There is no doubt over the past couple of years, wrestling has become hot once again and more specifically independent wrestling. You could argue it all began on January 4th, 2017, WrestleKingdom, New Japan Pro Wrestling marque PPV, it is the equivalent to WWE’s own WrestleMania, where all the storylines come ahead and the match quality is as high as ever. The main event saw defending IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada, take on Bullet Club leader and the 2016 G1 Climax tournament winner, Kenny Omega. While many fans were unaccustomed to NJPW this match and specifically the outlining storyline through the match, for the first time in a long time in wrestling the 46 minute 45 second classic of a match involved and help push everyone else to really let a storyline be involved in a match. The storyline was how the challenger, Omega, could do everything to Okada except for the fact that Okada was able to counter every finisher attempt from Okada, finally, Okada would hit a series of his own finishers and pin Omega. Afterward the wrestling community went crazy over the perfection displayed by both men, making it one of 2017’s must-see matches. Omega and Okada would go on to have 3 other classic round breaking matches, a 60-minute draw at Dominion PPV, an Omega win in the 2017 G1 Climax & then one of the biggest title wins in recent history as Omega would dethrone the Champion Okada at Dominion 2018.
What these series of matches did for the wrestling industry is introduce a new wave of thinking, a new wave of injecting real-life emotions and weave them into a match to grab the audiences attention and heart strings at once. Coming off the buzz of NJPW over the past couple of years saw the company decided to expand the business and try and make an impact on American soil, hosting a PPV in Long Beach California in 2017 for a 2 night tournament to crown a new NJPW US Champion, selling over 2,300 tickets for both nights, NJPW found a place in America. The following year NJPW would come back to one of wrestling’s historic venues, The Cow Palace, California, selling over 6,300 tickets in which the main event saw newly crowned IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega take on Bullet Club member Cody Rhodes. Another match in which storylines and real life were brought together to create moments for all the fans and fans watching online.
This whole buzz continues today as fans gear up to next years WrestleMania weekend, as NJPW and ROH have sold out Madison Square Garden for the G1 Supercard show taking place on the night before WrestleMania, thus competing head to head against WWE NXT Takeover. Not only is it a major shock that a company could not only get MSG on such a weekend but the fact that the buzz in independent wrestling is so strong, it sold the historic venue out. Much like the ALL IN PPV presented by Matt and Nick Jackson and Cody Rhodes earlier this month broke the status quo in which 3 active wrestlers were able to sell over 10,000 tickets and put on a flawless PPV, NJPW and ROH combined can create something really special and no doubt will.
So that leaves the question, where is this all going? Well ever since the collapse of WCW, there was only ever one place wrestlers dreamed of being, WWE. There was very little money to be made on independent shows for so many years but now we have entered a complete 180 turn, independent wrestling is thriving more than ever, now even when released from WWE stars like Cody Rhodes, Emma, Sami Callihan and many more continue to break barriers in the independents and make the money keep rolling in. So the direction we are headed in is simply an all-around thriving landscape, with former WWE star Neville who recently quit and walked out being free to work elsewhere now the buzz will not die down for a seemingly long time. Could we see more WWE non-used stars take the chance on themselves like many others? What can WWE do to help the buzz more? Whats after the MSG show? Let us know in the comment section!
5 of Hulk Hogan’s infamous lies that no one believes
Hulk Hogan, one of the most iconic pro wrestlers the world has ever seen and one of the many reasons wrestling is as big and successful to date. Despite his recent controversy, it seems controversy has followed Hulk for the majority of his career, whether it be through wrestling, refusing to ‘job’ for another superstar, or hindering a superstars career with backstage politics, fans have had an up and down relationship with the immortal one for a number of years, and here are 5 lies that no one believes when Hulk Hogan tells them.
5. Elvis was a big Hogan fan.
In a WWE produced autobiography of the life of Hulk Hogan, Hogan claimed The King of Rock and Roll would take time out of his then amazingly busy schedule to come and watch Hogan wrestle everytime the star would come to Memphis. Whether it was the book’s ghostwriter or Hogan himself who decided to include this statement in the book needed to fact check Elvis’ life, as Hogan began his wrestling career in 1979, 2 years after the passing of Elvis.
Why Chris Jericho is the ‘GOAT’ of pro wrestling
For many fans when discussing who the greatest pro wrestler is in history many names such as Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock get mentioned almost instantly. While the case may be true for some mentioned in a certain aspect of the business if we are talking about an all-around package its safe to say the money is firmly on Chris Jericho. Even early in Jericho’s career in 1997 where he wrestled for WCW and a brief 6-month excursion to NJPW, fans would very early on be shocked at the brilliance of Jericho with classic Cruiserweight bouts with Juventud Guerrera and Rey Mysterio. Following the much-deserved success and praise at times in WCW, Jericho would then go to the big leagues and join the then WWF, many superstars in the Attitude Era who had jumped ship from WCW would get a mediocre debut in WWF until one night on August 9th at RAW is WAR in Chicago, a millennial clock would count down to zero as The Rock would be in the ring cutting a promo on The Big Show, as the countdown finished and the lights went out, JERICHO, would appear on the titantron to one of wrestling’s biggest pops in the Attitude Era. To get such a high impact and memorable debut such as Jericho did, everyone could tell big things were in his future.
