Wednesday, 29 April 2015

WWE Extreme Rules 2015 Review

WWE's follow up to WrestleMania featured a Steel Cage match, a Last Man Standing match, a Russian Chain match, a Kiss Me Arse match, a Russian Chain match and Bo Dallas, but was it any good?


Steel Cage Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins (C) 
vs. 
Randy Orton






Before the main event could get underway, there was a number of backstage segments, focused on building the story of the bout. Kicking off with Triple H talking to the "Gatekeeper" for the match, Kane, and Seth Rollins in his flimsy office. A rather long winded segment that didn't provide any new information, rightly receiving "Boring" chants from the Chicago crowd. The build up continued with another backstage segment between Kane and Randy Orton with Orton relaying the history between the two, in an equally dull conversation. Neither of these segments were particularly needed and nothing new was put out there for the match.

The match focused on Rollins' repeated attempts to escape over the top, Orton not being allowed to hit the RKO and Kane being the gatekeeper. Rollins attempts were always foiled by Orton but this lacked the big spot that was required especially when both were fighting on top of the cage. Orton would attempt to use the other big move in his arsenal, the Punt, but of course because that move is legitimately banned Rollins moved out of the way. Orton did however hit the RKO on Kane latter on, which was fine, apparently, as was Rollins hitting Orton with a cutter variation. Kane proved to want to hurt everyone, but still put Rollins on top for the pin, making his entire involvement in the match as irrelevant as the rest of his last three years in WWE. 

When the two were allowed to wrestle, they put together some nice sequences that used the cage well, Orton catching Rollins dive off the ropes into his signature Scoop powerslam stands out, but these were too few and far between. A lack of convincing finishes, mainly down to the shocking amount of over-booking, hurt this match more than anything else, with only Orton's pedigree and Kane's chokeslam spot really standing out as potential match enders. As main events go this was tepid affair that perhaps wouldn't have looked out of place on an episode of Monday Night Raw, but lacked any real drama to justify it's spot closing a PPV.

By this match, it's clear that the pairs feud clearly isn't over yet. We know that they can put together good match, with their WrestleMania bout standing testament to this, so a rematch with less focus on Kane's involvement and more on the animosity between the two wrestlers would be more than welcomed by this reviewer. WWE seemed reluctant to put it's faith in either Orton or Rollins to carry a PPV main event and therefore decided to through all the gimmicks they could possibly think of at the match, which was in the end it's downfall.



Last Man Standing Match
Roman Reigns
vs.
Big Show






This bout received a little build-up before bell time with Renee Young interviewing Roman Reigns. I believe Reigns took inspiration from Chumbawamba's 1997 hit Tubthumping, when he reminding us that he might get knocked down, but he would indeed get up again. I think I would've actually preferred to see Reigns sing the entirety of this banging tune, (with Renee on backing vocals) as seeing the big man belting it out at the top of his lungs would have been a lot more entertaining than this tired promo. I think I am now most angry that this song only ever got to Number Two in the UK charts.


All joking aside this match proved to be the surprise of the night. Mainly focused around the big spots, these built up nicely, with each spot feeling like a natural progression from the next, as the referee's count got closer and closer to ten. The hints at upcoming spots were placing nicely throughout the match as the environment developed throughout, but this never felt contrived as can often be the case, and allowed the match to flow much better than if the pair simply went from one spot set up to the next. Big Show choke slamming Reigns off the apron through a pair of tables was visually impressive, whilst Reigns' samoan drop through another table made The Juggernaut look pretty damn badass himself.

Storytelling wise the last man standing gimmick offered pretty much all that needed to be there, with the gimmick offering itself as a skeleton around which the match could be fleshed out. However, Reigns attempting to knock Show down with his signature Superman Punches but being unable to was a nice addition, although it would have been more effective if we hadn't seen Big Show get chucked around like a ragdoll by Brock Lesnar a few months prior. Show's booking has been inconsistent at best throughout the last two or three years and I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief at points during the match. 


The objective here had to be continuing the attempt to get Roman Reigns' over as a babyface, that the fans can get behind. Whilst there will always be a section of fans (see: John Cena) that will forever be getting on Reigns' back, it seems that Reigns has turned the corner in most fans eyes, actually being helped by not winning the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. He looked impressive in a bout against a now limited Big Show and even with the Last Man Standing gimmick offering itself as a crutch of soughts, seemed more than comfortable in another main event-esque match.




Russian Chain Match for the United States ChampionshipJohn Cena (C) vs. Rusev with Lana




Those stupid fucking lights. I suppose the argument for them is that it creates a good visual, but I struggle to get my head around what purpose they actually have. The concept of momentum is entirely subjective, and without it being fully explained pre-match either by the commentary team or even on the Kick-Off show, it for frustrating viewing for the finish of the match, where Rusev was "touching" the corner, whilst Cena was ramming him into it. I can't be the only who considers that if your getting shoved into a turnbuckle then you haven't got any momentum and if you do that means your opponent doesn't have any either. The finish was so weak, with Cena hitting an AA on Rusev to touch the final ringpost, that it moved what had been an enjoyable feud into dangerous territory. 

