Our No Way Out predictions have nothing to do with the Kevin Costner film

Sidekick Andrew – Well, here’s one that the internet will no doubt be *very* excited about. Two “comic relief” wrestlers in a comedy gimmick match – this has five star classic written all over it. Of course, sarcasm aside, this could be at least fun – assuming you can sit back and not take wrestling too seriously. It’s not been put on to impress with hold and counter hold, insane lucha flips or hardcore bumps – it’s put on for the “entertainment” part of sports entertainment and will hopefully fulfill that role adequately.

That said, the obvious choice for this is Santino to win and embarrass Rodriguez again. It’s not often that heels will win a match with this kind of stipulation.

Boss Lady Rae:  “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun aaaaand SNAP! The job’s a game!” Words of wisdom from that great philosopher Mary Poppins there. One of the things we noticed while we took a little break is just how seriously we had started to take wrestling. That’s not to say we don’t stand by all our more serious points from the past, or that we won’t be making serious points again in the near future. But we definitely forgot some of the fun.

This “match” is pure fun and I’m kind of looking forward to it. The crowd love Santino’s foolin’ and Ricardo’s antics over the past few weeks have rivalled his opponent’s for laffs. It seems obvious that Santino will win, and I believe he’ll win the war. But because I think they’ll string this out a little longer, I’ll say that Ricardo’s got this battle won. If only to reward his wicked Sheamus impression.

Sidekick Andrew – Given more than five minutes, this could be a pretty enjoyable match. Both wrestlers are more than capable of impressing, and we’re fans of both here in the Bunker. In fact *ahem* you could say I’m torn between the two…

 Gratuitous links? We got ’em!

Anyway, now that unpleasantness is over with, my prediction. Pretty sure Layla is going to keep the title tonight. She’s not had it long and there’s still mileage in pushing her as champion. If Kharma is on her way back (as indicated on twitter this week) then Beth doesn’t need the title just yet as there’s (hopefully) a feud on it’s way for her.

Boss Lady Rae: I won’t lie, the girl crush I developed on Layla before injury sent her packing for a year is back with a vengeance.  Chances of me betting against her at the moment are pretty slim, so I won’t. Layla will win. I’m definitely not torn between them. *ahem* Having said that, I agree with my colleague. Given more than a couple of minutes this could be a great match. We can but hope.

Sidekick Andrew – I still can’t bring myself to get excited about a Christian match. I know people love him, but he just bores me so much. On the other hand, Cody is always great to watch so there’s a chance the match should be watchable at least. Honestly, I can’t think of much else to say about this one. So I hope you’ll accept this photo of Cody eating chicken with a lady as recompense.

 Christian’s probably going to win this by the way…

Boss Lady Rae: Cody Rhodes has been kind of a revelation lately. I spent years passing him off as dull mid-card fodder. Then the Wrestlemania run-up kicked in and I started warming to him. I lost a lot of the enjoyment I got out of Christian’s stories after the hullaballoo following his lost title last year. Hopefully Cody can inject some interest into this one and swipe the belt back. 

Sidekick Andrew –
Punk vs Bryan?
Well, we all know how good that can be.

Punk vs Bryan vs Kane?
Hmm… suddenly I’m not so sure about this match.

Punk vs Bryan vs Kane (with added crazy AJ)?
Yep, that’ll do!

Is it strange that in a match containing two of the best wrestlers in the world, and one of the best “monsters” in the world, the deciding factor in this one for me is AJ? Rae and myself have spent the last week gushing over how well AJ is playing her character at the moment, questionable “I Dig Crazy Chicks” shirts aside. It really does seem like the role she was born to play, with small details like the way she reacted to the crowd’s chants on Monday showing that she’s the skill to improvise rather than just being well written.

I’m a big fan of Punk and Bryan, and I’ll always have a soft spot for Kane. Adding AJ into the mix is just the stupidly cute cherry on the top. As for a winner? Oh, let’s say Punk wins and retains the belt (and hopefully changes it for something more tasteful soon.)

Boss Lady Rae: I’ve observed some chatter about how sexist AJ’s current character apparently is. Trust me. I’m usually the first to jump on this shit. And yeah, it would be lovely if there were more big female characters unconnected to men. (I have an updated Eve piece in the works. Shhh.) But AJ’s done such a brilliant job of playing the lunatic ex-girlfriend, it’s lovely to see a well developed female character, regardless of the situation.

The 4-way banter between Punk, Bryan, Kane and AJ on this week’s Raw was brilliant and long may it continue. I’m not sure why Kane has become involved with this story beyond adding an extra string to its creative bow, but I’m pretty sure he isn’t winning any titles tonight. Keep the title on Punk’s waist and keep this thing going. I flippin’ love it.

Sidekick Andrew – It shouldn’t be any surprise which of these two wrestlers is my favourite. Sheamus is (kind of) local, talented, surprisingly huge and with a charisma and look that stand him apart from the rest of the roster. But he’s no Dolph Ziggler…

Straight as I am, no man can make me swoon like Dolph comes out to the ring. I Am Perfection? Yes you are sir, yes you are. We’ve been singing his praises for what seems like years now at Wrestlegasm, and he hasn’t lost any of his appeal, even if he did lose some momentum along the way. Back in the title picture due to Del Rio’s unfortunate concussion, I’m going to predict that Ziggler will be the (perhaps unlikely) winner tonight. There is precedent for last minutes replacements to win titles on PPV with Johnny Nitro taking the title in a match with Punk after Benoit did, well… you know. Plus Ziggler deserves a second title run, and one that lasts slightly longer than 11 minutes and 23 seconds.

