Any WWE fans in the audience?

I guess Dark Order will do an appropriate tribute to him in the next BTE video. It should be weird and tasteless.

Very sad about Huber, he was far too young. RIP Jon.

This is the first I heard about Danny Hodge. I watched him wrestle a few times on CWF with Gordon Solie back in the 70s. His boxing background was played up. He would come out wearing a boxer’s robe, towel around his neck, and his hands were usually taped, He wasn’t a big guy, working as a face there, but quickly did a huge turn to a sadistic heel wearing black leather gloves. His name would pop up from time to time in wrestling but it’s probably been 10 years since it’s come up. RIP Danny.

AEW is doing a tribute show to Brodie Lee, and it is kicking ass. Individual wrestlers are relating their personal stories of Lee in pretaped vignettes. Each match includes at least one of the Dark Order members. Lance Archer dressed up in Luke Harper-style wife beater and blue jeans with a kerchief hanging out his back pocket. Everybody’s been using one of Lee’s moves, and Erik Rowan showed up during a match! I marked out big time for that.

Lee’s young son Brodie was at ringside wearing a Dark Order mask. He got to participate in an angle. MJF pulled the mask off his face, and Kid Brodie whacked him with a kendo stick. The kid seemed to be having the time of his life. His dad’s show business family put on a truly heartwarming tribute to him.

Pretty much have to agree with everything you have said.

Jim Cornette answered my question on his podcast!

As I passed on watching that episode, what was the question and what was the answer?

Do you not see the link? Anyway, interesting you ask, because I had a couple of points to clarify anyway.

I asked what went on behind the scenes when Cornette introduced a new tag team to challenge Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith, and these two twin 400+ pounders came stumbling to the ring. Hart and Smith fought them off with little effort, and then the Headbangers ran in to take their place and get the beatdown meant for them. They appeared in the Royal Rumble that year and were never seen again. It just seemed so random and pointless.

Cohost Brian Last assumed I was a new listener, since he said that question was asked before. I’d actually been listening to the podcast for years via the excerpts on YouTube, so there’s bound to be some content I missed. He also read my question as “You were involved in an interesting angle…” when I actually wrote “You were involved in a clusterfuck of an angle…” Cornette curses frequently on his show, so I don’t see why Last felt he had to clean that part up.

Turns out I was wrong in assuming they were the twin sons of Abdullah the Butcher, but it was a similar situation in that they were being promoted by a booker for a Puerto Rican fed for their ability to do Moonsaults off the top rope, and he was close friends with Gorilla Monsoon. That’s why they got their spot, but apparently it failed to generate interest.

I saw the link, but it has been up for a few days but I hadn’t listened and wasn’t planning to listen.

The first time I saw that team was on a videotape called Stranglemania hosted by the Insane Clown Posse. The ICP dubbed over matches from Japan, renaming the wrestlers along the way (Cactus Jack was called Cactus Sack for copywrite reasons, I assume). All of the matches were pretty brutal and hardcore featuring barbed wire, broken glass, fire, and whatever else. Those two, christened the “Mushroom Brothers” if I remember correctly, had a match against each other and it was bloody for sure. So when I saw them going into the WWF I thought it would be great to see. They seemed like decent workers in the match I saw, they had an interesting look, and they had experience. Then they jobbed and disappeared.

Also, you can find Stranglemania with a quick search - looks like the whole thing is on a well known video hosting site.

It’s Wrestle Kingdom time again! Like last year, it’s going to be a two-night event again, airing live on NJPWWorld - night one is 2 AM Eastern/11 PM Pacific on Sunday night, Night Two at 3 AM Eastern/midnight Pacific on Monday night, with live English commentary.

Here’s the card:

Night One

  • IWGP Heavyweight/Intercontinental Championships: Tetsuya Naito © vs. Kota Ibushi
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Great-O-Khan
  • KENTA vs. Satoshi Kojima, winner gets the right to challenge Jon Moxley for the IWGP US Championship at a future date
  • IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. © vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo
  • New Japan Rumble, final four get to enter the King of Pro Wrestling championship match on Night Two

Night Two

  • IWGP Heavyweight/Intercontinental Championships: the winner of Naito/Ibushi © vs. Jay White
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori © vs. the winner of Takahashi/Phantasmo
  • EVIL vs. Sanada
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi © vs. Jeff Cobb
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru © vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato
  • KOPW Championship: The four winners of the New Japan Rumble (Stipulation TBA)

Since Japan has done a much better job of managing covid than we have, there’s going to be a live audience of 50% capacity (about 20,000) for both nights. There are some newcomers on the undercard this year that I’m not yet familiar with, but it sounds like a good show, and I have a feeling this is gonna be Kota’s year.

Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom is getting underway, so I’d better tap out my thoughts on Night 1 before it goes live;

  • Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, Bushi, and Toru Yano won the New Japan Rumble to advance to the KOPW match. (KOPW is a new title which is defended exclusively in stipulation matches picked by the competitors and voted on by the audience.) Owens started at #1 and Yano managed to become one of the winners without ever entering the ring. Tiger Mask made a brief appearance, and Toa Henare came off looking like an absolute beast.

  • As a covid safety precaution, the audience (who were all masked and sitting six feet apart) were not allowed to cheer, shout, or chant, so the only crowd noise was in the form of applause. It was kind of surreal but also made it feel special, especially in the quiet moments when you could hear the wrestlers’ shouts echoing through the silence. You’d never be able to get that kind of self-discipline out of American fans, and that’s why we don’t get to have live wrestling this year.

