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Jimmy Redman

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  1. Jimmy Redman

    WWE TV 11/16 - 11/22 Bolsonarismo got fucked

    I dropped into NXT this week for the first time in a while, because I heard about Io vs. Rhea and, well, I'm nothing if not a good lesbian. This is the first time I'm seeing it, and I think the chain link COVID fence actually improves the look of (what I assume is still) Full Sail heaps. Gives NXT a semblance of grit it has been missing for years. Also Wade Barrett was born to be a commentator so this is a good move. INDI HARTWELL IS ON TV??? The kid from Melbourne I've been watching on the undercard of my rinky dink indy in Marayong... what a world. I missed seeing the first, and probably second generation of Aussie indy talent locally, I only started going to local indies in the last couple years. So Indi is the first local kid to make it that I feel a "I knew them before it was cool" connection to. Good for her. Kacy and Lacey Lane's New Name need to team for a million years and flip over everything on earth. WHAT HAPPENED TO DON'T YOU REMEMBER ONE EMBER SPARKS THE FIRE, ONE EMBER FANS THE FLAMES???? A travesty. I sure hope Ember asked to go back to NXT, because woah boy should she be carrying one of those God forsaken main brands by now. Conversely, I think Toni's entrance has improved immeasurably. Billing Rhea as 5'10" is fucking hilarious and I am all for it. Rhea is #1 in my big gay heart of course, but I actually have no fucking idea who is supposed to be the heel or babyface here. By the end I think I realised, nobody is, but then I still couldn't figure out if they were both faces or both heels. Everyone is just angrier and tougher and cooler than everyone else. An entire roster full of Triple Hs. This is why I'm much happier watching SHIMMER shows from 2007 where the babyfaces happily slap hands with the crowd and the heels are despicable pieces of human scum who spit at babies, punch their nannas in the tit and burn down orphanages. Despite my 2020 grumble grumble, this did bang and bang hard. Loved the big moves, loved the strikes, loved the arm work, loved how it got meaner and meaner. IO DROPKICKED RHEA'S FUCKING EARRINGS OUT OF HER EAR~! FUCKING TOPE SUICIDA SUNSET FLIP BOMB THROUGH THE FUCKING TABLE~! They shot the finish a gem because all you see is Rhea's corpse JUST diving in to beat the count after her death, and rolling around selling on the mat and then suddenly BAM MOONSAULT. Nice work. This was sick stuff, and my semi-annual reminder that I should really watch more wrestling because I love these women and they're so fucking talented and are getting all the time in the world to show it. I'll be back to normal tomorrow. Well, I might try to watch the War Games.
  2. Stacey and Steven are back to regular scheduled programming, with a brand new episode covering Volume 9. We get new talent coming in, new match ups, new entrance themes! Plus Allison Danger taking Cindy Rogers under her wing, MsChif squaring up to Amazing Kong, and a mouth-watering main event in Sara Dey Rey vs. Cheerleader Melissa. Available now on the PWO Podcast Network, and also for an exclusive one-time only, on the THROH The Years podcast feed! https://soundcloud.com/prowrestlingonly/shimmer-herstory-volume-9
  3. I don't know why they didn't do the old "combine the names of two famous players" trick, but maybe they didn't think a retired Australian footballer was big enough to worry about legally.
  4. I'm glad you guys are enjoying Aussie Rules. You are indeed free to whack your knee into the back of someone's neck to catch the ball to your heart's desire. All this footy stuff reminds me that I'm so glad I don't watch NXT any more, because from the day Daniel Vidot debuts on TV and they call him a "rugby player" I would be twitching uncontrollably on a weekly basis. (Vidot played rugby league, which is a different sport to rugby union and isn't shortened to "rugby" in the same way.)
  5. We're back! From deep in the SHIMMER HERstory archives comes this rare and exclusive "lost episode", our July 2019 recording on SHIMMER Volume 8. Did we know the world was about to end? Probably not or I wouldn't have spent so much time talking about Australian country music. But this is a fun volume with the much anticipated third match between Sara Del Rey and Mercedes Martinez, a rare Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew tag team appearance, and much more. Can Melissa and MsChif get along as a tag team? Can Mercedes finally defeat Del Rey? Can I cope with Cindy Rogers' continued descent into evil? All this and more, check it out now on the PWOM Podcast Network! https://soundcloud.com/prowrestlingonly/shimmer-herstory-volume-8-lost-episode
  6. Bayley looks READY coming out here. It’s interesting how much the build to this has been about her chasing Charlotte, knowing the result and ensuing direction. Becky is in shorts for the first time instead of her holdover Rebecca Knox gear. She also already has her babyface theme music even though she’s still a heel teaming with Sasha here, and it sounds ODD. Charlotte being rammed into the newly installed LED apron board and breaking it is the kind of corny shit that works in NXT. The inevitable Becky-Sasha split happened early thankfully with Becky picking her up and HURLING HER INTO NEXT WEEK. Sasha took off in Orlando and fair dinkum landed in Tallahassee. Everyone was working out of their skin and busting shit out. Becky does the wackiest submission. Charlotte invents neckbreakers as she goes along for everyone. She also spears Becky into oblivion. Sashs does the hanging knees on two birds at once. Bayley hits another Frankensteiner off the top and also a great dive through the turnbuckles on the floor (a great spot, considering in the build Bayley flat out admitted she was taking inspiration from Sami Zayn needing to find an edge to win the title). Then you get the next level of escalation, Sasha hitting a bullet of a tope, and then Charlotte following with a plancha on the lot of them. Shit is getting crazy and the moves are getting crazier. It's a nice metaphor for the entire division and movement levelling up a gear in real time. The best part of this match comes here, where Bayley hits the big B2B off the top on Charlotte, and Sasha flies in and dumps Bayley and steals the pin like every asshole in WWE just for Charlotte to KICK and everyone went nuts and Charlotte is literally laying there LAUGHING HER HEAD OFF. She could not contain her reaction. They HAD them. They knew they had them. And these girls would continue to have them for the next few months, in a way nobody had ever witnessed before. And for every year thereafter. That’s the kind of smack high that wrestlers chase their entire