Cheap Pops - Wrestling News & Views - May 9, 2016

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This week!

  • Interview with Craven Varro
  • Payback Results
  • WrestlePro Live Show Results
  • Several wrestlers released from WWE
  • Ryback on his future

Interview with Craven Varro

Mike: Usually when I am at a WrestlePro show, I am running around trying to meet as many guys and get as many pictures as possible.  I have been a huge fan of Craven Varro since I first saw him in the ring, and on top of that, he gave me one of my favorite pictures.  

Craven had been out with an injury for a while, and I saw him hanging around before a show.  I waved at him, and when he saw my Kevin Matthews shirt, he called me over to talk to him and Matthews.  Reality Check for the win!

Craven has only been at this for a few years, but I think he’s got huge potential.  Now that he’s back from injury, I can’t wait to see how far he can go.  

1) WrestlePro fans know you've been dealing with a serious neck injury.  How did the injury happen?  How is your recovery progressing?

I was doing some after hours ring training with my friend Ahtu, and I attempted a move I had seen Samuray Del Sol and some other smaller guys do. I'm what you would consider a Cruiserweight, but I'm 6'1", so with my height, I probably shouldn't have tried it in the first place. I landed completely vertical, upside down on my forehead, looking up. I had enough range of motion to my neck that I figured I just jammed my neck really bad, so I continued to wrestle like that for the next two and a half years. It started to feel like it was healing about a year later, but a year after that it took a turn for the worst. I had to stop taking bookings outside of PWS for a while to try to let it heal again, but it got to the point where I couldn't even wrestle without being in intense pain for days after, and my left arm started to go numb. It wasn't until I stopped wrestling and got x-rays and MRIs that I found out I had 3 dislocated vertebrae in my neck, a torn neck muscle, and ligaments out place. On top of those injuries, once I had the procedure done to put my neck back in place, I started physical therapy and the chiropractor there found that I had 4 dislocated ribs as well. Actually, 1 of the dislocated ribs was under my right shoulder blade, and they were finally just able to get that back into place 4 days ago, so I finally just finished getting put back together this week. There's nothing they can do about the torn muscle or the out of place ligaments, so I'll always have some nagging pains from those the rest of my life. The torn muscle already healed and the tear became scar tissue. A little bit of mild pain isn't going to affect me though, especially considering the pain that I got used to from 2 and 1/2 years of wrestling with my neck like that, so I'll be fine. The whole physical therapy processes is too detailed to explain here, but if you YouTube physical therapy for the cervical spine, you'll get a good idea of what I had to do. A lot of painful extreme movements for mobility, weight training to get my neck use to handling weight again, electro therapy and all that kind of stuff.

2) Were you a wrestling fan from an early age?  When did you first start watching?

I've been a fan my whole life, to the point where I have no idea what the first things I saw were, I just know the first things that I remember. My mom's side of the family were huge wrestling fans, and we were at their house all the time. All of her brothers always had it on, and my grandmother loved it. My grandmother was a huge Ultimate Warrior fan. The first thing I vaguely remember is everyone going to my grandmother's house for Wrestlemania 6 when I was 3 years old. I just remember my whole family jumping up and down and celebrating that the Ultimate Warrior had won the WWF title, and then my grandmother bought me an Ultimate Warrior poster to hang in my room. After that the memories just start rolling in, and I'd actually say about 80% of my childhood memories are professional wrestling memories. I was one of those 90s kids who would flip back and forth between Raw and Nitro. I also had the advantage of growing up in Voorhees, New Jersey, which is only about 20 minutes away from the ECW Arena in Philly, and we got Hardcore TV on our local channels, so I started getting into ECW when I was about eight years old in 95. My dad would order me every ppv from every company, which is crazy now that I think about it as an adult. He must have had a "son wrestling budget" which is awesome that he supported what I obviously loved. I also always had a backyard wrestling league with all of my friends, from the time that I was a child, until I was about 17 years old.

