Saturday, March 31, 2012

Head 2 Head: WWE WrestleMania 28

Wrestlemania, the Granddaddy of them all, the biggest stage in sports entertainment, the Super Bowl of wrestling, is upon us! Tom and I continue our “Head 2 Head” bet here with our look at Wrestlemania. Take a look at the matches we have to pick here!

Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres

Well, we had to get a celeb on the show somewhere, and apparently things fell apart with Shaq to get him on the show for some reason, so Maria Menounos it is. This is obviously her Wrestlemania debut. She actually looked alright the only other time she was in the ring, so this shouldn’t be too bad. Though, word has come out that she broke a rib in training for Dancing with the Stars, so hopefully that won’t hinder her too much. My guess is Kelly Kelly does the lion’s share of the work in this one. Normally I’d pick the team with the Divas champ on it, but not with a celeb there. Maria isn’t coming to lose, so, Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos is the easy pick for me here.

TOM: Can Maria Menounos outperform Snookie? That is the million dollar question, right? All kidding aside, you don’t bring in her to not put her and her teammate over, Kelly Kelly in this case. I know WWE has done a great job at making Beth Phoenix a monster, but she won’t factor in the finish here. Kelly & Maria are my pick.

Randy Orton vs. Kane

Well, I haven’t exactly loved the return of Kane as those who read here regularly know. But, he is a long time member of the roster who deserves his spot on the Wrestlemania card. I don’t think this match will last really long, as honestly, the issue between these two has only just begun (though I’m hoping this is the end of it to be honest). I think it’s going to be RKO city for Kane here, and Orton gets the win.

TOM: I’ve seen only a little bit of the build for this, but I am really, really surprised Randy Orton is not in a more high-profile match. Orton has way more upside and there is no reason he should not win here. Randy Orton is my pick.

Winning Team gets control of Raw & Smackdown for their team GM
Team Teddy: Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali & Booker T vs. Team Johnny: David Otunga, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz & Drew McIntyre

This is the in ring Wrestlemania debut for Zack Ryder and David Otunga. Obviously the story here is the control of both shows. I expect this will be crammed full of shenanigans and interference from Long, Johnny Ace, Hornswoggle, and just about anyone else that they can find. Marella has had a heck of a run lately, and I’d love to see him get the feel good win here, but I just don’t think there is any chance Team Teddy wins. Instead, I think it’s gotta be Team Johnny, as there is a story to be told with Teddy trying to regain some power. So, Team Johnny gets the win here. I am hoping that they let Ziggler or Henry get the win for the team, as those two have the most upside on the team (or maybe The Miz too).

TOM: Originally when this match was introduced, I was underwhelmed. The more it has built and been added to, the more I have taken a liking to it. As you know from reading me before, I am a HUGE Ziggler mark and I hope he gets to have a good WrestleMania moment. There does seem to be too many weak links in the chain of Team Teddy compared to Team Johnny, but I think the there is more chance that the babyface team wins than Jim does. That stated, I think there is much more to the story if Team Johnny wins and that is my pick.

WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Cody Rhodes (C) vs. The Big Show

They’ve told an interesting story here with Rhodes being a cocky son of a gun that keeps bringing up the less than stellar moments Big Show has had at Wrestlemania. The only real payoff that can happen here is Big Show getting his “moment” at Wrestlemania by winning the Intercontinental Title. It will also make him the only man to hold every active title that he is eligible for (he can’t win the Divas title obviously). As much as I’d like to see Cody Rhodes get another big win at Wrestlemania, I see him going down to The Big Show here.

TOM: When this was set up, I could not picture Big Show as I-C Champion. The way that Rhodes has set up the stage for this match, how can Big Show not get the win? I would hope and wish for Cody to retain as well, but must choose Big Show to win.

World Heavyweight Title Match
Daniel Bryan (C) vs. Sheamus

This is Daniel Bryan’s Wrestlemania debut, after this exact match got bumped off the show last year and turned into a pre-show match which then morphed into a battle royal that neither man won. Bryan is also one of only a very small handful of men to make his Wrestlemania debut as either World Heavyweight or WWE Champion, so definitely a cool moment for Bryan! Sheamus winning the Royal Rumble to set this up makes him the likely favorite coming into the match, but really, I have loved Bryan’s sneaky smarmy heel character, so I hope he pulls out the win here and then maybe loses it to Sheamus next month at Extreme Rules or something. Bryan is my slight upset pick here.

TOM: After Cena-Rock, I am most looking forward to this match. Having followed Daniel Bryan since 2002, seeing him enter WrestleMania as a World Champion is very important and special. As Jim mentioned too, this match being bumped on last year’s ‘Mania to now being a title/featured match speaks to both Bryan and Sheamus as competitors and wrestlers. I think all of the build with AJ and Bryan comes to a head here and AJ does something (as simple as siding with Sheamus) to throw Bryan off his game. I hope this match gets good time. Sheamus is my pick and I finally differ with Jim.

WWE Title Match
CM Punk (C) vs. Chris Jericho

Punk and Jericho should absolutely steal the show as far as in ring work goes. I hope they get 15+ minutes (and preferably 20 or so) to really tell a story, as they are both great at that. Either way, this match will be absolutely awesome (if they are given time), and I can’t wait to see it. It’s so cool that going into this Wrestlemania, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are the defending champs…who’d have thunk it! That being said, while I see Bryan retaining, I don’t see Punk getting out of here with his title. I think Jericho wins it, and then the story turns to whether Punk will give in to his “demons”.

TOM: With the introduction of the Jericho psychological storyline over the last few weeks, it will be interesting to see if it plays into throwing Punk off of his game. I would have been just fine had they kept it about a battle over who really is the “best” but in WWE creative infinite wisdom that was not enough. There are a number of directions they could still go and I must agree with Jim that the more time, the more they can put on a classic. With Jericho being a Ricky Steamboat fan and Punk being a Randy Savage fan, I would go bananas if they paid homage to their WrestleMania III bout. I think Jericho must win the title here because it has been his mission and purpose since returning. Jericho is my pick.

Hell in a Cell
The Undertaker vs. Triple H

When I first heard they were going to do this match again, I was kind of thinking that I really didn’t care anymore, and that they had a good brawl last year, so why bother? Then they went all the way with this, and for only the second time in Wrestlemania history, we have a Hell in a Cell match at the Granddaddy of them all! I believe this may be the only time in Wrestlemania history where we’ve had three singles matchups between two guys. (Rock and Austin met three times, but the first was a 4 way match). This should be a lot of fun in the Cell, and I wonder if they’ll allow blood (as it could add a lot to this match). Probably not, but one has to wonder. It’s Wrestlemania, and there is no chance in hell Triple H should win here, so Undertaker is my pick.

TOM: I caught a glimpse of the Cell they are using for this match and it is fitting, black steel and brings the element of darkness into the match. The build has been pretty good, but has also lacked that something extra. It certainly is interesting that WWE has set up Shawn Michaels as the Special Ref as very much aligned with Triple H headed into the match. That alone will build to a great dramatic spot where Shawn finally has to call the match or something else in ‘Takers favor. This match too has the chance to be epic and I hope that both indeed deliver. There is no reason Undertaker does not remain undefeated. He is my pick here.

Once in a Lifetime Main Event
The Rock vs. John Cena

This match has been one year in the making, and is one of the very few matches that can really have that “Wrestlemania Dream Match” feel to it. Austin/Punk, Cena/Taker, and just about anyone with Lesnar are about the only ones out there right now. But Rock/Cena should have an incredible atmosphere, and I must admit, I’m a bit jealous of those who will be there live for it. I’ve been at 4 out of the last 5 Wrestlemania’s live, and I don’t think any of them had the atmosphere that this match will have. The build for this match worked for me, as I am rooting for Cena all the way, and I never thought that would be possible before the build started. Some haven’t liked it, but for the most part, it’s worked for me. In the end, one of these guys are going to be around after next Monday, and one won’t be, so John Cena absolutely has to get the win here.

TOM: The closer we get to this match, the more excited I get. While I’ve been less and less impressed with Rock and how he is choosing to portray himself in the build-up, Cena to me has done a magnificent job in getting the many who were ardently against him to take his side and see Rock (the REAL Rock) the way Cena sees him. In doing so, Cena has regained fans that had tired of him over the years as he was seen as “Super Cena” and unbeatable. In addition to the incredible atmosphere that should result in the match, I have high expectations that this will also deliver in the ring. John Cena is the face of WWE and will remain so for a long, long time. He must get the win here and I expect Rock will show respect to him and seal their issue once and for all.