lives. The other best part of the match was what came next - the actual finish. Sasha DIDN’T win by sneaking a pin after a big babyface finisher like literally every heel in WWE wins literally every single multi-person match. Script flipped. Sasha knuckes down and slaps HER finisher straight on this fucker and just pulls and pulls and pulls until Charlotte has no choice but to tap but she DOESN’T tap because she’s Charlotte fucking Flair but Sasha just rips her up until she dies and then rolls her up into a pin that she has no life left to kick out of. No bullshit, no throwing the face out and stealing the pin, no cheating. Sasha drained the life out of her. She BEAT Charlotte. She was better. So she’s the champion. This is also more than deserved since Sasha has been the best worker in the division for a while, she was the clear MVP of this match, and whenever Sami buggers off from TV she will be the best wrestler in NXT. I already loved her the first time around, and I am GIDDY at the prospect of her run really just beginning. The post match was weird, but in a beautiful, authentic way. Charlotte has been pushed as such a dominant ace of the division during her reign, despite her lack of experience. She’s just so effortlessly… Charlotte. So beating her is a big deal, and felt like a big deal. And her reaction here, sitting in the ring in fucking disbelief that one of these kids half her size actually beat her… Charlotte is so green and can come off wooden on promos or in backstage moments, but her physical acting and selling in the ring, especially at times like this, she just nails it at a level that defies the fact that she’s been working for less than 2 years and has still only really had a handful of wrestling matches in her life. The eventual “handshake” as it happened was beautiful. Charlotte, defeated ace, graciously holds out her hand - Charlotte isn’t an evil heel, just a dominant, cocky champion. She can accept defeat fair and square. Sasha is SO TEMPTED TO SHAKE IT, her whole origin story is the sweet girl who wasn’t getting anywhere as a babyface, so allowed Summer Rae to corrupt her into being a heel for some easy wins. She took the low road. Here was a chance to redeem herself… and she couldn’t do it. She’s used to being the bad guy now, and she kind of likes it. So she tries to get in Charlotte’s face, but Charlotte is a giant Amazon woman, and she wants this fucking moment whether Sasha likes it or not, and forcibly pulls her in for a hug, which Sasha accepts long enough for Charlotte to decide it was too long and pushes her away, and then Sasha remembers where she is (like dorks getting caught cheering Cena at the Rumble) and SHOVES her and throws the title in her face to remind her who’s boss (sorry). Very weird, very awkward, but very real.
  7. Charlotte defends against Bayley at Takeover Fatal 4 Way. This is the era of NXT where it was so rewarding to watch the TV and follow along week by week. We've seen Bayley going from naive and starstruck to betrayed by everyone around her, which has wisened her up a bit, and given her an edge as she goes for payback. She's been on a roll and earned a title shot from wrestling and beating people like Summer and Sasha. And it was actually Charlotte's turn on her in late 2013 that kicked this all off, and Bayley has never really got proper revenge on her for that, so it's only fitting that it comes here with her chance at the title. Bayley is fired up. She's also over as hell, by the way. The great thing about Bayley, that only the really great babyfaces get, is that you have to fight back. Just enough, but fight back. Bayley is always fighting from underneath, not just taking shit but trying to push through, trying to get back to her feet, trying to block and escape. She gets it. The Figure Four Headlock is a great move for Charlotte to base her offense and control around. She can sit in it and slow down, she can turn it over and do the head smashes with it, she can flip over in it and make it an impact move, she can reach their faces in it to claw at... it's a great base for her to do a million things with, and variety on offense is very much appreciated when I'm watching everything week to week. Charlotte ROCKS her with some forearms which forces Bayley to fire up and fire back with strikes, before being cut off. Again, Bayley doesn't just sell forever and then comeback at the end. She's always trying to come back and fire up, just to get cut off. Bayley goes up for a fucking TOP ROPE FRANKENSTEINER OUTTA NOWHERE a year before Brooklyn for a sick nearfall. They build the good shit from there - Charlotte counters the B2B with her wacky rollup, then fucking MANGLES her head on the bottom rope. Charlotte HITS the moonsault for the first time ever (although whiffs enough to make it make sense as a nearfall) and Bayley kicks out. Bayley starts to get up with absolute FIRE in her face - you will have to PUT HER DOWN DAMMIT - and an enraged Charlotte just grabs her head and does exactly that with her finish. Great performance from both dudes. This was star making for Bayley because even the announcers couldn't believe her and really put her over as challenging Charlotte. We even get a post-match angle where Sasha comes out to attack poor Bayley afterwards, and Charlotte - who had betrayed Bayley a year ago and continually looked down on Bayley and had no respect for her since then - came to the rescue and ran her off. Bayley earned Charlotte's respect during this match. Bayley is a made woman, and Charlotte is starting her turn towards being the world's worst babyface.
  8. This was almost a nice little TV match prototype of what they would go on to do later. The thing about these TV matches, particularly the short ones, is that with 2-3 minutes you only really have time to get your shit in and go home. So they all tend to look the same when you're hitting the same signature moves. The thought that struck me watching this is that Bayley and Sasha make every match of theirs look different. Even the short ones. Thankfully this was a No. 1 Contender's match and got about 6-8 minutes or so and they went to town. Bayley is a great fired up babyface. Sasha does a tremendous convoluted run around to eventually trip Bayley on the apron and take over. Bayley quickly starts making comebacks and they keep up this nice, frantic pace that befits the moment. Sasha cuts her off with some nice knees in the corner. They go and go and then finally, Bayley is going for her finish but Sasha just casually pulls her hair to counter, and hits the Bank Statement and locks it in, only for Bayley to roll her up tight and snatch the big win. They both look like a million bucks coming out of this. And like I said, a good TV match that was basically a harbinger of things to come.
  9. Jimmy Redman