Throughout the Attitude Era, Jericho wouldn’t quite be in the main title picture but more so the Intercontinental title picture having countless classic matches with the likes of Kurt Angle, Chyna, and Chris Benoit. While many fans were thinking a Jericho World title win could be approaching fast, no one was prepared for Vengeance 2001 as Jericho would pull double duty, facing The Rock for the WCW Championship and Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship, Jericho would actually make history pinning both Hall of Famers to become the first ever Undisputed Champion in WWF history and 4th overall grand slam champion under the original format. While The Rock vs Hulk Hogan would outshine every match on the WrestleMania 18 card, the nod was still given to Jericho and Triple H to be the last match on the show and the true main event, despite losing to HHH Jericho would get his WrestleMania main event just a mere 3 years into the company. For the next 2-3 years (2003-05) despite continuously putting on a show every night and great matches and rivalries with Christian and John Cena, Jericho would get burned out and would take a brief time away from wrestling to pursue other avenues he enjoyed such as his rock band, Fozzy.
After returning in 2007 and breaking another WWE record in capturing his then 8th Intercontinental title reign, one of the greatest strengths of Jericho would come to the forefront in his feud with Shawn Michaels in April 2008, what was meant to be a brief one and done type match for the two turned into a 6 month iconic feud including memorable spots like Jericho punching Shawn’s wife accidentally and the great World Heavyweight title ladder match at No Mercy 2008 cementing this feud as one of the best wrestling feuds ever. Following that Jericho would go on to be a dual tag team champions with Big Show and have a show-stealing feud with Cm Punk at Wrestlemania 2012 and the following years WrestleMania, 2013, would show another of Jericho’s greatest abilities by giving a newcomer, Fandango, a huge moment at Mania by pinning him.
The true magic Jericho possesses is his ability to just about get every single thing he touches over with the crowd, whether it be the bizarre amount of scarfs he would wear to the ring, his countless catchphrases and even his most recent, list of Jericho. When an artist only has to look at a clipboard to get every fan on their feet laughing and cheering is truly a talent only the best of the best can get, even taking the crowd on a 6 month best friend journey with Kevin Owens despite being heels made the two one of the most over duos in the company which all culminated to one episode of RAW in Vegas on February 13, 2017 in which before Owens would defend the Universal Title against Goldberg, Jericho would want to show his appreciation to Owens with a festival of friendship. Everything went smoothly as Jericho would give Owens his own painting of the two of them and even a spoof actor trying to play Goldberg, everything would take a quick turn as Owens would reveal he had a present for Jericho as well, and thus began one of the biggest heart-wrenching moments and lines in wrestling today, Owens would get Jericho his own list but as Jericho would look at the list he would say ‘Why is my name on this list?’ as Owens would then viciously attack him setting up a beautiful angle and match to take place at Wrestlemania that year.
Now we get to what really makes Jericho the standout he is, November 5th, 2017, after Kenny Omega had just competed in a match in New Japan Pro Wrestling when all of a sudden a vignette would play on the screen, Chris Jericho would appear with a picture of Kenny Omega in hand, challenging him to a match at the following years WrestleKingdom as he tore the picture in half. Jericho set the wrestling world on fire with this new adventure he was on by jumping on the NJPW hype train that was rolling through the universe. Jericho and Omega would steal that year’s WK show by putting on a brutal and classic NODQ US Title match. After Omega would win many fans would think what’s next for Jericho? Until the very next night at NJPW’s New Year Dash, a show for New Japan in which new storylines are weaved in for the next year, as NJPW IC champion, Tetsuya Naito, would celebrate a victory in the ring, a masked man would appear and attack him to the gasp of the audience, the mask was pulled down to reveal Chris Jericho as the attacker and setting up a future title bout between the two, another night Jericho would set the world on fire. In June of this year at Dominion, the two would come head to head for the Intercontinental title, after many counters and the hard-hitting offense of moves from both competitors, Chris Jericho would shock everyone as he captured the IC title. Throughout the summer this year Jericho would continue to spark the buzz around independent wrestling as he revealed on his podcast, Talk is Jericho, that he had pitched an idea that was turned down by Vince McMahon in which Jericho would return to WWE with NJPW’s IC Title and challenge WWE’s own IC Champion, Seth Rollins, for a champion v champion match at Summerslam, fans then could see just how in-tune Jericho really was for creating monumental moments and buzz in this era of pro wrestling. Despite being turned down by Vince, Jericho would go against a previous statement he had made in which he said ‘i will never work for an American promotion because its disrespectful to Vince’ as he would appear as a masked Pentagon Junior at this year’s groundbreaking PPV ALL IN, once again attacking Kenny Omega and setting up a future bout at his very own wrestling themed cruise taking place in October.
