Tagged in: chris jericho

Why Jericho is the Best in the World

The best thing about Chris Jericho is you never know when he’s working you.

Jericho worked everyone the last few weeks in his Twitter war with Kenny Omega. Yes, we all suspected something was up, but no one knew what – not until he showed up on the big screen at Power Struggle this weekend.

In an era where fans think they know everything, Jericho is the one guy who can still pull off a shocker. He will never tip his hand if he thinks he can sneak up on you. He loves a surprise. If you’ve ever told anyone that you “called it” when he returned in the #2 spot at the Royal Rumble a few years ago, you are a liar.

Even now, questions surround his unexpected move to Japan. Did Vince know? One report says the WWE found out when the rest of us did early Sunday morning. His video package featured music from his band Fozzy, not his WWE theme. His contracts with WWE are month to month, and he has ROH on his cruise next October.

Sounds like he’s gone independent. Only Jericho knows, and he’s not telling.

That’s what makes him the Best in the World.

If you’re one of the many coming aboard the New Japan bandwagon because of Y2J, welcome. If you thought Balor vs Styles was awesome (and it was!) wait until you see what NJPW has to offer.

The Miz Is That Awesome

Last night my Facebook feed blew up with people proclaiming the Miz’s promo on Talking Smack as the promo of his life. I beg to differ. As great as last night was (and I defy to you tell me it wasnt great), the promo of his life took place a few years ago. There was no musical introduction. He didn’t come down the ramp. He walked around the side of the ramp into the arena, shooting about the road he took to get to the WWE and fulfill his dream.

I don’t recall anything specific he said that night, but I recall how it made me feel. It was the first time I truly believed in the Miz.

The Miz has worked for everything he has been given. His reality TV show fame did not translate to a free pass at OVW; Danny Davis and Rip Rogers would never allow it. He learned from old school guys how to make it in the business, and he learned his lessons well.

The Miz also seized the moment every chance he had. Roni Jonah tells a story about a time she was supposed to work a program as Seth Skyfire’s girlfriend at OVW. Paul Heyman was disappointed with the kiss Seth laid on Roni during a TV taping, and he let his feelings be known to the locker room. “You expect me to believe she’s your girlfriend with a kiss like that?”

The Miz spoke up: “She could be my girlfriend.” Within a few weeks, Roni left Seth on OVW TV for the Miz.

As opportunistic as he can be, the Miz also knows how to put people over when it’s his turn. Did you hear him on Talk is Jericho with Damien Mizdow? At first listen, it sounded like the Miz was there to put himself over Mizdow. Listen again; the Miz puts his tag partner over huge, and then quietly steps away. It was masterful.

Crazy Mary Dobson also experienced the generous side of the Miz in her first appearance on Raw. According to her, the Miz did everything he could to give her as much face time as possible, telling here where to stand so the camera would pick her up.

Crazy Mary’s story runs counter to the general perception most fans have of the Miz: he’s a big mouth hack, a talentless loser, an opportunist who is only out for himself. People who see the Miz that way are seeing exactly what the Miz wants them to see. They don’t see a guy who grew up loving wrestling playing a character on TV because they can’t distinguish the real man from his character.

In an age when kayfabe is supposedly dead and buried, the Miz has done the impossible. He has made himself a true heel in the eyes of the fans. He’s not getting booed because the fans understand that he’s playing a heel and that’s the story being told. He’s not being booed because he’s the heel people “love to hate.” He’s being booed because people truly hate the Miz.

The Miz is a rare talent that could easily has worked in a long-gone era. He’s the kind of guy who makes the fans forget they’re watching a show and boo from the bottom of their hearts. He’s a true student of the game who learned his lessons well, and he’s only getting better.

I don’t expect my thoughts to persuade many Miz haters to see him differently, and that’s okay. The Miz wouldn’t want you turning into a fan of his anyway. The more you hate the Miz, the more you’ll demand – and pay – to see him get his butt kicked

That, friends, is what makes the Miz AWESOME.