So there you have it! Jim and I only differ on one pick. Who will be correct and take the lead in “Head 2 Head?” Check back next week for that update and our opinions on all of the wrestling that continues on this weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ring of Honor "Showdown in the Sun" Weekend Previews

Ring of Honor presents their annual WrestleMania showcases this weekend as they present Showdown in the Sun, Night 1 (Friday, 8pm) and Night 2 (Saturday, 1pm), emanating live from the War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Feuds will be renewed, continued, and a new one or two is sure to form out of this weekend! Let’s take a look at both shows!

FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012

World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander

Coleman and Alexander got the big upset win on the TV show last week to set this one up. I expect it will open the show or be very early on in the show. The only way Alexander and Coleman get a win here is by DQ if WGTT just destroys them, which I think would be a mistake (if you were going to do that, don’t bury a new team that may yet get over). So, instead, I hope they have a good back and forth match, where C&C Wrestle Factory get to have some great spots and look good, and then in the end, even if by cheating, WGTT gets the win to set them up for the big blow off with the Briscoes on Saturday.

TOM: I see WGTT getting the win here as well. Agreeing with Jim that the only other outcome that makes sense would be C & C getting the win due to a DQ because of the aggressiveness of WGTT. This match is quite possibly the least interesting non-WrestleMania match of the weekend in my eyes.

Proving Ground Match
Jay & Mark Briscoe vs TMDK (Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste)

I am very interested in this match. I haven’t seen much of TMDK, just a few clips here and there on YouTube, but I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve seen, so I’m glad that I’ll get a chance to see these guys against the best team going today in the Briscoes. I actually feel like TMDK may get a win here by WGTT interference (to set up a future title match between these two, and to further the issue with WGTT for Saturday). Kind of a payback for the win C&C got over WGTT on the TV show last week. If TMDK are going to be in on any sort of a regular basis here in ROH, I’d love to see them get a win here to immediately make them relevant in the tag division. The tag division in ROH is ok right now, but needs some fresh blood, and some fresh blood that gets wins (why they rarely gave Future Shock wins, and rarely give C&C wins is beyond me, ya gotta build these guys up folks!). So, I’m going to go with a mild upset here and pick TMDK, but I’m not at all confident in that pick.

TOM: Briscoes are my pick here. I think this will be a good match and can be billed as potential outside challengers coming for the titles. I think the Briscoe’s direction in ROH will be very clear after this weekend and do not think it involved TMDK.

Dual Duel Night #1 – Stipulation to be determined
The Young Bucks vs The All Night Express

On the ROH site they said they were going to flip a coin on Friday night to determine which night is the Tornado Match, and which night is the Street Fight. It would make the most sense to do the Tornado Match here, and build to the Street Fight on Saturday. Plus with Generico/Steen on this show already, you don’t really need another “hardcore” type match, so I think a Tornado Match here, with the Young Bucks getting a win by some sort of illegal means, setting up ANX to be looking for blood on Saturday.

TOM: This is a match and series for the weekend I am really looking forward to. I think ANX provides The Bucks with excellent opponents that can allow them to shine and that on the flip side, the Bucks can make ANX look great too. With them fighting on Saturday too, I just don’t know how or why The Bucks would not get a “dirty” win here giving more into their contest on Night 2.

Last Man Standing Match
Kevin Steen vs El Generico

This rematch makes the show for me. These two have always had amazing chemistry, and we haven’t seen a match between them in over a year in Ring of Honor, so it’s a welcome addition to this card. They’ve said in the 3/22/12 Newswire that we can expect a stipulation to be added to this match, and I’m interested to see what it is. Some rumors of a “Loser Leaves ROH” stipulation to get Generico out of the plans for the future. I certainly hope that isn’t the case, as I hope ROH and he can get on the same page for a contract (I’m very curious why they haven’t been able to reach agreement yet…though I’m not at all willing to lay that all on ROH by any means). This will be a war, and I can’t wait to catch this one this weekend. Steen makes everything he touches more interesting, as if this match needed that anyways! Steen wins here.

TOM: With the stipulation having been decided since Jim’s write-up, this is now a “Last Man Standing” match would could be a subtle way of the loser leaving ROH too. Kevin Steen has been the most entertaining wrestler in ROH and his path to the ROH World Title continues here with a win over Generico. These two are golden in the ring together and I fully expect this match to deliver and is a high candidate for Match of the Weekend.

ROH World TV Championship Match
Jay Lethal (C) vs. Kyle O'Reilly

I haven’t been the biggest Jay Lethal fan since his return to ROH. It’s not that he’s bad in the ring, he’s not, far from it. But I don’t know, he just doesn’t click for me as a top (or close to the top) guy. That being said, I think O’Reilly will be a main event level player for ROH in the next year or two easily. Heck, he’s already got his first iPPV main event under his belt in a tag match. All that being said though, I can’t see O’Reilly winning here, as his feud with Cole is just getting started, and frankly, it’s got enough juice on it right now that it doesn’t need the TV Title involved as well. And, Lethal still has an unresolved issue with Ciampa about the TV Title, so, Lethal keeps it here, but it should be a hell of a fun in ring matchup.

TOM: Like Jim, Jay Lethal just doesn’t “click” for me or get me excited. I often find that once he is into a match I get more invested, but rare is the time where ROH announces: “Jay Lethal vs. Opponent” and I proclaim, “I MUST see that match.” This might be as close to that as it gets, as I do greatly enjoy Kyle O’Reilly and his recent change in attitude makes him someone that I want to see get his butt kicked. I predict this will be very much back and forth, but Lethal will retain his title.

Lance Storm vs Mike Bennett

You have to give ROH credit. While I personally just can’t stand Bennett, they are obviously behind him, and are doing everything they can to try and get him over. So, kudos to ROH for the effort. He got a win against Homicide at the 10th Anniversary Show, and now faces former ECW Tag Team Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, WCW US Champion, WCW Hardcore Champion, and WCW Cruiserweight Champion, Lance Storm. If anyone can get a good match out of Bennett, Storm just may be that guy, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing this match. Storm has always been really good in the ring, and it will be interesting to see how much ring rust he has. Since he’s a very proud individual, I’m sure he feels he can still go, or he wouldn’t be here. In the end though, no chance Bennett loses this match.

TOM: It is hard to give anything more than what Jim wrote, as he summed everything up so well. It speaks volumes about Storm that he would be willing to agree to face Bennett, considering his previous ROH outings and appearances have been so purposeful and intentional. I do see Bennett getting the win, but with ROH having “Border Wars” in Toronto in May, I could see this being an undecisive finish where a re-match of Storm-Bennett gets set up for the big Canadian return.

ROH World Championship Triple Threat Match
Davey Richards (C) vs. Eddie Edwards vs, Roderick Strong

This match has a bit of a “been there, seen that” feeling to it, but I have no doubt it will deliver in the ring. These three have been the top three stars for the last year or more for ROH, and we’ve seen lots of matchups between the three of them, but I believe this is the first three way match between them. The way it’s being described on TV, I believe this match will be elimination rules, which I think works really well, as I hate the whole “champ can lose the title without being pinned” part in one fall triple threat matches. In looking ahead to Saturday’s show, where three men away these three, one of which will get a World Title Shot, I can’t see Strong winning it and defending against Lethal, and Steen’s desire and work towards a title shot can’t cash in this fast against Edwards, so to me, there is no way Davey Richards loses the title here. We’ll get Richards/Elgin for the title on Day 2, and I’d be willing to bet on that.

TOM: These three and the ROH World Title scene have been synonymous over the last year, with Edwards taking the title from Strong just over 1 year ago, Davey taking the title from Edwards in June and then Davey defending successfully against both in singles bouts since that time. I think this will be a fitting ending and then I do truly hope they all move on to new, fresh opponents. The only match I think has any marketability left would be Richards-Edwards III for, with the title on the line. Davey will win and retain here and I will be very interested in how the eliminations occur.


Chikara vs Ring of Honor
TJ Perkins vs Fire Ant

This match should be all kinds of fun and will help keep the heat going towards April 28th and “Synergy” in Chicago Ridge, IL with the Chikara/ROH double header. Super stoked that I’ll be there live for those shows! Fire Ant is really good, and Perkins just needs a direction in ROH (as both Tom and I have said numerous times here on 2SM). While I don’t think this will give him a direction in ROH by any means, I hope his performance here leads to more in ROH for him, and maybe a rematch or a Perkins/Red vs. Colony match at one of the Synergy shows. I think Ant gets the win here to “steal one for Chikara”.