    [2014-05-29-WWE-NXT Takeover] Charlotte vs Natayla

    At this point in time NXT was my favourite show, but not having the Network, I didn't start watching Takeovers until Brooklyn, so keep in mind I have never seen these matches before. I went into this expecting some good stuff, and I was MOTHERFUCKING BLOWN AWAY. I was actually blown away before the bell. What began as a tone shift towards seriousness during the first title tournament in 2013, has been fully realised here. The tournament for the title. The video package here treating them like megastars, talking about their family history, comparing them to Bret vs. Ric, everything was on point. I watch this and I just think yes, this is exactly what we could have been doing the whole time. Pure sportz build! And it was nice that Paige got time to say goodbye here, since she was far and away the biggest women's star for the first 2 years of NXT, and one of their biggest stars period. We all know how much this match and moment meant to Ric Flair, but I think the only person it might have meant more to was Natalya. The look on her face when she walked out with Bret here... I got goosebumps. You can tell that to her this was the biggest moment of her wrestling career. This is what she's always wanted. The worker in her would have been SCREAMING on the inside. I have an absolute TOME to write about Nattie in general and this isn't the place, but for the purposes of this match just let me say, Nattie was great in NXT during this time and let me tell you what - she was a STAR to this crowd. They really loved her. She would get "NATTIE" chants every match, and sometimes even when she wasn't even there (not "NATTIE'S HUSBAND" chants, I mean Tyson was working in the ring without her and they chanted "WE WANT NATTIE!" They... wanted Nattie. But I digress.) This match. I honestly hardly have the words. Every moment of it worked. It was a physical, visceral wrestling match. Nattie used her training and veteran wiles to work holds and counters and get control. Charlotte used her freakish attributes - her height, reach and strength, just pure Colombian uncut athleticism - to escape and keep up. Every moment worked. The wheelbarrow, for instance; Nattie ran the ropes and went for a wheelbarrow, Charlotte lifted her up with power, and Nattie used her nous to roll her up out of it. Beautiful, a million moments like that. I was worried that re-watching this so soon would dampen the flame I felt watching it the first time, but honestly it hasn't lost a thing. I could watch this match 100 times. Finally, Charlotte has had enough of being controlled with wrestling and countered at every turn, so she gets up and just fucking SLAPS her. Nattie is known to slap some bitches and so here we go. Charlotte hits some knees and a motherfucking backhand chop, and you sense that she finally reached the point where she's tired of being out-wrestled and needs to do something else. Nattie keeps persisting with the wrestling strategy, out of necessity, going for waistlock after waistlock, until Charlotte just picks her up and drops her with the backpack Stunner thing. Charlotte is using strikes and power moves now. Nattie has awoken the dragon. One little thing I loved here is when Charlotte hit something and Ric Flair went INSANE on the floor and practically jumped right into the ring to Woo in Nattie's face. The fact that these Legends were not just present for the match, but actually visibly cared so much about it and the result, made it feel all the more special. Charlotte using her Figure Four Headlock here looked great, and played into the story so well because it's not necessarily being out-wrestled, but just having those giant legs wrapped around her head that is finally getting Nattie under control. When Charlotte goes for this stuff, abdominal stretch, Nattie can find a way to get out because we're back to wrestling, and she has the advantage. And by the way, even something like Nattie's snapmare-run-stomp-run-dropkick combo looks good on someone as athletic as Charlotte and in front of a crowd that cares. The Dragon Screw Leg Whip (Dusty voice) on the floor was a neat little move to signal the gear shift and get to the final act. Looked gnarly too. It's easy to forget these things now, but watching along it's easy to remember that Charlotte goes for the big moonsault for the FIRST time here. I LOVED her shit-eating grin she had before she took off, just a big ol' "Get a load of this motherfuckers!" and BANG, she's Kurt Angle. You already knew this was leading to a big Sharpshooter vs. Figure Four showdown, and here we are. Charlotte once again powers out of a move. The Figure Four was fucking great, it made no sense with the reversals but it didn't even matter because they were both selling it so fucking well and making it make sense and the crowd was going apeshit and Ric was blowing an artery and Charlotte starts SLAPPING at Nattie and Nattie tries to fire back but SHE CAN'T BECAUSE CHARLOTTE HAS THE LONGER REACH AND SHE DOESN'T. Holy shit. And then finally they roll to the floor and for a second it's SHADES OF BRET HART'S FIGURE FOUR ON THE POST before they both fall down and die of exhaustion. Charlotte BANGS the floor in frustration here that this didn't work. This is also the first time of many where Charlotte looks to her father at ringside in her moment of despair late in a match. An amazing touch I cherished knowing their future run together. Charlotte gets her shit together and kicks Nattie's knee into the stairs. Charlotte is unbelievable. She goes for another Figure Four but STOPS, looks at Bret, the Flair juice flows through her veins and she realises in a split second she is Ric Flair's fucking daughter and she is the Dirtiest Player in the Game and she turns right around into that fucking Sharpshooter and looks Bret dead in the eye. Sickness. Nattie isn't going to spend the best moment of her life tapping to her own Sharpshooter so she COUNTERS WITH HER WRESTLING into her own Sharpshooter, only for Charlotte to COUNTER WITH HER POWER AND REACH and kick herself out of it. I am in LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE. Then Natural Selection and ball game. I don't even know what to say about the post-match except that it was awesome and nice and wonderful and bigger than kayfabe and historic and everything you wanted in this moment. This has never felt bigger. Also for what it's worth, at 16:49 this is now the longest televised women's match in modern WWE history. I cannot explain to you how completely flabbergasting this Charlotte performance is. Again, it's easy to forget now we're into the future, but this is May 2014. Charlotte was green as grass at this point. This was only the 11th TV match of her life! She had a handful of 2 minute matches in 2013, and spent the next 6 months as the muscle for the BFFs heel group. In fact she was still IN the BFFs as of this moment. She'd had two 5 minute singles matches under her belt, but hadn't really put anything particularly good on the board yet, and then went out here for 15+ minutes on PPV and did THIS. It is impossible to overstate how precocious a talent she is and quickly she got good. She is unbelievable. And fair play to Nattie, because nobody else could have had this match with her either. Regardless of the future this is probably Nattie's crowning achievement. I hardly need to say that I love an extraordinary amount of Divas matches so this isn't something I say with ease, but at this point in the chronology, this is far and away the best WWE women's match since Trish retired.
  10. Jimmy Redman

