Saturday, May 30, 2015

FRIENDS CUP: ELIMINATION CHAMBER

As promised, in lieu of a news episode this week the Friends present this special blog entry to highlight their Elimination Chamber predictions in a year-long quest to take over the Friends Cup—it's a website-exclusive event!

Head over there first to check up on the current standings, then come back to look at our predictions!

Blake's Picks


Diva's Triple Threat

Nikki has been champion for who knows how long, and nobody seems to care. Look for a new champion to be crowned here, and since Paige still needs to get revenge on Naomi for "injuring" her, I expect that feud to continue after EC. Tamina proves to be the deciding factor tonight and Naomi takes the title home.

Winner: Naomi



Tag Team Championship: Elimination Chamber

The New Day has been on quite a roll since capturing the titles, so why mess with a good thing? They still need a couple more wins under their belt to make them to legitimize them, and besides, whenever WWE goes out of their way to point out how much the odds aren't in a champions favor, they usually retain.

Winner: The New Day



WWE Intercontinental Championship: Elimination Chamber

There are a handful of competitors in this match that I wouldn't be surprised to see leave with the strap, but there's only one guy who I think desperately needs it more than all other challengers. Rusev was a man on the way to the top of the card until he hit a wall named John Cena, now he's on a three PPV losing streak. If WWE wants him to remain relevant, they'll have him walk out EC with the IC Title.

Winner: Rusev



Neville vs Bo Dallas

While it's been fun to see Dallas used as something more than a punching bag the last two weeks, Neville needs a decisive singles win more. He's been picking up DQ and count out victories a little too frequently, so I expect The Man that Gravity Forgot to finally get a three count after a beautiful Red Arrow.

Winner: Neville



John Cena vs Kevin Owens

First off, I highly doubt we'll be seeing a three count in this match, but if we do, it'll be Owens's shoulders to the mat. He came in hot and took Cena out two weeks in a row on Raw, and that's precisely why I see Cena going over. It's WWE's law of reverse momentum at its finest. So, whether it's by DQ or by pin-fall, I see Cena taking home the "W."

Winner: John Cena



Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

Everyone, including me, wants to see Ambrose find a permanent home in the main event, but I don't think it's his time yet. He has had a rough year so far and needs more time to rehab before he can be considered a legitimate threat for the title. I see Rollins retaining and finally starting that feud with Kane that's been building for months. Yay...

Winner: Seth Rollins



Bonus Point

The two times Owens has taken out Cena, he's made a point to stomp on the U.S. Championship. I predict Owens doesn't just stomp on the gold, but straight up destroys it this time around. We've all heard the rumors that Cena wants a revamped strap to carry around, and this is the perfect opportunity to give him what he wants.


Andy's Picks


Diva's Triple Threat

On SmackDown, Paige beat Naomi, so I'm going with WWE's reverse-momentum logic and say Naomi wins.

Winner: Naomi (60% Confidence)



Tag Team Championship: Elimination Chamber

History will be made in this match, as we've never seen less talent in the Chamber match. Not even close.

Winner: The New Day (95% Confidence)



WWE Intercontinental Championship: Elimination Chamber

Will it matter who wins this thing? Absolutely not. They'll continue to lose non-title matches and just like Jeff Jarrett, PISS ME OFF!

Winner: Sheamus (80% Confidence)



Neville vs Bo Dallas

I BOLIEVE that this match is pointless. Sorry, but Bo has been a jobber for the past year, and then WWE gives him two weeks worth of offense. That's half-assed!

Winner: Neville (98% Confidence)



John Cena vs Kevin Owens

Will it be "Fight Owens Fight" or "Fart Cena Fart"? It could be a little bit of both. I'm not confident that we'll get any sort of ending, so best to go with my gut.

Winner: Kevin Owens (60% Confidence)



Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

Ambrose is annoying.

Winner: Seth Rollins (99% Confidence)



Bonus Point

N/A


Erik's Picks


Diva's Triple Threat

There's lots of talk about WWE rationale and who's one-upped who the past few weeks, but it's a Diva's match so that is out the window! Fuck it...Let's say Nikki takes advantage of Naomi screwing over Paige somehow.

