Friday, January 28, 2022

Music Review //
Gideon King & City Blog
"Whatchya Gonna Do" //

One of the immediate things which hits me when I listen to Gideon King & City Blog is how every time I feel like their music could be put into one genre it switches it up- even within the same song- and proves me wrong.   There are these softer melodies which make me think of rock or jazz that is along the lines of those which you might hear performed in some coffee house inside of a big city.   Yet, then it can just switch right over to full on jazz which could be played at some poorly lit nightclub with a diamond in the rough type of feel to it.

With the smooth and infectious sounds, this can come off sounding anywhere between Edie Brickell and Nelly Furtado.  It has a fairly specific genre to it, but this seems to be created by having that vibe which exists between being on the radio and not, being something like Ben Folds but also a bit more jazz.   There is actually a really strong jazz scene here (in New Haven) and to see Gideon King & City Blog on the lineup for a show at Cafe 9 would not surprise me in the least.

The lyrics within this EP are also something which need to be noted, but I would go ahead and try and get into the rhythm of the music itself before thinking too heavily about the lyrics because those pianos on "Winter Soldier" can take you by surprise.   "Whatchya Gonna Do" is the opening track and it's a lot of fun because it discusses 45 being gone and just things of that nature- in the sense of moving on- and that carries over as a theme to this EP, with mentions of being six feet apart.

Great music can often times feel timeless but I really enjoy music which seems to speak to  a certain time period.  Having songs which people can listen back to a hundred years from now and know that they reflect a time when we were in a global pandemic is kind of neat- not because we were in a global pandemic but because we were a part of something that will live on through history and this music.  If you've made it through the global pandemic you really do owe it to yourself to check out this EP.

Music Review //
Ava Della Pietra
"power of you"  //

While the musical style of Ava Della Pietra begins as soft and acoustic on "power of you", it does take that drop off into a pop number which you could hear on the radio but is without comparison.   There are any number of pop artists which you could draw some of the more obvious comparisons with here, such as Avril Levigne and just having that idea of this being a project after perhaps being a part of some childhood supergroup and now you're branching out on your own.

Listening to this song is easy to do when also thinking about the lyrics because they're just right there.  What's cool about this song is that it says what a lot of people are thinking but are too afraid to say.  The idea behind the "power of you" in many ways is about what other people think about you.  And while you can't go around worrying about what everybody else thinks, there does come this time where it does seem unfair in the sense that maybe someone says "Oh? You're pop?" and won't listen to Ava Della Pietra because of that.

Not just based on the music side of things but also to think about how people might stereotype other people in any way as well, this song hs some powerful lyrics behind it.  I think in a large way it speaks to me because it feels like we live in a world now with cancel culture and it just kind of feels like we don't think about the actual layered, complex people who are being canceled and just say "You made one mistake, goodbye forever!" This also can just come through in the way that "power of you" feels like it's about living up to others expectations.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts about this song and the musical stylings of Ava Della Pietra is that I can't really put it into a specific genre (because pop and rock are so vague) but I can compare it with someone such as P!nk.  And I fully realize that if you've ever heard the music of P!nk before that might also feel a bit vague- and it is- but if you are into certain artists I believe you can listen to others as well, even if they don't sound exactly the same.

Music Review //
"Firecracker Man" //

Right when that first guitar chord hits you know the type of start and stop sound this is going to create.    Along the lines of those who came before it, THORSLUND channels classic rock artists such as Led Zeppelin and AC/DC just as easily as Jet and other modern rock n roll bands.  Perhaps that is also one of the qualities of this song- is that in both the old and new ways it is managing to keep rock n roll alive.

With those starts and stops this song can get pretty wild.  I'm always reminded of the first time I ever knew what SXSW was and how bands from there were posed to become huge.  I still think back and sometimes wonder whatever happened to The Mooney Suzuki, but this song does have that same sort of rock n roll sound that isn't just present on the stage but is a lifestyle.  

What strikes me as odd- to some extent- is what this song is about.  I'm not sure what a "Firecracker Man" is but it seems to be rather upbeat and positive.  With lyrics such as "And if you see me coming / I got news for you / Because everybody's day now / Is very likely to improve" it feels as if the Firecracker Man is bringing joy to those around him.   Also, there are the lines: "I'll get you out on the dance floor / Even if it's been a while" and that just makes me feel like we're here to dance.

To that extent, this may sound like a song based upon pure rock n roll greatness but within these lyrics the song takes more of an Andrew WK approach to partying.  I'm not sure that this type of heavy rock n roll has ever felt like such a fun influence before, but it does make me also feel as if more songs by THORSLUND would have a blues/dance way about them and that just also sounds like a lot of fun to me.  

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Wrestling Review //
Pro Wrestling GRIND
@ Pulaski Club, Easthampton, MA

On Friday we made our way to Easthampton, MA for our first live wrestling show of 2022.   Jess and I hadn't been to a live wrestling show since 12/9/21 and Quentin hadn't been to one with us since 12/4/21, but with the holidays and then the combination of weather and pandemic it just seemed to make sense.  To put things into some sort of perspective: last year at this time, we hadn't gone to any live wrestling events because we didn't start that up again until April so we're already sort of ahead of last year.

I really like that the Pulaski Club is about 45 minutes from us but also it's in this weird part of MA where we don't have to take the Mass Pike to get there and we pass the Holyoke Mall.  We didn't hit the mall this time but perhaps next time we will.   While I realize things might change, I like that the next event is also scheduled for the Pulaski Club and if it becomes a sort of home base to GRIND I won't complain because not only is it close enough but there are things to do around it should you want to get into the area early.

This was only the third show from Pro Wrestling GRIND but it felt like such a big deal because the way the ring and entrance way look when you go in: there aren't really many wrestling promotions out there where you just walk in and know you're at that promotion.  This all just makes it look as if GRIND has been doing this for years and that also comes out with the wrestling because every match on this show truly felt like it could have been in the main event.  

When we got in and were saved seats near Tim, the first entrance music I heard was that of WARHORSE and it kind of took me back because I didn't know if WARHORSE would go on last or not- being one of the wrestlers on this show who traveled the farthest to be here- but I didn't think he'd go on first.  Yet, at the same time, whoever was the first match I might be thinking the same thing.  So it was fun in that sense of Rip Byson and WARHORSE just beating the hell out of each other and then setting the tone for the night, like "Follow that" and the way that the show did just kind of grow from there was crazy.

One of the things I really love about GRIND is that even with the technical aspects of the opening match there was also just this brutality through chops and clotheslines.   Then, we can go into the second match- which was Matt Makowski vs Robert Martyr and it can be a somewhat different style but still that same vibe.  You do feel like someone is going to get hurt, but instead there is more of a grappling side to this match and these are just two of the best who are currently doing it today.  Every wrestling show should have a match like this on it, but then again every wrestling show should have either Matt Makowski or Robert Martyr on it.

Davienne vs Ava Everett was on third and it felt like they didn't get as much time as I'd like but that might also just be because they are two of my favorite wrestlers so I could watch them wrestle each other all night.  Ava Everett is doing cool things right now with ARTE, but don't let that trick you into thinking she still can't get the job done inside that ring.  But Davienne is also just one of the best wrestlers in the world today.  I feel like Davienne has really proven that in the New England area, so hopefully with travel restrictions being lifted she can show the world this year.

Next up was one of those matches I just knew was going to be violent as JD Drake came out to take on Jay Freddie.  If you've seen JD Drake before and wonder who could go toe to toe with him, Jay Freddie is your man.   There is this fan who has been at the two previous GRIND shows and he got into an exchange of words with JD Drake, as fans often times do, but then went on to tell JD Drake that his godfather is Jay Freddie.  That created this unique aspect to the match where it felt like Jay Freddie was fighting for the honor of his godson and that's just one of those little things which makes Pro Wrestling GRIND so special.  That and how JD Drake threw Jay Freddie into the guardrail and everything around it broke.

