Over the past weekend I went to two St. Louis Anarchy “Going Platinum” shows in Alton, Illinois. They were both awesome and I’m going to write up a longer post about my thoughts on the shows tomorrow (they were awesome), but for now I’ll leave you with a collection of heckler tropes that people seem to fall into at all the shows I’ve ever been to (note that these are based on many shows I’ve been to in many different places, and appearances have been altered to protect the innocent. Except the “outsider”, I mean, he’s never coming to this site).
Normally I don’t get out to watch a whole lot of independent wrestling, but when I saw St. Louis Anarchy, a wrestling promotion based right outside of St. Louis, was having a two day show this past weekend I jumped at the chance. I went to the “STL Mega Ticket” show they put on last December with PWCS Wrestling and it was really awesome, so I knew I wanted to see them again, and I’ve also never been to a two night wrestling event before so I wanted to have that experience.
I’m going to be honest and let you know up front that since I’ve only been to one of their other shows and I’m not super familiar with indy wrestling in general, I’m not entirely sure which guys here are regulars or how long everyone’s been wrestling, so if I get anything mixed up I apologize in advance!
Overall both nights had a lot of really great wrestling put on by really talented wrestlers. At a lot of indy wrestling shows I’ve been to in the past there’s a clear division between the people who are there to have fun and the professionals, and all the wrestlers here definitely seemed like professionals.
During both nights there was a tag team tournament between the teams of Roscoe Eat Lisa, Viking War Party, Team IOU, and the Hooligans, and all of these guys were insane. I mean they were great, but also really brutal, with one match between the Hooligans and Team IOU breaking down into a “circle of death” where they literally sat in a circle and punched each other until all but one guy was knocked out of their chair. Crazy! There was a lot of funny spots in their matches and good wrestling too. They often sent fans running for cover when brawling outside the ring.
STL Anarchy also has a great stable of heels called “The Cause” who strut out to the ring in suits holding a book called “The Rules”. Led by Evan Gelistico (who looks like he could be JBL’s nephew), the group wrestled all over the card both nights and instantly got their opponents over with the crowd.
I was also really impressed with Jonathan Gresham, who wrestled Gerald James the first night and Davey Vega the second. He’s an amazing technical wrestler! In his match with Davey Vega, the two of them matched each other move for move most of the night, inspiring the audience to chant “chain wrestle forever!” That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that chant! He also threatened to break wrestlers’ fingers both nights, which really sticks with you.
Another bright spot on the show was a young wrestler named Ricky Starks, who bragged to the audience multiple times that he had been called by Vince and Paul to come up to NXT, but he postponed it because he was already committed to entertaining the St. Louis Anarchy fans “Then, now, and forever… Forever… Forever….” The second night he even got “the call” in the middle of his match and took it out in the audience. Being a couple of feet away, I want to mention that he wasn’t doing a phoney TV call where he just said “Uh huh, uh huh, yes, got it…” over and over again, but actually had a full on conversation with “Paul” where he begged him to understand that he had an obligation to the St. Louis Anarchy fans.
TJ Perkins (aka Suicide and Manik from his TNA days) was probably the biggest name there and he had an amazing match with the Stl Anarchy Champion, Mat Fitchett on the second night. Perkins also wrestled Davey Vega the first night, but unfortunately we had to leave early and missed it. His match with Fitchett was a variety of technical and high flying moves that brought the normally rowdy crowd to dead silence at times because everyone was so focused on what the two wrestlers were doing in the ring.
Honestly, all of the wrestlers were really great, with people like Paco, Jojo, Angelus and many others getting huge reactions from the crowd. Overall the whole show was amazing both nights and I definitely recommend checking St. Louis Anarchy out if you’re around Alton, Illinois during one of their shows. They also have their shows on Smart Mark Video if you can’t make it there in person.
Extreme Rules took place this last Sunday, closing off a lot of feuds, starting new ones, and thankfully managing to not involve the McMahons. Before the pay per view I was expecting it to have a lot of solid matches, as well as some less solid Shane and Stephanie segments. Fortunately I was wrong about that second part, and overall I think the whole event was pretty good! Let’s dive in and see if I predicted any of the matches right.
Baron Corbin defeated Ziggler
I predicted Baron would beat Ziggler and I was right! I also correctly predicted that they wouldn’t use any weapons despite the match being “no dq”, although they did brawl around the ring and ended the match with a low blow, so they still made the most out of the stipulation.
The Club defeated the Bloodline in a Texas Tornado Tag match
This match was announced after I made my predictions! It was a great opener though and a good showcase for the Club so people can see that they’re more than AJ Styles’ fan club.