Winner: Nikki Bella



Tag Team Championship: Elimination Chamber

Despite the participants, I'm actually anxious to see how this will logistically work! I see a lot of unexpected excitement and, like tag matches of the past few PPVs, an opportunity to steal the show. History favors the Freebird rule, however.

Winner: The New Day



WWE Intercontinental Championship: Elimination Chamber

Rusev has to be the favorite for this, but if he's pulled due to injury then the IC belt is unfortunately "up in the air" once again. King Barrett's my back-up, as the belt would only get in the way of a big hoss feud between Rocksheamusteady and Ryback.

Winner: Rusev (Barrett back-up)



Neville vs Bo Dallas

It's sometimes hard to remember the great matches these two had in NXT, with Neville taking the title off Dallas after a lengthy reign. Unlike in that exciting back-and-forth encounter, poor Bo has been relegated to supporting role in the Neville showcase.

Winner: Neville



John Cena vs Kevin Owens

Though "schmozz" is probably the current Vegas favorite, it's hard to pick it in a contest where every point matters. That's why I'm going with the result of my coin flip—dammit, I got Cena.

Winner: John Cena



Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

When these two get the match and build they deserve, hopefully everyone will forget about this throwaway encounter. Rollins wins when Dean Ambrose gets stuck under a railroad cart or something.

Winner: Seth Rollins



Bonus Point

Los Matadores get stuck in their Chamber pod for the entirety of the match, until El Torito gets them out by headbutting the glass.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

EPISODE #58: JUDY BAGWELL AWARDS: ASHES, HEIDENRAPE & CHOPPED PEE PEE

Memorial Day may be over, but our latest episode of Wrestling With Friends is one you'll never forget!

This week, guest judge Kraig Khaos of the highly-entertaining/informative/rant-filled Uncommon Interests podcast joins us to settle the score on the latest edition of the Judy Bagwell Awards. The Friends put Kraig through the wringer on his first outing, forcing him to listen through and decide upon CM Punk disrespecting Paul Bearer's ashes, Heidenreich disemboweling Michael Cole against his will and Kai En Tai dismembering Val Venis...or at least threatening to.



We've also got another very special guest on board for what we hope is a recurring segment (we did sign him to a multi-appearance contract, after all) as Vince Russo joins us to discuss "This Day in Wrestling History".

Join Blake, Andy, Mr. Wrestling II & Erik, just a couple of friends chatting about wrestling. Won't you be our friend?



or Direct Download: Episode 58 - Judy Bagwell Awards: Ashes, Heidenrape & Chopped Pee Pee



0:00 - 17:33: Intros & Topics
19:15 - 30:37: Vince Russo's "This Day in Wrestling History"
10:28 - 1:14:37: Judy Bagwell Awards: Paul Bearer's Ashes//Heidenreich Rapes Cole//Kai En Tai dis"members" Venis

Musical Interludes by Kavinsky off the album OutRun


Remember! We want you, our wrestling friends, to send us feedback on any of the segments we cover. E-mail us at wrestlingwithfriends@gmail.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter (@wrestle_friends)

Also, subscribe to us on iTunes or find us on Stitcher Smart Radio. While you're there, we'd sure think it sweet of you to leave us a little review. Thanks, friends!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

WATCH WRESTLING FOREIGNER: ALEX JUDGES PRO WRESTLING


by: Alex Klimkewicz


I should preface this by saying that I don’t follow Japanese wrestling, nor do I speak a lick of Japanese. But when I took a recent vacation to Tokyo, I knew that I couldn’t leave the city without seeing some live puroresu. My schedule lined up with many smaller shows being held at the historic Korakuen Hall, including Dragon’s Gate, DDT Wrestling, and Wrestle-1, but I choose to watch the better know All Japan Pro Wrestling.

Wednesday May 6th was a sunny day in Tokyo. The AJPW taping was scheduled for 12 o’clock in the afternoon, but I went to Tokyo Dome/Korakuen Hall about an hour early, since I’d heard that it would be difficult to find (it wasn’t) and I was afraid that tickets would be sold out (they weren’t). Korakuen Hall is a smallish arena, and the ring is on the fifth floor of the building. Surrounding the entrance are posters for various past and future shows, as well as vendors selling merchandise and programs. I snagged a sweet looking AJPW t-shirt, but knew that a program would be a waste of money. Anyway, I had a look through my neighbor’s and it was filled with pictures of the usual suspects – Dory Funk, Jr., Akebono, and many of the other unknown (to me) Japanese wrestlers that I’d see that day.

