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WWE Legends Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels Talk About Their Past and Present

June 29, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Legendary pro wrestling journalist Bill Apter had the opportunity to sit down with WWE legends Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart recently. The former heated rivals updated Bill on their friendship in this exclusive Apter Chat.

Bill sat down with both guys separately and asked them about where things stood today between the two. Both were very complimentary towards each other and tell Bill they have a great friendship these days. It’s a short video but well worth the watch considering the amount of history both Hart and Michaels have together.

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Updated: Dolph Ziggler Reportedly Signs New WWE Contract…Or Maybe Not

June 29, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

While the Dolph Ziggler WWE contract rumors were fun while they lasted, the former WWE champion has put them to rest.. Rumors of Dolphs demise were premature. Ziggler has re-signed with the WWE and will be hanging around the mid-card for years to come.

Dolph Ziggler is a rallying cry of what some would call “hardcore fans” on social media. Dolph’s fans have been demanding better things for Ziggy and a bigger push. They got it a couple of years ago but an injury derailed Ziggler’s push and while he has flirted with the top, he has yet to ascend to that spot on the card which is why rumors of Dolph leaving have fans excited about his future.

Those rumors grew last week when Dave Meltzer in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter addressed these rumors.

Regarding any rumors going around about Ziggler, his contract and leaving, this is the situation. Ziggler’s contract does expire in a few months and there are those close to him that have said he is at least considering what decision to make regarding his future that wouldn’t include WWE. I’ve got no idea what he’s going to do, past the idea he has talked with people about his options away from the promotion.

Meltzer also broke down the economics of Dolph leaving and estimates that he could make up to $400,000 a year off of a mix of independent wrestling gigs, and possible Mexican and Japanese opportunities. Meltzer pointed out that a big difference in those economics are travel expenses which are currently unpaid in the WWE. Ziggler would have had all of his trans covered and could make a nice living doing what he wants and more importantly on his terms.

Those rumors and speculation can be put to rest. Dolph re-signed with the WWE last week. Mike Johnson over at PWInsider.com was the first to break the story. Ziggler had some fun with it on Twitter but in speaking with the Boston Herald over the weekend, confirmed the story and explained why he is opting to stick with the WWE as opposed to hitting the independents.

I mean, it feels like I started here, I should end my career in the WWE,” he said. “I feel like they like having me around and I love working here, so it would be really hard to walk away.

Ziggler has been a WWE wrestler for over ten years. Ziggler joined the company in 2004, starting in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Ziggler got a big push fast as WWE world champion in 2009 and had a final reign as champion in 2011. Ziggler is arguably a top three worker in the WWE and there is no telling what he could do without limitations. Ziggler’s last taste of a push came at the Survivor Series when he was the lone survivor for Team Cena and sent the Authority packing. For whatever reason, Ziggler hasn’t seen much of the top since.

I think Ziggler’s best play to get a bigger push was to leave and come back in a couple of years like Chris Jericho did the first time. At the same time, you can’t blame the guy at all for opting for financial security and his desire to continue performing on the biggest pro wrestling stage in the world. I also think it’s time to stop complaining about Ziggy’s push. It obviously isn’t bothering him and he is laughing all of the way to the bank.

Update: In an odd twist, Ziggler did an interview Monday afternoon where he claimed he has not signed his new deal.

I’m thinking about it right now. I had a request for an upcoming contract that would end a few months from now, maybe two or three months from now, and they requested back what they would like, I countered another offer and we’re waiting to finalize some things.

I love WWE and I can’t picture myself wrestling somewhere else but it’s also becoming now where that Wednesday and Thursday, I can’t just do that and get some outside live events for comedy and different movie and television options, which would only be to promote myself as a WWE Superstar, to make myself a bigger star so I can advance more in WWE. So if I can’t find that happy medium, I might have to go away for a little bit”

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The Rock Makes Surprise Appearance At WWE House Show (Video)

June 28, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

There used to be a time where you never knew what would happen at a WWE house show. Today, house shows are generally one in the same yet Saturday night was an exception as fans in Boston received a very big surprise.