3) Do you remember the first live wrestling show you attended?

ECW Crossing The Line  Again in Philadelphia, Feb. 1st 1997 when I was 10 years old. My dad bought me tickets for my birthday and I was beyond excited. This was the card:

  • Louie Spicolli defeated Mike Awesome
  • Lance Storm defeated Balls Mahoney
  • Stevie Richards defeated Ricky Morton
  • Steve Williams defeated Axl Rotten
  • Raven (c) defeated Steve Williams to retain the ECW Championship
  • Sandman defeated D-Von Dudley
  • The Eliminators (c) defeated Sabu & Rob Van Dam to retain the ECW World Tag Team Championship
  • Terry Funk defeated Tommy Rich
  • Tommy Dreamer & The Pitbulls defeated Shane Douglas, Chris Candido & Brian Lee

After that I went to WWF Mind Games in Philly with HBK vs Mankind in a hardcore match as the main event. After that, I went to basically every WWF, WCW and ECW event that came to Philly.

4) How did you become a wrestler?

I was touring with my band at the time, and I saw an ad for a new wrestling school opening up in Rahway, NJ with Pat Buck, Sami Callihan and Jay Lethal as trainers. I used to download OVW shows when they were WWE developmental, and I was always a huge Pat Buck fan. I was also a huge Rob Conway fan, and they had a really cool tag team and later feuded. Sami was one of my favorite Indie wrestlers, and Jay Lethal was one of my favorite TNA guys. I was unhappy in my band, and almost regretful that my music took off at a young age, and that I never had a chance to train for wrestling, and it was really starting to get to me. I tried to prepare myself my whole life for pro wrestling. Martial arts, amateur wrestling, submission wrestling... I did everything I could to make sure that I would be the best wrestler I could be when I became an adult, but life took me another way at first. When I saw the ad for the PWS school, I decided to drop everything in my life and sign up to train with Pat. After I started training, I was lucky enough to have Sami Callihan and Rich Swann take me under their wing outside of class and started traveling with them, which was incredibly helpful.

5) Whether it's in the ring or backstage, what's the coolest thing that's happened to you in the wrestling business?

In the ring, I'd have to say getting a standing ovation after my first ever one-on-one match, against Pat Buck, and having that show-of-respect moment in the ring with him. Then about six months later, the same thing happening with Kevin Matthews. Winning my first championship, PWS suicidal six-way championship, and having another moment the ring with Pat was amazing as well. After that, I'd say joining Reality Check, sharing a moment in the ring with Harlem Heat in Oct. 2014, and wrestling Anderson & Gallows of the Bullet Club while they were the IWGP tag team champions.

Outside the ring, I think my coolest moments are a little too personal and sordid to detail here.

6) You've held championships and main evented shows, but what goals do you still hope to accomplish in wrestling?

More championships, more main events, more big matches, but more than anything, respect. I'm the kind of guy who studies the best wrestling from all around the world, and I want to be that guy that other wrestlers study. Anyone who's seen me in the ring before knows that I'm not a typical wrestler. I do things in and out of the ring that other people don't do, and that's intentional. I don't want to be like everyone else, I want to leave my own carbon footprint in wrestling. I strive to be innovative, and thinking of new, outside of the box moves takes up a lot of mental space and time, so it's always very rewarding to see them pay off. I want to continue to innovate, continue to push boundaries in the ring, and eventually to be regarded as one of the best in ring talents in the world.

7) Who are your greatest influences whether it be in wrestling or out?

I always liked smaller, more athletic guys, and guys that seemed like they could legit fight. That's why I took up martial arts in amateur wrestling, and I've trained with people like Dan the Beast Severn, because I wanted to be able to knock people out and tap people out in the streets, or in the ring. I always love guys like Severn, Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, Steve Blackman, Taz, Perry Saturn, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar and those kind of guys who you knew could legit kill you. On the other side of the spectrum, my Idols were the more athletic guys like Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Randy Savage, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, and the great technical wrestlers like Bret Hart, Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. I also loved the WCW cruiserweight division with guys like Psychosis, Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio jr. Then as I got older, guys like Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson, AJ Styles, CM Punk and those types of wrestlers. After ECW folded, Ring of Honor became my new hometown company, so that first crop of guys that came from Ring of Honor were very influential on me.