Boss Lady Rae: This is by far the most tantalising match on the card, and this is a show where Punk and Bryan are going at it again. Sheamus is absolutely on fire at the moment, which is nice to see considering he spent the best part of a year in the doldrums. We’re also delirious that Dolph Ziggler, our top bloke of 2011, is getting a title shot. He’s more than paid his dues in the mid-card and he’s long overdue another jump to the top. I suppose he has Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton to thank for this one, but it’s not how opportunities arise, it’s what you do with them when you get them. I think Sheamus is keeping the title for now, but the idea these two might get a long title run out of someone else’s misfortune is absolutely delicious.  YUM!

Sidekick Andrew – This is unfortunately another match that I’m struggling to get excited about. I’m not a Cena hater like a lot of people, but he needs someone great to go against, and Big Show just isn’t that great.

Oh grow up…

The added stipulations would seem to suggest that Cena is winning this. Certainly Laurinitis getting fired makes more sense that Cena getting fired. Except for the fact that Cena getting fired is about as permanent as Superman dying or me deciding to stop eating bacon sandwiches for breakfast. Add in the fact that Cena is going through a divorce at the moment and this could end up being a chance for him to take some much deserved time off.

What I’m positive we will see is one of Cenas patented feats of strength. I wouldn’t be surprised if Laurinitis or Otunga gets involved at some point, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if Cena manages to get Big Show and Otunga/Laurinitis up for a double Attitude Adjustment. I’m going to go with Big Show winning this one, although I’m conscious that betting against Cena is always a bad idea.

Boss Lady Rae: It’s no secret that John Cena’s been having a tough time lately. A little light relief was in order and, honestly, there’s nothing to be taken less seriously than a run with Big Show. If you like Big Show as a face, hang on a few months and he’ll turn into a happy chappy. Like him as a heel? Hold out a little while and he’ll be the black-bearded bad guy again. It’s all veh silly.

The stipulation that would leave Laurinaitis out of a job is the basis of this whole story and, with Vince back on the scene this week and HHH showing up tomorrow, it would seem pretty likely that John Cena’s got this one in the kitbag. Dude, you never bet against Cena.


Report from the Fort: Innovation Award

We made a conscious decision at the end of 2010 to leave our awards until the beginning of the following year, the logic being that you never know what will happen in December that might sway your voting. It’s a choice that I’m pretty happy we stuck with, even if it does sometimes lead to a slightly awkward moment when the person you decide to give an award for innovation to is suddenly sacrificed at the altar of Cena & Kane for no reason…

Yep, this award goes to Zack Ryder for his sterling work throughout 2011. During 2010 he managed the dual distinctions of both having the second-shortest WWE Championship match in history and becoming the first NXT mentor to lose to a rookie (Percy bloody Watson of all people!) in a singles match. After that he pretty much languished on Superstars, teaming with Primo in a team memorable only for Scott Stanford’s description of them as DZP (down with Zack and Primo.) In my first ever Wrestlegasm post I bemoaned the fact that I just didn’t “get” Zack Ryder, and during 2010 he did nothing to convince me otherwise. Then, in February 2011 something amazing happened…

From nowhere, Ryder suddenly had a personality, and it was a pretty likeable one at that. As the series continued he introduced more regular guest stars, increasing the profile of Dolph Ziggler and Scott Stanford as well as introducing his father (the true star of the show) and real life friends to a huge audience. As the show started to gain popularity, Ryder began to appear on TV more and more, turning face partly in response to the “We want Ryder!” chants at Capitol Punishment and partly because… well, it just worked better that way. Before long he had been appointed as the assistant to Teddy Long, and ended the year by winning the United States title from Ziggler in December. Quite a turn around within only 12 months, and one that was primarily achieved off his own back.

While many wrestlers in his position would have sat around complaining that they’re not being used, or that “creative has nothing for me”, Ryder took social media by storm – creating his own character, forcing the WWE to take note of his almost half million followers and being the only wrestler listed as one of Sports Illustrated’s 100 most influential social media users in sports.

Oh, and on one episode he wore a Scott Stanford t-shirt that I designed as well…

Honourable Mention: goes to the Wrestling Retribution Project (formerly Wrestling Revolution) started by Jeff Katz. A former VP of Production at 20th Century Fox who became frustrated with current televised wrestling, Katz decided to start his own company. Rather than inherit a company from his father or get his father’s multi-million dollar energy business to constantly write blank cheques supporting his terrible cash-hemorrhaging promotion as a tax write-off, Katz used Kickstarter to obtain pledges from ordinary fans to start his company. After reaching his $100,000 target, Katz went on to sign the likes of Chris Hero, Luke Gallows, MVP, Kenny Omega, Chris Masters, Sami Callihan & Colt Cabana – repackaged them with new names and gimmicks and filmed the first bunch of episodes in which…

“[each season] will tell a complete set of stories, introducing characters that will evolve and grow with each passing season. Take the season long build of shows like THE WIRE or DEXTER and apply it to the basic wrestling model and you have an idea of where we’re going.

