RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Sunday, April 6

12-Pack Review: NECW 03/22/02

BEER ONE: Man, when you get those feelings of too much drinking lately, where you know life’s just been too frustrating not to knock back a six-pack at night, or you might think too much, which makes you cry, and when you cry you feel like a pussy because that’s how you were raised, so you drink instead, because you were also raised that way, and you get those tingly fingers like you’ve been sitting on your hand but you haven’t, and it feels like that all day long until you drink a beer and after like one and a half, you’re like Ronnie Dobbs, ready for action and back to your “normal” self. I’m getting like that. I didn’t want to do this 12-pack review, but then it’s Friday night, I’m at home by myself for the weekend with my daughter and she went to bed pretty easily. Usually, my wife puts her to sleep and wakes up with her as our daughter still nurses during those two times, so I was uneasy about putting her to bed for three days while my ol’ lady was in North Carolina, but it went down easy. I fell asleep too, because you just can’t lay in a darkroom holding your daughter’s hand for half an hour till she falls asleep without crashing out yourself, especially when you usually drink till three in the morning every night, pecking out some dumb shit on a machine that actually allows sexual predators and government agents into your house to try and steal your children and track your every move, and you get up every morning at 8 to take a shower and be half an hour late for your shitty job, late the same time every day. My fuckin’ biological clock has gotten slack, as I cut the alarm off the other night, and woke up at exactly the last minute I can wake up to be half an hour late, which for some reason, I’ve come to justify as okay, but if I go over that half an hour, I’m gonna be fucking up. What the fuck is wrong with me? What the fuck am I doing here? But God Bless the fact that today, when I got paid, and paid off the two cut-off notices, there wasn’t enough to actually pay another bill, but there was enough to go hit up the Oriental food store and the wholesale vegetable place and the Food Lion, and I got some baby corn to make stir-fried rice for me and my daughter to eat for dinner, and she actually wanted to watch “race cars, daddy”, so we watched the first twenty laps of the Busch race, and I had money to pick up a case of Old Milwaukee, and the delicious cold blandness of generic beer goes down happily and placates my feelings of frustration for another night. No wonder alcohol is legal. But what better way to obsess unhealthily and push those bad thoughts a little deeper into my gullet so that hard ball of stress that I feel just below the bottom of my ribcage gets a little thicker and will take a longer to work out when I start hiking mountain trails when it cools down a little this fall. Anyways, next up on the Tournament of Independents is New England Championship Wrestling, sent in by Handsome Dan, a good yankee man. I’ve been kind of pre-hyped on this one, because NECW is run by Sheldon Goldberg, who used to do a newsletter I used to get pre-internet tomfoolery days, that revolved around his merchandise business. One issue I got had this real long story about him, Goldberg, brokering the involvement of the Michinoku Pro guys in that 6-man match at ECW’s first pay-per-view. Reading that article sort of turned my opinion on Paul Heyman, because it was obvious he was shady as fuck with his money, where it came to paying people, and that’s not to say he was grifting wrestlers, but that he was juggling, sort of like I am with my bills, and a juggling the money type of man is hard to catch up with some times. ECW’s success is testament to two things – one, that Heyman could recognize great talent that hadn’t been exposed to the World at large yet, and two, that the great talent he recognized and brought it worked it’s fuckin’ collective ass off to make something from nothing. No indy is close to doing that now. Think of all the guys on top of the WWF right now who went through ECW to gain notoriety – Benoit, Jericho, Guerrero, Misterio, Dudleyz, RVD, you could go on and on – it’s ridiculous. Anyways, Sheldon Goldberg always came across as a straight forward guy, though that fucker never honored my subscription to his newsletter, but hey, it’s not like I haven’t done that before myself. Wrestling is good for the soul of the downtrodden, that’s why sassy white whores of the pre-teen variety have always been seen near the aisle of the dressing room for as long as I can remember. And NECW starts out with metal music and highlight packages, like any self-respecting indy should do. Nothing could ever top the old IWA Mid South intro with “Crazy Train”, but you take what you can get. Judging from the intro, I can expect lots of small guys being crazy. Puck from MTV, his little brother is in the opening talk thing, and has the worst hair this side of Alex Wright as Berlynn. Oh, it’s Tim Fury. Aaron Morrison talks next, and he looks like the kind of guy who does you right at the Jiffy-Lube, not finding unnecessary things wrong with your car because he’s an honest type. I like the each wrestler cutting a backstage promo before the match, I hope they do that all the way through. Morrison is your Jiffy-Lube shootfighter, with black MMA gloves and stolen hotel towel around his neck.