The show started with an announcer bringing out the entire locker room, which was really only about 15 guys (I guess AJPW is on a downswing currently, especially compared to the more popular NJPW.) Two senior guys stood in the ring with photos of deceased wrestlers, one of which was Verne Gagne, but I’m uncertain who the Japanese wrestler was. A solemn ten bell salute memorialized these two fallen squared-circle warriors.

The first match of the night featured two young curtain jerkers against each other. Naoya Nomura and Yuma Aoyagi are only 21 and 19 years-old respectively, but they managed to put on a hell of a performance despite their lack of wrestling experience. Neither had flashy entrances or ring gear, as each man only sported simple trunks: Nomura in red and Aoyagi in blue, but it was clear to me that they were trying to impress whomever was watching them in the back. Each strike that echoed throughout Korakuen Hall had a bit of extra mustard on it, and Nomura nearly decapitated his opponent with a vicious looking dropkick towards the end of the match. In the end Nomura locked Aoyagi in a Boston crab, and the younger man could do nothing but tap out.

The second match was markedly different, as it saw two ring veterans in 45 year-old Masao Inoue taking on 61 year-old Masanobu Fuchi. After a bit of research, I’ve learned that Fuchi is the longest tenured guy in AJPW, and he is also head booker for the company. As you can imagine, this match was nowhere near as fast paced as the opening, but I was thoroughly entertained by the back and forth between Fuchi and Inoue. Fuchi would consistently lock a submission on Inoue, only for the younger man to struggle to reverse it and once he did manage to get Fuchi into a submission of his own, Fuchi would easily reach the ropes to force a break. It was a humorous match, but without any of the childish antics common to a WWE comedy match. In the end, Masanobu Fuchi managed to get the win after a series of back and forth small package pinning combinations.

The next match was the first (of four) tag team matches of the night. Kota Umeda and Toshikai Ishii defeated Yohei Nakajima and AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion Kotaro Suzuki. It was during this match that the crowd at Korakuen Hall really got into the pro-wrestling they were watching. I was sitting next to a seven or eight year-old girl who spent most of the match screaming for Nakajima and Suzuki, who I can only assume were the faces. Japanese wrestling is a bit different than American wrestling, in that the heels don’t seem overtly bad and tend to demonstrate as much tenacity and heart as the babyfaces do. This was a good back and forth match, but Ishii managed to get the pin over Nakajima following a wicked kick to the other man’s head.

The last singles match of the night featured KENSO taking on Takao Omori. These two guys seemed to be the most polished wrestlers I’d thus far seen, and I was interested to learn that KENSO had spent some time in the WWE back in 2004-2005. I was more impressed with Omori though, as he seemed to exude much more charisma. (Takao Omori also exuded gobs and gobs of spit, as he’d let loogies fly after every big hit from KENSO. A few landed on the ringside photographers, and others hit the ring apron only to be toweled up by younger wrestlers in training.) This match had a hardcore vibe to it, as the two fighters brawled through the ringside crowd, hit each other with steel chairs, and even suplexed each other onto a pile of steel chairs. In the end Omori got the win after hitting a neat looking reverse tombstone piledriver, and following that up with a clothesline from hell to KENSO. Despite the brutality of the match, the two men embraced afterwards. Respect.

At this point during the event there was an intermission before the main event matches. It was an opportunity to stretch one’s legs (the seats in Korakuen Hall are very tight and close together). Also, goodguy champion Kotaro Suzuki was out in the lobby taking pictures, signing autographs, and hocking merchandise.

