Throwback Thursday: Verne Gagne & Mad Dog Vachon vs Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis

Verne GagneVerne Gagne passed away this week. The guy was a legend in the business and he was an extremely influential man in the business. I don’t know if wrestling would have ended up with some of the stars that it did if it weren’t for the AWA and what Gagne did for that organization.

Of course, having said that, his refusal to change with the times and watching his roster get raided on a monthly basis also resulted in the AWA closing up shop. But after providing a great launching pad for Rick Martel, Curt Hennig, Vader, Scott Hall, the Road Warriors, the Rockers, and numerous others…it certainly did a lot for the business.

So for those who never really got the chance to see Gagne in action, here’s a classic for you to enjoy.

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RAW Thoughts

On the heels of Extreme Rules, we now get to see how WWE plan on launching their follow-up direction. How will RAW play out tonight? How about…

Seth Rollins– The show started with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins making his way to the ring with J&J Security and Kane. It didn’t take long before Rollins took all the credit for his win the night before and insulted Kane. The two of them began to argue (again), but were interrupted by Randy Orton. He demanded a rematch. Just as Kane was about to say he deserved a rematch, Roman Reigns‘ music hit and he made his way to the ring. He claimed that he deserved a title shot instead of Randy.  Kane then suggested a tag match between him and Rollins against Orton and Reigns. Thus we ended the segment. Umm….yeah.

My problem with the segment wasn’t the storyline itself, but the blase nature that both Orton and Reigns claimed to deserve a title shot. There was no urgency or anger over the whole thing. I just expect some passion when it comes to the title.

Barrett vs Ziggler– The first match of the evening was a 1st-round contest in the 2015 King of the Ring tournament with Dolph Ziggler taking on Bad News Barrett. It was a pretty darn good back-n-forth contest with Ziggler gaining momentum once Barrett missed a Bull Hammer. All of a sudden, Sheamus came out and distracted Ziggler long enough for Barrett to take advantage with a Bull Hammer for the pinfall…advancing in the tournament.

Kidd vs Big EThe New Day, the new WWE tag team champions, made their way out to the ring. They tried to start a chant of “New Day Rocks“, but (as expected) that didn’t really work. The match scheduled to take place is Big E taking on Tyson Kidd in singles action. I like the fact that New Day is taking the heel approach because they’re over as a team people simply don’t like. This ended quickly as Big E had a pin attempt on Kidd when Xavier Woods held down Kidd’s foot to prevent him from kicking out. This may have been over way too soon, but I like what they are doing.

Bo Dallas vs RybackRyback came out next. Ugh. He got some cheers, but nothing too big. Good lord I dislike this guy. He was scheduled to take on “The Inspirational” Bo Dallas (big pop from me). I love his gimmick and his character and would love to see Vince & Management truly “get” the gimmick long enough to see it succeed. Unfortunately, this was a glorified squash.

Once the match was over, Bray Wyatt appeared in the ring and immediately gave him Sister Abigail to leave “The Big Guy” laying.Bray vs Ryback

I really don’t know if this is such a good idea if they want to push Ryback as a fan favourite. If anything, this will increase Wyatt’s fan base and decrease Ryback’s…unless Wyatt can do a LOT to turn the crowds against him.

John Cena came out next for a John Cena United States Title Open Challenge. He started off by describing the situation between himself and Rusev and how their next match will be an “I Quit” match at Payback. Cena basically gave up the ending of the match by saying this will be their last match, win or lose…because if he can’t win and defend America, then he doesn’t deserve a rematch. Nice to see that Rusev will lose again. Sigh…

Heath Slater came out as the guy who would challenge Cena. Thankfully, Rusev kicked his head off before the match could begin.

Lana came out to cheers, but Rusev made her return to the back to a “We Want Lana” chant. Rusev then insulted Cena and insulted Americans before the Russian flag dropped behind Cena.

