three falls could be over in less than a minute. In all seriousness, giving Sheamus and Bryan the opportunity to do this match seems to be a makeup for their super-short WrestleMania outing.
Expect Chris Jericho vs. C.M. Punk for the WWE Championship and a Randy Orton vs. Kane match to be added to Extreme Rules.