BEER TWO: Tim Fury looks like he works at the Jiffy-Lube, too, but he has a Honda Civic with a two foot rear spoiler and shit like those neon balls inside his car. This is the battle that always intrigues me, as Morrison is the honest guy at the Jiffy-Lube, while Fury is the cocksuckin’ youngster who has never learned how to properly respect other because he grew up on Nintendo and is all about some Vin Diesel movie soundtracks; yet in the ring, Morrison is jeered and Fury is idolized, because society has gone to shit. I used to root for heels growing up because I was an asshole kid, now I root for heels because the faces suck and have no morals and that’s no babyface to throw my support behind. This building is indy-tastic, as there’s a pull-down movie screen in the background, and nice plants in all the corners. It’s a theater, straight up, with those weird lights on the wall that only point up and a black ceiling. Morrison is pulling the greatest move I’ve ever seen, with his leg across Fury’s throat, choking him, yet Morrison has his arm on the ref’s shoulder, talking to him about something in the crowd, to distract him from the blatant rulebreaking going on. That’s quality. Aaron Morrison has a beer belly; Tim Fury has spiked hair in the shape of a V on the top of his skinny little head. Double clothesline action leaves both men down and ends the Morrison domination. Fury should be Ricky Mortoning his way into control here soon. And he does, he’s the king of overembellishments, which I hate. You know, Rob Van Dam is the Lord of this style, where you add a roll or flip or something, and it doesn’t actually add to the intensity of the move, instead it just makes you look acrobatic and shit. The best example of this is Konnan’s rolling clothesline. I always wished somebody would do a superkick on Konnan when he did that move; that’d rock to see him roll and come up chin-first into a stiff boot. Hopefully, he’d die. Tim Fury does the wackest skinny boy with bad hair frogsplash I’ve ever seen. Don’t lick your finger and test the wind, for pretend, before launching a shitty frogsplash. FUCK! Dusty Rhodes is cutting a promo about Boston and the revolution and Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party. Dusty Rhodes is in front of a cabinet full of knick-knacks, like at your grandma’s house, talking about a new wrestling revolution, using the term “young lions”, which is what cruiserweights used to be called.

BEER THREE: Let me tell you, if I am watching some wrestling tape some dude sent me, and without warning, Dusty Rhodes is sitting in front of said knick-knack cabinet, talking about New England Championship Wrestling, and putting over how great Alex Arion is, I will drink beer. Dusty catches a lot of shit, but look at Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling. He’s been doing that for years, all for the love of wrestling. How can you fault that? Sure, his booking in NWA was shitty, but goddamn, the man loves wrestling. He was the first wrestler I saw with a commercial endorsement, back in the mid-80s, for some foot itch powder or something. Justin Powers is young and hyper and goofy during his promo. Debonair Cruz is also very young, but damn if he ain’t sort of smooth on the promo. Let’s say that Down’s Syndrome kid from that TV show a few years back got real skinny, which Down’s kids never do, but let’s just say for the sake of argument he did. And let’s say he put on some shitty blue and white wrestling trunks and a Puma t-shirt. He’d be Justin Powers. Debonair Cruz has metal theme music and is over with the fans, in that sort of way that really good wrestlers in a decent promotion are, as one kid in the second row is doing the arms raised bow thing like he was Muslim and Cruz was Allah. Already, Cruz has me hooked, though he’s only like 160 pounds wet with his clothes on, because he’s doing the arm wrench while applying the headlock, visually suggesting that his headlock IS GETTING TIGHTER AND TIGHTER WITH EACH ARM WRENCH! You can’t train quality like that, you just have to be born a fuckin’ wrestling freak who notices the little things. Justin Powers tested the wind too; that’s two fuckin’ wind testers in an indoor theater already during the second match. Sheldon should make a point to tell those kids how wack that is. Man, Cruz is great, but he’s Steve Corino in 1996 skinny. If he started talking all those supplements, he’d get big enough that Vince would sign him and make him take steroids to get bigger enough, and he could be a star. Cruz just did a northern lights suplex where he rolled over, lifted the guy into a death valley driver position, but did a sort of stone cold stunner that left Powers standing, then did the reverse neckbreaker to lay him out; that impressed me. Then he missed a shooting star press so that Powers could do the old foot on the second rope pinfall. Cruz is great, Powers is decent enough but creepy looking in the eyeballs. Fuck, all these guys look to be sixteen if they’re lucky. Trent Springate is like five feet tall and not old enough to buy cigarettes, but he and his brother Zachary Springate are going up against Matt and Mark Taylor. The Springates come out to heelish classical music and are British upper crust with ponytails apparently. So far NECW has reminded me a lot of OMEGA when I first saw it and nobody knew what it was. Zachary is the best longhaired indy Steve Regal on the mic I’ve ever seen. A heel can’t say “bloody” enough in my book. The Taylor brothers look like Cliff Burton’s cousins, and somebody has landed on kids in the first row already. I am all about this match, already. The Taylors are in control so far, and Trent Springate is your bump machine so far early on. We’ve got an unprotected chairshot on one of the Taylors that turns the tide, and I think I forgot to tell you this was no DQ, and that doesn’t mean no Dairy Queen, brother.