8) If you could have a dream match with anyone living or dead, who would you choose?

Living would Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson, AJ Styles, CM Punk, Rob Van Dam, Triple H and X-Pac.

Dead would be Macho Man, Eddie Guerrero, or Chris Benoit.

9) What member of the WrestlePro roster could you have the most epic, main event feud with?

As far as guys that I haven't had the chance to wrestle yet, it would be Dan Maff and Mario Bokara. Myself and Maff would be a huge clash of styles, where Bokara and I would be 2 striker/submission guys who each have their own flair going at it, so I think either one of those would be great. As far as people that I've already worked with, I think you could get a lot of miles out of myself and Pat Buck as far as a feud goes, because there are so many different ways that it could be done, and the in ring work would speak for itself. The same goes for Kevin Matthews. We've almost always been allies and friends in Reality Check, but the few times we've wrestled each other have been great. Plus with our personalities, you can really make something out of that feud, and get a lot of miles out of that too.

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

I've already mentioned MMA, so I feel like next I have to mention metal. I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old, and I've been a musician ever since. I play guitar, bass, keyboards and I can sing and scream. I love heavy music, and I actually think ECW contributed to that when I was young. I'm a metalhead through and through. In my spare time, I still try to go to as many metal and rock shows as I can to support bands that I love. I also love nature. I do a lot of nature exploring, hiking, wood trails and that kind of stuff. I love the beach. I'm also a huge animal lover. I'm that metal guy with long hair and a leather jacket feeding the ducks and turtles at your local pond. Comic books, horror movies and movies in general have always been a huge part of my life. I actually used to work at a comic book shop. I'm a good movie and TV off.

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

WrestlePro is unlike anything else. A lot of independent companies use a lot of the same people and share the same Talent. WrestlePro has a very specific core roster of all homegrown talents that were trained in Pat's dojo. Pat will bring in legends, former TV stars and big independent and international names from show to show, but the product is always centered around the core roster and it's growth. When you go to a WrestlePro show, you get a show that you won't see anywhere else, because our locker room is more unique than any other independent company around. You will 100% get the most bang for your Buck with WrestlePro.


Update: A few days after we did this interview, Craven posted this exciting news on Facebook!!

CLEARED! Just finished my last day of physical therapy on my neck, with 2 weeks worth of sessions completed on top what was mandated, and I'm physically cleared to return to in-ring training for the first time in 6 months! My PT also cleared a Sports Therapy prescription for me, so I'll be able to continue to use the facility each week for my weight training and pain management to keep my body in top shape. I report back to Create-a-Pro NJ in Rahway for training next week! Truly thankful that this is all behind me, and for the first time in almost 3 years, I can wrestle without large amounts of unnecessary pain. See you all soon.

WrestlePro Results - April 30, 2016

  • Mario Bokara def. Brian Myers via submission
  • Danny Maff def. Shane Strickland and John Silver with a double death valley driver
  • Jeff Jarret appears on the monitor challenging WrestlePro owner Pat Buck to a cage match at the WrestlePro/GFW show on June 11.
  • Aesthetics Males, Blue Meanie, and Honky Tonk Man def. Heavenly Bodies and Team Espana in Survivor Series match
  • Chris Avery Queling def. Johnny Clash
  • Christina Von Eerie/CPA def Pepper Potts/ Cherry Bomb
  • Chris Payne def. Fallah Bahh after Shining Edward Jackson hit Bahh in leg with nightstick.  Bahh attacked Payne after the match before Shining Edward pulled him to safety
  • The Artist Formerly Known as Ronald Kingsley won CAP Battle Royal
  • WrestlePro Tag Titles match - Taboo Crew def Reynolds Brothers
  • Bull James def Bobby Wayward and Kevin Matthews.  After match, Monsters Island attacked Kevin Matthews
  • WrestlePro Title match - Anthony Bowens def. Matt Macintosh (w/ Hellen Vale). After match, Macintosh declares that he is leaving WrestlePro for Global Force Wrestling. Goons dressed in GFW shirts destroyed the ring, giving Bowens and WrestlePro owner Pat Buck a severe beatdown before the rest of the WrestlePro locker room chased them off.  To be continued at June 11’s GFW/WrestlePro show in Keyport, NJ

