Cheap Pops - Wrestling News & Views - April 25, 2016

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We have a lot to cover this week, but real quick I have an announcement to make.  On Saturday, May 14 from 9 PM - Midnight, Critical Blast and Iron Room will be holding our First Annual Post-Con Costume Party down in Atlantic City, NJ!  For more information, please check it out over on Facebook.  There will be over $1000 in prizes, and it should be an awesome event!

This week!

  • Huge NXT Title Change!
  • Interview with Anthony Bowens
  • Does DDP belong in the Hall of Fame?
  • NXT Results
  • Lucha Underground Results


At an NXT House Show in Lowell, MA, the crowd was treated to a hell of a surprise when Samoa Joe beat Finn Balor for the NXT Championship.  

Mike Maillaro: THE CROWD WAS GOING ABSOLUTELY CRAZY ABOUT THIS!! Personally, I definitely think the WWE/NXT need to do this far more often.  House Shows are often a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, you know that nothing lasting is going to happen there.  The strange part is that with the WWE Network or their Youtube feeds, they actually could do more BIG THINGS at house shows, since they can pop up footage.  I think that would be a huge incentive for more people to go to house shows, and even might get some more people to buy the Network.  

Chris Delloiacono: WWE did this regularly back in the ‘90s but it’s been a long time since the days of meaningful house shows.  I was stunned when you texted me about the change.  Joe deserves a run with the strap, and I love the way it was done!

Mike: So what does this mean for NXT in the long and short term?  I expect Mr Balor will be getting involved with the AJ Styles Vs Roman Reigns title match at Payback.  This particular title change should have some huge ramifications for WWE moving forward, if they play their cards right.

Chris: Part of me is hoping that AJ refuses help from the former Bullet Club and that leads to Finn coming in and running the show.  Still, I don’t know where that would leave AJ and Roman Reigns.  On the other hand, it would be cool to see AJ accept the BC’s assistance and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose come out and save Roman.  I want a Bullet Club vs. The Shield feud!  If that happened, I don’t know where that would leave Finn.  I hope WWE has something cool planned.  There are some compelling possibilities.  Let’s hope they really stun us.


Interview with Anthony Bowens

Mike: When I see Anthony Bowens,, I see someone who has superstar written all over him.  He’s got an incredible build, and the in-ring talent to back it up.  Anthony Bowens is heralded as “WrestlePro’s Best Kept Secret” and it’s a perfect description for him.  

Here’s his brilliant match with Danny Maff from WrestlePro’s debut show.


I first saw Bowens when he was teaming up with Bobby Wayward as part of The Untouchables, and it was clear that he was going to be a break-out star of that team.  Which is not a knock on Wayward who is probably one of the biggest heat magnets on the WrestlePro roster.  But Bowens just has a certain it-factor that puts him above and beyond most guys.  Just recently, he did a tour of matches in England, and I would be shocked if you aren’t seeing him on the big stage in a few short years.  

1)    How was England?

Incredible! The experience was everything I thought it would be. Amazing culture, amazing people, 14 matches in 7 days…what could be better?!  I’m tentatively scheduled to go back in late July/Early August to do the holiday camps in Wales, which I’m very excited about.

2) Growing up, were you a fan of wrestling?  If so, who were your favorites?

This first person I gravitated to is Sting. I saw the vignettes for the Starcade match between him and Hogan and I was immediately hooked. As I got a little older I was very into Jeff Hardy.  I was always very shy as a kid, so seeing how fearless he was in the ring inspired me. As time went on I began to appreciate people like Jericho, Benoit, Guerrero, HBK, etc.

3) How did you get into the wrestling business?

I played baseball from little league through college and when that was over with, I had a lot of free time on my hands that I wasn’t use to having. I had thought about getting into wrestling for some time but I really didn’t know where to go. It just so happened that one day when WWE was in the area, a lot of the roster was working out at the gym I go to. When I got there I tried to take pictures with as many people as I could and the most important person I met ended up being Santino Marella. After we took the picture he stopped me and said I looked like a wrestler and asked if I had ever thought about becoming one. I told him yes but I wasn’t sure where to go. He then took out his phone and gave me the number to Pat Buck, head trainer of Create-A-Pro NJ and owner of WrestlePro. A week later I visited the school, signed up and haven’t looked back. So thank you Santino!

