Tag Archives: wrestling

SuperMegafest 2018: Inside the ropes with Scott Steiner

A week ago in my stomping grounds of New England, there just so happened to be a gathering of geek and fan alike that takes place once a year in Marlborough, MA called Super Megafest. The name might seem like a mouthful but that is only because there is so much to contain inside these walls. There was something for every type of fan, new and old alike. However only one thing drew me there: the man called Big Poppa Pump: Scott Steiner.

As a self proclaimed Wrestling Geek or a “smark” as insider terms would have it, I was looking forward to this greatly. I have met many a wrestler in my day, but this one always eluded me. So I relished the opportunity to make so chit chat and talk some shit with one of my favorite wrestling personalities with Big Poppa Pump. His legacy is a big one in the annuls of Pro Wrestling (I refuse to say Sports Entertainment) he was a WCW World Heavyweight Champion, US Champion and of course Tag Team Champion.

Never one to mix words and not afraid to speak his mind, I was looking forward to it.

Graphic Policy: Hi my name is Joe on behalf of Graphic Policy, and I am here at Super Megafest talking to the Genetic Freak, Big Poppa Pump himself: Scott Steiner. How are you Scott?

Scott Steiner: Pretty good Joe, thanks for asking man.

GP: So Scott you were at the forefront of Professional Wrestling when it was at its apex, something it has never quite reached again. What is missing from today’s product that you all had back then?

SS: Another company. It’s always good when there is competition. You know what I mean? Now it is a monopoly. When we had the “Monday Night Wars” there was a point where we dominated for 83 weeks straight. That means we were drawing better ratings than them (WWF/E). That means people didn’t want to watch their shit. Now that we are gone, they still don’t want to really watch their shit. That’s what it is, shit. The reason being is you have two idiots in charge who basically think they are geniuses and they’re not. The ratings reflect this.

GP: I agree with your point there, to a point. They feed you what I feel is scraps. It’s nowhere near the caliber of what it could be, but they don’t have to be forced to change because they are the big game in town and they know it.

SS: Thing is though, on top of that they feed you a line of bullshit. They tell you we are giving you what you as fans want. They don’t. They give you what they want.

Graphic Policy: I agree. There is certainly an agenda to who they push.

SS: Exactly. For them to say otherwise, it’s really an insult to the fans. I think many fans are smart enough to realize this themselves and it shows. They aren’t featuring who the people want to see, they feature who they want to see. They feature who they can control. It’s all about the control. The people who do work for that company I mean they are not even considered employees. They are self contracted. Which I think is a damn shame. They don’t want to pay employees tax or insurance and a bunch of other stuff they don’t want to get into.

GP: That is unreal.

SS: Yeah. It really is unreal, how they can operate like that. Just a shame.

GP: Do you have advice now for guys that are coming up, on how to navigate that kind of system?

SS: Well the thing you gotta do, is stick together. Unfortunately with Vince, really the whole WWE is that it is set up so you don’t stick together. They have it so everyone is at a distance and they can’t become friends so that way you don’t form a union. That is why when you look back at when Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and all those guys stuck together, he hated that. They ended up controlling the industry. That is what it takes is sticking together but it is set up in a way that you can’t. Or he won’t allow you to.

GP: I think, hearkening back to what you said about competition it just breeds true for anything. If you don’t have competition then you are going to have shit and not get the best you could.

SS: Right.

GP: That is why it is so great to see what Cody Rhodes and the Bullet Club have done. Both here and in Japan. They were told no one would ever want to see them put on their own Pay Per View and they did it. They sold out a big venue faster than anyone ever expected with “All In”. They thumbed it right at everyone too. Do you think we should see more of that?

SS: Well hopefully. I hope so. What happened in Chicago, is now going to happen in Madison Square Garden too. That was basically a large scale independent show. I mean that is the first time in history that has ever happened. On that scale. That just goes back to that people are sick of WWE product. You can’t take people’s memories away from them. They remember when they watched wrestling growing up, how good it could be. So now they have this crap on TV and they are forced to watch and they don’t have to.