The Rock made a rare appearance on Saturday night in Boston at a WWE house show. According to reports, Dwayne Johnson is in Boston making a movie. The Rock came out during Bo Dallas’ match and had a lengthy verbal altercation with Dallas. You can probably guess how this one ended.

The WWE posted video of this on their YouTube channel and by the way, I love the gritty appearance of the video. It reminds me of seeing house show clips on WWF television as a kid. Video of this appearance needs to be played numerous times over the next few weeks. I think something as simple as this could really help house show business. Most know that you aren’t going to get big angles or title changes at house shows anymore. They just don’t happen. A video like this could change that mentality completely.

Finally, you have to give credit to the WWE for giving a younger guy like Bo Dallas the rub. He desperately needs it. Although I am surprised they didn’t stick him in there with someone a little higher up on the card. Kevin Owens is the first guy that comes to mind and even though it would have ended with Owens taking a Rock Bottom, maybe the video has some legs and they work towards a match somewhere down the line.

Owens, Dallas, or whomever, I am sure the fans in attendance in Boston were just happy for a once in a lifetime moment which is seeing The Rock at a house show.


WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

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Jeff Jarrett Returns To TNA Wrestling

June 25, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

In a bizarre scene for those who followed the tumultuous breakup of TNA Wrestling and Jeff Jarrett, Jeff and wife Karen returned to TNA on Wednesday night. Jeff announced his in-ring return in an angle that has created a lot of buzz for a lot of different reasons.

The return of Jeff Jarrett to TNA has brought TNA the kind of buzz they have been looking for over the last several months. While the interest lies with the out-of-ring fallout from Jeff’s return, the story has a lot of people talking. What this means for TNA, Global Force Wrestling, and Jeff are all questions people are asking.

There are multiple reports coming out of his return. Wade Keller at PWTorch.com reported that there is a lot of heat backstage between TNA wrestlers and management. TNA wrestlers were told that they were not allowed to appear on Jeff’s GFW shows and many of them had to cancel or pass up big paydays or face a breach of contract. Those wrestlers are reportedly not very happy that they missed out on the paydays while TNA does business with Jeff.

I have some personal experience with this kind of a situation and it sucks. I was doing announcing for both CZW and Ring of Honor back in 2002. For whatever reason, CZW had heat with ROH and implied that talent shouldn’t be working for both companies. Fans of this era may recall the Briscoes leaving CZW shortly thereafter. I made a choice and wound up staying with CZW (maybe the worst career move I ever made) and then a couple of years later CZW and ROH are working together on the invasion and CZW is bringing back some of those old wrestlers. I was angry and felt stabbed in the back having given up a great opportunity and money out of loyalty, yet CZW did business with ROH later when it was convenient. A much different situation admittedly but I can truly sympathize with those talents today.

Dave Meltzer on his F4Wonline.com podcast reported that the deal between Jarrett and TNA did not close until earlier in the afternoon. Meltzer speculated that it could lead to a Hall of Fame induction. Meltzer also speculated on what this all means for Global Force Wrestling. Meltzer speculated it could be anything from an invasion angle to a full out sale of the company to Jeff and Toby Keith. Again these were just speculations and not confirmed reports from Dave’s podcast.

Jarrett resigned from TNA in January 2014 after a failed attempt to buy the company. Jarrett created GFW later that year but didn’t start running his first shows until a few weeks ago. GFW has television scheduled to tape coming up but nothing has been announced regarding a home. Jeff has also appeared on a few New Japan shows this year.

In the ring, Jeff was pinned by Jeff Hardy in a cage match at Final Resolution which was supposed to end his career in the ring within TNA. This would be Jeff’s first match back in TNA since then. I know some that are crapping all over the angle but I will say this. Jeff was a far better worker in TNA than people give him credit for. His matches with Kurt Angle in particular were some of Angle’s best. He can still go. I just think that TNA hot-shotting an angle like this a few days before a PPV does nothing for anyone. As an example, Jeff’s return posted on TNA’s YouTube channel only has 22,000 views as of this writing. Casual fans don’t know the story and it is that backstage story that will sell this angle and make Jarrett a draw. I think TNA need to get out there and tell the story, with at least a few weeks of build to let it sink in and educate new fans that may not be aware of the backstage issues.