Every character has a mission, a journey and a reason for stepping into the ring. Some will rise, some will fall — and you will be there to see it all. With the benefit of a defined start and finish the viewer is guaranteed a complete wrestling storytelling experience.

Each season will culminate in our season finale or supershow, where storylines conclude and start anew, new legends will be forged and lasting memories will be made. Fresh new characters, meaningful themes and wrestling-driven storylines with a beginning, middle and end.”

It’s a show that certainly has the talent to be worth watching, and with an interesting (and, yes, innovative) concept that could help it stand out

A Song for Whoever: Beth Phoenix and Triple H Edition

Boss Lady Rae: Has there ever been a character shift more disappointing than Beth Phoenix’s fall from grace last week? Who would have thought that two little words would upset so many people, including myself? As select members of the WWE roster gathered around the ring to collectively express their dissent at HHH’s leadership, Beth demanded that the ladies of the company have more protection because “We’re girls!” Like a dagger through my heart.

A few weeks ago, Beth and Natalya proclaimed that they – The Divas of Doom – were here to save us from the Barbie doll Divas and kickstart a new era for the women’s Division. Such wonderful feist! On last week’s Raw, Beth washed it all away with a namby-pamby declaration of inferiority. I heard about it before I saw it. I resolved to make my own judgement after I’d seen it. I looked for some kind of humour, sarcasm, irony or tiny inkling that this was all just a rouse. I hoped some twist would make me feel silly for not seeing what they were up to from the beginning. I’m still hoping for that.

It didn’t just stop at those two loaded words though. The Superstars and Divas have clearly been instructed to ramp up the walk-out storyline on Twitter, and so my confused disillusion continued:

At home doing the dishes? Really, Beth?

Even during its most bleak days, I always held hope for the Divas division because there were women like Beth and Natalya desperate to build a stronger stream of women’s wrestling in the WWE. Whether she believes her statements personally or not is irrelevant. (I’m guessing she doesn’t.) If what they’re presenting on screen are weak, helpless little girls, that’s all anyone will give them credit for being. Beth’s breaking my heart and giving me the blues. There were so many angles they could have taken with this ‘poor working conditions’ storyline, and yet again they took the easiest, least creative, low road, taking Beth Phoenix down with them. So much for empowering young women to stand up for themselves. Drop the helpless maiden act. It’s pathetic.

The only thing that can save this for me now, is another character shift as abrupt as this one. We’ll pretend it was part of the plan all along and make like this was all just a strange dream sequence. Go on, make me feel silly.

Sidekick Andrew:There are many reasons to doubt this current walk-out storyline, not least of which is the Beth Phoenix comments mentioned above. There is only so far the WWE can go with “industrial action”, a fact displayed on Friday when the wrestlers were seemingly happy to appear on Smackdown, despite having “no confidence” in HHH, the COO of the entire WWE, not just Raw.

Obviously I don’t know exactly what will happen tonight on Raw, but it seems pretty obvious that they’re moving towards a split between the strikers and the scabs (think of the bits of Billy Elliott that didn’t involve dancing) but who knows. All I know for sure is that I really enjoyed the ending of Raw last week, everyone walking out leaving HHH alone in the ring was a pretty stark visual. OK, he no-sold the entire thing after the cameras had stopped running on Zack Ryder’s video with a massive goofy smile and pedigree determined to make internet fans hate him even more, but the overall effect of the walk out was quite impressive. And, also, strangely reminiscent of a naked 4th grader…

So HHH, this one’s for you. I’m sure you’ll turn me against you again soon, but for now I’m enjoying having you back. Sorry everyoe seems to hate you at the moment, but then they hated Margaret Thatcher during the Miner’s Strike and look how popular she is now! Oh…

No Alternative? The XWA Interview

No Alternative? is an annoyingly titled series of interviews that will hopefully introduce you to some of the independent wrestling promotions that we have come to love here at the blog. Rather than forcing yourself to sit through a dreary episode of Raw or a frankly embarrassing episode of IMPACT Wrestling (or whatever it’s called now) we want to show you that there is an alternative out there.

This week’s interview is with a promotion less of you will be familiar with; XWA based in Morecambe. I was lucky enough to catch one of their shows earlier this year and I was really impressed with their product and can definitely recommend grabbing one of their DVDs and giving it a try.

1. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. For some of our readers that might not be familiar with you could you give us a brief introduction to XWA?

The XWA was formed in 2007 out of the FWA, when the FWA went on hiatus. The promotion is based in Morecambe, a seaside town in North West England, my home. It’s a purely British Wrestling promotion and our strengths are the great atmosphere at our shows, continuous storylines, crazy characters, better than average production values for a British wrestling show and the fact that our wrestlers are booked to come across as stars. Our roster includes the very best talent on the UK scene – Johnny Phere, ‘The Ascension’ Alex Shane, ‘RockStar’ Spud, El Ligero, Joey Hayes, RJ Singh and many more.