GP: Is there a company out there that you haven’t worked with that you’d like to?

SS: Well it’s not going to really work unless you get another big conglomerate like a Ted Turner or FOX that can compete. Basically it will take a large TV company that can compete with Vince. Like a Ted Turner or something along that. It has to be someone who likes Wrestling and understands it as well.

GP: I think it would be great if a large network like a FOX would back it because the production values would be off the charts and with the correct backing could be visually stunning.

SS: That’s really the only way you could compete. You would see so many guys jump on that ship. They know how it is. When it comes down to it, Vince, the WWE they don’t really care about the people they employ. They don’t care about them. They use them and then kick them out the door.

GP: It always boggles me that whoever says wrestling is fake, I feel is a damn moron because you do this 365 with barely any off days and the toll it takes on your bodies is tremendous. What makes me happy is you get to do conventions like this and hopefully the people pay it back to you. How much it means to us. All that you’ve done and given us over the years. I especially speak for myself.

SS: Thank you so much.

Action Figures: GLOW, this September from Funko

Pay a visit to the ‘80s when spandex and hairspray reigned supreme with these GLOW action figures. Debbie “Liberty Belle” Egan and Ruth “Zoya the Destroya” Wilder are ready to reenact your favorite moments from the hit Netflix original series!

Collect them both this Summer! Action Figures: GLOW are out this September from Funko. You can pre-order them now on Amazon, TFAWEntertainment Earth, and your local comic shop.

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

VIZ Media Reveals Details of Shinsuke Nakamura’s King of Strong Style: 1980-2014

VIZ Media has revealed the cover design for — King of Strong Style: 1980-2014 – the forthcoming autobiography of one of Japan’s greatest professional wrestlers, Shinsuke Nakamura.

Originally published in two paperback volumes in Japan, (1980-2004, 2004-2015), the autobiography of one of Japan’s greatest professional wrestlers, Shinsuke Nakamura, will be released as a single-volume hardcover print edition as well as a digital edition by VIZ Media in the summer of 2018. Both hard copy and digital releases will feature select color and b&w photographs.

Born in Kyoto, February 24, 1980, Shinsuke Nakamura began amateur wrestling in high school before attending university at Aoyama Gakuin University. After a brilliant career there, he joined New Japan Pro-Wrestling in March 2002 and made his professional debut at Nippon Budokan in a match against Tadao Yasuda on August 29, 2002. On December 9, 2003, a mere sixteen months into his professional career, he crushed Hiroshi Tenzan and was crowned the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion in history. Even as he pursued greatness in the professional wrestling ring, Nakamura participated in MMA, facing Daniel Gracie of the legendary jiu-jitsu family, and superheavyweight kickboxing champion Alexey Ignashov. Now he thrills fans in the United States and beyond on a weekly basis as one of the top wrestlers in the world.

Review: WWE #5

I don’t often read summaries of upcoming comics. I try to pick out what I’ll read and review based on previous experience and the cover. And Boom Studios’ WWE has had semi-unrelated covers before. After the last issue I was fully expecting to come back to the conclusion of Seth Rollins’ arc that would lead him up to now. To say I was a little surprised to open up and find the start of an arc about Dean Ambrose would be an understatement. A surprise but not an unwelcome one.

For those that don’t know, the Lunatic Fringe Dean Ambrose is one of the two members of the Shield that Seth Rollins stabbed in the back to make his frantic scramble to the top. That’s something neither Dean nor Roman Reigns have ever forget or totally forgiven in the kayfabe storyline on TV. Dean is the most obvious about it when their paths cross. As far as personality goes, Dean has a penchant for not staying down, hardcore matches with few rules that stretches back to his start with indie promotions and being the relatable everyman. It’s something that’s become core to his character and, as a result, this arc.

