Sunday, May 18, 2014

AIW's JT Lightning Invitational Tournament and why you need to be there

This coming weekend, May 23rd and 24th, marks the third annual JT Lightning Invitational Wrestling Extravaganza which is not quite its official name but in all honesty it probably should be. It's two (two!) days of wrestling amazingness smack in the middle of Cleveland with afterparties and a Fan Fest on day two and everybody's staying in the same hotel -- that means you AND the wrestlers, should you decide to book said hotel -- and I haven't even told you about the matches yet.

The JLIT, as it's affectionately known, is (mainly) a bracketed series of matches where the winner gets a title shot (at the show) with a couple of other matches thrown in for shits and grins. Because what's AIW without shits and grins, am I right?

Here's just a couple of the opening bracket matches announced for Day One (which starts at 7:30, like any other regular AIW show):
  • Danny Havoc vs. Ultramantis Black (holy fucking shit on a stick)
  • Sonjay Dutt vs. Davey Vega (are you fucking serious?)
  • Heidi Lovelace vs. Rickey Shane Page (intergender matches whaaaaaat)
  • Jimmy Jacobs vs. Eric Ryan (you have to be fucking with me now)
  • Veda Scott vs. #AllEgo Ethan Page (MORE intergender matches!)
Not to mention an Absolute Title match with title holder Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Kingston. Also appearing in the bracket are: Tim Donst, Buff Bagwell, Matt Cross, Marion Fontaine, Louis Lyndon, Flip Kendrick, John Prohibition, and BJ Motherfucking Whitmer who you might recall just broke his fucking neck wrestling not all that long ago

Day Two (which starts at 6pm and is preceded by a Fan Fest at 3pm) will have the final matches of the bracket and

are you ready for this

no you aren't don't even lie

It's Chris Sabin vs. Johnny Gargano

Yeah. That Chris Sabin. One half of the Motor City Machine Guns, former TNA X-Division, heavyweight and tag team champion.

Versus Johnny Gargano.

Can you even? No, no you can't.

Now, if you've been following Johnny on Twitter, you've probably heard he's had to cancel a couple of appearances due to a minor jaw fracture. He hasn't said anything about being unable to make it to JLIT so let's all just cross our fingers and hope he's healed up by this Saturday.

And even if he doesn't make it, we still get to see CHRIS MOTHERFUCKING SABIN live in action, so there is that.

Also happening at the show:

  • Greg Iron open challenge!
  • He might fight a fan!
  • He will probably also continue to be creepy at Veda Scott!
  • Fan Fest! What's at Fan Fest? I don't know! Come find out!
  • Afterparties at the Tavern on Biddulph both nights!
  • Hotel parties with wrestlers? Maybe! 
  • Surprises!
  • Probable chaos!
  • The last two JLITs have had engagements, perhaps there will be a third! That's adorable!
  • Other additional shenanigans!
So yeah, you should probably be at this show or you will hate yourself forever and be resigned to buying the DVD which won't be the same.


Tickets are $20 per night individually or you can purchase both nights for $40 with a free Fan Fest ticket kicked in. (Otherwise the Fan Fest is an additional $5.) Doors open about an hour before the show starts and seats are general admission/first-come first-serve. 

The official JLIT hotel is America's Best Value Inn - Cleveland Airport on Brookpark Rd. Call them at 216-267-2350 to reserve a room and make sure to mention Absolute Intense Wrestling to get their special rate, which is $64 and some change with tax.

Coming from out of town and have no idea what to do when you aren't at the wrestling?
Do you like food? There's Melt Bar and Grilled or the West Side Market, which is pretty bad ass!
Do you like to enrich your brain? Try our Museum of Natural History or our Art Museum, which is free!
Are you a hipster and/or a hippie? Visit Coventry! They have a bunch of cool shops and also a delicious restaurant called Tommy's! It's vegan/vegetarian/gluten-sensitive friendly! But they also have cheeseburgers! 
Want to go shopping but you don't want to deal with hippies and/or hipsters? Try Tower City! It's a very nice mall with a cool fountain in the middle and also a movie theatre, so you can see Godzilla or the new X-Men movie! Plus it's underneath the Terminal Tower, which is our badass flagship skyscraper. (Shut up, we only have a couple, don't judge us.)

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! Leave me a comment or tweet me @FindAStone.

Friday, August 16, 2013

In Which I Offer TNA A Critique and Some Helpful Advice

I've started watching TNA again. My reasons for which are mostly uncomplicated; I love Chris Sabin and I'm going to a show in two weeks. (So I'm going to be on TV. Look for the hat.)