BEER FOUR: The oddest thing, I though Trent Springate as wearing long-legged trunks, but they’re not. His generous use of orange tassles led me to believe his thighs were covered by actual pants, when actually, the double tiered tassle action his seamstress gave him misled me. Zachary Springate sells moves in a great ways; he just took a spike DDT and secretly and quickly kicked into a split second handstand before falling on his back. The greatest team pin cover ever outside of lucha libre as Zachary barely hits a senton, then Trent grabs the legs and flips over for the pin cover and Zachary dives on the legs sideways for more pin coverage. Match over, and not bad at all. Slyk Wagner Brown is a small black dude with blonde hair, and you can’t go wrong with that. Slyk Wagner Brown is a monster size-wise, compared to the rest of this roster. He’s tall and cut fairly well, and, like all black guys trying to scare Boston crowds in a wrestling ring should, he’s wearing a doorag. Plus he makes fun a fat guy in the front row, and his trunks say “DONT HATE” without the apostrophe on the front. SWB is already my favorite wrestler and he’s talking shit about Maverick Wild, who is a redneck. He’s got urban camouflage briefs trunks (urban style is the blue and light green motif camo) and a didn’t-his-child-support website picture mustache. SWB chops the fuck out of Wild’s chest. Man, these guys are great, too. Why hasn’t somebody told me about all these skinny fuckers in New England before? Ahh, as he spun from a wickedly loud knife’s edge chop on his own chest, I saw that SWB’s trunks say “APPRECIATE” on the back. Such class. We should have a Don’t Hate Appreciate Day to bring cultures together, like this redneck in urban camo vs. this black man with blonde hair are displaying. Wild does a variation on the Perfectplex where he grabbed the leg from underneath to hold it sideways instead of up.

BEER FIVE: SWB and Wild are center ring chopping the fuck out of each other, and the ref is cringing. Wild’s chest is fleshy looking, and SWB is black so I can’t rightfully tell if his chest is red or not from such a wide angle view. But they are getting a nice sound of each other. Some fat guy distracts the ref, and some baldheaded dude in a green amateur singlet pedigree’s Brown, which Wild follows up with his own finisher and the victory. Don’t worry Slyk, the World is full of haters, not appreciators, and there’s nothing you can do about it. He takes the mic, holding the back of his head, and says, “I’m feeling a little spindly right now…” That rocks, using that word, then he knocks the attacker’s circumcised penis. I’ve never heard “circumcised” used in a wrestling ring; Slyk Wagner Brown is the king of vocab. Sheldon Goldberg comes out and the crowd chants “GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG!” like they should. Ahh, the beauty of indy wrestling, as Maverick Wild is backstage cutting a post-match promo, showing off his hamburger meat chest. I wondered why he didn’t do a pre-match promo. A pair of fratboys called the Egomaniacs do a promo, BUT WHO THE FUCK CARES? One Night Stand is a pair of homo-erotic gangster motifed PRs, and they are gonna get my full support. The Egomaniacs look like they might be twins who played baseball and would always be on the same team as siblings are in little league, but they were actually athletic, so they won a lot of shitty little trophies as youngsters and grew up so cocky that they became wrestling heels and probably just get over as heels by saying all the things they think in their head about themselves but don’t say because they’ve been taught tact by life. One Night Stand is greater than any drunken explanation I could make would ever do justice to. I think, but am not sure, that ONS got announced as Tommy Ecstacy and Johnny Delicious. The bald, beer belly guy from One Night Stand broke free of a lock-up, got behind the other guy, and instead of trying to do a move like everybody in the history of wrestling has done, he did a schoolboy. That makes me drink beer.