    [2014-02-27-WWE-NXT Arrival] Emma vs Paige

    I've had a Barry. I finished watching through 2014 NXT yesterday and then lost all of my notes for the year after a copy-and-paste balls up due to me persisting with a computer I can only charitably describe as an outdated piece of garbage typewriter. So I am rage typing like I have never rage typed before. I do know which matches I wanted to post about, but my complete and accurate will have to wait until I've calmed down, sometime in my late 50s. Anyway, this fucking match ruled. It didn't make me personally feel things like the first one did due to how important and game changing I felt the original women's tourney was. Steph coming out to put herself over just doesn't have the same effect, especially in 2020. But this was a banger. I liked the countering of finishers straight away, given this was the much anticipated rematch and they should know each other well by now. Paige really laid her knees in on the apron, and I liked the trip immediately after. Honestly Paige on offense doesn't do a lot for me, I got into it much more when Emma took over and hit all her shit and then put that double arm submission on. I really enjoyed how she didn't sit in it, and kept changing the angles, moving her boots into different pressure points, and ending up in a straight-legged bow and arrow. Regal was also fantastic talking us through the submissions as well. The difference on NXT between Regal commentary and non-Regal commentary is a CHASM. Paige going up for the superplex to play off Emma's one from the first match was nice, as well as Emma countering into a sick Liger Bomb. Emma really looked amazing in this. But after all this offense she got frustrated, and Paige is established as a hothead, so fucking around and slapping Paige only fired her up for her comeback. The thing I like least about Paige is how quickly she wins when she comes back, so when she immediately hit the Paige Turner I thought fuck, here we go again, so the kickout popped me big, even though the crowd didn't really react like it was the first ever kickout of the champion's super protected finishing move. Maybe because it's a garbage finish. At least Paige had to invent a whole new move to beat Emma after their wars together, nice touch. In hindsight this was kind of the last hurrah of what I would call the "Divas style" in NXT. You can even kind of see it play out in this match, where they begin with the typical "roll around on the floor" catfight opening, and then by the end they're doing powerbombs and stiff kicks and inventing submissions. It's not an immediately transition week to week, but by the end of 2014 you have the Horsewomen dominating and Sasha Banks having NXTIndy spotfests, kind of thing. This doesn't look like that, yet. The style of work drastically changes. 2014 is the year that transition happens, from beginning to end. Which is why I'm so mad I lost my fucking notes.
  11. Jimmy Redman

    [2013-07-24-WWE-NXT] Emma vs Paige

    A few years ago I watched all the WWE women's matches from 2000-2015 for my Divas Era project. I like to be a completist, so now we're in a new decade I want to finish watching everything through the end of the 10s and be, if nothing else, the world's foremost expert on WWE women's matches of the 21st century. So my first job is to catch up on NXT through 2015, since I never re-watched NXT the first time. I promised myself I'd post in here when I started finding matches worth posting about. Hopefully I cobble something together at the end of it, but in the meantime it feels better to be shouting my feelings into this ether than to not shout at all. If I had to guess before I began, this would be the match I'd assume broke the barrier, and I was right. I was huge on this at the time and I have many feelings about how important it ended up being, but I wasn't sure how it would hold up in 2020 eyes with a whole ass revolution coming after it. It MORE than held up. This is IT. In mid-2013 they're still calling the women Divas and making wisecracks about how hot they are and giving them 2-3 minute matches on television. Yes, even on NXT. It wasn't all Horsewomen and workrate folks. In fact, the small act of calling this brand new title the NXT Women's Title and not Divas Title was the literal first step for womankind towards a new and glorious enlightenment. The second step was having a bunch of 3-4 minute matches in the early rounds of the tournament leading up to this final. No kidding. Divas Era title tournaments were always awful, consisting of pointless 90 second matches. This was actually an improvement. There were a lot of glimpses of the future during this tournament - Emma fully fleshes out her babyface goof character during it, Bayley becomes BAYLEY Bayley, and a young, green Charlotte Flair debuts on TV the week before the final. The main thing, though, is simply the level of respect and seriousness they give it. It's a real tournament, with stakes, and treated seriously by the wrestlers, the announcers, and most importantly the crowd. They're into it, particularly into Paige, who had been one of the most over wrestlers on the roster for a while before this. She is so far above all the other women on the show, even in the company really, that this whole thing felt like an extended coronation. ANYWAY, I wasn't sure if this match would still rule after all that weight, but it still ruled. I read Marty's note above about the pinfalls, but I really liked that part, it felt like they were going hard out for the win and they didn't feel lazy or perfunctory. The work was nice and snug. I liked the part early where Paige went for a backslide, Emma blocked it and hit the ropes and went hey, presto, Tarantula! It's hard to make a move like the Tarantula feel organically set up. When Paige put her cloverleaf type finish on I COMPLETELY BOUGHT Emma selling the end and I was sure I remembered the finish wrong. I also liked that Emma countered into her own Emma Lock but didn't get a chance to put it on - a nice note for a future match. Paige busted out some new stuff for the occasion, like a Perfect Plex, or going UP TO THE TOP ROPE which she never does, and getting Superplexed. Big moment, and I'd have to check but I believe this must be the first "THIS IS AWESOME" chant in WWE women's wrestling history. Paige kind of hits her finish outta nowhere to win, which she always does, and never in a fun way, but nevertheless this was a banging match. The crowd was going banana the whole time, by the way, duelling chants for the girls and This Is Awesome chants and just being super into everything. The crowd bought into this 100%, and that, more than anything else, is what sold it as a big, real moment. Afterwards they keep selling hard, Paige cries, the NXT roster comes out to congratulate her (featuring pre-debut Alexa and some tall blonde sheila I seriously have never laid eyes on before in my life?) and then CHMMMM, TIME TO PLAY THE GAME, and we get what also must be the first recorded Papa Haitch Self-indulgent Photo-op With New NXT Champion in history too. I'm curious to see how much things shift from this point forward. But my feeling watching it, in 2020 just the same as 2013, is that this is the watershed. Everything I've watched up until this point has felt like an extended prelude to the NXT Women's Revolution. This match is page one.
  12. Jimmy Redman