During intermission we went to do the fan thing and that's another aspect of GRIND which I like.   So far, it has been my experience that if you are going to a GRIND show and they say "Hey, we have WARHORSE on this show" and you want to meet WARHORSE, buy his merch and take a photo with him, then you are able to do exactly that.   It might sound cliché but I used to think the theme of GRIND was going to be the in ring style, that idea of fighting, but now I think the best word to describe GRIND is respect.   It's respect because the fans respect what the wrestlers do inside of that ring and the wrestlers respect that the fans are there loving it all.

The first match back after intermission was Alec Price vs Ryan Mooney.   This match was fun because I will always cheer for Alec Price because if you do he will yell at you and tell you to stop because he doesn't need your applause.  I also feel like it's weird that Ryan Mooney is "The Honey Badger" when Neil Diamond Cutter is still out there wrestling (I think).   This match was strange because Alec Price was billed as being from MA while Ryan Mooney was billed from New Jersey.   That all seems to check out, but at one point Ryan Mooney said "This is Honey Badger country!" or something and it was just weird because geographically speaking it was not.

Alec Price also yelled at me and told me something about my being from some yuppy part of MA when I am in fact not from MA but that was funny.  At one point during this match, Alec Price went to the top turnbuckle and threw off both of his elbow pads at once.  One of them landed just outside of the ring and the other came flying into my face.   I still have it because I intended to give it back to him after the show but then... well, you'll see.

Logan Black just seems to bring violence with him wherever he goes and when you pair that up with Ryan Galeone you just feel as if a bomb is about to go off.   This was a match where I feel like if they were inflicting this much damage on anyone else the match would have ended much sooner.  Ryan Galeone went to the top rope, walked across the ropes and then flipped onto Logan Black and people in the crowd were just dumbfounded.   I don't think a lot of the fans knew who Ryan Galeone was- or that he was capable of that- but holy shit did he get people talking after that.

I look at Ryan Galeone the way I look at baseball.  This past season, MLB was shook because Shohei Ohtani came in and did what pitchers do and what hitters do and he did it just as well as anyone.   So, statistically, when you think of wrestlers who can do these flippy moves you think of smaller wrestlers.  One of my favorite examples would be Paul London.   But then you just have that power of someone like Sid Vicious and- typically speaking in wrestling, you can either be Paul London or you can be Psycho Sid but you can't be both.  It defies what I know about physics but Ryan Galeone does both and the rest of the wrestling world can now consider themselves as being put on notice.

I'm not sure why, but I like to look at things objectively a lot.  I feel like I live in a wrestling bubble known as New England and even more so I feel like when it comes to wrestlers I like who I like regardless of whether or not the crowd cheers them.  While MSP were the absolute crowd favorites in their match against Milk Chocolate (and Milk Chocolate played the heels) from an outside perspective, if you didn't know either team, it might seem like MSP were the heels because they did this introduction where they called them "Chocolate Milk" and if you didn't have context it might feel like Brandon Watts and Randy Summers were just standing up for themselves in this match.   I just enjoy how this made that match- like life itself- so complex and layered.

In the main event, Travis Huckabee and Perry Von Vicious took the fight all over the building.   They were outside of the ring a ways away from us, so I couldn't see as well what was happening (which is why I'll watch the replay) but then when they came back into the ring Travis Huckabee had a nasty gash near his eye and was bleeding.   This match ended with a Travis Huckabee win and it was due to referee stoppage.  Take nothing away from Travis Huckabee, but Perry Von Vicious didn't get pinned nor did he say he quit, so I think this match deserves some type of rematch.   

After this show, Robert Martyr was on his phone with the IWTV app open and was watching as AC Mack had just become the Independent Wrestling Champion.   This was a crazy moment for me because I was going to check Twitter to see if AC Mack won and now I just will always remember that I found out from Robert Martyr, then told Tim and just seeing the wrestlers, fans and everyone all gathered around and watching their phones was such a special moment.  We couldn't be there in GA, but we shared in that moment nonetheless and it was something I'll never forget.

GRIND is back soon enough, with matches and talent announced and it just looks like it could be even better than the first three shows which feels like it might not be easy to accomplish but with the announced wrestlers and the ones I'm thinking are going to be on the card it should be wild.   GRIND is just putting on the best shows in New England right now, whether you cheer or boo a wrestler elsewhere they all seem to get their applause inside of that GRIND ring because it really does seem to be all about that respect.  

Music Review //
My Twisted Heart


The first thing I think of when I hear the song "Heartbreaker" is how there are these huge beats and it just feels like this genuine mix of electronic and pop. With these drum machine beats, I think about artists who you may or may not hear on the radio, such as Owl City and Hellogoodbye. It's just that sort of genre which pushed the boundaries of what pop and rock meant when combined with electronic music as well.

On top of those sounds though, I can hear elements of other electronic artists such as 100 Gecs, to put it in a possibly more widely known range. While I feel like a lot of listeners seem to think that 100 Gecs create music in a broken song structure, My Twisted Heart seems to apply their sense of melody and electronica into a more structured sound- though not fully traditional- and I think in that sense My Twisted Heart will have more mainstream appeal, as this song is just not as far out as 100 Gecs but not that close to radio pop either.

Lyrically, this song is called "Heartbreaker" and while that might seem like the title of a song you've heard before the chorus line of "I might just break your heart" is refreshing to hear. Over the course of time, it feels like a lot of music goes the route of "You're a heartbreaker" when it comes to lyrics and just in general it feels like the lyrics of most songs are not about the author. To have this sense of self, to be able to take on this role during this song, is something which not everyone can do but is great to hear.

I'm not sure what it is which is inside someone that makes them want to sing along with a song that would be about themselves rather than singing a song about someone else. Singing songs in the first person isn't unheard of though, I just think it isn't as common. But if you're ready to sing about how you might potentially break someone's heart (which is pretty badass) to the tune of electronic pop on the edge of glitch rock then this My Twisted Heart song is perfect for you.

Music Review //
Yuval Ron feat Úyanga Bold
"Sacred Spiral"
(Metta Mindfulness Music)

"Sacred Spiral" will be released on 2/6.  The album can be pre-saved here:

A lot of the sounds which can be heard on "Sacred Spiral" are less about what instruments are being used to create them and more about the vibe which they present.   With a range from quiet to loud, the sound remains generally in the realm of ambient.   It is relaxing to the point where this music might either help you to fall asleep or simply find a sense of inner peace.  If you were to meditate while listening to music, trying to find some sense of calm and serenity, this would be an appropriate album to do so.

Among the sounds which you will hear within here are delicate strings being plucked, a flute, running water and at times (such as on the second track) you will hear a trumpet.   This is, often times, also accompanied by vocals which can seem to make more sounds than words.  In that aspect though it is quite unique because rather than have the words form you for, it feels as if the musicians have left that idea up to you, as you sit and think/reflect you must also be the one to discover those words which you need to hear.

As the song "Mind Vision Invocation" goes on, I can feel like it gets into this groove.  Though without words, this reminds me of a song which could be found on the soundtrack to a Disney film, such as "Lilo & Stitch" or perhaps "Moana".   It is not just the sound of running water (because that will return later on, and with birds!) there is just this overall island way about the music and I do enjoy that as well.

Even with the strings of a cello on "Darkness Into Light", this album still reminds us that it is about finding clarity within a blurry time.   What many people don't understand is that to find that peace of mind, you can't just listen to a song or read a book and have someone else tell it to you.  You must discover this on your own, unlock it from within yourself.  This is something which can be done over time while listening to "Sacred Spiral" and it is highly recommended that you do just that.  

Friday, January 21, 2022

Music Review //
Jon Stancer
"In Light Of"
(Weeeee! Records) //

Whenever someone releases a single prior to their album I always appreciate seeing that single early on during the album because it kind of helps ease me into the sound.   Such is the case with Jon Stancer, who begins the EP "In Light Of" with the song "These Arms (Won't Let You Go)", which I've been listening to and enjoying for about two months now.   Taking everything we know about that song and having it kick off this EP just makes everything about "In Light Of" that much greater because the way in which that song expands just helps guide the album.