TOM: The ROH-CHIKARA issue which is on the path towards the April 28th doubleshot gets another boost here. I am excited for this match and eager to see it play out. I agree that Fire Ant gets the win, as TJP has been the designated “enhancement” name wrestler for ROH and ROH is smart to keep CHIKARA looking strong before what will come to a head in April.

Kyle O'Reilly vs Adam Cole

Easily the match I want to see most over the course of this ROH weekend. These two are on their way to the top in ROH, and while I saw their original match in DGUSA, I’m expecting so much more here. I loved that match, and I expect that I will love this one either better. This will likely be the first of what will be many matches between these two, and I, for one, can not wait! I wish they hadn’t banned the piledriver, because this would be a great time for Panama’s Sunrise (a flipping piledriver) to make it’s ROH debut. I see O’Reilly winning here, likely by cheating, and then not shaking hands again.

TOM: This is my third most anticipated match of the weekend. The first singles bout between the two in ROH and on the heels of O’Reilly’s disrespect of Cole at the 10th Anniversary Show. This will be awesome. I actually am picking that it will end in a No Contest or Double DQ because of the issue between the two and that there is so much mileage between the two.

Dual Duel Night #2 – Stipulation to be determined
The Young Bucks vs The All Night Express

This should be the Street Fight if I’m right about how they put these two matches together. And honestly, this should be a war. I have no idea if the Bucks are any good at hardcore stuff, or how willing they are to bleed, etc, but this could be an all out brawl. All Night Express are most certainly willing to go there, so I hope the Bucks are too. To me, there is more upside to ANX, and they do have a title shot coming up sometime in the future, so I think that they’ve got to get the win here to propel them towards that title shot.

TOM: Unlike Jim, I’ve seen The Bucks do hardcore and brawling in PWG and they can hang. I expect this to be wild, violence and bloody, very similar to the ANX-Briscoes fight from Atlanta last year during WrestleMania weekend. ANX will get the win here and focus on the ROH World Tag Team Titles, with their Proving Ground shot earned in December in their back pocket.

ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
The Briscoes vs Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team

This as well could end up being a war. Cornette has promised that this match will have a definitive winner and this will end the issues between the Briscoes and World’s Greatest Tag Team. We’ll see if that comes to pass, but what is almost assuredly true is that these two teams are going to beat the hell out of each other. I think the Briscoes win it, but the question then becomes, what becomes of World’s Greatest Tag Team when this feud is over? Do they move to a feud with C&C Wrestle Factory? TMDK? Somehow get involved in the Chikara stuff? I have no idea where they go next.

TOM: I am glad to see this feud come to an end. To me, WGTT have just been less and less entertaining and engaging since their debut back in late-2010. They had a good run with the ROH World Tag Titles and memorable feuds with The Kings of Wrestling and Jay & Mark Briscoe. Much like Jim, I ask what is next? That statement can be made for both teams. The Briscoes are my pick to retain and I guess they will have another feud with ANX on the horizon, but it was just about 6 months ago when their feud ended in “Ladder War 3.” As for WGTT, I almost wish they’d split as a duo because I think there is more opportunity in singles matches, especially with Shelton Benjamin.

Blind Destiny Match #1 – Could be for ROH World Title
Jay Lethal vs Roderick Strong

Honestly, this is the match I’m least looking forward to, as I feel like I’ve seen it a couple of times recently, and neither of them blew me away. I’m wondering if they’ll turn it into a TV Title Match since Roddy has a title shot forthcoming. No chance I see this being a World Title match, so, go ahead and make it for the TV belt. With that being said, I see no point in putting the TV Title on Roderick Strong at this point, as he’s above that level (but seemingly to me, below the World Title at this point). So, I think Lethal is going to come through if it’s a TV Title shot. If it’s not, and they just leave it as a regular match, then I think Strong cheats to win.

TOM: I too would hope they make this a TV Title Match, as Roddy has had a shot from a “Proving Ground” match since Fall 2011. With Jay Lethal-Tommaso Ciampa’s feud unresolved and the TV Title being a big part of that, that makes me think that (title match or not) Lethal gets the win. On the contrary, I think with Strong being phased out of the World Title scene, he could really have a great run as a cocky TV champ with various nods and homage to what Rob Van Dam did in ECW back in the late 1990’s.

Blind Destiny Match #2 – Could be for ROH World Title
Eddie Edwards vs Kevin Steen

Edwards vs. Steen will be a lot of fun, as it’s two guys I really enjoy in the ring. This could be for the World Title as well, but I just don’t see Edwards winning it on Friday, nor do I see the Steen title shot happening this quickly (as the build to Richards/Steen is awesome, and going to result in a HUGE matchup when they finally meet up). That being said, I think this will be a lot of fun, with Steen looking to prove he’s worthy of a title shot by trying to defeat a former World Champion in Edwards. I think he gets the win after a hell of a match.

TOM: I’ve seen these two collide in PWG before and it was really, really good. I could see Steen seeking to make Edwards the example for what he wants/hopes to do to Davey Richards. Getting that win, as Jim stated, over a former ROH World Champion would give the added fuel to Steen in his quest to convince Jim Cornette/ROH to get that title shot. Steen wins.

Blind Destiny Match #3 – Could be for ROH World Title
Davey Richards vs Michael Elgin

I fully expect this to be a World Title Match. They had a really fun Proving Ground match on TV a while back, and I’m really looking forward to this rematch. One question that has not been answered is if this will count as Elgin’s title shot for winning Survival of the Fittest should it be for the title, or if he’ll still have another shot forthcoming if he needs it. There is a bit of me that things Elgin might get a short title reign, but I just can’t talk myself into it with the Steen/Richards feud on going and how that should absolutely be for the title. I think Elgin is going to just about have the match won, and then Roderick Strong is going to interfere, costing Elgin the title, and turning Elgin into a super over babyface in the process. It’s been coming for a bit, and I think Elgin/Strong is a feud that will help bring Elgin up to the next level when he will absolutely be ready for a World Title run later this year or early next year. Maybe even as the guy who gets the title eventually off of Kevin Steen. Richards wins here, but the Elgin turn will be the bigger story if it happens.

TOM: Here is my 2nd most anticipated ROH match of the weekend. Davey has not had an extremely high profile World Title Match since Final Battle (all due respect to Jay Lethal) and I believe that both he and Elgin view this as an opportunity to steal the show and do something very special. I agree with Jim that I believe Elgin is on the cusp of being embraced and accepted by fans as a big babyface and getting so close to the title, getting screwed by Roddy/Truth Martini and then getting put over by Davey could all be factors that lead to that occurring on Saturday. Since I think that is how this will play out, I do hope that Elgin retains his earned World Title shot for SoTF and then we get a re-match between these two that is part of the headline bouts for Toronto in May.

Ring of Honor offers another great alternative this weekend for wrestling fans and both shows can be purchased for $19.99 at GFL.TV – check them out!

We roll on again tomorrow with WrestleMania XXVIII and Head 2 Head, as Jim and Tom look to break the tie and take the lead in that competition! See you then.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dragon Gate USA Wrestlemania Weekend Previews!

Dragon Gate USA returns to action this weekend, WrestleMania weekend, the weekend that back in 2006 Dragon Gate first made it’s mark on the weekend and has now become an anticipated and annual tradition!  Read on as Jim and Tom preview the three big events, two of which you can order on iPPV through right here:
“Heat” March 29, 2012

Three Way Elimination Match
Ronin of Johnny Gargano, Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann
D.U.F. of Sami Callihan, Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez
Blood Warriors of Akira Tozawa, BxB Hulk & Uhaa Nation

TOM: This is a really interesting bout on paper.  It brings the dominant stables of the last year to all face off in one, possibly final, match to prove who is the leader of the pack in DG USA.  I think that D.U.F. come out on top, with Sami or Cannon pinning Swann to win it all and put more tension on the relationship within Ronin.

JIM:  This should be a crazy good match provided they don’t get in each other’s way too much.  I imagine it’s going to be a spot fest of massive proportions, but that’s not a bad thing here either by any means.  I agree that D.U.F. get the win here, and Swann seems as likely as anyone to take the pinfall.  I wish this show was on iPPV, because this should be a sight to see!

