Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hardcore Animated Wrestling Trivia

So for those who don't know, I produced and hosted the FIRST EVER pro wrestling internet radio talk show, And Justice For Brawl, for Pseudo.com from 1997-2000. Yes, it was the FIRST EVER. Not to mention that it soon became the FIRST EVER pro wrestling internet television talk show!!! And that is pretty much how I scored numerous jobs, including one with WCW. That's another story!

So while at Pseudo, I was burning up the ratings. And the powers that be thought it would be a good idea for the shows on the network to cross promote and give each other a little rub and possibly convert audiences. Somehow or another, I got paired up with an animated trivia show. The producer, Phillip Galinsky was a good friend of mine, but I had no idea how we could do some cross promotions.

So we had a couple of production meetings and tossed around some ideas. We came up with some skits where I attacked Philly while he was doing voice over work for the show, but it didn't seem authentic enough. My audience didn't want to see me attack a guy they didn't even know.

ECW was at its peak, and I told them that what we needed to do was turn the tables. His trivia show, Thunk, was a family oriented program with interactive animated characters. So I told him, what if one day, they "turned heel". South Park was also big at the time and I suggested that his family oriented characters turn into some foul mouthed assholes. It would shock their audience and my audience would tune in to see something they could relate to, and I threw in a couple of prizes to make the deal sweeter.

So one day, I come into the studio and THIS is what I see...

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Bill Apter Interviews Jeff Jarrett in NWA Cyberspace

Here is one of those videos that proves that most big name stars really don't give two shits or a cup or warm piss how they perform on the indy scene. Now don't get me wrong - I got much love and respect for Jeff Jarrett, but you can tell here that Double J was just collecting a check and getting a workout.

I'm always asked about the quality of matches you get on the indy scene from the top former WWE stars. The truth is, you rarely get anything that is worth talking about. You're lucky that they got on the plane and made it to the building. Had they not *cough*Sid Vicious*cough*, then you have to go into the ring and make up some shitty excuse to the fans about why the headliner no-showed and then offer refunds. Unless you're Frank Goodman who just false advertises and then says... "Not my fault".

Jeff Jarrett is a great talent and I never really had trouble working with him, until the very end of his run in my promotion. But I always held a deep respect for Jeff and was honored to call him my champion throughout 2005. The matches were just BLAH. After watching the first one, I knew I was going to have to choreograph all the others down the line so they told a story in the ring. The promos were general, as if saying, "Look.. This video is proof that I was here. That should be good enough. I'll be wrestling whatever indy guy you put in the ring with me next month right here in... umm... what's the name of this town again?"

But like I said, it's proof he was there.... I guess that works for me... No, not really. But it is what it is. Pro wrestling... What else do you expect from it?

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The Mack Attacks A Whiteboy

Remember how I was telling you about working with Rodney Mack right after he was released from the WWE? Remember I told you about wanting to continue the gimmick he had going with the "Whiteboy Challenge"? Well, I didn't exactly do the challenge, but I did let the mad dog off the chain. So guess what I found?... YEP! Some footage of Rodney Mack attacking a whiteboy!

This video is pretty funny, and features Devin Sturgis who plays a "white ghetto pimp". His gimmick and look was awesome! Especially for what I had planned with Rodney. And since I'm such a filmmaker at heart - the director in me told me turn it up a notch and give mixed signals to get a better performance.

Mixed signals? What are you talking about ol' grand master? Oh, let me explain....!!!

In Hollywood, there are some notorious directors who do some seriously crazy shit in order to get the performance out of their actors. For the most part, it's considered method acting. In this case, it's "Holy Sh!t! What the F*ck!"

The difference here is that the audience doesn't necessarily blurt that out. Actually, the may just piss on themselves laughing. It;s the actors/performers who say it. See, I went to Devin and told hin the set up for the promo. He knew he was gonna approach Rodney and get shoved off after his interview request. Devin, the kind and gentle soul that he is, said, "No problem DieHard. You got it! That's easy!" The conversation with Devin lasted 2 minutes.

