GUEST POST: Never Mind the Majors, Here’s the Independents!

Never Mind The Majors? Seems a bit harsh...

Sidekick Andrew: Disappointment with the wrestling business. It happens to us all from time to time, but it seems to be pretty wide spread amongst internet wrestling fans at the moment. A combination of the usual post-Wrestlemania slump, the Orton-Christian title change and a general feeling of malaise are combining to make people swear off wrestling more and more. As such, we want to help people realise that there is much, much more to wrestling than the two companies you can see on telly. Independent wrestling might take a bit more effort to access, but it can reward you far more than another WWE PPV that you might well regret afterwards.

In the interest of fairness, I should point out that both Boss Lady Ray and myself feel that the WWE do plenty of things well – they have a style of show that works for them and they do big budget wrestling spectaculars better than anyone else. The current CM Punk story for example has been really popular here in the bunker. However, we do appreciate that a lot of people are feeling slightly burned out when it comes to WWE, and that’s where this series will hopefully be of use. (BTW, you’ll notice I only mentioned WWE in this paragraph. TNA is still pants)

As an introduction to this series, regular reader Charles Hahn has kindly written a piece about the subject for us. Make him feel welcome and comment afterwards will you? Cheers…

I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to do some writing about the wonderful world of wrestling, as I am very good at alliteration. When I mentioned that I had nowhere to put said writing, the fine folks at Wrestlegasm graciously offered me the chance for a guest post. I, being a fan of the site, immediately accepted.

That is when I realized that, while it is relatively easy to come up with a concept for a piece, it is very difficult to expand that idea into a full article. I thought about letting Ray and Andrew (super weird calling him that, I know him much better as apsouthern) that I was a big dumb lazy failure.

Then this happened:

Then, 2 weeks later, this happened:

Then as I was in the midst of writing this, this happened:

Now I don’t think I’m exaggerating too much when I say that these things caused the internet to LOSE IT’S COLLECTIVE MIND. While I believe the reaction was a tad much, I can surely understand the ever growing frustration with pro wrestling. I read things like, “That’s it, I’m taking a break from wrestling.” “I can’t believe I spend money on this.” And worst of all, “Wrestling sucks right now.”

I am going to be honest, that last one shocked me. That’s when I realized, the majority of wrestling fans see WWE as not the biggest company in the world, but as wrestling itself. They think it’s WWE or nothing. Well, I guess TNA is fairly visible, but who really wants to watch TNA?

Well I’m here to tell you something folks. WWE isn’t wrestling. If you are tired of Randy Orton, John Cena, and continual mediocrity, you do not have to give up on something you love.

One month ago (at the time of writing), I got up at 4:30 in the morning, left my house, and drove for 7 hours and through 6 states, to go to a tiny arena in Philadelphia. In that arena were 700 other people. They were there to watch pro wrestling. And they got it. They got 3 nights Of energy, emotion, and pure joy. This wasn’t WWE. This wasn’t TNA. This was a promotion called CHIKARA. If you read Matt Jones’ excellent post about the wrestling nirvana that was King of Trios, you know just how incredible it was. Hell, if you’ve read more than one post on this site you know how great Chikara is. I spent that weekend around people who were wrestling fanatics. I watched some of the best matches I have ever seen. I saw a man slam a giant. I watched people fly. I shook hands with legends. I saw people openly crying in the memory of a man they had never met before. Ultramantis Black said I was awesome. Yeah, it was amazing.

But this isn’t just about CHIKARA. This is about Ring Of Honor, the company that produced one of the most skilled wrestlers EVER. This is about Pro Wrestling Guerilla, a crew of fantastic Californians who haved cranked out years worth of consistent greatness. This is about any promotion that puts out great wrestling. This is about the guys who aren’t big enough, guys who don’t have the right look, but go out every night and do their absolute damndest to tear it up and give the people who love wrestling something to love.

WWE has been accused of trying to kill the word wrestling. TNA says “Wrestling matters,” and don’t deliver. There are people losing hope for something they have loved since childhood. But they shouldn’t.

Great wrestling isn’t hard to find friends. You just have to look a little bit harder.