High Flyer Challenge Match
PAC vs. AR Fox

TOM: This match is bound to be awesome.  PAC’s been on a little stretch of a losing streak, but with his recent alignment and the creation of World-1 International, I think PAC takes the win home.  Fox should do very well here too, but I think his on-going feud with D.U.F. will play part in the outcome.

JIM:  I’m a HUGE fan of PAC, and for me the jury is still a bit out on Fox (not that I don’t like him, I do, just am slower coming around on him as a top level guy), so I’m hoping that when I get a chance to see this match down the road, my attitude may change and I’ll see it.  A match with PAC, who is a hell of a flyer, but also can work on the ground, will only help a young guy like Fox.  I agree, Fox will look good, but lose to PAC here.  Cheap plug, to see what Fox has to say about this match, as well as his other matches this weekend, click HERE to see our interview from earlier this week with him. 

Strong Style Challenge Match
Low Ki vs. Bobby Fish

TOM: This is one of, if not the match I am most looking forward to.  I expect this to be hard-hitting and very much a fight.  This is Fish’s DG USA debut after being quite possibly the most over wrestler in EVOLVE to date, but with Low Ki’s debut in January I feel like there are very big things planned for him and he gets the win here.

JIM:  I’m probably not as high on Bobby Fish as Tom, but that doesn’t mean this match won’t still be really good, it will be.  I do think Fish has a lot to offer DGUSA, and hope that this weekend is the start of more regular bookings in the company for him, and not just on Evolve.  Low Ki is obviously being positioned as one of the top guys in DGUSA, and his eventual Open the Freedom Gate shot should be huge (you know he’s getting one!).  Ki gets the win here. 

Tag Team Challenge Match
CIMA & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. The Scene of Caleb Konley & Scott Reed w/ Larry Dallas

TOM: This will be a good tag.  CIMA & Mochi are together in the unity as part of “The Veteran Army.”  The Scene has quite possibly the most potential of any young team in wrestling today.  There are likely very big things in their future, but I just don’t see them getting the win over the Vets.

JIM:  I am excited about this match as well, mainly because this is how you get young guys like The Scene over.  They’ve shown that they have a lot of potential as a team in the ring and as an act, and are so different than most of what we see in DGUSA.  By putting them in with two Dragon Gate legends (who are still awesome in the ring), and letting them be competitive, it will absolutely help elevate The Scene.  Will Larry Dallas get his head kicked off by Mochizuki?  I think so!  CIMA and Mochizuki get the win, but the Scene get elevated.

Challenge Match #1
Ricochet vs. Mike Cruz

TOM: I am a huge Ricochet fan and know nothing of Cruz, but he has been praised as being one of Florida’s best.  Ricochet might be one of the best to give him a great debut match.  I will be interested to see this when released on DVD and see Ricochet getting the win.

JIM:  I echo Tom’s sentiments.  I have not knowledge of Cruz, but most of the time when Gabe brings an unknown guy in and puts him against a top level guy in the company, it works out pretty well.  Will be interested to see if Cruz lives up to what sounds like a decent amount of hype.  Ricochet wins though, but the story is how does Cruz look?

Challenge Match #2
Masato Yoshino vs. A Mystery Luchador

TOM: This has high intrigue to me.  DG USA has made it a point to put over the newly signed luchador over the last week, but at the same time have acknowledged that he is very likely someone who very few know of.  Yoshino will give him someone who can interact with the lucha style well.  I will pick Yoshino and hope that the luchador impresses, as it would give another fresh talent for DG USA/EVOLVE.

JIM:  I still wonder if the luchador is going to be someone already in the company under a hood, or if it will be someone we do know, but under a hood.  No clue, but I am very interested to learn the identity of this luchador and if it truly is just an up and coming wrestler, then I am very interested to see this person and see if the hype and intrigue is worth it!  Yoshino wins here.

CZW Death Match
Drake Younger vs. DJ Hyde

CZW Death Match
Danny Havoc vs. Lucky tHURTteen

TOM: I am really unfamiliar with the CZW Death Matches and most of the wrestlers, so I really cannot offer too much commentary or prediction on what will go down here.  I do expect violence and blood.

JIM:  Younger is basically a legend in CZW, and Hyde is the current owner, and a heel.  I expect Younger to get the duke there.  Havoc and Lucky tHURTeen are in the same group I believe.  Havoc is a big death match guy for CZW, so I expect he wins that one.  I’m sure they’ll be crazy brawls, and will give something different to this show for sure!  Interesting idea!

“Open The Ultimate Gate 2012” March 30, 2012 on iPPV

Open The United Gate Title Match
CIMA & Ricochet (C) vs. Ronin of Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano

TOM: This match is long-anticipated for me.  I think that the Blood Warriors (of which CIMA & Ricochet were part of)-Ronin feud has been pretty awesome and has carried on very well for almost 22 months.  I expect it to come to an end here.  Taylor has been super dominant against Ricochet and Gargano owns wins over both Ricochet & CIMA.  The “X-Factor” is the disharmony in Ronin and if that will play into this match, allowing the champs to retain.  It really could go either way and I am torn on my pick to win.  I will go with CIMA & Ricochet.

JIM:  If the plan is to keep the Open the Freedom Gate title on Gargano after this weekend (and I believe it is), then to me, it’s gotta be CIMA & Ricochet that get the win here.  I don’t think a double champion is a good idea in a company that runs as infrequently as DGUSA/Evolve.  It could really spread out the title defenses even more, and that wouldn’t be a good thing necessarily.  I think Swann will come out and try to help Ronin, but it backfires and Taylor gets pinned, leading to more friction between Ronin. 

First Time Ever
Low Ki vs. PAC

TOM: Most anticipated, non-WrestleMania match all weekend long. Hands down.  My hopes are SO high for this match and I cannot wait to see what these two have in store.  I cannot wait to see back and watch what they craft in the ring.  Low Ki will pick up another win in an epic match.

JIM:  When Low Ki came back, I stated that when they booked this match I would get on a plane to wherever it was booked and make sure I was sitting front row for it.  Unfortunately, personal obligations this weekend made it so I am unable to do that, but this will be the one iPPV that I catch live as it happens (I’ll watch the other ones Sunday/Monday so we can get some thoughts up here at Two Spot Monkeys next week for them!), and easily this is the match I am most waiting for!  I agree it’s epic, it’s going to be great, and also, Ki gets the win (though I’d LOVE to be wrong on that pick). 

Mad Blankey vs. Veteran Army
Akira Tozawa vs. Masaaki Mochizuki

TOM: This is one of the first times that this feud comes to DG USA rings and they should tear it up!  Both squared off just under 2 years ago in DG USA and I expect this match to top that contest.  Tozawa should get the win.

JIM:  Tozawa seems to be continuing his ascension up the ladder in both Dragon Gate over in Japan, and here in DGUSA.  Mochizuki is a top level guy and has been for a long time.  This match could main event a Dragon Gate show in Japan without question, and seriously, it’s on an iPPV that is $1.99, and also has all this other craziness on it?  Are you kidding me?  This should be a hell of a good match, and Tozawa gets the win to continue his run back to another shot at the Open the Freedom Gate title. 

Rich Swann vs. Masato Yoshino

TOM: This should be cool.  I think both of these guys should match up very well and stylistically bring out great things in the other.  Both are now aligned with World-1 International, so that adds another element here.  Will both treat each other with the proper competitive spirit or tensions rise within their faction?  I pick Yoshino to get the win, as this is the night before his Open The Freedom Gate title shot.

JIM:  This should be a heck of a fast paced, blink and you might miss something really cool type match.  Swann has grown a lot in the last year, so I’m excited to see him in this situation here with a top DG guy to see how he holds up in a singles match.   I think he’s going to look really good here, and expect that we’ll see it as a very respectful match, and that Yoshino gets the submission victory in the end. 

Stable Shootout Match #1 - Street Fight
Sabu & Jon Davis vs. Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez

TOM: The Stable Shootout is a unique concept that DG USA came up with one year ago and ties in to the idea of “Pick Your Poison” as two opposing factions square off through a series of matches.  Last year it was Ronin-Blood Warriors, this year it is D.U.F. and AR Fox’s crew which includes ECW and Hardcore Legend Sabu and the powerful and dominant Jon Davis!  This match will likely be a war of a tag contest.  I predict Sabu & Davis to get the win.

JIM:  I’m not a huge fan of the D.U.F., but Davis is someone I’m very high on, and Sabu has done well in his role here as well, so this should be a fun brawl with plenty of plunder!  In the end, I think Sabu and Davis may pull out the win….though man, I could easily see Cannon and Sanchez too, so it’s anyone’s match here in my mind! 