Rusev defeated Kalisto to become the new United States Champion
I predicted Rusev would win and I was right! Rusev was super over with the crowd Sunday night, with dueling “Let’s go Rusev, Rusev sucks” chants. Pretty good sign for Rusev, considering that many are speculating that he’ll feud with Cena when he comes back. I incorrectly predicted that Sin Cara would turn heel, screwing Kalisto out of his title. Sin Cara wasn’t even at ringside!
The New Day defeated the Vaudevillains to retain their WWE Tag Team Championships
I predicted that the New Day would beat the Vaudevillains and I was right! Now that we know Enzo is back in full force, I’m guessing we can expect him and Cass to feud with the Vaudevillains before taking on the New Day at a pay per view like Summerslam. It’s nice having an actual tag division!
Miz retained his Intercontinental Championship against Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Cesaro
I predicted that Miz would walk away with the title and I was correct! I didn’t feel super confident about it, and in truth, I doubted my decision many times during the actual match. I wanted them all to win! It was a great match though, and even though Miz won, I don’t think anyone looked weak.
Dean Ambrose defeated Chris Jericho in an Asylum Match
I predicted Dean would win and I was right! I mean, it is his match after all… While this match felt really drawn out at times, it was all worth it for the payoff with the thumbtacks at the end. I can’t state just how satisfied I am that they used all of the weapons in the ring as well.
Charlotte defeated Nattie to retain her WWE Women’s Championship
I predicted that Charlotte would win and I was right! No real surprise there though. While I wasn’t in love with the finish to this match where Dana dressed up like Ric to distract Nattie, I still can’t help but be happy for Nattie getting herself in a feud for the title. She’s put up with so much crap during her time with WWE that it was really nice to see her get a shot in the main event right after the whole “women’s” rebranding. I’m not sure what she’s going to do now that the feud is over, but I imagine she’ll stick around for the sake of Total Divas.
Roman Reigns defeated AJ Styles to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship
I predicted Reigns would win and I was right! Look, I’d be lying if I said that “knowing” (as everyone did) that Reigns would win didn’t hurt my interest in this match. Every false finish with AJ pinning Roman had me rolling my eyes. All that being said, it was still a great match that didn’t let all the Club and Bloodline run-ins get in the way of making AJ and Roman look good. Seth coming back at the end was a nice surprise too.
Overall Extreme Rules was a fun, if extremely predictable, pay per view. Seriously, I predicted all of the matches right! Sure, I may have missed on some of my minor predictions, like Shane and Stephanie clogging up the show and the Shining Stars having a match, but those don’t really count (if I got them right I’d be bragging non-stop about it!). While I don’t think there were any classic matches on this show, all of the competitors used their Extreme Gimmicks as much as they could.
Only three weeks after Payback comes Extreme Rules, where the only rule is that there are
no rules specific rules! For these Extreme Rules predictions I’m doing things a little different- instead of just saying who I think will win, I’m saying what percent of a chance I think they have to win. For example, I’m 88% sure Corbin will beat Ziggler. I’m 100% sure Roman will beat AJ. Let’s get on to my actual predictions before I spoil any other ones!
Baron Corbin faces off against Ziggler again in a No Disqualification Preshow match
Chances that Baron will win: 88%
Chances that they will use more than one weapon: 35%
Given how many “extreme” matches there are at this event, I doubt Baron and Ziggler will use too many weapons in their match for fear of spoiling the crowd for all of the other planned spots on the actual show. I was very surprised when Ziggler won their last Pay Per View match at Payback, and I’d be EXTREMELY surprised if he beat Corbin again.
The New Day defend their titles against The Vaudevillains
Chances that Vaudevillains win: 35%
Chances that WWE shows Enzo’s injury at least three more times: 98%
The Vaudevillains have really stepped it up in the past month, proving a lot of naysayers wrong. I said nay! I’ll admit it! I thought they’d have to change up their gimmick to survive on the main stage, but I think it works as long as we don’t start asking questions like “are they from the past or do they just love the past?” and instead just focus on them being generally mean guys who happen to be old fashioned.
Dean Ambrose challenges Chris Jericho in the first ever Asylum Match!
Chances Dean Ambrose will win: 75%
Given how big of a letdown Ambrose’s Street Fight with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 32 was, I’m a little cautious when hoping for anything “extreme” in this Asylum Match. Of course I’m never hoping for anyone to get seriously hurt, and I know blood is a lost cause, but if they don’t use at least half of the weapons hanging above the ring, it will be a letdown. Okay, I really just want the nunchucks to be used.
Charlotte defends her Womens Championship against Natalya in a Submission/Ric’s banned from Ringside match!
Chances that Charlotte wins: 95%
Chances Ric shows up anyway: 110%
A lot of naysayers (more naysayers!) have been saying nay to Ric’s involvement in Charlotte’s matches, but to me it’s always just been about a heel manager helping out. Not really good or bad for Charlotte, just something we’ve seen countless times before. I think Charlotte will put Nattie away for good this time and WWE will have her start focusing on the many other women sitting on the sidelines.
