Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Highlanders

The tag team used to be a great launching pad for a wrestler. Jesse Ventura (with Adrian Adonis in the East West Connection). Brett Hart(with Jim Neidhart in the Hart Foundation). These are amongst the big names that broke through because of their work in Tag Teams. They weren't as funny as Abbot and Costello or Martin and Lewis, but two men working together in the squared circle could bring something special to a show.Sometimes teams were great for taking the best of two men and eliminating any weaknesses, or just eliminating their enemies. Public Enemy. The Dudleys. The Fabulous Freebirds. The Brainbusters. Demolition. The Rock and Roll Express. The Villanos. The Midnight Express. The Road Warriors. There was so much more that two men could do than one. Even novelty acts like the Killer Bees showed the advantage of a team with their ability to confuse the referee .
Now, Tag Teams are rare and seem to be thrown together only to fill a card. What happened to the camaraderie?. The win at any cost and do anything to save your partner mentality? Or, more importantly, the bonding of wearing matching trunks and sharing a ring rat?

The only TEAM in recent memory to have come through the gates is the Highlanders.
... And look how they ended up.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vader

The story has it, that when Vader wanted to start wrestling, he walked into the AWA locker, walked right up to promoter Verne Gagne and demanded a spot.

Another story has it, that from the start Vader was one of the most intimidating, and hard hitting stars in the sport. One day Verne got a complaint from the boys that Vader had been roughing them up. He spoke to his man, and asked what was up, he'd never had that problem before. Vader said he'd just worked a year with Crusher Blackwell, Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody... he just assumed that's how things were done.Then he went to Japan, and was reinvented as Darth Vader's much bigger, much nastier, brother, and suddenly the world went crazy. He pinned the unbeatable Antonio Inoki his first match in with New Japan, causing the normally reserved Japanese fans to go absolutely ECW and throw everything that wasn't nailed down at them, then set fire to the arena... having eventually to be dispersed by the riot squad.By 1990 he held World titles on 3 continents ( the CWA title in Europe, the IWGP title in Asia, and the UWA title in North America ), so it was only a matter of time before the U.S came knocking. And knock they did, ending up in Vader continuing his dominant form in WCW. His matches with Mick Foley beoming the stuff of legend. In one match, Foley suffered a broken nose and needed 27 stitches for wounds on his face. The match was heavily edited for television, as outside of footage of war, U.S television of the time was generally against showing bleeding that severe. The match can be seen in it's entirety on "Mick Foley's Greatest Hits and Misses" dvd (in which Foley claims the viewer can literally hear his nose breaking due to a Vader punch). Their rematch, a less demanding affair, saw Foley powerbombed onto the concrete floor causing him to suffer a concussion and temporary loss of feeling in his left arm and leg. And don't let us get started on poor Joe Thurman's back.
But let us cut a long story short. Aside from scuffles with police officers, and the occasional Saudi journalist, Vader has all but vanished from our great sport, and personally I think him missed. He brought fear to his opponents, fear to the fans, and even announcers. During the telecast of Wrestlewar 91, he and his opponent collided with the announce table a couple of times scaring 48 shades of brown out of commentator Jim Ross. " That really got me flowing" said Ross " You don't KNOW how much it got me flowing".

That is one thing missing from todays sport... intimidation. Tho don't tell Awesome Kong I said that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nikita


Nikita................ Nikita....................or Nikita................

Who in their right minds would give the same name to a cute British girl, a 300lb Russian and a hot spy? And don't even get me started "Little Nikita" with Sidney Poitier. Surely it's a mistake anyone could have made. Sigh...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Road Warrior Animal

Hello again, I'm back... with my good friend Road Warrior Animal.

The Road Warriors were probably the biggest team of the 80's, both figuratively and literally. Huge muscle bound bodies, faces painted, and storming the ring to the sound hard rock... these guys were the prototype for everything that 80's wrestling would become.
With a slight nod of the head towards Max Max 2... obviously.
But as time went on, their image, like their phyisques, became a little softer...Hell, they had a ventriloquists dummy called Rocco as their manager for a while (though for obvious reasons they never liked to talk about that).A few years back, Hawk passed away, and Animal passed from our minds... Only to return to the WWE upon the release of a Road Warriors retrospective dvd, and reform his team with the talent-challenged Heidenreich. By this time, one could certainly question whether this was even the same Animal we remembered from old, or merely mister J with a "hair-cut like an indian" ( to quote Roddy Piper ), his face painted by some random childrens entertainer, and a village people moustache ( perhaps to try and finalise the "soft-cock biker look" he was once accused of trying to attain... thank-you Lisa ).Animal was released ( one would assume, back into the wild ) from the company, soon after... and then, he came back again. This time in TNA. As a mystery tag-team partner of all things... I personally choose to remember the Road Warriors as they were.

And in the words of fellow body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger-
“We must not compromise territorial range. Remember that only by following instructions can we hope to maintain a successful highway program.”