Stable Shootout Match #2 - Fox Picks Callihan's Opponent
Sami Callihan vs. BxB Hulk

TOM: This match was originally scheduled for January but was re-shuffled due to Johnny Gargano’s injury.  This should be the story of Sami’s strikes vs. Hulk’s kicks and other quick strike offense.  Sami should get the win here.

JIM:  Callihan is someone who has never clicked for me, that being said, I am really looking forward to this match.  I love everything BxB Hulk does, and honestly, I expect this match to kick ass.  It just may be the match that brings me around on Callihan as well.  I definitely think Callihan gets the win, but he’s going to to through a war to get there. 

Stable Shootout Match #3 - Callihan Picks Fox's Opponent
AR Fox vs. Uhaa Nation

TOM: This is a match where both opponents know each other well, with them having faced each other outside of DG USA.  I think they will have a lot to showcase in their first bout together for the DG USA audience/fanbase and I also believe that Fox represents Nation’s best opportunity to break out to date in DG USA.  I see Fox getting a big win here.

JIM:  This is one of those weird matches where I’m not sure who should win it, since I kind of feel like neither should lose it.  I have been really impressed with Uhaa Nation so far, and as I said before, I like Fox, just am having a tough time seeing him as a top level guy yet, so this is a great place for him in my mind.  They do have a past as Tom mentioned, so I expect that familiarity to lead to a hell of a fun match together.  Fox is certainly a guy Gabe seems to be getting behind in a big way, so I expect him to get the win here, but Nation won’t come out any worse for the wear either. 

“Mercury Rising 2012” March 31, 2012 on iPPV

Open The Freedom Gate Title Match
Johnny Garano (C) vs. Masato Yoshino

TOM: This is Gargano’s first singles match and first title defense since January at EVOLVE 10.  It  was at that time and the well documented injury he was nursing and road to recovery that followed, which has me (and likely many others) really interested in this match.  Is Gargano back to 100%?  I have to believe he is or he would not put himself on such a high-profile stage.  This should be a match as well, with Gargano and Yoshino meshing well.  I think Gargano gets to have the match he was hoping to have in January, something Match of the Year-worthy and set a strong tone for his title reign.  Gargano gets the win.

JIM:  No chance Yoshino wins it here, as Gargano needs a decent title reign to really cement his place at the top of DGUSA (where I think he belongs).  Unless his injury is such that he will be out for a long time (and it doesn’t seem to be anymore), Gargano has to win here, and has to have a good performance along the way.  I fully expect both, this should be a hell of a match! 

Dragon Gate Six Man Tag Match
CIMA, Ricochet & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Akira Tozawa, BxB Hulk & Low Ki

TOM: This is the annual WrestleMania weekend tradition – The Six Man Tag.  This match was been one of the highlights of the weekend each year it has occurred and I expect this year to be no different.  Both teams are unique.  One on side, you’ve got CIMA teaming with Ricochet, his United Gate Tag Champion partner and Mochizuki, his cohort as part of Veteran Army.  It is almost the merging of his past and present in one team.  On the other side, you’ve got the Mad Blankey-led group with Akira Tozawa and BxB Hulk, former Blood Warriors members and Low Ki, who chose their side because of his desire to face CIMA and Mochi being stronger than any other in his current landscape.  There are possibilities abundant in this match.  I feel like Low Ki is being positioned to be very, very dominant in DG USA and built up well.  I think he allows his team to get the win in a very competitive contest and will get that win over Mochi or CIMA.

JIM:  Every year they put together at least one six man tag, and every year, it kicks major ass.  I’m very interested in Ki being on the Mad Blankey side of things, but the matchups in this one are just insanely cool, and I can’t wait to see this one play out.  Ki should get the win over one of the Japan DG guys to set up a future one on one match against them at another Dragon Gate USA show, which will be great.  This could steal the show, and maybe even the weekend.  Great stuff forthcoming! 

No Rules Fight
Sami Callihan vs. Sabu

TOM: This should serve as the end of the issue between Sami and Sabu.  Sabu has been very quiet, as he often has been in his career and will let his talking (in the form of violence) get done in the ring.  Callihan, after closing down the ECW Arena at EVOLVE 10, has targeted Sabu as his most prevalent target, including a series of videos from around Callihan’s world travels detailing what he plans to do.  I really think Sami should get the win here, but Sabu winning with the help of AR Fox, would add heat to the Callihan-Fox feud (which Fox discussed in our interview with him from earlier this week) and give Sabu a big win as a career capstone.

JIM:  I agree, this should end the Sami/Sabu thing, but be a springboard to furthering the Sami/Fox issue, and like Tom, I could see it going either way.  I think Callihan gets the win here, but then when he tries to “end Sabu” after the match, Fox will come and make the save, continuing their issue.  Should be a fun brawl. 

The PAC Invitational Aerial Elimination Match
PAC vs. Rich Swann vs. Mystery Luchador vs. Lince Dorado

TOM: This will be fun, fast paced and high-flying.  With the elimination rules, there are many possible outcomes.  A wild-card as well could be Pinkie Sanchez, as he posted on-line last weekend that he also wants in this match.  PAC, Swann or the Mystery Luchador could all take the win here.  I will choose Swann, as it will keep him strong in his likely transition from Ronin to World-1 International.

JIM:  Dorado doesn’t have a shot at winning this, and I doubt the Mystery Luchador will either depending on who that turns out to be.  I thing Swann may have a shot, but really, I see PAC winning his own match, but it coming down to him and Swann, and Swann coming “THIS CLOSE” to getting the win before PAC bests him.  This should be a lot of crazy fun and flying!

Grudge Match
AR Fox vs. Arik Cannon

TOM: Another continuance of the Fox-D.U.F. feud.  Cannon is one of the more underrated guys in all of wrestling and I think this will be another chance for him to gain more people on his bandwagon.  Fox will also look to continue to keep his momentum, while knocking off each member of D.U.F. headed into his culminating battle with Sami Callihan. Fox is the pick here.

JIM:  A match that makes a ton of sense given the feud.  I go back and forth on Cannon as a singles guy, but he and Fox should be able to put together a great little match here, and Fox will get a big win to work his way closer to that match he wants with Sami Callihan! 

Challenge Match
Bobby Fish vs. Jon Davis

TOM: This match was originally signed for EVOLVE 9, but was disrupted by Kevin Steen!  Both men are very hard-hitters and I expect this one to be back and forth.  Jon Davis has called out Fit Finlay and I could see him looking past Fish because of his desire for that match.  Fish is hungry and wants to keep his winning momentum going.  I will take Fish.

JIM:  Good lord these guys are going to beat the hell out of each other!  This will be a great battle and neither guy is going to forget this one for a while!  While I could see Fish winning, I think Davis gets a big singles win here as he continues to be built up! 

Well, there you have it, our opus looking at the three DGUSA shows this weekend!  We will be back on Thursday with out preview of the Ring of Honor shows this weekend, and then back on Friday with Head 2 Head – Wrestlemania Edition!  Busy week here at Two Spot Monkeys!  Stay with us! 

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Monday, March 26, 2012

13 Questions with Kevin Steen!

Kevin Steen has been one of the hottest acts in pro wrestling over the last couple of years.  From his war with El Generico, to the grass roots movement to get him back into Ring of Honor, to his war at Final Battle with Steve Corino, and now to his quest to become the World Champion, and to stick it to Jim Cornette and Ring of Honor management, Steen has been at the forefront of drama in ROH for over 2 years.   You can catch Steen reignite his war with El Generico this Friday night at ROH Showdown in the Sun: Day One available live on, as well as Saturday afternoon at ROH Showdown in the Sun: Day Two when he battles Eddie Edwards in a match that could be for the ROH World Title if Edwards wins the belt on Friday night.  Steen took some time out of his schedule to join us here and answer 13 Questions! 

1. You were trained under Jacques Rougeau. How did you first connect with him, and what led you to decide to train to become a professional wrestler?

Steen:  Well, in an extremely short version of the actual story, I saw WrestleMania 11 when I was a kid and decided I wanted to be a wrestler. My parents told me to wait a few years since I was only 10 at the time. 5 years later we heard about Jacques Rougeau opening his wrestling school in Montreal, about 45 mins from where we lived. We went to meet with him, listened to all of his bullshit and when he said the cost of the training, I knew my parents would never be able to afford it and I pretty much accepted the fact this wasn't going to happen. When we walked out, my parents told me they were going to pay for the training because it was clear that's what I wanted to do. And that's how it all began. 