The action wasn't anything special here and the gimmick wasn't used to it's full potential. Whilst it should have been a brutal conclussion to the feud, it looked like both men simply wanted to touch the turnbuckles as quickly as possible and leave, rather than two guys who wanted to beat the shit into each other and prove that their country was indeed the best. The chain looked flimsy when used a weapon, and the two looked creatively baron when using it for spots, with Rusev using it as a pully system on the outside about all the two could string together. Whilst there were a handful of good reversal sequences, they seemed plucked from their previous outings and had little to do with the match itself.

A real missed opportunity in this one saw Rusev begin to work Cena's ribs, picked up on well by Michael Cole on commentary, including the aforementioned pully spot which saw Rusev laying into Cena's mid-section with some nice kicks. This seemed like it would become the story of the match, but was seemingly dropped in the later stages, with Cena neglecting to sell the ribs and nothing really coming of this earlier good work. The psychological attempt could have added the story telling element that the match craved, with Cena unable to hit signature moves like the AA and having to put in a superhuman effort to pull Rusev around to make it to the turnbuckles. Alas, it was not to be.


Following the bout there was to be even more antics, as Rusev and Lana argued in what I imagine was Russian, before Lana went to talked to The Authority. It was later revealed in a backstage interview with Byron Saxton that Lana had negotiated for an "I Quit" match between the two for May's Payback PPV. This continued WWE's run of announcing a match for the next PPV on PPV's that are included as part of free months on the WWE Network. Personally, I think this feud was feeling tired after WrestleMania so another four weeks or so, could really drag. A third loss in a row to Cena, especially having to say "I Quit" could really harm Rusev going forward.


Kiss Me Arse Match
Sheamus
vs.
Dolph Ziggler






A decent enough match, that saw Sheamus dominating for the majority of the match, allowing The Celtic Warrior to really show off his new antagonistic persona. Whilst Sheamus was busy working the crowd, Ziggler worked well fighting from underneath, selling Sheamus' offence well and able to garner crowd support with quick bursts of offence. The biggest problem this match had was that it was just too short for the story that was being told. The finishing sequence felt more like a transitional sequence building towards something bigger, and when Ziggler got the pinfall it didn't feel like the satisfying finish that the build up had layed the foundation for. A more decisive finish would have made Sheamus' post match reaction even more deplorable.

That reaction, seeing Sheamus first trying to avoid kissing Ziggler's arse and then hitting a low blow and a Brogue Kick to get Zig's to kiss his pale Irish behind, finally made sense of the gimmick that had been randomly plonked on top of the match. Sheamus looked like a nob for not following through with the stipulation he came up with and recieved a decent amount of heat for his dickish reaction. However, again because Ziggler's win came across as a fluke, him then getting battered even more post-match didn't do much for The Show Off, hopefully with Daniel Bryan (who Sheamus would surely have been feuding with heading into the next PPV) currently out injured, we'll get to see some more of this feud and Ziggler get, at least, a modicum of revenge.



Chicago Street Fight
Luke Harper
vs.
Dean Ambrose






Quite literally a match of two halves and from bell-to-bell one of the longest singles matches in WWE history! This one really comes down to one spot, which saw Harper attempting to drive away from the arena, only for Ambrose to dive through the window of the car as Harper drove them both away. It was a make or break spot, that you were either going to love or hate and personally I hated it. I think the idea on paper sounded quite good, but it was poorly executed and didn't really suit the characters in the match. I found it hard to believe that the two had continued fighting and driving around for fourty minutes in between the two sections of their match and this wasn't helped by neither man looking remotely tired or selling anything upon their return. Perhaps some pre-recorded footage of their antics around Chicago would have improved the situation.

The final portion of the match followed pretty much the same pattern as the first, with a couple more spots to finish things off. Whilst the spots were good, and the finish was strong with Ambrose hurling Harper off the top onto a pile of chairs before hitting Dirty Deeds for the win, it felt like there was no real consequence to anything that was going on. Alongside the gimmick of them disapearing for a drive around Chicago mid-match, this bout was let down by nothing looking quite as good as the spots that were used in the build up. We'd seen Ambrose head through a ladder at WrestleMania and then the announce table on Smackdown, and yet neither of those weapons came to play in this match. Not the show stealing performance many had expected.

Tag Team Match for the Tag Team Championship
Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (C) with Natalya
vs.
Big E & Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods






For the length of the match, I thought the four guys in this match did incredibly well to create an exciting tag match with a number of athletic sequences and worked in a handful of nice false finishes, including Cesaro making the late save for Kidd after Kingston and Big E hit their Midnight Hour finish and Big E saving Kingston when it seemed like Kidd's Sharpshooter was about to get the win. The finish was built well getting all participants involved before Kingston was able to get a school boy roll up on Kidd with a handful of tights to pick up the cheap victory and win his fourth tag title in WWE. The newly heel New Day have a lot of potential and their reaction post-match and in a backstage interview with Renee Young showed promise for this title run going forward. 



