Tuesday, March 30, 2010

*SURPRISE!* Click here for an early post-Wrestlemania IN THIS VERY RING!

Enjoy. And also - check this out to see just WHY I've developed a grudging respect for John Cena of late:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Since I took the time anyway ...

I know I just posted and probably will again re. Raw tonight but I wanted to put this tribute to Shawn Michaels out there that I just wrote.

I usually reserve wrestling comments for my, y'know, Wrestling Blog. But as a wrestling fan for 20 years now, one of my favourites for all of that time was a then-young upstart known as Shawn Michaels, who has gone on to become one of the true legends standing tall above this business. despite being 16 years younger than him, he's probably the main wrestler I feel I've watched grow up, from a kid in a tag team just a year or two into his run with the big leagues, to a single star who had grown too big for said team, but with an uncertain future on his own, to a perennial Intercontinental Champion ('king of the midcard', second only to that upper echelon going for the world belt), to a young, brash, cocky world champion who self-destructed in a haze of arrogance and substance abuse, to a born-again Christian (and one of the few for whom I mean it quite literally when I say Jesus Christ IS his personal saviour), a stand-up husband and Dad who now sees in wrestling more a way to make a living doing something he loves and to teach and elevate younger talent than to win gold, fame and accolades for himself. Perhaps it took Shawn Michaels until his late 30s to become a grown man ... but he did, and there are very few wrestlers I've been more proud of.

He's had many monikers over the years that no longer apply, if they ever did - it seems a stretch to call a weathered 44-year-old "The Heartbreak Kid", and I feel at this point the Undertaker is more worthy of the moniker of "Mr. Wrestlemania". And let's be honest folks, while Shawn has been an excellent worker, he has not consistently been 'The Main Event' for a few years now. However, of all the nicknames applied to him, I feel "Showstopper" is probably the most enduring. Six or seven years removed from his last world title run, and 18 months removed from his last singles world title shot, Shawn has long been the quintessence of putting on a great match simply to prove he can.

More than a certain number of titles to indicate he is the best in this business, what Shawn can take home with him is this; last year's match with the Undertaker marked his sixth Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year win in a row, meaning he has won that accolade every year but one since he came back from a presumed-career-ending back injury five years earlier. That unprecedented number beat the previous consecutive Match of the Year Record Holder ... SHAWN MICHAELS, at 4 in a row. Between both of those streaks, he holds a record 10 Match of the Year wins. Perhaps they haven't all been for titles ... but they have all been the best, much like Michaels himself.

And the way Shawn went out was pure class, in a rematch with possibly his greatest opponent, the Undertaker, the only man in the company arguably as legendary as Michaels himself at this point, putting HIS unprecedented Wrestlemania win streak of 18-0 up against Shawn's quarter-century-long career. Shawn, spunky to the end, slapped the Undertaker in the face just as the Dead Man was about to show mercy, provoking the aptly-named Tombstone piledriver which ended his career. Uncharacteristic for the Showstopper, he left the ring not in a blaze of dancing and fireworks, but with a subdued hug from his Wrestlemania opponent and some appreciative waving and high-fiving to the crowd, heading humbly to the back and the applause of his peers, to the handshake of perhaps his biggest detractor (Bret Hart, with whom he has finally made amends after a 12-year cold war), but most importantly, to the waiting arms of his wife and children. Congratulations Shawn. You deserve it. And thank you.

Thank You HBK ...

So I don't want to say a whole lot about WM until I've seen the RAW to go along with it ... there was a lot of WM that was excellent, depending on how they follow up tonight. But in the meantime I do want to say 'Thank you Shawn Michaels' for a fabulous wrestling career, which I hope isn't over in terms of at least future cameos, screen time, etc. Kudos to the Hart family for putting their differences aside to honour patriarch Stu Hart and to support Bret in his One More Match. May Raw tonight tie up a few of the loose ends I was personally left feeling after WM.

If you want to see more Shawn Michaels post-WM footage with his wife and (now former) co-workers, be sure and check out for it - also be sure and check out Bret Hart's Wrestlemania Diary there, which is chock-full of interesting anecdotes and especially photos to relive the weekend.