Stardust vs R Truth– We have the second match of the 2015 King of the Ring tournament. R-Truth came out dancing like a moron, as per usual. Stardust came out next, and you already know who is advancing here. Of course, I fall asleep and wake up once the 3-count is made and imagine my shock to see R-Truth advancing. Seriously…WTF??

Adam Rose vs Fandango– Out came the newly babyface FANDANGO to take on Adam Rose. It’s really a battle of two gimmicks that could be tweaked just enough to be massively over. Regardless, Fandango showed a little bit of babyface flare before Rosa Mendez decided to come out and distract Fandango. Next thing you know, Rose hit his finishing move (whatever it is) and pinned Fandango.

Rosa then got on the mic and said that she now had a guy who treated her with respect. She then muckled onto Rose and made out with him in the ring as Fandango walked away slightly confused.

The entire crowd sat on their hands for this turn of events, and why shouldn’t they? Are they supposed to cheer Rosa because she’s a spurned woman? Should they cheer Fandango when he walks away like a heel that just got shown-up? If the crowd doesn’t know who they are supposed to cheer, then you’ve lost the entire reason for people to care about the storyline to begin with.

Brie Bella was interviewed backstage to discuss Daniel Bryan’s injuries. WHEN IN THE HELL DID THE BELLA’S TURN BABYFACE AND WHY IN THE HELL SHOULD I GIVE TWO SHITS???

Brie vs Naomi– Brie took on Naomi next. I love Naomi’s new wrestling boots, as the bottoms of the boots change colours as she wrestles. It’s the beginning of a make-over as she transitions into a heel. She needs a bit more, though. Just look at Sasha Banks in NXT…she’s got the TOTAL package in terms of heel persona AND look/gimmick. Anyway…the crowd was completely dead for this match (again) and (again) why shouldn’t they be silent? WWE hasn’t given them a reason to cheer for Brie Bella other than being married to Daniel Bryan. Naomi rolled-up Bella in a VERY sloppy inside small package and pinned her (Booker T…hard-on showing through the TV screen…called it “beautiful technique” like a moron).

Dean Ambrose vs Sheamus was our next 2015 King of the Ring tournament match.

Ambrose vs SheamusThe match was pretty good, as both of these individuals are upper-midcard players on the cusp of being main eventers and can both “go” inside the ring. Things were beginning to build to a conclusion with a battle on the outside. The referee was visibly counting and reached 6 when Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick and pretty much knocked Ambrose out. Immediately afterwards, Dolph Ziggler came running out and attacked Sheamus, which sent the pasty-white-Viking running for the hills. It was announced that Sheamus won by disqualification, which upset Ambrose; but let’s be honest, Ambrose would have been counted out anyway so he needs to stop whining like a bitch.Dolph Ziggler vs Sheamus

Damien Sandow came out and delivered an in-ring promo.

Axel vs SandowIt was a pretty decent promo where he thanked the crowd and then asked the question we’re all wondering: where does he go from here? Out came Curtis “AxelMania” Axel. As Axel tried to get angry, Sandow began mocking him to the cheers of the crowd…apparently showing the world his new gimmick is mocking his opponent. Axel went after Sandow but he did some Hogan-esque punches before delivering a legdrop to end the segment. I wasn’t sure if this was all going to work, but the crowd seemed into it.

Luke Harper vs Neville– The final 1st-round 2015 King of the Ring tournament match-up is Neville taking on Luke Harper. Obviously, this is a big man vs smaller man type of match. Thankfully, Luke Harper is the PERFECT big man to make Neville look incredible. After five+ minutes, the crowd was chanting “This is awesome” and they were right. This was really a great match and Harper was spectacular in making Neville look spectacular without looking weak in any way. It was a perfect match to feature Neville’s strengths. After a Red Arrow, Neville successfully advanced in the tournament.