There exists a definite rhythm, a groove, to the somewhat titular track of "In Light Of Everything" and by the time we hit that third song- "One.Six"- I begin to hear elements of The Get Up Kids, but also specifically from their album "On A Wire" and songs such as "Overdue".    It is really just a testament to the musical talents of Jon Stancer because as these songs can feel as if they are catchy, they can feel just as trippy and so to find this place sort of between those two sounds with hints of what could be emo just seems to form an entirely new genre which I do not wish to give a name.

A big aspect of music for me has always been that the sound and lyrics come together or if they conflict sometimes that can be fun too (such as a sad song set to a pop melody)  The way that "This Cannot Wait (Until Tomorrow)" has this slower vibe, like a waltz, but also seems to feel a sense of urgency in the lyrics just works perfectly because sometimes even though things feel so immediate we need to try and slow them down.   This also is one of those songs which you can jut heavily feel coming from the global pandemic because of what is commonly referred to as being uncertain times.

Elements of twee and Elliott Smith can be on display here as Jon Stancer is truly forging his own path musically.   The final song "Scared Off" has a line about how heads will roll and it really just feels like there is as much of an emphasis on the lyrics as there is the music.  "In Light Of" is the type of EP that you're going to want to spend a great deal of time with- though it will pass quickly- so you can fully realize the weight of not only the words within the songs but their musical innovations as well.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

My 21 Favorite Matches of 2021 (In Chronological Order)

 (In chronological order

(Please Note: Many chosen were experienced in person but that is not the only reason why they were chosen)

Matches are classified by Event Title / Match Type (if applicable), date, promotion.


[1] Tony Deppen vs Trish Adora (The Iron Match, 2/14/21, Beyond Wrestling)

    During the pandemic I got really down on watching wrestling in general because watching it on television felt like I was missing out on what I wanted to see in person.  Not only was this one of my favorite matches of 2021 that solidified Tony Deppen as the best at what he's currently doing and put more eyes on Trish Adora, but this match helped me get back into watching wrestling on television comfortably and just a few months later we'd be back to attending live shows.

[2] Allie Kat vs Billie Starkz (Allie Kat's Real Hot Girl Shit, 4/9/21, Game Changer Wrestling)

    As soon as Real Hot Girl Shit was announced, I knew I had to watch it.  We were still stuck inside for the pandemic, but I was enjoying what wrestling I could get on my television.  This was one of those matches where- and I will continue to say this- these two fought each other to the point where neither would lose.  It ended up that Allie Kat seemed to cause pain to herself while being able to get the win over Billie Starkz.   This might have also been that turning point for where Allie Kat became Allie Katch!

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here

[3] G-Raver vs Su Yung (Shallow Graves, 4/10/21, No Peace Underground)

    This match announcement made me immediately buy this show on FITE TV and it was completely worth it.   I enjoy seeing clashes of styles but something about this match was just all to perfect.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[4] Ken Broadway vs TJ Crawford (In Bloom, 4/24/21, Invictus Pro Wrestling)

    Back in 2019, I went to my first live professional wrestling event after a 13 year absence.  Then, the pandemic hit and most of 2020 was spent not going to live wrestling.  But with the weather getting warmer and the strides being made with the vaccine, Quentin and I attended this outdoors show for Invictus Pro Wrestling.  It made not only this entire show for us very special but these are two of the best wrestlers out there today who really need to be talked about more and this match just proves that.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[5] Masha Slamovich vs Edith Surreal (Soviet Death Match, 4/25/21, Camp Leapfrog)

    Masha Slamovich has had a hell of a 2021 and this might have been one of those matches that helped propel her into that, where people really started to take notice here and feel like Masha Slamovich was on her way to becoming a star.  When I think of Edith Surreal I always think of this technical luchadora (partly because of the mask) so to also see her in this match, in this environment, and to have these two fighting in the snow just made this one of those matches you have to go out of your way to see.

[6] Holidead vs Jennacide (Locked N Loaded / Falls Count Anywhere, 5/1/21, Mission Pro Wrestling)

    This was a hell of a match that not only got me into Mission Pro Wrestling, it got me subscribed to Title Match Network and I never really looked back!

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[7] Erica Leigh vs Dan Champion (That 90's Party! / PWM Title Match, 5/8/21, Pro Wrestling Magic)

    After Erica Leigh won the PWM Title her first title defense was against Dan Champion.  Quentin and I were making our way back into live shows and this felt like one of those shows we needed to be at.  I had been taunting Dan Champion on Twitter by calling him "Lil Dan" and so we went to this show with a "Lil Dan" sign that Dan Champion took from Quentin during the match, tried to rip it up but was stopped by Erica Leigh!  Some months later, we'd see Dan Champion again at Wrestlers Lab and Quentin gave that sign to Dan Champion, so if anyone was wondering about that story that is the conclusion of it!

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[8] Willow Nightingale vs Trish Adora (Let's Talk About Wrestling, 5/16/21, WWR+)

    This match is appearing on two lists for me so I'm simply to say here that the idea of having fan favorite Willow Nightingale vs fan favorite Trish Adora is what wrestling should be.   Yes, I do enjoy booing the heels, but to that extent having it where you're conflicted and don't want to boo somebody and are just happy no matter who wins, it brings a new level of enjoyment to a wrestling match.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[9] Erica Leigh vs Riley Shepard (May The Franchise Reign / PWM Title Match, 5/29/21, Battle Club Pro)

    While this was our first Battle Club Pro show it was also quite special to see not only Riley Shepard make her debut with the company but to do so against Erica Leigh.  This was also the first time that the PWM Title was defended by a woman against a woman.   This is just one of those matches- and it'll go down in history as being such- that when you realize the significance of it, you have to watch it.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[10] Karen Bam Bam vs Alec Price (Undeniable 2 / TOS Championship Match, 6/19/21, Test Of Strength)

    This was actually my first time at a TOS show, but Karen Bam Bam and Alec Price just showed why this match should be run back a number of times.  Everything about this match was just perfect and it set the stage for the entire show, really, which just then had me falling in love with TOS.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[11] Willow Nightingale vs Masha Slamovich (To Wrestle, Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth, 6/20/21, WWR+)

    A first time match up which really just felt like good vs evil.  Masha Slamovich would go on to be cheered a lot more places later on in 2021, but around this time she was largely booed and so this was one of those matches where I was conflicted but it still goes to show that there are traditional faces and heels left in wrestling.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[12] Jordan Blade vs Allie Katch (Candy Coated Kingdom / PWM Women's Title Match, 6/26/21, Pro Wrestling Magic)

    As Allie Kat changed into Allie Katch the idea was to focus more on the technical, grappling side of wrestling.  What better opponent to do this against than the Submission Sniper Jordan Blade?  This was just a fantastic match and in many ways I feel like this was one of those breakout moments for Jordan Blade as it truly feels like after this match everything she has done has just been going up.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking [here]

[13] Trish Adora vs Darius Carter (Wanna Be Startin' Something / PAWD Title Match, 8/13/21, We Are Wrestling)

    As I've stated in my review and to others in person, I don't think I've seen a crowd react the way they did to this match as any other match in all my life.  When the fans thought Darius Carter had won the title (by questionable means) they were not going to let him get to his car.   This was such a great wrestling match, move for move, but also with the story it told.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[14] JT Dunn vs Davienne (Summer Chaos / Chaotic Heavyweight Title Match, 8/27/21, Chaotic Wrestling)

    From the Chaotic Countdown to here, this was one of those moments where Davienne winning the Chaotic Heavyweight Championship was something that every single person in that building felt and we all shared it together.   How special is that?  Plus, leading up to this match I saw JT Dunn several times at other shows and was telling him in person and on Twitter as well that he was losing.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[15] Brad Cashew vs Ace Austin (A Haunting In Tewksbury / New England Championship Match, 10/8/21, Chaotic Wrestling)

