Don’t Wait for Omega to Come to You

I’ve seen more than a few people on Facebook asking questions like, “When is Kenny Omega’s contract up?” “When is he coming to WWE?” And “Do you think he’ll be in the Royal Rumble?”

Those are the wrong questions to ask. Fans who want to check out Kenny Omega should be asking, “How do I sign up for New Japan?” And “Which match should I watch first?”

If you wait to see Kenny Omega in WWE, you will miss out on what has made him the talk of the Internet. Omega is in his prime and has hit his stride. He had a phenomenal 2017, and no doubt he is red hot headed into 2018. But there’s no guarantee that you will see anything close to that if and when he makes it to WWE.

New Japan is less than $10 a month. Not only will you have access to all of Omega’s work in Japan, you’ll also get to see Cody Rhodes, Davey Boy Smith, Jr., Juice Robinson, and other wrestlers the WWE just didn’t know what to do with along. You’ll also see Cruiserweight Classic darling Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Jay White, Evil, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Marty Scurll, and of course, the Young Bucks. New Japan is home to the IWGP World heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, a man who carries himself like Ric Flair, Harley, Race, and the great champions of the past. And for the time being, it is also the one place you can see Chris Jericho in action.

You can also go back and see the classic matches that led to the WWE signing people like A.J. Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Anderson and Gallows, and Prince Devitt (now Finn Balor). You can travel back even further in the archives to see other legends who never “made it” to the WWE… like Bruiser Brody.

The WWE doesn’t always get the best out of the people they sign, and the rose colored glasses that made the WWE look like the end-all, be-all of professional wrestling are finally coming off. For every Kevin Owens and A.J. Styles, there are dozens of talented performers who get lost in the shuffle, cast, aside, and fed to the top stars as jobbers. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good enough. You’re just not seeing them in the right place.

Kenny Omega found his place, and it’s made him a star. Don’t wait for his Royal Rumble surprise entrance. This is the time to see him in the place that made him a star.

Support indy wrestling.

Sorry, Mom, Kevin Owens Did the Right Thing

My kids are seven and nine. They are not allowed to watch wrestling, but because of their dad, they’ve met three major wrestling personalities from the 80s. All three of them were heels in their day; they could not have been nicer to my children. They shook hands, asked their names, took time to listen to them, gave autographs when asked, and share some stories. They were incredibly kind to my kids.

All three of these encounters happened away from the ring. Far away. Had they happened at ring side, my kids know these nice gentlemen would not have been nice at all. The men who smiled and took the time to get to know my kids would have insulted them in every way possible. They would have scowled at them, scared them, and made my kids hate them. Why? Because that’s their job.

The world needs more Kevin Owens. We need more wrestlers who don’t care about people’s feelings, even kids. We need fewer independent wrestlers playing the heel and then selling T-shirts and smiling for pictures. (Props to Aaron Williams, who I saw forego his usual gimmick table at a recent even where he was working heel.) We need more of the old Dutch Mantell “Don’t buy my photo and rip it up in front of me,” like the time the Lovely Lylah sold a bunch of cake pops for charity by saying, “Don’t buy these just to throw them at me during my match!” We need men and women willing to live the heel life in the ring, in the arena, and yes, even on social media.

We don’t need Triple H comforting kids at ringside after playing the heel. We need more Kevin Owens.

Puppet Loves Raw!

13051508_493845727473198_1038889222692637872_nIf you’re an embittered old school wrestling fan still longing for the good old days of the Attitude Era, or Memphis, or the pre-WWF takeover, you’ll find plenty of blogs and podcasts to back your feelings on Tuesday. The Internet Wrestling Community is rife with folks who can’t wait for Monday Night Raw – just so they can trash it and tell you how bad it is.

Puppet is not another Raw hater. Puppet is a puppet who simply loves wrestling. Every week, he posts a new video to Youtube, offering his thoughts on the latest edition of the WWE’s flagship show. He also does special episodes to highlight the pay-per-views.

Unlike most of his IWC colleagues, Puppet focuses on the positive. There’s plenty of good out there in wrestling, even in the now Sandow-less WWE, and Puppet isn’t afraid to share how he feels.