Singles Match for the Divas Championship Match
Naomi
vs.
Nikki Bella (C) with Brie Bella






Apart from the out of the blue babyface turn by the Bella Twins and a couple of slip ups early on, I was actually rather impressed by this Diva's Championship match. Given a decent amount of time, Nikki and Naomi put together some decent sequences, with Naomi slipping out a Rack Attack to hit a Full Nelson Bomb being a particular highlight for me. Naomi seemed to trying a little too hard in her new heel role, but I get the feeling she'll settle into it over the next few months, and hey, she's got shoes that change colour! The finish let this one down, as it just didn't make any sense to have the newly babyface Bellas cheat to win, with Nikki's distraction allowing Brie to clatter Naomi with a kick on the outside. A few troubles throughout, but still a promising effort from the two female performers in the ring.

Bo Dallas & Ryback Segment







FILLER CITY, BITCH! Bo Dallas came out and cut a creative, but cheap promo on the city of Chicago, for reasons. Before Ryback came and battered him with a Meat Hook and Shellshock. The only real reason for this seemed to be to make up a bit of time, although giving Ziggler and Sheamus an extra five minutes would have been a much better option.

Miscellaneous 


The WWE Network was heavily pushed throughout the show, with a number of new shows being promoted for the next week, seemingly because the free month of April is about to come to an end. Tough Enough is back soon, as a couple of audition videos were shown, some good and some bad, although it was painfully obvious that this audition process isn't as open as WWE would have the public believe. The Kick-Off panel got their obligatory segment with Byron Saxton, Booker T and Corey Graves chatting about the Chicago Street Fight and Tag Team title match, as well as highlights from Bad News Barrett and Neville's pre show match. The Marine 4: Moving Target is WWE's latest direct-to-DVD offering, this time featuring The Miz and Summer Rae, which is nice. A promo for Payback on 17th May aired, mainly focused on Roman Reigns. MTN Dew is a beverage that can be drunk, it was good to be reminded of this. Live is Jericho returns to the WWE Network following this week's Smackdown with Jericho being joined by Stephanie McMahon. There is a hero in all of us, apparently, which surely removes the point of being an actual hero.


Finally....


Not a good PPV by any stretch of the imagination, but there was enough that kept me entertained throughout the three hours. Big Show and Roman Reigns put on the pick of the three main event level matches, with Rollins vs. Orton and Rusev vs. Cena both being harmed by a lack of creativity and questionable booking. The mid card was hit and miss with both Sheamus vs. Ziggler and Harper vs. Ambrose having their moments, but Sheamus and Ziggler could've done with a bit more and the Chicago Street Fight being harmed by a gimmick that didn't deliver on what it promised. The tag team and Diva's Championship matches made the most of their undercard placings, with the tag team match in particular shining through as a standout match on the show. Not a great follow up to a strong WrestleMania card, WWE will need to dust itself down and try again come May 17th's Payback.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

WWE Extreme Rules 2015 Preview & Predictions

The first WWE "PPV" after WrestleMania is Extreme Rules, apparently the "one night of the year when WWE goes Extreme". Previous events have yielded matches like Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena, Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus, Two Out of Three Falls and Jeff Hardy vs. Edge in Ladder Match, but could 2015 offer up anything to add to that list? And who will be walking out of the Allstate Arena standing tall? Let's have a look.



Steel Cage Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins (C) vs. Randy Orton







Extreme Rules record - Rollins 2 wins, Orton 3 wins.


Given a lot of TV time across the last four weeks, it's almost certain this one will be the main event of the show. Rollins and Orton have had a lengthy feud stretching back to their time together on the Authority and even further back to the Shield vs. Evolution feud last year, it's difficult to see how WWE are going to bring the feud to a satisfying conclusion here. Whilst I have no doubt that Rollins and Orton will string together a fluid steel cage, with some innovative offense from both, it's clear that Rollins will be walking out with his title, whilst Orton failing to win leaves the storyline without Orton gaining the revenge he needs to move on. Perhaps Kane could offer a way to keep things looking good for both parties as the "guardian of gate" (A horrendous name, by the way), but I'm not holding out much hope on that one. I'm expecting a strong match in terms of action, but with a disappointing finish and perhaps a little over booking. 


Prediction - Rollins retains

Chicago Street Fight
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper 





Extreme Rules Record -  Ambrose 2 wins, Harper 0 wins



It's the battle of the guys who wear vests and jeans. The storyline between the two is a fairly flimsy construction, based around Harper powerbombing Ambrose through stuff, because...erm...because he can. However, this has the potential to be a real show stealer if Ambrose and Harper are given enough freedom and allowed to work at their creative best. Ambrose desperately needs to win on PPV, and his star has fallen significantly since his feuds with Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt, so I'd hope that picks up the win here and starts to build some momentum.