Sidekick Andrew: And there you have it folks, if you’re fed up with the WWE and TNA models of professional wrestling, that’s perfectly understandable. But please don’t assume that all wrestling suddenly sucks. Independent wrestling is a very different beast. I usually compare the WWE/Indie Wrestling situations to the differences between seeing a huge gig in a stadium with an internationally succesful rock band such as the Rolling Stones, or seeing a small punk band in a tiny club. On the one hand you will get a more impressive show at the Stones gig, but you as a person won’t matter. At the punk show you’ll be able to interact with the band… heckle… maybe meet the guys afterwards – and they’ll be appreciative of each and every member of the audience.

Using Charlie’s piece as a starting point, we are going to be running a series of posts introducing you to a few indie promotions that you might want to check out. CHIKARA in particular got me through a period of disillusion with professional wrestling at the time Chris Benoit went a bit mental, hopefully at least one of the companies we profile can help you do the same. Keep an eye out later this week for the first interview in the series.

GUEST POST: King of Trios – A journey into the heart of hilarious high-flying wrestling

Sidekick Andrew: As we may have mentioned in passing briefly (here, here, here, and here for example) it was CHIKARA’s annual King of Trios tournament this past weekend. Now, being based on the slightly more civilised side of the Atlantic, it wasn’t possible for us to attend personally; but we did manage to secure the services of a special reporter for the weekend. Matt Jones (follow him on twitter, like him on Facebook and buy his t-shirt… something like that.) Enjoy the article: feel free to comment and be nice, or there’ll be trouble. Oh, and don’t forget to click the link at the bottom of the article and buy the DVDs – I’ve a feeling you won’t regret it

PS. Images are Matt’s own, unless otherwise stated

Riding in a cab through dingy South Philadelphia, it looks like somewhere to go if you had a deep-seeded desire to get mugged. For someone who hasn’t been to a major city in a while it looks like something out of a Batman comic.

But in this odd location a throng of very friendly strangers line up outside the reformatted bingo hall that was the ECW arena (now called the Asylum Arena). Walking in, the place is almost unrecognizable if you’ve only seen the dingy 1990’s videos of Tommy Dreamer or the Dudley Boys throwing each other off balconies, or of Chris Benoit breaking Sabu’s neck. Actually, given the claustrophobic camera work usually employed, the Arena is bigger than I expected.

Nonetheless, once the passionate fans of a promotion like Chikara file in, the atmosphere becomes absolutely electric. And make no mistake, Chikara’s fans are extremely passionate, and this is their biggest event of the year. To fudge a Hunter S. Thompson quote – In some circles, King of Trios is a far better thing than the Superbowl, the Kentucky Derby, and the lower Oakland roller derby finals all rolled into one.

The show opens with the lights going low and Chikara’s roster coming out around the ring- a tribute to the recently deceased “Sweet n Sour” Larry Sweeney. Some wrestlers like Mike Quackenbush and Eddie Kingston weep openly as the bell tolls ten times. Then the lights go out and a Sweeney video package plays on the big screen. When the lights come back on, a pair of Sweeney’s trademark sunglasses are in the ring, and the fans chant his name. A bittersweet beginning, to be sure, but absolutely necessary. Sweeney touched the hearts of fans and wrestlers alike in his time.

The mood picks up immediately as we’re thrust into the bizarre world of Chikara, where anthropomorphic ants have kickass wrestling matches with old timey baseball players and marching band leaders.

The contest between Team Osaka Pro (Atsushi Kotoge, Daisuke Harada and Ultimate Spider Jr.) and The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield, Sugar Dunkerton and Matt Classic) is almost strictly comedy. Kotoge and Dunkerton have a race which ends with the referee ordering free throws for Osaka Pro on an improvised hoop made of Dunkerton’s arms (Kotoge sinks his first, but misses the second). Classic, a send-up of old school wrestlers, admonishes his teammates for their comedy, insists they join him in Hindu squats and spends much of the match performing the Harvard step test à la Bob Backlund. Not to be outdone, Ultimate Spider Jr. gets into the act, using invisible spider webs to perform Irish whips on Dunkerton and Hatfield. Maybe not the most coherent wrestling match ever, but certainly one of the most entertaining spectacles I’ve ever seen.