Mike:  This was a really great night of wrestling.  WrestlePro always manages to start their shows hot, and tonight was no exception.  Mario Bokara is a beast.  I haven’t see Brian Myers lose singles matches all that often (last time I remember seeing him lose a singles match was a Barbed Wire Match with Kevin Matthews early last year), but once Mario got a hold of him, he ended up as another victim of the Croatian Sensation.  After the match, Mario teased that he was looking for his next title reign. Who’s going to be next in his path of destruction, and will it lead to WrestlePro gold.

Chris: This was one of my favorite matches of the night.  I liked how Myers kept fighting to stay out of Bokara’s German suplex.  It was a strong match with a well told story and a really surprising finish.  I will say, I hope Bokara doesn't get too suplex happy.  His character is swinging a bit close to Brock Lesnar, and I don't think that allows Mario to show off the vast array of skills he possesses.

Mike: The second match featured a triple threat between Danny Maff, John Silver, and Shane “Swerve” Strickland (Lucha Underground fans know him as Killshot).  John Silver might be a fairly little dude, but he is strong as hell.  This made for a really cool match.  You have the sheer size and intensity of Maff, John Silver’s strength, and Strickland’s reckless speed and high flying.  In the end, Danny Maff put both men on his shoulders and hit a sick looking double Death Valley Driver.  The crazy part is that afterwards, Maff went to Bayonne to do another show.  

Chris: Silver and Strickland really proved they could hang in a marquee matchup.  I've only seen Silver a couple of times before this but he's impressive.  I hope Strickland makes it to more WrestlePro events in the future.  Oh, and you said it, that finish.  Damn!

Mike: Bookended with the great start was a terrific main event.  Anthony Bowens took on Matt Macintosh for the WrestlePro title.  I am a huge fan of both of these guys, and you knew they were going to put on a hell of a show.  I actually ended up videotaping quite a bit of the match, which I just about never do, but I wanted to make sure I could watch this one over and over.  

Chris: Macintosh and Bowens have come so far as performers.  It's fantastic to see two younger stars’ hard work paying off as they work on top of the card.  On top of that, this was the match of the night!  I really liked the double ref bump and Pat Buck’s involvement.  Top notch work all around.

Mike: The midcard was solid too. Maybe I am biased because of my new Taboo Crew jersey, but I was so happy to see Taboo Crew retain the tag titles.  Micah Jenkins (FKA Sandy Mann) looks better each and every match.  Partnering up with the Big Deal Craig Steele was a terrific way to feature both of these talented guys.  

I really enjoyed the CAP Battle Royal, and I think a big part of it was that so many of the guys in the match had friends and family in the crowd.  That gave the match a very cool energy.  I was glad to see Ronald Kingsley win the match, though I am not quite sold on the new “David Bowie/Prince” gimmick.  He did seem to carry it real well, but it just felt a little out of place.  WrestlePro doesn’t have a lot of gimmicks these days, so it just seemed a bit out of place.

Chris: I trained in the CAP Dojo for a couple of months, so I love these battle royals.  All the participants had to be extremely dedicated to get to this point.  It was a fun match for sure.