We’ll see what happens next with this whole invasion angle or sale. I think it is a lot to do about nothing. I think it could turn out to be Jeff coming back for a few matches, a Hall of Fame induction, and some open doors for Jeff and GFW to make a deal, possibly working with TNA to bump ROH off of Destination America. More to come for sure!

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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Hulk Hogan Gives Advice To Aspiring WWE Superstars

June 25, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

There probably isn’t many better WWE stars to give advice to aspiring pro wrestlers than arguably the most famous star of all-time. Hulk Hogan is one of the most successful wrestlers ever so when the Hulkster is offering free advice, you listen.

Hulk Hogan is currently a judge on the WWE Tough Enough show. Why he is not a host is a question I am still trying to figure out. Whether you like Hulk or not you cannot argue with his success. He is arguably the most recognizable pro wrestler in all of wrestling history. Hogan is doing some media to promote Tough Enough and stopped by BizJournals.com for a conversation which turned more into a coaching session for aspiring WWE superstars.

Hogan was asked about the biggest challenge he ever faced and what he learned from it.

Making the transition from actually wrestling to trying to figure out how to generate revenue without physically getting in the ring. I had to figure out how to use my brand and exploit the 35 years of goodwill with the world and turn that into a money making machine. Once you wrestle main events for 30 years and all of a sudden it’s taken away from you because physically you can’t do it, reality sets in and you have to figure out how to reinvent yourself. I made that transition out of survival. I went through a crazy divorce, I had a huge $60 million civil suite from an accident and my body shut down on me for two years — I had nine back surgeries. I had to figure out how to take the brand, make it work and do stuff I wasn’t used to doing such as open other businesses and other ventures.

You can criticize Hogan for a lot of things but one thing you have to give him credit for is making himself relevant after his in-ring career was over. Hogan has appeared on numerous television shows including his own and remains well-known to casual wrestling fans. How big of an accomplishment is that? Other than the Rock I can’t think of anyone else who has done it better.

Hulk was asked about advice he could share for those looking to get into the wrestling industry.

Don’t even think about it unless it’s your passion — it has to be in your blood and you’re totally obsessed with it and that’s all you think about. It had to be a bigger priority for you than your job or even your family. You have to put wrestling first just to make it. It is such a hard job, so if you’re married or you have children or you have bunch of baggage, you need to rethink it because it’s really tough. If you don’t have those desires, don’t even think about it.

Finally Hulk was asked about the worst piece of advice he has ever gotten.

The advice I got was in the 1970s when wrestling was very barbaric. The worst advice I got then was “real wrestlers don’t wear kneepads.” After about two years of wrestling in Japan, my knees were blown out.

That is pretty interesting and I absolutely believe that was the advice he received back in the 1970s. Even going back to the late 1990s, I remember hearing wrestlers criticize Stone Cold Steve Austin for wearing knee braces. I couldn’t even imagine wrestling for as long as Hulk did without knee pads on.

Check out the entire interview here for more advice from Hulk as well as WWE Diva Paige.

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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TNA Wrestling Reportedly Make A Play For Rey Mysterio Jr.

June 24, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling are fighting for their television lives and they are looking for some heavy hitters for assistance. According to reports, TNA are making a big play for a former WWE star in hopes that he can give them a much needed boost and open up a new audience.

Dave Meltzer had the story in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. According to Dave, Dixie Carter is making a big play for Rey Mysterio Jr. According to Meltzer, the company is doing everything it can to entice the former WWE world champion.

The company made a big play this past week for Rey Mysterio Jr., who is still most likely headed to Lucha Underground, even though nothing official has been announced yet. John Gaburick and Dixie Carter both talked with him. They pushed the idea that they could get his merchandise into all the stores, and open doors for movies and TV to him, and they would build around him as their long-sought-after Mexican superstar. They also noted that if he signed with them, he could work anywhere he wanted on his off days.

This is yet another aggressive move by the company to sign a former WWE Latino star. The company reportedly made a big play for Alberto Del Rio shortly after he was released from his WWE deal. Interestingly enough, Meltzer doesn’t indicate whether Rey accepted, considered, or turned down the offer although all indications are at this point that he hasn’t signed a deal.