*A quick apology as well for not doing the 'Best Of' lists etc. promised on Saturday pre-Mania; we had a full day with the little one, then it was Earth Hour, and we actually fell asleep pretty darn close to the end of it ... but we're back now with lots to talk about either later tonight or first thing tomorrow morning. Peace.*

Friday, March 26, 2010

CLICK HERE for the Wrestlemania edition of ITVR

Enjoy the weekend all! :D

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wrestlemania Weekend Posting Schedule

It is upon us! Tomorrow kicks off Wrestlemania weekend with Smackdown at 8pm. We will be posting In This Very Ring shortly thereafter, say around 11:30/midnight, with all our thoughts on Wrestlemania. Saturday we will be posting thoughts on the Hall of Fame. Sunday night, depending on timing, we will of course be posting thoughts on the big event itself. If not, rest assured, Monday of course! :)

Meanwhile we'll be on and off all weekend with fun stuff like best and worst lists, fond memories, all that fun stuff. But to kick this weekend off right ... you know it ... :D

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Survival of the Hitman ... and Trivia Question Winner!

So I'm going to withhold commenting on last night's Raw (short of saying I felt it was pretty darned good) until ITVR (which we're going to have on Friday so we can discuss the final buildup with last night's show and Smackdown), so we can discuss the whole Go-Home week at once; but I did want to share that the Fight Network's "Survival of the Hitman" documentary, aired last night, is now up for online viewing free at the FN's Youtube channel. EXCELLENT piece I recommend checking out.

I also wanted to announce the Trivia Question Winner from ITVR this past Saturday, in regards to who has been in title matches for every one of his Wrestlemania appearances. My good friend Shane from out west responded with John Cena, who has been in US or World title matches in all of his WM appearances. Shane actually sent a really interesting email with some food for thought that Ari and I will discuss briefly on air Friday, but in the meantime one thing Shane brought up was being a TNA fan (and while we do ride the show a bit with the Dynamic Duo of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff now in charge, we HAVE meant to give it a fair shot, as we said and as Shane allowed us in his email, it's just lousy timing they made their big move to Mondays right in the runup to Wrestlemania). So as a TNA fan, Shane we will be burning you a copy of and sending you an awesome TNA DVD in the next week or so. Keep an eye out for that! :)

Have a great night all, I'll be back as news comes up this 'Mania week, and be SURE and join Ari and I for our go-home pre-mania show on Friday night. Peace!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Click here to listen to ITVR

Enjoy the show.

Friday, March 19, 2010

ITVR Tomorrow

Hi guys - unfortunately with having gone to Montreal yesterday, we didn't get to post ITVR last night. We set up instead to watch Smackdown and post tonight, but SD was preempted here in Canada in favour of March Madness. And at this point it's too late in the evening after a long week. As such - we will post tomorrow, hopefully during the day during Little Tyke's afternoon nap. Thanks as always for bearing with us. I have tried to post more consistently this week and will try to continue doing so going forward.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Last night's Raw was alright, with only a few superficial complaints. Tacking those in no particular order so I can then get on to the praise ...

  1. I'm glad they didn't out-and-out tone down Steve Austin's act for the new PG show - and I get short of watering it down they're going to need to censor his act to make it PG-friendly. But I'll be a grumpy sort and say just because I understand it doesn't mean I like it. Especially when most of the 'bleeping' is off and the cursing gets out anyway; then it is not only futile but a distraction.
  2. I'm not impressed with the way they're building to a 'let's throw all the Divas together' match again at WM. I was always a much bigger fan of a spotlight match or two for the women. Again, a move I understand them making with Melina and Mickie James both injured, but that doesn't mean I need to like it.
Now the positives:
  1. Again, good job with Austin as guest host and I just wish we could have seen him more. His interactions with Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho both were classic; I was a little surprised at his buddy-buddy interaction with John Cena at the top of the show, as Cena is the anti-Austin, but he still did a good job.
  2. This was 'Wrestlemania Rewind' night where Raw consists of Wrestlemania rematches; Randy Orton vs. Triple H, John Cena vs. Big Show, Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho are all PPV-worthy matches, more than enough to decimate TNA (missed it again!) in the ratings, and as this was a night the stars shone, it meant some somewhat longer matches; only one or two were the typical Raw 2-4 minute nonsense.
  3. Triple H-Sheamus has become at least somewhat more interesting and multi-dimensional with their promos of the last couple weeks, and Bret Hart and Vince McMahon definitely picked up steam with Steve Austin's presiding over the contract signing. While Bret's swerve that he wasn't injured was semi-expected, it was still pulled off well. The build to WM has been strong as usual; if only more PPVs could get this kind of thought and treatment put into them.
  4. A big night on Raw as two hall of famers-to-be were announced. Gorgeous George is a long overdue entrant, and Steve Austin confirmed that Stu Hart also will be inducted this year. Two more different, but influential, wrestling stars you could not find; a proud day.
Obviously Ari and I will discuss more of this Thursday night on ITVR - a note that we will be spending the afternoon Thursday in Montreal and aren't 100% sure when we'll return; thus the show MIGHT be Friday night instead. If that's the case I will do my best to keep you posted. Meanwhile have a good night everyone.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jim Ross

