The Delco Elbow Drop

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Exclusive interview with WWE Supstar Santino Marella about his career, WWE Payback and more

The Ring Rust Radio Crew is back on the Delco Elbow Drop with another big interview - this time with former WWE Intercontinental and United States Champion, Santino Marella! Donald Wood, Mike Chiari and Brandon Galvin get the chance to talk with Santino about his background in MMA, his career in the WWE and the upcoming WWE Payback Pay-Per-View. Check out this EXCLUSIVE interview below or listen on YouTube:

Donald Wood: WWE’s Payback pay-per-view is Sunday, June 1, and there is a real buzz in the air about the show. As someone with a unique view of the action being in the trenches, what are you most looking forward to during the show?
Santino Marella: I really want to see the Shield vs. Evolution, for me, because this is a real classic story of the old champions that are past their prime and the new up-and-comers and somewhere theirs paths have to cross, somewhere one was going to be better than the other and it all was going to shift and change. Now? Is it maybe two years from now? That’s what I am really curious to see.

Mike Chiari: Having been with WWE for seven years you’ve had a lot of different experiences, but what one match or angle or moment stands out to you as your favorite thing you’ve been a part of in WWE?
Santino: It’s very difficult for me and I often tell people that the best moment is yet to come, but I believe winning the United States Championship was very nice, Elimination Chamber was very special for me, defending my US Title in a cage vs. Jack Swagger was cool; I had never been in a cage match before, to have just one moment; maybe wrestling in Italy.

Brandon Galvin: Not many fans know about your background in MMA, is this a style you would like to incorporate more into your future matches?
Santino: For my matches maybe not because my character is established but for the future and young talent, I believe this is the way the business should go because of the growth of MMA and people are becoming more savvy when it comes to submissions and takedowns and things like that. Before, when we said that wrestling was real we didn’t have to work so hard, but now that we acknowledge that it’s entertainment we have to be very realistic and that is the style we teach at Battle Arts Academy in Toronto.

Donald Wood: Your ring name Marella was an homage to WWE Hall of Famer Robert "Gorilla Monsoon" Marella. Did you have any say in this decision and how did it feel to be bestowed such an honor?
Santino: When they told me, immediately I realized it was an honor and a privilege and it did put some pressure on me to deliver the goods, so to speak.

Mike Chiari: You’ve been paired with a lot of different Divas over the course of your career like Maria, Beth Phoenix, Tamina and now Emma. As a performer how does sharing the stage with a valet or partner impact and enhance what you’re able to do?
Santino: If you know how to use them then of course you have a synergy and if you don’t know how to use them it can be a waste of time. I have been with very different women, for example, Maria was very delicate, more like a model, Beth Phoenix was very strong, Emma is very funny and Tamina was like an amazon. So you have to know how to incorporate them and it all depends on how the personalities mingle.

Donald Wood: You trained in Ohio Valley Wrestling under the tutelage of Paul Heyman. Heyman is widely regarded as one of the smartest minds in the business, but how did he influence your career and do you still go to him for advice?
Santino: Paul Heyman is like a wrestling genius. His input weighs a lot for me. In training, he was observing me and he pulled me aside and said I have an idea for you and he heard about my background and we became more selective and it was very good and it was very fun. I believe the people that watched, they believed 100 percent so we did our job, you know.

Brandon Galvin: You're always willing to take a chance on something different and creative, whether it's in the ring or outside the ring, with your character. How much of this a collaboration with others, or do you come up with everything we see?
Santino: In the beginning, it was more regionalized, then it was a collaboration, and now I have more freedom for input. They give me a skeleton, and say ‘you need to say this, this and this, but in your way’ and I come up with what I want to say.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bill Goldberg discusses his WWE and WCW careers and a possible return to the ring

The crew from Ring Rust Radio – Donald Wood, Mike Chiari and Brandon Galvin – return to the Delco Elbow Drop with another great interview with pro wrestling star Bill Goldberg. The former WWE and WCW World Heavyweight champion talks with RRR about his WWE career, his undefeated streak in WCW, his new PodCastOne show and even a possible return to WWE! 

Check out the exclusive interview on YouTube below or listen to this week’s episode of Ring Rust Radio here.