2. Your journey to Ring of Honor was much longer (and somewhat bumpier) than many fans believed it should be before 2007. Did that make it more meaningful to you to have success when you achieved it? 

Steen:  For sure. When I did those few shows in 2005 and nothing seemed to click, it was a huge blow to me. I figured that going from Rougeau's terrible promotion, to IWS, to CZW, to PWG, ROH was the next logical step. But it didn't work out so that kind of hung over my head for a while. Then I kind of forgot about it. I was having such a blast in PWG and wrestling all over the world...then came my tour of Dragon Gate, which was amazing. I came home and a few months later, ROH contacted me for a one-time thing with Generico and I vs The Briscoes. I knew it was going to be make or break. Once the match was over, I knew we had finally hit the home run in ROH that we should have hit the first time around. Although, I don't think we were ever put in a position to hit a home run during that first little run anyway. 

3. Your feud teaming with El Generico against Jay & Mark Briscoe is considered one of the best ever in ROH. It all culminated in September 2007 when you were involved in the first Ladder War for ROH. What are your memories of that night?

Steen: most vivid memory of that match is the Age Of The Fall making their debut right after, with Jimmy Jacobs showering in Jay's blood and Gabe running around screaming in the back without taking a second to check on us after the insane match we'd just had. 

4. In 2008 you had a series of matches against Nigel McGuinness for the ROH World Title. What are your memories of those matches, and how did they help prepare you for the run you are now making again at the ROH World Title?

Steen:  I enjoyed every one of those matches. I remember he had to cheat to beat me in the first one, putting his feet on the ropes. That never really happened in ROH at the time so it was kind of a big deal, I guess. Then we had the match in Chicago Ridge which I really liked. It probably got overlooked a bit considering it followed matches like Briscoes vs MCMG 2 and Genericock vs Ibushi. But I liked it a lot. Then was the Toronto match...probably my favorite match of all time. Working with Nigel was always a blast because it felt to me like I was getting a really unique chance to work with someone special. I think Nigel is one of the most talented guys I've ever wrestled, no doubt. As far as how those matches helped me prepare for the current run, I dare say that they really didn't. What I'm doing now is unlike anything I've done before. I still haven't had a title match granted to me but I sure as hell won't stop until I get one...and once I do, this is it. I'm not losing. I just can't. I didn't do all of this just to come back to ROH and get slayed by Superman Richards. Fuck no!

5. That chapter of your ROH career ended at Final Battle 2010 when you lost to El Generico in a “Fight Without Honor.” What kind of physical and/or psychological toll did the battles you waged that year have on you personally/professionally?

Steen:  I think it affected me a lot personally. My wife actually told me a few times that she thought I might be going nuts in real life and not just in wrestling terms. I put everything I had in that feud and those matches. I guess it got hard to turn it off. I don't know. Physically, it took a toll as well. My neck and back killed me for months after the brainbuster on the buckle. I had never been hit with that one before and I can tell you now, I'll do everything I can to never have to suffer through it again.

6. At Final Battle 2011, you successfully earned the right to be back in Ring of Honor by defeating Steve Corino in a brutal match. What did that mean to you overall, having been gone from ROH for a year and being censored by the promotion?

Steen:  It's kind of hard to explain. There's so much stuff that's not really obvious to the fans or known by the fans, stuff that went on outside of the ring that contributed to me not being welcome in ROH anymore. If you watch the DVD of the show, right before my match, you see me yell to the camera that ''Owen, Karina, Mom, Dad, this is for you...Cabana, Hagadorn, this is for you!'' I said that because those are all people that helped me through some rough times during that year. 

It was actually pretty emotional from the beginning to the end for a lot of reasons. It was my first match in ROH in a year. It was against Steve Corino, one of my heroes growing up. It was in the Hammerstein Ballroom, in New York City. And it was my time to prove to some people that I belonged in ROH...not just in ROH but right at the top.

7. You’ve been labeled as “The Anti-Christ of Pro Wrestling” and “Pro Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” by Ring of Honor. How have you used those “labels” to motivate you on your mission to become ROH World Champion?

Steen:  I labeled myself ''the Anti-Christ of Ring of Honor'' but ROH refuses to acknowledge me as that. They actually threatened to suspend me if I use those words to refer to myself. And I'm not about to get suspended...I have way too much time to catch up on with my buddy Jim. The whole nightmare thing comes from Cornette himself. He made sure nobody would refer to me as Mr. Wrestling anymore because he feels it's an insult to the other wrestlers that used that nickname in the past...he says I represent nothing of what a wrestler should be. To me, if anything shows how out of touch Jim Cornette is, that's it. But it's fine. I don't give a shit what they call me. The fans know who I am. The fans can chant Mr. Wrestling all they want...Cornette can't suspend them. Besides, none of what Jim Cornette wants will matter once he's forced to call me ROH World Champion.

8. Even though you are considered “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare”, the fans seem to be behind you and giving you their support. Does that matter to you? And if it does, does it seem to validate your feelings towards Jim Cornette and Ring of Honor? 

Steen:  I do what I have to do. I do what I feel I need to do. If the fans are behind me, then, honestly, that's great. All that says to me is that there's a lot of people out there that think like me...but if they booed me, I wouldn't change a thing I'm doing. My only goal is the be ROH World Champion. But I'll take all the support I can get. Why wouldn't I?  

9. You had an intense interaction with CHIKARA Grand Champion Eddie Kingston at Ring of Honor’s 10th Anniversary Show. Is that a match that you want to see happen and does it matter where it might go down? 

Steen:  I'd love for that match to happen. And I'd love it even more if he put his Disney Championship on the line for it. Then I could win it and bring it to my son and he could use it as a toy. Better yet, he could go and defend it in CHIKARA. He has a Bumble Bee mask from the Transformers movie and these Batman PJs that come with a cape. He could wear that to the ring. It'd be perfect. He'd fit right in with them. Of course, he is only 4 years old so he'd lose the belt pretty quick. But then I'd get whoever beat him for it charged with child abuse. So it would all work out.

Anyway, to get back to Kingston and me, I'd love to fight him right there on his turf. But CHIKARA is a lot like ROH. They're afraid of me. Let me rephrase that so it's a lot more vulgar: They are all a bunch of pussies. So I don't expect anything to happen.  

10. You face El Generico, a man you have a long history with across the globe, again at Showdown in the Sun: Night One on March 30th. He is coming for revenge from Final Battle and it could be said that you are coming for the same, since he was the one responsible for sending you out of ROH for 2011. How are you preparing differently for this matchup?

Steen:  I'm not. I know him better than anyone...and he knows me better than anyone. We were both born to fight each other. 

11. The next day you are part of “Blind Destiny” and will face Eddie Edwards. Even though Davey Richards has been your main target, would you welcome the opportunity to face Edwards should he be champion on 3/31? If Edwards is not champion, what levels will you go to in getting ROH/Jim Cornette to sign Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards?

Steen:  I would absolutely welcome it. And then, once I beat Eddie and became champion, I'd do what Davey won't do for me. I'd put the belt on the line against him. But, that's really not his call. It's Jim's call. I know Davey wants to fight me. He's probably obsessing over it at this point. We'll see what happens. If it's not this weekend, it's not big deal. I'm not really a patient man but I can wait a little longer...and to answer the second part, I really don't know what levels I'd be willing to go to...I don't really have limits. 

12.  What is your bigger goal: Becoming ROH World Champion or Proving Jim Cornette wrong about you?

Steen:  Winning the ROH World title has been a career goal of mine since I started wrestling in the US in 2004. I never wanted to prove Jim Cornette wrong. I don't give a shit what Cornette thinks of me. I never did. That was his problem with me from the start, I think. I didn't need or want his advice. I think it hurt his ego. 

What I do want to do to Jim is drive him fucking nuts. And I think being the champion of the last company he can ever work for is a great way to start.

13. You are one of the more active and sometimes outspoken wrestlers that utilizes social networking, especially Twitter. How do you feel about the resource that social networking can be to promote wrestlers and wrestling in general? If someone reading this is unaware, how can fans connect with you on Twitter or elsewhere and get Kevin Steen merchandise?

Steen:  Well, I hate Facebook but I really enjoy Twitter. It's nice and simple and I think it's just a great way to communicate with fans and promote stuff. Also, most people can't talk about their stupid fucking lives in 140 characters and tell us how happy they are that they have a new car or how sad they are the the fucking Twilight movies are done or that their dad is into animal porn and it upsets them or that their grandma makes the best spaghetti in Ohio or whatever FUCKING USELESS BULLSHIT people like to write on fucking Facebook. 