2. What would you say sets XWA apart as an alternative from the mainstream promotions such as WWE and TNA?

We don’t insult our audience’s intelligence and we book storylines to an episodic and logical conclusion. Also at an average ticket price of £12, it’s a lot cheaper to come and see us than it is to watch WWE and TNA when they tour the UK. You get up, close and personal with the wrestlers, instead of maybe sitting right at the back of the MEN Arena where you can barely see the superstars who are just dots on the horizon. Coming to see XWA is like watching an episode of Monday Night RAW, only better value for money and right on your doorstep.

3. Do you think WWE and TNA present a reasonable view of professional wrestling to the mass market? Do you feel they do anything right or are you not a fan at all?

When WWE gets it right, their television shows can be absolutely superb. They are the market leaders for a reason. I like the way they present their product and the way they market their superstars. They are a successful multi-million pound business for a reason. I am not a fan of TNA. I don’t watch it. I can’t take the product seriously because of the poor booking and slipshod way they present and market their product. Realistically they are the number two promotion, but they continuously do things that make it far too apparent that they are an inferior brand to WWE. They should be accentuating their strengths and talking about their positives. Instead, they shove it down people’s throats that they are a cheaper imitation of WWE – sometimes they even seem to revel in it. Very bizarre. And is there anyone in 2011 who isn’t sick of Hulk Hogan, Sting and Ric Flair being on top in a major promotion?

4. One side of the 2 main promotions which gets heavy criticism (and that we on the site have been more and more interested in) is the womens’ divisions. Where does XWA stand on womens wrestlers? Are you fans of the more hard-hitting female wrestlers and intergender matches or would you prefer a more Diva/Knockout style division?

I wasn’t a huge believer in women’s wrestling in the UK because I hadn’t seen all that much British women’s wrestling in the past which impressed me. That is, until I saw the Britani Knight v Jenny Sjodin match at our last show XWA War on the Shore VII. What a performance by both girls, it was match of the night! My friend Dann Read is the booker of Pro Wrestling:EVE and he has often spoken passionately to me about the quality of the female wrestlers in his promotion and the Britani-Jenny match definitely made a believer out of me. I’m definitely more of a fan of the hard-hitting, competitive style of female match for that very reason. I may be a promoter but I’m also a wrestling fan, and until I saw two European female wrestlers put on that kind of match, I didn’t see the women on the same level as the men, I didn’t take female wrestling seriously mainly because of the way it is presented in WWE – as a throwaway match on the show, usually between two Divas who are employed more for their looks than their wrestling ability. Now I do take women’s wrestling seriously, and it’s the hard-hitting, athletic style that will convert more wrestling fans to the cause because it will always look far more impressive and credible than the WWE style.

5. Are there any WWE/TNA wrestlers you would like to bring into XWA? Conversely, are there any of your roster that you feel would fit in well in one of the mainstream companies? And would you want them to?

I’m a firm believer in using British talent because I believe the talent over here is good enough to stand on its own right. Also my past experience of flying in overseas talent is that it’s an extremely stressful project and more trouble than it’s worth. I’m sure the promoters of 1PW would agree with me. As for whether any of our wrestlers could have a chance in the main companies, Johnny Phere definitely has the WWE ‘look’ and aggression. With more seasoning Colossus could have a shot because he has the size WWE look for. El Ligero would be a great fit for the TNA X Division with his high-flying style and his masked wrestler gimmick. And I think Stallion could fit into one of the main companies as a comedy character, again he’s got a unique look, he’s outrageous and over-the-top, and is very quick-witted and entertaining. Having said that, I don’t think the Americans would have any clue what he’s saying in that Geordie accent! Look at what happened to Cheryl Cole…

6. Where can people find out more about XWA online?

You can visit our website at www.xwawrestling.com where we also have a YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Facebook at Morecambe Wrestling – XWA or on Twitter @XWAWrestling

7. What do you have coming up?

Our next show is XWA LastFight at the Prom on Saturday, October 8 2011 at The Carleton in Morecambe. The show will be headlined by a six-man tag team match pitting Sam Slam, Stixx and Johnny Phere against The Ascension, Nathan Cruz and Colossus. It’s part of a North West Wrestling Weekender as GPW are running in Wigan on the Friday and FutureShock are on in Stockport on the Sunday. So why not travel to the North West, the British Wrestling scene’s greatest hot bed of talent and great live shows, and make a weekend of it? We’ll also be releasing our latest DVDs, Goldrush 2011 and War on the Shore VII at LastFight.

8. Do you have a match/trailer online that would give people an idea of what to expect at an XWA show?

Check out our YouTube channel. Go to www.xwawrestling.com and click on YouTube.

9. Any last words for the readers?

If you’ve never been to an XWA show in Morecambe, it’s really something you have to do to experience the rabid and passionate atmosphere created by our fans. We are like the Memphis Wrestling of the British scene because after all, it’s Real in Morecambe!

No Alternative? The SHIMMER Interview

No Alternative? is an annoyingly titled series of interviews that will hopefully introduce you to some of the independent wrestling promotions that we have come to love here at the blog. Rather than forcing yourself to sit through a dreary episode of Raw or a frankly embarrassing episode of IMPACT Wrestling (or whatever it’s called now) we want to show you that there is an alternative out there.

The latest interview in the series is with Dave Prazak, founder of SHIMMER Women Athletes – the pre-eminent women’s wrestling promotion in the US.