My reasons for wanting to go to a TNA show are slightly more complicated, but we're just going to go with I love Chris Sabin for that one too.

I haven't watched TNA since probably 2009, 2010 at the latest. Actually the last one I watched was when Chris Sabin came back from a knee injury only to injure his OTHER goddamned knee.

I've heard rumors about TNA hemorrhaging money basically since I started watching in like 2009. They'd be bankrupt in a few years, they're losing $600,000 every house show (how that is even possible, I do not know), their checks to the talent keep bouncing, talents are taking paycuts, Dixie's dad is running the show.

TNA was like... my first real wrestling. I went to a ton of shows. I am extraordinarily fond of the roster. I think they have some great fucking talent there. Samoa Joe, Magnus, AJ Styles, Daniels, Kazarian, Chris Sabin, Eric Young, even Jeff Hardy, presuming he's got his shit together.

But watching TNA just makes me angry. It should be SO MUCH BETTER than it is. Why does it suck SO BAD?

I feel like a lot of the reasons were clearly illustrated on tonight's episode, which is supposed to be a "free pay per view" which isn't a half-bad idea, in theory.

The opening match was a four-man ladder match. Jeff Hardy, Kazarian, AJ Styles and Austin Aries. Generally solid match-up, plus a few weeks earlier AJ and Aries had what I considered to be an amazing match.

This one was just... boring. A lot of the spots were so weak you had to roll your eyes. They were flying all over the ring and out of it at the lightest touches. Hits and kicks were CLEARLY whiffed. I know; wrestling is "fake." I know. But I still think you need to put on a realistic, believable show. That's part of the THING, guys. I'm not saying that's their fault. I'm not really sure why that was choreographed the way it was. I just felt like that match was not very strong.

Then we had Dixie Carter make an appearance. I don't think we need Dixie to come around until she gets good at being on the mic. She sounded terrible. "So uhhh... Kurt Angle's in rehab... um... he'll be there for a while... he's still there now... um..." You know what? Get JB to be your voice. JB is fucking great. He can speak. he can speak WELL, and he can speak seriously and from the heart. Dixie doesn't need to be Vince McMahon. Vince McMahon is GOOD at what he does. Dixie Carter is not. And that's okay. You don't NEED to be the face of the company. You really don't.

Then two MMA fighters, Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz, talked to each other for a while.

I don't like MMA. I feel like by all logical means I probably should. It's still dudes beating each other up right? But I just don't like it. I find it boring. I like wrestling for the acrobatics. I love seeing dudes flying out of the ring.  MMA just looks like a lot of dudes rolling around hugging. If I wanted to watch shirtless dudes hugging, well... I'd watch something else.

Some wrestling fans DO like MMA, and that's totally okay. But I feel like that's why they're two separate things. If you want to watch MMA, watch MMA. If you want to watch wrestling, watch wrestling. Don't put MMA in my wrestling. If MMA dudes want to wrestle, great! Let them wrestle! Don't put them on the mic for fifteen minutes to TALK about either/both of these things!

Although admittedly I did find myself liking Rampage Jackson after that vignette. So that was OKAY... I guess.

I don't know why this MMA crossover thing is happening. Basically it sounds like those two dudes are shilling for this fight that I DON'T CARE ABOUT and I HAVE NO INTENT OR DESIRE TO SEE. Using MMA is not going to draw in WRESTLING FANS.

There were a ton of backstage vignettes. I don't have a problem with backstage vignettes; in moderation. I love backstage stuff. What goes on back there? What's it look like? What are they doing back there? I even like the way they're filmed. I love the handheld caught footage aspect of that. WWE doesn't have that. WWE's backstage scenes are always like "Oh there just NATURALLY happens to be a camera back here JUST IN TIME to film this TOTALLY UNSCRIPTED SCENE."

But when we have to talk backstage for fifteen minutes about a ten minute match... you know?

Moderation in all things.

The Knockouts match was okay. I like that they have A. Have a women's division and B. The women actually kick some ass. That's more than what I get from the WWE.  There COULD be more women, and they could be LESS like supermodel-lookin-diva-ladies (Hamada? Awesome Kong? Anybody?) but they're women and they're fighting and that's all I'm going to ask for. Maybe fight a dude every now and then. Intergender matches are the shit.

Then there was like a tag match with tables, and that was OKAY... and the cage match with Sabin and Bully Ray, which was probably the best but then again I'm kind of biased... it was just altogether not a very strong show.

If I had one piece of advice, one aspect to change on TNA wrestling, this is what I would offer.