When the action resumed, more people filed in for the main event matches, but there were still many noticeable empty spaces throughout the arena. The next match was an Evolution tag team match challenge as Atushi Aoki and Kohei Suwama defeated Joe Doering and Hikaru Sato. I was a bit confused at the start of this match, as Aoki, Suwama and Doering all wore ‘Evolution’ shirts, but after a bit of research, I’ve learned that they’re all in the same stable, and just fighting each other for pride. Each team was evenly matched, as Aoki and Sato were high-fliers, with Doering and Suwama being the powerhouses of their teams. Doering was the only gaijin on the card this day, and he certainly fit the famous Stan Hansen mold of American wrestlers in Japan. He wore white cowboy boots, looked a bit like The Outlaw Ron Bass, and had a moveset similar to JBL. Doering seemed well liked by the Japanese crowd, but he didn’t seem to have that necessary spark to transcend internationally. This was a good match, with a lot of hard-hitting moves despite the fact that they are all in the same stable. In the end, Suwama hit a huge powerbomb on the smaller Sato and got the pinfall victory.

The penultimate match of the day was the first championship match, as Ultimo Dragon and Yoshinobu Kanemaru successfully defended their All Asia Tag Team Championship against SUSHI and Jun Akiyama. I was doubly excited for this match, as Ultimo Dragon was the first guy of the event that I actually knew beforehand. Unfortunately, he seems to have lost a step or two since his WCW days, but keep in mind that the guy is closing in on 50 years old. I was thoroughly impressed by SUSHI who had the overwhelming support of the crowd. He is a highflying comedic wrestler with a mask and sushi plate attached to his headgear. Crazy right? I got behind him, just like the rest of Korakuen Hall, however, this wasn’t to be his night, as he lost the match via pinfall from Kanemaru.

The main event match was yet another tag match (I was getting tired of them, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind) and another match for a championship. This time Akebono and Yutaka Yoshie defended their World Tag Team Championship titles against Kento Miyahara and Go Shiozaki. The champions reminded me a lot of the Natural Disasters, with Akebono as a huge mass of humanity, and Yoshie still gigantic, but smaller in comparison to Akebono, similar to the size and stature of Typhoon next to Earthquake. However, the men to shine in this match were Miyahara and Shiozaki. The crowd was firmly behind them, and they impressed me both with their high-flying ability, and incredible feats of strength. The finish of this grueling 23 minute match was Miyahara German suplexing Yoshie, getting the pin, and becoming new tag team champs. This was certainly the best match of the night, and I’d predict a long and successful career is in store for Kento Miyahara, who is only 26 years-old.

Watching this All Japan Pro Wrestling show was one of the highlights of my trip to Tokyo. I really enjoyed the wrestling, even though I knew practically nobody going into the event (which only had about three other non-Japanese audience members in attendance). It is a surreal experience how quiet the Japanese crowd can be at times, and it is amazing to hear just how hard and loud the wrestlers who smack each other can be. If you ever get a chance to see AJPW, or any other show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, definitely go, you won’t be disappointed!

Alex is a teacher in South Korea and a good Friend to the show. He can be heard judging a recent Judy Bagwell Award contest. Like Alex, you can be an integral part of the show! Submit a blog or let us know if you'd like to be welcomed into the folds of insanity. Thanks, Alex!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

EPISODE #57: THE LIST (#55): KINGS AMONG MEN

We're Wrestling With Friends, and we're ready to "spear" your ear holes to become the new Kings of Podcasting!

It's another List round-up, landing squarely on #55 this week. It's a family affair, with a Psycho and a high-flying daredevil having a homicidal, genocidal child of their very own. Who picks what? Tune in to find out!



Join Blake, Andy, Mr. Wrestling II & Erik, just a couple of friends chatting about wrestling. Won't you be our friend?



or Direct Download: Episode 57 - The List (#55): Kings Among Men



0:00 - 8:59: Intros & Topics

10:28 - 43:34: The List: #55

Musical Interlude by Girl Talk, "Like This"


Remember! We want you, our wrestling friends, to send us feedback on any of the segments we cover. E-mail us at wrestlingwithfriends@gmail.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter (@wrestle_friends)

Also, subscribe to us on iTunes or find us on Stitcher Smart Radio. While you're there, we'd sure think it sweet of you to leave us a little review. Thanks, friends!

