Posts Tagged ‘Madison Square Garden’

In news that will irritate Vince McMahon more than a short wrestler sneezing all over his face, the G1 SuperCard co-promoted by Ring Of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling has sold out Madison Square Garden, with zero matches announced, in well under an hour of the tickets going on general sale.

This is a major deal. WWE hasn’t sold out its spiritual home in years.

One might point to the hub of wrestling activity that is ‘Mania Weekend as the primary driver of sales – that is, after all, why the specific date of April 6, 2019 was chosen – but it’s hard to envisage that this is something some 18,000 fans have decided to just “do” “while they are there”. This is genuine, uplifting history, and the ardent wrestling fans want to be a part of it. This won’t damage WWE one iota, beyond a bruise to the ego – the TakeOver event on the same night will doubtlessly sell out also – but this should, in theory, force WWE to up their own game. Or just throw Fox money at talent with no motivation to promote them with conviction. One or the other.

Cody tweeted the following in response to the news – the show itself was an encouraged response to the smash success of his ALL IN venture – “I am the game now”.

And, since G1 SuperCard is guaranteed to sell more tickets than TakeOver at the Barclays Center, he may have a point.

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Prestigious New York City wrestling mecca Madison Square Garden this morning let slip that The Undertaker will lace the boots once more, for a Raw brand house show set for the venue on 7 July. It’ll mark ‘Taker’s first MSG match for over eight years, his last being a defeat to then WWE Champion Kane on the 10 September 2010 ‘Bret Hart Appreciation Night’.

This time last year, we all thought The Deadman had placed his urn on the mantelpiece for good, but this past April, The Undertaker returned from the dead once more to battle John Cena in what was technically a match at WrestleMania, before burying Rusev in a casket match as part of the Greatest Royal Rumble.

The Jeddah gimmick bout seemed like a non-canonical one-off appearance for ‘Taker, designed to appease the investors of WWE’s Saudi Arabian farce, but apparently not. There’s no word yet on who The Phenom will contend with in New York, though it’s likely to be heavily promoted as the event draws near.

A host of the usual suspects including Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Ronda Rousey are already listed for the show. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor vs. Elias is currently the only confirmed match.

This week The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling welcomed former WWE Superstar and wrestling’s smartest man, “The Genius” Lanny Poffo. Poffo joins the show to discuss the Kickstarter campaign that will bring his autobiography to life: “The Genius Lanny Poffo – Wrestling’s Smartest Man”by Inverse Press. We also explore some of Leaping Lanny’s greatest moments in his career, his family’s renegade promotion ICW and his legendary run with Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig to include his upset victory over Hulk Hogan during the height of Hulkamania. The full episode can be downloaded at this link.

PLEASE CREDIT The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling FOR THIS TRANSCRIPTION

Who inspired him to begin to write poetry:

When I started out as a boy and I don’t know if you believe in God or coincidences but you’ll never guess who he threw into my life, Shell Silverstein. “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, “The Light In The Attic”, “Falling Up” and also he wrote some songs for Johnny Cash including “A Boy Named Sue” and he wrote “The Unicorns Song”.

“I met him twice in my life and he inspired me to write poetry myself. Unfortunately he died in 1999 so I was unable to say to him and to thank him for inspiring and say here was a book that was just published “Limericks From The Heart and Lungs” and it would have made him very happy but unfortunately he passed away before the book became published but what a fantastic man and how lucky I am to have been influenced by him.”

What he did to standout to Vince McMahon:

“I was a guest on TNT and I knew that if I was boring that they would never invite me back. I wore a suit of armor and I did a poem about Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon that it was great and why don’t I do a poem before each match. I was so excited because I finally had a gimmick and not only a gimmick it was legit that I actually write poetry and I love to do it.”

Throwing out frisbees to the crowd prior to his matches:

“With the frisbees I copied that from Al Costello. He was a tag team champion with Roy Hefferrnan in the Fabulous Kangaroos and they used to throw cardboard boomerangs out to the audience. They used to come to the ring with the carved boomerang from an aborigine but of course you can’t throw those out to the audience so they threw the cardboard ones out and two of the fans that used to go for those boomerangs were the Macho Man and I when we were just children. I thought what could I throw? I am not Australian and what can I throw that would get some traction. I rolled up some scrolls and threw those out but they didn’t make it into the first row. I put a poem on the frisbee and we typed the poem and put it on the frisbee and that is what caused all of the hullabaloo. They started selling them at the arena and after I’d win, lose or draw I’d sign them for the audience and we would sell out every night of frisbees. We sold hundreds of them and every once in a while I run into a fan that has an original signed autographed frisbee.”