  • The special guest host for the show was Noritake Kinashi, a comedian/musician I’ve heard described as the Japanese Weird Al Yankovic. He appeared as “Don Kinashi” in a Don King costume with a fine suit, gray puffed-up hairdo, and lots of bling, and sang this year’s theme song, which is an absolute banger even though I have absolutely no idea what he’s saying in it. Retired Japanese legend Riki Choshu and his infant grandson joined him in the ring to wish everyone a happy new year.

  • Hiromu Takahashi beat El Phantasmo for a shot at the Jr. Heavyweight title on Night 2. Good match and Phantasmo is great as a cocky, better-than-you kind of heel. There was a ref bump in this match, and I really don’t like seeing NJPW do those, as part of their appeal to me has always been that they present wrestling as serious business and the kind of casual rulebreaking you see in American promotions just doesn’t happen.

  • G.O.D. beat Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. to become seven-time tag team champions. Tama Tonga has a new clean-shaven look that makes him look like a young Rock, and he even does a decent enough People’s Eyebrow. This one ended on another ref bump/distraction finish, but was otherwise a good match. ZSJ has always been a little guy, but he’s put on some muscle this year and worked a much more aggressive style than usual. The highlight of the match was a unique tower-of-doom move where Taichi powerbombed ZSJ off the top rope while he superplexed Tonga, which ZSJ, in his typical foul-mouthed fashion, called for by shouting “Fuck it, it’s the fuckin’ Tokyo Dome!” Tonga ultimately got the win off a Diamond Cutter.

  • KENTA beat Satoshi Kojima, who’s celebrating the 30th anniversary of his in-ring debut, to retain the interim US championship. Jon Moxley (who’s been unable to defend since last year as he can’t travel to Japan without quarantining for two weeks and it would disrupt his AEW schedule) appeared in a pre-taped promo from the LA Dojo before the match, saying he doesn’t care who wins because he can beat either of them. Whenever KENTA vs. Moxley finally happens, it oughta be a great match, and I really hope it shows Vince how much he wasted their talents.

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Great-O-Khan, the leader of the new heel stable “The Empire” which consists of himself, Jeff Cobb, Will Ospreay, and Bea Priestly. Khan is an absolute monster heel who has “future heavyweight champion” written all over him, and has an intimidating ring entrance where he staggers down the ramp in Manchurian royal dress with a question mark on a piece of paper dangling in front of his face. I definitely want to see more of him in the future.

  • Kazuchika Okada beat Will Ospreay in a rematch of a bout from last year in which Ospreay betrayed CHAOS and formed the Empire with Khan. This was the best all-around wrestling match of the night IMO, with the story revolving around heel Ospreay trying to prove he’s better than Okada and Okada, with a new more tweener-ish persona, trying to embarrass him for stepping out of line. At one point, Ospreay hit Okada with his own Rainmaker finisher, and even hit a Styles clash and a tombstone on him. There was an extended sequence where Ospreay just barely broke out of “the Money Clip”, Okada’s new sleeper hold submission, before Okada finally got the win off a Rainmaker.

  • Kota Ibushi beat Tetsuya Naito to become the new Heavyweight/Intercontinental Double Champion. This match wasn’t quite as intense as Okada/Ospreay, but it also had a lot of good storytelling behind it with Kota having won the G1 last year, failing to beat Okada at last Wrestle Kingdom, and then winning the G1 again this last fall. Naito congratulated Kota and handed him the belts after the match. Jay White, who faces Kota on Night 2, came out to taunt him about how he’ll only be champ for one night, to which Kota responded in a promo where he declared that he’s now halfway to his ambition of “becoming God” and tomorrow he’ll cement his place when he beats White.

Good show, and well worth catching the replay if you care to pick up NJPWWorld (only 999 Yen per month!) I’ll post a recap of Night 2 sometime tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Goldberg is back in ZZZZZZZZ

I hope Drew kicks Goldberg’s ass, but let’s face it, they’re going to turn McIntyre heel; Goldberg will beat him at the Royal Rumble, lose at WrestleMania, and fuck off until January '22.

Lucha Underground might be dead, but Mil Muertes lives on - the character will be debuting in MLW this week.

I haven’t watched any MLW thus far, but this may just get me to check out this week’s show.

Holy shit, Darby Allin vs Brian Cage blew my socks off!

Cage is built like the Hulk and can do Lucha moves. On the first tie-up, he picked up Allin and threw him out of the ring onto a ringside table. Dobby (as Taz calls him) got sliced on the table shards and his face became a crimson mask. Allin went on to take more sick bumps, but he refused to be cowed by Cage’s massive advantages and kicked out on 1 frequently. He eventually won the match by outsmarting and outspeeding Cage. Darby may 170 lbs soaking wet, but he’s quicker than a minnow swimming out of a dipper.

The old school fans (well, middle school, the ones who grew up on WCW during the 90s) generally hate him, saying he has 1/3 the talent of Sting. My response was “Maybe, but to this generation of kids, he’s their Sting.”

Can’t say I’ll watch MLW, but the fact that LU isn’t keeping him from using the name and likeness is hopefully a good sign going forward.

And by that I mean I want to see Son of Havoc in AEW.

I watched MLW and give it an -eh-. Mil Muertes fits in better with the dark temple setting of LU. MLW’s environment looked like somebody’s basement. The wrestlers looked like they were afraid the ring would collapse if they stepped too hard.

I did like seeing the new generation of Von Erichs in action, but it wasn’t much action. They jobbed their belts to father and son team La Park. The Elder Park had a massive gut that would have hung down to his knees if not for his belt. They had a crooked referee and a double take place of the Elder Park during the match. It’s like they really wanted to be cutting edge but kept recycling old tired cliché angles in slow motion.

Maybe the Von Erichs are moving to better pastures.