Rollins vs Orton– It was finally time for the main event: Roman Reigns & Randy Orton vs Kane & Seth Rollins. The match itself was quite entertaining. It was a paint-by-numbers match, but the crowd seemed into it and that’s all that matters. At one point, i asked on Twitter when a good time for Kane to retire would be, having recently turned 48 years old. These were some of the responses I got…

Rollins dropkicks KaneAfter earlier dropkicking Kane by mistake, Rollins went to do a flying plancha on the babyfaces but hit Kane instead. Kane went nuts and threw Rollins back into the ring where he was hit by a Superman Punch from Reigns and an RKO from Orton for the 1-2-3. The crowd went apeshit for the finish, so at least in Green Bay it appears that WWE is doing something right.

It was then announced that the WWE Universe voted for a triple threat main event at Payback. What’s notable, however, is that Reigns got over double the votes that Orton got…so WWE should definitely take that as a good sign. It seems that Reigns is slowly winning over his doubters through hard work and better performances. App voting

All in all, it wasn’t the greatest RAW of all time, but it certainly didn’t suck. It was a decent show that set up some feuds for Payback.

FIRST LOOK: Jared Leto as The Joker

I recently rolled my eyes at how Jared Leto was looking in public with his new green hair as the new version of The Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie.

Jared Leto - Joker green hairI 100% percent take that all back. I mean…holy good goddamn, just LOOK at this picture!!

Jared-Leto-JokerFUCK YEAH!!! I’m all over this new version of The Joker. This is an incredibly new and different take on the character and holy shit…is it ever bad-ass.

Bring on the Suicide Squad!!

25 All-Time Hottest Female Wrestlers: #15 – Lana

Lana 8Lana 9Born Catherine “C.J.” Perry, the WWE Diva now known as “The Ravishing Russian” Lana has been a huge impact in a relatively short period of time. She signed with WWE in mid-2013 and made her NXT debut in October. She appeared on WWE television in January 2014 and has been a heat magnet (for more than one reason) ever since.Lana 3

Lana 6I realize that this pick is a bit of a stretch since, y’know, Lana has never wrestled and is currently a manager, a trained actress, and a singer…so I do not expect her to be wrestling any time soon. But you can’t deny her incredible beauty and she deserves to be on this list. Having been raised in Latvia, she speaks fluent Russian and is dating the person she is managing on television, Rusev.Lana 7

Lana 10TRIVIA NOTE: Lana has appeared in the movies Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, was a spokesmodel for Red Bull, and was a member of the girl group No Means Yes. She also just wrapped up filming a WWE Films production with Adam “Edge” Copeland called Interrogation.Lana 11 Lana 1 Lana 4 Lana 2