Prediction - Dean Ambrose



Kiss Me Arse Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus







Extreme Rules Record - Ziggler 0 wins, Sheamus 3 wins.



Jaysus. Kiss Me Arse match? State of your stipulations, mate! Seriously, I like the new direction Sheamus has taken recently, it suits his in-ring style much better than his Irish John Cena gimmick, but this stipulation doesn't suit him, nor Ziggler. It seems completely designed to degrade Ziggler. The two are capable of putting on a good match, as their bout on Main Event in January 2013 stands testament to, but the stipulation has the chance to shit all over it (possibly literally!) Sheamus will pick up the W, and continue his crusade against the vanilla midgets of WWE.

Prediction - Sheamus

Last Man Standing Match
Roman Reigns vs. Big Show




Extreme Rules Record - Reigns 2 wins, Show 1 win.



What a time to be alive, eh? Seriously, I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of Roman Reigns, but I have little to no time for him facing Big Show here. They've been feuding for longer than anyone cares to remember and no one has gained anything at all. Best case scenario here is Reigns battering Show and winning as quickly as possible as anything longer could become a boring slugfest, with some metal items thrown around for the banter. It's time for Show to move on, because he's taking up space for someone that the fans could actually give a shit about. 


Prediction - Reigns win. 


Russian Chain Match for the United States Championship.
John Cena vs. Rusev





Extreme Rules Record - Cena 4 wins, Rusev 0 wins.


John Cena has been on a roll as of late, putting on decent to very good matches on Raw and Smackdown with his Open Challenges proving to be a popular concept amongst the fans, allowing Cena to share the spotlight with a number of wrestlers who wouldn't have been afforded the opportunity had Cena still been working main event level match. The feud with Rusev was put on the back burner, with everything that could possibly have been said already been said, but there was enough going on to keep the feud ticking over for this closing match. I'd have prefered to have this one finish with pin or submission, as the touching the turnbuckle stip usually leads to a cop out of a finish, where this rivalry deserve a decisive one, but the chain should allow for some creative spots and a bit of brutality. This is the match I'm most struggling to call, as either man could end up walking out with the belt and the other wouldn't really end up being hurt, but I'm going to go with Cena, because John Cena.

Prediction - John Cena retains.  


Tag Team Match for the Tag Team Championships
Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. Big E & Kofi Kingston






Extreme Rules Record - Cesaro & Kidd: First Match. Big E & Kingston: First Match

Promoted from the Pre-Show due to Daniel Bryan's injury, it's the tag title match. Seemingly heel vs. heel, it's very likely that we'll see Cesaro & Kidd work a lot closer to a babyface role than we've seen from either of them in past, they'll almost certainly get a favourable reaction from the Chicago crowd. This could possibly be decent tag team outing, and we've seen that these two teams can string together a good series of moves, the switch in roles could be just what was needed to produce something memorable, especially if Chicago get behind the match.

Prediction - Cesaro & Kidd Retain



Singles Match for the Diva's Championship
Nikki Bella (C) vs. Naomi 







Head to Head Record - Nikki 0 wins, Naomi 0 wins


Really want to care about this, but WWE turning the Bella Twins babyface with no real rhyme or reason to it means that I literally couldn't care any less. Some moves will happen and they'll be some other things that will go on. The winner will be champion and the loser will not. 

Prediction - Gary Barlow does a run in and steals the Diva's title.


Finally...


There's a few interesting looking match ups on the card, that if given enough freedom could turn into very good match. However, the booking leading into the show leads me to thinking we're going to see a number of shitty little finishes and that will ultimately be the downfall of Extreme Rules.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Match of the Month: March 2015 Nominations

March was a huge month for pro wrestling, with WWE's biggest event of the year, WrestleMania, hitting our screens and providing a number of thrills and spills. IMPACT Wrestling also had a big month with a series of impressive bouts on television capping off a succesful run of episodes taped on the UK Tour. Ring of Honor put forward a number of strong bouts in their 13th Anniversary show. Elsewhere on the Indies, WWNLive continued to go from strength to strength, with EVOLVE in particular stepping up a gear and providing a number of matches to the list below.

Over in Japan, New Japan kept things going with their New Japan Cup tournament, with a number of impressive tournament bouts, as well as star studded multi man contests. Dragon Gate said farewell to Uhaa Nation, his bout with BxB Hulk is included in the nominations. In Mexico, AAA's offer up a number of bouts from their Rey de Reyes PPV, including a tag bout involving the late, Perro Aguayo Jr.

