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Showing posts from June, 2018

Matt Cappotelli (1979-2018)

There are wrestling matches that take place in the ring or in the arena: the sort that comes with the illusion of a real fight, the chair shots, the death-defying moves that make up the myth of the squared circle. And then there are the wrestling matches that take place outside the ring: when people grapple with real fights, with real shots, when "death-defying" takes on a far more real meaning than its typical use as metaphor. In both matches, we can't help but cheer for the good guys, for those who put up the good fight. And like any wrestling match, the result is often an icing on the cake for the true reward: the stories we would tell for generations to come.

One of those wrestling stories reached its bittersweet end today, as Matt Cappotelli passed on at the age of 38.

Billed at six feet and 225 pounds, Cappotelli had all the physical tools needed to succeed in professional wrestling. He entered Tough Enough III, in what was to be his highest-profile role as an acti…

Live From the 205 (6/26/18): Cruiservivor Series

Man, the cruiserweights may be the most unsung heroes of the entire WWE.

Imagine having to go on last, after what's usually a hot episode of SmackDown Live, wrestling your ass off for a crowd where half the people don't know who you are. You put on what are usually the best matches on the whole main roster, but the only people cheering for you seem to be the crickets in the arena. You may have legions of fans around the world watching you on the WWE Network, but it's just not the same as hearing them make noise in front of you.

205 Live gets good crowd reactions every now and then, but the post-SmackDown death slot really is the worst sometimes. Especially when you're trying to put on uncommon TV main events like the six-man Survivor Series match between the Lucha House Party and the Alliance of Grapplers.

Okay, it's kind of the booking's fault. These six guys have been trading wins with each other every week without stopping, and you could argue that it's …

Tales from the Impact Zone (6/28/18): Impact's Expanding Universe

Hey, I'm JP, one of the new guys on Smark Henry. I will be responsible in delivering to you recaps, as well as my thoughts, on the most recent Impact Wrestling episode.

But first, a brief background about me and Impact. I have been following pro wrestling since I was a kid, back when it was shown late at night every Wednesday, then later every Saturday in another station. This was before cable TV, so this goes a long way back. Proof of this is that I was able to watch WrestleMania VI on free TV (back then, spoilers were not a thing, so it is all right if PPV events were aired on tape delay), and the first thing me and my school busmates talked about the following morning was the classic Hulk Hogan versus Ultimate Warrior match.

As for Impact, let us fast forward to the 2000s. WWE's contract on pay TV ended. What took over the timeslot was this upstart promotion called Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, or TNA for short, and its unique six-sided ring. I was in this pro wrestling hia…

Good Lucha Things (6/27/18): It's Okay, When It's In A 3-Way

As always, Lucha Underground delivers when Casket matches are involved.

The majority of this week’s show was dedicated to the three-way casket match between Jeremiah Crane, Mil Muertes, and Fenix. I like the addition of Crane to spice things up, as he brought a frenetic energy to the match. Crane’s destructive, violent style paired off nicely with Mil’s power and Fenix’s speed, and we got a fun brawl on the outside for the first half of the match. Crane’s elimination resulted in the classic Mil-Fenix clash we’ve come to know and love, and while this match wasn’t as good as the original Grave Consequences, it's still a fine match.

One thing worth noting out was how the supporting cast played their roles so well in this match. Ivelisse’s return plays off the events of Ultima Lucha Tres, and gives her some much-needed payback against Jeremiah Crane. Crane’s quest to win over Catrina’s affection was stopped by his ex-lover, which is sweet, sweet poetic justice. It’s also funny that …

#FinisherFriday: The Big Ending

It's a new Friday, yes it is!

Wreddit_Regal here for this week's grand return of #FinisherFriday, chaps. So who am I? Well, I'm the resident sports kinesiologist of Reddit's wrestling forum, r/squaredcircle, now in my new home here at the Smark Henry Offices. From the most basic of punches to the most intricate double-team maneuvers, I can explain them within the realm of human anatomy and physics—because when I'm doing absolutely nothing wrestling-related, I also happen to work as an operating room nurse.

To get things kicking again, I decided to make an analysis of a big wrestler's big finisher (and no, it isn't Big Show, Big Cass, or Big Daddy V). If you didn't get my subtle clue(s), it's Big E, 1/3 of the beloved horn-wearing, Booty-O popping, pancake-munching stable, The New Day!