Just as before, writer Dennis Hopeless weaves a story the pulls the actual events and kayfabe of WWE on the night of Extreme Rules 2016 with Dean Ambrose front and center as we transition away from the story of Seth Rollins. Dean does what he does best and makes some questionable decisions that leave him on the bad side of one Brock Lesnar. You’ve probably heard of Brock Lesnar even if you don’t follow wrestling or haven’t for a long time. Within WWE, he tends to be a silent angry force that leaves destruction in his wake with Paul Heyman as his advocate and mouthpiece.

I’ve said this in my reviews before and the creative team here hasn’t changed. Artist Serg Acuña and colorist Doug Garback are still two great tastes that taste great together and Jim Campbell’s lettering is a great way to top it all off. The backfill this time is a continuation of the New Day’s antics through space and time. If you look closely, you might find a few good references in there.

Yet again, this is one I would pick up even if you aren’t a wrestling fan. Especially with a new arc starting up, you don’t need to have watched the events unfold on TV and pay-per-view to enjoy this.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Serg Acuna Color: Doug Garback
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25
Recommendation: Buy if you’re into late nights, questionable decisions, and back alley fights.

Review: WWE #4

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After the slower emotional ride that was BOOM! Studio’s WWE #3, this issue does a wonderful job of throwing us right back into the action. Seth wants back into the ring, he wants his title back where it belongs, and nothing Hunter can do to stand in his way will stop him from laying his hands on Roman Reigns. Their former friendship means nothing when the top gold in the company is on the line. Every point along this path is hit like a perfected action movie.

Curiously enough, the actual time frame on this issue is incredibly short with most of it taking place over a single pay-per-view night. Again, the creative team of writer Dennis Hopeless, artist Serg Acuña, colorist Doug Garback, and letterer Jim Campbell collectively show their chops in executing a well-told and paced story. They not only understand how wrestling works but also how to convey a story on the page in a compelling way. Even with all the silly and over-the-top moments in this issue, we as an audience are never made to feel like we’re meant to laugh at rather than with them. Very little here drags and, when things slow a bit, it’s always to ramp it back up.

The back matter of this issue focuses on Bray Wyatt, the weird southern gothic bayou horror cult leader of WWE. Penned by Ryan Ferrier, I could have easily mistaken this for one of Wyatt’s actual promos. Though the art of Clay McCormack isn’t a favorite of mine, it serves the dialogue and writing well along with the colors of Dee Cunniffe.

This is kind of weird to say about a comic about wrestling but this issue was such a wonderful and raucous romp that knows exactly what it is and what it’s about with no qualms. If you haven’t been reading, you can still pick this one up as it’s the start of a new mini-arc and covers Seth Rollins’ return to the ring. If you’re a WWE fan, keep an eye out for some familiar heel superstar faces.

Story: Dennis Hopeless and Ryan Ferrier Art: Serg Acuña and Clay McCormack
Color: Doug Garback and Dee Cunniffe Lettering: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy if you like action movie sequences and/or wrestling

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: WWE WrestleMania 2017 Special

Rather than the normal fare for BOOM! Studio’s WWE comics, this special for WrestleMania is a collection of short stories of one of the biggest events in sports entertainment. Each has a different creative team and tells a different tale of the show of shows. All lettering throughout the issue is by Jim Campbell, who matches well with the style of each story presented.

The first, “Ladder Match”, isn’t a favorite and it’s honestly disappointing. Telling the story of Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon’s historic ladder match for the undisputed Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania X in 1994, this should have been a cakewalk. The match itself was full of great classic action and memorable spots with a great story to lead in: Shawn Michaels wasn’t able to defend the title in the required 30 days and was stripped of the title only to return later and claim to still be champion and this match would settle things once and for all. Technically, the story hits hits on all these points but writer Box Brown presents it in such an absurd way that the whole affair loses the weight the actual match had. The art and colors of Jorge Corona and Gabriel Cassata respectively captures the larger than life personalities but I had trouble connecting the actual superstars with the art.