Mike: On the card, there was only one match I didn’t like and that was Chris Avery Queling Vs. Johnny Clash.  I have never been a fan of squash matches.  I do think Chris Avery’s new character is damn creepy, but I would have rather seen more of what Johnny Clash can do. This is two shows in a row where we’ve just seen him get his ass kicked.

I also want to talk about the “rebranding” of Aesthetics Enterprise as the Aesthetic Males.  Damien Gibbs and Beefcake Charlie were pretty awesome as Aesthetics Enterprise, which was basically them as two male models with their publicist, Jay Enterprise.  They embraced the weirdness of their roles and were responsible for some of the funniest moments in wrestling I had ever seen.  In WrestlePro, they have joined forces with Mike Del (formerly The Lifeguard) to form the Aesthetic Males.  I had said a while ago that I thought Mike Del was a good talent with a bad gimmick and should be repackaged.  Personally, I like this new high energy gimmick, especially their annoyingly catchy theme song, though I know Chris has some concerns…

Chris: I'm all for a gimmick change, but why switch what was working?  Del joining the team isn't the problem, because I think he fits quite well.  I just get too much of a New Day vibe from the Aesthetics.  The purveyors of Booty O’s are a one-of-a-kind grouping that's caught lightning in a bottle with a perfect gimmick. I don't see a riff on New Day being a success.  The Aesthetics need their own identity or just a return to what was working so well.

Mike: I will say, I really enjoyed WrestlePro’s last crossover show with Global Force Wrestling, but I have a slight issue with the storyline here.  Last time, Brian Myers and The Heavenly Bodies had basically said they were going to work for Global Force...but we still see them at WrestlePro shows all the time.  I suspect the same thing will happen here for Matt Macintosh.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Macintosh and am glad I can see him regularly at WrestlePro, but it is hard to suspend your disbelief in this story if you know the guys aren’t really going anywhere.  

I will also admit, I am not a huge Jeff Jarrett fan.  I actually think in some ways WrestlePro is much higher prestige than GFW.  At least WrestlePro has managed to grab some national headlines in places like Rolling Stone and ESPN.  GFW did their first “TV tapings” a long time ago now and have never been able to find a market for them. That is not to say they don’t have a lot of talent, I am just not sure there is a market for them.

Chris: I want to get behind GFW, but they’re like a phantom company.  WrestlePro has done more in a few months than GFW has in its two years in business.  I’d much rather watch the regular stars of WrestlePro in the main event instead of Jeff Jarrett being in the spot.  How many times can they do the same takeover type of story? Send guys like Nick Aldis and Sonjay Dutt to work the show, but Jarrett needs to stay on the sidelines.  

Mike: OH!  One last thing, Gambles the Clown is far more creepy than Sprinkles used to be.  When Monsters Island came out to attack Kevin Matthews, my first thought was “HOLY CRAP, THAT IS ONE DISTURBING CLOWN!”  And that is saying a lot, because I hate clowns on a good day.  I am hoping that this will lead to a Reality Check vs Monsters Island match, if nothing else because that means Craven would be back in action!!

Payback Results

  • Dolph Ziggler def. Baron Corbin
  • US Title: Kalisto def. Ryback to retain the title
  • #1 Contender’s Match: Enzo/Big Cass Vs Vaudevillians goes to No Contest when Enzo gets injured during the match.  
  • Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn
  • Intercontinental Title - The Miz def. Cesaro to retain.  Owens and Zayn both end up getting involved in match distracting Cesaro and allowing Miz to get the win
  • Dean Ambrose def. Chris Jericho
  • Women’s Title: Charlotte def. Natalya via “submission” though Natalya never tapped out.  Vince is still milking the Montreal Screwjob.
  • Vince comes out and says that Stephanie and Shane will now share power and need to figure out what that means.
  • WWE title match: Roman Reigns def AJ Styles to retain.  Match was a bit of a mess.  AJ first wins by count out, but Shane orders the match to continue.   Then AJ wins by DQ when the ref says Reigns accidentally low blowed him.  And Stephanie orders match to continue.  Match is made No DQ, no Countout.  Gallows and Anderson give Reigns a beatdown, but Reigns still manages to win in the end.