    Whatever you consider "it" to be in professional wrestling, Brad Cashew has "it".   This made this match that much better because it really is two of the best doing what they do and it just gave Ace Austin such a great way to show out.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[16] Perry Von Vicious vs Brandon Watts (Who Made Who, 10/22/21, Pro Wrestling GRIND)

    As someone who has seen a lot of Perry Von Vicious matches, this was definitely my favorite Perry Von Vicious match up until this point.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[17] MV Young vs Tony Deppen (Fall Children, 10/24/21, Blitzkrieg! Pro)

    I feel like this was a first time match up but it should have happened before because these are just two wrestlers who both use their bodies as weapons.   This was such a great match and one which should be revisited eventually as well.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[18] Trish Adora vs Jordan Blade (Uncharted Territory Season 3 Episode 5/ PAWD Title Match, 11/4/21, Beyond Wrestling)

    Though I hadn't been watching Uncharted Territory on IWTV (I'm busy) and the thought of going to a show on a Thursday night didn't really appeal to me, I saw on Twitter that Beyond was hinting at a title match between Trish Adora and Jordan Blade.   I knew (and said publicly) as soon as that match was announced, I would have to be there.  And it delivered in every possible way.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here

[19] Isana vs Jessie Nolan (WrestleFest XVI / Good Housekeeping Match, 11/12/21, Northeast Championship Wrestling)

    Not only are Isana and Jessie Nolan two of my favorite wrestlers, but the story which brought them to this match in NCW was also really well done.   This was just such a fantastic match that everyone should go out of their way to see and these two wrestlers should be on all of the shows.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[20] Anthony Greene vs Alec Price (Prized Possession / Limitless Championship Match, 11/13/21, Limitless Wrestling)

        I still remember it like it was yesterday.  I had it in my mind to go to Maine to see Limitless at some point, but when they announced JT Dunn vs Alec Price for a shot at the title held by Anthony Greene, I knew that we had to make the drive if it was Alec Price vs AG.  The rest, as they say, is history.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

[21] Masha Slamovich vs Charli Evans (Uncharted Territory Season 3 Episode 8, 11/25/21, Beyond Wrestling)

    When Charli Evans came to the United States for a tour I knew I had to see her live at some point but I didn't know when that would be.   My number one choice of who to see her wrestle also just happened to be Masha Slamovich, so the way this match worked out just felt like magic.   Oddly enough, after this match Charli Evans did have some more in NJ but this was really the closest she came and if we didn't go to this match I might have likely missed her on this tour.

A full review of this event can be found by clicking here.

This is it for 2021.   2022 already looks like it's going to be even more crazy (even though I'm trying to slow down with going to live events) and hopefully I can narrow it down again next year to my top 22 matches!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Music Review //
Hollis Brown
"Don'tcha Bother Me"
(In The Aftermath)

While it can take a certain amount of dedication to cover only one song of another artist- which in and of itself can either help or hinder you musically- there are very few out there able to cover entire albums.   If you were to sit down and count the number of artists who have covered either "Paint It Black" or "Under My Thumb" by The Rolling Stones, you'd likely come up with a large number and there are even more who are less known that have likely done so as well.   Hollis Brown has taken upon the task of not just covering those two songs but covering every song off of the 1966 album "Aftermath".

"Don'tcha Bother Me" has a gritty, southern feeling blues way about it.  I imagine it being the type of song you'd hear coming out of New Orleans and just that idea of artists such as Muddy Waters or B.B. King, but you know, in a Rolling Stones way.   Hollis Brown does a great job of paying tribute to the original song by only sort of modernizing it a little bit to put their own spin on it while keeping it true to the original in a larger scale.   Musically, this is a stand out cover because of how it can be both so similar and so different from the original at the same time, something you must hear to fully grasp.

One of my other favorite parts about this song is that it isn't a Rolling Stones song that everyone knows.  Sure, Hollis Brown will cover those songs as well but to put this out into the world, if you hadn't heard the other singles before this one, and this became your introduction to Hollis Brown, you might not even know it's a cover.  So then that would not only open up the world of Hollis Brown to you but it would also perhaps take you to a place created by The Rolling Stones which you previously didn't know existed.  In a grand scheme of things sense, this song could open up a new generation to a sound the likes of which they've never heard before.

I truly believe that more artists should cover an entire album instead of just one song.  I understand why they don't, because it's quite the undertaking, but also there is that risk that you become a band such as Alien Ant Farm, who are perhaps more well known for their cover of a Michael Jackson song than any song they wrote themselves.   But still, what Hollis Brown is doing with the entire album which is forthcoming is keeping the past alive while preserving the future, but this song is just a strong part of that because it's one of the lesser known songs by the original artist.  

Music Review //
Committee of Vultures
"Everybody Wants The Blues"
(Jersey Delta Records)

 Please Note: This album is scheduled to be released in early 2022.  When it is officially released in full, this link will be updated.   For now, please enjoy this video for "Dressed To Get Naked":

The music of Committee of Vultures can feel very much like the lyrics in that sometimes it can feel better than others, but overall the theme remains constant throughout this album and in that regard I think it is to be experienced.   With twelve tracks, "Everybody Wants The Blues" also just feels like if it was released as a record it would be a double LP because it just has that sort of girth behind it.  

At first, with the song "Lightning Struck The Fairgrounds", there is this element which is somewhere between Led Zeppelin and Alabama Shakes, which I really enjoy.  There is a big keys solo and the singing is just huge.   It just really makes you feel it.   On the second song- which is the titular track- it can sound a bit more like Tom Petty musically but that old driving rock n roll sound vocally.  This also comes through on the third song, with a harmonica and Randy Newman-like vocals.   

"Dressed To Get Naked" (which has a music video) is somewhat of a Christmas song and it's just a fun song that I do enjoy.   "Across The Thorny Country" comes back with this western feel and between that, the horns and other factors this just goes off into various forms of classic rock n roll more than just being the blues.   It is a lot to process, from song to song, but if you have the time and desire to do so, it can be quite worthwhile.

While a song such as "Lightning Struck The Fairgrounds" can feel like a storyteller type of song in terms of lyrics, some of the songs can fall off track, such as "Terrible Driver".   There is a feeling of Tom Waits to this album though- not just musically (and vocally) at times, but the way the lyrics seem to be along the same lines of telling a story albeit sometimes a bit absurd.   This is, in a strong sense, an album which is also good to listen to if you are on a long roadtrip as it can help the time pass.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Music Review //
J Ru

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the first time I heard certain albums by rappers.  I remember where I was and who I was with when I first heard Eminem, for example, and it has just always felt so rebellious to me just because so many people were into the big hair rock n roll music and then grunge, listening to 2Pac and Dr Dre became dangerous.   One of the reasons why I still enjoy listening to music which is new to me is because of that feeling of hearing something for the first time and then years later, after hearing it a hundred times, you still remember how you felt that first time.

J Ru is bringing a style of hip hop which is exclusive to him and though there can be influences here and there it mainly all just comes back to his voice, his influence.  There is soulful singing to start "Undiscovered" and songs such as "Scars" have that R&B piano as well.   Singing exists on "The Crown" and "Lost Ties", which makes it feel more like hip hop than rap.  Somewhere between the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino film and Darko The Super, J Ru just has his own sound and listening to it can be as much fun as it can be emotional.  

Lyrically, these songs can address a lot of topics and it will likely take you a few listens to discover it all.   "Throwin' Jacks" mentions skateboarding while "The Mornin" is a song about not being a morning person (which I am not).   "Level Granted" is about being busy and not letting it overwhelm you but also about how perhaps we should start leveling up every year instead of celebrating birthdays as we do now.  Saying you're a "Level 50" does sound a lot better than being "50 years young lolz".

One of the biggest parts of creating music in the vein of hip hop is not just the beats and the sounds which go with them, but if you're going to do this you need to have lyrics which make sense and have a flow to them.  J Ru has that and I feel like he's one of those undiscovered (no pun intended) voices and one day he should be known by all throughout the community because this music is just too good to be missed.  