The Big Ending: What Is It?
Simply looking at his physique, the average person can tell that Big E is a force to be reckoned with.

But what about his finisher, the Big…

The Grapevine (6/29/18): A Beast of No Nation

Good morning, and this is the 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.

Why isn't the Extreme Rules main event proceeding as originally planned?

WWE is apparently recycling Brock Lesnar's uncertainty with the UFC from earlier this year. The company has announced that they've been having "contractual issues" with Lesnar, which forced them to cancel the fatal four-way match at Extreme Rules that would have determined a new #1 contender for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. This is all reportedly a work, designed again to get Roman Reigns over, as he's still the chosen one to win the title from Brock. There's still no definite date on when the next Universal Championship defense will be.

Meanwhile, there is some talk of Brock fighting the winner of the Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic fight on December 29. In order to be elig…

The Smark Henry RAW Review (6/25/18): Tell Me, Is That Deja Vu?

Before we get to this week's RAW review, let me first apologize for getting this one out pretty late this week. Your boy's been pretty busy and got literally swamped with meetings all week, so something had to give. Yes, even real life gets one over on me. But life goes on, and so does this review column!

Speaking of this column, a new reviewer will be taking my place on this space next week. We at the Smark Henry Offices are really psyched to have our new writers on board! You'll be seeing some new columns, while some old ones are going to make a comeback. Huge thanks to everybody who sent in their applications this past week. We really appreciate all the effort you put in and we look forward to expanding the Smark Henry family and growing the local wrestling community with you.

And now, on to the review.

In my 15 years of having watched wrestling, I've never really understood the logic behind putting two wrestlers, who have an issue with one another, on the same side o…

SmackDown RunDown Live (6/26/18): A Match Made in Hell (No)

I know it’s too early to complain about this and they’ll probably address it in the coming weeks, but where are the extreme stipulations? As of writing, Extreme Rules now has five announced matches, all with pending stipulations. Isn’t that weird? Every match should’ve been announced with stipulations already in tow. Here’s an idea, how about we just retire PPV names taken from specific match types already? I’m sure the dictionary hasn’t run out of cool words for wrestling promotions to use.

Kane and Daniel Bryan Hug It Out Once Again
Normally, this is the part where I start another long-winding rant about Creative not advancing the much-anticipated rivalry between Daniel Bryan and The Miz. It’s like when you open your fridge and see a slice of cake but you opted instead for that salad you’ve been meaning to eat for days. I mean, it’s good for your health, but then you also missed out on a delicious treat. This time, however, I see no reason to complain. C’mon, you guys, it’s Kane. You …

The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: 2018 United Kingdom Championship Tournament, Night 2

Don't let the title of this show fool you—even though it's the second night of the United Kingdom Championship Tournament special, what it really is is the two-and-a-half-hour pilot episode for NXT UK.

Where the first night showed the world what WWE planned to do with the UK division, the second night showed who's in and where they stand in the upcoming brand launch. I mean, if it wasn't obvious yet with all the undercard developments, the fact that they traded the red-and-gold ring of the tournament for the traditional NXT black-and-yellow, the final shot of the show—with Triple H standing with Johnny Saint and everyone who's wrestled over the tourney—makes it clear that this is what you should expect for NXT UK. Everyone you've seen over the past couple of days is everyone who's in.

2018 tournament winner Zack Gibson doesn't take the title from champion Pete Dunne, establishing that 1) coming out on top doesn't necessarily mean you're the fav…

PWR Live: RE5PETO—The Official Smark Henry Review

It’s about goddamn time! Yes, you’re reading the headline right. SmackDown Live! didn’t come early. #NitPickRick is in charge of this month's PWR review, which means I actually forced my lazy bum to go out and watch the show in person. And let me tell you—it was the best decision I made that weekend. While this was my first live PWR event, I didn't watch the show completely blind. I’ve been following the events of PWR for years now, which begs the question: why did it took me years to finally watch a wrestling promotion I claim to be a big fan of?

It's like walking among giants. — Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick) June 24, 2018
Well, for one, I’m lazy by nature. I think I’m too lazy for my own good, really. I know I say that a lot jokingly, but after watching PWR Live:RE5PETO, I realized how lazy I am and it made me feel bad. I missed out on years’ worth of fun just because I didn’t want to go out on a Sunday afternoon?

My perso…