Mike: One thing I have to give WWE a lot of credit is that pretty much at every PPV, they put on several very good matches.  I am pretty much always glad I watch the PPV’s, even if I missed a lot of the buildup.  Throughout the show, they kept hyping that this was the first show of the New Era.  I loved that so much of this show was new, younger talent.  Granted, it took lots of injuries to get us here, but I am glad it’s here however it happened.  On the main card, the only matches that featured two guys who were on the main roster a year ago was Ambrose/Jericho and Miz/Cesaro.  

Chris: The new mix of talent on the roster livened the event up quite a bit.  There's still a lot of storyline issues, but at least we get to see newer faces and fresh match ups.

Mike: It really seems like this show could have had a few more matches in it.  I am glad that they gave most of the matches plenty of time, but it still seemed like a real lean card.  When the first hour was over, they only had three matches to go...and I had zero interest in the Shane/Stephanie stuff.  It was pretty annoying they spent so much time on it, especially muddling the main event.  

Chris: The McMahon family stuff was awful as always.  Vince and Shane can be a lot of fun, but Stephanie is just too irritating.  I know that's the point of her character.  It's just been going on too long and there's nothing entertaining about her.  On top of that, this wretched segment accomplished a lame status quo for Raw but took far too much time.  This could have happened in ten minutes instead of forty.  

Mike: The pre-show started out real strong.  Huge props to Baron Corbin who really stepped up his game for this bigger stage.  This was definitely a WWE-quality match.  I was a little surprised that Ziggler won this one. Usually, WWE puts new guys on a winning streak because they don’t know what else to do with them.  Having Corbin lose a match because of his own cockiness and Ziggler’s experience was a nice twist.  They should be able to build some strong stories coming out of this.

Chris: I missed this one on the pre-show.  What a lame ending, though.  WWE should get behind Corbin for a little while.  My god, we know Ziggler isn't going to be allowed to do anything important by Vinnie Mac.  Jobbing your new giant to Dolph before the main card is just dumb.

Mike: I loved that huge pop for Enzo and Big Cass.  Shame the match had to end so early because of injury, but it looks like Enzo will be all right.  Hopefully, he will be back in action soon enough.  Also hopefully, WWE doesn’t see him as injury-prone.  This just seemed like a freak accident.

Chris: This was a scary moment.  I wasn't even sure if it was legit, because WWE kept showing the replay.  I'm glad they booked Big Cass strong coming out of this.  I hope they get a strong tag team run first, but down the line, Enzo may be better as Cass’s manager and an occasional wrestler.  Here's hoping the Certified G is back in the ring really soon.

Mike: I would have loved to have been backstage to see Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn before this match.  They have had such a long journey, and now they get a singles match against each other at a PPV.  They are the perfect rivals.  I would love for them to be this generation’s Rock Vs Austin.  I will just say that Sami really needs to get a win over Owens soon though or this will be very one sided.  But the match was still terrific.

Chris: What a match, especially when you consider they had to follow Enzo’s injury.  You're right, Sami needs a big victory in the worst way.  I'm thinking we might see Zayn lose all his big matches for a while.  Then, when you least expect it, Oh Ley, the ultimate underdog prevails!

Mike: The ending for Miz and Cesaro was pure chaos, but in a good way.  I kind of wanted Owens and Zayn to continue fighting the rest of the show getting in everyone’s way.  It seems like they are setting up to ensure the Intercontinental Title is going to be a hot storyline for the summer.

Chris: All four guys are capable of great things, so I hope this feud keeps everyone involved.  On top of that, I'd love to see a little hot potato with the strap.  Make this feud unpredictable with crazy developments and some house show title changes.  Make the IC Title great again, WWE!  These guys can do it with an epic storyline.