The Legacy of Chyna

“In 1999, I was fighting guys and winning my first male championship. People laughed at me and workers beat me up because I was ‘The girl trying too hard.’ Well. There was someone like me was on TV. I had a model. A strong woman who wasn’t afraid to fight anybody. That was Chyna.” – LuFisto

“Chyna was the reason I started wrestling…. Horrible news to wake up to.” – Kimber Lee

At the height of her wrestling career, Joanie “Chyna” Laurer was hailed as the Ninth Wonder of the World. She was a Women’s World Champion in a time before “Divas.” She was a founding member of Degeneration-X. She was the first women to enter the Royal Rumble and the first woman to lay claim to the prestigious WWF Intercontinental Champion. She wasn’t the first woman to wrestle men, but her feuds with Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and others paved the way for shows like Gender Wars, the men vs. women events now being promoted by Mad Man Pondo. Chyna blazed a trail for many women who now regularly wrestle with and against men including Heidi Lovelace, Candice LeRae, LuFisto, and CHIKARA Grand Champion Kimber Lee.

Many fans today don’t know Chyna’s true legacy. Corporate politics and her own personal demons have excluded her from the WWE Hall of Fame and multiple D-X reunions. Chyna was a pioneer worthy of recognition with legends like Mildred Burke and the Fabulous Moolah.

The Impeccable Keita Murray

12963468_10209152865241000_6206361431596577154_nAs the independent wrestling scene continues its resurgence, young men and women are finding more and more opportunities to test their mettle in the ring. Everyone of them dreams of breaking out as a national star, whether it be through the WWE and NXT or just their own perseverance. Recently, the Indy Card Mafia brought one such wrestler to my attention. He’s young, he’s hungry, and he’s shown he has the drive to become a star.

Keita Murray is a native of Brooklyn, New York. Like most wrestlers, he grew up a fan, following the exploits of The Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, and Matt Hardy. At an early age, he and his friends were creating their own wrestling rings and title belts and practicing for their future glory. “My friends and I would wrestle each other and act like different WWE Superstars. We would get cardboard boxes, crayons, aluminum foil and make belts out of them.”

Keita’s passion for the business galvanized when he met his tag partner, Kit Cassidy. “We met in high school and funny story, we didn’t like each other at first. Then we found out that we shared a common interest of wrestling. I was a senior in high school he was a junior, and ever since then we have been best friends.

After giving college a chance, Keita enrolled at Back Breaker’s Training Center in Scranton, PA. “It’s such a great school to learn from. You learn a lot and you have a lot of opportunities there.”

Kit enrolled at Back Breakers with his best friend, and the two graduated together. Their first official match was a one on one affair between the two, but they have since united as a tag team known as The Impeccables. They currently hold two tag titles for Phoenix Pro Wrestling and Pennsylvania Premier Wrestling, and Murray recently won the Spotlight Championship at The Sanctuary Stunt Studio.

Keita has only been in the business a few years, but he’s had a number of memorable matches. He cites the Cash Masters as favorite tag opponents, along with fellow Back Breaker wrestlers Dante Dio and Jacoby Riddick. His favorite singles opponents thus far include Stevie Shields, Marq Queen, and Kyle Brad, whom he faced at WOH Wrestling. “I want to say the Kyle Brad match was my best because I had about eleven matches under my belt at the time and it was my second time being heel. It just seemed like everything fell in place for that match, and that’s the match that elevated my confidence in the ring.”

Keita work mostly in Pennsylvania, doing appearances for GSW Wrestling in Moosic, PA; PPW Wrestling and The Sanctuary Stunt Studio in Hazleton, PA; T.R.U.E. Wrestling in Berwick, PA; Pheonix Pro Wrestling in Altoona, PA; and Back Breakers Training Center in Scranton. His success in those markets, coupled with connections made at various shows, have afforded him a chance to travel to illinois in May. In June, he’ll make his debut for Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, thanks to a partnership between GFW and Back Breakers. Like most young stars, he has aspirations of climbing even higher.

