Ghastly Gimmicks: That 70’s Guy

Mike Awesome, that 70s guy, ace, wwe, ecw, wrestler, career killer, fat chick thriller

Hello Wisconsin!

In the spring of 2000, the reigning ECW Champion made a surprise debut in WCW on the April 10 edition of Monday Nitro. He was a big man, standing 6’6″ and tipping the scales at nearly 300 lbs, but he was as quick and as agile as a cat. He was buzzy, debuting for a rival promotion while still carrying Extreme Championship Wrestling’s top prize. Perhaps most importantly, he was mean, having left a path of destruction in his wake at every stop he made during his career. His name was Mike Awesome, and he was a can’t miss superstar who missed and missed hard.

Things started all right for Awesome in WCW as the big man took on a “career killer” gimmick shortly after his debut, the result of throwing Kanyon off the top of a cage and putting him out of action for a while. It didn’t take long, however, for things to take a turn for the worse. A couple of months into his tenure with the Georgia-based promotion, Awesome watched as things went to hell at Bash at the Beach 2000. In an infamous kayfabe-shattering moment, Jeff Jarrett laid down in the middle of the ring and allowed Hulk Hogan to pin him. The circumstances surrounding the incident are still disputed today, but that’s a story for another time. The reason it bears mentioning now is that Mike Awesome was a relative of Hulk Hogan’s through marriage, and after Hogan left the company on such bad terms, it’s widely believed that Vince Russo took his aggressions out on Awesome, saddling him with gimmicks that were failures by design. Continue reading

What If: Corey Graves Didn’t Have to Retire


When we think of superstars whose careers ended too early, two names immediately spring to mind: Edge and Daniel Bryan. After more than 10 years in the ring, numberous world championships and multiple high profile Wrestlemania matches, long term injuries caught up to both men. Their retirements were shocking and emotional for everyone, especially in an industry where guys like Flair, Sting and Hogan wrestled well into their 50s. Edge and Bryan still had star power, but they did what was best (and right) for their futures. Edge was inducted into the Hall of Fame less than a year after his shocking retirement. Daniel Bryan will join him whenever Daniel Bryan chooses to. Neither end was ideal, but we can take comfort in knowing that both men lived their dream, their future is much brighter having retiring and we got the chance to take the wild ride with them.

In a way, those were the best possible worst scenarios. Some guys don’t know when to call it quits. Some guys don’t have what it takes to make it that far. Or in the case of Corey Graves, some guys get so close, then have it all ripped away. That brings us to this week’s What If…

What If Corey Graves didn’t have to retire? Continue reading

Full Match Friday: Johnny Gargano vs Candice LaRae

It’s no secret that we here at are big fans of the Cruiserweight Classic. Hell, we’re already eagerly looking forward to next year’s edition. While TJ Perkins took home the trophy this time around, when the tournament kicked off, my pick to win the thing was “The Whole Shebang” Johnny Gargano. I’d seen Gargano wrestle years earlier at the old ECW Arena, and was excited when he debuted on NXT and was subsequently announced for the CWC. He may have fallen short of victory, but he certainly did not disappoint, delivering two excellent matches before he was eliminated. There are good times ahead for Johnny Wrestling.

Yesterday, we profiled one of the absolute best woman wrestlers in the world today, Candice LaRae. She has squared off with some of the top female performers of this era, but something that sets her apart is her ability to keep up with the men during intergender matches. She is inarguably a show-stealer. She’s also the new bride of Gargano, as the couple was just wed a week ago today.

In today’s match from Absolute Intense Wrestling’s September 2014 WrestleRanger event, these newlyweds go to war with one another, and they pull out all the stops. With so many high spots and false finishes, this one has such a big match feel to it that it could be a pay-per-view main event. So take a timeout from your Friday to get your indy wrestling fix with Johnny & Candice – you’ll be happy that you did. Just don’t hold me responsible for the commentary.

Billy Corgan aims to save TNA


In 1996, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony released their hit song and ground breaking music video ‘Tha Crossroads’. Having just revisited it for the first time in 20 years, it’s over the top, a little morbid and predictably dated. But for whatever reason, it resonated hard with 10 year old me. When it came on MTV or The Box, I was captivated with the special effects and unique rhythm. So you can imagine my outrage and anger when MTV’s Video Music Awards rolled around and Smashing Pumpkins won almost every award for their ‘Tonight, Tonight’ video. 10 year old me hated Billy Corgan.