The World According to ZAH

  • Extreme Rules takes place this Sunday. Here are my picks:
    • Extreme RulesSheamus vs Dolph Ziggler – I’m not sure why they did a “Kiss Me Arse” match between these two, but it’ll be a shame that Ziggler has to pucker up when all is said and done. You don’t bring back Sheamus and push him the way you have to see him lose on his first PPV match.
    • Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs The New Day – As much as I hate to say this, but I smell a title change here. Why? The New Day is an act that WWE Creative is putting time into. You may not see it on the surface, but it’s happening. To have them win the titles would help elevate them as a team and prove WWE management right for spending all the money on them to get them over in the first place. I love Cesaro and enjoy Kidd, but I don’t think there’s money with them as champions. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s money to be made with New Day.
    • Big Show vs Roman ReignsBig Show vs Roman Reigns – I just don’t see the point of Reigns being decimated by Show if you’re not going to blow off this feud with him coming out on top. Especially after taking the fall at WrestleMania, you need to rebuild Reigns into the viable main eventer that you want him to be. I’ve read about potential outside interference from his next possible feud (i.e. Bray Wyatt), but I hope that doesn’t happen. This feud with Show needs to end with a definitive finish. Let Wyatt attack him post-match.
    • Ambrose vs HarperDean Ambrose vs Luke Harper – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve put over Harper as one of the best “big men” I’ve ever seen inside the squared circle. And I mean EVER. This guy is phenomenal. Having said that, Ambrose is coming off of a number of losses to marquee names and needs to get a bit of revenge against Harper. While a Harper win would really help him out, I think Ambrose’s character needs the push a bit more right now.
    • Naomi vs Nikki BellaNaomi vs. Nikki Bella – I think it’s safe to say that the “Nikki Bella Divas Champion Experiment” is finally coming to an end. It’s just too bad that AJ has retired and Paige is off doing whatever she’s doing, because there are very few women on the main roster who can run with the Divas title successfully. I don’t believe Naomi is one of those people. She’s extremely athletic, but she hasn’t brought all of the pieces together yet. She isn’t connecting with people, good or bad. Until that happens, she’ll be yet another lame-duck Divas champion.
    • Bryan vs BarrettBad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan – While I think it’s a joke to believe that Barrett can become a SIX TIME Intercontinental champion (especially considering how he was booked during his last title reign), WWE simply can’t trust Bryan right now to stay healthy. It sucks, but I think the “Yes Movement” might be on its last legs. I have more thoughts on Bryan below.
    • Cena vs RusevRusev vs John Cena – Believe me, there is nothing I want more than to see Rusev come out on top against Cena here, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think WWE wants Cena to run as U.S. champion for some time so he can bring stability and fan interest to the belt. You can easily have the world champion main-eventing on one house show circuit with Cena main-eventing on the other. I don’t think you can do that with Rusev as champion. I don’t know where Rusev goes from here, but he regroups and goes after somebody new.
    • Orton & RollinsSeth Rollins vs Randy Orton – Rollins is obviously not losing the title here. There is no way they’re pulling the plug already on a red-hot heel champion who is getting more and more over as a heel every single week. With Kane being involved as “the gatekeeper”, I expect some shenanigans and outside interference. But when all is said and done, Rollins walks out WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
  • Bryan vs BarrettSo what’s the deal with Daniel Bryan? I mean, at this point should he still be even wrestling at all? If he’s not able to wrestle at the PPV, why not just write him out of the show? If he is cleared to wrestle, then he should lose the title to Bad News Barrett and prove that he can remain healthy before getting another run with a title. I mean, this is why Roman Reigns was in the main event of WrestleMania and why Seth Rollins is the champion right now: Daniel Bryan is a major risk. You simply can’t put all of your eggs into his basket until he’s proven himself able to remain healthy for an extended period of time. Sad, but true.
  • It’s funny…I thought the movie Tomorrowland was going to be some kind of “sci-fi family drama” that looked pretty decent. Then the new movie trailer came out and it became a TOTALLY different type of movie! This thing looks kick-ass!

  • Tebow EaglesA little while ago I mentioned how Tim Tebow to the Philadelphia Eagles wasn’t that big of a crazy thought. Sure enough, the Eagles signed Tebow this week. Obviously, he could still be cut before opening day, but I think he fits into Chip Kelly’s offense perfectly. If he’s improved his skills over the past two years, then he’s certainly young enough to have quite the little run in Philly.
  • You’d think that, as a Canadian, I’d be all over the NHL playoffs. Truth be told, I don’t give a shit about hockey. I’m an NFL fan all the way, which is weird because I don’t even care for the Canadian Football League at all. I guess I’m just an American at heart.Hockey sucks
  • There’s a Canadian WWE tour next weekend. I’m going to the show in Halifax, Nova Scotia with my son but I’m starting to wonder just who is going to show up. From what I hear, John Cena and Roman Reigns will be in Montreal, so that cuts us out. Daniel Bryan’s injured, so he’s gone. What does that leave us with? Well…hopefully Orton vs Rollins but I won’t hold my breath. Regardless, I’ll be writing about it.
  • SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!! (part one)

  • SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!! (part two)

  • NO THANKS…I’LL KEEP MY MONEY.

  • I’m too old to truly love this song, but I do. This song is hella-fun. Song of the Week is “Trampoline” by Kalin & Myles.