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    There's definitely something in that idea you mentioned that it's too hard to find something new now. I have of course enjoyed wrestling from other places besides WWE, but I'm primarily a WWE-centric wrestling fan. It's the only thing I can speak on with authority (plus the only modern product I can easily follow from Australia). So when my love of WWE sours, it sours my love of wrestling in general. I'd like to have the motivation to just ditch WWE and go watch other companies or other footage, but I don't. They were things I watched while I kept up my weekly WWE schedule. Now that link is gone. I hate to come back just to be such a downer. But that feeling some people have said they got after Benoit happened, a dark feeling that wrestling would never feel the same for them. I'm getting that.
  13. Jimmy Redman

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    Take it from me: please, please don't copy Australia. We suck. What a fucken shitshow this was. IS. I'm sure there's more to come too, NXT, Smackdown... I can't think of anyone on the NXTUK roster they wouldn't deem expendable. I mean, I can't think of anyone on the NXTUK roster that Vince would even know existed. It's not like a garbage company doing garbage things is shocking to anyone anymore. But I dunno. Throughout this whole ordeal there is just some reminder every single day, if not every hour, about the gross, inhuman depravities of this late-stage capitalist hellhole we're wallowing in. Life is gross, and this is just another punch in the gut. Imagine being Rusev, already fucked over enough in this company, reaching into his pocket and offering $20,000 for his fellow employees that his BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY left in the lurch, only to then get rissoled himself at the first crack of the iceberg. Imagine being one of the numerous poor dopes who flew into an international airport and stayed in a hotel and travelled through God knows how many people to tape live TV against all sense and science, only to be fired moments after bumping your back off to save the fortune of a monster. Imagine being Roman, going through all he has, and still having to decide to take himself home to protect himself - and, if he's lucky enough to get away with it, would be just about the only one who could. And the poor souls who were so benevolently spared, still have to fly into Orlando every week to tape live TV for this ghoul. It can't feel good. At least at a normal event, in their darker moments wrestlers can always take comfort in performing for a crowd and making contact with fans. Doing it for them. Wrestling in an empty room to fulfill a billion dollar TV deal surely can't instill the same feeling of purpose. Wrestling should be an escape right now. Fucking ANYTHING should be an escape right now. And I congratulate anyone who is able to find comfort in anything. But it's hard. It's 2020, between social media, internet, 24hr everything, this thing is impossible to escape. We know too much. We can't sit down and enjoy Disney+ without thinking about what a scumbag corporation it is. And that goes for anything. TV is a constant barrage of information - updates, moronic Trump propaganda pressers, sports reports on the news that report on absolutely zero sport taking place, and celebrities bombarding us with content and thoughts and prayers, and all we can think of is how much fucking MONEY we pay a whole bunch of ultimately superfluous people. Sometimes they know how to help. Sometimes they're Gal Gadot and her band of merry millionaires singing while Rome burns. Escapism is the catchcry of wrestling. WWE is escapism! We put smiles on people's faces! We escape through the fantastic - seeing superheroes and zombies with magical powers, or through the fantasy - watching a redneck beat the shit out of his boss because we can't. We've always been able to excuse the gritty reality, because we want to escape in some bullshit for a while. And fuck, I laughed my ass off to Wrestlemania along with everyone else. It was fun, but it wasn't an ESCAPE. You can't. WWE may not mention the word "coronavirus" on TV, but they're having eerie matches that echo around an empty studio. You can't not know that something is off, and show by show you keep asking yourself, why? In a real crisis it suddenly seems as pointless as non-fans always deride it as. Especially now, seeing once again how utterly disposable the wrestlers truly are to the company. Wrestling hasn't been super fun for me for a long time. That much should be obvious considering how AWOL I've been for the last 12 months or so. I enjoy the odd match, the women, and hell I even enjoyed the 24 hours I spent thinking about my PTBN Greatest WWE Matches list that I accidentally started making a podcast (sorry Marty, we'll get there!). It's funny, because what I've seen of WWE is basically that meme of that woman screaming hysterically at the cat... "RHEA RIPLEY MEGA MONSTER PUSH!" "SHAYNA BASZLER WINNING PPV MAIN EVENTS!" "WHAT IF WE MADE ONE OF YOUR JOHN CENA THEORIES INTO A MATCH?!" And here I am, the unflappable cat, not blinking once. I enjoy what I see, and it still leaves me with zero desire to keep watching. I'm not hooked anymore. I have more time than ever to waste on wrestling at the moment, and I have the entire product library at my disposal, and I just... don't... want to. It's not as simple as me losing interest in the presentation or growing up or moving on. On some level, I've finally reached a point where I'm not comfortable just escaping and enjoying it for what it is. As wrestling fans we have always, to a man, made enough excuses to be able to watch WWE. To watch wrestling, really. It's a garbage business. We all know. We all don't care just enough. Some people reach a point where they care just enough, they quit. At least as far as WWE is concerned. They're on this board. For everything the company has done and stood for the past few years, I think I'm reaching my limit. I mean, I did my dash with the company a while ago. I always enjoyed and celebrated the advancement of the women DESPITE the company, despite Vince and Steph and the rest. I was happy for the wrestlers. The company is a soulless trash can. The wrestlers are real. But even now I'm at the point where I don't give a shit about the wrestlers anymore either. They signed up for this. They swallowed Saudi Arabia, even after the company STRANDED THEM THERE. They can't plead ignorance about the company, about Vince. We just watched a doco about how Vince literally covered up a murder. And they all buy in, just enough to stomach it. Some of them end up like Seth, a shrill, oblivious mark piping up to defend daddy whenever the kids in the playground say something mean about him. Or Braun, a cold, cruel moron who felt the need to publicly punch down, and then just lost his two best friends in the company to the forces of the Almighty Hustle. If something like this, after everything that's gone on, if something like Vince literally risking their lives needlessly in a global pandemic to try to save a buck doesn't make them all wake up and try to change this business for the better, in probably the one small window they'll ever get, when their lives are in danger, then what hope do we really have. I'm not about it. I'm not as angry as I was this morning. I'm resigned. This will blow over in a week and the show will go on and we'll have much worse things to worry about and some things just never, ever change. But I realise now that I have. Maybe just enough.
  14. Jimmy Redman