Mike: Wait...did they just say that Jericho and Ambrose were feuding because Ambrose’s fake talk show replaced Jericho’s fake talk show?  Uhm...okay…

Chris: This feud was dreck from beginning to end.  It just didn’t live up to the level these men are capable.  The build was okay but the match was nothing special.  What a disappointment.

Mike: I enjoyed the women’s title match, but the finish sucked for me. I am so tired of hearing about the Montreal Screwjob every time we see Bret.  It’s like Vince just can’t let it go.  Charlotte does a great job engaging the crowd.  Probably the most reaction I’ve ever heard from a WWE crowd during a women’s match.

Chris: The match was a lot of fun and definitely did have the crowd hot.  I’m so excited that WWE is allowing the women to compete in meaningful match that aren’t just cheesecake.  The finish did ruin what would have been a very memorable match.  I don’t get why reliving the Montreal Screwjob can’t just stop.  I didn’t mind Charles “Little Naitch” Robinson perpetrating a miscarriage of justice, but did it have to mimic the “Bret screwed Bret” moment?  Seriously, WWE needs to tread some new ground.  It’s been done to death.   

Mike: The main event didn’t do much for me.  AJ Styles is all right,  but so far, he hasn’t shown me much in WWE.  There are a lot of guys on the roster I would rather see in this spot.  And the Shane and Stephanie restarts of the match just made the whole thing drag on some for me.  It’s also odd that AJ hit so many big moves, but Reigns hits one spear and it’s all over.  Just some lame booking there as far as I am concerned.

Chris: I’ll agree and disagree with you.  The finish wasn’t great.  Why Roman got the clean win, I’ll never know.  Just makes no sense whatsoever.  Is Reigns going to pin AJ clean again at Extreme Rules?  I tend to think so.  I just don’t see them taking the strap off of Roman that quickly.  Where does that leave AJ?  Eesh.

On the other hand, that was the best match that Roman Reigns has ever had. What a fun match when the start, stop, restart,, stop, restart nonsense wasn’t going on. Styles is the real deal and deserves an epic push.  I never thought he could get over so well, but he’s done it.  WWE won’t ever listen to the fans.  After all, they released Damien Sandow this week.  These days, WWE is the company of missed opportunities.

Mike: And on a quick note, I think it’s always a bad idea to announce the main event for the next PPV BEFORE the current PPV has ended.  No hype or build up at all...and I am not sure how Styles earned another title match, because he lost this one cleanly.

WWE releases several wrestlers

Mike: On Friday, WWE announced that several performers were no longer with the company.

  • Damien Sandow
  • Hornswoggle
  • Cameron
  • Santino
  • Zeb Colter
  • El Torito
  • Wade Barrett

Mike: While I never want to see anyone lose their job, I can’t help but think that this could be a huge opportunity for guys like Barrett and Sandow.  Both seem to have done pretty well for themselves with what they were given in the WWE.  I really can’t help but look at this as a huge opportunity.  Just look what Drew Galloway (FKA Drew McIntyre) has accomplished in TNA since he was released from WWE.  I know that it’s easy to make fun of TNA, but at least they are willing to give some guys a real shot as opposed to WWE would just let guys rot on the midcard AT BEST.

Chris: I tend to think this will be a good thing for most of the people involved.  EC3 is another wrestler who did very well AFTER the WWE failed to allow him to reach his potential.  Heaven forbid guys like Sandow or Barrett get a reaction.  So sad, but good for them to pursue new ventures.  I definitely think Sandow will catch on somewhere major.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in ROH or NJPW.  He’s loaded with charisma and can work a good match.

As for everyone else, I don’t know what the money difference will be, but I think each of the eight will be plenty in demand on the indy scene or in other ventures.

Mike: BTW, Sandow, Zeb, and Hornswaggle have all been announced for WrestlePro's huge show in Keyport on June 11.