Music Review //
Aura Blaze
"Open-Mindedness" //

When "Open-Mindedness" first starts, the titular track comes through in this disco/funk/rock way with those high pitched vocals going through the chorus.  It reminds me of something between Jamiroquai and Gnarls Barkley, though there are also some psych swirls to give it a throwback to the 1960's as well.    This takes us into the second song- "The Summer Solstice"- which makes me think of "Charlie's Angels" right away and then just turns into this sort of hippy, upbeat melody.

The third and final song on this EP is a cover of "The Only One I Know", perhaps the most well known song by The Charlatans, and it is just a lot of fun with laser blasts and keys galore.   There is laughing and those organ keys which just seems to place this song at such a specific moment in time.   What I like about this cover as well is that it could help those who know of the original song get into Aura Blaze and if you've never heard of The Charlatans before then this might be your introduction to them.

What I really like about the lyrics within the first song is that we're posed with the question that if Aura Blaze was to hold information which could save the world and that information was presented to the world, would anybody listen?  I think that in light of the global pandemic starting in 2020 we can easily determine who would listen and who wouldn't listen to the warning.  Especially within the United States, people would say "But my freedom" instead of doing whatever needed to be done to save the world.  It's such an interesting point to ponder and makes me think of "Idiocracy" as being more of a future documentary.

Though only three songs, this EP by Aura Blaze is quite the trip and I just find myself getting lost within it.   It could be quite the experience for an artist to put this on- especially if it was an album and went a bit longer- and just vibe out with it while painting or whatever their medium might be.   But I do also just feel like even though this isn't on the most calm and quiet side of music, it can be helpful with reflecting in the same way one might while meditating.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Music Review //
Hasten Mercy
"Self-Titled (EP)"
(Global Heist Recordings) //

When first listening to this three song Self-Titled EP by Hasten Mercy, you should note the contrast between the electronic and acoustic sound within these songs.   What is interesting about this is that it isn't just about the guitars but rather there exists two sides to this music which often come out at the same time.  On one hand, there is the delicate strum of the acoustic guitar, giving this the feeling of a folk EP.   But at the same time there are beats and this makes it feel more like an electronic album in the sense that you might dance to it.

The melodies which can be constantly found underneath this electronic rhythm are along the lines of The Beatles, but with the way these beats move this also just sounds so much unlike anything that The Beatles have ever recorded.   There are elements of the combination of folk + electronics which make me think of that certain era of U2 or even more so of Folk Implosion, but not many artists are attempting this and those who are don't seem to be doing it quite as well.

There is a line between the "Juno" soundtrack and the "Trainspotting" soundtrack in which you can find Hasten Mercy.   While the first song- "Star You Are"- begins with all of the energetic youth of a sunrise, the second song- "These Things"- becomes more of a pulsating beat, which is slow and pretty.   What's even more fascinating is that as this EP goes on you feel like the second song might be more of a slower bridge but the third and final song is even more like an acoustic ballad that wants to be electronic, with big keys, just making the overall feeling at the end such a relaxing one.

A lot can be said about an EP in terms of how many songs are on it and how those songs can change because even with only three songs you can still change the pace quite a bit.   Hasten Mercy, however, has managed to find a way to create an EP which comes out of the gate with the most power and as it expands it begins to slow down and really sink in.   There is also this overall quality of positivity within this EP and that just makes it even more so feel like the type of music you would listen to when you first wake up and start your day off right.

Music Review //
Fly The Nest
"Say Hello" //

"Say Hello" is a song in which the chorus reflects upon waiting "just to hear your voice" as they want you to say hello with your telephone call.   It's funny because as a kid and even into my teens I'd be on the phone a lot because it was our primary way of communicating.  But as I got older, I found other ways to communicate with people through text and that just took over and sort of made it so that now I don't like talking on the phone.   So this song has to take me back to when I was a kid and got a phone put into my room to talk to my friends and I was waiting for them to call.

There is also this energy about the song- a nervous anxiety which anyone who has ever waited for a call or text back has ever felt before.   Though this song has that gritty rock n roll vibe to it, complete with a killer guitar solo, the tone of it somehow manages to capture that feeling when you can't sleep and you're just on edge because you're waiting for that response.    It's certainly nice to have that feeling, no matter how fleeting it might be because eventually you get so used to it that it doesn't carry the same level of excitement or you just grow old and jaded like me and send all of your calls to voice mail.

Fly The Nest have also stumbled upon this important piece of history within this song, in a sense, because the way they sing about waiting for the telephone call is much like how movies you might see in the past could have had their plots easily destroyed with the advent of the cell phone.   Technology is great and all, but in a lot of ways it can ruin art because things which maybe The Rolling Stones got to sing about you can't quite hear in the same way now so when a song like this comes along I hear it more like a throwback to the past than a representation of the present.  Though, I do suppose if you enjoy talking on the phone this could be in the present tense for you.

Back in the day when I was talking on the phone more, this might have come to my attention as a song from a new artist on Wind-up Records and it just has that sound about it in a rock sense that too many artists are missing.   Whether you take the lyrical content on the basis of being something you can relate with now or something you might have related with in your past, the fact remains that it should be universal and with the way this song just flat out rocks it should also be played at maximum volume to enjoy.

Monday, January 10, 2022

My Wrestling Highlights of January 2022, Blog Style


The weird thing about professional wrestling going from 2021 into 2022 is that there was an event called The Wrestival (featuring seven shows) which started on 12/30/21 and went into the New Year, but also Game Changer Wrestling had a New Year's Eve show as well as a New Year's Day show.  This just made these last few shows of 2021 feel like they were part of 2022 since after Christmas I basically go into that next year mindset anyway.

I only watched about five minutes of The Wrestival.   Jess put it on and as Rich Palladino was announcing a match as "No DQ", Beyond Wrestling commentator Paul Crockett acted shocked and said "I knew Ted Goodz and Richard Holliday were having a match but I didn't know it was No DQ!"  It had been billed as a "Worcester Street Fight" prior to the show and apparently no one told Paul Crockett (and he didn't do his homework) but little things like this just annoy me more than they should and it really turned me off on the entire Wrestival, though I will likely go through later this week and try to watch some of the matches that interest me.

We both ended and started the year with Game Changer Wrestling, the "Till Infinity" and "Die 4 This" events.   Neither show was particularly bad, but neither show was particularly memorable for me either.  I will primarily remember "Till Infinity" only for the match between Allie Katch and Charli Evans, as it was one of Charli Evans' final matches in the United States on this tour.  It was a really good match and not something I'd normally go out of my way to watch (because I don't like to watch entire shows just for one match) but Jess had it in her head that she wanted to watch GCW this weekend so I found that to be the highlight of the weekend.

Admittedly the "Die 4 This" show didn't feel quite as good as "Till Infinity" and with the exception of the rumble I was only really interested in seeing the return of Scotty 2 Hotty.  What was funny was that in the main event John Wayne Murdoch took on Alex Colon and as JWM tried to break free from an STF the ref called for the bell and ended the match.   This was a very odd non-finish and strange way to usher GCW into 2022.   Maybe I just haven't been following GCW closely enough but this show didn't make me excited for any of their upcoming shows and that's really just such a shame.  



Spent the past few days catching up with NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16.   Day 1 had some interesting matches, as it was nice seeing Zack Sabre Jr and Tomohio Ishii in their respective matches, but the best part of the first two days was Day 2 and about four matches on that show.   What is somewhat sad about Wrestle Kingdom this year, for me, was that I looked at the card going into it and the matches which I thought would be the best really were among the best matches.   Nothing really stood out in the sense of "Oh, I didn't expect that to be so good!", but still I sit here, a week or so into 2022 and have seen more NJPW than any other promotion... for now.

There was a tag team match representing Stardom on the main show that everyone should check out because Stardom is just so damn good.  I need to watch their first show of this year still but I will be doing that sooner than later.   I was also impressed by the match between Naito and Jeff Cobb.  I remember Jeff Cobb making at least one appearance in AEW and the fact that they let him get away just baffles me.   Still, Jeff Cobb remains one of the highlights of NJPW for me and in 2022 that doesn't seem like it's changing.