Then I go to Rodney...and the story I have for him is a little different...but for motivational method purposes. This conversation was about 12 minutes. I said, "Ok Rodney, here's what I want from you... This is a whiteboy who thinks he's black. He's mocking you and your people. Pimp clothes, gold chains, talking like he's from the hood... I need you to straighten that shit out.... By the way, did I mention he was white??.... Anyway, I want you to be mad, insulted, enraged... I want you to feel like you just got out of prison and you wanna anally rape the first whiteboy you see... I already spoke to Devin. He knows what to expect. All good!... The clock is ticking. When I call action - just explode... By thay, he's VERY white and making fun of black people. Not seriously... but like in an old school black-face way... and ACTION!"

Well... You'll see what happens next!

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Diamond Dallas Page Message To Chris Kanyon (Pre-Fight)

How many promoters can say they hosted a retirement match? Well, I have that claim under my belt... Actually, I have two. But like Ric Flair - no one ever sticks to their word!

In 2004, I became the booker of NWA Cyberspace in New Jersey. One of the first shows I produced was designed to be our yearly "Wrestliemania" type of event. I knew it had to be big and I knew I had to get some kind of draw. So when you're in a spot like that, you call your friends. And in this business, they are few and far between.

Diamond Dallas Page was retired from the business and working on his yoga project. He hadn't been seen since his botched run in the WWE. When I spoke to Page and asked him if he'd be interested in working for me, he said, "Fuck yeah bro! Anything for you DieHard!" That alone makes my time int he business worth the ride.

His only condition was that he had a few select guys that he was willing to work with. he had been injured and didn't want to risk making it any worse, especially on an indy level. I totally understood. When he ran down the names of guys that he wanted to work with, the name the clicked for me was Chris Kanyon.

Kanyon was one of the most underrated wrestlers in the history of WCW. He was always that "go-to" guy but never got the credit he deserved. I knew he had been battling his own personal demons which eventually claimed his life, but Kanyon was looking for one last great match. And I was lucky enough to give it to him.

Kanyon told me he wanted to go out with a bang, and if it could be against his good friend DDP, then he would be happy to call it a career. We built up the match over the course of three shows. It was a pretty slick set up if I may say so myself, especially at the indy level. And it was executed to perfection.

Part of the build up was a couple of pre-recorded promos I shot with DDP in New York. Again, this was at the indy level and there only a handful of companies willing to go the extra mile like I was. I guess that's what brought out the haters and those who tried to cripple the company. Those who can't do themselevs will do anything and everything to destroy what you have. Another prime example of why I carry the "DieHard" name!

So here is one of the promos that led into the first ever Cybercade event!

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Rodney Mack Debut In NWA Cyberspace

I always loved seeing how wrestlers would debut in a new promotion. Especially when they are a known name, it's always interesting to see how they're arrival is handled because it normally determines the impact they have on the roster and in storylines.

So when I had the chance to work with Rodney Mack, he had just been released from the WWE. During his run, he was managed by Teddy Long and was doing a gimmick called "The White Boy Challenge". I loved the concept and wanted to continue it in some fashion. So I made him a full blown racist. That was fun... and it came with a TON of stories that I'll talk about at a later date and show off some videos that will make you say - "How the hell did you get away with that???"

Long story short, I wanted to add some attributes to his character that he didn't have in the WWE. One was his finishing move. I wanted to go a little old school with this one, so I took a page out of Bad News Brown's book and told Rodney that his new finisher was going to be a modified version of the Ghetto Blaster. The "gimmick" was that he had a loaded boot. So when you got blasted - you were carried out and off the next few shows with a concussion. I figure that would be a nice way to pose a threat to my top babyfaces and champions.

On the first day I got to work with Rodney, we didn't have enough time to go over the actual maneuvering of the finisher. So we shot this promo with wannabe Rock lookalike, The Smoke. The result...??? Well, you'll see for yourself!

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Fallen Angel Throwback - Triple X Interview with Bill Apter

In the early days of TNA Wrestling, Christopher Daniels and tag team partner Prime Time Elix Skipper brought their talents to northeast indy promotion NWA Cyberspace. Daniels and Skipper, collectively known as Triple X were forced to split as a team on TNA programming - but through a "loop hole", they were able to reunite on the indy scene. That was until Daniels decided to turn on his partner and choose the path to success as a singles wrestler.

In this video shot exclusively for NWA Cyberspace and DieHard Pro Wrestling, legendary magazine editor Bill Apter interviews the former teammates regarding the turn of events.

Daniels was the X-Division champion at the time and Elix Skipper was still trying to find a path of his own until he became NWA Cyberspace's Cruiser-X champion. This interview was gearing up for the ultimate high flying showdown - but unfortunately, it never got to see the light of day. With Daniels as one of the hottest performers on scene, there were numerous conflicts in schedule and the match never took place.

