Archive for the ‘ Features ’ Category

[Site News] Goodbye The Pro Wrestling Nerd and Hello Pro Wrestling Update

pwu

After eight awesome months, I’m shutting The Pro Wrestling Nerd down for good. Ever since starting this site back in July I have seen my readership grow, my writing improve, and more importantly I have seen the way I take in wrestling grow and evolve. And with this growth it’s time to change gears and start something new. Next month my new site, Pro Wrestling Update, will launch and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Although still a one man operation at this point (I don’t accept free labor), Pro Wrestling Update presents a shift in the way I’m going to do things; this site represents wrestling journalism and commentary the way I want to see it done: without all the tabloid gossip, spoiler reporting, and the dirtier aspects of the industry that continue to make the pro wrestling media irrelevant in many people’s eyes. At Pro Wrestling Update, you’ll still find news, recaps/reviews, features, all sorts of wrestling site staples but the news reporting will be relevant and will not rely on misleading headlines or female wrestlers in skimpy outfits for hits. Pro Wrestling Update is for the wrestling fan who wants to be informed and entertained without being insulted.

Right now I’m still working out the kinks, but make sure to bookmark Pro Wrestling Update for future reference. It’s just a landing page right now but the site is all but set to go live Wrestlemania 29 weekend. You can also follow me on Twitter for more site-related announcements (or general wrestling blather) and “like” the new PWUpdate Facebook page which will kick into gear once the site does. As for The Pro Wrestling Nerd…the site will stay up as long as WordPress (and the internet) exists so feel free to scope through the archives to get a handle on my writing style. Hopefully you’ll dig it and follow me over to my new digs.

The end is truly the beginning and I cannot be more thrilled.

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[Feature] Great Moments in Heel Commentary: Royal Rumble 1992

ric flair royal rumble 1992

Royal Rumble 1992 is widely considered to be the greatest Royal Rumble of them all, featuring the best lineup of superstars of any year and the biggest prize of them all: the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Lackluster undercard aside, minus the joy of seeing Roddy Piper finally win WWF gold, it’s one that I go back to on a regular basis to the point that my taped from PPV VHS has warped to eyesore levels.

But as brilliant and drama-filled as that Rumble was, I go back for a very distinct reason: the commentary of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Heenan is the benchmark for all heel commentators, a man who could make any dull match worthwhile on his gift of gab alone, and in 1992 he turned in a standout performance that borders on transcendent. And as we head into the 2013 Royal Rumble it’s worth looking back on one of the greatest commentating performances of all-time as a way to remind ourselves that, yes, a heel commentator can be done correctly. Here’s hoping someone forces Michael Cole and JBL to watch this A Clockwork Orange-style on repeat.

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The Pro Wrestling Nerd Agenda for 2013

Before I get things started, I just want to wish everyone a safe, healthy, and happy New Year. It is time for new beginnings and a fresh start; I hope you all grab the bull by the horns and make all 12 months of 2013 worthwhile. PWN3

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2012 was a monumental year for me as a professional wrestling fan; after nearly a decade of passive watching and “results reading”, I fell back in love with the entertainment medium that I was obsessed with for my entire youth. Almost immediately I restarted this blog (it existed as a “classic” wrestling think piece back in 2009 but died soon thereafter) as a way to express my thoughts, feelings, fears, and other ramblings. Over the past six months things couldn’t have gone any better: page views are higher than I ever expected, my writing has improved, and in keeping up with wrestling in all its various forms my appreciation for the artform has grown far beyond what I ever thought it would be. In short The Pro Wrestling Nerd is the goddamn best thing that happened to me in 2012, which may or may not be the saddest thing you’ve ever read.

And heading into 2013 I have big plans for the site, with many goals in mind and many avenues to explore. And frankly I wanted to share them with you for two very specific reasons: 1) I’m really f*cking excited about this and it’s my blog so suck it and 2) so you guys can keep me honest and make sure I stick to at least some of these. With my graduating college and on the job hunt, plus a potential move in the works as well as my movie journalism job that keeps me pretty busy, I’ll need all the reminders I can get. But anyway I’m rambling and I’ll get to the point. Here are my goals for 2013:

  • Website Overhaul/DotCom: The biggest item on my agenda is admittedly a cosmetic one but one that I feel is necessary: overhaul the entire site and move everything to a dotcom. I already have a website template picked out (at least to start) and I have a guy working on a new logo and such for the change. The plan is to launch this Wrestlemania weekend, since that’s when interest in pro wrestling is at its highest. Hopefully it’ll be a good move and result in a more “professional”-looking site.
  • More Features: When I started the site back in July, my original plan was to split my time between TV recaps and weekly features. If you scroll through this site you’ll notice that I’ve been focusing way more on the former. Frankly that needs to change and I’m already working on a host of features for 2013 to give my site more “personality”. Granted they’ll probably be in list form because it’s a fun way to write (I’m an avid reader of Cracked.com) and they’ll pertain more to “older” stuff but I’m excited nonetheless. Time to give this site a true unique voice.
  • Movie Coverage: As a movie journalist (ugh I feel gross even stating that) this is obviously an area that interests me and since there’s a way to combine the two thanks to WWE Studios and wrestlers loving to act in things, I’m going to take it. Expect more reporting on movies as well as reviews of movies that feature wrestlers in prominent roles.
  • More Independent Wrestling Coverage: I love the internet age; it gives people access to indie wrestling in a way that many of us who grew up reading PWI only dreamed about. I want to take advantage of this and throw in some more independent coverage, at least of the U.S. scene since that’s where I’m based. PWG, DGUSA/EVOLVE, CHIKARA, and AAW are the ones currently on my radar but if there are others that interest me you better believe I’ll give them some e-ink.
  • “Classic” Recaps: In keeping with the “old school” theme that most of my features will include, I want to get in the habit of doing one Flashback PPV/Event Recap a month. I don’t know if anyone wants to read them but I think they’re fun to write and it’s cool to go back and look at how wrestling’s changed and how what were insignificant matches ultimately became historic (or vice versa).