    WrestleMania 36

    So I showed my fiance the Funhouse and she is SO MAD AT ME for wasting her time with utter bullshit. I knew it wouldn't go over as well as the Bonehouse because it wasn't an actual fight and it was 95% super meta stuff that went over her head, but still. I am cackling my ass off. So like I said this whole caper was basically like if one of my long, winding, detailed breakdowns of the John Cena character and why it's so super nuanced and awesome and interesting actually got up from the page, started walking around and turned into a psychedelic fever dream and inserted itself into a Bray Wyatt vignette. In other words, it was the most incredible fucking thing I have ever seen in my life. I'm not sure what my favourite part was. The very idea? Bray singing "You can look but you can't touch" ? Those moments when Cena was Acting with his Face that he knew he was trapped in his body and couldn't escape, like in Get Out? "THIS IS SUCH GOOD SHIT!" ??? The rap segment where Cena's lines were exposed and he couldn't do anything but try to deliver more rhymes that got worse and worse? Bray dancing like he did in NXT? THE ENTIRE FUCKING THING????? The one piece of feedback I did get was, "John Cena is such a good sport." Is he what. We already established this like a decade ago, but Cena is literally the biggest sport in wrestling history. That was a straight up character assassination disguised as a vignette, disguised as a match. "So John, now that you're Hollywood famous, what we're thinking for your big return match is, you are transported into a wacky alternate universe through a kid's show vignette and you'll face your biggest shoot fuck ups and embarrassments and reach the obvious conclusion that you are not a hero to children everywhere but a colossal asshole egomaniac, cancerous to everyone you work with and ultimately everything that you purport to hate." "Cool, how much time do we have?" I know it's Cena and his entire thing is that he's Teflon in the face of literally everything, but it's hard to see how he walks back out like nothing happened after this. Now that he's in full "Fuck it, I make movies now" mode, you wonder just how many ideas that were always non-starters are now on the table - changing character, turning heel, new clothes... Cena coming out in trunks in the year 2020 would be the one true sign that we are in fact entering the End Times and this is the Apocalypse.
  15. Jimmy Redman

    WrestleMania 36

    Watching this again so why not have a "two hours sleep and chock full of gimmicks" Jimmy Redman post, as a little treat - for me. It's my treat to myself to do something as comforting and familiar as open up my mouth and vomit some words all over you. Rhea looks like a million bucks in whatever cosplay outfit that is. She should keep wearing colours. Be still our beating hearts. Rhea is a lot of things, but above all else she is surely a heartbreaking loss for the lesbians. Never has a straight woman had so much Big Dyke Energy. So anyway this fucking BANGED. I vaguely recall yelling about this live but the point remains. Once again we discover the formula for empty arena matches is a) shitloads of talking, and b) hit each other really fuckin' hard. This one had two dudes bringing Mark Henry trash talk, and frankly also Mark Henry wig splittin'. This was a motherfucking HOSS FIGHT. I am here for NXT Title being the women's Hoss Division: Charlotte, Rhea, Bianca, bring Beth out, and I mean Jesus, consider the laundry list of bangers Charlotte can have on her NXT holiday: Bianca, Io, Mia, Dakota, Tegan, MERCEDES MOTHERFUCKIN' MARTINEZ. This is a match that Charlotte never needed to win, but you realise of course she's going to fucking win because Charlotte. I ain't even mad when Charlotte is gonna hang and bang like that. Plus I ain't watching so fuck do I care. This fucking BANGED and was easily the best match of the weekend (non-Pyro and Ballyhoo Division). I fucking love Rhea like few things, even though I should rightfully hate her for being my doppelganger living out my dreams and also for being so fucking straight. Because it's still such a weird and wonderful experience watching wrestling WITH someone (who isn't my mother) I'm keeping a list of things that popped my girl tonight. #1 the Deano-Eddie rollup sequence in this match. Imagine seeing that for the first time. #2 When the Night 1 recap got up to the BONEYARD, "That was the best thing!" I love her. I headbanged to Black's song and then moved on with my life. I'm watching but I'm not, you know, a moron. You know that was a fun recap and I'd probably be into the Mandy/Otis soap opera if a) I watched Smackdown, and b) it wasn't a heterosexual love story involving Mandy and Sonya. Now I am a wrestling fan of some repute, and I am used to being able to suspend my disbelief for quite a lot of utter bullshit. Irish Whips, dudes playing to empty rooms, Undertaker using zombie powers in a Boneyard... but I'm sorry I simply cannot, in all honesty, believe for one single, solitary second that Sonya would be out here giving a shit about no man. A bridge too far. I am incredibly predictable, but I will absolutely die on this big gay hill. If Sonya hatched this scheme because she was jealous of Mandy and Otis, and figured once she broke them up and Dolph inevitably dipped out, she'd be there to pick up the pieces of Mandy's poor unsuspecting heart because MEN ARE TRASH, then it is a genius piece of queer cinema and I have no choice but to stan (although there are few things I trust WWE to do tactfully less than a nuanced queer love story with the queer character as the heel). If she serves up some disappointing hetero nonsense about "Otis isn't good enough for you and he was distracting you from our tag team title hopes and dreams" and starts hanging out with Dolph for no reason, as seen here, it is trash to be disposed of quickly and hygienically, lest we catch the Rona from the disgusting heteronormativity of it all. Stay safe. #4 Otis doing The Worm. #5 Mandy Rose. Yes, for the obvious reasons. My girl is in love with Mandy after seeing her in her Wrestlemania cozzie for 2.7 seconds, and y'all just TRY acting like Mandy gon' have a long term lesbian best friend that ain't thirstier than a fish in the desert. Try me. I actually really liked the detail of Orton hiding as a cameraman to call back to Edge hiding as a cameraman during one of his 87 historical "surprise out of nowhere" returns/title theivings. Sadly the match peaked there. I mean, as a low key tour of the Performance Centre, it was pretty cool, but as a brawl it was interminable beyond belief and I think it's still going on as I write this 24 hours later. I haven't lived in peace and comfort for nine years just to have Edge come back to do Acting with his Face. Neither of us could make it through Edge/Orton so thus ends the live re-watch portion of this program. I'm still going to make her watch the Funhouse at some point so hopefully I can come back with some thoughts and feelings. I mean it was basically one of my "Cena's character is actually deep because..." blog posts come to life, and I was baked out of my mind for it, so I'm sure you can imagine roughly where I came down on it.
  16. Jimmy Redman

