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Showing posts from June, 2016

#ThrowbackThursday (6/30/16): The Night CM Punk Cashed In

June 30, 2008. Precisely eight years ago. A sweaty, humid night in Oklahoma City. Nothing much going on. Except for CM Punk completing his ascent from beloved indie darling to the king of professional wrestling as he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to defeat then-World Heavyweight Champion Edge for the Big Gold Belt—his first true world title reign.

To be fair, it wasn't as if Punk had been toiling away in obscurity before that point; he'd just come off of a successful two-year run headlining ECW as its Heavyweight Champion, and had successfully become the fourth man to be crowned Mr. Money in the Bank after stealing the show at WrestleMania 24 just three months earlier.

But this wasn't just Punk playing opportunist; the WWE's self-proclaimed Straight Edge Savior had a real axe to grind with Edge at that point, after the Rated-R Superstar's interference had cost him his prized ECW Championship to Chavo Guerrero in early 2008. Fortunately for him, he'd…

What's Next For Baron Geisler?

Here's an interesting piece of trivia: Did you know that in the past couple of months, more Filipinos have Googled Baron Geisler than they have Piolo Pascual? It's true. After Mr. Geisler's highly-publicized barroom encounter with fellow entertainer Kiko Matos that culminated in a mixed martial arts fight last weekend, it's safe to say no other showbiz personality has lit a powder keg for his career in recent memory better than he has.

For all the battery his reputation has taken in the past few months, the one obvious fact is that the man is a born showman, with the natural electricity and charisma of a pro wrestling villain.

Yes, Baron, we're hella entertained.

So what's next for the 21st century bad boy? Pictures leaked online recently of the dude hanging out backstage with some of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution's finest talents at a taping for the TV5 variety show HAPPinas, Happy Hourairing this Friday.

But this wasn't just a case of a group o…

The Smark Henry RAW Review (6/29/16): Onward Ever, Backward Never

(Editor's Note: Don't be fooled by the header above. Since Stan's departed from the RAW Review job for Smark Henry, we're auditioning new people for the role. Say hi to Miggy, everyone, and let him know what you think of his review in the comments!)
This week's Monday Night RAW would have to deal with a pretty shocking blow in terms of building up for Battleground's blockbuster main event: the Triple Threat between all three former Shield members with the WWE Championship on the line. Roman Reigns, the champion heading into Money in the Bank, was suspended after committing his first Wellness Policy violation.

But the two other participants in said Triple Threat match, however, delivered. Seth Rollins and WWE Champion Dean Ambrose of course had to address the elephant in the room, and it was handled very well. A promo that blurred the line between reality and show came from Rollins, which in turn led to Ambrose steering the wheel away from that topic. Seeing as h…

The Grapevine (6/29/16): Pumout

Good morning, and this is your daily Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the founded and unfounded rumors abound the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the evening.

Here's some pretty big Lucha Underground news:

As of the last set of Lucha Underground tapings, Ricochet AKA Prince Puma is now done with the company. He wrapped up the entirety of Season 3. He is contractually not able to go to WWE just yet, so he will continue taking indy and NJPW shows until he is allowed to sign with WWE in 2017. Of course, the option of returning to LU is still possible. (Source: F4WOnline)
We say: Wow. Just... wow. Even though Prince Puma was not a perfect character, Ricochet was dynamic and exciting enough to deserve being the guy to build the show around. And although Matanza is a freak of nature, he's just not the same. It's a shame the proud, promising son of LU has fallen this far—but at least he's now open for WWE.

Bray Wyatt has been pul…

#ThemeSongTuesday (6/28/16): 14 Years A (Not So) Bad, Bad Man

By this point, we all know the June 27, 2002 episode of SmackDown! contained a monumental event that would change the landscape of WWE for the decade to come: Lance Storm defeated Mark Henry in less than three minutes. Ah, you mean the other thing that happened? Right! Future 15-time World Champion and Wielder of Shovels John Cena, Ph.D made his debut, taking on Kurt Fucking Angle in his first ever televised match with WWE.

Fourteen years ago, #RuthlessAggression made its way into WWE, with the debut of @JohnCena on #SmackDown. — Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) June 27, 2016
In the truest sense of the phrase, it was all uphill for Cena from then on. Several—often one-sided—feuds and championship reigns more protected than Wall Street bankers later, we have one of the most instantaneously recognizable faces on the planet. We’ve already discussed his equally iconic theme, so to commemorate #14YearsOfCena, we take a look at what is, in my opinion, his greatest accom…

#TIL (6/28/16): The Secret Origins of Beloved Moves

Orville & Wilbur Wright. Thomas Edison. Steve Jobs. Elon Musk. Famous inventors, all of them, who changed the world for the better with such innovative marvels as manned flight, electric lighting, the iPhone, and online payments.