It is a very intriguing story when you put it in context with all of the rumors about Destination America dropping Impact Wrestling in September. The idea that TNA would somehow have the resources to sign a Rey Mysterio contradicts a lot of what we have read about TNA’s current state. TNA’s owners Panda Energy certainly have the funds, but I can’t see how TNA could have presented Panda with reasonable investment strategy into pouring all of those resources into one wrestler at a time where the company’s future is in doubt.

A TNA defender could look at this story as the glass half-full and conclude that TNA has a firm commitment from Destination America to stay past September. How else could TNA in its right mind make a serious offer to Rey when Mysterio is aware of all of the turmoil surrounding the company? Why would Mysterio even consider it at that point? A skeptic would say that TNA may be using this story to deflate all of those cancellation rumors. Maybe TNA management knew that Rey would not sign yet used this story to alleviate concerns of staff that the company is in jeopardy of losing its TV deal?

I also don’t see how TNA could make those promises about merchandise when I can’t recall ever seeing a piece of TNA merchandise in my local mall or department stores. I also don’t recall seeing any TNA talent in any recent movies or starring television roles outside of reality TV. The story almost sounds like a joke if you really sit back and think about it.

One option this brings to mind is a player-owner type of a deal. When CM Punk’s contract was coming due before his big run at Money in the Bank, I floated the idea of TNA signing Punk to a deal where he became a part owner, receiving a small percentage of the company’s revenue. Of course that never happened, but it would be a creative way to get a deal done. Paul Heyman wanted a similar deal when he negotiated with TNA several years ago to come in and book and we all know how that worked out.

I will say this. I’d love to see Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio one more time. I think these guys had one of the most underrated series of matches in WWE history. Other than that, I see no reason why Rey Mysterio would sign with TNA. It’s a fun story and I believe that TNA did make a play, I just can’t believe that anyone from TNA really thought they had a shot of signing him.

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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Happy Anniversary Austin 3:16 WWE1996 King of the Ring

June 23, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

19 years ago on June 23, 1996 Steve Austin was able to capitalize on a unique opportunity and delivered a catchphrase that turned the pro wrestling business around. Happy 17th anniversary WWE King of the Ring 96 and Austin 3:16.

It is hard to imagine how different the pro wrestling business would have been if not for Austin’s performance at the 1996 King of the Ring. Austin was already breaking out but on that night he went from star to a superstar on the cusp of a phenomenon. It is even crazier to think about that if not for WCW signing away Hall and Nash, Austin 3:16 may have never even happened.

The original plans for the 1996 King of the Ring were booked for Hunter Hearst Helmsley to win the tournament. Triple H was booked to be in Austin’s spot, beating Marc Mero and Jake Roberts en route to a big push. Instead, Hunter was pinned in the opening round on television by Jake the Snake. This was of course all a result of Hunter’s participation in the “Kliq Curtain Call” at M.S.G. If you take a step back and look at the big picture, if WCW never signed Hall and Nash you’d have no curtain call at M.S.G, Hunter would have went over in the tournament, and who knows what kind of shake Austin would have had dealing with the politics of the Kliq. Amazing that what looked like such a brilliant move from WCW would later blow up in their faces when the door opened for Austin, he broke out, and the WWE turned business around and skyrocketed past WCW.

Austin was getting hot coming into the King of the Ring. He started developing the Stone Cold persona and he immediately stood out on the WWE television shows. Quite frankly I think it was Live Wire that really gave him the extra time needed and the platform to get the gimmick over. On Live Wire he would have more time to cut promos and just be “Stone Cold” than he would on a RAW or Superstars broadcast.

Going into the tournament it was tough to pick who would get the win. Most assumed it would be HHH because the newsletters had reported that he was in for a monster push. This certainly wasn’t set up to be Austin’s night. As a matter of a fact if you look back on Google you’ll see that the poster was all about The Ultimate Warrior and his match with Jerry Lawler. The tournament wasn’t even the focus of the promotion. Additionally feuds with Shawn Michaels-British Bulldog and Mankind-Undertaker got most of the attention on television going in.