On the other hand, the match featuring Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Manami Toyota taking on The Maximos and TNA’s Amazing Red is almost all action. It’s a little odd seeing a female wrestler like Toyota battling men if you’re not used to it, but she fits right in and performs as well as, or better than, any of her male counterparts. After ten minutes of fast paced wrestling, Jigsaw scores an emotional win for his team with Larry Sweeney’s “12 Large” elbow drop.

The main event of the evening brings it all together in match featuring, unquestionably, the most mainstream performers of the weekend. Team Michinoku Pro is comprised of legends in the industry, particularly in their native Japan- The Great Sasuke, Jinsei Shinzaki and Dick Togo. Their opponents are Team Minnesota- Chikara regulars “The Anarchist” Arik Cannon, North Star Express member Darin Corbin and, in some ways the oddest name in the event, Sean Waltman, better known as X-Pac and performing for the first time since 1996 as the 1-2-3 Kid.

The knowledgeable Chikara fans give every participant a great deal of respect (which visibly moves Kid, who is seen wiping away tears). The match features not only exciting high-flying wrestling and solid mat action, but also some great comedy. In what stands as one of the most surreal moments ever, The Great Sasuke and Corbin engage in perhaps the first ever bout of slow-motion hardcore wrestling.

Corbin is well known for breaking out slow-motion in his matches, but seeing a legend like The Great Sasuke partake defies description. The effects are not limited to Corbin and Sasuke, either. Referee Bryce Remsberg and all the wrestlers on the ring apron get in on the act (Togo’s exaggerated, slow-motion cheering is a highlight), as well as the fans who chant veeeeeeeeerrrrrrryyyyy sloooooooooooooowwwwwwlllllyyy. Soon, Sasuke sets up Corbin on a chair and ascends to the top rope. Upping the ante on the comedy, Corbin’s teammate Cannon suddenly shakes off the slow-motion and screams “Darin, stop screwing around!” to huge laughs from the crowd. Corbin complies, and Sasuke crashes through an empty chair.

Slo-mo wrestling is the best wrestling.

In the end, Togo performs a beautiful flying senton on Corbin and scores the win for his team. The fans give a standing ovation to the participants, chanting all of their names at various times. An amazing match to end a top-notch night of wrestling, but the weekend is just getting started.

Saturday afternoon sees the Fan Conclave, Chikara’s equivalent of WWE’s fan festival Axxess. It’s here where it becomes clear what King of Trios really is- the Woodstock of independent wrestling. Legends rub elbows with relative rookies in the industry and all are available to the fans for pictures and autographs. They are unfailingly friendly, and happily chat with fans in an incredibly positive atmosphere (the exception being F.I.S.T.’s Icarus, the most hated wrestler in Chikara, who wanders through the crowd insulting everyone he sees).

There are numerous heart warming scenes. As my girlfriend takes video of the Ant Colony roaming through the fans, Ophidian of the Osirian Portal limbos in front of her and drops to the ground. He begins reading a note written on nice stationary that I notice begins “Dear Ophidian.” He sits and reads for a few minutes before dropping all of his serpentine movements and wrapping a nearby girl, presumably the author of the note, in a big hug.

And even aside from the chance to meet your favourite ants, snakes and (Ultra)mantises, there’s a lot going on. There’s a chance to commentate on matches, a contest where fans and wrestlers attempt to bodyslam Tursas (and the Colony’s Green Ant begins his transformation into Lex Luger), a dance contest hosted by the Osirian Portal, and a concert by Stan Bush. Nobody enjoys it more than “Rock and Roll Ring Announcer” Gavin Loudspeaker, who dances and thrashes around when Bush plays “The Touch.”

A few hours later, the second night of action begins, which sees surprises, thrilling victories and bitter defeats.