1. Wrestling. Back to basics. You have a fucking amazing roster. USE IT. You are a wrestling show. You market yourself as TNA/IMPACT WRESTLING. You call the people working on your show WRESTLERS. You put on WRESTLING MATCHES. Do you see what I'm getting at here? You are a WRESTLING show. You want to attract WRESTLING fans. Fans of wrestling have STOPPED WATCHING YOU because your wrestling, the CORE OF YOUR SHOW, is so goddamn terrible!

This is your foundation. This is the thing that your show, your company, was BUILT on. Right now you have too many branches on too small a base. MMA! Phone apps! Action figures! Record albums!

We don't need any of this crap!

We want wrestling!

That's it! GOOD wrestling. Good, CONSISTENT wrestling. I want a solid match. I want a clean ending. I don't want interference from outside sources, I don't want illegal weapons, I don't want cheaty pins with feet on ropes, I don't want cheaty pins with tights being grabbed. I want a clean pin or a clean submission. I want two dudes (or two teams, or whatever) in the ring, who know what they're doing. I don't want gimmicks or surprises or interference or weapons or whatever. Two dudes, in the ring, one loser one winner.

I don't think I ask for that much.

I haven't been watching for long enough to get a long-term picture of what this show is doing, but the Heavyweight title has changed hands twice since I started watching. I don't like the sound of that at all. By slapping around your MAIN TITLE you devalue it. If it's changed hands two different times in the past MONTH, you're saying anyone can get it.

That's just a pet peeve of mine; WWE does that too occasionally.

But seriously. TNA, Dixie, Hulk Hogan, Bischoff, whoever is running the damn joint, please. PLEASE. I don't purport to know what you're doing or how you're doing it. I wouldn't know how to run a wrestling company if my life depended on it. But I really, truly, seriously think you cannot go wrong with buckling down and going back to your core basis, which is badass motherfuckin' wrestling.

I know you can do it. I have seen matches that PROVE you can do it. You don't need MMA and a hundred different factions and points and free-per-views and mobile apps and action figures and whatever else the fuck. Quit this fucking nonsense and go script some legit wrestling. Your show is two hours long. Try making at least an hour of that pure wrestling. You don't need to talk about it, just put this dude and that dude out there and let them duke it out. Do they need a reason? Fuck no they don't need a reason. AJ Styles and Austin Aries from a couple weeks back was fucking AMAZING. Why were they fighting? Who gives a fuck? It was great! And then you said "Now we have to finish up this amazing stiff as fuck match so we can have talking."

No. We don't need to have talking. I don't give a fuck about talking. I want to watch dudes beat the shit out of each other. You don't need to complicate things. You really don't. If you put on consistent, good, quality, not gimmicky wrestling... seriously, it will only help you. You cannot go wrong with building up your foundation, you just can't.

Seriously, TNA. You have SO MUCH POTENTIAL with your roster, and I have seen you do amazing, badass, brilliant motherfucking things. Stop trying to be every fucking thing at once. Just be wrestling.

You did this once.

You can do it again.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In Defense of AIW

So this podcast happened, right?

As a rule, I don't really like podcasts. I don't know why, I just find them boring. I don't even like Colt Cabana's podcasts that much, even though I've found them hilarious when I've heard them, and I generally just adore Colt Cabana. (Who DOESN'T adore Colt Cabana though, am I right?)

But there was this podcast. I heard about it when I woke up to go to work at 5am yesterday and my twitter feed was just blown up with tweets about AIW. I was like "What the hell is this?" and then I went to work.

Over the past day or so I've learned a little more about what the hell happened and listened to some of this podcast, in the interest of fairness.

I didn't like it.

Danielle Matheson, the podcast... I don't know, owner? Host? goes into a rant about AIW and the fans in general. She basically called the fans shitty and bad and homophobic and racist and sexist and... stuff. Really strong stuff.

That's basically what I'm going to focus on here. There are some other things (Whether or not AIW is bad, whether or not someone used the N word in a chant during an ACH/AR Fox match -- I wasn't there, I don't know -- whether or not her personal information was given out and she received threats. If that's true, that's not cool, guys, come on.)

Let me tell you about myself.

I've been going to AIW since 2011.

I've gone alone to almost all of the shows. I've gone alone, to the west side of Cleveland, to an arena with a very large majority of men.

I have never felt unsafe there. I have never felt afraid or threatened, felt like my own personal safety was at any point a serious issue. I have had wrestlers come barreling through the crowd, over the barrier, throwing things in my near vicinity (like a table... and a garbage can) and I have had to move out of the way very quickly. I have never felt threatened or afraid.