Austin had a fantastic match with Marc Mero in the semifinals on pay per view. It is funny because Mero has gotten a horrible reputation due to insults from Mick Foley and Triple H in books and interviews but in retrospect he was a heck of a hand back then. Austin and Mero went close to twenty-minutes. Austin won with a bloody lip after hitting the Stunner on Mero in a competitive match.

Austin won much easier in the finals against Jake Roberts. Roberts had his ribs taped up after Vader attacked him after their semifinal. Austin dominated the match and worked the ribs before hitting the Stunner for the win and the King of the Ring in under five minutes. The match itself was probably one of the more uneventful in-ring K.O.R. finals but the same cannot be said for the post match promo, arguably the greatest and most influential in pro wrestling history.

The first thing I want to be done is to get that piece of crap out of my ring. Don’t just get him out of the ring, get him out of the WWF because I’ve proved, son, without a shadow of a doubt, you ain’t got what it takes anymore. You sit there and you thump your bible and you say your prayers and it didn’t get you anywhere. Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16 … Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass. All he’s gotta do is go buy him a cheap bottle of Thunderbird and try to dig back some of that courage he had in his prime. As the King of the Ring, I’m serving notice to every one of the WWF superstars. I don’t give a damn what they are, they’re all on the list, and that’s Stone Cold’s list, and I’m fixing to start running through all of them. As far as this championship match is considered, son, I don’t give a damn if it’s Davey Boy Smith or Shawn Michaels; Steve Austin’s time has come, and when I get the shot you’re looking at the next WWF Champion. And that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.

It wasn’t long after that when you started seeing more fans cheer for Austin, wear Austin 3:16 t-shirts, and of course bring plenty of signs to the shows. Don’t be surprised if you see a fan today wearing that same shirt. The promo was the catalyst for a phenomenon that saw the entire business change and one man morph into the biggest draw in pro wrestling history. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Happy 19th anniversary Austin 3:16 and thank you Eric Bischoff for signing away Hall and Nash to make it all happen!

Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

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WWE Fury: 38 DDTs That Will Drill You Into The Canvas

June 23, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The DDT is one of the most exciting moves in the WWE. The move comes out of nowhere and has finished many matches. The WWE has paid tribute to this exciting move with a really cool video featuring 38 DDTs.

The latest WWE Fury video, 8 DDTs that will drill you into the canvas is 1:09 of some of the most exciting DDTs in WWE history. The history of WWE includes WCW so you get DDTs spanning all the way back to the mid-late 1980s. Of course there is plenty of Jake “the Snake” Roberts but you also have some real cool DDT moments from the Undertaker, Dean Ambrose, Arn Anderson, The Rock, Triple H, Dolph Ziggler, and more.

Check out the video and relive some of the most exciting DDTs in WWE history.

Looking Back at “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel

June 23, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Pro wrestling lost another great one this week. Former territorial star, “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel passed away Monday at the age of 53. The passing of Landel comes less than a week after the passing of the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.

News broke Monday afternoon of Landel’s passing to a wrestling world that was just starting to get over the passing of Dusty and ladies’ star Cora Combs. Landel was reportedly in a bad auto accident over the weekend. According to reports, Landel checked himself out of the hospital against doctor’s orders. Landel came home, told his wife he wasn’t feeling well, went to sleep, and never woke up.

Where do I start with Buddy Landel? I was a big Buddy Landel fan back in the 1980s although I wouldn’t appreciate him until a few years later when I got into tape trading. The first time I saw Buddy was on NWA World Wide Wrestling. Landel cut a promo with J.J. Dillon challenging NWA champion Ric Flair. The “Battle of the Nature Boys” hooked me immediately and Landel was instantly one of my favorite promo guys. Unfortunately that run didn’t last very long and Buddy disappeared from my television just as soon as he had arrived.

I got into tape trading in about the mid-1980s which allowed me to follow my favorite territory Memphis Wrestling and see recent shows from other territories. I will never forget the first time the “Billy and Buddy Show” episode of Memphis wrestling arrived on my tape collection. The show featured Bill Dundee and Landel as hosts, taking over the same the n.W.o. would take over Nitro on commentary over a decade later. The show would later develop something of a cult following many years later and is currently available on YouTube.