One of the most engaging contests of the entire weekend is the first qualifier for the Rey De Voladores, which features El Generico, Zach Sabre Jr, Marshe Rockett of Da Soul Touchaz and the BDK’s Pinkie Sanchez (who sports both some of the funniest facial expressions I’ve ever seen and some incredibly gnarly back acne). The referee for the match is BDK’s Derek Sabato who’s biased officiating allows Sanchez to eliminate Sabre and Rockett. Sanchez has the victory in hand when Chikara’s Director of Fun, Wink Vavasseur enters the arena. Wink forces Sabato to wear a standard Chikara referee shirt, symbolically stating that the BDK will no longer have their own referee. The crowd bursts into the biggest cheers of the weekend, so far, when Generico then drills Sanchez with his BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! (picture a top rope brainbuster, driving the opponent head-first into the top turnbuckle). Sabato begrudgingly counts a slow three, but he could count to 100 – Sanchez is out cold.

The BDK’s night doesn’t get any better as their team of Tim Donst, Jakob Hammermeir and Delirious, accompanied by Tursas, face off against the Colony. In a thrilling, come from behind victory, Green Ant completes his transformation into Lex Luger as he finally succeeds in bodyslamming Tursas (causing Gavin Loudspeaker to literally leap into the air with excitement) and forces Hammermeir to submit to a torture rack backbreaker.

Other notable contests include a heart-wrenching and hard hitting tribute bout to Sweeney by Eddie Kingston and Arik Cannon, a sensational main event where Team Michinoku Pro defeat Quackenbush, Toyota and Jigsaw, and the 1-2-3 Kid winning the other Rey de Voladores qualifier, setting up a match with Generico for the final day.

The crowd seems a little thicker on the final day, with more little kids. Or perhaps it’s simply that a new vendor is here selling a wide variety of wrestling masks, making them much more visible. In addition to the handful of youngsters with Fire Ant, Jigsaw and Osirian Portal masks from the first two days, there’s now a cadre of kiddies running around in brightly coloured Rey Mysterio masks. The cutest, though, is a father and son both in El Generico masks.

No time is wasted as the semi-final matches are held immediately. The match between fan favourites The Colony and The Osirian Portal conflicts the crowd. When the standard duelling chants of “LET’S GO PORTAL!/CO-LO-NY” begin, many fans are chanting both names. The Colony picks up the victory (via a spectacular top-rope neckbreaker) and advance to the finals.

The crowd is remarkably respectful and sympathetic. Handshakes before and after matches, clean breaks and stalemates are all met with cheers. The fans get into the show and cheer their favourites after losses as would little kids- they want to let them know its okay and that they still support them. Chikara is also likely the only place you’ll ever hear wrestling fans chant “SAY YOU’RE SORRY!” as they do during the Colt Cabana vs. Archibald Peck match. Hell, the fans even chant “Holy Poop!” instead of “Holy Shit!” because of the kids present.

The Colony’s opponents in the finals will be F.I.S.T., the 2009 winners, who manage to eke out a victory over Team Michinoku Pro. Chuck Taylor blinds Sasuke with baby powder and rolls him up for a pin (which one imagines was a real “mark-out” moment for Taylor). Icarus hate is at an all time high. One spirited fan in particular screams at Icarus to tap out every time he’s in a submission move, as well as when he’s performing a submission, or is just standing at ringside. He also earns several chants of “PLEASE RETIRE!”

The Rey De Voladores final is a hard hitting and exciting affair that has fans on their feet as Kid and Generico exchange deadly manoeuvres and nearfalls. After kicking out of a top rope version of Kid’s X-Factor, Generico hits the BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAHH!!!!! for the win, and the roof nearly blows off the arena. Kid is completely overwhelmed as fans chant his name. He takes to the microphone and pays tribute to Generico, Chikara itself and the fans. He notes some of the questionable things he’s done in his career, and the fans chant “WE FORGIVE YOU!” He announces that this will likely be his last year in wrestling, and that this may have even been his last match. If it was, he says, he couldn’t think of a better opponent or better fans to go out on. He’s given a long and loud standing ovation from the crowd, and then another from the wrestlers in the back that can be heard all through the arena.