So yeah...Twitter's not bad! For people who don't follow me yet, go follow @KILLSTEENKILL and quit being a fucking tool. Also, I have a new website that will be ready in a few days. I'll spread the word on Twitter once it's online. As far as merchandise, fan mail or booking inquiries are concerned, just e-mail

I read everything and generally respond. 

Well, there's no more questions so I guess this is the end of it. 

Good bye!

Two Spot Monkeys would like to thank Kevin Steen and Ring of Honor for the interview!  Be sure to check out Steen in action this weekend on the Ring of Honor iPPV's available at for just $19.99 for BOTH shows!

13 Questions with AR Fox!

AR Fox is one of the many homegrown and rising stars with Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE. This coming weekend Dragon Gate USA presents three events in Florida as a part of what is widely considered the biggest wrestling weekend of the year. Thursday, in Hollywood, FL "Heat" is a DG USA/CZW co-promoted show and then Friday and Saturday DG USA returns to iPPV on for the first time since January with the special $1.99 priced Open The Ultimate Gate 2012 featuring Fox vs. Uhaa Nation as part of "Stable Shoot Out" and the first time ever meetings of Low Ki vs. PAC and an Open The United Gate Tag Title showdown with The Spiked Mohicans of CIMA & Ricochet defending versus Ronin members Chuck Taylor & Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano. Saturday will feature Mercury Rising 2012 for the price of $14.99. Fox gave Two Spot Monkeys a few minutes of his time and we are now happy to present his edition of "13 Questions..." Enjoy!

1. What are some of your first memories of professional wrestling and how did it all lead to you starting with training?

My first memories of pro wrestling are being around 12 years old and watching Raw every Monday night. The Rock was feuding with Steve Austin at the time. Soon after, I found ECW and the RVD vs. Jerry Lynn feud and matches are embedded in my brain forever.

2. Prior to DG USA/EVOLVE where did your start and how did you hook up with DG USA/EVOLVE?

I got my start at the WWA4 wrestling school in Georgia and mainly worked their shows ( and still do) and smaller "rasslin" shows. After that it I had opportunities with CZW out of Philadelphia and IPW out of Indianapolis.

3. Just over one year ago you made your Dragon Gate USA debut and your EVOLVE debut was a few months ahead of that. How did you get hooked up with those promotions and how did you feel about your early matches in each promotion? How big of an opportunity did you view it as?

I got hooked up with Dragon Gate USA and Evolve of course through Gabe. He must have seen me at the Arena and was impressed, which was a huge compliment on its own! Also, after a CZW show Chris Hero worked he asked me for my e-mail info. The very next day I had an e-mail from Gabe. I was pumped! My early matches were huge in my eyes and I know debuts are really impactful so I wanted to do best. In my Evolve debut I had one of the biggest crash and burns of my career yet.

4. The first half of 2011 in DG USA saw you get many opportunities, but perhaps your breakout occurred in June against Akira Tozawa. What were your thoughts on that match as a possible breakout against a Japanese Dragon Gate talent and to impress the Japan Office?

My match against Tozawa is still probably my favorite match ever. At the time, it was the biggest challenge I ever had and was pumped to take it on.

5. Gabe Sapolsky and Dragon Gate USA officials gave you the label of a “#1 Overall Draft Pick” around that same time. What did that mean to you personally and professionally? Did you feel pressure by being give such a strong compliment?

I loved the label "#1 draft pick." It sounded cool to me and it did add pressure to really try to be number one, along with keeping me very motivated especially in Dragon Gate USA.

6. In EVOLVE beginning in April, you had a series of buzzworthy matches against Rich Swann (EVOLVE 7) and then by winning the Style Battle Tournament (EVOLVE with big wins in one night over Rich Swann, Jon Davis and finally Sami Callihan. What reflections do you have on that night and those matches?

“Wow” is my reflection on those matches and that night. Me and Swann have a lot of fun in the ring and he is one of my favorites to wrestle. I learned from wrestling and being in the ring with Jon Davis. Finally, working with Sami only fuels my fire to get better & better and tougher so everytime we meet it will end like Style Battle: Me, victorious.

7. Your second half of 2011 for DG USA was dominated by your feud with The D.U.F. of Sami Callihan, Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez. It seemed ready to conclude with the “Extreme Warfare Match” pitting you with Sabu & Jon Davis at Freedom Fight 2011, but instead concluded with Sami Callihan smashing a beer bottle over your head. Where does your battle with Callihan and the rest of The D.U.F. go from here?

I have no idea where my feud with Sami Callihan is going to go. I do know it is far from over and that I have a ton of payback I owe him!

8. 2012 kicked off with you continuing to have standout matches, but on the losing end (Jigsaw, first loss in EVOLVE at EVOLVE 10 & Sami Callihan, at Open The Golden Gate in an Anything Goes Match) of them. I am sure it wasn’t the way you would have liked to begin the year, but what do you take away from those matches?

I actually learned a lot from Jigsaw in the ring and also to weaken my opponent more before attempting Lo Mein Pain. I didn’t learn much from my match at Open The Golden Gate with Sami and it just intensified that I hate him!

9. Your match with Sami Callihan was very brutal and carried on the tension between the two of you from the end of 2011 and through EVOLVE 10. How did you feel after that match and how does that motivate you headed into the upcoming Florida tripleshot during WrestleMania weekend?

I was pretty beat up after that match but like I said before all this is just fuel for the fire for me to kick Sami's ass when i get my hands on him. I was glad I got to choose his opponent one night, so I picked BxB Hulk. I want Hulk to kick his head off!

10. You are currently scheduled to face PAC on Thursday, Uhaa Nation in a “Stable Shoot Out: pick from Sami Callihan on Friday and Arik Cannon on Saturday. How do you prep for three different, talented opponents over those three nights?

I train seperately for each opponent: Speed for against PAC, as well as work on new high flying moves to keep up with him. Also, I try to build and add as much strength when I wrestle a bigger opponent like Nation or Cannon, so that they can’t easily do what they want to me or at least as easily as they might like.

11. Dragon Gate USA is offering a $1.99 iPPV on on Friday. This is their shot to not only capture new fans for a great price and a great event, but also to reward fans who have been active and supported them to get to this point. With the chance that fans who have never seen you before, how does that change the way you view the show (if any) and what do you want them to remember AR Fox for when the show concludes, especially with the Stable Shoot Out being a major part of it?

With the iPPV being $1.99 it ups the ante like crazy! There is just so many eyes that are gonna be on us. I am ready and hope to make a crazy first impression on any fan seeing me for the first time and Dragon Gate USA.

12. What are the future goals for AR Fox?

My future goals are to be on TV or a “Grand Stage” somewhere, anywhere making money and doing what I love!

13. How can fans keep up with your schedule, catch you live if there is a show near them that you are on or get any merchandise from you?

Fans can keep up with me and any shows I am on through my Facebook page. I do not have a personal website yet, sorry.

Thanks again to AR Fox and Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE officials for setting up this opportunity. If you will be in Miami, check these shows out this weekend! You can also create a account and order the shows, including the $1.99 Friday event, right here: iPPV

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ring of Honor "10th Anniversary Show" Preview

10 years of ROH…just awesome! So many times people have said that ROH wouldn’t make it to this point, but yet, here they are. Kudos to all who have been involved with the company from the beginning until now for getting it here. Will ROH still be here in 10 more years? Only time will tell, but to all those who say no, I remind you of the number of voices that said it wouldn’t make 10 years as well. We are here today to preview the matches for this Sunday’s 10th Anniversary Show, available live on! On to the preview!

Homicide vs. Mike Bennett

JIM: They are certainly trying their best to get Bennett over, with matches like this one, and his match coming up against Lance Storm at the end of the month. Giving him wins over name guys will help, but personally for me, he still isn’t clicking. I really wanted to like him when he first debuted on TV on HDNet. But he just hasn’t clicked for me. He has a decent right hand, and having him teamed up with Maria should make fans hate him even more. But for me, my dislike of him isn’t a “he’s a heel, I want him to lose, he’s so mean!” kind of hate, it’s a “wow, he bores the crap out of me, get him out of the ring and move on to someone I actually give a rip about” type of hate. Anyways, enough about him. Homicide returning in NYC should get a great pop, but Bennett will get the win after some sort of shenanigans.