ROH 


13th Anniversary


 Cedric Alexander vs. Matt Sydal 

 ACH vs. AJ Styles 
 reDRagon vs. The Young Bucks
 Alberto El Patron vs. Jay Lethal 

Dragon Gate 


Champion Gate in Osaka - Day 2


 BxB Hulk vs. Uhaa Nation

NJPW 


New Japan Cup - Day 1


Togi Makabe vs. Tomaoki Honma
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Satoshi Kojima 
Doc Gallows vs. Kota Ibushi 
Karl Anderson vs. Tetsuya Naito 
Bad Luck Fale vs. Kazuchika Okada

New Japan Cup - Day 3 


Captain New Japan, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA & Tomoaki Honma vs. Manabu Nakanishi, Mascara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi, Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yohei Komatsu vs. Sho Tanaka & Yuji Nagata
Cody Hall, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada, Kazushi Sakuraba, Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii
 Bad Luck Fale vs. Tetsuya Naito
 Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata 

New Japan Cup - Day 7


Jay White, Jushin Thunder Liger & KUSHIDA vs. Mascara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask
 Satoshi Kojima & Yohei Komatsu vs. Sho Tanaka & Yuji Nagata
 Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito
 Bad Luck Fale, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI 
 Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi 

WWNLive


EVOLVE 38


Chris Hero vs. Drew Gulak

EVOLVE 40


Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommy End 
Biff Busick vs. Chris Hero

Supershow - Mercury Rising


Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher

Lucha Undeground 


#18



 Johnny Mundo vs. King Cuerno, Steel Cage

#19


Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, Grave Consequences

#20


 Alberto El Patron vs. Texano, Bullrope
 Cage vs. Prince Puma, Boyle Heights Street Fight

TNA


IMPACT Wrestling #556



 Bobby Roode vs. Eric Young, Last Man Standing 
 Ethan Carter III vs. Rockstar Spud, Hair vs. Hair

IMPACT Wrestling #557


 DJ Z & Jessie Godderz vs. Manik & The Great Sanada vs. The Wolves, Ultimate X 
 Awesome Kong vs. Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell
 Kurt Angle vs. Lashley

AAA


Rey de Reyes


 El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Fenix 
 Blue Demon, Jr. vs. Villano IV
 Aero Star vs. El Mesias vs. El Texano vs. Psycho Clown
 Myzteziz & Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Pentagon, Jr. & Perro Aguayo, Jr.

WWE


NXT #140


 Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens

WrestleMania 31 Kick-Off


 Big E & Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. Los Matadores vs. The Usos 
 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

WrestleMania 31 


Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth vs. Stardust, Ladder 
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
John Cena vs. Rusev
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns *vs. Seth Rollins*

Monday Night RAW #1140


Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena


You can cast your votes here -  http://acrossthepondwrestli.polldaddy.com/s/match-of-month-march-2015

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Over The Border VI: Something Something Something Anarchy

It's around this time of year that WrestleZone begins the countdown to their biggest event of the year. The last two years has seen over a thousand wrestling fans of all ages descend towards the Beach Ballroom and I have been one of them. After the dust settles from the Regal Rumble the Road to Anarchy begins…

Aberdeen Anarchy is WrestleZone's WrestleMania with special guests, star attractions and presenting an overall experience as opposed to just a wrestling show. For the last two years it has been an event that is a highlight of my wrestling calender and this year will be no different. 

Back on June 1st 2013, I attended Aberdeen Anarchy, the fifth event but the first to take place in the Beach Ballroom. This was a venue that had seen wrestling in the past but not for 30 plus years. WrestleZone were pulling out all the stops by bringing in an 80's Legend and an American Icon in "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. If that wasn't enough nostalgia, they also announced that Billy Gunn would also be at the event which sprung a generation that grew up on the Attitude Era into life. Two guests that peaks the interest of two generations. I went because it was Billy Gunn attending, I mean, this guy was one of "my boys" and the chance to meet him? Oh hell yeah!




But it wasn't the guests that kept me coming back, the first match I saw on the main Aberdeen Anarchy show was Stevie Xavier vs Bingo Ballance. If there is ever a match to draw you into an event this was it. The high-flying, the crispness in movement, it was a masterpiece. Quite possibly the best opening match that I've ever seen. From that point onwards I was in for a ride of nostalgia and cementing why I love the crazy world of professional wrestling. The venue was beautiful, the wrestling was incredible and I was only a short train ride from my own bed. Was this heaven?

That night I was among the 1,103 in attendance for a record breaking night in Aberdeen. A night that lives in my memory for evermore. What could top that?

May 10th 2014. Aberdeen Anarchy.




Oh man. I have never been so excited for an event like I was for Aberdeen Anarchy 2014. Scotty 2 Hotty was coming to Aberdeen and this guy was my hero growing up. It was like Jeff Hardy, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Scotty 2 Hotty. I would try and do the worm but could never manage it. WrestleZone had outdone themselves again, I attended their Regal Rumble event to witness Jack Jester win the main event battle royal and saw the intense brawl between him and the Champion, Crusher Craib. I had seen Grado book his place at Aberdeen Anarchy by defeating Jay Lethal and Zach Dynamite to go onto face Scotty 2 Hotty at the big show. Yes, Scotty 2 Hotty vs Grado. The Worm vs The Slug. This was the must see event of the year, Aberdeen Anarchy 2015. WrestleZone returned to the Beach Ballroom and opened up space in the balcony so that more people to come in, 1,271 rabid fans flocked to Aberdeen to see WrestleZone put on their finest show ever.