Hi all - a quiet weekend in wrestling and a guest for the weekend (thus a busy one) in mine has led to not having much to say but I did want to comment on Jim Ross's suggestion this weekend that he won't be returning to weekly commentary; while this is sad to hear, if he is happy with this situation from a health and time (to focus on his burgeoning restaurant business and his family), I wish him all the best. While expressing interest in commentating at Wrestlemania, and stating he'd be there at least as a fan, but sort of indicating he hadn't been asked to commentating, though, I felt the need to insist that JR's commentary is a MUST to give the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker match the gravitas and historical importance it needs. WWE officials - pick up the galdarned phone!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Up on time as we'd hoped. A bit short but not too bad. Click the post heading and enjoy everyone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Unbeknownst to me ...

Well - beknownst to me, but forgotten by me (as you've seen in the last couple of busy weeks, my head has been elsewhere, and I apologize for that), TNA made its Monday night debut this week, against a fairly good Raw. Not a huge Criss Angel fan but he did OK. Really enjoyed the stip they threw into the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker match making it no-DQ, no-countout. I didn't figure in a match of this magnitude they'd do a weaselly ending anyhow, but at least now that's a sure thing. MITB is shaping up to be great, and while I'm not terribly impressed with how they're building up the McMahon-Hart feud (Shore over on brought up the point this is probably a good thing in the long run lest WWE be accused of putting over non-wrestlers), but Cena-Batista are doing well and I enjoyed the Legacy's work this week as well - although it makes me wonder just where they're going for WM, since they effectively just had the three of them fight.

The wrestling on the show was weak, as not one match (until the Gauntlet) lasted over 3 minutes, and the Gauntlet again semi-gave away Cena-Batista getting on each other; but they're doing a good job with those two of giving us just enough without giving away the match. Overall a strong build to Mania which should only continue with Steve Austin hosting next Monday.

On the TNA side, well ... didn't see it, although the impression I get from reviews is they tried to do the same as they did back in January, with too much all at once. On a night Jeff Hardy and RVD returned, they also had Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair return to the ring, as well as Sting's return and heel turn. An AWFUL lot of stuff that they could have played out over the ensuing weeks and still had some strong TV. It will be interesting to see how TNA does on Monday nights going forward ... while I doubt they are anywhere near even approaching Raw's juggernaut ratings, it'll be interesting to see if they can hold their own and if this is an 'all or nothing' proposition - can they survive being the #2 wrestling show on Monday nights?

All this and more tomorrow night on our podcast - be sure and check it out right here ... In This Very Ring. (check in around 11pm or so Eastern).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Congrats to the McMahon-Levesque family

* Note: This weekend got away from us folks, we're sorry. We don't figure we're awful to have taken the time to enjoy a lovely weekend outside in the warmth and sun with our ... well ... son. :) Back on the bus next week we promise. *

A big CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Stephane McMahon-Levesque, creative head of WWE, and her husband, Paul "Triple H" Levesque as McMahon matriarch Linda confirmed today they are expecting their third child together. They already have two daughters, Aurora Rose and Murphy Claire. All the best to the entire McClan.