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chyna

Chyna... An interesting girl to be sure. When she started in the biz Chyna was a very...er... masculine figure. Even the toys of the period kind of reflect her... um... unique look.
Over time, and with the help of surgery ( chin, boobs, elsewhere too no doubt ), this look was softened... comparitively. Culminating with an appearence in Playboy magazine...
which went on to become the best selling issue in a number of years, if not ever. Tho, how many people bought the mag just to see if she really was a girl, is impossible to calculate. Either way, it says a lot about wrestling fans... and yes, before you ask, I did buy an issue.

Soon after, her career in the WWE came to end ( believed to be over her asking for the same sort of money deal the main event guys like Steve Austin and the Rock getting, and unfortunately for her, asking at the same time her ex-boyfriend HHH had started his relationship with Stephanie McMahon ), we were treated to possibly the crown jewel of her career... a sex tape. I mean have you really made it in the entertainment biz if you haven't "starred" in one of these things?
Titled "One Nite In Chyna", obviously a take on the "One Nite In Paris", the Paris Hilton dvd. As it happens, contrary to my youthful appearence, I'm old enough to remember when Paris Hilton was just an Hotel. When you could say, "Does it have a ballroom? It does? Great... I'd love to have my balls held by the Paris Hilton." and it would be completely acceptable, because you were just talking about a gathering of friends. Though I guess, even now, a night in Paris Hilton can be a relaxing or thrilling experience. The film featured Chyna and the wrestler X-Pac, in various home made scenes of...er... intimacy. With close ups looking more like monsters from a low budget BBC science fiction show ( think Dr Who mid 70s ), than something titillating, the film became a curiousity item, and went on to become the best selling adult dvd of the year. My cartoon review of said viewing experience is included herein.She then went on to try her hand in many other endeavours. Including biting the hand that feeds her, in talking about pro wrestling in documentaries, starting a band, showing her acting chops in what looks to be a possible rival to "Citizen Kane", and of course appearing in season 4 of the "Surreal Life" on VH1 as well as "Celebrity Rehab" with Dr Drew.

Personally... I like her.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Young Kong

Steve Rickard is the guy you should blame... He's the one who got me into wrestling.

Steve was a wrestler for over 30 years, the promoter for NZ and South Pacific, and a long-standing member of the NWA Board of Directors. He was also the first wrestler I ever met, and more importantly from an historical point of view, the man behind the "On The Mat" television show in New Zealand. The show that "hooked" me into wrestling. I owe Steve Rickard a lot...The man who Steve Rickard credits for his start, or at least the man who was his mentor, and brought him to a new level in this sport, was the "uncrowned Champion of the World", King Kong ( Emile Czaja ), who took his ring name ( and in fact his in-ring personality as well ) from playing the character in an Indian movie. During a tour of Malaysia in 1969, Czaja was in a serious car accident, and told Rickard he knew it was his time "to give up the belt". As a favour to his dying friend, Steve agreed to take his tour through India, adopting the name Young Kong, and portraying himself as the elder Kong's son. For 30 days, Rickard fought in contests the length and breadth of India, but in doing so, became seriously ill - dropping more than 30 lbs in weight while there. At the end of his campaign, in a weakened state and still very ill, he returned to Singapore, where Kong was now hospitalized. He brought with him newspaper cuttings of the tour, and the well wishes of all those who knew and loved the old gentleman. "I went straight to his bedside when I got off the plane" said Rickard in his 1979 book "Life On The Mat"."He gave me thanks while wanting to know every detail of the tour. He was content, but seemed as if he had only been awaiting my return, as he died some 36 hours later." Rickard would perform his last duty for his fallen friend on May 17th of that year, as he served as a pallbearer at the big man's funeral and helped bear his body to it's final resting place.

Steve too has had a number of health issues in recent years, but looks to be making good inroads to his recovery, including appearing at a recent Kiwi Pro-Wrestling event with other NZ legends. (L-R Steve Rickard, Bruno Becker, Cowboy Billy Wright, Bob 'the Hog' Crozier, Juno Huia 'The Maori Warrior' and Kurt Hobman ).

With thanks and respect to Rickard and his mentor, I present the cartoon I drew soon after meeting with him in 2002.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mad Dog