The final two matches of Day 2 were also among my favorites.  First, Tanahashi defeated KENTA to capture the US Title in a No DQ Match.   This was really well done because it didn't seem to hurt the character of KENTA at all, but it is also helped to keep Tanahashi at the top of his game even if he isn't in that World Title picture.   We really need more of this in wrestling where no one really seems like they're being underused or not used at all.   You can have a show with eight matches and each of those matches can have meaning behind them.  These are also just two of the best wrestlers in the world today.

The main event saw Okada defeat Will Ospreay to become the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion once again.  This was a fantastic match and afterwards Naito came out to challenge Okada for that title.   This is one of those things which both bothers me and I'm happy about at the same time in regards to NJPW though.  With Naito seemingly challenging next for the title, it has that idea of "Why can't NJPW get past using these same four or five wrestlers?", you know, that idea of why can't they create new stars to put up in that title picture.  But if I had a roster with Tanahashi, Okada, Naito, KENTA, etc on it, I'd just keep pushing them to the main event as well.  It's like asking why Bret Hart, Steve Austin, The Undertaker, The Rock, etc spent so long at the top.

While it might be weird to go for a few days without watching NJPW, I just know I have a lot of the more mainstream stuff (NXT, NXT UK and Impact) to catch up on before the week ends plus Stardom and some other randomness I might find out there.   Still, between GCW and NJPW this year feels like it's off to a good start.  



Between yesterday and today I did some catching up with Stardom and NXT 2.0.   First up was Stardom Award 2021- which was four multi-person matches and not an awards show- and it's available to stream for free in full on the official Stardom YouTube page.   This whole show was a lot of fun and I particularly enjoyed the main event in that all three members of Donna del Mondo came out in the masks which had been mysteriously haunting Stardom as of late.  That was a nice reveal to take us into the new year and even in defeat I still also enjoy the Cosmic Angels.

Another highlight of the Stardom Award 2021 show for me was Fukigen Death.  There are not many out there doing what Fukigen Death is doing in wrestling today and it is just great and needs to be recognized by more people.  Stardom, though, always seems to be ahead of their time and if you've never seen Stardom before or are just looking for a place to dive back in, why not start here?  The shows have a ring announcer but no commentary, which is a nice touch since I find most commentary to be unnecessary.

NXT 2.0 and their New Year's Evil show was all right but I could have done without a lot of the middle of the show.   I really enjoyed the Carmelo Hayes win over Roderick Strong and that was the one match I was really watching this show to see.   The Six Man Tag and Women's Title matches just fell flat to me and it might also be that I don't care about Mandy Rose as Champion.  There was also a segment in here with Von Wagner, in which Wade Barrett remarked that he was going crazy like Antonio Brown and that just seemed like a shot at mental health that didn't need to be made but perhaps that's just me.

The show closed and took us into the new era of NXT 2.0 with Bron Breakker as the new NXT Champion.  This was the second title shot for Bron Breakker (who I do enjoy) and I thought he would win it on his first try but the fact that it finally happened just seems right.  NXT has been undergoing this major overhaul since becoming NXT 2.0 and they seem to be phasing out certain people while focusing more on others.  It seems only fitting that with the new year they've fully made that move and now it's just a matter of seeing how this all plays out with a new cast.  



On Friday (1/7) I tried to watch the EVE Revolt, Resist And Riot show on YouTube but it started off as being free for the first four matches and then turned into something where you had to be a member to see the last two matches.  As this show was going on, I was realizing this and I didn't quite know what I had to do to become a "member" at the time, so after the first four matches I just sort of bailed on it and figured I'd go back to it later.   I realized I'd have to "subscribe" to the EVE YouTube Channel as a paying member and it would be $9.99/month to do that.  So I'm thinking about doing that and when I do I will go back and re-watch the entire show from 1/7 and then the show from 1/8 as well.  This paragraph is mainly here to let you know how great Lana Austin is.

While there are still some aspects of Impact Wrestling I do not enjoy, between them, WWE and AEW I don't feel like any of them is really free of having problematic wrestlers on their roster.  I've just sort of come to accept this I suppose.  But still, I'm watching Impact Wrestling because I don't want to feel like the entire roster is suffering for the actions of one man.  This latest episode- the first one of 2022- had some great matches with JONAH vs Jake Something, Deonna Purrazzo vs Mercedes Martinez and Ace Austin/Madman Fulton vs Hernandez/Johnny Swinger.  

It's funny but not haha but in 2021 I do believe that we have seen more wrestlers live from Impact Wrestling- names like Hernandez, Eddie Edwards, Jake Something and Ace Austin- than we did from AEW and that's kind of cool.   This episode of Impact also marked the debut of Masha Slamovich, as she took on Sandra Moone (who was also debuting) and this match lasted less than a minute but Masha Slamovich made an impression.   And I just think about how Masha Slamovich coming into Impact is huge because of all of the other women in their Knockouts Division and how that is just the best place to be right now.

This was also the go-home show for Hard To Kill, which I hope to watch some time this week and it just seems like Impact is coming out hot and hopefully in 2022 more people begin to put eyes on Impact Wrestling.  I'm also really, personally, hoping that Impact Wrestling gets some action figures during the year 2022 but we shall have to see how that plays out.



So far this week I have watched a lot of the television shows for wrestling.  I started with NXT UK because they announced a main event NXT UK Women's Title match with Meiko Satmoura defending against Blair Davenport and I just felt like I needed to see that.   The match delivered and even though Blair Davenport lost she still attacked Meiko Satomura afterwards so this might turn into a feud.   I am also secretly upset with NXT UK though because this was one of the few times I've watched it and I didn't plan on watching it again but they're saying it's the last NXT UK match of WALTER this week so I'm likely going to end up watching again for that.

I then watched the first episode of MLW's Azteca and I found it to be a lot of fun because it had a main event with Hammerstone and Pagano teaming together.  It's just that idea of taking the MLW stars and combining them with Lucha Libre to give us something somewhat like Lucha Underground but not quite the same and I'm interested in seeing how it all plays out.  MLW is just one of those companies that always seems to have great matches and the talent is there but the fans just can't quite seem to keep up for some reason.

As I backtracked to Saturday, I caught up with Impact Wrestling by watching Hard To Kill 2022.   This show looked like it was going to be awesome on paper but while I was watching it I felt like there were a few key components missing.   It opened up with the first ever Knockout's Ultimate X match, which was a lot of fun and rightfully won by Tasha Steelz (future Champ right there)  Then I feel like the show fell into a bit of a lull up until the main event for the Knockouts Title.

I wasn't really invested in the X Division Title match nor the ROH World Title match and I'm not sure what would have changed that for me.  I'm not the biggest fan of Jonathan Gresham so that had a lot to do with that match and the X Division match just wasn't all that I hoped it could be.   JONAH vs Josh Alexander went on a little bit too long and I actually preferred the JONAH match vs Jake Something on Impact TV a little bit more.    The Hardcore War was actually a lot of fun though and it made the fans chant "You sick fuck" at Eddie Edwards so that was also a great moment to kick of 2022.

One of my biggest problems with Impact Wrestling is that I don't like Moose.  He's got a sketchy past and in the year 2020 he was posting videos where he was hanging out/training with a convicted sex offender, so I'm not going anywhere near him let alone letting Quentin near him, but aside from all of that I've just never been a fan of his.  The idea that he comes out and everyone just says "Moose!" over and over as he pumps his fist... it's just so one dimensional and not for me.   Sadly, I don't think Moose is losing the title until he either gets a match with Josh Alexander or Sami Callihan returns but this match did make me think at times that either Matt Cardona or W.Morrissey might win and for that it was all right.

The main event was my favorite match tied with the Ultimate X and so you can just kind of see how I really enjoyed this show as a bookend sense but what was in between was mostly just all right.  If I could pick and choose which matches to watch, I would only recommend three (Ultimate X, Hardcore War and Knockouts Title) and for a seven match show that's slightly below average overall.   Still, the matches that were good were *really* good.  I loved the moment when Deonna Purrazzo yelled "Fuck you, Mickie!" and I'm interested to see now where this all goes because it looks like we could be getting Mickie James vs Tasha Steelz at some point soon and I'm down with that.