So what makes Chris Jericho the goat of professional wrestling? Its a combination of a lot of things including, his ability to continuously re-invent himself and his character, his success in just about every promotion and angle, his classic feuds, an unselfish attitude to help rising stars, his underrated mic work and continuing longevity all throughout his career, its no question that wherever Jericho goes, the buzz and wrestling world follows him.
Is Jericho the GOAT of pro wrestling? If not who is? Comment below!
Why Velveteen Dream is the hero wrestling needs
Patrick Clark, better known as Velveteen Dream, has by no means created a huge name for himself every since 2015. The reality WWE show Tough Enough, made its comeback in 2015 and a standout act on the show was Patrick himself, although coming 9th overall and voted off the show due to his perceived lack of humility, fans could already see the future had Patrick’s hands all over it. Even so with Chris Jericho telling him to continue this dream of his because Jericho could see the passion and drive displayed by him. On October 17, 2015, Patrick would sign his developmental deal with WWE NXT. It took a while for Patrick to come up with a gimmick he felt right with until on May 24th, 2017, a “Prince” inspired character would come to life and thus the wrestling world was introduced to Velveteen Dream. That September saw Velveteen come across his first opponent, Aleister Black, the simple and effective storyline of Velveteen wanting Aleisters recognition by simply saying Velveteens name caught the fans attention quickly as they began to be hooked to every segment these two men would be apart of. At the following Takeover PPV where Velveteen would get his chance against Aleister, the wrestling world would witness the true brilliance and creativeness from Velveteen Dream as he came out with “Rick Rude” inspired wrestling tights with Aleister’s face on them. This creative decision would start the train of buzz for the relative newcomer, although losing the match, Aleister would still say Velveteens name, as would every single fan. Following that incredible match would be Takeover: Philadelphia where Velveteen would defeat KassiuOhnoNo coming off a elbow injury. While the buzz was solely in favour of Velveteen the next PPV match would come at one of NXT’s biggest shows, WrestleMania Weekend, in whicha 6 man ladder match would take place to crown an inaugural NXT North American Champion, Velveteen would deliver some great moments including a death valley driver on top of a ladder and a ‘Macho Man’ like elbow off the top of a ladder, although losing to Adam Cole, Velveteen once again made an impact.
Many fans left wondering what direction would Velveteen go following Wrestlemania weekend, some were scared of a call-up to the main roster, some wanted it, all of them were not prepared for what was next. Velveteen would stay in NXT and become irate at the newcomer to NXT and one of wrestling’s best high flyers, Ricochet, thinking Ricochet is stealing the spotlight and Velveteen was not letting that happen. Through the build-up to this match saw Velveteen continuously say to Ricochet, anything you can do I can do better, until one week Ricochet would leave fans and many non-fans jaw dropped as a clip of him went viral as he somersaulted out the ring onto the ramp Velveteen was on and tell him to ‘do that then’. Not only could Velveteen believe what he just saw, not a single fan could as Full Sail let off one of the biggest NXT pops of the year. As the time came and Takeover was here it was time for the two to settle it in the ring and thus came another one of Velveteens greatest strengths being such a fan of pro wrestling both men would create a call back to another match, The Rock vs Hulk Hogan from Wrestlemania 18. The buzz this match would generate would see not only The Rock would endorse Ricochet as one of wrestling’s next big stars, but Velveteen would also get praise by Hulk Hogan and John Cena, Cena asked on a panel who he would like to face from NXT, his first answer being Velveteen and Hulk Hogan after seeing Velveteen copy his entrance style at Takeover would take to Twitter to ask Velveteen if he ever needed a manager, in which Velveteen would reply in cocky and amazing fashion ‘stay in your lane, Terry’.
Now that many fans are on the hype train of Velveteen, his most recent Takeover match against EC3 would create headlines for different reasons, his entrance. Its no question how much Velveteen loves professional wrestling but many did not see how in tune he was to not only the world today but also the wrestling community today, as many fans do and don’t want his main roster call up, Velveteen would shock the world and even shock the NXT ‘grandfather’ Triple H, by coming out with ‘Call me up, Vince’ spray painted on the back of his tights, quite possibly one of the biggest and boldest moves in recent memory. While that call up is approaching and a possible NXT World Title match, everything seems in place for a star like Velveteen to succeed regardless of whatever storyline he is given. When a star has so much intuned knowledge of the world and fans of pro wrestling combined with his love for the business and his complete dedication to the character itself, there is no ‘brass ring’ Velveteen cant grab and no barrier he can’t break, while WWE may slow burn his call-up on the main roster with a possible IC/US title feud to begin with, it is no question Velveteen is a main eventer and a staple for whatever brand he is placed on.