WWE_Wrestlemania2017_001_PRESS_7“The Long Con” is a great palate cleanser after this disappointment, however. Just like in the ongoing WWE series, Dennis Hopeless knows how to weave kayfabe and reality with a touch of creative license to make a story about wrestling that flows well. Speaking of, if you’re currently reading that ongoing, some moments may feel a little familiar from a certain scene with Triple H and Seth Rollins. The illustration and colors, while by Dan Mora and Joana Lafuente rather than the normal ongoing team, is a close mirror that makes the scene hit just that much harder. This story is about more than just Triple H vs Chris Jericho with Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania X8 for the undisputed World Heavyweight Championship; it’s about the beginning of what would become the Authority and the long con that leads there. And that’s what wrestling should always be about in the end.

“The New Day’s Optimistic Odyssey Part Three” picks from WWE backfill and WWE: Then, Now, Forever with the former tag champs traveling through time to spread the power of positivity. However, all is not well with unicorn magic and the New Day must fight to defend it. This continues to be as weird and referential as the New Day themselves with the team of Ross Thibodeaux, Rob Guillory, and Taylor Wells. If you’ve been liking this weirdness so far, you’ll like this next installment.

“You’re Good But…” is the tale of Daniel Bryan, beloved indie darling and underdog and his struggles to be taken as a serious competitor throughout his career. Much like a lot of his career, this is a feel-good story with a happy ending once you make it through all the struggles. It all leads up to a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX.

“The Kevin Owens Comic” is another in which the story is about so much more than the match presented on the pages. This follows the tandem careers of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens as they make their way through to the top of the indies and eventually into the developmental property NXT and WWE itself. They’ve been brothers and partners and have now become bitter enemies. Their matches and interactions against each other have all been memorable and the one from WrestleMania 32 is no different. They’re destined to fight forever.

This special is truly only worth picking up if you’re already invested in wrestling or BOOM!’s WWE comics. Unlike the WWE ongoing, this doesn’t give some of the necessary background to explain the action happening.

Story: Dennis Hopeless, Andy Belanger, Box Brown, Aubrey Sitterson, Ross Thibodeaux
Arti: Andy Belanger, Rob Guillory
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Pass, unless heavily invested already

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

WWE, Linda McMahon and why she cannot be the new head of the Small Business Administration

wwe-logo-featuredI’m a pro-wrestling fan. Mostly WWE due to access, but I try to keep abreast of what is happening in promotions like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling as well and I just started following my local indie fed Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment late last year. I unabashedly love Finn Bálor, Bayley and Sami Zayn, have been published by Paste Magazine with my thoughts on WWE, and I’m even going to Wrestlemania in Orlando this year to mark my two year anniversary as a wrestling fan.

So when WWE co-founder Linda McMahon was appointed by President Donald Trump to be the new head of the Small Business Administration, naturally I was asked what my opinion was on the matter.

Well, without my usual use of four letter words to pepper it, my opinion is such: Linda McMahon is an awful choice due to her own history with how WWE is run.