“In five to ten years. I either hope to be in WWE or NXT. If I don’t make it that far, I want to be one of those independent guys whom everyone knows not from WWE or TNA but because of my hard work. I would also love to have said by that time that I traveled different countries to wrestle. I really would love to go overseas and learn the different art forms of wrestling all over the world.”

You can follow Keita on Facebook or on Twitter.

Post #200: Watching Wrestling with Baby Lydia

Was going to share a fun story/correction tonight regarding Louisville wrestling history and Bluegrass Brawlers, but then I noticed that this is blog post #200. I’ll save the Louisville story for tomorrow and share a story I told to a friend who is a fellow dad and wrestling fan tonight.

When my daughter Lydia was around six months old, she wasn’t the best overnight sleeper. We spent many nights walking the floor with her. (Okay, I confess – Jessica did most of the walking while I slept. I could have done a lot more of my share at that time!)

One night when I was a good dad and took my turn, Lydia just wasn’t responding to walking the floor. She kept fussing and refused to go to sleep. Truth be told, at age 8, she’s still pretty stubborn about staying up late.

I was exhausted and frustrated, so I headed down to the basement – the man cave – and I put an old WWF pay-per-view VHS tape. I laid down on the couch with Lydia on my chest to watch some wrestling.

I wish I could remember which pay-per-view it was that I put in. I tried to look it up through Wikipedia, but no luck. My memory’s likely off on this, but I want to say the first match we watched (which may not have been first on the card) was Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero. It might have been Jericho vs. Regal, or Eddie vs. someone else, but I’m certain one of those two was in the match. It was a darn good match either way, and my six month old daughter, who had no idea what she was watching, lifted herself up with her tiny hands on my chest and watched the whole darn match!

The match ended, and Howard Finkel began introducing the next match. Test’s music hit, and Test made his way from the stage to the ring. I don’t remember the opponent in that match, but I’ll never forget it was Test who came out first because it was at that very moment Lydia laid her head down and went to sleep.

I almost feel bad sharing the story with a laugh knowing that Test (God rest his soul) is gone, and I don’t mean to disparage him or his legacy. But it’s a memory I will never forget with my little girl. She knew a good match when she saw it, and she knew when to go out and get some more popcorn.

He’s All That??

Forgive the goofy blog title, but after hearing Freddie Prinze, Jr. on Chris Jericho’s podcast, you’ll be saying the same thing.

Freddie has an amazing life story. He grew up around legendary film and martial arts icons like Bob Hall, Chuck Norris, and Judo Gene LeBell. And after he decided to walk away from his film career, he spent several years quietly working behind the scenes for the WWE.

Yes, THAT Freddie Prinze, Jr. worked as a writer, acting coach, and more for the WWE.

Go to the Talk Is Jericho page and download episode 212. This is a must hear episode that will completely change the way you look at the former teen heartthrob.

Thank you, Wrestling Observer

BluegrassBrawlers-coverI got a message from a friend of mine on Facebook today. It seems that Bluegrass Brawlers came in third in the voting for 2014’s top pro wrestling book at the Wrestling Observer. The top three books, based strictly on first place votes, were:

1. Death of WCW by Bryan Alvarez and R.D. Reynolds (257 votes)

2. The Best in the World At What I Have No Idea by Chris Jericho (135 votes)

3. Bluegrass Brawlers by John Cosper (18 votes)

When you look at the votes, Bluegrass Brawlers was a distant third, but to get to that distant third spot, eighteen people had to vote for my book over Chris Jericho and Bryan Alvarez. I’ll take that third place any day!

Every dream, every journey, begins with a few small steps. I am very humbled and thankful to those who voted for Bluegrass Brawlers, taking me a few steps along this road. Thank you.