This event showcased what WrestleZone offers in terms of family entertainment from a wrestling match between Andy Wild and Bingo Ballance, a heated contest between Aspen Faith and Len Ironside. It featured comedy from Alan Sterling and the amazing Grado vs Scotty 2 Hotty match. It had a brutal ladder match between Thunder Buddies and The Hotshots. Plus X-Pac in action in a six man tag team match and an expertly built main event between Crusher Craib and Jack Jester.

1,271 people didn't just see a wrestling show, they saw the best wrestling show in the North East of Scotland that I have ever seen. 

This leads us to 2015 back at the Beach Ballroom. Aberdeen Anarchy is beginning to take shape with fan favourite Scotty Swift winning a shot at the current WrestleZone Undisputed Champion Joe Coffey in lue if winning the Regal Rumble. The special guests, again, are big names with Chris Masters, D-Von Dudley and Hardcore Holly all coming to the Granite City
.



It'll be a night of shock, awe and action. The landscape of WrestleZone will never be the same. You won’t want to miss this!

The VIP Meet and Greet tickets have sold out but there will still be a chance to meet the special guests.


ATPW on Sunday Segue

ATPW's James Marston made his debut for Sunday Segue podcast this week, alongside regular hosts Kinny Killa and Suggs, as well as other guests Chris Dutton and Sheron Watson. The episode mainly focuses on this week's WWE Raw from the O2 Arena in London, England and includes thoughts on John Cena defending the United States Championship against Bad News Barrett, Dolph Ziggler taking on Neville, the Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro battling Randy Orton in a Handicap match and more. There's also an interview with Chikara's Icarus, as well discussion of the WWE House Show experience and Marston's impression of "Macho Man" Randy Savage.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Two Years of ATPW

Yes ladies and gentleman, it has been two whole years since the first proper article was posted on the then acrossthepondwrestling.blogspot.com. Over those two years we've developed into acrossthepondwrestling.co.uk, built a strong social media following with nearing 2000 followers on Twitter and over 1250 likes on Facebook, created partnerships with TNA Impact Wrestling and WWE Home video that continue to grow, featured numerous British wrestling promotions, and changed from a one man blog to featuring some of the most talented wrestling writers from across the United Kingdom. I'm truly proud of what ATPW has become and I look forward to seeing what the future holds. Believe me, I've got big plans for what ATPW should and could be in two years time.

I wanted to use this article to look back at our ten most popular articles over the last two years, in chronological order, to showcase the story of ATPW (so far) with the ten most important moments. Better get on with it, I suppose!


Five Questions With...Jay Hunter

Wednesday, 12th June 2013. 19:30







Five Questions With... was our first series of article, in which I interviewed a wide variety of wrestling personalities, from wrestlers to bloggers and everything in between, in a thinly vieled attempt to gain a viewership! Our most popular FQW article (and most popular article of all time) was with OSW Review's Jay Hunter. Gaining over 3000 views, Hunter discusses getting into wrestling, how OSW Review originated, the differences between 80's and modern wrestling, his top three matches of all time and more. A big thank you to Jay Hunter for the interview once more, and if you've never caught OSW Review you can check out their website here.

WWE Money in the Bank 2013 Review

Tuesday, 16th July 2013. 00:07






Our most popular PPV review ever (I'm not sure why this one get's more views than any other) with over 350 views. Money in the Bank 2013 featured Randy Orton and Damien Sandow winning Money in the Bank briefcase, whilst John Cena and Alberto Del Rio defended their respective World titles against Mark Henry and Dolph Ziggler respectively. The show received a fairly positive review from ATPW, and can viewed on the WWE Network here



WWE Smackdown 19th July 2013 Review

Wednesday, 24th July 2013. 00:12





The most popular review of a TV show from ATPW, was the 19th July 2013 episode of Smackdown! Back when ATPW was reviewing almost every wrestling TV shows on the market, for some reason this review has stood out and continued to get views. Whilst criticising Randy Orton for going through the motions in a main event bout with Alberto Del Rio, the review had praise for Vince McMahon announcing Vickie Guerrero as the new General Manager of Smackdown, with a rather optimistic hope that a strong heel Vickie could revitalise the waning brand.


WWE ECW Unreleased Volume 2 DVD Review

Friday, 16th August 2013. 04:30



DVD Review have been a big part of ATPW since it's inception and this one has received over 850 views, proving that there's still a hunger for ECW content out there. There's big praise for the set throughout, notably the variety of matches present on the three disc set and strong presentation from Joey Styles and Tommy Dreamer. A triple threat bout between Bam Bam Bigelow, Sabu and Taz is noted as the strongest of the set, which is still available for purchase here.