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Linda McMahon donated six million dollars to a Super PAC supporting Trump. This is on top of the five million “donated” to the Trump Foundation by her and WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon between 2007 and 2009. While Linda has not actively been involved with the company since 2009 when she began her first unsuccessful Senate campaign, she still has some equity within the company (the McMahon family holds 90.4% interest). There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it, Linda McMahon bought her way into the SBA position with money earned from WWE.
  2. WWE classifies the wrestlers we see on TV every week as independent contractors, despite the grueling travel schedule that sees them on the road anywhere between 250 to 300 days a year and the amount of high risk that is involved in the position. While WWE has tightened up their medical care and wellness policy in the past decade, it still leaves the wrestlers without company based health insurance, social security, or unemployment. McMahon has tried to justify this in the past, speaking on the royalties, merchandising, and contract deals that are unlike any other sport that will also classify their athletes as independent contractors. However, unlike those other sports, WWE doesn’t have an off-season nor a union for its wrestlers. This also doesn’t include the multiple lawsuits brought on by former employees, including a recent concussion lawsuit, the fact former WWE wrestlers like Perry Saturn have had to take to GoFundMe to take care of medical expenses, or that current Raw General Manager Mick Foley has admitted that he is on a “handshake deal” with the company and currently doesn’t have health insurance to cover hip replacement surgery. It’s a gross misclassification, especially for a publically traded company that brings in millions of dollars every year.
  3. Out of the company’s ten highest paid wrestlers in 2015, only one was not white and none of them were women. Adding into the fact that non-white and women superstars only receive a fraction of marketing and merchandising that white men receive, despite WWE constantly bragging about how far they’ve come with women’s wrestling in the past few years. For example, current Smackdown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss did not have a shirt available for purchase until two weeks after her championship win. She does now, but that leaves it down to one champion within the WWE that doesn’t: Rich Swann, the current WWE Cruiserweight Champion and one of two current black champions within the company (the other being Smackdown Tag Champion Jason Jordan). Behind the scenes, no women writers are currently employed. Despite small advances that have been made within the past couple of years, it’s obvious that WWE still has some ways to go in regards to race and gender but no way to address it as of yet.

The facts are clear: Linda McMahon has done and will likely do nothing to address issues within small business of misclassification, employee rights, and gender/race pay gaps. To place her in this position, especially when she still has equity within WWE, is dangerous. She bought her way into the position after her aspirations of politics failed and she is unqualified to address the growing concerns of small business in America.


Tell your Senators NO on Linda McMahon for SBA. Call your senators, especially if they are within the Senate Small Business Committee. A vote is expected within the week.

You can look your Senator up here and call, email, Tweet at them to not support Linda McMahon for this position.

 

You can watch the hearing below.

WWE’s Linda McMahon Puts a Headlock as Small Business Administrator

linda_mcmahon_creative_commons_attribution-share_alike_2-0_genericRumors have swirled for a while, but President-elect Donald Trump has thrown Linda McMahon into the ring to lead the Small Business Administration. Along with Vince McMahon, she founded what is now known as WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment. McMahon stepped down from the company in 2009 when she ran for Senate. Trump has appeared on WWE television even grappling with McMahon’s husband Vince.

McMahon is a strong supporter of Republican and Conservative causes having donated tens of millions of dollars over the years. She ran for Senate in 2009 and 2012 as a Republican. She has also donated to some Democrats over the years as well, though with a large gap between the two parties.

McMahon actually had harsh words for Trump during the election saying his comments about women were “deplorable.” She donated to former Presidential candidate Rand Paul’s Senate race, as well as former Presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s Senate campaign as well as his Presidential campaign. She donated $6 million in August and September to Rebuilding America Now, a super PAC that supported Trump’s presidential bid though has indicated Trump was not her first choice. She and her husband were the largest outside donors to Trump’s personal charity.

Trump in the decision announcement called her “one of the country’s top female executives” who helped the WWE become a “global enterprise.”

The Small Business administrator is in charge of the federal agency that helps shepherd federal contracts and capital to small businesses. She has embraced her role as a female entrepreneur with a new advocacy group Women’s Leadership Live, which helps women in business. The position is a Cabinet-level position that requires Senate confirmation. Itis likely past controversies regarding the WWE will be brought up during the hearing. Those issues include steroid and drug use, athelete health, sexual harassment by staff, as well as the content on the show and brand. Currently more than 50 former wrestlers are suing the company saying it is responsible for head trauma including concussions suffered that has led to long-term brain damage. There’s also the issue of the high mortality rate of wrestlers that have worked for the company and actual deaths due to negligence. Will she go kayfabe for the hearings or beak it?

BOOM! Studios currently publishes WWE comics. It’s unknown if this will be worked into any of their planned storylines.