I contacted Puppet last week through his Facebook page, and he graciously granted me an interview. Here, in his own words, is Puppet.

How long have you been a wrestling fan? 

I have been a wrestling fan for as long as I’ve been conscious. My dad was fan because his grandmother was a fan. It is sort of a family tradition. Anyway, I started watching very young and I never stopped. Some of my best memories are of watching WWE with my dad, my brother, and my mom. Wrestling is very special to me in that way.

Who are some of your favorite wrestlers?

That’s a really hard question actually. I have a handful and I’m sure I’ll leave someone out that I really like. I really think the WWE roster right now has the best talent, top to bottom, that they’ve ever had. My number 1 guy right now is of course Cesaro. Just a guy that can have a great match with anyone he’s in the ring with. Other than that… again I am leaving people out… I love Kevin Owens, Sami, AJ, Ziggler, Dean, Seth, New Day, Enzo and Cass, Neville, Stardust, Shinsuke, Nattie, Sasha, Charlotte, and the like. I like the wrestlers that ALWAYS look crisp in the ring. Sorry! I always have trouble just picking a few favorites.

What do you think is the match of the year (so far) in 2016? 

Match of the year so far in 2016 is Shinsuke/Sami from Takeover Dallas. I know this is a pretty “safe” choice… but that match is just awesome. Set aside the fact that the action in the ring was relentless, purposeful, and told a great story… Hearing Shinsuke’s music for the first time, his perfectly produced entrance, the circumstances of it likely being Sami’s NXT farewell… it was all just amazing. I was watching with a group of friends and we were all just mesmerized by the spectacle of that match. Spectacle + technically sound wrestling? Doesn’t get any better than that.

Do you see the WWE headed in the right direction? 

Yes. I do think WWE is headed in a great direction. Again, I think top of the card to the bottom of the card they are more stacked with great wrestlers than they’ve ever been. I think more recently they have started to take advantage of that fact. Story is important… story is very, very important… but great wrestler + great wrestler = great TV. Sometimes you can push story aside for matches like that to round out your show. I think we’ve seen that happening recently. Who cares if they are both good fan favorites?! Let the great wrestlers do what they do! Have great matches with each other. The IC title scene right now is a great example of just letting great wrestlers do great work. Anyway, they’ve got great talent right now, I think they are learning this lesson of talent vs. talent trumps forced face vs. heel story any day of the week (probably in large part thanks to how successful this has been for NXT) and I really think the sky is the limit for WWE right now and in the future. I’ve never booked a wrestling show in my life, so i really have no idea what I’m talking about… But as a longtime fan, I’m excited every week for WWE.

Be sure to join the #PuppetClub on Facebook to hear his thoughts on every WWE Raw and Pay-Per-View.

KO and Prince Pretty Need Your Help

Actually, the people of Alberta need help. Kevin Owens and Tyler Breeze are just providing a way for you to do just that. Here’s the pitch from the GoFundMe page to help the fire victims in Alberta:

“Last week, the community of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, was ravaged by a forest fire that still rages on as I type this. Thousands of people lost their homes and everything they owned and had to be evacuated. A few even lost their lives.

“As I watched the footage on the news, I decided I wanted to try and help. It turns out I wasn’t the only one thinking that because fellow Canadian Tyler Breeze was also trying to figure out how to help these people.

“So today, we come togeher in hopes of being able to raise money to help the victims of the fire get back on their feet. All the proceeds from this campaign will go to the Canadian Red Cross. Once the campaing ends, we will post a screencap of the donation on Twitter to prove that all the money donated went exactly where it belongs.

“Today, Tyler and I are each donating $100 to start things off. Everyone who matches our individual donations ($100) will get a personal video message from Tyler and I. Just include your e-mail address with the donation.

“Everyone who gives anything at all will get a follow on Twitter from both of us as a thank you. Just include your Twitter handle with your donation.”

Click here to visit the GoFundMe page and donate now. Thanks!

WWE Returns to Louisville

A few random thoughts about last night’s visit from WWE to Louisville, Kentucky.