For Sean Waltman, King of Trios meant redemption. After all, he doesn’t exactly have a great reputation among fans. It wasn’t long ago that he was so hated in wrestling that a term was invented to describe it (“X-Pac Heat” – when fans hate the performer, as opposed to the character, and don’t want to see him anymore; some fans say Icarus has the same sort of heat). He’s been seen as a talented performer who pissed it away with drugs and other poor decisions. He was that guy from the sex tape with Chyna, who politicked his way to the top of the industry with his Kliq buddies and never gave anything back- a selfish failure. Some fans were speculating, based on past behaviour, that he wouldn’t even show up for the event.

But at King of Trios a strange thing happened: the man became the Kid, and the kid became a man. Waltman busted his ass in three great matches. He put over his opponent in the ring and on the microphone. He paid tearful tribute to the fans and the company. And if that was Sean Waltman’s last wrestling match, he certainly went out with a lot of class.

That’s a hell of an accomplishment for someone who’s name has so often been used in the same sentence as “Chyna’s gigantic clitoris.” Well done, Kid.

Speaking of redemption, that’s what the King of Trios final is all about. After losing in the finals of the tournament last year, and then losing Green Ant to an arm injury, 2010 was a dismal year for the Colony. The crowd (other than a handful of 3rd row, die-hard F.I.S.T. loyalists) desperately want the Ants to win this one.

After all the comedy and Lex Luger parodies of the weekend, the main event is old school wrestling booking at its finest. F.I.S.T. ground the Ants early on, with Chuck Taylor bashing Green Ant’s arm with a chair during a fracas. That arm becomes the target and F.I.S.T. pound on it mercilessly. The Ants rally, however, and take advantage after Taylor’s baby powder to the face backfires and hit his teammate Johnny Gargano. The match goes back and forth many times, manipulating the crowd with multiple false finishes, bringing their excitement to a fever pitch. Finally, after twenty minutes of tremendous action, the Ants unleash unheard-of offense – a top rope version of their Antapault move. They launch Green Ant ludicrously high into the air for a splash on Icarus that wins them the match and the tournament.

The crowd explodes into cheers: justice has been done. But it’s about more than that. The fans have been feeling the wrestlers’ pain all weekend. As mentioned, they’ve offered sympathy to favourites like Team Quackenbush, The Spectral Envoy or Team Michinoku Pro after their in-ring losses. Moreover, they’ve offered their sympathy for real life losses, as in Kingston and Cannon’s tribute match. After all that, it’s not just the Colony (and Generico, for that matter) who deserve this victory- the fans do too.

After the show is over, there’s one thought that sticks out in my head- Monday Night Raw is going to suck in comparison to this. I’ve been to a show that was family friendly, yet engaging for fans of all ages. A show that saw long suffering heroes finally vindicated as they faced impossible odds. I saw one of wrestling’s pariahs redeem himself, and several legends put over the next generation as they wind down to retirement.

For fans like me, watching the WWE can be an angsty experience. We fret and we fuss over who deserves better, who’s holding the young generation down, who could help the whole company out if they would just be booked to show more weakness, etc etc. These concerns are miniscule, if they exist at all in Chikara. It’s a whole different animal. It’s ridiculous and fun and over the top, but very old school as well (not just Matt Classic either).

Wrestling fans, you owe it to yourselves to check out Chikara. There’s no better wrestling product for kids, but between the humour and the action they can appeal to anyone. Give them a chance. Maybe we’ll see you at King of Trios next year.

Sidekick Andrew: All three nights of King of Trios 2011 are available at www.smartmarkvideo.com – in just another example of awesomeness, the DVDs were released within 24 hours of Sunday’s final! We’ve ordered our here in the Bunker, we suggest you do the same.

Wrestlegasm Best in Show Awards: Part Two

Welcome back to the Wrestlegasm Best in Show Awards. Now you’ve tasted the best preserves and chutneys the region has to offer and managed to pull yourself away from the display of amusingly shaped vegetables we can get on with my part of the ceremony. I’m assuming that you have all enjoyed Boss Lady Ray’s post at the weekend? You did? Excellent. On we go then…

Tempting as it was to give this award to Curt Hawkins, the sudden realisation that nobody actually watches Superstars and won’t have seen any of his fun matches against Trent Baretta meant otherwise. Instead, this award goes to the man who has inspired underwear choices throughout the land…

No… not those, although obviously that is now de rigeur for any self-respecting DIY enthusiast (and please feel free to add your own euphemism if you must.) Dolph Ziggler, resplendent in what I am reliably informed is “snow-leopard”, has been one of the highlights of this year. Consistently putting on great matches through 2010, Ziggler went from being one of the two starting entrants in the Rumble in January (lasting less than three minutes), to winning the Intercontinental Title in July and holding it for the rest of the year, appearing at every PPV for the rest of the year.