Buddy the personality was great but Buddy the worker was something special. I often asked wrestlers during interviews about the best that never made it. If I was answering the question I would put Buddy right at the top of the list. Buddy was a hell of a worker when he was motivated. I remember watching a match in which Buddy sold about 30 of Jerry Lawler’s punches. It was just one of those moments that always stuck out to me as “great work”. The irony is the match is now infamous among wrestlers who have seen it for Buddy’s work. I say ironic because I had no idea how many others picked up on it and appreciated it for the brilliance it was.

Of course it is impossible to talk about Buddy without bringing up the famous story about Buddy’s booked NWA title win. One of the most widely told stories in pro wrestling circles goes back to that Landel promo I watched him cut on Ric Flair in 1985. The urban legend says that Landel was booked to beat Ric Flair for the NWA title in that feud but no-showed the night of the match. It’s a real fun story but the truth is that the story is highly embellished and has taken on a life of its own.

Buddy has talked about the feud with Flair and events in many interviews over the years. It was a huge break for Buddy and things were looking up for the Nature Boy.

It’s really fascinating, you know Flair, at the time…I was over in Louisianna and Dory Funk was booking, and the territory was really down in Charlotte. Flair flew over to do some shows, to work with Kerry Von Erich over in Dallas when Watts was loaning Butch Reed and myself out. Butch Reed had just switched babyface and I was wrestling him, and I was on the same card in Dallas. By this time I’d already been the Nature Boy for about a year and a half, with Flair’s blessing, and Flair said, “Would you consider coming over to Charlotte?” I said, “Well, I don’t know man, Watts usually sends me where he thinks it will be best for me..” He says, “Well, how much are you making now? If you come over I’ll make sure it’s doubled.” But see, at that time money didn’t really matter to me, what I really wanted to do was go to Florida and meet Eddie Graham, I wanted to learn from the guy who taught BIll Watts…

Well, within about a week’s period of time, not even that, within a very few short days, I’ll never forget it – I was in the dressing room with Baby Doll, Tully Blanchard and Gino Hernandez, somebody walked in and said, “Eddie Graham just blew his brains out…” and that was the deciding factor. I was not going to go to Charlotte, I was going to pass up working with Flair to go to Florida to work for Eddie Graham…so that kind of made my mind up for me. I went to Charlotte. Really the thing of it is, our program consisted of JJ Dillon and myself walking out and saying, “Flair’s bogus – I’m the real Nature Boy…” With Flair, at first not even acknowledging me, and I was beatin’ guy after guy after guy…Flair and I never had a program, we never worked a program, we never shot the first angle, that’s what was so unique about it. That’s what was so great about it. Flair and I never shot the first angle and yet it sold out.”

What is interesting about that is it backs up what Ric Flair was just talking about on a recent podcast. Flair had David Crockett on his podcast and was telling stories about how he would recruit talent for JCP when he was touring as NWA world champion in 1984 and 1985. Interesting to note that according to Buddy, it was Flair that gave him his first break. It is also true and legendary that Flair and Landel sold out Raleigh, NC having what was called a “test match” before Buddy even started cutting promos for the feud. Buddy was that good and was over the second he landed in Charlotte.

As for the infamous title change story, here is what went down according to Buddy. One thing that has been confirmed is that Buddy got fired for missing television.

I fell asleep at a hotel and took a bunch of good cocaine that whole night and did a bunch of valiums,” Landel recalls. “Black Bart (Rick Harris) was with me and told me that we had to go TV. I had just bought a brand new Lincoln and threw him the car keys and told him that I would catch a cab and be there later.

They started (the tapings) at 9 o’clock that morning, and by 11 o’clock I had hung up on Dusty (Rhodes) and (Jim) Crockett and told them to not call me again,” says Landel. “I was National champion at the time. When I got there, Dusty told me to give him the belt, and that I didn’t work there anymore. I said OK.”