Five Questions With...Matt Striker

Wednesday, 21st August 2013. 19:30






Just two months removed from his WWE release ATPW was able to secure an interview with Matt Striker, under the FQW banner. Striker talks getting into wrestling, the circumstances involving his WWE release, his fondest memories of working for WWE, his three favourite matches and more. This is one of my personal favourite FQW interviews, with Striker engaging well with the interview style. 


WWE NXT 21st August 2013 Review

Friday 23rd August 2013. 01:47




August 2013 continued to provide articles that have kept people coming back to ATPW with this review of WWE NXT, in it's pre-WWE Network days. Of course, this was the episode that featured Sami Zayn and Antonio Cesaro battling it out in a Two out of Three Falls match. The review of this match was one of my favourite to write and one of the earlier pieces of writing I am most proud of for ATPW. The review also includes an interesting look at a bout between Dolph Ziggler and Rusev, as well as AJ Lee defending her Diva's Championship against Bayley.


TNA Impact Wrestling's Christopher Daniels Interview

Saturday, January 25th 2014. 22:42





The most popular article of 2014 was a BIG interview with then TNA star Christopher Daniels ahead of the 2014 Maximum Impact tour of the UK. Infamous for breaking the news that Daniels contract with TNA was up in April, and gaining coverage from the dirt sheets, this was an article that put ATPW on the map in terms of big name wrestler interviews. It's one of my biggest disappointments that half of the interview was lost due to a recording error, but still I spoke to Christopher Daniels for twenty minutes and no one will ever know what we spoke about!


TNA British Bootcamp's Grado Interview

Tuesday, 25th November 2014. 22:24



Recorded on the telephone in a hospital car park in Aberystywyth (it's a long story), this interview with Grado came at a time where he was featured in the final six of TNA's British Bootcamp. Actually ATPW's third interview with Grado (following a FQW interview and one recorded on the streets of Glasgow for Youtube), this one features a lot of talk about British Bootcamp, getting "over" in America, British wrestling, social media and more. Oh also the possibility of a Grado vs. Goldberg dream match!



Making Noise, Drinking Cider: Maffew at PCW Road to Glory Night 1

Friday, 27th March 2015. 19:53





The only writer other than creator James Marston to make the Top 10 is Botchamania's own Maffew! Proving instantly popular on ATPW, Maffew brought his own fanbase over to ATPW and introduced a different style of writing to the site, as he looked at the first night of PCW Road to Glory tournament. Featuring a no holds barred looked at the show, with a refreshingly honest review, Maffew also offered plenty of laughs and gags to keep things entertaining. Brit-Wres reviews always prove popular and this is the most popular of them all on ATPW.


TNA's Rockstar Spud Interview


Monday, 30th March 2015. 23:16




Coming as part of the #ATPW24 campaign that raised over £200 for MIND, there was a special interview with then TNA X Division Champion Rockstar Spud! Spud discussed the previous night's WrestleMania, changes in the Spud character, his on-screen feud with Ethan Carter III, his involvement in the second series of British Boot Camp, his return to the British indy scene and what the future might hold for Spud. It's our most popular article of 2015 so far, and for interview conducted by someone nearing 60 hours without sleep, is bloody good if I do say so myself!


I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have have, or if this is your first ATPW article has enjoyed what is ensentially a starter pack to knowing what we do here at ATPW. To all those who have viewed ATPW in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, Israel, Canada, Ukraine, Turkey and anywhere else over the last two years a big thankyou and I hope we continue to produce content that keeps you coming back for more. Peace, love and wrestling. James.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

TNA Impact Wrestling's Robbie E Interview

We spoke to TNA Impact Wrestling wrestler, former TNA X Division Champion and Bro-Mans member, Robbie E on Wednesday 31st March 2015. Topics include breaking into TNA, the recent TNA UK tour, his feud with Brooke Adams, the current TNA set up and more.





ATPW - Let's get straight into it. How did you break into TNA (in 2010)? Who was it that brought you in in the first place?


Robbie E - I just had a dark match (Editor's Note - Interestingly enough opposite Max Buck, better known as Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks), set up through Terry Taylor who was working for TNA at the time. While I was there they were looking for a Jersey Shore character and they knew I was from Jersey. It kind of worked, right place, right time.

ATPW - So Jersey Shore was obviously an influence on the character, who has been an influence in terms of your wrestling style? 


Robbie E - I get asked that question a lot, and there's not really one. I've watched wrestling since I was four, I got into it because my older brother loved it. There isn't one person that I've patterned myself after. I liked characters, I like colourful stuff. I think all pro wrestlers are wacky, wild and different. I'm kind of crazy and wacky and I think that comes across watching me. When I think of what I was gonna do, I guess pro wrestling was the answer. 






ATPW - How did the 2015 TNA UK Tour in January compare to previous year's tours for you?


Robbie E - Every time was know, the whole roster, production, everyone knows we're coming to the UK, the whole month leading up we get excited. Most people get new gear, we're hitting the gym harder, we're tanning, it's a big, big time of the year for us. We love the crowds. This year has served like it has every other year, we've had great crowds, great TV shows were produced. Magic happened, like it always does. I'm already excited for next year.