Throwback Thursday – Kenta Kobashi vs KENTA

Hideo ItamiIn NXT, Hideo Itami has had a visible struggle trying to acclimate himself with the “WWE style”. Maybe it’s his size, maybe it’s the language barrier, or maybe it’s a lack of “sports entertainment”…but whatever the reason, Itami has had a really tough time adjusting.

Here’s the thing…Itami is an international superstar who has wrestled for years under the name KENTA. All you need to do is check out some of his matches from his time in Pro Wrestling NOAH to really get a sense of what he brings to the table when properly booked and motivated.

This week’s Throwback Thursday is from 2004 and features KENTA going up against one of the greatest performers of all time, Kenta Kobashi.

Enjoy…

Avengers vs Dawn of Justice: Why A Movie Teaser Makes All The Difference

So you’ve got two superhero movies. One is supposed to be THE team-up event of the year. The other is supposed to be THE team-up event of next year. The only problem is that one of them has tremendous buzz going into its opening weekend while the other just released a “teaser trailer” that has underwhelmed the majority of the fanbase it was trying to excite.

Here’s the deal…

Avengers - Age of UltronLet’s take a look at The Avengers: Age of Ultron for a second. Obviously, it’s got some massively large shoes to fill after the last movie took in over a billion dollars at the box office. From top to bottom, it was probably the best all-around hero movie ever made (next to The Dark Knight, of course). It had a little bit of everything for everybody.

How did Marvel decide to begin anticipation for the movie? Here is the incredible teaser for Age of Ultron:

Batman vs Superman - Dawn of JusticeLet’s now take a look at Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. This is supposed to be the cornerstone for the new DC movie universe. The re-introduction of Batman to the movies has been seen with a combination of excitement and extreme trepidation. Add to that the appearances of Wonder Woman and (presumably) Aquaman, and you’ve got a lot of excitement by the DC fanbase. Equal to Marvel? No…but still, this IS Batman fighting Superman, after all!

So how did DC respond with their teaser trailer?

I don’t think it’d be hard to argue that one teaser was miles better than the other. I don’t think it would be hard to argue that one movie, through teasers, intrigued fans and gave them what they were looking for while the other film tried to purposely show the world just how “different” and “serious” and “dark” they wanted to be.

Ant ManIt’s safe to say that Marvel knows how to make a teaser trailer (for the most part, anyway…I’ll talk about problems with Ant-Man tomorrow). They seem to know their audience perfectly and try to give them as much “WOW Factor” with every trailer that they can.

Jared Leto - Joker green hairDC, on the other hand, is already starting behind the eight ball. Add to that Zack Snyder’s incessant need to be “artsy” with his trailer instead of really giving people a glimpse of how awesome his movie can be, and you’ve got a teaser that confuses more than it entertains. Based on that trailer alone, I have zero desire to see it in the theatre…and that’s a shame because the DC movie universe could end up being really awesome (e.g. Suicide Squad already sounds unbelievably cool, in spite of how lame Jared Leto’s Joker seems to be looking).

So what’s the problem, DC? Why can’t you make a trailer with similar “WOW Factor”? I would like to think that Batman physically fighting Superman could be an incredible sight to behold, but instead we’re squinting to see Supes flying in the dark rain while Bats is dressed-up like his Lego counterpart.Dawn of Justice Batman vs Lego Batman

Marvel followed-up their teaser with trailer after trailer full of action and drama and comedy; in other words, everything their fans have come to expect from Marvel films. The movie is bound to break records and we’re already looking forward to seeing how it unravels Phase 3 of the Marvel Movie Universe.Phase 3

I really hope somehow that DC fixes this problem and FAST. The feedback from this teaser is overwhelmingly tepid at best and they have lost all buzz to the Star Wars trailer. Releasing this the day after was NOT a good idea, either.

Let’s go, DC…you don’t have the best track record when it comes to superhero movies. Put on your big boy pants and try to give the world the movie it’s wanting to see.Supes