Thanks for agreeing to this interview. For some of our readers that might not be familiar with you could you give us a brief introduction to SHIMMER
Our goal with SHIMMER when it was formed in 2005 was to provide the most skilled American female wrestlers with a forum to display what they are really capable of as wrestlers, where they were the stars of the show. With rare exceptions, women’s wrestling in the United States was presented as either a short special attraction match on a predominantly male card, or as simply a T&A sideshow. As we developed a following, both for our live events in the Chicago area and for our DVD series around the world, SHIMMER has slowly begun to also feature talent from other parts of the world, from across Europe to Australia to Japan. The truly worldwide flavor of our talent roster makes SHIMMER shows completely different from what you can see anywhere else

What would you say sets SHIMMER apart as an alternative from the mainstream promotions such as WWE and TNA?
In WWE and TNA, the women are only a small part of their overall product. They will rarely feature more than one women’s match on any given show. SHIMMER is an all female professional wrestling company, so 100% of the spotlight is on the women. I think I can count on one hand the number of times a women’s match has main evented a WWE or TNA show over the past 15 years.

Do you think WWE and TNA present a reasonable view of professional wrestling to the mass market? Do you feel they do anything right or are you not a fan at all?
WWE and TNA promote the format of a wrestling show which they feel is appropriate for the audience they are targeting. SHIMMER does the same thing, but clearly we have different goals in mind. We aren’t trying to appeal to everyone. Our target audience is the pro wrestling fan who is looking for high quality wrestling out of female competitors. Admittedly, that is a small fraction of the overall pro wrestling fan base, but there are enough fans out there who seek that sort of product to sustain a business of our small size. I personally watch very little mainstream wrestling nowadays, but like any fan, there are aspects of what they do that I like and aspects that I dislike. Most recently, the WWE’s CM Punk storyline is something that I feel they have done brilliantly.

One side of the 2 main promotions which gets heavy criticism (and that we on the site have been more and more interested in) is the womens’ divisions. As a female wrestling promotion, what are your thoughts on the Divas and Knockouts divisions?
Neither of them are what I personally like to see in ideal women’s division. I guess that’s part of why SHIMMER exists, to present women’s wrestling in the manner which I feel is best. Between those two companies, what came the closest to how I feel women’s wrestling should be promoted is the Knockouts division of about three years ago, when it was being largely handled by Scott D’Amore and Dutch Mantell. They gathered a very skilled group of women who could deliver in the ring, and put together matches which brought out the strengths in many of their wrestlers. Since both D’Amore and Mantell have left TNA, the direction of the division has changed considerably from what it once was. That is not to say WWE and TNA don’t have some very talented women available to them, because they certainly do. They just aren’t doing anything meaningful with them. WWE had 14 women on RAW this past Monday and the match was literally less than a minute

Are there any WWE/TNA wrestlers you would like to bring into SHIMMER? Conversely, are there any of your roster that you feel would fit in well in one of the mainstream companies? And would you want them to?
We’ve dealt with TNA for several years now in terms of using some of their contracted talent on SHIMMER events, but with the exception of Ayako Hamada when she still worked there, we never chose to book anyone for our events who wasn’t already a part of SHIMMER prior to joining TNA. We’re just happy with the women we’ve got now, and would prefer to showcase our own women who can use the exposure of SHIMMER a lot more than someone who is already on television for TNA. The times we have booked wrestlers through TNA, it was more a case of us wanting to continue featuring women we’ve had on our shows in the past, who are established as SHIMMER wrestlers. On the WWE side, I’d love to have Beth Phoenix or Nattie Neidhart back if they ever become available to us again. They are both extremely talented women who deserve to be featured in a way that displays their abilities.

We would love to see any of the SHIMMER wrestlers eventually make it to national television for either WWE or TNA. We are an independent wrestling company. Like virtually all independent wrestlers, the women in SHIMMER would like to one day move on in their careers and make a better living doing what they love. Any of our top women on the SHIMMER roster I feel could excel in a WWE or TNA environment if given the chance. Any time a SHIMMER wrestler gets a job somewhere else to move on in their career, it only opens the door for another young wrestler to work their way onto the SHIMMER roster to take that spot.

Where can people find out more about SHIMMER online?
The SHIMMER web site is www.shimmerwrestling.com
SHIMMER’s Twitter is @shimmerwomen
SHIMMER is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shimmerwomen

What do you have coming up?
Our next live events are the weekend of October 1st & 2nd at the Berwyn Eagles Club, 6309 26th Street, in Berwyn, IL, just outside Chicago. We will film Volumes 41-44 of our DVD series during the course of the weekend. Currently there are fewer than 100 seats left for each day. We will be releasing four DVDs during the next two months, from Vols. 37-40. Volume 37 will begin shipping in a week and a half. 38 should be out during mid-August. They will be available exclusively at www.shimmerwrestling.com

Do you have a match/trailer online that would give people an idea of what to expect at an SHIMMER show?
There are several fan created videos of SHIMMER on YouTube which everyone can check out. A few of the best are…

Any last words for the readers?
Support your local independent wrestling promotions no matter where you are.