    WrestleMania 36

    I'M ON TWO HOURS SLEEP YOU CAN'T DO ME LIKE THAT THIS EARLY IN THE MORNING. THAT FUCKING RULED. That was BIG MEATY WOMEN SLAPPING MEAT areas, although I feel like I'm the only person allowed to use that phrase and I will never say it ever again I promise.
  17. Jimmy Redman

    WrestleMania 36

    It's 4am and I have nothing to do and it IS Wrestlemania so I may as well give some thoughts for the first time in a while. Firstly, A BILLION STARS. I fucking loved that shit. Tremendously. I just cannot. It was amazing because every moment of this caper either me or my fiance would pipe up and call the next goofy ass spot to the absolute second: "He should come out of a coffin!" "No, AJ should come out of the coffin!" "No he's gonna come on a bike as Biker Taker to Limp Bizkit!" "How do you win? He should bury him alive to win!" "He should hit him with somebody's tombstone!" "He's gonna throw them all off the roof!" "He's gonna use zombie magic!" "Gotta say 'Rest In Peace' to finish!" And then IT WOULD HAPPEN and we would laugh our tits off. Just the most glorious, ridiculous, preposterous camp. Like Undertaker cosplaying as Clint Eastwood in a trashy Sci Fi movie. A billion stars. I came into this show having not seen ANY of the empty arena stuff yet, expecting absolutely nothing, and while the arena matches were interesting enough to watch and worked extremely hard, it was odd and felt more like a one-off curiosity rather than something I could do regularly again. But this, THIS, I can get around. They need to go ALL OUT with this. They won't see live crowds for months, at least, and with hours of TV still to fill, now's the time. Nothing to lose. WWE Cinematic Universe. Undertaker, frankly, should never work another regular match again. Only the Boneyard for the old Takeroo. Bray matches in the Funhouse, whatever the fuck nonsense that will be tomorrow. Those are a given. But just do fucking ALL matches like this. Usos matches in the Penitentiary. Miz and Morrison can have Hollywood Backlot Brawls. Brock or Shayna can have gritty shoot matches in some sort of Lion's Den / MMA gym set up. Drew can have log tossing contests on a hill somewhere. Sami Zayn can Larry Z his way through every single corridor and janitor's closet of the PC. Orton in a Viper's Pit or some shit. Becky can fight people in her truck. Owens and Rollins can find some nonsense scaffold to jump off in Orlando. Someone can bust into Sasha's recording studio and start banging. Aleister Black works in some fucked up Satanic bondage dungeon. The possibilities are endless. Honestly, being freed from touring live shows and the TV format should be SO FREEING for something as creatively stale as WWE. They have movie studio production capability, and hardly ever do anything with it. This is their chance to just FUCK AROUND with everything and not worry about crowds hating it or ratings going down .1 or whatever. By the time you get guys back in front of crowds they'll be a) trained to expect cinema, and b) so happy for ANYTHING. They can't lose. Anyway, elsewhere Bryan/Sami was super fun and Becky/Shayna was super stiff and sick, loved it. Becky winning was odd but I get the rollup finish and I assume it just makes Shayna go on a murderous killing spree in pursuit of her real win, a la her NXT Title loss. Kofi throwing the ladder at Morrison and it missing him and Morrison shrugging and hittin' the eye poke is the best highspot in ladder match history. But on that, and also on the stupid dive Owens did, I mean wrestling is one thing but it feels particularly cruel and exploitative to put dudes in a ladder match and make them take those stupid bumps and hard ladder shots when there is absolutely nobody in the room to care about it. It's got to legit hurt so much more when you do it in an empty room. Kind of how I felt watching Angle in TNA, heyoooo. The Boneyard was so good I am actually super hyped for Night 2 but now I'm worried they're going to persist with putting Brock/Drew as the main event, when we just saw how empty title changes look in silence and how much better it was closing the show with on-location nonsense instead. I'm also worried the Boneyard set the bar too high.
  18. Jimmy Redman

    WrestleMania 36

  19. I mentioned this match and my reaction to it on the podcast, so I wanted to dig it up and post it here, mainly so I could read it again, but also to try to get across just how I feel about this match and why I love it so much. As I said, this might be my favourite thing I've ever written about wrestling. Not that it's the best writing I've ever done, but because I have never been happier writing about wrestling than I was in this moment. I can still clearly remember sitting at a terminal at uni pretending to do work and instead watching the match again and writing this out, and the pure, unbridled joy I felt as I was doing so.
  20. Jimmy Redman

    WWE TV 09/16 - 09/22 Stop pushing Seth down our throats!