Dragon Con 2016: DCW takes over Thursday Night

If you needed any more proof that the popularity of pro-wrestling is growing within nerd communities, Dragon Con was certainly the place to see that. Besides the fair amount of wrestling cosplay (myself as Bayley and Finn Bálor included), it was impossible to go around the con this year without coming across fellow nerds wearing wrestling shirts on the show floor. If I had to wager a guess, The New Day was easily the most popular with variations on and within the Bullet Club being a close second.

Knowing this, it isn’t a surprise that Dragon Con Wrestling saw its biggest turnout since it started 15 years ago this year. And on a Thursday, no less!

DCW pulls performers from all over the Georgia independent scene and beyond to put on a fun and somewhat nerdy tinged show for the audience. This was my first year getting to attend the show and oh boy, what a show it was.

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First of all, the crowd was exactly what you’d expect from what happens when you mix a wrestling crowd with Dragon Con’s drinking habits. One guy even kept trying to get everyone in the front sections to do the wave, even though that’s a huge ‘NO’ at wrestling events. Having to deal with drunk and disorderly in my section tended to take me out of the show in some sections, but it definitely wasn’t a deal breaker.

As for the matches themselves, there was a fun and decent variety to be had. From the first ever match won by submission in DCW history by a crossface applied by Joe Black to Adrian Armour to an intergender tag match for the Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment tag titles, the competitors for the evening were no slouches in the ring. They had the crowd going hard too if the reaction to Why We Wrestle’s Billy Buck getting a very heel win over the Venom cosplaying Stryk Nyn was any indication. Don’t worry, Stryk got him back with a spear to keep the crowd happy going into the next match.

Since it is Dragon Con, there was a LOT of cosplay happening in the matches. Starting with CB Suave’s Rock cosplay, we got everything from dark lords of Satan, Venom, Harley Quinn, Team Rocket, She-Hulk, Mickey Rourke, an ongoing fight between a Peter Griffin and a Chicken, and even a delightful Cheshire Cat inspired wrestler named Manchild. The real cosplay highlight though came in the competition for the Dragon’s Cup where Sith Lord Mikal Mosley defeated the Star Trek inspired Amazing Darkstone with a move that can only be described as a “Force Choke Slam.” I’m surprised I still have eardrums after the massive pop that got.

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The night also brought out the true emotion behind wrestling. Beginning with a certain Atlanta based YouTuber being inducted into the DCW Hall of Fame, the night also saw the final DCW match for veteran Tank. While I was not familiar with Tank before that night, the gruff man’s way of connecting with the crowd during his tag match with Iceberg against the “Genetically Superior” Logan Creed and Bobby Moore was undeniable, especially when he let a man in a wheelchair get in on the action by letting him land a few “hits” on Creed. Plus, it’s always a sad affair when a wrestler has to hang up his boots. He showed his love for the DCW crowd and his “brothers” in the ring and in the back, and the DCW crowd showed their love with a booming chant of “THANK YOU TANK.” Happy trails to you, Tank.

For my first year experiencing it, Dragon Con Wrestling was definitely worth my four hours on a Thursday night. It lives up to the spirit of the con in so many ways while definitely being its own exciting thing. Count me back next year, especially if Mikal and Azrael are facing off for the Dragon’s Cup. I want to see what they do next.

Special thanks to Georgia Wrestling History for their notes on the event.

Loot Crate Launches Their WWE Slam Crate

WWE Slam Crate is a bi-monthly mystery subscription service from Loot Crate for fans of the WWE Universe. Featuring EXCLUSIVE collectibles and apparel that you can’t get anywhere else!

The debut theme is “The Fist,” a celebration of some of the greatest “firsts” in WWE history. Featuring a first-of-its-kind The New Day Collectible, the first Topps card from Austin Aries (some crates will have autographed versions!), and more worthy of a champion!

The new WWE Slam Crate is $29.99 a month plus shipping and handling.

WWE Slam Crate

 

 

 

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