4) Favorite moment in your career so far?

It’s kind of hard to pinpoint a favorite moment because I have so many cool memories so far but I think one moment that stands out is when we were filming the WWE Tough Commercials. I was only one cleared to bump so the producers put a crash mat in the ring and had me do a bunch of moves from off the top rope in hopes of getting a cool shot. I can’t tell you how many times I jumped but about half way through I had a flashback to being 7 years old and climbing on top of my mom’s dresser and leaping off it across the room and onto the bed. Fast-forward 17 years and I’m in a WWE ring in the WWE Warehouse jumping from the top rope for a nationally televised commercial. That I thought is pretty cool.

5) When WrestlePro started announcing you as “the best kept secret,” I thought it was a perfect description for you.  You mix a lot of styles in the ring.  When I see Anthony Bowens, I see someone who is going to have a huge future in the wrestling business.  What goals do you have for your wrestling career?

I want to travel the world doing this, which I’m just starting to do. Ultimately I want to end up in Japan or WWE.

6) You’ve been involved in some WWE promotional work like the video before Money in the Bank, Breaking Ground, and Tough Enough.  How did that come about?  Can we expect to see more Anthony Bowens on a bigger stage in the near future?

I was offered to come to shoot the Tough Enough commercials and the producers liked working with me enough that they invited me back the following week to shoot the MITB open. Both were really cool experiences and it was awesome to see the finished product on TV. As for Breaking Ground…I was invited to do NXT’s first live tryout last year at the Arnold Classic in Ohio. I impressed enough there to be invited back to the more elaborate tryout at the Performance Center in Orlando last September and it just so happened that they were filming this one for the tv show.

I’m not what to expect in the coming months, I like to roll with the punches and take whatever opportunity is being given.

8) Which WrestlePro (or non-WrestlePro) guys would you like to work with?

For WrestlePro, I lucked out because I’ve wanted to work Dan Maff, Fallah Bah, and Matt Macintosh for a while and now I get all 3 in one match on April 23rd in Brooklyn, NY. As far as outside of WrestlePro, there are almost too many to name…guys like Jay Lethal or Johnny Gargano come to mind. I want to take on anyone who will force me to step up my game.

9) You are the number one contender, so when will we see you taking on Matt Macintosh for the WrestlePro title?

Over the next few months I think you’ll be seeing a bit of an evolution of my character which is just starting to develop. I plan to put out a video explaining more about me and about the character so be on the look out for that. As more the title match, I haven’t yet decided…I have to concentrate on the Fatal 4 Way in Brooklyn on April 23rd. With Maff, Fallah Bahh, and Macintosh, I’m going to have to be on top of my game.

10) Outside of the wrestling business, what are your other interests?

I love to travel, which goes hand in hand with wrestling, baseball, video games, working out, etc. All pretty basic stuff.

11) Why should someone come out to a WrestlePro show?

WrestlePro is always going to deliver and put on a great show with something for just about everyone. Whether you are into technical wrestling, comedy, hardcore, indy stars, ex WWE/TNA guys…we have everything! You can find more information at  For more about me you can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @Bowens_Official.

Mike: One last thing.  As I was getting this interview ready to post, WrestlePro announced that at next Saturday's WrestlePro show in Rahway, NJ, Anthony Bowens will be facing Matt Macintosh for the WrestlePro Title. As I have said numerous times throughout this column, I am a fan of Matt Macintosh, but I think it's very likely we'll be seeing the title change hands next Saturday.   Good luck to both men, and thanks again to Anthony Bowens for taking the time to do this interview!

RIP Chyna

Late Wednesday night, it was announced that Chyna had been found dead at the age of 45.  Very little information was released other than the fact that she was found in bed.  Police said that a friend had called 911 and reported that she was not breathing. The friend went to check on Chyna after she went several days without answering her phone. Police arrived and found her deceased. There were no indications of foul play but they are investigating.

Mike: 2016 continues to be a horrible year for celebrity deaths. Chyna was a true icon of the business, and the first women I remember seeing in the ring (on a major level) that always looked like she could easily compete with the men.  