He has been compared to Mr Perfect on here before, and he certainly has the confidence, the look and the ability to be a main eventer in 2011. He’s made a start with his World Title shot against Edge at the Rumble this year, and if that’s not a sign of improvement since last year I don’t know what is. Of course, a lot of his heat can be attributed to his relationship with Vickie Guerrero. On paper going from Maria to Vickie last year might have looked like “trading down” but in retrospect it was a genius move.

Nobody can get boos like Vickie, and she has definitely helped Dolph’s cause. But more importantly, and as we have been saying here for a while now, he has the ability to put on great matches every time. Surely 2011 will be the year that Dolph Ziggler puts behind his slightly embarrassing past (from Kerwin White’s caddy, through the Spirit Squad, up to his weird fetish for introducing himself backstage) and become one of the major stars of WWE?

VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION go to Cody Rhodes, Layla and Frightmare. Cody has come on leaps and bounds this year. His “Dashing” gimmick is deliberately annoying and works perfectly, and he seems to be a much better wrestler suddenly. Whether that is because he’s no longer being dragged down by Ted DiBiase and Randy Orton (or worse, Hardcore bloody Holly) or because he’s just trying harder I don’t know. But I now look forward to Cody Rhodes matches, which I couldn’t say this time last year.

eww

Layla also gets a nod, not just because she’s rather fetching in those skin-tight dresses, and not just because she said she liked my photostory that time. She has got better and better this year, and let’s be honest: anyone that can make Michelle McCool watchable is deserving of some kind of reward. The last nod though goes to Frightmare. I know… I know… you’ve never heard of him. Trust me, he’s ace. Frightmare primarily wrestles for CHIKARA and this year won their only singles title, the Young Lions Cup. A relatively short wrestler, who only speaks in gibberish, Frightmare is one of the most exciting young wrestlers at the moment, to the point where he was named Rookie of the Year by Pro-Wrestling Illustrated last year. He’s basically Mysterio, back when Mysterio was exciting:

We were tied on this one, so channelling the indecisive spirits of Masterchef judges John Torrode and Greg Wallace we have decided… dramatic pause… mood-setting strings… dramatic pause… camera focussing on each in turn… dramatic pause… to put you both through! Matt Striker and Ultramantis Black share this award, due to their sterling work on commentary through the year.

Striker was an obvious choice for the Boss Lady, given that she’s obviously completely smitten with him. Oh, and he works here of course, so there’s a touch of nepotism involved. Hey, it’s not what you know… it’s who you know. Having said that, Striker is pretty awesome on commentary. His constant pop culture references (especially in his Smiths period) as well as his innumerable, and frankly nonsensical, nicknames for wrestlers have made him a favourite here in The Bunker. Well, I suppose those pictures of him posing with an ironing board might have helped as well…

As for Ultramantis Black, he was my choice. Again, a member of the CHIKARA roster, Ultramantis Black is possibly the funniest commentator of all time. He happens to be a pretty nifty wrestler too, but as a commentator alongside Bryce Remsburg or Larry Sweeney he makes every match more enjoyable. Hell, the bloke would get the award simply for the fact he managed to throw a Simpsons reference in there…

VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION goes to Punk (again!) partly for his excellent work on Raw, but mainly for his work on NXT and especially Superstars alongside Scott Stanford. Again, I know you probably don’t watch Superstars but you’re really missing out – in fact Scott Stanford may be in the running for this award next year

Here he is imagining throttling Jerry Lawler and usurping his crown

This was definitely the year that wrestlers embraced the unknown pleasures of micro-blogging. From the first, tentative steps of early adopters such as @IAmJericho and @mikethemiz, the WWE in particular really got behind twitter, to the point of advertising the Rookies’ twitter accounts on NXT. While both myself and Boss Lady Ray follow far too many wrestlers on twitter, none gave us as much entertainment this year as Matt Hardy.