In fact, when I took a personal hiatus, and I came back to AIW after being away for NEARLY AN ENTIRE YEAR, I STILL had people coming up to me and telling me they missed me, and giving me big squishy awesome hugs, and telling me they were glad to see me coming back to shows.

AIW... feels like home. Feels like family. I go to shows and I see the same faces every time. People say hi. People wave. People talk to you. When I first started going, I knew no one. And I made friends. It's not easy for me to make friends. Maybe it's something about wrestling. Maybe it's being misunderstood and then being in a group FULL of people like you, who all came together out of that misunderstanding. These people, for better or for worse, are my people.

In any case, I love my AIW friends. I love that so many people said "Hey, welcome back! We missed your face!"

Now, about the crowd at large.

Are we obnoxious? Yes. Are we vulgar? Fuck yes we are. To me, that's one of the best parts of AIW. We chant what we want, when we fucking want to, because we fucking can, and fuck you if you don't like it. One of my favorite chants of all time is "YOU'RE GONNA GET YOUR FUCKIN' HEAD KICKED IN" usually chanted at Johnny Gargano.

Now, are there some wrestling fans that are sexist, or racists, or homophobic, or generally just shitty people? Yes. Because when you put a large group of people together, you're going to get a mixture of things. You get people from everywhere, all walks of life. Have I heard people say shitty racist, sexist things while at an AIW show? Yes. Yes I have. But I've heard people say shitty racist things at the bar. Hell, I've heard my own mother say shitty racist things. Because one person in one place says a shitty thing, it doesn't make the whole group shitty. That's actually being prejudiced.

Like I said, I don't know if someone was shouting racist things at ACH and/or AR Fox. I wasn't there. I don't have that DVD. I don't know. If it's true, yes that person did set a bad example. That one person does not represent AIW, the company or the crowd.

People probably shouldn't chant racist or sexist things. I agree with you there.

But you can't tell people what to chant or not to chant. That's just not on. John Thorne and Chandler Biggins don't have to control us to make us more tolerable for the rest of the world. We are perfectly happy doing what we do. You don't like us? Go away. Controlling us for your own pleasure is not their job. They provide great wrestling. That's what they do. If anything I've heard is any indication, it's not very easy, either. Policing us like this is 1984 is shit that they don't need. And to what end? Because someone, somewhere, might be offended by something? Here's the thing. If you're out looking to find something to be offended by, chances are high that you're going to find it.

AIW works. Their last show, Absolution 8, sold out. People come from out of state to see AIW shows. Some of their highest draws are the Girls Night Out shows, shows featuring ONLY women wrestlers. Is that sexist? That's awesome, is what it is.

I don't like it when people say shitty racist or sexist things either. I really wish all that shit would go away. But people are just going to say shitty things, because people are always and only people. They are imperfect. There are always going to be assholes.

But I really, truly resent the implication that ALL AIW fans are shitty people. I don't think I'm a shitty person. I'm not racist, or homophobic, and I'm certainly not sexist. Because one person said one thing at one show ONE TIME, a show that I was not even AT, suddenly I'm a terrible excuse for a human being? I really don't appreciate that. I don't know who you think you are that you can make that kind of broad-sweeping generalization.

If you don't like AIW, fine. Then don't like it for the booking, for the venue, because it's in Cleveland, because the quality is bad, because the tickets or the DVDs are too expensive, whatever. Something. Don't hate it because of something that is literally out of its control, that makes it what it is.

(AIW fans, this is directed at you. I've heard that some of you threatened the podcast host lady. If you did, and I sincerely hope that you didn't, that's not cool. If someone accuses you of being shitty and bad, the way to respond to that is not to be shitty and bad. Threatening people is generally never the answer. Please don't threaten her. You can disagree with a person civilly.)

I love AIW. I will continue to love AIW and go to shows, and hang out with my buddies, and shout loud, vulgar things at wrestlers, because it is awesome. Because it is fun. It makes me happy. If you don't like AIW... don't come to a show. Don't buy the DVDs. It's that easy. You don't have to like us. We don't care.

Listen... we're all wrestling fans here, right? We all love wrestling? Instead of trying to divide into groups or cliques or whatever... let's all just... love wrestling, okay? We're all on the same side here.

Finally, in closing:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Spotlight: Michael Elgin

I recently returned to the land of independent wrestling after a rather long hiatus, because of reasons that don't matter because HI

Naturally my drug of choice is AIW, Absolute Intense Wrestling, otherwise known as The Only Wrestling In Cleveland That Matters. The show? Absolution 8.