Friday, May 15, 2015

FRIENDS NEWS EPISODE 17: PAYBACK 2015 FRIENDS CUP

It's the episode nobody asked for but didn't realize they wanted!

We're suddenly back with a News round-up episode, after just 3 weeks since WWE's last Pay-Per-View event. The Friends take a look around the wrestling world, before settling back in the WWE Universe for their Payback 2015 predictions in the ongoing Friends Cup ceremonies!



Talking Points: Indy Injuries, Wear-e-limination Chamber, Global Force Baseball Club, Mandow, Lucha Trios

Join Blake, Andrew & Erik, just a couple of friends chatting about wrestling. Won't you be our friend?



or Direct Download: Friends News Episode 17: Payback 2015 Friends Cup



0:00 - 36:44: Intros & Current Promotional News

38:20 - 1:11:35: Friends Cup: Payback 2015

Musical Interludes by: Ratatat feat. Ruben X & Michael Jackson


Remember! We want you, our wrestling friends, to send us feedback on any of the segments we cover. E-mail us at wrestlingwithfriends@gmail.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter (@wrestle_friends)

Also, subscribe to us on iTunes or find us on Stitcher Smart Radio. While you're there, we'd sure think it sweet of you to leave us a little review. Thanks, friends!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

EPISODE 56: THE LIST (#56)

For the first time ever, Wrestling with Friends proudly presents its first of (maybe?) many to come List-Only episodes! And don't be confused by our title—this episode is like a rare beast in the wild, with the numbers matching up...cool!

As part of the benefit to you, the listener, of Wrestling With Friends 2.0, we're splitting the List apart entirely to give these entrants the respect they deserve. But that doesn't mean they're gonna get any more respectable.



Which one of our picks probably smells the worst? Which one does Andy have a crush on? And which one will remind Erik of his daddy? Tune in to hear our #56 entries!

Join Blake, Andy, Mr. Wrestling II & Erik, just a couple of friends chatting about wrestling. Won't you be our friend?



or Direct Download: Episode 56 - The List (#56)



0:00 - 10:32: Intros & Topics

12:50 - 50:14: The List: #56

Musical Interlude by Dschinghis Khan


Remember! We want you, our wrestling friends, to send us feedback on any of the segments we cover. E-mail us at wrestlingwithfriends@gmail.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter (@wrestle_friends)

Also, subscribe to us on iTunes or find us on Stitcher Smart Radio. While you're there, we'd sure think it sweet of you to leave us a little review. Thanks, friends!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

EPISODE 55: HEENAN'S HALL: ROSS, FINK & DUMPSTER DIVING OUTLAWS

Toss that old Wrestling With Friends machine out on the curb—The New Wrestling With Friends is here! AGAIN!

While our layout and schedule has changed, not much else has changed. Blake still has a few beefs, Andrew is still doing inappropriate sound effects and Erik is still penning novels for his adoring fans. And in between it all, they talk a little wrestling! They also get long time Friend and sometimes co-host Mr. Wrestling II involved back in the action by sending him out on the road for an honorary Lee Marshall Road Report.



There's also no love lost as the Friends make another long-awaited trip to Heenan's Hall, where Jim Ross, the New Age Outlaws antics and the returning Howard Finkel all vie for the plaque. It's just like old times, including when Andrew spills marinara on Blake's brand new cummerbund.

Join Blake, Andy, Mr. Wrestling II & Erik, just a couple of friends chatting about wrestling. Won't you be our friend?



or Direct Download: Episode 55 - Heenan's Hall: Ross, Fink & Dumpster Diving Outlaws



0:00 - 19:42: Intros & Topics

21:04 - 29:39: Wrestling II Road Report

31:30 - 1:08:48: Heenan's Hall: Jim Ross//Howard Finkel//New Age Outlaws Dump Foley & Funk

Musical Interludes by Tifton's "Songs and Stories About the Justice League of America"


Remember! We want you, our wrestling friends, to send us feedback on any of the segments we cover. E-mail us at wrestlingwithfriends@gmail.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter (@wrestle_friends)

Also, subscribe to us on iTunes or find us on Stitcher Smart Radio. While you're there, we'd sure think it sweet of you to leave us a little review. Thanks, friends!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

FANTASY FEUD PT. 4: PILLMAN VS. WYATT

By Guest Columnist, Kraig Khaos



WITHSTANDING THE CHALLENGE



It's 10:50pm and it's time for the last match on RAW. We are returning from a commercial break that reminds us that a new season of Crisley Knows Best will be returning soon. Which is extremely helpful. Because now we know when NOT to tune in to the USA channel.