Being teamed with Mr. Perfect as The Genius:

I’ll tell you what. I loved Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig and I am very sorry that he passed away and in a twenty-one year career. I’ll say that the four months that I spent with Curt Hennig and got to be a nemesis of or whatever I was (a piece of gum on the boot) of Hulk Hogan, those for four months were the greatest four months of my career. I got three main events in Madison Square Garden, we broke box office records in places like the Las Angeles Sports Arena and in the Myriad in Oklahoma City (I don’t think they call it that anymore). Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig was the consummate professional and I am very sorry he passed away too soon.

“It all ended at WrestleMania 6 and I got faded out. That is what happens and it is like one is in jail and the other is just visiting and I was just visiting. But it was fantastic and I drank from the silver challis of success for one shining moment and it was all worth it.”

Is wrestling missing the larger than life characters of his era:

“I don’t want to be one of those old timers that knocks the stars today. They are trying to make a living too and hopefully a fortune and they risk their lives every night. The only advantage that we had over them is we didn’t have writers and they do. Once you have writers than how are you going to have a personality like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, Jake The Snake Roberts, Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig? We didn’t use writers we did it all ourselves and until they start firing the writers they are never going to have the personalities because it is going to sound like people reading. That is what they are doing, they are reading. They are memorizing lines and are reading and it is just cookie-cutter. They are great athletes and they deserve to make a living and a fortune it is just that they are handcuffed and are cookie-cutter.”

The Honky Tonk Man is best known for holding the WWE Intercontinental Championship for a record 64 weeks. In a recent interview with Andy Malnoske of Wrestling Inc., he discussed losing the title to The Ultimate Warrior in the inaugural SummerSlam in 1988.

By 1988, The Honky Tonk Man was one of the biggest heels in the wrestling business. He said at that point he had made himself a pariah to audiences, so they were wishing for anyone to beat him and take his title.

“It’s like, every kid out there that was eight years old when I said, ‘I’m walking down the streets, I’m the greatest of all time, I’m looking for a fight, nobody can beat me,'” Honky explained. “Every eight-year-old kid out there that’s 38 now would say, ‘Boy if he comes down my street I can kick his rear-end, I’ll kick this guy’s butt.’ So then when I go out and they wanted anybody to beat me, they didn’t care who it was, they wouldn’t have cared if it was the milk man that beat me, they just wanted somebody to beat me, just get the belt off this guy.”

The Honky Tonk Man was originally supposed to face Brutus Beefcake, but he had was pulled out of the match due to a storyline injury. So Honky got on the mic and made an open challenge, which The Ultimate Warrior responded to. The Ultimate Warrior pinned him in just 31 seconds, sending the crowd into a frenzy. But Honky remembers how deflated they were when they realized who was the new champion.

“So when I did lose, there was such an explosion in the building if you go back and listen,” Honky said. “Then I lose to The Ultimate Warrior and then the people are like, ‘Yes! Yes, he lost!’ And then the second breath is, ‘But not to that guy! We wanted him beat, but not to that guy.’ So you can’t win.”

Honky said he knew his run at the top of the card was over, so he wanted to go out on his own terms. He said he had complete control over how he would lose the Intercontinental title.

“My time was up and I knew it. The one time I had creative control over everything, was that match,” he said. “I put it all together, it was my idea, they let me do it that way. It was good for him, it was good for the company and people still hated me anyway.”

Honky also discussed how he became a top heel in the WWE. He said it was through learning from the great wrestlers that came before him. He would take certain aspects of various heels and apply them to his character and that helped him get on the audience’s bad side.

“Being the bad guy with my mannerisms and the way I would do stuff, I studied the good ‘bad guys’ in the business back then,” he said. “I would watch and see Harley Race, how he would have a match with Jack Briscoe, or I would watch Terry Funk have a match with someone and see what they did and how they did it and how they made people mad. And then I would listen to interviews, those key words that guys would say… Those things make people mad. So I was able to capture the audience that way.”

 

Matt Hardy came out to new entrance music at a WWE house show yesterday.