Kalisto (with Sin Cara) defends his US Championship against Rusev (with Lana)
Chances that Kalisto wins: 45%
Chances that Sin Cara turns heel: 50%
Since Rusev’s broken away from the League of Nations, I think he’s ready for another shot at the big time! The “big time” being the US Championship, that is. Cena’s coming back too, which would be a nice way to rekindle Cena’s feud with Rusev. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sin Cara turn on Kalisto either, officially ending their tag team and freeing them up to do bigger things.
Miz defends his Intercontinental Championship against Kevin Owens, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn
Chances that Miz retains: 26%
Chances anyone else will win: 74% divided evenly amongst them.
I’ve really enjoyed the feud between these four men and wouldn’t mind seeing it continue past Extreme Rules. I’d like to see Cesaro win this time, because I’m worried he’s getting lost in the shuffle with Zayn and Owens, but my gut instinct tells me that Miz will eke out a win while everyone else is focused on each other.
Roman Reigns defends his title against AJ Styles in an Extreme Rules match
Chances that Roman wins: 100%
Chances that Usos and the Club interfere: 200%
AJ’s really brought something out in Roman with this feud. A personality. I dug their last match at Payback, despite all of the McMahoning throughout the finish, but I’m guessing their title match this time will have enough going on with the Bloodline and the Clubline to warrant a break from Shane and Steph’s sibling rivalry.
Random other predictions:
Chances that Steph and Shane will have more appearances than anyone else on the card: 72%
Chances that Puerto Rico will face the Social Outcasts: 64%
Chances that the audience will react to any of the wrestlers in the aforementioned match: 12%
Okay, so this was my all-stats edition of predictions, in order to freshen things up and give me more deniability (“Hey, I said there was a 5% chance Nattie could win, so…”). Honestly, even though Raw and Smackdown really drag lately with all of the McMahon promos, the Pay Per View matches almost always deliver, so I’m definitely looking forward to Extreme Rules.
Author: Jerry Frissen
Being a wrestling fan for ten plus years and a comics fan since I was able to read, I was surprised when I saw “Unfabulous Five,” a lucha libre comic book I’d never heard of, at my local comic shop. Not that I’ve read every wrestling comic, but I like to think I have an awareness of most, so to see a cover with luchadores taking on a bunch of aquatic monsters took me by surprise and I had to buy it.
Originally published in France, the “Unfabulous Five” follows the adventures of a group of five luchadores as they try to live their everyday lives while fighting monsters in Los Angeles. While this may sound like a familiar premise to superhero fans, the luchadores’ adventures are so outrageous they feel wildly unique. Just the first chapter deals with the luchadores fighting an Elvis impersonator and his army of tribesmen and werewolves while dealing with a rival French gang, Dr. Destruction and his Formidables, and trying to solve the mystery of a dinosaur that’s terrorizing the city. Oh, also the luchadors found out about the dinosaur thanks to a couple of aliens who drive around the freeways of Los Angeles in a spaceship. It’s completely bonkers. I’ve seen a couple of old Luchador movies where they fight vampires and mummies, and even those look fairly sensible next to the Unfabulous Five.
While “Unfabulous Five” is rarely boring, sometimes it goes so completely far off the rails that it gets a little confusing. I often had to go back and check to see if I missed a page or a line of dialogue to see who a character is or what they were fighting for. It may be due to translation issues, but some elements felt really random and unexplained.
Even though “Unfabulous Five” never holds back on the amount of crazy science fiction stuff they can squeeze into a story, there are plenty of nice quiet scenes between the main characters where they drive around the city or hang out at home joking around and talking about everyday life. It’s amazing to me how well the author keeps the main characters grounded in one scene and then follows it with something completely crazy while keeping it all cohesive. The luchadores always feel like real people, and not just a bunch of tropes waiting to say their catchphrase.
When it comes to the art, Bill’s work is simply fantastic. The action scenes are always fluid and dynamic, and the storytelling is always very clear so I never get lost with where people are or who’s doing what. The characters are very expressive and the backgrounds are very detailed and give a real sense of the world the characters live in. There are many scenes that could have just been turned into a bunch of talking heads reciting dialogue, but the artwork always gives us something interesting to look at.
One small pet peeve I have with this book is that while the characters say they’re luchadores and they always run around the city wearing luchador masks, we hardly ever see any actual wrestling! There are a few wrestling moves used in fights, but no one ever talks about wrestling and we never see so much as a wrestling ring. Often the luchadores will complain about not having jobs, but even then they’ll talk about looking for work as a gardener or a dental hygienist- not wrestling. I realize this might seem pretty small, and it doesn’t take away from the quality of the book, but I started doing these reviews on Botched Spot to tell people about cool wrestling stuff they might not know about and then realized this book is pretty light on actual wrestling. Even some of the old El Santo movies had in ring action in them or referenced him being a champion!