We see Brian Pillman already in the ring awaiting his opponents. After a long pause, we are blasted with HHH's entrance music as he walks out from behind the corner with a mic in hand. He stays at the top of the ramps and looks at Pillman.

"Brian", he says. "I don't like people coming up to me and demanding things. Getting in my face like some sort of a loose cannon and telling me what they want. However, as the C.O.O. of the WWE, I DO know what’s best for business. And if you can win this 2 on 1 handicap match tonight, you can have your match with Bray Wyatt in 2 weeks at Extreme Rules. A no holds barred extreme rules match!"

We see Pillman nod his head enthusiastically and mouth the words, "That's what I want."

"But," HHH continues, "I wouldn't be concerned about that. I'd be more concerned with trying to survive tonight." HHH's music plays and he leaves.

A few seconds later, eyeballs fill the entrance screen as Luke Harper makes his way out and stalks into the ring. When his music stops, we have a pause before the lights turn red and Kane's music starts. Kane comes out wearing a nasty smile and some sensible black slacks that match his elbow pad. He makes his way to the ring. His music cuts off and the bell rings. After a few seconds of talking, it is decided that Luke Harper will start the match.

Brian Pillman jumps at Harper and hits him with a forearm. It seems to daze Harper for 1/2 a second. When Brian goes for a second hit, he is quickly stopped short by a boot to the gut. Harper pushes Pillman into a corner and stomps him down. He tosses Pillman into the ropes and picks him up for a quick scoop slam. He then proceeds to gator roll Pillman across the mat.

With a crazy look in his eyes, he tags in Kane. Kane smiles with his weird little teeth and Flyin Brian trying to stand up. Kane stomps him back down to the mat. He pulls Brian up by his long luxurious locks of golden hair and tosses him to the ropes, as he ducks down to flip Brian over his shoulders, he receives a kick to the face.

Stunned, Kane reels back. Pillman lands a solid dropkick to Kane, knocking him down. As Kane is layed out on the mat, Pillman runs to the ropes to perform a move called the Lion Sault that he learned years ago in Mexico by a blonde wrestler named Lion Heart. But at the last second, Kane brings his knees up. Brian rolls onto the mat. Kane gets up and picks Brian up. He grabs Pillman by the throat for the choke slam. As he lifts Brian up, Brian jumps behind him and runs and shoots himself off the ropes. As Kane turns around, Pillman's shoulder tackle lands right to Kane's knee, knocking the Big Red Machine down. But as he falls, his hand slaps Luke Harper's outstretched hand.

Harper comes in the ring and quickly gives a few quick punches and kicks to Pillman. He picks Brian up to give him a clothesline. But at the last second, Pillman ducks, sending Harper flying into Kane who has just stood up from his knee tackle. Kane is now sent crashing to the mat with Harper and rolls outside the ring. Pillman climbs to the top rope in the corner behind Harper. The crowd goes wild.

As Luke Harper stands back up, he turns around is met with the Pillman signature flying crossbody finisher. He goes down with Brian on top of him and the ref counts 1-2-3 as Harper is pinned. The crowd at the arena erupts with cheers.

As Harper rolls out the ring and him and Kane sulk away, Pillman asks for a microphone and is handed one by WWE ringside staff member. With a wide eyed crazy look in his eye Pillman looks into the camera.

"Bray Wyatt", he shouts in his raspy voice, "I hope you like what you've created! All your mind games, all your beatings. You've awoken the maniac. And in 2 weeks at Extreme Rules, you are gonna find out exactly what this loose cannon can do. And I promise, it won't be pretty, you son of a bitch!"

Brian drops the microphone and starts laughing maniacally into the camera as it fades to black.

Stay tuned for the final thrilling conclusion next time...For now, visit Kraig Khaos' podcast page HERE.