One More Match
“First and foremost, let me back you up for a second here. It’s funny anytime that I mention anything about wrestling, even my words can be taken out of context. There have been a number of different publications that have run the story that ‘Goldberg’s back and begging to have a match again’ and he wants to get back in the ring, at the end of the day, I would definitely listen to that type of conversation but it’s not something I wake up every morning and I pray to God to and hope that I can lace up my boots one more time because I have to end on a nostalgic note. If the opportunity arose and it was a favorable condition for everybody involved, and I mean working condition, not necessarily the money, and opponent, I would definitely cater the thought.

“As to specific people that I would like to face, man I’ve been forthright and upfront that I’m not on top of the wrestling business like the normal fan would be since my departure, it hasn’t been the number one thing in my life, so to just throw a couple of names off the top of my head would be the only way that I could do it. I couldn’t give an educated guess as to what the good storyline would be in this day and age as far as television storylines are concerned. Like I said, I’d consider it, for sure, but it’s not something I’m longing for.

“J.R is a very good friend of mine and I can talk straight with him and that’s what these podcasts do. They catch intimate conversations and now that I have my own I can point the mic at someone else and let them spew so they can get themselves in trouble more than I can. I enjoyed the wrestling business, there were a lot of things that I didn’t like about it, but there were things that I did like about it so I would consider something like that.

“As far as schedule is concerned, who knows. I’m in pretty decent shape, I don’t know what to compare it to, but for a 47 year old guy walking around and he goes to a Muy-Thai Gym a number of days a week, I’d say I’m pretty much ahead of the game. For the schedule, I don’t know. I don’t talk to Brock enough to compare what I would think would be acceptable for myself. It’s a topic that interests me but it’s not a topic I think about daily.”

Negative Fan Reaction for Part Time Wrestlers
“Obviously in anybody’s mind, any type of failure, whether it be to yourself or the fans or management, is something that you don’t want to encounter and if you can keep yourself out of it then that’s always a consideration if you’re a smart person. How much that would play in my decision? Honestly, it wouldn’t play very much because that’s not why I would do it. At the end of the day, I would do it to invoke a positive response from my son and my wife. I’d love to be able to please the fans, so many of them that have asked me over the last 10 to 11 years to go back, I would obviously do it for them also. It’s always a crap shoot. Whether you’re away 10 years or you’re away 10 minutes every single time I’ve looked at it, you’re only as good as your next performance. So it would weigh in my mind but it wouldn’t be a factor in my decision.”

Who/What was Responsible for WCW’s Demise
“There’s nobody you can point to single-handedly. First of all, it’s hard for me to give an educated opinion because I was injured during that period of time and I was away from the normal day goings on of WCW. Now, when AOL and Time Warner merged, it was ultimately the demise of WCW as we know it I believe. I don’t think it was something that they were heavily behind as far as programming is concerned by any stretch of the imagination and from what I remember, Ted Turner was on safari when the decision was made by the board to get rid of WCW. I think it starts at the top and when everybody feels that something is going awry, anxiety is at such a level that everybody just falls apart. It was a law-less society once it started going downhill and at that time, who was wanting to put forth the effort to save it? Obviously there were a lot of die-hards that wanted it saved and a lot of wresters that wanted it saved, I don’t know anybody that didn’t want it saved and to see it succeed except maybe the competition and the people who owned it. There was a lot of passion for it.”

Feelings on a Possible Hall of Fame Induction
“To get any type of accolade like that when you’re in a given sport or profession is the ultimate honor. But again, like I said about me stepping back in the ring, it’s not something that I long for every morning. Would I deem my wrestling career a failure if I didn’t join it? No. It would be a hell of an honor for sure. There are people there that deserve it and there are people there that don’t deserve it and I’m not anyone to say that I deserve it by any stretch of the imagination. It would be an honor for sure because there are a lot of legends there and it is a sport that put my name at the forefront and I owe it a lot of credit for me being able to talk to you right now and have my own podcast and be a television actor. Yes it would be an honor but I wouldn’t feel incomplete if it didn’t happen at the end of the day.”

CM Punk Walking Away
“We’re all individuals and we all live different ways, I do not know any of the back story, I don’t know CM Punk but I can empathize and I can completely understand anyone who wouldn’t like dealings that have transgressed throughout the years at the WWE.”