    Beth: It's an interesting point to note that Roderick Strong chose to initiate mind games with Velveteen Dream by burning his couch, when usually it's Dream who likes to play mind games, Roddy seems to be taking the psychological battle t- Mauro: -WILL THE VELVETEEN DREAM'S TITLE REIGN ALSO GO UP IN FLAMES?!?! Beth: ... I'm not anti-Mauro but this bit did absolutely crack me up. This was a home run showcase I thought, even though the move to USA and off the Network (live) has absolutely screwed me personally in the arsehole and I'll probably never be able to watch the damn show in a timely manner or spoiler free ever again. But hey, I still have NXTUK. The other thing that struck me is that here is WWE, launching a third branded show on a major network, live, and soon to be head-to-head with their main competition, this huge grand opening and they need a big bang to start off... and they throw the women out there. And not only women, but mostly women of colour. They trust these women to have a 15 minute balls out spotfest on live TV that makes the crowd go wild and chant "NXT" and demonstrate what the product is. With a female refereeing and a female announcer. And it was all so... normal. This is what the new normal has to be. Fuck Dream losing and fuck Nickelodeon Evolution but hey. On second thoughts I'm fine with losing TV if it's just going to be all Cole, all the time for another six months.
  21. Jimmy Redman

    NXT talk

    I may still watch the main event, and I have a squizillion things to say about Toni/KLR that will require a longer format, but for now just let me say Cesaro vs. Ilja WAS THE FUCKING BIZNESSSSSSSSSSSS. GET THE FUCK IN ME. I am totally here for Cesaro now being his own one man Manly Man Division, going to any and all shows WWE has to find all the manly men to have manly man matches with.
  22. She's having good undercard matches, and I've always had a soft spot for underneath, white meat babyfaces. I dunno. There's something pure and wholesome about her, which I guess is why I'm so intrigued by the first inklings of something darker now.
  23. Our review of SHIMMER Volume 7 is up! Young Becky Lynch unfortunately suffers a career-ending injury, and is absolutely, positively never heard from in wrestling again. We deal with the impact of her short but memorable time in SHIMMER, how her injury changed her career, as well as the fallout for the company. Plus the debuts of LuFisto and Nattie Neidhart, and Cheerleader Melissa vs. Daizee Haze in the main event. Check it out! https://soundcloud.com/prowrestlingonly/shimmer-herstory-volume-7?in=prowrestlingonly/sets/shimmer-herstory
  24. Jimmy Redman

    WWE Summerslam 2019

    When people started saying this not only did I not agree but I actively scoffed and derided the very thought, the very idea, as that of a nincompoop, but honestly for the first time in my life I think I enjoyed the WWE PPV more than the Takeover. Now, obviously there's a very specific, 43 year old, mother of two reason why that is true, but I was planning on watching Trish's match with bated breath and being bored enough for the other 47 hours to just clean the house instead. But lo and behold. The new Bray gimmick is FUCKING AWESOME. I actually want to say this more than anything else. THE FIEND IS AWESOME. The integration of the Funhouse gimmick, the creepy horror shit, the mask, the new entrance theme and lighting, the fucking DECAPITATED HEAD LANTERN?? Get IN ME. I love this shit. The whole package scared the absolute bejesus out of my girl ("when did wrestling get so scary??") which is a seal of approval worth more than gold to me. AND! Amazingly they didn't even fuck it up when the lights went up. I was scared it would be a normal match or Finn would get too much offense in but he didn't! I love Finn but he had to be the sacrificial lamb here, fuck protecting him, or anyone. This is Something Else. It's still the same man under the hood moving around the ring of course, but he made it feel different enough. Reminded me of his NXT ring work. That fucking evil assassin neck snap?? Jesus Christ, that is some serial killer shit. You can kill someone doing that. And the Mandible Claw is a perfect new finish. Even his horror movie exit ruled. I just loved every single living breathing thing about this. I am now in charge of booking Bray Wyatt. I'm taking over. And just like Dua Lipa, I have some new rules. 1. The Fiend NEVER wrestles on television. EVER. NEVER, EVER, EVER. Weekly TV is the death of literally everything in WWE, there's no way around it, there's just too much of it. But there IS a way around it, the Brock Lesnar way. Never wrestle on TV. Ever. Keep it special. It's impossible to keep it special if it happens every other week. So he never wrestles on TV. You have to PAY $9.99 for the Award Winning WWE Network to see The Fiend's entrance. (I can see potential for Bray to wrestle on TV as Mister Rogers in the red jumper if they (I mean, I) explore the split personality more. But just not The Fiend.) 2. Short, explosive matches. No selling. This match with Finn was fucking perfect. Nobody on earth wants to see the Fiend gimmick wrestle a 15 minute back and forth match. It's not built for it. The entrance and the package is the draw. He has short matches, he hits big offense, creepy, neck snapping offense, doesn't sit in holds to "wear down his opponent", doesn't do nearfalls and kickouts, doesn't do anything like what happens in all the other matches. He stalks dudes, hits his shit, and when they're dead he sticks his hand in their face and chokes them out. When I say "no selling", I don't mean ever, I mean he shouldn't sell much, or for very long. Finn hitting a flurry and stunning him enough to climb to the top before his death, perfect. The Fiend should feel impenetrable, like a horror movie villain. Be different. What were the (men's) matches that stood out on this show?? Goldberg squashing Dolph, Fiend/Finn, and Brock/Seth. Other matches were good, but they weren't special, they weren't different. These stood out mainly because they had guys (Goldberg, Fiend, Brock) who are unique and do something that isn't like most other dudes. Like most other matches. WWE have 78 hours of TV every week and countless matches. They're all the same and none of them matter. After 40 workrate TV matches this month, Goldberg spearing Dolph into the afterlife is FUN. It's a change of pace. It stands out. (And NOT just because it's Goldberg from a better era, because they were ready to get behind Ryback and Braun doing basically the same thing in their own time.) The Fiend working as basically '92 Undertaker by having these infrequent "special event" matches where he doesn't sell and seems unhuman will stand out. ESPECIALLY in 2019. And on TV, stick to his strengths, the Funhouse and the promos and the gimmick. Have Mister Rogers wrestle like a face and wonder why everyone is scared of him. The Fiend chooses opponents wisely, for a reason, and then at the PPV he does his entrance and then murders them. Nothing else. Do that for 8 months, that gets us to Mania (start imagining the opulent splendor of a gigantic stadium-sized Fiend entrance now). Fuck it, I'll have him murder Old Man Taker in 5 minutes at Mania, avenge the Mania loss and formally take his place as the resident ghoul. Do it for 8 months, resist the urge to complicate it for 8 months, and then I'll figure out what to do next. Anyway The Fiend is awesome.
  25. Jimmy Redman

    WWE Summerslam 2019

    *various unintelligible screaming noises*