Absolution is like AIW's answer to Wrestlemania, except with actual wrestling and less explosions and more mind-blowing twists. (Like last year, when #Nixon was revealed to be ERIC RYAN (And RSP, and Bobby Beverly, although you really kind of just expect Bobby Beverly to be involved with that sort of thing, and Duke) and then he threw a table at me. Well, not at me personally, he threw a table and I just happened to be in front of it. Admittedly it sure does beat having a GARBAGE CAN thrown at you, but I digress.

Needless to say, if you go to one AIW show, go to Absolution. (If you go to two, you should probably go to JLIT and save on your travel expenses.)

Anyway, the point I was trying to make here, is I went to AIW for the first time in the while and I'm a little bit out of the loop, because one of the most amazing, ridiculous, easily show-stealing matches of the night was between Michael Elgin and Josh Alexander, AKA two guys I had literally never heard of before that night.

I don't know what rock I was hiding under.

I really want to make a The Rock joke in there somewhere, but I'll refrain. I'm a professional, damn it. This post is supposed to be about Michael Elgin being badass.

Anyway, here I am at Abso8 and here is this match between dudes that I do not know. (Although I had been sitting in front of Michael Elgin as he was shilling shirts, and he definitely at one point said "Hey, those nachos would taste better if you were wearing an Elgin shirt" and I do not doubt the veracity of this claim.)

It looks like one of those matches that's going to be brawling and grappling, which is okay but not my favorite. After a while it's like "Okay if I wanted to watch MMA... I'd watch MMA!"

But here's this match. It's okay. Lots of grappling as I expected, but I'm not bored. Neither guy is really coming out as a heel or face so I'm not real sure who to root for. Then here is Michael Elgin, holding Josh Alexander upside down, straight up in the air. Which I've seen, we've all seen it. I'm not sure why being upside down makes it more effective but it looks pretty cool. It's impressive, I suppose, in the physical sense.

Michael Elgin held that move for something close to two minutes.

Any other time I've seen it, the guy holds it for ten seconds, maybe twenty if he's trying to be impressive (or if the opponent is smaller than he is).

But this guy, Michael Elgin, this guy right here, holds Josh Alexander, who is easily Elgin's size if not maybe slightly taller, upside down, straight up, over his head, for two minutes. Well, I didn't have like a stopwatch going, but I will comfortably say between a minute and a half to two. When the DVD comes out, we can time it.

(On an aside, kudos to you Mr. Alexander for being upside down for that long. I applaud you. His face was PURPLE, guys.)

And he suplexes Alexander and I'm like, "Welp! This guys has my vote."

The match goes on for a spine-melting thirty minutes of awesomeness. There were suplexes and powerbombs so massive I thought the ring was going to break. There were near-falls that had me clutching my hat in shock. There was at least one "This is awesome!" and "Holy shit!" chant. The room pretty much collectively lost its shit.

In the end they simply ran out of time. They ran down their thirty minute time limit, because that's how amazing they are. They each got on the mic, put each other over, and set a rematch.

Needless to say, I'm ready.

 Here's an MV of Michael Elgin vs. Davey Richards, because who doesn't also love a little Davey Richards am I right? It's not a match so much as it is a match cut and edited to music, but it's still pretty badass. Apparently Michael Elgin is in ROH which perhaps accounts for a bit of my cluelessness. I haven't followed ROH with any degree of consistency since they went off HDNet. It also turns out that Elgin is actually in contendership for the Heavyweight title.


Anyway, here is him vs. Brodie Lee. He does get the crap beat of him a bit but he puts on a heck of a good fight. Also, the announcer at one point uses the phrase "beating the cock out of", so there's that.

Here's one with him and Josh Alexander, from 2009, when they were but wee tiny babies. You can see a ghost of the awesomeness that will be them at Abso, especially around the 10 minute mark when Elgin goes "ALRIGHT I have had ENOUGH of your SHIT Alexander!"

A proper match between Elgin and Davey Richards. For whatever reason I enjoy these two together; I think it's because I find them to be similar. Not in movesets or anything -- Davey Richards is more like KICKS and FLYING, whereas Elgin is like "I WILL POWERBOMB YOUR FACE" -- but because you basically have to half-kill them to keep them down. Three-quarters in the case of Davey Richards. And maybe that aspect doesn't show so much in this match but in Abso8? Oh my goodness. I actually found myself rooting against Davey while watching this, which is rare, to say the least.

