“Business is (not) about to pick up…”

Old timers in wrestling used to say when an angle or a wrestler was hot that “business is about to pick up”. For the two “major players” in the professional wrestling “bidness” (as Dusty would say), there’s not much that can be said about that right now.

The following quote is courtesy of http://www.wrestleview.com:

“During the WWE conference call held earlier today, Vince McMahon described the scenario as WWE just having a very lousy quarter. He also blamed the retirements of Shawn Michaels and Batista, injuries to Triple H and The Undertaker and the Icelandic volcano as reasons for the company struggling over the last few months.”

Now THAT’S a man that can find excuses for his stockholders!! “Yeah, my top four guys fell apart and Iceland blew up…” All kidding aside, I don’t think it takes a Wall Street analyst to see that there is a LOT more problems with the WWE product as well as their wanna be rivals down at TNA in Orlando than old workers calling it quits and natural disasters. Here are some of my thougths:

“No Country for Old Wrestlers” – Despite years of fans and wrestling reviewers yelling for new blood and groups like Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate USA doing good business in touring and now with ROH having PPVs and a TV show on a smaller cable/satellite channel it took Michaels, Batista, Taker and HHH calling it quits or being laid up long term for them to start looking for new names. The bad news was that their top face, John Cena, has been worked and marketed to death, Randy Orton’s had a ton of injuries and he’s not that big of a draw as a babyface, Edge is getting ready to pull the plug and is injury-prone, Chris Jericho has a lot of career options that could take him away from wrestling anytime he gets ready and Rey Mysterio is a smaller, masked John Cena. That leaves them with guys like Sheamus and Kane as champions and their hottest gimmick is a group of seven guys that were working sportatoriums in Florida being trained by Steve Keirn less than a year ago. The bottom line for McMahon is much the same as it was at the end of the “Hulkamania” era before the “Attitude” era started… Neither he nor his “writers” (the fact they have “writers” and “producers” instead of “bookers” and “agents” is another article completely).

TNA has fared no better. They brought in Hulk Hogan and at one point had the entire old NWO roster working. They ended up with a stupid gimmick of “The Band” and one-by-one they dropped (passed) out until now only Hogan and Nash are left and nobody really cares. Sting is horrible as a heel and he’s injured, they’ve worked poor Kurt Angle to death and now their trotting out ECW guys that only fans my age or that own old videos of ECW would know or care about, unless they previously worked for TNA (Raven, Sabu, Rhino, etc.) Poor Dixie Carter apparently put the cart before the horse and had Tommy Dreamer and the other boys lined up before they had Paul Heyman in the bag. Frankly, if I had the business ventures that Paul had and could hang out with Brock Lesnar while he’s UFC champion I’d ask Spike TV for the moon and stars, too. But, that’s what you get for hiring Vince Russo and his pals even after your fans chanted “Russo Sucks” at your angles and finishes. TNA had the opportunity to make it’s own place in the business and build on it’s most popular features, it’s tag team, women’s and X-divisions (two areas that the WWE now has absolutely no clue on how to book) and a mix of veteran talent and new talent in the heavyweight division. Unfortunately they decided that they wanted to redo WCW and now ECW and I don’t think it will be that long before they join those two companies as logos in the WWE video vault collection with World Class, the AWA, Jim Crockett Promotions and so many others.

“Divas are a dime a dozen” – Both WWE and TNA have apparently decided that women who can actually wrestle and don’t look like a stripper are not draws, despite the reactions of fans to gals like Mickie James, Awesome Kong, ODB, Hamada, Roxxi, and others. Now, being a friend for a long time with former WWE and NWA Women’s Champion Leilani Kai and the former manager of MidAtlantic Women’s Champion Strawberry Fields makes me biased in this area. There have been beautiful gals in wrestling like the young Moolah, Leilani and my late pal Penny Banner who could also wrestle and brawl. Later there were gals like Madusa, the late Sherri Martel and others that could be managers as well as wrestling. Now even gals with pedigrees like Lacey Von Erich and Natalia Neidhart rely more on their curves than their bumps. Other than a couple of gals left in TNA, women’s wrestling outside of Japan is nothing more than a nice job for the main-eventer’s girlfriends and wives.

“There Will (Not) Be Blood” – WWE’s ban on blood has made their TV the equivalent of the old WCW shows taped in Orlando. When you can’t choke out the ring announcer with his necktie, things have gotten pretty bad. The quarter for WWE may have sucked but boy won’t Vince be happy to be married to a US Senator! Take that you prudish critics!

Oh, well…Thank heaven Jim Cornette’s with ROH so that I’ve got something interesting to watch!


The story behind the photo

Bill Apter and me at the first WrestleReunion show

The photo above is one that I have posted on my Facebook page. A couple of folks have asked me about it so I guess here’s as good a place as any to tell the story behind it.