The 43-year-old’s new theme – a sequence from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata – was unveiled on Twitter by a fan who attended the event.

The piece of music is the same one he walked out to during his run as “Broken Matt” in TNA, the gimmick that he has started using on Raw over recent weeks.

After a protracted legal battle with his ex-employers, Hardy now goes under the name of “Woken Matt”.

His burgeoning feud with Bray Wyatt is so far proving to be one of the most popular WWE storylines of the year, with many believing it could run all the way to April’s WrestleMania 34.

Clearly, a makeover of some kind was needed after Hardy originally returned, alongside brother Jeff, under the familiar “Team Xtreme”-era guise.

But the introduction of a new entrance would appear to confirm that the company sees his new role as a long-term one.

It may also have implications for Jeff, currently nursing a long-term shoulder injury, who could perhaps embark on a singles run of his own when he returns next year.

What four-year layoff?

Georges St-Pierre made a triumphant return in his first fight since November 2013 at Saturday’s UFC 217, where he put Michael Bisping to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the third round of the main event to win the middleweight crown at Madison Square Garden.

In addition to becoming only the fourth two-division champion in promotional history on a night that saw three new champions crowned, the former welterweight king tied Bisping for the most wins in UFC history with 20, and extended the winning run he’d put on hold to a baker’s dozen fights. Bisping, on the other hand, graciously handled the second submission loss of his 38-fight career – this, after relentlessly trashing St-Pierre in the lead-up to the fight – and maintained he wouldn’t be hanging up his gloves just yet during his postfight interview.

St-Pierre relinquished the welterweight strap following a close split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, and looked like his well-rounded self in a fight he and Bisping had delayed for months due to injury, after GSP had agreed to return to the Octagon on a four-fight deal early this year.

The 36-year-old took the center of the cage and pumped his vaunted jab as Bisping appeared uncharacteristically gun shy in Round 1, which he closed with a Superman jab and a wheel kick that didn’t inflict much damage, but had the Brit retreating and those in attendance clutching their hearts out of sheer nostalgia.

While GSP managed to take Bisping down to the mat in each of the first two frames, the defending champ refused to stay pinned there and ended the second stanza strong as he settled into a rhythm on the feet.

An apparently tiring St-Pierre opened the third with a takedown, only for Bisping to cut him open with elbows from his back that had the Quebec native’s head dripping crimson. But after Bisping fought his way up to his feet, GSP sent him back to the canvas – this time with a counter left hook – and followed up with his patented ground-and-pound. The Brit gave up his back while trying to defend the onslaught, only for St-Pierre to slap on a rear-naked choke that sent him to dreamland and crowned GSP middleweight king at the 4:23 mark.

Saturday’s defeat snapped a five-fight win streak for Bisping, whose reign as the UFC’s first British champion ends with one successful title defense over Dan Henderson.

Georges St-Pierre has heard it all before.

The former welterweight king has fielded a bevy of insults from UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping – whom he’ll face at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 – but as he told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of “The MMA Hour,” St-Pierre believes Bisping’s incessant belittlement of his patented takedown-heavy style betrays a fear of it.

“He’s playing always the same song. He’s terrified of me wrestling him. Terrified,” St-Pierre said, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “In every interview he does, he’s begging me to stand and bang with him. In every interview. … I mean, if you don’t know the ground (game), you shouldn’t be in MMA. You should be in kickboxing.

“Fighting on the ground is part of the game, and he’s terrified. So he wants me to be like, ‘Oh, OK, I’m going to stand and bang with you.'”

St-Pierre’s age (36) and four-year layoff have raised endless speculation on how much fight he has left and what he’ll bring to the Octagon in his return. But he’s sure he’ll raise eyebrows and drop jaws come fight night – for all the right reasons.

“I’m much confident in this than I was before. I trained a lot of (aspects in my game) in the four years. People say you can’t reinvent yourself, but I’m going to prove that you can, and I’m going to prove it to everybody. I’m not the same guy that I was before, the last time. I have a lot more tools … and I’m specialized in different things. I have a lot of new tricks that I’m going to bring to the game.”

As for how he intends to make the brash Brit eat his words, St-Pierre all but guaranteed he’ll have gotten his hand raised within the distance – something he hasn’t done since taking his rematch with BJ Penn at UFC 94 well over eight years ago.

“I’m going to finish him, that’s what I believe. Either a knockout or submission.”