His Streak Ending
“From time to time I’ve shown displeasures to the way that it ended and Kevin was on the booking committee for a couple of weeks and it was just timing. I believe the creativity to keep it going could have happened, but I’ll plead the fifth again and just say I’m a performer, not an entertainer in that I can take direction and go out and complete it but I can’t develop the storyline. My job was not a booker by any stretch of the imagination and I try not to give my opinion as to who I think should’ve beaten me because I don’t get into the storyline as much as the next guy. It was those guys’ decision, they’ve been in the business, collectively, probably 100 years, so who am I to question that? As a human being you’re always going to question things but it’s not my place, I was just the talent. I wish Godzilla would’ve beaten me, or Big Foot, or something like that. I just think Scott Hall should’ve hit me with the taser that sticks in your chest from across the ring, but so be it.”

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville – The future of WWE

ZvN by aase458

Sami Zayn
If you’ve followed the independent wrestling scene for the past few years, you should already be familiar with the participants of this match – Sami Zayn and the NXT Champion Adrian Neville. If not, let me fill you in.

This match took place during WWE’s current European tour as a dark match during a taping of Main Event. Sami Zayn formerly wrestled as El Generico on the indies and has been receiving all sorts of praise for his work in NXT, especially his matches against Cesaro. NXT Champion Adrian Neville formerly worked as Pac on the indies and even his nickname, “The Man That Gravity Forgot,” made the transfer from the indies.

Finding this match online recently was really cool because I wasn’t aware that either Neville or Zayn were touring with the main roster and which means that we could definitely see these two on TV sometime soon. It’s obvious that holding the NXT Championship is a good indicator that the holder will be called up soon, much like Big E and Bo Dallas have been. Though wrestlers like Adam Rose prove that gold isn’t always a prerequisite for getting a call up.

Outside of this match being really top notch, starting slowly and building toward and exciting finish, this match showcases two talents who could easily be considered the future of the WWE. Adrian Neville’s high flying ability is second to none in the company right now and it’d be no stretch to compare his abilities to someone like Rey Mysterio Jr. Though he could use some work on the mic, his ability to incorporate gymnastic ability and high flying, lucha libre inspired offense connects with fans more than words ever could.

Adrian Neville
While on the other hand, Sami Zayn is one of the most instantly likeable wrestlers that the WWE has seen in some time. He’s incredibly hard working and his ring psychology is second to none. But his personable demeanor and hard work in the ring really helps get fans behind him and invested in his matches.

The presentation of this match is a bit odd because it’s a dark match that clearly wasn’t ever meant to be broadcast – I’m not entirely sure how it even got out on the net. There’s no announcing, the crowd volume is turned way down and you can hear every squeak and creak out of the mat. But none of those aspects take away from the great match that Nevile and Zayn put on. I mean, how often is it that dark matches get “This is awesome” chants?

Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville will make their way to the main roster one day and all I can do is hope that day is coming soon.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Rumors that WWE have signed Japanese stars Prince Devitt and KENTA

Word has been making the rounds online that the WWE has signed two huge Japanese wrestling stars – New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Prince Devitt and Pro Wrestling NOAH’s KENTA. Numerous outlets have reported that Devitt has signed a contract with WWE though there has been less substantiation to the news that KENTA will be joining WWE. While no outlets have reported for certain that KENTA will join WWE, Pro Wrestling NOAH wrestler Takashi Sugiura confirmed to Tokyo Sports that KENTA will debut in NXT this summer.

Prince Devitt is an Irish wrestler with renown in both Europe and Japan. Devitt is a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and former leader of the Bullet Club – a villainous group of gaijin wrestlers that also features “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, The Young Bucks and most recently, AJ Styles. Devitt held the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title for well over a year, defeating Low Ki in Nov. 2012 before recently losing the belt to Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in January. Rumors of WWE’s interest in Devitt have been circulating online for some time now and those rumors were recently given credence when he posted this image on his official Instagram account:

Devitt, keeping the IWC guessing

What further seemed to indicate that Devitt would be joining the WWE before too long was his loss to Ryusuke Taguchi at the “Invasion Attack 2014” iPPV where NJPW announced that if Devitt lost, he must leave the promotion.

The Devitt signing is interesting because he brings a lot of talent and athleticism to the table. Similar to Daniel Bryan in stature, Devitt is well versed in numerous styles and should have no problem finding a spot in WWE. It’s said that interest in Devitt rose greatly after William Regal gave a tape of Devitt wrestling current NXT Champion Adrian Neville (formerly Pac) to Triple H, which was what led to the WWE signing Neville initially.