This week was a weird one for wrestling because I watched and didn't watch some shows which I thought would be better.  It all started with NWA Powerrr which made its return to YouTube for free.  For context: Prior to the global pandemic, NWA had their show Powerrr on YouTube weekly for free and it was good.  I watched it and enjoyed it.   They stopped doing it during the pandemic but then when they brought it back it wasn't as good as it was before (they lost a lot of their talent) and it also ended up on FITE for money.  I guess that didn't go so well as they came back to YouTube and I watched this episode of Powerrr to hope for the best but I think going forward I won't watch episodes unless they have matches on them I really want to see.

My first problem with the NWA right now is that they have Kamille as their Women's Champion and when I first saw her in NWA she was a valet.  I know valets can wrestle and all of that, but since I first saw her as a valet my mind always thinks of her that way and so when she wrestles I'm a bit more critical of her.  I also just think she has the acting performance of Linda McMahon.  NWA has come a long way since their days of having Thunder Rosa as Women's Champion but that way has been mostly backwards.  Kylie Rae was a bright spot on this show and if she was Champ that would make a difference to me.  

I enjoyed seeing Wrecking Ball Legursky on the show- as more promotions should be using him- but he lost to Matt Taven who is one of my least favorite parts of ROH.   Natalia Markova and Paola Baze did nothing for me and there were segments with wrestlers in between the matches which included Damien Sandow, Mike Knox and the tag team of Dirty Dango and JTG, who are the Dirty Sexy Boys.   I really enjoy what I've seen of JTG post-WWE, but none of those other names have done anything for me and it just feels like there's this certain timeframe in WWE (in the early 21st Century) where if you worked for them and didn't make it much past the midcard then the NWA has a place for you.   There is so much actual wrestling talent out there, are people really tuning in to see Mike Knox in 2022?

I looked up the card for the next episode of Powerrr and it has a women's match I'd like to see, with Jennacide in it, but then the rest of the card just looks so bad because you have to see Dango, Tyrus, Mike Knox... It's like they didn't even take the best wrestlers from this era of WWE when they could have had maybe Ezekial Jackson, for example, although he might either be retired or just want nothing to do with NWA.  Where is Sylvester Terkay?  Can't they get Renee Dupree in here? I'd even take Chris Masters at this point.  And why can't Carlito be in the NWA?

Following this, I slept through the newest episode of NXT 2.0- the one with AJ Styles- and I'm not going to go back and watch it.  Then, on Saturday night, I watched Zicky Dice's Outlandish Paradise stream for free live on Twitch.  If you look at the card and you see the matches, you'll pretty much get the idea of what this show was like in terms of in ring work- and don't get me wrong, as far as the in ring stuff goes I really enjoyed this show and it was a lot of fun to watch.  I'd definitely watch another one.

My problem with this show is that while it felt like someone- let's say Zicky Dice- put it all together in doing so they focused only on the wrestling aspect of it, which meant those scheduled to appear and the match ups which could be made with those names.   A lot of the rest of this show seemed to fail, for me, and that basically goes for the commentary team as well as the in ring announcer.   Zicky Dice is in Impact Wrestling.  Could he not get someone a little bit more professional to either do commentary or ring announcing work?

One of my biggest pet peeves about this (and there are numerous reasons why I didn't enjoy the commentary) was that early on the commentators were discussing the Hey Brother Battle Royal and they said that the winner would receive a prize, but they didn't know what that prize was.   Now, if you were like me or even just did the most minimal amount of research for this show, you would note that the poster for the show (which I have included above) says the winner will receive "1 million", which could be thought to be dollars.  

Now, what actually happened was the winner of that Battle Royal received an oversized check for 1 million "exposure bucks", but imagine how much better this would have played out if the commentators had emphasized the fact that the winner was expecting to receive one million *dollars* but instead got "exposure bucks".   It's like they went with the punchline even though the announce team failed to set up the joke.

There were also two different people who went on commentary during the matches that just felt like fans.   This wasn't the worst idea anyone in wrestling has ever had (and I've heard worse commentary before) but this also meant that there were three people trying to talk about the match at the same time and, well, three people are just too many to do commentary on a show at once.  Anything more than two is just overkill and as Joey Styles proved in ECW, you can do rather well with only one voice.

My official recommendation for Zicky Dice's Outlandish Paradise is to go back and watch the show on Twitch if you can and just mute it.   If you cannot watch a replay (I'm not sure how all that works with Twitch) and Zicky Dice does another show like this, do be sure to check it out because I might also be a little bit bias on the commentary aspect because I'm so used to going to live wrestling shows I rarely think about the commentary and all of that.  



One of the things which I think bothers me about NWA Powerrr is how it just opens with "Hi, please welcome my guest at this time" and it just feels like we're starting in the middle of the show for some reason.  Can they not just run the theme song and intro then get into this nonsense?  So we go into this interview where May Valentine (?) interviews Melina, who feels like she shouldn't have to be in a number one contender's match to get a title shot.  May Valentine then asks Melina if she's concerned that she might... be... fired... for taking this stance.  What the actual fuck NWA.   The delivery by May Valentine is just terrible here, so wooden, and that's what this whole segment comes down to>? Melina could be fired for voicing her opinion?  Makes sense to me!

This show started with the only match I really cared about and that was a number one contender's match for a shot at the NWA Women's Title.  It featured Jennacide, Kiera Hogan, Christi Jaynes and Kenzie Paige.    These really are four great wrestlers here so I'm hoping that the women's division can improve.  Funny thing, right when the match started Joe Galli seemed to called Kenzie Paige "Kenji Paige" and that was a bit awkward.    In all fairness though, Joe Galli also seemed to add too many syllables to the name of Kiera Hogan.  

I'm not sure why Kiera Hogan left Impact Wrestling but if it was for the NWA to build their women's division around her then that might not be the worst thing.  However, if Kiera Hogan is going to lose to Kamille then this all just makes no sense to me.  The best women's wrestling is in Impact Wrestling so why wouldn't Kiera Hogan just stay there?  I'm going to see how it all plays out there before I pass judgment.

I've said this before but it really feels like the NWA is just picking up the worst parts of ROH.  I'm not joking: When ROH had their weekly shows on FITE, I'd go to the FITE app and see the match listing.   If the matches were bad, I wouldn't watch the show.  If the matches were good, I'd watch the show.   This, of course, was all based on my opinion of those involved.  It just feels like all of the wrestlers who I'd skip the shows for are coming from ROH to NWA and maybe it's only a matter of time before we see the AC/DC Man Brian Johnson.

In a backstage segment (which are all terrible) Rodney Mack attacked Jax Dane and the whole theory I've had about the NWA just being full of WWE wrestlers from the early 21st Century who never made it past the IC Title level just proves further and further to be good.   And on some real talk, there are wrestlers within WWE who never held the big title- names like Mr Perfect, Owen Hart, Roddy Piper- but the NWA is pulling guys of that level.   I'd even prefer to see whatever name Curtis Axel wants to go by and Bo Dallas in the NWA right now.  

I feel like I know Mims from CWFH and I do enjoy that he's a fresh face here in NWA, but Anthony Mayweather very much feels like he could've been part of that early 2000's WWE jobber class.   Mims has potential, but I really don't mind if I never see Anthony Mayweather again.   A commercial airs where the NWA says that the landscape of professional wrestling is changing and they want to be at the forefront of it.   This is funny because it's an ad for you to subscribe to NWA for an entire year (as if their content will be worth it in six months) but yet it feels like the NWA is a few weeks away from dragging out Luther Reigns and saying he's the real Big Dog in wrestling.