And one final time, here he is wrestling obvious crowd favorite Manabu Soya. In it you will find excellent of examples of Elgin just not staying the fuck down, and those massive powerbombs I mentioned earlier.

So, if you're a clueless noob like I am, apparently, I hope I made a good case for Michael Elgin and why you should definitely know who he is. I hope he does well in ROH with his title aspirations... just so long as he doesn't forget about AIW and the rematch he promised us!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Double Double, Toil and Trouble

On June 16th, Beyond Wrestling and St. Louis Anarchy are coming together to bring Cleveland the most mind-blowing wrestling event you can possible imagine and then some. Double Trouble.

I've been trying to write this release for about an hour now, and let me tell you the one singular piece of information you absolutely need to know.

The main event is ACH vs. Johnny Gargano. 

That's it. You really don't need anything else to want to come to this show. I don't care if you've never heard of St. Louis Anarchy, or if you could care less about Beyond Wrestling. I'm going to go ahead and tell you that you need to know about St.LA and that you need to care about Beyond Wrestling, but if you need to be further convinced about this show, I have no idea how you even got here. (You should probably go here instead)

'Well,' you might be saying to me, 'That's all fine and well, but that's only one match. It's a great match, but do I want to ship my ass up to Cleveland for one great match when the rest of the show is a bunch of asshats I've never heard of and don't particularly care to see?' 

My response is a sigh and this look -________-

But if you need something else to look forward to, other matches and appearances announced include:

*Dan Walsh, St.LA Champ vs. Rickey Shane Page

*Mark Angel vs. Drew Gulak

*Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Christian Rose vs. Pierre Abernathy, Evan Gelistico and Gary Jay (also known as the Submission Squad)

*Aaron Epic, Sugar Dunkerton and Pinkie Sanchez vs. KJ Crush, Jack Verville and Maserati Rick

Also scheduled to appear includes RD Evans. That's another one of those things I don't even need to elaborate on. RD Evans is going to be wrestling. Come on now. But also Mat Fitchett, Davey Vega, Chase Burnett, Zane Silver, Johnny Mangue, Matthew Justice, the Pitboss, Corvis Fear and Johnny Cockstrong. Among many others.

And that's just so far. We still have a little under a month for more fun and excitement to be announced.

But okay, enough TALKING about wrestling. Let's have some LOOKING at wrestling.

Here's Dan Walsh vs. Davey Vega from Metro Pro Wrestling, located in Kansas City. Now, imagine this, only with RSP instead of Davey Vega. Do you think the Danimal is going to get splattered all over Turner's Hall? Because I think the Danimal is going to get splattered all over Turner's Hall. Better not sit by any trashcans.

Here's a good bout between Aaron Epic and Drew Gulak from Beyond's Tournament for Tomorrow. It's pretty heavy on the grappling and the holds, but quite lovely just the same. It gives you a good feel for their characters, I believe. See also Pinkie Sanchez and Sugar D in the background. Those three will be wrestling. Yeah.

The Pitboss vs. dany only vs. KJ Crush vs. Eddie Graves. There's a lot going on in this matchup. There's a venue-spanning brawl between dany only and the Pitboss, there's chairs being thrown between KJ and Graves. It's pretty intense. And I would like to remind everyone that the last time Pitboss showed up in Cleveland with Beyond, he was forcibly ejected from the venue for being a douche. So. That should be fun.

Unfortunately, this whole match isn't available on Youtube, but you should have already bought the DVD. RD Evans vs. AR Fox, from the last time Beyond came to Cleveland, Back in Flesh. This match was exactly as brilliant as you would imagine. "Hey ref, count me out! Oh wait, it's no DQ!" I'm pretty sure this match cemented my love for both AR Fox and for RD Evans. I need to go watch it again. (Because *I* bought the DVD. I might also be in the background in this video *shifty eyes*)

Come to this show. Just do it. It's good wrestling. You like good wrestling. Hell, you love good wrestling. If you want to see it, I can guarantee it will be in Cleveland on June 16th.

St. Louis Anarchy and Beyond Wrestling come to Cleveland June 16th at Turner's Hall, 7325 Guthrie Avenue. Doors at 6:30, bell at 7:30. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. Be here or you suck.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Conscientious Fan

I got the notion to write this after seeing this article the other day. In summary, a guy saw John Cena on a shuttle and John Cena refused his request for a picture. The man took incredible offense to Cena's denial, though to his credit seemed understanding when he learned Cena had just filed for divorce.