TOM: Jim and I agree with our sentiments on Bennett. ROH remains behind him and are giving another high-profile opportunity against a “Founding Father” in Homicide. Homicide being just added this week is not a move I am high on because it diminishes his value and comes across like an afterthought. All of those criticisms aside, he will get a great reaction in NYC and the fans will be SUPER behind him and want him to kick Bennett’s butt! In the end, I agree with Jim and Bennett will get the win as his ROH build continues to have wins over impressive names on his resume.

The All Night Express vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team

This is Rhett Titus’ return to the ring for ROH after his knee surgery. All Night Express does have a title shot coming down the road as well, so you’ve got to keep them strong here. World’s Greatest Tag Team have actually been a lot more fun to watch since their heel turn back at Final Battle, at least for me. They have a big grudge match with The Briscoes (likely a title match) in Miami at the end of the month, so they also have to be kept strong here as well. So, the question is, how do you best do that? My guess is that WGTT either gets DQ’d for using a chair (which has been their M.O. lately), or they use the chair, but don’t get caught and get a cheap win that way, thus keeping ANX strong, since it took WGTT cheating to beat them.

TOM: This is a match I am really looking forward to. It will be great to see ANX back teaming together and hopefully Titus back at 100% health. WGTT’s heelish attitude has given them a boost in ROH and gives fans a really good reason to be against them, as some already were prior to their “official” turn. I think ANX wins here by DQ and (again) agree with Jim that WGTT continues with their story and aggressive attitude leading to the end of the match, but both teams come out still built well for what is to come.

The Amazing Red & TJ Perkins vs. Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin

Interesting matchup here. Elgin and Perkins had a hell of a fun match to start off Final Battle. Strong and Elgin have been teaming quite a while now, while this is the first time (at least in ROH, perhaps it happened somewhere else) that Red and Perkins have teamed up. I think this should be a hell of a fun match, and Red coming in is great for a 10th Anniversary, given that he was around at the beginning of the company. I don’t think there is any chance Red and Perkins win this one, but my biggest hope out of this match is that it givens Perkins a direction into a possible feud with either Strong, Elgin, or the House of Truth in general. Perkins needs to get a direction behind him in ROH and not just be the guy they throw into matches for no reason, but you know will have a good match. Give this man a storyline, and please, do it fast!

TOM: It’s a great homage to Amazing Red that ROH is bringing him back for this show. On paper, the team with Perkins sounds fun and I think they will mesh well in this match. They will also make good opponents for Strong & Elgin. I do like the tie in as well, with Elgin-Perkins having had a singles match at Final Battle and this as a natural tie-in/follow-up with that match first. Could this be a re-boot of sorts for The House of Truth in the tag division or a catalyst for something more? I think that both Strong and Elgin can be a great team, but also have high ceilings in singles roles as well. I think they pick up the win here.

No Disqualification Match
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Kevin Steen

JIM: I mean, there was no way this couldn’t be No DQ. Jacobs and Steen aren’t going to go in and have a catch as catch can style arm drag fest. It’s going to be a war. Jacobs has said that he is going to bring the evil out one more time, just as Corino did at Final Battle. That was a hell of a war at Final Battle, so I hope this one can be just that as well. I would expect we’ll see Jim Cornette show up at some point during this match as well as Steve Corino. I still feel like there could be a heel turn here by someone to join Steen (but then again, I’ve felt that way for a while…and it hasn’t happened yet). In the end, maybe it’s best for Steen to just stay on his own as the rebel character he is now. Either way, Steen wins this one as he continues to head towards a huge feud with Davey Richards.

TOM: This is the match I am most looking forward to! To me, Kevin Steen has been the most entertaining thing in all capacities that ROH has had for a while (save for The Briscoes). The story here is a good one follows on the heels again from Final Battle and Jacobs getting laid out with the now banned Package Piledriver. With this bout being No DQ, will Steen use the piledriver, knowing that under the rules in play, it should be permissible. I expect a lot of violence and blood here; both guys are tremendous brawlers. Steve Corino being involved is also an X Factor. Steen will win and I am excited to see the next chapter in this story written before my eyes.

ROH TV Title Match
Jay Lethal (C) vs. Tommaso Ciampa

I can go either way on this one. Ciampa is still undefeated in singles matches, and Lethal has had a good run with the TV Title. Personally at this point, I feel like Lethal is plenty over with or without the TV belt, and having a heel TV champion with the likes of Lethal, Perkins, Corino and others chasing him would make for a lot of fun, and could help put The Embassy Ltd. on the road to the top. So, I hope this is a really good match (as I’m a fan of Ciampa) that helps move Ciampa up the card where I personally think he belongs. Ciampa is your new TV champ after Sunday! (The question in my mind if they do that is how do they deal with it at the TV tapings the day before?)

TOM: This might be the toughest match to pick on the whole show. Lethal has been a very serviceable TV Champion, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what value he has added to ROH outside of being a recognizable name and face. Ciampa has had a consistent and steady build approaching a year right now. This is without question his biggest opportunity to date. I too will pick Ciampa and Embassy Ltd. to have their biggest win and opportunity since John Walters was Pure Champion many years ago.

ROH World Tag Team Title Match
Jay & Mark Briscoe (C) vs. The Young Bucks

JIM: This should be a really good match as well. Briscoes are super over right now, and The Young Bucks are so much better as heels than as bland, white bread babyfaces. Their cocky “we only shake hands with each other” characters work really well in ROH. So, this will be fun, but there is no way on God’s green earth that the Bucks win the tag titles here. Maybe they get a run down the road (and I’d be fine with that, so long as they are under contract), but with a huge Briscoes/WGTT match coming in Miami at the end of the month, that match needs to be the rematch for the Tag Titles in my mind (an argument can be made that the match doesn’t need the titles, but I think in this case, it should still have them involved). So, The Briscoes retain the titles here, but I think the Bucks will come out looking really good as well.

TOM: The build for this match on TV has been something that need just a little more to me. There has been no in-ring interaction between the teams and while both teams have been going back and forth in promos, it just isn’t enough (to me) to get me invested in the issue. That storyline critique aside, anyone who has seen these teams fight in the past knows that this will be a great match. I am going to pick The Briscoes to win, but I would not be shocked to see The Bucks get the titles and we get a Bucks-ANX match for the titles, because they have a big issue and feud unresolved there and with the titles in the picture, could take that to another level.

Main Event – Young Wolves Rising
Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Eddie Edwards & Adam Cole

JIM: There has been a lot of talk about whether this is a “worthy” main event of the 10th Anniversary Show. Gabe Sapolsky posted on Wednesday wondering why Jay Briscoe vs. Davey Richards wasn’t the main event for the show, playing off Briscoe being there since day one. That would have been fine, but right now, more than ever, ROH needs to build up Cole and O’Reilly as the next main event level stars for the company, to break out of the Strong/Edwards/Richards trio at the top all the time. So, I am totally fine with this match, and it has been built up well on the TV show. This tag should be absolutely off the charts awesome, and I can’t wait to see it personally. I’m much more excited about this tag then I would be a Briscoe/Richards match to be honest. So, this is a great choice, and in the end, both Cole and O’Reilly will shine and be elevated. Personally, I think Richards and O’Reilly likely win perhaps by some sort of “accidental cheating” where the story can continue on. Bring it on this Sunday night!

TOM: This match is going to be great, I have no doubts about that. Again, it makes logical booking sense, continuing to carry on stories that happened at Final Battle and the TV show afterwards. On paper, Davey & O’Reilly have the edge because they’ve been together longer, but as Adam Cole indicated during his “13 Questions” interview with us earlier this week, “I think our biggest advantage is also our biggest disadvantage, in that because we haven't teamed that often, Kyle and Davey don't know what to prepare for. I know Kyle better than anyone, and Eddie knows Davey better than anyone, so we have a pretty good idea of what were in for in NYC.” There will some great dynamics in play here: Davey-Eddie, O’Reilly-Eddie and O’Reilly-Cole. I feel like Kyle O’Reilly is and has been the biggest antagonist in this issue and as much as I enjoy him in the ring, he has made me want to see him get his butt handed to him by his opponents, especially Cole! My pick is that Eddie Edwards & Adam Cole will get this win, with the outcome further infuriating O’Reilly and also building to Edwards getting another shot at the ROH World Title and Davey Richards. As Jim stated indeed, Bring it on this Sunday night!

Agree or Disagree with our opinions? Leave a comment below or check us out on Facebook to contnue the conversation!