It’s actually a huge disgrace that she was not already in the WWE Hall of Fame.  Whatever her personal issues were, she is an important icon to wrestling. Chyna was the first (and to date only) female intercontinental champion.   And of course, she was a hugely influential part of D-Generation X.

Chyna was at a Pro Wrestling Syndicate show a few months ago.  She had huge smiles for all the fans, and you can tell she was well respected by the parade of wrestlers that made sure they went over to say hi to her before and during the show.  

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet her that night, but on her way in, she was kind of trying to be inconspicuous and sneak in behind the crowd waiting outside.  I just happened to see her and gave her a wave, and she flashed me a smile with mischievous eyes and put her finger over her lips.  A few minutes later, I overheard someone say, “I wonder if Chyna will actually show up.”  I said, “You just missed her walk right past you, genius.”  She just seemed real cool, and I really regret that I never made my way over to talk to her during the show.  

Chris: I remember that night very well.  Chyna looked good and smiled as I walked past her to meet Don Muraco.  I smiled back but didn't stop to chat with her.  It's a shame neither of us took the opportunity to commiserate with an icon of the business.  There will never be anyone quite like her again.  

Her lack of Hall recognition is indeed a sin.  Triple H has been great at mending fences with past icons on the outs, but Chyna was one person he never wanted to bring back into the fold, for obvious reasons.  I always felt like he screwed Chyna over to get in with the boss’s daughter.  I'll never know what really happened, but he's basically sitting on billions now, and Joanie is dead.  Her life was a downward spiral after breaking up with Triple H, and it's unfair to blame him.  can't.  Still, the whole situation stinks.  Chyna deserved far better from WWE.

Does DDP belong in the WWE Hall of Fame?

12247840_10153119064937015_8054350915016050821_o.jpgJosh Pollard: Of course he does. He got me to drop 30 pounds.  ;)

Mike: I am curious if we should double dip on this one and talk about the Steiners too.  But, I guess we can do them another time.   First off all, I need to say I love DDP.  The whole reason I watched WCW far longer than any rational person should was because of Page.  

What has always fascinated me about Page is that he got his start as a wrestler so late.  He had done work as a manager and in stables before, but he really didn’t start as a single’s competitor until he was almost 40 years old.  A huge part of me finds that so inspirational.  I have always wanted to write professionally, and sometimes I feel like it’s too late to make that dream a reality.  But I look at Page and realize it’s never too late to chase your dreams.

The first time I saw him in the ring, he looked like someone who had been doing this for years.  His moves were always so sharp, and he could tell a great story in the ring.   And then you had the Diamond Cutter, which is just about the best finisher in history.  So many of Page’s matches ended with a “Diamond Cutter out of nowhere.”  Too many wrestling matches foreshadow the endings so much, but with Page it was so often a surprise that you couldn’t help but mark out a bit.  Especially since he always seemed like the ultimate underdog.

Chris: Being an AWA fan, DDP was one of my favorites back in the ‘80s.  I absolutely loved his mic work and his team Badd Company.  B-A-Double-D!  As cool as he was, in no way did he ever come off as a plausible in-ring performer of the future.  Even I was taken aback by his jump to being a wrestler, but damn if he didn't pull it off.  The talking was obvious from the managerial days, plus he could work a match and get the crowd behind him.  Many people have followed the reverse career path by going from wrestler to manager, but DDP’s journey is pretty amazing.  

So yeah, I think he's Hall worthy!

Mike: The one thing that amazes me is that they were never able to really make a go of him in WWE.  He had such natural charisma and in-ring talent.  And he ended up doing all kinds of odd gimmicks like “Undertaker’s stalker” and “self-help guru.”  These seem like terrible choices.  Especially when he was the stalker...did they really think anyone was going to be booing DDP???   Everything I have heard suggests that Page himself came up with some of these ideas, but I really don’t think that makes them any better….

Chris: His WWE career wasn't notable.  He was another guy that wasn't allowed to be what made him successful elsewhere, so it never worked.  It's so strange seeing the recent successes of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe in WWE.  They've continued to do what worked before they came, and they're each having great runs.  It's a shame WWE didn't give DDP that chance back in the day.