Buddy has told that story many times and there is no reason to doubt it. What is doubtful is Buddy’s claim that he was supposed to win the NWA title. The timing just didn’t make any sense at all. Flair had just come off Starrcade and he and Dusty were doing good business in rematches. All reports seem to indicate that Magnum TA was being groomed for the title and was next in line to get it at Starrcade 1986. Buddy got fired in December 1985 where, according to some (including Buddy at times) he was supposed to win the NWA title. The timing just doesn’t make sense. Buddy was back in the company in 1986 with Dundee as his partner/manager but never received a big push and was just a bit player with feuds against Sam Houston. Although to be fair Landel was cutting promos on Flair and in about September Flair started dropping Buddy’s name in promos as well. Yet for some reason the feud never got back off the ground with Buddy continuing to work with Houston and doing tags with Dundee against Dutch Mantell and Bobby Jaggers.

Buddy would pop back up on and off for the next decade. Landel and Flair would finally have their WCW match on television but it was nothing more than a glorified squash match in favor of Flair. Buddy did some independents, including a booking against Buddy Rogers right here in Philadelphia in a “Battle of the Nature Boys”. Rogers unfortunately passed away before the match took place. Buddy went to Smokey Mountain Wrestling in 1994 where some will argue that he had the best in-ring run of his career. The highlight was Buddy drawing a record house at the Knoxville Coliseum against Shawn Michaels on the Super Bowl of Wrestling. Buddy told Mike Mooneyham how important that night was to him and his wife.

“My wife snuck in, and I looked out, and her face was just beaming with pride. I’ll never forget that. I looked in her eyes and could tell that she loved me, she believed in me, and everything had come full circle. We shared that together in that brief second of looking into each other’s eyes.”

Buddy wound up in the WWE after SMW folded but like his last run in WCW, was used primarily as a preliminary wrestler. According to Buddy, it was his willingness to put over Ahmed Johnson that got him the job.

Let me tell you a quick story how I got over with Vince [McMahon]. I’d never met him. I flew up a day early, and had the suit and tie on, real dark, looking as good as I could look. I went by the booking room, and Shane Douglas, Vince was cussing him out. Me, being the wily veteran that I was, looking for an opportunity to check things out, acclimate myself to what’s going on. [Douglas] was supposed to work with Amhed Johnson that night, and he was saying that he was hurt and couldn’t do it. Well, Bruce Prichard [of the WWF’s creative team] had walked out of the office, and I said, ‘Hey Bruce, I hear there’s a problem in there. If you need someone to put Amhed over tonight, tell Vince I’m your man.’ He kind of looked at me funny, because nobody ever offered to do jobs. So he went back and told Vince. Vince came back and said, ‘You’ll do that?’ I said, ‘Hey, I’ll put him over right in the middle of the ring in 10 seconds.’ So I went out there and did the thing with Tony, Amhed. Right after that, J.J. [Dillon, head of talent relations] and Vince met me at the curtain and said, ‘Thank you for doing that. You’re going over Bob Holly tomorrow night on Monday Night Raw.’ That’s what caused the hell between me and Holly.

Buddy was his own worst enemy. On a recent edition of the Art of Wrestling, Landel talked extensively about his struggles with addiction. Unfortunately those traits were passed on to his children as Buddy told Colt. Buddy was trying to make up for his mistakes as a father as a grandfather and seemed to take a lot of pride when talking about that transition with Colt. The irony here is that it appeared that Buddy was in a great place in his life and enjoying being a grandfather, making the timing of his passing that much more tragic.

I’ll remember Buddy for being a great worker, a fun guy (met him briefly a few times and I don’t know if I have met many people in my life with as much charisma as he had), and a great one who never came close to reaching his potential. R.I.P. Buddy Landel and my deepest condolences go out to his family.

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Bret Hart Talks Daniel Bryan WWE Future, Samoa Joe, and Roman Reigns

June 22, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Bret “Hitman” Hart has never been shy to express his views. Even after a reconciliation with the WWE, Hart remains outspoken and a recent interview with the former champ is making headlines.

Love or hate Bret Hart, you have to respect his rebellious attitude when it comes to playing WWE politics. Hart continues to speak his mind and offer his opinion on current and past WWE topics whether they align with the company line or not. A recent interview with SI.com’s Hot Mustard is a prime example of this. One topic in particular is creating a lot of buzz and that was Hart’s thoughts on Daniel Bryan.