First and foremost: the Yum Center staff is amazing and accessibility for the disabled is great. I take a friend along who is in a wheelchair, and we had a much more pleasant experience here than at Freedom Hall. Wish the doors to the pedway from the parking garage had automatic door openers, but the Yum Center staff was so helpful I can overlook that.

WWE Shop Express was not available and that was disappointing. Made getting shirts super easy last time. We went out during an early match and got a shirt with no waiting but I liked shop express better.

AJ Styles and Tyler Breeze had a great opener. Breeze held his own with AJ and made his trainer Lance Storm proud. He also had more heat than anyone other than Sheamus and Kevin Owens with the fans. They were on him from the moment his music hit. Wish WWE would give him the push he deserves on the main roster.

Nice surprise to see Baron Corbin. He looks ready.

Goldust put on the make up for a house show run in. Another fun surprise.

If Alberto Del Rio is on a card, he will give you his money worth. Does everyone realize how good he is?

Kalisto is super over with the kids. Adults too.

Nice to see Summer Rae getting to actually wrestle as Sasha Banks’s tag partner. If you’ve only seen her on WWE you don’t know how good she is.

Sasha is a superstar on the rise.

Heel Sheamus has a lot of fans. Lots of cheers for him – until he got on the mic and riffed on Kentucky.

Louisville still loves OVW alum Mark Henry.

And your main event for WWE Louisville is… Jon Moxley vs. Kevin Steen. Who would have ever dreamed back 5 years ago this would be your main event at a WWE show?? Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens did not disappoint. They tore the house down, and they proved they are ready to be the top guys in the business. Owens got the most heat from the crowd, and Ambrose gets the biggest pop from the crowd. Matter of fact, he gets a bigger pop than anyone I’ve seen in Louisville except that one guy…

This is the first time in ages John Cena did not make an appearance in Louisville. Feels a little strange, because in all honesty, this is Cena’s town. There’s no split chanting for him here because of his legacy at OVW. No doubt he’ll be back and he’ll get the pop of the night when he returns.

The Ted Petty Invitational Returns

The rumors you’ve heard are true.

Yes, IWA Mid-South is hardcore.

Yes, the fans live for blood and gore.

Yes, they were so violent back in the 90s, they were kicked out of Kentucky.

But if you think IWA Mid-South is all blood and guts, think again.

This Friday, IWA Mid-South is resurrecting the “other” tournament it is famous for, the Ted Petty Invitational. The tournament began in 2000 as a showcase for the best technical wrestlers in the world, and in 2002, it was named in memory of Ted Petty.

If you’ve never heard of Ted Petty or the tournament that bears his name, here’s a look at the participants from the 2002 edition.

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Pictured in this photo: Christopher Daniels, Jimmy Rave, Matt Stryker, Colt Cabana, Spyder Nate Webb, “Sick” Nick Mondo, M-Dogg 20 (Matt Cross), AJ Styles, Ace Steel, Chris Hero, BJ Whitmer, Tarek the Great and CM Punk.

Not pictured: “All That” Matt Murphy, “Kamikaze” Ken Anderson & Super Dragon.

Other past participants include Nova, Mike Quackenbush, Jerry Lynn, Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt, Nigel McGuinness, Samoa Joe, Matt Sydal, Hallowicked, Kevin Owens, Delirious, Davey Richards, Ricochet, Low Ki, Tracy Smothers, and Sami Callihan.

Not enough name dropping for you? How about Sara Del Ray (the woman behind NXT’s Four Horsewomen), Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, and Daniel Bryan?

Yes, IWA is hardcore, but it is much, much more than that.

Some of the IWA Mid-South faithful say this year may prove to be the best tournament ever. With names like Kongo Kong, Chris Hero, Reed Bentley, Hy Zaya, Shane Mercer, and Masada on the card, they may be right.

The action kicks off Friday night at the Colgate Gym in Clarksville, Indiana. Click here to go to the event page for ticket information. 

You’re welcome.

Why You Better Not Skip Survivor Series

Sunday is a can’t miss pay-per-view for many reasons.

For one, you’re going to see a new champion crowned. Someone who has never held the belt will walk out of Survivor series as world champion. It could be Kevin Owens. It could be Dean Ambrose. It could be Roman Reigns.