Cyon has a backstage interview and everyone wonders who his father is.  Commentary says there are plenty of former NWA Champions to choose from, sure, but how many of them have children that would be the approximate age?  Someone could probably run the numbers and figure it out rather easily.  This takes us into a match with Dirty Dango & JTG teaming together and this is just not at all what I like about wrestling.   As much as it may appear as if I am watching this show now, it is mostly just on in the background.

Apparently Tyrus has a stable but I can't be bothered to care about this match.   I also realize now I've been complaining about the NWA in far too many paragraphs here.   I shouldn't give this so much effort, but I suppose it is because I feel like the NWA could be as good as it was pre-pandemic but it just seems to have fallen off more than possibly any other promotion before it.   There is an ad for NWA USA inside of this sow and I remember now that I should be watching that as well.   Maybe.  I don't know.  I might need to step back from the NWA next month if this doesn't get better.

So there is a match next where Cyon takes on Judais who is with James Mitchell and yet somehow Judias is not Ricky Banderas.   This makes no sense to me but neither does a lot of what NWA does.   I also am just not looking forward to this tag team main event so I'm going to stop venting on the NWA now.  I will be sucked into the next show to see the women but I'm also not going to be very happy about it.  



Today was a snow day so I started it off by watching the second episode of MLW's AZTECA.  But first, I need to backtrack because yesterday I subscribed to Pro-Wrestling EVE on YouTube (just $9.99/month to unlock so much more bonus content) and I went back and finished watching "Revolt, Resist And Riot", which was just so much fun.   I love how I can dive into a new promotion and just feel like everyone in it is already such a character and on their way to being a star.   Names like Lana Austin, Jetta, The AVA, Skye Smitson and Emersyn Jayne... they all just seem to know who they are and it just all works so perfectly together.

This show ended with a pretty brutal main event featuring Emersyn Jayne vs Charli Evans and it was all of the blood you could hope to see.  There is another show- which was held the next day- on their YouTube now that I'll go back and watch, but I really also put down the money because of a rather big show they have coming up in February.  I don't mind paying for wrestling every month if it is really good and feels like it's worth that price and Pro-Wrestling EVE has something special happening and is definitely worth it.

Jumping backwards to the start now, I watched the newest MLW show on their YouTube channel for free- and, hey, if you can do it for free more power to you.  Yesterday I went on a rather long coffee-fueled rant about the NWA and most of what I feel is wrong with it right now.  Everything about what MLW is doing just feels right to me, and this especially rings true because they have their shows in Mexico now so it is incorporating a lot of the lucha libre style.  Seeing Alex Kane as the National Openweight Champion and defending that title against Aerostar to Pagano and Savio Vega going at it in a hardcore match, MLW just hits all of the right notes right now with all of the right talent for me.



Last week I watched the latest episode of NXT 2.0 and was quite impressed by the WALTER vs Roderick Strong match.  After the match, however, WALTER had a change of name- which seems to be buzzing social media more than the match itself- and regardless of what anyone else may feel about this I just think it's a stupid idea because WALTER has already been introduced to wrestling fans within NXT (and NXT UK) as WALTER.   As an example, it's not like we had a few months (years?) of matches with KENTA wrestling in NXT as KENTA and then they changed his name to Hideo Itami.  So I just feel like the window for this type of name change has passed and, yes, it is sad that this is what the focus of WWE is right now.

We were at a live wrestling show on Friday night but I have to go back and watch at least one show from that night on IWTV.   So maybe this is out of order in terms of dates because I have to catch a replay but next up for me was GCW's "TheWrldOnGCW" show.   There are two things which I feel I need to say about this show before even saying anything specific about the show itself.  

First off, this GCW show is just great for professional wrestling overall.  Whether you are a fan of GCW or not, just knowing how many options exist and thrive outside of WWE is really something to be proud of, no matter where you stand in wrestling (even just as a fan)  Also, the amount of talent on this show just goes to show not just how many amazing wrestlers are out there right now but think of all of the names that also *weren't* on this show and just goes to show the depths that independent wrestling has reached and that is also just something to cherish. 



Though I put on Championship Wrestling From Memphis, I did so because I thought that Jordynne Grace was going to versus Thunder Rosa (based on the thumbnail) but as it turned out they were just part of a Rumble type match.   I tried watching CWFM at one point because it's free on YouTube and I just couldn't get into it.   This Rumble match had two different people in it with the first name "Big" and then when they had someone come out simply named "Matt" I was once again tuned out to CWFM.

I also somehow got SWE Fury back into my playlist as the new episode came on YouTube for me.  I haven't watched SWE Fury for a while, but this show had the main event match of Charlie Haas defending the title against Mil Muertes.  Also on the show Marti Belle took on Miranda Gordy and that was a good match.  I just wish that this episode didn't feel like it was in a haze and perhaps more importantly I wish Kevin Sullivan didn't come off sounding like a sexist piece of shit.  Time shall see if I go back to SWE Fury or not.

The newest episode of MLW was also on YouTube- I'm still not sure if it's called "Lucha Azteca" or just "Azteca" but either way this was a fun episode.   Along with all of the lucha action, there was also a match between Proximo and Toto, who I didn't know but are luchadors fighting out of the CRASH promotion in Mexico, I believe, so it was nice to see some fresh faces in the world of lucha libre.



To close out the month (If I watch any wrestling today I will write about it to start February) I watched a match between Charli Evans and Cara Noir which is on the YouTube page of Resurgence Wrestling right now for free.  This match was really good and I was really looking forward to it because it was part of an event called "Bring Me The Mask Of Cara Noir".  I'd like to see the whole event one day, but for right now, this is just one of those matches you should be watching when considering your matches of the year later on.  Both Cara Noir and Charli Evans are just at the top of their game right now.

I also watch the episode of Impact Wrestling where Deonna Purrazzo defeated Rok-C to become the ROH Women's Champion in the main event.   This show had a good opening match with Laredo Kid defeating Chris Bey.  I really like Laredo Kid and really feel like someone should just put a Championship on him and see what happens.  This show also had Mike Bailey vs Jake Something, which was just great, and then Masha Slamovich defeated Vert Vixen.  There is also this tension between Mike Bailey and Ace Austin, which could lead to a match and I enjoy that as well.  So much of what Impact is doing right now just feels so right.

But then, you have the Impact World Title and that just feels like a mess.  It's one of the only low points on their show right now.   Moose and W. Morrissey are building towards a singles match for the title and I don't think that having W. Morrissey as champion but I also don't see it happening.  And it just feels like Impact needs that wrestler right now who can be the face of the company but they don't have them.   Sami Callihan truly can't come back fast enough.

On Saturday we watched the WWE Royal Rumble, and this will be my sort of last wrestling of January 2022.  I watch NXT but I haven't watched the main roster of WWE in over ten years.   I didn't like the fact that it felt like everyone who came out during the Women's Rumble as a legend (Melina, Ivory, etc) seemed to be eliminated so quickly and the men didn't really seem to have many surprises like that.  

After the Lesnar-Lashley match I thought that the tag match must have been on the pre-show and we missed it because of how long this was going on.  Didn't WWE switch to PG to become "family friendly"?  I don't care if it's Saturday night, midnight is late for Quentin to be up watching this! (Note: Quentin did not watch the Royal Rumble with us) It also feels like it's a bit late for me but I was just sort of underwhelmed by it all.

When Brock Lesnar lost the title to Bobby Lashley I literally tweeted about Lesnar coming back and winning the Rumble and how I didn't want to see it.  But it didn't really seem as if WWE had anyone else who could've won the Rumble anyway.  Maybe AJ Styles, but he got punked.  But in the grand scheme of things it was a good angle because Lesnar could go after Bobby Lashley at Wrestlemania and get the title back he lost or he could go against Roman Reigns, who cost him that title.  

I'm guessing there will be some type of Paul Heyman in a shark cage match with Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, but the fact that sets up someone such as AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Big E, etc to vs Bobby Lashley will be nice.  There is a 90% chance right now though that I'm not going to watch Wrestlemania live, so who knows.  I also wish some of the NXT Champions- Bron Breakker or Melo- could've been in the Rumble match but it is what it is.