A Song for Whoever: Wade Barrett and Boss Lady Ray Edition

BOSS LADY RAY: During our Capitol Punishment predictions I not only predicted that Wade Barrett would lose the Intercontinental Championship to Muscles Jackson, but I also said that he should lose it. (For a good reason, of course.) Actually I predicted EVERY BLOODY MATCH correctly. This is a glorious day. I’d have been satisfied with getting more right than Andrew, but to get them all right? Nice. Anyway, let’s get back to Wade.

Poor Wade Barrett. He triumphantly lead the Nexus through its exciting early days. His splinter group, The Corre, didn’t work out as well as he’d hoped. I agree with the Sidekick when he said that it showed signs of failing when they revealed their terrible t-shirt. All our Wade had left was his shiny Intercontinental belt and now he’s gone and lost that to big Zeke.

Take heart, lovely boy. Like I said in the predictions, now you’re free of the Corre and the silly belts you can get back to the world domination plans you started hatching when you won NXT. Your preamble before the PPV match started had us both punching the air.

This is the Wade we know and love....

The song I’m dedicating to our boy won’t be familiar to most. I couldn’t even find a video of it. But it’ll cheer him up and remind him of home. Chin up, kidder. Bruce Forsyth’s got your back.

SIDEKICK ANDREW: As Boss Lady Ray might have graciously and gently alluded to in her opening paragraph, she did quite well in our little Capitol Punishment predictions. After a pretty impressive losing streak she proved herself to be more of a hustler than I could have imagined.

Believe me, after some of the photos that came up doing an image search for Hustler, I think I chose the right one to photoshop the Boss’ head on to.

Yes, all of a sudden the Boss can suddenly predict the results of EVERY SINGLE BLOODY MATCH! And before you ask, no… I’m not bitter at all. I could claim that I let her win as it was her birthday last weekend, but I’d be lying. If I had to cling to some last refuge of dignity I’d claim that my lack of research (having not watched much WWE programming over the last 8 weeks or so) let me down, but I probably would have still picked the people I did. At least I can console myself with the fact that I am lucky that the Boss is a very modest person and certainly wouldn’t be telling the world about this…

Fiiiiiiine… I’ll let her have her moment in the sun. As I said before it was her birthday this weekend and as a loyal sidekick I’ll do anything I can do to help her enjoy her birthday week. Including an historic first for this series in dedicating a post to a staff member. This one’s for you and your incredible psychic skills Boss – you deserve it. And if that doesn’t earn me a payrise nothing will…

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions: Sidekick Andrew

Regardless of the rather baffling (and much less important than certain internet critics might have you believe) decision to drop the word “wrestling” from any description of the WWE, tonight is WRESTLEMANIA – undoubtedly the biggest event in the pro-wrestling calendar. An evening (or stupidly early morning for some of us) of celebrity endorsement, epic showdowns between legends and fast paced action between some of the exciting new stars of this ancient artform.

Ahh wrestling… wikipedia describes “Professional Wrestling” as “a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.” With a history dating back over 15,000 years, wrestling can be found in the ancient cave drawings of France. All of which leaves me with a slight dilemma: how best to convey the excitement and thrills of Wrestlemania? The grappling acumen harking back to Babylonian and Egyptian reliefs? The roar of the approximately 75,000 fans in attendance? The blood, sweat and tears shed by these men and women for the briefest moment of reward, a reward which (if were honest) isn’t that important? Quite frankly, I can only think of one possible way to correctly pay the respect due to this most masculine of endeavours – PIE CHARTS!

As Boss Lady Ray explained yesterday, we’re not the best at predicting the results of these things – so we pulled in some people who should, in theory, know even less that us. Our families…

First up, Cole vs Lawler. Now, my family were relatively split on this one with Lawler just edging it despite Alice deciding that “the one on the left […] looks stronger” (although there’s always a chance she might have mixed up her left and right.) Very happy with their choices here. Let’s face it, nobody want’s Cole to win tonight, and logic dicates that he probably won’t. However, I should point out that I’m not basing this on Rebecca’s slightly strange reasoning that Lawler should win “cos he looks cheesy!” or her fiance Kris’ logic that “his comments are amazing” being that Lawler is just ahead of Booker T in the “Wrestlegasm Commentators we’d like to see relegated to regional news somewhere in Alaska”

Next up, Edge vs Del Rio, and almost a clean sweep for Del Rio, with only one person voting for Edge. Del Rio’s reasons ranged from the quite logical fact that “he has a very muscley body” and is “bigger built” to the slightly more worrying “the one with the nice panties..Del Rio?” Not sure anyone has described Alberto Del Rio, a man descended from Mexican aristocracy, as having “nice panties” before mother, but you might want to check out Ray’s old Crotch Watch posts.

Also nice to see that we’re a family that doesn’t forgive and forget easily, with Kris’ insistence that Del Rio should win “because of what Edge did to Christian” – admittedly Edge & Christian are BFFs again, but we’ll always know what you did that summer…

You might have noticed by now that these matches are probably not in the order they’ll be broadcast, but that’s how we do it on the Fylde coast baby! As such, here’s Miz vs Cena. Cena was the overwhelming favourite here, with only my mother voting for the current champion on the grounds that he is “named after (my sister) Alice” (For those of you grasping with the logic here, I’m assuming Miz being short for miserable is a slight on the cheery disposition of my teenage sister, but I couldn’t possibly say.