Reigns is the odds on favorite, but if he’s not your man, that’s no reason to skip this Sunday! The same people booing Roman are the ones who have been chanting, “Anyone but Cena,” for years. If those fans don’t turn up this Sunday, you know what to expect come Royal Rumble time.

The WWE will be watching the numbers very carefully this weekend. If the numbers are good, you will see more of Reigns, but you will also see more of Owens, Ambrose, Cesaro, Neville, the Wyatts, the New Day, and the rising stars of the WWE.

And if you’re one of those who have been chanting, “We want Sasha,” show up early for the pre-show and watch her. WWE watches those numbers too.

History will be made this weekend. Tune in and show you’re ready for what comes next.

The Door Opens a Little Wider

https://youtu.be/qB-qEKI37eY

Seth Rollins is out 6-9 months.

The WWE title is vacant.

Rollins will be back in less than a year, and when he returns, he’ll likely get a huge babyface pop. He will be bigger than ever.

Question is, who will step up and take the top spot?

Orton is out for months, also injured.

Cena’s gone until late December.

Brock will be back in January.

Vince is about to push Roman Reigns to the moon… but who will garner the fans’ support?

Cesaro? Owens? Ambrose? Ziggler? Ryback?

Dare I say it… Sasha Banks?

Pick your favorite and tune in. A star is going to be born out of this.

Anybody but Cena? Prove it!

John Cena is out for two months. Every time he’s out, the ratings drop. This in spite of all the “Cena sucks” and “Anybody but Cena” mantras of the Internet wrestling fans.

If you’re ready to “move on” from John Cena, it’s time to prove it.

Do not miss Raw and Smackdown. Watch them again on Hulu and DVR.

Do not miss the pay-per-views that air while he is gone.

Above all, show support for your next guy. You don’t like Roman Reigns? Fine. Buy a shirt to support KO, Ambrose, Ryback, Cesaro, Rollins, Ziggler. Whomever your guy is, put your money where your mouth is. That’s really how the WWE pays attention to whom they need to push.

Reality is, Cena’s a once in a generation star. There are some very talented guys waiting in the wings to take his spot right now, but I’m not sure there’s any one guy yet ready to fill his shoes. The time is coming he won’t want to lace them up as often, but if the ratings plunge like normal, you can expect another major Cena push all the way through Wrestlemania!

Why you should read Eat Sleep Wrestle

esw coverMany wrestling fans are enjoying the indy invasion that has quietly taken over the WWE. They reveled in the triumphs of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. They’re loving the incredible matches put on by Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, and Luke Harper, just to name a few. “Finally,” they say, “Finally, the indies are taking over the WWE.”

Let’s be honest: most of those fans, even the most ardent, were not watching the indies when CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Kevin Steen, Tyler Black, Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Brodie Lee were working the warehouses, the high school gyms, and the roller rinks that have become today’s indy wrestling arenas. Most of those fans would be hard pressed to even match the WWE names with the indie names.

That’s a shame, because even with so much talent in the WWE, there’s still more where it came from in the indies. There are names people know or have heard of like Colt Cabana, Chris Hero, and Adam Cole. There are veterans like Sabu, Tracy Smothers, Apollo, LuFisto, and Mad Man Pondo. And there are plenty more they need to hear: Jamin Olivencia, Aaron Williams, Crazy Mary Dobson, the Lovely Lylah, Ron Mathis, Marc Hauss, Eric Emanon, Hy Zaya, and Tyson Dux.

Eat Sleep Wrestle is an introduction to today’s indie wrestling world. It’s a look at the lives of those who truly eat, sleep, and breathe the business. From those just starting out to those working multiple jobs to those who live from show to show, it’s the story of the men and women keeping indie wrestling alive.

I’ve just dropped the price on the book to $9.99. Kindle readers can get it for $3.99. If you’re enjoying what you see on WWE but have never bothered to check out what’s happening on the indie scene near you, this is the kick in the pants you need. Not only that, it’s the kick in the pants every dreamer needs. These stories will do more than make you a fan. They will inspire you to pursue your own dreams.

Get Eat Sleep Wrestle now on Amazon.com!