Those are the five areas I’m going to be working on the hardest and hopefully I can get at least some of them done in 2013 barring real-life situations (work, real person job, loss of cable, etc.). The Pro Wrestling Nerd is a one-man show and there’s only so much one man can do, but I promise that I will be as hyper vigilant as I can in bringing you relevant news/results from this industry that we all love and obsess over. I got my feet wet in 2012; now it’s time to dive right in. Fingers f*cking crossed.

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For more of the man behind The Pro Wrestling Nerd, you can follow him on Twitter and you can also be cool and “like” the site on Facebook. You can also email him at theprowrestlingnerd[at]live[dot]com with any comments, suggestions, threats, what have you.

[Feature] The Bright Side of…the WWF in 1995

Mention 1995 to any long-time wrestling fan and the conversation will most likely go to how bad the World Wrestling Federation (WWE now, in case you’re insanely ignorant) was at that point in time. And make no mistake, with appallingly horrid main events and some of the worst characters in wrestling history, it was definitely not a banner year. But no matter how terrible a product gets, how wretched and nearly unwatchable it can be, there are still good moments to be found. So instead of whining about how bad 1995-era WWF was, I want to go the complete opposite: I want to highlight some of the good things that went on during that time. This is the Bright Side of the WWF in 1995, in no particular order.

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[Feature] Buff Bagwell: A Tag Team History

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Some professional wrestlers were meant to be tag team specialists, and in “Tag Team Histories”, The Pro Wrestling Nerd will pay tribute to/explore the wrestlers whose careers all but revolved around the art of team warfare.

Photo Credit = SmackNetwork.com

In the ten years that Marcus “Buff” Bagwell wrestled for WCW, he was a part of six different tag teams. Some were successful while others continue to be maligned to this day for one reason or another (like, say, a woefully painful theme song). But either way, Bagwell is one of the most prolific tag team wrestlers of the 1990’s (and really of all-time, although old school fans would rather jump off of a bridge than agree with me) and it’s a career that’s worth looking back on. Buff Bagwell, Buff the Stuff, Buff Daddy, Buff the Magic Dragon, Buffy McBufferson…this is your Tag Team History.

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[Feature] The Many Faces of… Ed “Brutus Beefcake” Leslie

The Many Faces of… takes a look at wrestlers who have had gone through a bit of an identity crisis over their professional career, changing from gimmick to gimmick sometimes with reckless abandon due to either internal or external outside forces (copyrights, character not getting over with the fans, etc.). Consider these guys the chameleons of professional wrestling.

Ed Leslie has had a storied career in the world of professional wrestling both as a tag team competitor and a singles star. He is undoubtedly best known as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, the master of the sleeperhold, Hulk Hogan‘s best friend, and more importantly a neon fishnets aficionado. But while that’s what Leslie is best known for, that’s just merely one of many gimmicks he had over his two decades in the industry and today we’re going to go through them all, from barber to butcher to dancer to mute biker (again with the biker gimmicks!). These are the Many Faces of Ed “Brutus Beefcake” Leslie.

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[List] 5 Dumb WWE Characters (That Worked)

For every good character the WWE comes up with, there seems to be at least five that fall flat on their face. But sometimes the company gets lucky and a character that seems stupid will defy the odds and transcend its inherent stupidity to get over with the fans for any number of reasons (right place at the right time, the talent behind the gimmick, etc.). I have rifled through WWE’s recent history to bring to you the five characters that seemed stupid on paper but ended up being far better than they had any right to be.

5. Val Venis (1998-2009)

The Character: A wrestling porn star.

Why It Worked: Venis appeared on the scene in 1998 at the height of the “Attitude Era” when the WWE was using shock TV tactics in order to drive up ratings. He fit right in immediately; his promos were filled with double entendres and his ultimate method of getting into his enemies’ heads was to shoot (extremely tame) “porn movies” with the wrestler’s wife/girlfriend/etc. But while this all sounded stupid on paper the man behind the gimmick, Sean Morley, managed to make it entertaining; he was great on the mic (his raspy voice greeting the crowds with his catchphrase “Helloooooo laaaaaadies!”) and had natural charm and charisma that made him immensely likable. It also didn’t hurt that he was damn good in the ring and could have a watchable match with nearly anyone on the roster (check out his match against D’Lo Brown at Summerslam 1998 for proof). The Venis character eventually ran its course during Morley’s 11 year stint with the WWE, but the simple fact is this: during the Attitude Era, Morley made a “wrestling porn star” gimmick not only work, but successful.

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