Hart was asked about the Daniel Bryan situation and his answer is interesting to say the least.

Daniel Bryan is finished,” said Hart. “He’ll never wrestle again. I don’t think he knows it yet. I feel terrible about Daniel Bryan. For all intents and purposes, he had the exact same thing happen to him that happened to me after Bill Goldberg kicked me in the head.

One day, you learn it’s over. Doctors tell you that you can’t wrestle and you’ll never wrestle again. I lost millions of dollars because of that. I pray that it’s not the same for Daniel Bryan.”

I saw him in a lot of his matches after he came back from the injury, and he was taking suplexes on the back of his head, powerbombs, and other really dangerous moves,” said Hart. “I know he wanted to test it out, but I think he may have pushed himself too hard. He’s like Dynamite Kid in the sense that they’re both tough and neither wanted to admit that injuries got the best of them. He’s finished forever, but I don’t think he’s even realized that. He’s probably thinking, ‘Maybe it will get better in a few months,’ but unfortunately, I don’t think it will.

As you can expect, Hart’s answer is drawing a lot of controversy. The WWE have remained incredibly tight-lipped about Bryan’s status and injuries. Hart on the other hand has laid it out there and whether this is Hart’s opinion or he has some kind of inside knowledge on Bryan’s status is unknown. I will say this. While I appreciate his opinion, it is a little out of line for Hart to definitively say “he’s finished” before Bryan has the chance to tell the world the news. I see where he is coming from, and I can’t say I disagree. I sat there in disbelief watching his match at Mania knowing the injury history he has had. Again, I don’t think Bret would have appreciated someone coming out and saying he was finished before he had the chance to announce his retirement or status.

Speaking of injuries, Hart is also making news for a comment he made about new WWE signee Samoa Joe. Longtime Hart-family friend Tyson Kidd was injured recently by Joe and Hart had some harsh words about how it went down. Hart was asked about Joe’s “Muscle Buster” which allegedly caused the injury.

It’s extremely dangerous,” said Hart. “The move that Samoa Joe did was reckless, and the way they rushed that match beforehand in the back without giving Tyson time to prepare was mistake. Tyson is, pound for pound, one of the best wrestlers in the world. And that includes his mind. If you went behind the scenes at WWE, Tyson is an intricate piece of so many other matches. It’s a shame that a guy who is that talented and given so much to the company is hurt, but I just hope it’s not so serious that his career is over.

I did find it interesting that an injury came out of Joe’s match the night he reportedly signed his full-time deal with the WWE. I have never heard anyone complain prior to Hart about Joe’s Muscle Buster. Hart does lay some blame on the agent here as you can see by not giving Kidd time to prepare for the move. It’s a bad deal either way and I am very curious to see if the Buster gets banned moving forward.

Finally, Hart was asked about Roman Reigns. Ironically Hart was in a similar situation back in 1993 when Lex Luger was the anointed one by Vince McMahon. Hart was in the Daniel Bryan spot and was the people’s choice as Vince continued pushing Luger hard. Like Luger, Vince got cold feet at the last minute and nixed a planned title run.

I can see the problem,” he said. “They had Daniel Bryan who, because of his injury, was basically going to comeback and repeat the exact same storyline that he did the last year, and Vince didn’t want to do that again. So they took a sharp turn and said they were going to get Reigns over. It’s easy to say now they should have done different things to help establish Roman Reigns as a babyface character, but my thinking in all this is that they tend to get a little too pig-headed in their thinking – ‘We’ll do this, this, and that’s all there is to it.’ The fans are too smart for that.

When Reigns got that endorsement from Rock, they tried so hard to have people love him,” said Hart. “It was a really tough time for Roman Reigns, but I don’t think it was his fault. The booking wasn’t thought out enough.”

Hart’s comment on Reigns’ booking is probably the understatement of the year. I agree with Hart in that it isn’t all Reigns’ fault yet some will tell you that it is on Reigns to go out there and make it happen. Hart does feel that Reigns is finally “accepted” by the fans although that remains to be seen.

The entire interview is truly a fascinating read where Hart gives a “State of the WWE” address and talks about some of the current roster, matches, situations, etc. Check out the entire read over at Extra Mustard.

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