Around the same time as the 1996 VMAs, I began to discover pro wrestling. This wasn’t the fake yellow and red Hulkamania crap that I was too cool for in my pre-teen years. No, this new wrestling. It was the nWo and Hollywood Hogan. It was crazy guys like Mankind or cool guys like Shawn Michaels. It was ECW. I was hooked on all 3 but it was ECW that meant the most t0 me as they were my hometown promotion. So imagine my excitement when huge rockstar Billy Corgan showed up to play an original song about ECW. 14 year old me loved Billy Corgan. Continue reading

Profilin’: Candice LeRae

Candice LeRae, wrestling, disney, johnny gargano, joey ryan, pwg, pro wrestling guerrilla, women's wrestlingHailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the 5’2″ Candice LaRae may look like an unassuming “diva,” but don’t be fooled by her cuteness. LaRae was changing the course of women’s wrestling years before the “revolution” that debuted on Monday nights last summer.

Wrestling professionally since 2002, Candice LaRae’s dance card is filled with the names of this generation’s top female performers – she’s wrestled the likes of current NXT trainer Sara Del Rey, Cheerleader Melissa, Awesome Kong, and Kimber Lee, among others. Beyond that, LaRae has demonstrated time and time again that she can hang with the boys, having squared off with guys like Eddie Kingston, Claudio Castagnoli (now Cesaro), Chuck Taylor, and Necro Butcher. She’s done tours in SHIMMER & Shine, Chikara, Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling, Insanity Pro – the list goes on. Basically, there is no challenge too great for this Canadian Goddess. When opponents hear her arrival signaled by The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” over the arena’s PA system, they’d best have brought their A-game.

LaRae’s arsenal of moves is downright insane. From her signature Balls-Plex (more on that later) to her smash mouth high-flying, there’s very little that Candice LaRae doesn’t do. After tiring her opponents with DDTs and suicide dives, LaRae will often bust out a Canadian Destroyer or a springboard reverse rana that will leave the crowd in awe. Utilizing a collection of moonsaults that would make Lita jealous, LaRae also manages to maintain an impressive technical prowess, never hesitant to tie an opponent up in an octopus hold. With her in-ring ability being what it is, it should come as no surprise that she was an immediate fan-favorite upon her 2006 debut in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Continue reading

Beyond the Network: Wrestling Streaming Options


A few weeks ago, we discussed how the WWE Network changed the face of the WWE as well as the method for distribution for the entire industry. Video On Demand has long been apart of indies (even before the network), but this ‘over-the-top’ monthly subscription is a direct result of the WWE’s paradigm shift. Now you can stay up to date on small North American companies like Beyond or international juggernauts like New Japan Pro Wrestling. While we don’t have the money to subscribe to all of them, we decided to put together a list of the most notable streaming services we were able to find. This list isn’t entire comprehensive, so let us know if we missed any that you’d like to see added! Continue reading

5 Up/5 Down: This Week in Wrestling

This week, we began incorporating wrestling from all over the world. As always, we pay no mind to spoilers and base all Ups and Downs on shows that air from Wednesday through Tuesday. If you feel like we’re missing someone or a promotion, tell us about them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we’ll take a look! 

5 Up


The Brian Kendrick has returned to the WWE main roster and he’s wasted no time picking up where he left off: chasing championship gold. During his last run, Kendrick and his tag team partner Paul London held the WWE Tag Team titles for a record 331 days (A record that stood until New Day recently broke it!) Wrestling on Raw for the first time in 7 years, Kendrick bested 3 other cruiserweight stand outs to earn a shot at TJ Perkins’ Cruiserweight Championship at Clash of Champions. At 37 years old, this could be TBK’s last title match in WWE…or the start of a fascinating and deserved reign as champ.


Chikara Grand Champion Hallowicked is on fire. Now serving the evil entity Nazmaldun, the Sleepy Hallow native has dominated Chikara over the past 18 months. When the Philly-based promotion visited the UK early last year, Wicked defeated Icarus to become the Grand Champion and the first wrestler in Chikara’s history to win every title. He lost the title briefly to Princess Kimberlee before taking it back in Scotland a few months later, becoming the first ever 2 time champion. His match with Drew Gulak at last Saturday’s The Black Goodbye was an instant classic and would have fit right in on the Cruiserweight Classic. As a matter of fact, maybe we should add him to the list of potential 2017 CWC participants!

Continue reading