Devitt is a young guy with a lot left in the tank and he could easily shake things up in the WWE just as much as the other rumored new WWE signee, KENTA.

KENTA, who formerly worked under his given name Kenta Kobayashi, is well-known to Japanese wrestling fans for his hard-hitting, relentless style. Fans of American independent wrestling should also be familiar with his work with Ring of Honor where he’s battled Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), Nigel McGuinness, Tyler Black (Seth Rollins), and Austin Aries.

And while WWE fans may not be immediately familiar with KENTA, they know his work even if they don’t realize it. KENTA is known for using the Busaiku Knee Kick, the same running knee that Daniel Bryan uses as a finisher and also created the Go2Sleep that CM Punk used as a finisher (you know, back when he wrestled). I’ve also read that it is the great respect that Bryan and KENTA have for one another that led to Bryan using the running knee and KENTA using the LeBell Lock.

Though the rumors of KENTA joining WWE are still largely rumors right now, he does have a connection to the company (beyond his former work with Daniel Bryan). In January of 2014, he attended a training session at the WWE Performance Center with the blessing of Pro Wrestling NOAH. When it occurred, he claimed that he was not after a WWE contract but was fulfilling a dream of taking part in a WWE tryout. Sources are stating that KENTA will work his last Pro Wrestling NOAH show on May 17 at Korakuen Hall as he announced at an April 30 press conference that he would be leaving the company.

With such huge stars seemingly bound for the WWE, we could be seeing major changes in the landscape of the company. If true, both stars will report to NXT this summer and my guess is that it wouldn’t be too long before we see them on the main roster. I could easily see KENTA being paired with Daniel Bryan to immediately get him over – thanks to both Bryan’s popularity and their familiarity with one another from ROH. As for Devitt, we’re seeing lots of European stars coming to prominence in the WWE right now (US Champ Sheamus, Divas Champ Paige, IC Champ Bad News Barrett and Cesaro in the hunt for gold) so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Devitt marshals that European starpower to take over WWE.


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Friday, May 9, 2014

Best of the Tubes – Puroresu Edition

I’ve been doing research for another article I’m writing for this blog and have been watching a lot of Japanese wrestling from the 80s and early 90s and I thought it would be cool to showcase some of the matches I’ve come across as I’ve been researching. I’m not as knowledgeable about Japanese wrestling as I am about WWE or the American indies but that’s what’s amazing about pro wrestling – it’s basically a universal language and you can appreciate a great match whether you can understand the commentators or not.

KENTA tries to kick through Mitsuhara Misawa
The term “puroresu” comes from the Japanese pronunciation of “pro wrestling” and there are several fundamental differences between puro and American pro wrestling. For example, Japanese wrestling is known for being much harder hitting than American professional wrestling. The competitors are committed to putting on intense performances and the stiffer strikes and moves performed in Japanese wrestling is often referred to as “strong style.”

In puro, there is less emphasis on storyline driving confrontations between wrestlers, rather the stories told in the matches themselves are the focus. “Shoot” fights are also more common in puro, as Japanese wrestlers like to blur the lines between “professional wrestling” and “real fight.” You’ll also hear the term “fighting spirit” a lot when talking about Japanese wrestling, which is the idea the a fighter can continue to battle on sheer strength of will, even if his body is bruised and battered. 

And with that – on to the wrestling!
(Extra bonus – Andre the Giant commentates some of these matches in Japanese)

Mitsuhara Misawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta

All Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/6/1990

Stan Hansen vs. Kenta Kobashi
All Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/15/1993

Riki Choshu vs. Big Van Vader
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
New Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/19/1990

I just noticed each of these matches took place in August. That’s a bit odd.
I’m going to showcase one more match – a bit older than the above puro matches but I found it buried among my bookmarks to other matches so I thought I’d throw it in.

Mil Mascaras vs. Dory Funk Jr.
Not sure of the date or promotion (Guess late 70s in AJPW)

Mil Mascaras is the uncle of WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio while Funk is the older brother of Terry Funk. This match is a little slower paced than the others above with an emphasis on technical, chain wrestling but just as in the other matches above, this battle features the same hard-hitting style that Japanese wrestling became known for later.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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