All that being said, “Unfabulous Five” still provides an entertaining story with some beautiful artwork. If you like luchador horror movies, you should check out this book. It also comes in a nice hardcover version with one of those cool ribbon bookmarks, which probably won’t affect your purchase, but I still feel the need to point out. Picture Lucha Underground as told by Chikara and if you like what you see, you should pick up this book.
Payback was the perfect snapshot of the WWE’s “new era”. Great wrestling marred by McMahons stickin’ their noses in the way. It says a lot that Payback ended on a shot of three McMahons fighting over how to book their next show. Heading into Sunday night’s Pay Per View, I was looking forward to it as a fun show that would wrap up some of the loose ends from Wrestlemania and pave the way to Summerslam. Did it achieve that? Lets look through the matches and my predictions and see!
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler
I predicted that Baron would easily and obviously defeat Ziggler, but I was proven wrong when Ziggler won with a roll up. Baron Corbin could build his career off of losing to roll ups. I think Ziggler’s win looked like it involved more luck than being legitimately better than Corbin, so ultimately the victory felt underwhelming to me.
Kalisto vs. Ryback for the US Championship.
I predicted that Kalisto would win and I was right! I died when I saw Ryback’s “Pre Show Stopper” weight belt! It’s nice to know that if the Big Guy is going to be dropped off the main show he at least has a sense of humor about it.
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. the Vaudevillains
I predicted the Vaudevillains would win, but the match didn’t even have an ending due to Enzo getting concussed early on. It was brutal seeing Enzo get hurt at the tag team’s biggest match to date. Hopefully he gets well soon and the Vaudevillains make the most out of this opportunity.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
I predicted that Kevin Owens would win and I was right! It’s no surprise that this match was great and totally lived up to the hype. It felt more brutal and punishing than some of the WWE’s hardcore matches, and showed that these two deserve more than floundering in the midcard. While I was glad to see Owens win clean, it really made Sami look like a sore loser when he attacked Kevin during the next match.
The Miz with Maryse vs. Cesaro for the Intercontinental Championship
I predicted that Miz would win and I was right! Cesaro put on a wrestling clinic at Payback, essentially making Miz look like a training dummy that just occasionally kicked out or used a headlock. The whole match really felt like a display for Cesaro’s talents. I wasn’t in love with the finish, which involved Miz rolling up Cesaro while everyone was distracted by Sami and Owens brawling outside, but I’m sure the resulting four way match at Extreme Rules will be good.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
I predicted that Ambrose would win and I was right! Jericho was in his peak heel form during the match, even shuffling over to the referee on his knees and holding onto him for help at one point. Maybe it was a little cartoonish, but I was entertained. I was also glad to see Ambrose finally pick up a win.
Charlotte vs. Natalya
I predicted Charlotte would win and I was right! While I didn’t enjoy this match as much as their match at Takeover, Nattie and Charlotte still had a great showing here, except for the ending. I really don’t know why anyone would think it’s a good idea to relive the Montreal Screwjob, but apparently someone at WWE does, because the match ended with the ref giving Charlotte the win despite Nattie never tapping out. Why? Why relive the whole Screwjob when most of today’s fans probably didn’t even see it?! Just a terrible finish that served absolutely no purpose other than getting Bret’s goat a little bit.
Roman vs. AJ Styles
I predicted Roman would win and I was right! Everyone was so jazzed to see what would happen at the end of this match. Would Styles turn heel? Would Roman turn heel? Would Anderson and Gallows attack Styles at the behest of Finn Balor? Nope, it just turned into a pissing match for the McMahon family. I was still impressed with what Styles and Roman were able to do in between the McMahon segments, and it was easily one of Roman’s best showings to date.
While I enjoyed the matches at Payback overall, I’m still waiting for WWE to cash checks that were written before Wrestlemania. We’ve been waiting so long for them to pull the trigger on the Bullet Club with Finn Balor and the brand split that I’m starting to question not only if those things are in their plans, but if the WWE even knows what their plans are to begin with. The co-management of Raw reeks of Vince just wanting to stretch out the storyline, giving us more long winded segments to look forward to. While Payback was definitely worth watching, I don’t think anything memorable enough happened to where people will talk about it for years (or months) to come. As far as predictions go, I correctly predicted six out of seven matches (not including the tag match). That is to say, I correctly predicted that Payback would stay the course with no titles changing hands and most all the feuds booked to keep on going. It’s a New Era, folks!