As for Cena… well, the fact that he looked “like a wrestler” and “angry,” as well as being “simply […] amazing” were all perfectly valid reasons that I struggled to argue against.

Celebrity random team time, and the only unanimous decision of both sets of predictions. It would appear that everyone I’m related to is a massive fan of the Jersey Shore for some reason. Admittedly Kris did vote for Team Morrison because Rebecca would “kill him” if he went with the other team, but Alice and Rebecca both seem to be fans. Alice in particular seemed quite taken with Morrison, and the fact that “he has Snooki as one of his bitches which just proves he is awesome”

Obviously I can’t be seen to support this kind of language, but after the Trish/Snooki/LayCool segment on Raw this week, it would appear that “bitch” is relatively acceptable.

Strangely, I expected the girls in my family to vote for Cody because he’s easy on the eye. Turns out nobody mentioned his looks, they instead were frightened of Mysterio. That’s right, the children’s favourite Mysterio, the merchandising machine, the shortest wrestler on the roster – my family were scared of him because he wears a mask.

Having said that, Mysterio did win this one. Kris rightly pointed out his speed, whereas Alice said that “he looks more serious” – presumably a reference to his Joker get-up from Wrestlemania 25…

See? I can do outdated jokes as well

Unfortunately for my predictions, Orton won this one with only Alice focusing on Punk’s “muscly legs” and the advantage that they might give him. As for Orton, the reasons once again ranged from the suprisingly knowledgable (“his old man was a brilliant wrestler”) to the purely aesthetic (“he has a nice tan” and “he looks evil”.)

On a personal note, while I’ve tried not to give my own predictions this year, I really *really* hope Punk wins this one. My fondness for his muscly legs notwithstanding, Punk is miles ahead of Orton in popularity here in the Bunker and the idea of Orton crowing about his victory in… incredibly… slow… phrasing… with… unnecessarily… long… pauses… between… each… word… yawn

Last but not least, Undertaker vs HHH – a match that I wasn’t looking forward to until this week’s Raw and Undertaker’s John Marston impression. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: SWOOOON. For John Marston. Not ‘Taker. Eww. Forget I mentioned it.]


So, this battle of the giants pitting the Undertaker’s unrivalled Wrestlemania streak of victories against HHH’s legacy as one the most successful wrestler’s in WWE history – how would the results come in for this one?

“Undertaker: my reason is it’s the Undertaker and HHH has a big nose… and that big nose muppet retired Mankind. Bastard, I hate you HHH”

“Undertaker because he has no eyes!”

“HHH as the other one won’t be able to see what he’s doing.”

Now obviously Undertaker has got the regulation number of eyes (that’s two in case you’re from some of the more remote areas of the United States and unsure) but I thought that it was interesting that his supposed lack of ocular equipment could be seen as both a detriment and an advantage. Still, I never claimed to be from a family blessed with an abundance of logic or common sense – hence the reason I like wrestling enough to write about it on here every week I suppose. Also, HHH is even less forgiven than Edge was earlier – so it’s probably best not to cross us…

Assuming you can count, you might have noticed that there are a couple of matches missing. That’s because, despite my usual love of procrastination I decided to ask my family to predict last week – something which would have worked well had the WWE not decided to add a couple of matches afterwards. So… how to predict these last two matches? I could use my knowledge of the storylines so far and wrestling logic to make an educated guess as to who the winners might be, orrrrrr….

In case you don’t know, www.googlefight.com is a site which allows you to compare the search results for two terms and come up with a “winner.” So let’s see what Google has to say…

There we go, that was pretty decisive wasn’t it? Now, roll on bloody midnight.

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions: Guest predictions by Adam off of the internet

[em]Sidekick Andrew: By now you have hopefully seen Boss Lady Ray’s predictions, helped along by her friends and family, and mine should be up tomorrow. However, sometimes two just isn’t enough – you need that extra third element to spice things up a bit. Think of how much tastier a ham, cheese and pickle sandwich than one without dead pig involved… or how much more enjoyable the CHIKARA King of Trios tournament is than the old Tag World Grand Prix. Anyway, in order to balance things out for this special occasion we thought we’d add some knowledge and decorum into the blog in the form of our favourite guest blogger Adam (who wrote a great piece on his memories of attending Wrestlemania here)[/em]

Done in the order I think the card is playing out

Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus – Sheamus has gotten the last few pins on Bryan, most notably three weeks ago to win the title and then again at the go home Raw in a tag match. Logic would dictate that Bryan should get the win here, since he has no heat going into this match and he’s a babyface at Wrestlemania. However, I don’t see that happening. Bryan will put up a good fight, and if they give this match some time I could see there being numerous near falls, but ultimately, Sheamus gets the clean win here. I don’t think this is bad thing. Sheamus is a superstar so he should have a title. Taking the title off him so soon only devalues everyone around. If this were a match with Sheamus challenging, everyone would pick him to win. I think this is just WWE throwing us a swerve because we think that Bryan should get some heat back. He will get heat back though. It’ll be a strong match and Bryan can move onto a feud with someone else.