There have been many Mad Dog's in the great history of Professional Wrestling.Mad Dog Vachon may have been the first... he was certainly the most notable. Pound for pound, he may have been the toughest man ever in professional wrestling.... he was certainly one of the most feared. His brand of sadistic and vicious brawling eventually spawned future mayhem stars like Abdullah the Butcher, Stan Hansen, and Bruiser Brody... and also netted him the AWA World title on 5 separate occasions.Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer ( seen here with "Maniac" Matt Borne, who later went onto fame as Doink the Clown, and Percy Pringle, better known now as the Untertaker's manager Paul Bearer ) was a mainstay of many promotions in the American South during the 80's. Wild and crazy, in and out of the ring, Sawyer was perhaps one of the few "mad dog's" who may very well have been legitimately 'mad'. Sawyer was wrestling on the independent circuit when he died from heart failure due to an overdose in 1992, he was 32. Rumours circulated at the time, that his death may very well have been a hit, as he and fellow Pacific Northwest wrestler Billy Jack Haynes were said to have been smuggling drugs on a part-time basis. Either way, the fast life, claimed this Mad Dog far too early.Mad Dog Martin wrestled for some 2 decades around North America and the world. But his greatest claim to fame, was perhaps when he stopped being a mad dog, and instead became a "Frenchy" ( seen here with Dino Bravo ).Mad Dog Moretti was a regular for Don Owen's pacific Northwest territory, for more years than I care to remember. After the passing of Lonnie Mayne, Moretti changed his moniker slightly, and went from being a mad dog, to a moon dog, in honour of his late mentor. I still remember as Moretti wrestled, the fans chanted "Mad Dog Moretti - eats spaghetti"... Yes friends, derogatory audience chants have come a long way since then....and that brings us to the newest of the Mad Dog's, Australian Wrestling's own Mad Dog ( generally he is billed with no last name, although sometimes known as Mad Dog McRea ).Love him or hate him, in just over ten years, he has taken Australian wrestling by storm by becoming one of its most important and recognizable figures. Mad Dog has been in more hardcore deathmatches than he cares to ( or probably can ) remember, including defeating Mad Man Pondo for the JCW Championship, and then taking it to Big Japan Wrestling to defend ( in the process becoming Australian wrestling’s unofficial ambassador to Japan ). Mad Dog has definitely been through the wars in his "decade of destruction", but he carries his scars with pride... showing the world just what he has had to go through to be considered one of the best.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"The Extreme" James Blade

If you wanna look at high flying technical excellence in wrestling, you need look no further than "the Extreme" James Blade.
If you want someone who can go toe to toe with anyone in the biz, be it hardcore, high-flying, or mat-based wrestling, look no further than "the Extreme" James Blade. If you're booking a wrestling show in Australia, and are looking for that marquee match, that match that will send the fans home saying "wow", then look no further, than "the Extreme" James Blade.
The man has held gold in virtually every wrestling promotion he has competed in. All except for his current home base, PWAQ.

James Blade returned to action there recently, ( after a lengthy absence ) in the 10 man War Games match at Southport, immediately targeting undefeated ( and seemingly unbeatable ) PWA International Champion Obie Cartel. Could another Championship reign be on the cards for the man who is regarded by all who have seen him, as one of the top ten wrestlers in Australia of all time?

I certainly hope so, because if there is one man in Australia I will proudly admit to being a complete mark for, it's "the Extreme" James Blade.Today's cartoon takes us back a number of years ( more than I care to count ), to when myself and my erstwhile sidekick, the ( self-proclaimed ) fabulous sebastian, were announcers for WCWA ( which later became MIW, before finally settling in as IPWA ). James Blade was a dominating force as the Cruiserweight champion, taking on all challengers, and beating all who dared step up. But the question on many peoples lips at the time, was whether Blade's dominance was down not only to his skill, but also to his questionable Cruiserweight size.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vixsin

If there is a wrestling Promotion in Australia, it is likely that Vixsin has wrestled in it. And if Vixsin has wrestled in that promotion, it's likely she's bled there... or her opponent surely has.

5 years into her career, Vixsin has wrestled all around Australia ( SWA, PWA, PWWA, STF, UWF, PWAQ, TCW, RCW to name but a few ) cementing her reputation as one of the toughest, not only women wrestlers, but wrestlers in general to lace up boots in this country. Her match at Wrestlerock X against KrackerJak, is already the stuff of legend and even managed to get a write up or two in mainstream magazines as well...
( and does anything really say Australian wrestling more, than a barbed wire cricket bat? )
How long will it be til overseas beckons for this wrestling "force of nature"? A tour of Japan? An appearence at the Queen of Deathmatch tournament? Shimmer? Surely it will only be a matter of time until the overseas talent scouts come knocking. Nothing is out of the question for this world class grappler, and the world is undoubtedly her oyster.

And, I'm not just saying all of this because she scares me...
Well... maybe a little.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ash Riot

I may be a little biased ( since I work for them ), but I think that PWAQ offers the best wrestling action you'll find in Australia. I am proud to have been able to see the improvement in so many of the guys that have come up in this company first hand. One such guy, is Ash Riot. I first saw Ash wrestle on nite 1 of the Rise of the Warriors, and looking back now, it's amazing to see how far these guys have come in less than two years... And it is debatable that any have come further than Ash Riot.
Recently returned from a tour of the U.S, Ash could very well be on the cusp of great things in the Australian wrestling scene. Come along to a show, and check it out for yourself... I for one, can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Adam Bruiser

Adam Bruiser, the man formerly known as "Rancid", is a throw-back to the days of territorial wrestling. Big, tough, and always ready for a fight ( seen here in a recent dog-collar match with PWAQ's resident giant, Kyote ), Bruiser is a regular for many wrestling promotions around Australia.For nearly a decade, Adam Bruiser has blazed his way through various Australian wrestling promotions, including IWA, AWF, FWA, PWA, PWAC, PWAQ, NIGHTMARE WRESTLING, SWA, WZW & STF, leaving a trail of blood and broken bodies behind him.
Today's cartoon, is for him.