Josh: Yeah, DDP was just great on so many levels. He had so many awesome moments in WCW. La Parka/DDP beating Macho Man. Diamond Cutting the nWo and running off into the crowd. Fighting with Raven on the set of TRL.

...and then WWE did nothing notable with him. Wow.

Jeff Ritter: I didn't get a chance to chime in this week, but DDP's HoF credentials are unquestionable! He sort of the Benjamin Buttons of wrestling--his career played out in reverse. His post wrestling career is not unlike Jimmy Carter's post-Presidential career--in some ways even better than his in-ring days. His only real low point was the WCW Invasion and that's only because Vince McMahon couldn't be a gracious winner. None of the WCW guys fared well in the year or two after the merger. Page is a Hall of Famer, no question! BANG!


Adam Rose responds to his suspension

Last week, both Adam Rose and Konnor of the Ascension were suspended for violations of the WWE’s Wellness Policy.  Adam Rose posted the following response on Twitter:

I was not going to respond to my suspension but I feel I have to. I have two sons that will one day read that news about there daddy and a sister that died from complications related to a life long battle with heroin.

So I feel the absolute need and right to respond and let the truth be known.

I am pretty sure this response will meet nowhere near the publicity that my suspension did and that this response is tantamount to career suicide.

But I feel for my sons my sister and rest of my family… you the Wwe universe have the right to the know the truth over my suspension and what it was for.

I will also quote my Dr in my response as he was as shocked and appalled by this suspension.

I can say right now I did not do anything knowingly wrong and was taking prescribed medication that my Dr and I followed all the correct protocol on.

My actual response and Doctors response will be coming soon. So before you judge, know the facts.

My family and I are still collecting ourselves from this blow. I have zero anger or animosity against the WWE. But feel the administrators over the WWE Wellness policy were just simply not right in taking this action.

But I feel facts are the facts and my family and I will will be the ones putting our lives back together after this mess.

My response will be up soon along with my Doctors.

Mike: I just thought this was a classy response.  It’s pretty sad that their is a clear “tier” system in the WWE.  If you are a top dog, it seems like you can basically get away with anything without any attention being drawn to you.  But Titus O’Neil got suspended for 60 days for something ridiculously petty.  

Chris: I find it hard to trust WWE and their policy.  In the beginning, some big names like Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio got wellness suspensions, but for years it's only been performers like Hornswoggle, Konnor, Ricardo Rodriguez, and Rose.  Seems very suspect.  The death of Chyna further illustrates just how messed up the ‘80s and ’90s athletes were in wrestling.  I pray these current tests are legit and these men and women really are all clean!  I hate reading all these stories of young people dying!

Mike: And now we have Adam Rose...someone who I think the WWE keeps dropping the ball on.   Adam Rose was heavily featured in the ESPN “Behind the curtain” special they did last year, and it put a lot of perspective on who he is.  He seems like a real good guy, and I typically enjoy his work in the ring, even if he’s rarely given any real showcase.  I hope this is all sorted out and resolved in a fair manner.  I do think that the Wellness Policy is important, but like all Policies, it needs to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis to ensure that you are getting the intended results.

Chris: This whole situation seems strange.  Adam’s sister died from a heroin addiction, so I understand why he wants to defend his name.  He made it clear that his children’s perception of him is important.  Something appears off with the whole suspension and I give him props for speaking up.  Even if it costs hm his job.  At least he can go out with dignity instead of the sh** sandwich Vince is feeding him.

NXT Results - 4/20/16

- American Alpha def. Enzo Amore/Big Cass with Grand Amplitude

- Apollo Crews is talking about not liking bullies, and that includes Samoa Joe.  Tonight, he will show Joe what Apollo is capable of.

- Another No Way Jose tease video. He debuts next.

- No Way Jose def. Alexander Wolfe with a Fastball Punch

- Austin Aries is asked about Corbin saying that Aries’ victory was just luck.  Aries doesn’t believe in luck; it’s all about skill.  If Corbin wants to match up again, Aries is right here.

-Samoa Joe is getting ready for his match with Apollo.

- The Drifter is playing his guitar backstage.  GM William Regal comes in.  He puts him in a match next week against Shinsuke Nakamura.