On an unrelated note, be sure and check out Rob Van Dam's latest comments; he has an interesting perception on WWE's crackdown on marijuana and how it has led many of the boys to turn to alcohol, which he considers to be more dangerous from a performance perspective.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Promise we'll post it tomorrow evening and include tonight's Smackdown coverage - unfortunately Little Tyke decided tonight would be a good one on which to stay up until half past ten. Thanks for the patience all!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

RIP Angelo Poffo

Hi all - a quick note to say Ari and I will be podcasting tonight (tomorrow at the latest, as I do have some work to do this evening, but hopefully I'll wrap it up before airtime) as usual, but I just heard of the death of former wrestler Angelo Poffo, perhaps best known as the father of Randy "Macho Man" Savage and Lanny "The Genius" Poffo at the age of 84. According to Lanny, Poffo passed away peacefully in his sleep. ITVR's condolences are extended to the friends and family of Angelo Poffo at this time, and we wish him a peaceful rest.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Raw Thoughts

So last night's Raw was very talk-heavy, moreso than usual, with incredibly short and mostly-predictable matches. That said, that's not necessarily a bad thing where segments work. Many last night did - others didn't. To-wit;

  • I liked the DX recap of the Shawn-UT promo last week and Triple H's expressing his support of Shawn's quest to end Taker's Wrestlemania win streak. We'll see if that support remains now that Shawn cost them their rematch for Show-Miz's tag titles. I figured that match was in place either to set up a DX breakup or, more likely (as that would be convoluting an already-complex and intriguing picture) to set up Triple H's WM opponent down the stretch, which turned out to be true. Without the world title in play, I'm curious as to how they will keep this, effectively a midcard match, interesting.
  • Cheech and Chong, however, were weak - mixing the most kid-friendly character on Raw these days - Hornswoggle - with a couple of trippers, who proceed to get high on the leprechaun's Lucky Charms, attempts to get everyone of all ages in on the skit, and as a result fails to ... ahem ... charm anyone.
  • John Cena as the smiling, baby-kissing, hardworking face and Batista as the heel with the chip on his shoulder looking for a good payday and perhaps a championship belt or two works, as it fits both of their reputations onscreen and off. These two, as Batista rightly pointed out last night, have had almost parallel careers since coming up from the heyday of the Ohio Valley farm system, without having truly engaged one another in any kind of lasting feud. Now they have the chance and are running with it.
  • It must speak well of the WM card so far that perhaps the least intriguing match so far (to ME, a lifelong Canadian Hitman fan) is Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon. MITB is always good, Edge-Jericho will steal the show, Cena-Tista has also been a long time coming, and Shawn Michaels-Undertaker, in terms of mainstream attention, is the showpiece of the night. Not that Hart-McMahon isn't interesting ... and I think they did an OK job last night in their roles ... this isn't an insult to them so much as a compliment to the 'Mania WWE is setting up. Let's hope it doesn't disappoint, as so many promising cards do.
  • All for Mad Dog Vachon being inducted into the Hall of Fame by fellow French Canadian Pat Patterson. Good choice for entrant #4.
  • In terms of the matches now ... MITB qualifiers aren't necessarily meant to be show-stealing, but they should at least not be so predictable as the round from last night. No one would assume Santino Marella would get an MITB shot over Jack Swagger, for example. That was unfortunate. The main matches that caught my attention - DX vs. Show-Miz and Ted Dibiase vs. Randy Orton - were not bad matches, but were also more intriguing in terms of how they pushed plot forward; a good thing for WWE to keep in mind and continue honing, as they do a good job of it when they let themselves - stories CAN be told in rings, without mics in hand. TNA is weak at this with Vince Russo at the writing helm; WWE can excel at this if they allow it.
So yes - a mixed-bag Raw, but one that confirmed up a couple more matches and participants for Wrestlemania and did it's job - they can't all be winners, and this one was at least not a total loser. One last note - Jim Ross was in attendance last night and made an appearance before the live crowd. Hopefully this speaks well of (a) his recovery and (b) the state of his negotiations with the WWE, that his wishes, as outlined in his blog (Google JR's BBQ), to return for WM26 can be realized. :)

Meanwhile, be sure and stay tuned here through the week as we continue to post thoughts on wrestling news as it comes up - Thursday is ITVR podcast as always, and hope to see you there. Peace and love all!

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