BEER SIX: The Delicious guy got tossed out the ring, so the other guy was doing chiropractic work on him ringside, no shit, a deep back massage, which got them over as fags and made me love them even more, when one of the Ego guys dove out, got caught, and dropped on his face on the edge of the mat. So far, we’ve got Debonair Cruz, Slyk Wagner Brown, and now One Night Stand, four very indy guys that I very much enjoy. Why must indy wrestling in Virginia be so sporadic? All sorts of quality madness is going on, and the longhair guy of One Night Stand is throwing some quality punches, that leads up to the bald One Night Stand guy winning with a PILEDRIVER! Yes, his finishing move was a piledriver. I am fuckin’ proud that somebody won with that, and I drink beer in memory of Bruiser Bob Sweetan, though the “I Touch Myself” music in the background would probably piss Sweetan off. Brian Jury’s promo looks like a Tough Enough tape. Kurt Adonis does to. I think that thought has polluted my enjoyment of any further promos. Fuck my brain. Kurt Adonis has the best ring entrance to Backstreet Boys/NSync that I’ve seen. He bounce dances his way through the ropes between the top and second rope. Of course, the crowd chants, “He’s a homo!” because they are confused by their own feelings of self-doubt. Brian Jury is in full weird alligator skin orange and black get-up, and comes out to metal, real metal, with gargled vocals. As great as Sheldon Goldberg seems, I hate to say this, but I wonder how many of these young guys he’s molested. They all seem so young and pure and uncut, and he seems so older than all of them. There’s not one old guy on this card so far, except for the promoter, and homoerotic undertones have run throughout this card. I mean, I’m enjoying it fine and all, but that ain’t saying much. I usually love that one Penthouse letter where the guy plays tennis with his old college roommate and gets a back rub afterwards that ends up in them sixty-nining. Brian Jury won.

BEER SEVEN: Bob Evans is an albino bald guy, and scares me. Alex Arion is supposed to be great, according to Dusty Rhodes, but he looks small and goofy to me in his promo. I went outside to piss, and it’s a full moon, and the red maple tree in the front yard is dead, so from where I piss off the porch I look up through a leaveless tree at a full moon, yet I’m half-naked as it’s August, so it makes me feel like some pagan doing nudity rituals in the fall, except it’s all warm instead. That makes me wanna get naked and hang out in the garden with the gourds and tomatoes. We’ve got a severe drought here; I watch certain ponds lower by the day on my ride to work; you can see the wet dirt from were it sunk that day on the way home. We need more pagan rituals, and less uptight Christians. We’ve got a drought, yet the three times this summer that this goddess at work has nailed a snake to a tree, which is supposed to bring rain, it has brought rain. The thing is, you have to find a snake. I haven’t seen one all summer in my yard, and the field mice have taken over the shed, building nests in the bags of clothes for Goodwill. More pagans, less God-fearing fucks voting Republicrat or Demican. Alex Arion is a lot stockier than his promo led me to believe; and Bob Evans is that guy who fucked over Slyk Wagner Brown earlier. He looks weird and I don’t like him. One plus is Bob Evans has green tape on his wrists; I’ve never seen that. Evans’ evil manager smacks and spits on the ref, causing the ref to chase him around the theater, which leaves Arion and Evans to get the match started sans law and order. So they use the ringside table, some fan’s Aquafina bottle, a merchandise table, then go back in the ring. Still no ref. My kidney hurts. Arion does a nice superfly splash, and a second fat ref shows up all of a sudden. I expect more ref shenanigans later during this match, which is your main event. I’m not talking much, but basically it’s a quality match. You wouldn’t know I’m not talking much because you’re reading a review. Evans has used plenty of kicks and now employs a bearhug. I am always down with the bearhug, because it’s grizzly loving manipulated into man hatred. We, as a species, are very short-sighted like that. Bob Evans, big bald heel that he is, just reminds me too much of Bull from Night Court, so I can’t hate or like him. He just seems like a stupid rerun. The crowd has chanted “boring” and clapped continuously faster, showing their mixed feelings about this match. Alex Arion can get beat up only for so long. The crowd is chanting “BOB! BOB! BOB!” which I think is the second best crowd chant I’ve ever heard, second only to “She’s a crack whore” complete with hockey style foot stomps.

BEER EIGHT: Arion is riling up his self, and he throws a mighty fine Greek roundhouse. They do the bad guy ducks down for a backtoss off the ropes, yet good guy catches him, hooks both arms, and spins around for a backslide pin attempt. Of course, it doesn’t work. It’d be so dope if some dude had that as his finishing move and learned how to, of course kayfabe, flex his shoulder blades to add extra pressure, and that was his deal, he’d win with that backslide, because I’ve never seen anybody win with that. It’s worse than the Ric Flair running along the apron to the top rope to dive thing for success ratio. Alex Arion catches Evans in a fujiwara armbar, and gets the submission win, and Evans rolls around smacking the mat like a good loser should, selling the angle. All sorts of guys come out to congratulate Arion, and the ref who chased off the manager reappears to reluctantly hand over the belt. He must’ve been the former champ and doing a Taz passing along the ECW belt gimmick. I hate gimmicks. Let me see how much beer I can drink during Alex’s victory promo. Half a beer left. Well, fuck.

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