- Nia Jax def. Deonna Purrazzo with Samoan Drop followed by a leg drop

- Bayley is asked about next week’s match with Asuka Vs Eva Marie.  Bayley deserves an Academy Award for doing her best to put over Eva as a real competitor.

- Samoa Joe def. Apollo Crews with Coquina Clutch

Mike: Before I start my comments, can someone explain this whole Tapout thing to me?  WWE has been hyping Tapout for months now, and I still have no idea what it is.  Is this just WWE competitors are shilling Tapout’s athletic clothing line?  Seems kind of pointless, especially for something they have been hyping for months...

Chris: WWE signed a merchandising agreement with Tapout last year.  They sell WWE branded stuff and everyone makes money.  It's going to be crammed down your throat for a long time, my brother!  On a interesting note, the talent makes out in the deal in an unforeseen way.  Recently, WWE announced the wrestlers can wear Tapout gear in lieu of business casual when on the road.  That's got to be more comfortable.  

Mike: I was pretty surprised that the tag match wasn’t the main event, but I always love a hot match to start the show, so no complaints for me.  American Alpha and Enzo/Cass are probably the two most popular tag teams in NXT history.  This match has been a long time coming.  Honestly, there wasn’t a lot of “new” things to see in this match, but it was still a really good match.  Definitely a fitting way to say goodbye to Enzo and Big Cass as they move up to the main roster.  My favorite moment in this match was when Jason Jordan put his straps down to set up his finish, but Big Cass disrupted him.  Jason Jordan is forced to reset, so the first thing he does it put the straps back up.  Something about this was just really clever to me.

Chris: Loved the strap moment and the match in general.  Just a good, solid match!  I really liked how all the main roster call ups--Enzo/Cass, Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews, and Sami Zayn--did the honors on the way out.  Definitely felt like the old days when guys got jobbed on their way out of a territory.

Mike: After weeks of hype, we finally get out first look at No Way Jose.  The crowd didn’t seem all that sure what to make of him, and I tend to agree with them. He seems like a tall dude and moved real well in the ring.  I’m not particularly a fan of WWE giving everyone dance gimmicks, but he did seem to integrate it real well into his in-ring style, so I have to give him a little credit for that at least.  I do think that he could be a solid NXT midcarder, but there is a very low ceiling for No Way Jose unless he has a lot more to show us.

Chris: I don't even know if his ceiling is solid midcarder.  Seems to me like he has no hope of being more than a curtain jerker.  Why do this when Fandango failed so dramatically?  Nothing against the man at all; he was fairly entertaining in the ring.

Jeff: I can't even bring myself to comment on No Way Jose...or maybe I can. Uneven character (dancer or baseball player?) a bit Mexicool racist, terrible finisher? Somebody tell Hunter not to let his kids do creative. I'm done with this dude already. Not every gimmick needs be so damn gimmicky--this ain't 1989 anymore. If it was, Prince, Chyna and Bowie would all still be alive and Sunny wouldn't be my guess to go next.

Mike: I am still not sure what NXT is going to do with their women’s division.  Deonna Purrazzo continues to lose to all the big names. I keep hoping they are setting her up to pull off a huge win, but it seems like they would rather just keep having her get squashed.  I thought Nia Jax looked decent in her match with Bayley, but they just keep putting her in squashes that do nothing for her.  I had the same issue with Baron Corbin for a long time.  This is developmental.  LET THEM WORK REAL MATCHES!

Chris: I just fast forwarded through this match.  I felt in no way compelled to sit there and watch Nia squash Deonna.

Mike: The main event was decent, though I think it’s a mistake to have Joe rely so much on submission moves.  You have two big guys who are both fast and agile.  Just let them go all out.  When they were really going, I was real engaged, but every time it slowed down, I felt my attention wandering.

Chris: I enjoyed the match.  I thought it had some good back and forth, and I'm okay with the submission moves.  That's what Joe is all about.  The funny thing, he's won most of his matches with the Coquina Clutch.  I like it when a submission move actually wins big matches.  

Mike: This episode seemed really short.  It was about 45 minutes, as opposed to the hour NXT normally runs. But it still had the same number of commercial breaks, which really hurt the show to me.