The Corre vs Big Show/Kane/Santino/Kozlov– This match will be more comedy than anything else. Since it’s had minimal build I don’t think too much analysis is required. All that should be known is that The Corre have been getting some heat lately, winning titles and such. Since it’s Wrestlemania let’s just say that Santino gets the pin on Heath Slater and everyone does the trumpet.

Dolph Ziggler & LayCool vs John Morrison, Trish Stratus, & Snooki – Hands down the easiest match on the card to call. Snooki gets the pin on Layla after Vickie Guerrero botchs some interference and Trish Stratus nails Layla with a Chick Kick, all the while Dolph is taken out by a Starship Pain. Although many view this match as a garbage match or a cool down for the fans, I disagree. 5/6’s of this match can work their butts off. As such, I don’t think having two of these in a row is a bad idea. Also, this match goes on this early so that the media involved can get their pictures and stories about Snooki uploaded on their blogs before 9 PM.

CM Punk vs Randy Orton – This will be the first hour main event and honestly one of the harder matches to call. Since this is the first match in the feud, logically you have the heel win it. That way, you can gimmick up future matches and draw some money. Of course, that was the case last year with Punk/Mysterio and Rey went over in the first match. It also lead more matches. And although Orton may have gotten some heat by taking out all of the new Nexus, Punk seemed to disassociate himself from that on the last Raw (seriously, is that stable done now? I know Husky Harris is working under a mask and new name.) Also, Punk seems to have gotten the most heat by a) costing Orton at Elimination Chamber, b) the whole bus thing, and c) leaving Orton laying during the opening segment of the go home Raw. Although I wouldn’t book it this way, Orton nails an RKO out of nowhere and wins clean.

Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio – While I just above said that faces win at Mania and Rey has been in this position before, I think Cody Rhodes needs to win this match. His character is just beginning to take off and a loss here could kill any heat he has. He’ll win with a knee guard to the face and his feet on the ropes. As long as they give this match time, it could be a real classic. The build has been that good.

Edge vs Alberto Del Rio – This is the second hardest match on the card for me, because there are so many booking possibilities to come out of it. Del Rio has been white hot except for the last few weeks where he’s been doing some jobs to Christian. The addition of Christian to the feud has many buzzing about what will happen. I think Del Rio wins the title due to something Christian does. Most likely he tried to stop Brodus Clay from interfering and inadvertently hits Edge, leading to some kind of Del Rio rollup or whatever. There will then be a rematch on Smackdown where Christian will overtly interfere, claiming discrimination over his victories of Del Rio leading up to Mania, and not having a slot on the card. With any luck this will propel Christian into the main event. Still, to salvage the Del Rio character (since he’s been jobbed so much lately) he has to win the title at Mania, if just to appease the oh-so-lucrative Mexican market.

Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler – For some crazy reason this is the most well booked match on the card. Although it has some crazy heat to it, there’s no way this will be a technically good match. So this is the cool down for the fans. Also, the second easiest match on the card to call as everyone wants Jerry Lawler to win. And Lawler will win because he has gotten no heat for almost a year on Cole. Very simply put, Swagger pisses off Austin, Austin stuns him, Cole runs away, all the Divas led by Eve throw Cole back in the ring, piledriver, fist drop, pin, Divas surround Lawler.

Undertaker vs Triple H – Kudos to WWE for even making the outcome of this match a question. Although I didn’t like the early booking of this feud, the go-home Raw with Shawn Michaels’s promo additions have made this the must see match of Wrestlemania. They’ve subtly changed the Undertaker into a cocky being who just assumes he will win at Mania. They’ve also somehow made Triple H the underdog in the match. We also know about Triple H’s legendary ego and he is now an executive for WWE. So the stage is set for the streak to end.

Except it won’t. Undertaker wins after kicking out of a Pedigree and hitting a second Tombstone. The Triple H of today is a different man than the one of eight years ago. He knows that there is no way the locker room would respect him if he ended the streak. And he is a big proponent of keeping the streak. Watch The True Story of Wrestlemania. He says so himself. And I think both men know that if the streak were to end, it would be for someone who could use the win, not a made man like Triple H.

John Cena vs The Miz – Also, kudos to WWE for actually making this match debatable too. I wasn’t sure if this would go on last or not, but I can’t help but think that Undertaker isn’t 100% and the match won’t be too hard to follow. Plus, with the Rock involved and back, this should go on last. Now, Wrestlemania really never ends with the heel standing triumphant, so I can guarantee that the last shot of the show will not be Miz with the title. But the Rock’s addition makes this hard to pick. After last week’s Raw, there is no chance that Cena and Rock make up to screw the Miz. The Rock will be the last thing we see when the PPV goes off the air. Under any other circumstance I’m picking John Cena, but for some reason I’m going with my gut and saying that The Miz will find a way to retain the title. The best idea to me is that there is a ref bump, Alex Riley goes to hit Cena with the title, Cena blocks it, hits Miz with the title and gets the pin. Rock comes out, orders a restart. Cena is so incensed with the Rock that Miz hits him with the SCF, but Cena kicks out. Riley gets involved again, but Rock hits him. Cena gets mad that Rock is in his business again, goes after Rock, Rock hits a Rock Bottom and Miz gets the pin.

How’s that for drama with the Rock being on Raw the next night?