Ironically, the former partners ended up having a series of matches on TNA programming - but Skipper parted ways with the company soon after.

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Fallen Angel Throwback - NWA CS Backstage Promo

Back on the NWA Cyberspace scene, Triple X (Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper) briefly reunited and set their sights on champions America's Most Wanted ("Wildcat" Chris Harris and "Cowboy" James Storm). It was a shock to many as Triple X was forced to split as a team after losing to AMW on a TNA PPV - but through a "loop hole", Cyberspace promoters were able to have the team pair up again on the indy scene.

Apparently, news of the temporary Triple X reformation didn't make its way back to the TNA locker room, as champions AMW were surprised attacked at the Fatal Attraction show in Wayne, NJ. The interference cost America's Most Wanted the tag team titles as they were upset by northeast indy tag team The Solution ("Greek God" Papadon and Havok) managed by "Sure Thing" John Shane.

It was a bigger victory for Triple X to embarrass AMW on the indy scene than it would have been to take the belts themselves. Here is the rare backstage promo featuring Triple X crashing The Solution's celebration and a hint that they'd be interested in having the favor returned in form of a championship match. The only thing no one knew, was that the Fallen Angel had other plans...and they didn't involve partner Elix Skipper!

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A Love Letter To TNA Wrestling

If you read my posts and rants, you might think that I despise the TNA product. Now to set matters straight, I can't stomach the product because it is some of the worst pro wrestling writing that I've ever seen... but it doesn't mean that I hate it.

I have a small history with TNA Wrestling, and if there is a word to sum up my feeling toward what they have become, it would be "disappointed". In some instances, I could use two words like "Epic Failure", but I think that would be too harsh and I would much rather prefer to save that term for the day that they cease operations. And let's be perfectly clear - I hope that day NEVER comes.

I recently wrote a love letter to TNA Wrestling on my wrestling blog. No, not that kind of love letter. One that actually opens up how most wrestling fans feel about the current excessively flawed product and what we want out of it. The fans want this promotion to succeed. I want this promotion to succeed. But the only way for to happen and the only way to make change is for TNA to hear the voice of the fans.

It's your money. It's your passion. It's your time. All being wasted on a product that has stalled for years. DEMAND better from TNA. Tell them you believe in them and are disappointed in their effort. Tell them what you want, who you like, who the REAL stars are. You have to speak and sometimes scream. And when the voices are loud enough, they'll listen. They want your money! They want you to be fans! They need you to be successful. So in order to earn your hard cash and loyalty, they need to give YOU what YOU want. The social media networks give you direct access to them. It's time for wrestling fans to demand better from TNA Wrestling!

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Will Next Year's Special Attraction Be Punk vs. Austin?

I have to admit, the WWE has done a hell of a job over the last year building up the WrestleMania 28 main event (or should I say, featured match?) between John Cena and The Rock. Sure there were some bumps in the road along the way. And yes, we had to endure the senseless feud between John Cena and Kane just as filler material. But overall, WWE creative has done a solid job at building the anticipation for this match up.

Apparently, anytime Vince McMahon comes up with a good idea, eh has to ride it until the wheel falls off. Hell in A Cell was a unique concept that became it's own PPV. Same can be said for Money In The Bank and the Elimination Chamber. But apparently, despite the risk of booking 12 months in advance and keeping your fingers crossed that nothing plagues either performer, there was talk of Vince making it a new yearly tradition in having the main event of next year's Wrestlemania planned and booked the day after this year's WrestleMania. Therefore every year, there would be one main event/featured match that would be announced 12 months in advance. Not sure how I'm feeling about that one.

It was a nice novelty when it was done the day after WrestleMania last year. The Rock is a solid performer and still in great physical condition. But if a rematch isn't on the menu for next year, then who else can they try to book for a 12 month program? Word around the campfire was that Cm Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin was next on the slate - but there are a million concerns that come weighing down on that dream match.

