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.

NXT Louisville – January 2017

Just a few notes of things that left a lasting impression after seeing my first NXT show Friday night in Louisville:

Glorious! 

It’s not often a heel is sung to the ring by an arena full of fans. I think it’s safe to say Bobby Roode’s theme song is an instant classic.

Ten! Ten! Ten! 

There were more “Ten!” chants Friday night than there were chants for anything or anyone else. Tye Dillinger wasn’t in the building, yet he was probably the most over man in the room.

Ciampa and Gargano 

The team known as #DIY spent a good 10-15 minutes taking pictures and signing autographs before they got on the bus. Considering it was around 33 degrees and drizzling rain, it was way above and beyond. Those two are a class act.

“Don’t Make Me Come Out There!” 

Nothing makes me smile more at a wrestling show than seeing a heel get into it with a kid. Eric Young and a boy seated in the third row had several heated exchanges. Young never made good on his promise to “come out there,” but he made that kid’s night.

Nakamura

You have to see Nakamura in person to fully appreciate how great he is. He has charisma in the ring on a level with the Rock, even without the Rock’s gift for words. Time will tell if his act translates to the main stage.

Drake Wuertz

The former hardcore legend remembered around these parts as Drake Younger was back in the arena before the fans left, taking down the ring. You are never too old or too big to lend a hand and do the work, no matter what your walk of life or what your career choice may be.

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.