But what of their pro wrestling equivalents? Such men as Mike "Hollywood Nova" Bucci, Kenta Kobayashi, Yoshihiro Asai, Jushin Thunder Liger, or Chris "Who Betta Than" Kanyon have built a decent reputation for innovation in their in-ring repertoires, but what of lesser lights who don't get as much shine among most modern wrestling fans for their contributions to the wrestling lexicon?

In this debut edition of #TIL, the only column in Smark Henry that's purely devoted to uncovering some little-known facts buried in the history of pro wrestling, we're going to take a look at ten beloved wrestling moves and the stories behind their invention, courtesy of our wonderful friends at r/SquaredCircle.

Let's go for a ride down me…

#MustWatchMonday (6/27/16): TJ Perkins vs. Drew Gulak

In case we haven't mentioned it enough yet, TJ Perkins (or TJP as he goes by now), is in the WWE for the Cruiserweight Classic, and even better, he's going back to his roots and representing the Philippines. Yes. You should be excited.

I'm not going to go over his career and background in TNA or ROH too much, you can get that part of your TJP history here on this very website. Instead, I'm going to show you a bit about his time in the independent circuit, wrestling for Gabe Sapolsky's WWNLive promotions (EVOLVE and the now defunct Dragon Gate USA).

You might not be aware of this, but the WWE currently has a working relationship with EVOLVE. Essentially, EVOLVE acts as a feeder system of sorts to the WWE, while WWE lends them talents once in a while for appearances in order to boost ticket sales. While that working relationship hasn't always been around, EVOLVE has existed for about six years now and has released 61 iPPVs during that time. TJP was in the very f…

WATCH: Full Opening Ceremonies for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic

In its early days, mixed martial arts sold itself as a combat sport with the unique premise of settling the age-old argument of which fighting discipline—whether pure boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, or what-have-you—was the best. It's the same premise in such video games as the Street Fighter series, which, at the heart of it, is a discipline-against-discipline slobberknocker larger than any single character.

These are exactly the kind of stakes in the WWE's hotly-anticipated Cruiserweight Classic, which just concluded its first set of tapings for its field of the 32 best cruiserweights in the world, assembling such diverse styles as catch wrestling, muay thai, lucha libre, and the American indies, just to name a few.

Triple H himself is beaming like a proud father over the project, his purported brainchild, tweeting the following:

Today, I saw talent seize opportunity, knock down doors, and exceed expectations in and out of the ring.
Today, we launched a brand. #CWC — Triple…

SmackDown RunDown (6/23/16): Man vs Underdog

Run! It’s another sarcastic edition of SmackDown RunDown and this week, the Man and the Underground Underdog squared off at the first-ever Seth Rollins open challenge. Oh, by the way, Dean is the WWE Champion now. Just in case you still don’t know. How is the WWE shaping up under the rule of the Lunatic? Let’s find out.

Sami Zayn Steps Up to Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins opened this week’s SmackDown with an open challenge for anyone in the locker room to step up and face him in the main event. The guy who took him for his word? Sami Zayn.

It only took a matter of minutes to turn this segment into an impromptu Ambrose Asylum as the newly-crowned champion Dean Ambrose interrupted the two. Dean Ambrose looks so at home with his new gold. The title fits him well and hopefully, he will have a more impactful reign compared to his former Shield buddies. A lengthy Ambrose title reign won’t be the worst idea ever, don’t you think?

The main event came and boy, did sparks fly as the one and only Crossfi…

#FinisherFriday (6/24/16): Welcome to the Ambrose Asylum

Money in the Bank, the latest Pay-Per-View (PPV) of WWE, was, as advertised, pure money. After a number of great matches throughout the night however only one thing is for sure at the end of that night: Welcome to the Ambrose Asylum.

Things to Know About The Ambrose Asylum
Dean Ambrose joins Kane in the elite group of “double winners” during the MITB PPV winning both the MITB ladder match and cashing-in on the same night. Don’t forget that Kane had a substantial run as champion after his 2010 cash-in—around 5 months. Maybe Dean can do the same.

This is also Dean’s first “legitimate” WWE World Heavyweight Championship win. Additionally, all former Shield brothers have now held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:

Seth Rollins (2x) – 221 days combinedRoman Reigns (3x) – 119 days combinedDean Ambrose (1x) – current champion.

It's also interesting that all former Shield members apparently like hitting their opponents in the head to finish the match.

Seth Rollins—Pedigree (Double und…