First off, Austin is not in the same condition as The Rock is. Austin has been gone for so long that this generation needs to get re-introduced to him to make this work. At least for The Rock, he has a phenomenal film career with franchise movies like Fast and The Furious and G.I. Joe. I doubt anyone is renting or watching Steve Austin's straight to DVD movies. The Rock can still work and bring his A-game. Austin is rusty, maybe out of shape and broken down. Punk would run circles around him while The Rattlesnake is limited to punching, kicking and slipping in the Stunner. On top of that, Austin is great on the mic, but can he build the drama in his promos for 12 months? He's not as entertaining as The Rock. And in order for Austin to get over, he has to do what he normally does, and that is nail EVERYONE on the roster with the Stunner. So now, everyone has to take his finisher to make him a star again. After the first few stunners, it pop will quickly fade. So does it work?

Secondly, this is Wrestlemania. Sure it was built on as the super bowl of pro wrestling where the biggest feuds of the year are settled one and for all in the biggest matches of the year. But is it right to have a "featured match" outshine your championship main event? It's already bad enough that there are two heavyweight titles to be contested and both of them are overshadowed by the Undertaker's streak. So will the future of Wrestlemania be built around the special attraction rather than the hardest year round workers? bTeh thought of the rubs the wrong way.

Lastly, let's say Rock and Cena prove to be a classic. Let's imagine that Punk vs. Austin happens and makes me eat my words... Then what? Who do you book in the future? What legends return for one more match? What dream matches do you build for? And with all joking aside, a lot of the legends who I'd like to pair against today's young starts are either way to old... or dead.

How many times can you rehash the same concept before "jumping the shark"? This is Wrestlemania. Let it be Wrestlemania. And don;t let a featured match take away from the importance of your main event. If it does, then all those Vince Russo haters will be eating their own words because they allowed the main event championship match to be nothing more than a prop so it the the company can whore itself out for some press.

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The Importance of Ring Attire

Fans on Facebook are giving me shit about saying that I think pro wrestlers need to go back to wearing robes to the ring instead of the tshirts they sell at the merchandise stands. I stick by my opinion and have a very valid case that you can read at my wrestling blog.

Now I get how everybody feels in regards to merchandising and product placement, but my argument comes from a traditional standpoint in what makes a wrestler a wrestler. Outside of ring work and mic skills, ring attire is key. Now I'm not even getting in to a rant about how all the tights and outfits look like they are coming off the cookie cutter line and none of the attire does anything to contribute to the "gimmick" itself. I'm keeping this basic on robes and jackets that are worn to the ring.

Personally, I don't think that wrestlers should be wearing the same $20 shirts that can be bought in the stands. If that's what they wear, then how does their look and image differ from the average joe? There is a lot more to my point that you can read, but I;d like to hear back from the fans to see where they stand on this issue.

Again, I get the whole "it's a merchandising thing". I'm a businessman too and all about the benjanmins. But we're dealing with sports entertainment here. This is a spectacle and the performers are characters who in theory should be looked upon as larger than life. You should never look at a celebrity and say, "Oh, I have the same clothes my draw."

The robe is symbol of elegance and stature. It's a lost art in the business. So after reading my thoughts and opinions, please share yours with me. There is no right or wrong answer here. But I'd like to see what traditional old timers think and what this new generation thinks.

I'm sure I'll be getting a ton of repsonses that say, "I wanna wear the same shirt my hero wears". I get it. But what I say in return is, if your hero wears a robe, you'd still by the t-shirt with his gimmick on it. Ever see The Undertaker wear his gimmick t-shirt?... But I bet you still own his merchandise, don't you?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Raw Is Rehash-Review of 3/12/13 episode.

Cena opens the show with a rap-ok, ok, old school Dr. Of Thuganomics returns-and tears Rocky a new one!
Chris Jericho get's under CM Punk's tatooed skin-loved this promo! If I was a recovering alcoholic I would of fallen off the wagon after I heard that promo. What did you say? Jericho stole that from ROH? According to Larry C Dallas: "....whoever does it on TV first owns it!"
Shawn Michaels confronts Undertaker-blah blah blah, woof, woof, woof. Triple H comes out at the end  ad gives Taker a crotch chop....woof, woof, woof, arf, arf, arf.
BRODUS CLAY RETURNS-welcome back Brodus! I could watch him squash people all night.
Daniel Bryan is a tool-who watches matches from a sky box.
Team Teddy Long vs Team Johnny-I was too busy staring at Oksana, either way Johnny better lose at WM!
ROCK CONCERT-Rock and his friend the 'e-chord' took cheap shots and the crowd loved it! So did I btw.

Thanks for reading!