Ryback talks about contract issues

From Ryback's Twitter Feed:

Today I sit and fly home and for the first time in years feel absolutely free. I will start by saying I did request to be taken off of WWE television until myself and Vince could get a yes or no on a new deal. This has been going on since my IC Title run and had been nothing but a major strain on my life as all I ever wanted to do was work for WWE. I was told to head home until we agree or not agree to specific terms and contrary to reports it isn’t over money or a bus that stuff was settled a while ago. It comes down to a major problem I have with not only WWE but wrestling in general.

Wrestling is pre determined, we as performers know before we go out to that ring or perform a backstage scene who is winning and losing etc or have a general idea of what we are going to say. It blows my mind how in a sport which is pre determined from a company standpoint winners are paid so much more than the losers. Every single person who works for WWE from top to bottom is absolutely just as valuable as the next. The winners cannot win unless the losers go out there and agree to lose to them.

It blows my mind that in this day and age though we still adhere to this formula. Obviously things have always been this way, but does that make them right? Times have changed and our goal as humans should be to evolve and learn from our past and the past of others so we could make this world a better place. Why is it a guy who is told he is going to go out and lose and does everything he is told be paid not only less, but much less than said winner over a period of time. Every single performer for WWE sacrifices the same amount of time from home and their families and every single man or women goes out and does what they are told. Looking at this formula though losers turn into what fans like to call jobbers and their value decreases in the companies eyes and before you know it they get released. For what? For doing exactly as they are told!

Why not pay the talent equally? The winners have more MERCH as it is or are supposed to anyways so they get that extra perk, but why make the guy who is told to and agrees to lose earn less and sacrifice spots in big pay per view match ups etc. This is one of the major problems with wrestling and WWE today. Most guys take great satisfaction in helping making other talent, the bitching and the moaning we always hear about stems from the fact they know they are ultimately over time going to make less and live in fear of being released.

I am proud to say I have never gone to change a finish and have gladly took pride in helping put over other talent. Hell look at my pay per view record of 12-26 and you will see that has been the pattern of my career. I have always been confident in my ability and work ethic to being my best every day and ultimately always felt that by doing good it was the right thing to do.

Personally seeing my money go down over the years though even though I was working as much as ever and being denied magazine covers and other projects as well as watching my role diminish no matter what I did or how hard I tried takes its toll on a human. Being told no matter how hard I work or how good I get doesn’t always pay off is something I fucking refuse to ever believe in my life. I am a creative being and to be restricted time and time again is no way to live life. There is nothing I cannot do and I know no matter what comes of this situation I am going to be just fine. It isn’t solely about money, it is about commitment. Commitment to a guy who fucking cares and who loves this more than anything in the world and wants to know that his passion his efforts and his determination to constantly improve is going to be recognized and taken care of.

WWE may very well release me, which if it is the case so be it. If we can work things out a lot needs to change as I am not living in fear and creatively cannot continue to live a life that limits me creatively. I have many other interests and passions and have been very smart with my finances over the years. I thank every WWE superstar from top to bottom for their sacrifices and for working with me. The world is an amazing place and there is more than just a WWE universe there is The Universe and I will prove one way or another over time I am the greatest big guy in the universe!


Mike: This is a great inside look at what goes on behind the scenes in the WWE.  I think you can basically read the writing on the wall here, and it’s very likely Ryback won’t be working with the WWE in the near future.   I actually was surprised he wasn't on the termination list to be honest.

While I can’t help but wonder if he’s making some vast oversimplifications here, I do see a lot of what he’s saying.  Ryback has done a great job putting talent over, and that is a huge part of helping talent develop.  Wrestling is unlike pretty much any other form of entertainment.  I really hope this does bring some much needed attention to some of the quirks and inequalities of the industry.   It’s funny because you hear a lot of fans gripe about the politicking of guys like Hogan and Shawn Michaels over the years, but when you read something like this, you really get it.  If you don’t fight and claw to protect “what’s yours” no one else will.