But I was more intrigued by the first aspect of the story. I've heard a lot of stories of fans interacting with wrestlers. Some good, some... not so much. I find it so interesting to see how "normal" people interact with "famous" people... especially when that behavior shades to the poorer sides of it.

So I thought I could say a few things.

For the record, I don't by any means claim to be a "good" fan, though I like to believe I have common sense when it comes to interacting with "famous people."

Also, this is geared towards the fans of wrestlers, because that's just how I do. And I think you're more likely to run into, you know, CM Punk at the grocery store than Angelina Jolie. However it's probably a good basis for running into any kind of Famous Person.

It happens...

You're out minding your own business and by strange fate or providence, you come to discover you are sharing space with a bona fide Famous Person. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. What do you do? HOW DO YOU APPROACH? WHERE'S SOME PAPER? DO I HAVE A PEN??

Before you run up to John Cena and start waving a paper in front of his face, I want you all to run through a few things in your head. Put the cap back on your Sharpie and take a second to use your noggin before John Cena shorts it out.

1. Wrestlers are people too.

When you see a wrestler outside of the ring, he's just a normal dude. Be it John Cena or Josh Prohibition, all he wants to do is his normal dude stuff. Buying his groceries, eating dinner with his family, taking a leak, working out, calling his wife or his children on the phone. He just wants to do his thing with the minimum amount of hassle possible. I think that's something we can all relate to, right? You just want to get to work; you don't want to deal with asshole drivers cutting in front of you, or rush hour traffic, or rubberneckers rubbernecking at an accident on the opposite side of the highway. Wrestlers just want to do their own thing too.

Maybe he's in a good mood. Maybe he's not. Maybe he's dealing with a divorce, or his kid is sick, or his parents are sick, or his parents are getting a divorce, or he's hungover, or he's sleep-deprived, or his stomach is upset from all that shitty on the road food he's been eating. You don't know. Just as your tolerance for bullshit goes down when you're in a bad mood, so too does theirs. Before you go up to a wrestler just trying to be a normal dude, remember that he just might not want to deal with some stranger getting all up in his face. It has nothing to do with you personally; nor is it a credit to his character. Sometimes people just have bad days.

2. Timing Is Everything

If you absolutely must approach a wrestler on his normal-dude time, try to do it at an appropriate moment.

Appropriate moments do NOT include:

*When he's in the bathroom. CM Punk complains about this on Twitter all the time. I would assume it is common sense, but apparently it's not. Don't follow a dude into the bathroom. It's fucking creepy and weird. If there is absolutely no other moment you can catch him and you absolutely NEED to catch him, at least wait outside.

*When he's with his family. Leave the man alone, okay? Like I mentioned previously, he's just trying to be a normal dude and spend time with his family. Bear in mind, he's probably on the road a lot so he doesn't get to see them very often, let alone spend quality time with them.

If you're not sure, just think about it. Think about how you would feel in that situation. Getting off a plane after a twelve-hour flight. Out of a car after an eight-hour drive. In the middle of dinner. At the gym. I see that gripe a lot from wrestlers on Twitter. I don't go to the gym, I do not purport to understand gym etiquette, but it still goes back to normal dude on normal dude time just trying to do what normal dudes do.

3. Wrestlers do not owe you anything, nor do you have a "right" to receive anything from them

This is a little touchy. You could argue "He wouldn't be famous without his fans! The least he could do is spare me a shitty autograph!" or "He knew what he was getting into before he got famous!"

I agree with the former statement. If not for fans, no one would be famous. Fans make the famous dude famous. And it's nice to receive a little recognition.

But just because you stumble across a wrestler on his normal dude time, it doesn't mean you are automatically entitled to go up to him and get a picture and/or an autograph. If you're at a show or a meet-n-greet or some type of fan-oriented deal, that's one thing. He's still in wrestler-mode. He's well prepared for fans.

But when you run into him at the grocery store, or the gym, or the restaurant, or whatever, you're cutting into his normal dude time. He's not in the ring, he's not in his gear, he's just buying food for dinner. He's running his errands. It's his personal time. He's not getting paid. He's not on the clock.

Have you ever been at your job, running some errands after your shift is over, and someone asks you to help with something? Or at a store you don't even work at and someone walks up to you? I mean, at your own work you probably try to help them, right? At least point them in the right direction. At the very least, you're polite about it. But you don't OWE them any help because you're not on the clock. You're just trying to run your errands after a long fucking day so you can go home and get off your feet.