ATPW - You've also spent some time on the UK independent scene over the last weekend, how did you find that?


R.E. - It was fun. The fans, you know Impact Wrestling is a very big deal in the UK, so going over there you feel appreciated and loved. The fans appreciate what you do, so it was fun to go there in a more intimate setting where you some more time to talk to the fans and mingle with them a little bit and see what they like and dislike. The shows that I worked at were great. I was in Dunstable, England (Total Action Wrestling) and I was in Birmingham (Kamikaze Pro). They were two great shows. I arrived Saturday morning, I left Monday morning. Less than 48 hours. I got talk to a lot of up and coming guys, everyone in the UK is hungry and cordial and polite, so it was a great experience.






ATPW - Was there anyone in particular that caught your eye over here?


R.E. - No one specific. The guys were good, but I was so busy that I didn't get to watch a lot of the show. I was so busy running around all day.


ATPW - Recently on Impact Wrestling, we've seen you opposite Brooke. How did you approach working a feud with a female, as opposed to a more traditional male v. male feud?


I approach it the same way, there's really not a way of approaching it. We were an item, we're not anymore. I hate her, she hates me. We got it on in the ring. I approach it with how I take her, not very seriously. She's not a very athletic person, she's a joke to me. I didn't want to be the guy who hits her in the face, or have it where it's a guy beating up a woman. That is sadly how she ended up beating me somehow. 






ATPW - If you could have a match with anyone tomorrow, who would it be?


Right now, being a former X-Division Champ, Television Champ and two-time Tag Champion, the only title I haven't had it the World title and by getting that I could be a grand slam champ, which is a very short list. Therefore I'd like to get a title shot and go one on one with Kurt Angle. We've wrestled once in the past, a few years ago, Bound for Glory Series, he got the best of me in a short amount of time. But Robbie E's in a different place now and I think I could give him a fighting run for his money.The Olympic Gold medallist vs. Robbie E, that's what I want to happen.


ATPW - Out of everyone that you have faced, who's been your favourite person to work with outside of the Bro-Mans? 


R.E. - There's so many guys on the roster that are awesome and that I've had awesome matches with. The Wolves, in tag team action. Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Eric Young, those are some of my favourite, Magnus. There's really not one, our roster is so jacked and loaded with great wrestlers, that's it's difficult to just pick one.




ATPW - Since you've been in TNA, we've seen a lot of changes, how do you feel the current set-up compares to previous set-ups?


R.E. - I think now is better than ever. I think the talents better, the production, the way the show lucks. At least in America, the new TV station we're on, we love. Everyone is positive, we're moving in the right direction. We're good, I think we're better than ever. There's not really a negative thing you can say about it. Sure thing change often, but change is good, it's good to keep things ever changing, because it keeps the wrestlers on their toes, it keeps the fans excited because there's always new thing happening. We just got back a few months ago, the six sided ring.

ATPW - How does that six sided ring compare to a traditional ring, from a wrestlers point of view? 


R.E. - Everyone's got their flavour of what they'd chose. When I think wrestler, I'm not going to lie, I do think of a four sided ring, BUT I also love the six sided ring. The thing about the six sided ring is, we own that, TNA's got that, no one else does, that's something that stands out. Being different and something that stands out is a good thing, it makes you memorable. We have something that no one else has, so the six sided ring brings something different to the table, brings something different for the fans, I love it. 





ATPW - Around June time, TNA usually announces who it's next Hall of Famer is going to be, who would you like to see go into the Hall of Fame?


R.E. - Besides myself? I guess it's too early for me, I've only been there five years. I mean there's a lot of guys who are deserving of it. Active guys that I think are close to it, we have put active guys into it before, Kurt Angle, Team 3D, Sting, so I'm going to say...Bobby Roode is getting closer to deserving it. He's been there pretty much, close to day one. I would say Bobby Roode or a guy like James Storm. James Storm has been there since Day 1, Bobby Roode has been there pretty close to since Day 1. They've both pretty much been every show and always work their ass off here for TNA, so they are guys that definitely in the future deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame. 



ATPW - I'm going to wrap things up with the same question I asked Rockstar Spud, where do you see yourself in five years time? Where is Robbie E in 2020?


I think, by then I'll be a World Champion where I've held every title. Definitely still a part of TNA Wrestling family in some capacity, I love TNA. I wanna be there forever. I think by then, the fans are going to see a different side of me, not just the "Hey, he's a funny entertaining guy" but "holy...holy crap, this guy is more than just bro, this guy can go in the ring, this guys really the full package".






As always, a big thank you to Robbie E for giving us the time for this interview. As well as TNA Impact Wrestling and Simon Rothstein for setting it up. You can follow Robbie E on Twitter here and Instagram here and watch him every Sunday night on Impact Wrestling on Challenge at 9PM in the UK.