The gentleman in the photo is Bill Apter. Bill’s name is known to any fan of pro wrestling that is old enough to remember going to the local store’s magazine rack and picking up the old “wrestling magazines” that pre-dated the internet. These were usually filled with really good photos and the articles were written in what folks in the wrestling world refer to as “kafabe”. In other words, as if the plots and “angles” in wrestling were “real”. This was back in the day when a pro wrestler would kick someone’s tail for calling wrestling “fake”. Bill Apter was a photographer, writer and editor for “The Wrestler” and “Pro Wrestling Illustrated” and was so universally known for his part in the wrestling business in putting together those mags that they are today referred to by wrestling fans as “Apter Mags”.

I met Bill through my friend Ed Chuman, who recently passed away, and corresponded with him quite a bit during the time I was involved in pro wrestling and running a couple of wrestling websites (again, as an “amature” and for fun). I got asked by Ed and belt-maker Reggie Parks and Reggie’s protoge and my buddy Dave Millican to go to Tampa, Fl to help them with a vendor’s display at an event that Bill was spear-heading and hosting, the first WrestleReunion. Bill and his partners had a ton of former wrestlers, managers, valets and some of the best new talent in wrestling at the time (many of who have become big “names” today) for a two-day “wrestling geek fest” as one of my daughters described it. For a guy that grew up watching pro wrestling on WRAL TV at 11:30 every Friday night with my grandfather, it was like a lifetime baseball fan being at a Hall of Fame convention.

During that week I not only got to meet many of the biggest legends in wrestling, since I was with Bill, Ed, Dave and Reggie I was treated like “one of the boys”, a member of the club. It was like being a little kid again and sitting in the Dorton Arena in Raleigh seeing many of these people.

During that event I got to visit with several folks that I had already met working wrestling shows, including Dusty Rhodes, “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton, my buddy “Thunderfoot” Isley, “Gorgeous” Gary Royal, Abdullah the Butcher, Ricky Steamboat and George South. I also got to spend time with Nick Bockwinkle, Harley Race, Sabu and Bill Alfonzo, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Virgil, the late Sherri Martel, the Cuban Assassin, The Wild Samoan family (all relatives of The Rock, Dwayne Johnson), Roddy Piper, “Killer Bee” Brian Blair, Dr. Tom Pritchard, Tully Blanchard and Joe Blanchard, Adrian Street and Ms. Linda and a bunch of others. New talent there included now former WWE World Champion CM Punk, NWA and TNA Champion A.J. Styles, and others.

So, after setting up our display table with over $40,000 in real gold and chrome plated wrestling title belts (guess who was the security?) Bill Apter came over to visit with Ed, Reggie and Dave. Bill had his prized C.O.W. title belt with him. The title was the Corporate Office Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. The COW title started off as a joke during Bill’s days as a wrestling magazine editor. He had a paper/cardboard belt that he had in his office. It became a running joke that when wrestlers came by the office for photo shoots, etc. they could challenge Bill for his title. The thing was, as the promoter and booker for the C.O.W., Bill always won. Over the years, Bill “defeated” by pinfall or submission folks like Dusty Rhodes, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan to retain the C.O.W. title.

I couldn’t resist it. Since I had an NWA title (a gift to me from Ed, Reggie and Dave) and had managed some NWA champions, I challenged Bill for the C.O.W. title that night in Tampa in the ring of the first WrestleReunion. Since there were no matches that night, our match was the “Main Event”. Despite my best efforts, Bill hit me with an elbow and caught me in the dreaded “Apter-Lock”, Bill’s version Ric Flair’s Figure Four Leglock. I submitted to the “excruciating pain” inflicted on my already damaged leg and had to submit. The photo shows Bill Apter, having added the name of Redneck TaZ to the long list of challengers that he had beaten, posing above me with his precious title.

It was worth it to me to have many of the wrestlers, who were setting up their autograph and souvenier tables that evening, to complement my efforts in “fighting” Bill’s figure four.

When I get a chance, I’ll have to post another story from that show. It will be titled “Will Steamboat kick Chavo Sr.’s Butt?”.

Hello and welcome!

Well, here goes nothing…

I suppose that I got so tired of writing about different things that interest me or to make others think or laugh (or laugh while thinking) that I finally decided to start my own blog.  I like to think of it as very similar to screaming out of a rolled-down vehicle window while going down the road at 65 MPH. Chances are pretty good that no body will hear you and will just think you’re crazy.

Anyway, here’s what anyone that cares can expect to find in my posts:

1) An attempt at humor;

2) Comments on sports, professional wrestling and other entertainment;

3) Lots of bad spelling;

4) Comments on political topics and social issues;

5) Comments on Christian issues.

So, if anyone’s interested, I invite folks to stay tuned. If not then I’ll just repost it to Facebook!