Just because John Cena happens to be out in public doesn't give you the automatic unassailable right to get in his face and demand a picture or an autograph or both. He's off the clock, so to speak. He'll do it, to be nice, to be polite, because I'm sure he generally enjoys his fans. But he doesn't OWE you. You're on HIS time.

4. Social Media

Stop asking for RTs and follows on Twitter. This is spam. What you are doing is spamming. Nobody likes spam. NOBODY. LIKES. SPAM. John Cena is not going to follow you. John Cena is definitely not going to follow you if you ask him to 9000 times a day. And this is just my personal opinion, but I'm less likely to follow someone if they ask me.

Asking for RTs is lame. If you really want to be retweeted, maybe say something worth a RT, other than "Hey plz RT me" because no. Unless you do that to CM Punk, and he probably would RT you just to call you an idiot. But hey, if that's what you're going for... knock yourself out.

So... let's all agree that that needs to stop. Besides, wouldn't you rather be RT'd for something cool you said, or something intelligent, or interesting, than just because you asked for it? Doesn't that have more meaning? I think it does.

I also want you to recognize the fact that you are not the only person who tweets John Cena. John Cena probably gets literally a bajillion tweets a day (half of which are probably asking for follows or RTs!) He doesn't have time to reply to every single one of them, or RT all the ones that ask for it. He probably doesn't even look at his @replies all the time.

So if you consistently tweet at John Cena and he never tweets back, he's not ignoring you. It's not personal. He's buried under 10,000 tweets of the same content and consistency. I just searched @JohnCena, a little scientific experiment here, and he's gotten 22 tweets in the last ten minutes. Average it out a little, that's two tweets a minute. That's two tweets a minute ALL THE TIME.

Also, if John Cena does, god forbid, have a few minutes to himself and go "Hey, I'm going to converse with my fans on Twitter for a bit." do you think he's going to be more likely to reply to a well-thought-out question or someone just saying "Hi" or "Sup John". Plus when all his followers (of which he has over two million of, by the way) see he's tweeting at fans, think of how many tweets/minute that would go up to. Ten? Fifteen? Thirty? I can't even imagine. The man simply cannot get to all of you. 

Also, you might be spamming him. See above.

5. Don't be creepy

Let me share with you this story I heard some years ago.

WWE was doing an Australia tour. This girl went to the airport and waited at the gate for the plane that Randy Orton and John Cena were getting off of. I don't know how she was able to GET to the gate, but she did.

When Cena and Orton got off the plane, she followed them from the gate to the baggage claim. Not just that. She had her camera on them, with some setting that allowed automatic pictures to be taken every three seconds or some nonsense. FROM THE GATE. TO THE BAGGAGE CLAIM.

One of the superstars (I seem to recall it was Orton) actually told her to knock it off, and she actually had the gall to take offense. Let me remind you these two men just spent upwards of twelve hours on a plane and this girl was following them around with a camera like the fucking paparazzi like this was a sane and okay thing to do.

Short answer; no, no it's not.

Long answer; oh my god, are you insane? If I have to break down for you all the ways that that is rude and inconsiderate and shady and batshit crazy, you need to go back to your home planet, sugarpie. I don't think there is any one part of that story that can be considered acceptable.

If you want to wait someplace where you know a wrestler may happen to be, fine. I know a lot of people have done that. I have done that. I am not entirely proud of it, but I have. Not in an airport though, for the love of Jesus. But there's a line. You get your autograph and your picture and you go on your merry way.

If you have to lurk around to meet or greet your favorite wrestler, you're doing something wrong. Please reconsider your tactics.

In closing...

I want you to meet your favorite wrestler. I really do. I want you to have pictures and autographs -- autographed pictures! -- and those memories. Those memories are the best. I'm there with you, I promise. I just want you to try and do it in a way that makes the experience as pleasant as possible for everyone involved.

It's easy to get starstruck, I know. Something in your brain short-circuits when you get near some of these guys. I completely lost my brain when I met Chris Sabin, for example. I can't even be entirely sure actual words came out of my mouth.

Just before you go up to anyone, before your brain gets too frazzled by realizing that oh my god I'm breathing the same air as John Cena right now and you fumble for your Sharpie, just think. Is this moment appropriate? Is John Cena about think you're a huge douchebag? Do you WANT John Cena to think you're a huge douchebag?

Do you, while your brain is busy going oh my god I'm talking to John Cena right now, want John Cena to be thinking "Oh my god, can't this asshole hurry it up, my ice cream is melting."

Or "Oh my god, what a creeper."

Just... think for a second. Is he busy? Is he with his family? Is he in the bathroom? Are you lurking right now?

Do you know where your Sharpie is?