Ha! No capitals! In your face Hardy!

From his inane ramblings about grapes to his constant YouTube videos berating the WWE and boasting of his wealth, Matt Hardy used twitter to help end his WWE career and to alienate a number of fans. Not only was his self-belief delusional at best, but Hardy made a point of lying to the very fans he claims to love.

After being sent home from a European tour, Hardy stringently denied he had been – going so far as to post a bewildering video proving that he was still in the UK. It’s nice to know that Matt thinks so little of his fans that he is prepared to believe that they will not appreciate the difference in being sent “home” (ie. being asked to leave the arena and go back to your hotel) and being sent home (ie. get back to your house and up to your room without any supper Matthew!).

Now, I won’t deny that I dislike Matt Hardy, and that I disliked him before all this started happening. Let’s face it, you only have to look back through my posts on here to see that. But for him to act so unprofessionally with petty jibes at the company that made him the star he unfortunately is (and his brother, despite numerous wellness violations) seems bad even for him. The only thing I can assume is that’s what comes from a life of never having a real job, and having thousands of people chant your name.

Of course, the story did have a happy ending: Hardy is out of my life and is now on TNA where I don’t have to see him.

VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION go to Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler) for never breaking character and seemingly only tweeting about Spongebob Squarepants and Porn Stars. Also, and I’m aware we sound like squealing fangirls here, but ZOMG IT’S @CMPUNK!!!!!! Anyone who wages a war on incorrect spelling and grammar on Twitter has my undying love and appreciation.

Ahhh, the bit of the post where I have to attempt to not sound creepy while discussing my crush on somebody I have never met. You know, if Beth hadn’t returned from injury last year, this award would definitely have gone to Kaitlyn. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, both Ray and myself have written about how we’ve fallen for her.

Still, sorry about this Kaitlyn. I’m sure you’ll be devastated by the news that Beth has returned to reclaim her place in my affections. I’ll try not to get too weird about this, but Beth is stunning. I’ve never found muscular arms so attractive before. Fortunately for me, she also comes across as a genuinely nice person out of character. Seriously, nobody ever seems to have a bad word to say about her. Whether it’s CM Punk in an interview claiming “As far as wrestling, the one person i’ve seen work as hard if not harder than me….and come from nothing is Beth Phoenix. I’ve got much unconditional love for the glamazon. She’s been through hell and back. Twice. Nobodys better.” Or co-runner of women’s wrestling promotion SHIMMER, Allison Danger (she of the John Cena reference a bit higher up the article) who had this to say:

Best of all, and the thing that helps me justify my crush beyond simply “she’s so dreamy”? She’s a great wrestler. Not a great female wrestler, just a great wrestler. Full stop. When she came out in the Royal Rumble this year, other than the Khali kiss, she didn’t look out of place at all. When she wrestled against Santino Marella on Raw back in 2008 it didn’t seem strange at all.

SWOON

Before I end up with a restraining order I should move onto the second part of the Crush Award: MAN CRUSH OF THE YEAR which could go to quite a few people if I’m honest. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality to accept that the likes of Claudio Castagnoli and Dolph Ziggler are pretty attractive men. But for me, my Man Crush is Ultramantis Black

This might seem a strange one. For a start he’s an evil insect overlord, not the classic traits you look for in a boyfriend. Also he’s vegan, and I love Cornish Pasties, so that wouldn’t work. But he seems so effortlessly cool. His Xmas tattoos are amazing, his taste in music is pretty impeccable, his t-shirt designs are always great (to the point where I own enough to wear one every day of the working week.)

He'll even dress up to meet your parents

Well, that’s that for now. We’ll be back with a joint post next week to list the remaining winners, and then it’s Rumble prediction time where I’ll go 3-1 up!

What?

You’re not getting a song off me…

No, seriously…

Just go…

GO!