Lucha Underground Results - 4/20/16

- Dario is talking to Fenix, Drago, and Aerostar. He’s impressed that Fenix survived his match with Matanza.  He offers him a chance in tonight’s trios tournament match.  But, last year, these three lost their first round match, so he’s partnering Fenix off with Jack Evans and PJ Black instead to take on the Disciples of Death.  Aerostar and Drago will face each other for one of the Aztec medallions.

- Aerostar def Drago with springboard codebreaker to win one of the Aztec medallions

- Johnny Mundo is working out backstage.  Taya flirts with him.  She says she demanded Dario give him one of the Aztec medallions,  Dario scheduled him for a match for one next week...against Cage.  The match will be in a steel cage.

- Trios tournament match - Jack Evans, PJ Black, and Fenix def. The Disciples of Death.  Fenix hits a beautiful 450 splash to get the win.

- Dario is in his office with Son of Havoc, Angelico and Ivelisse.  He is doing a great job making comments to drive a wedge between the Trios champs.  He tells them that next week, they will have to fight in the finals of the Trios Tournament in a four team elimination match to decide who will be the Trios champs.

- The Disciples of Death are in the locker room.  Catrina says they have failed for the last time.  She says they need to give her one reason not to destroy all of them.  Siniestro rips the hearts out of the other two.  She smiles and lets him live.

- Lucha Underground Title Match - Mil Muertes Vs Matanza.  Match ends in a no contest when Mil hits a Flatliner on top of Dario’s office and both plunge into the darkness.

- After the credits, we see the police captain who had sent Joey Ryan and Ricky Reyes in undercover in the temple.  There is a clever little board showing the deceased and the various MIA (people who left Lucha like Hernandez, Blue Demon, and El Patron).  In comes LORENZO LAMAS!  He is apparently playing another officer.  He says that Boyle Heights is in his jurisdiction, and his boss wants her to drop her case against Dario Cueto.  She says “I am not afraid of the mayor.”  Lamas suggests that his boss is more powerful than the mayor and someone she has a history with.  He leaves.  She seems pretty scared and pissed at the same time.

Mike: Drago and Aerostar is exactly the reason I watch Lucha Underground.  Fast paced, high flying action.  It’s really helped make Lucha Underground stand out.  Even though this is the sixth time these two have matched up in Lucha Underground (they had an incredible best of 5 series last year), they still manage to keep it fresh each time.  The crowd was really hyped for this one.  There was a pretty ugly botch during this match, and I thought Aerostar was lucky he didn’t get seriously hurt.  I also loved the random “Bob Ross and his happy little trees” reference that one of the commentators threw out during the match.

Chris: That Bob Ross comment was insane!  I really love Stryker’s commentary.  He's so good at calling a match and interjecting little tidbits like that.  You're right about this match.  I don't know how they do it, but these guys just work a great one every damn time.  And, to be honest, I was surprised Aerostar won!

Mike: The trios tournament has been a lot of fun this year.  So many of the teams just plain hate each other creating some real chaotic situations.  The Disciples continue to be dull, but Evans, Fenix, and Black were still able to carry them to a very entertaining match.  Jack Evans is a terrific heel.  You just want to smack him.  I am really glad that ⅔ of the Disciples are now dead.  Shame it wasn’t a clean sweep.

Chris: I enjoyed watching Black, Fenix, and Evans work so “poorly” together and still come out the victors.  It was really well done.  The Disciples definitely suck.  I'm sure Heart Sucker Man or whatever the hell the survivor’s name is, will lose a whole bunch more in the coming weeks.

Mike: I really enjoyed the main event.  It was great to see Matanza finally show some vulnerability.  This match was just a brutal fight between two monsters.  I usually hate non-finishes, but it worked real well for this match with both men continuing to look strong.  Dario and Catrina also did a great job of selling the importance of this match in terms of who controls the temple moving forward.  

Chris: I know they were building up Matanza, but it's about time someone gave him a run for his money.  The bout was entertaining but the finish wasn't great, since we saw something similar last season.  

All told, a good episode and the first time the championship has been compelling since Aztec Warfare.