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Strange Things in Wrestling: Summer Edition with Marc Madison

Welcome to the latest edition of Strange Things In Wrestling with Marc Madison. It has been a few months since we explored some of the odd and bizarre moments in wrestling, as things have been mostly tame, and few things could be considered strange unless it involves IHOP changing its name to IHOb or Joey Ryan’s dying, but still tweeting from heaven about booking. As a reminder, the purpose of this column is to point out anything from the world of wrestling that has unique, different or potentially unanticipated qualities because that’s what makes them stand out. We’ll dive deep into a handful of different things, stories whose outlandish nature is something that should be featured.

In this edition, which we’re calling the “Summer Edition,” we tackle an inanimate object that was the most over element, including wrestlers in one match. We have someone putting a new twist on delivering a diving headbutt. There is some bad booking of one particular storyline, and two men that led NJPW without having to work all that much. Without further ado, here are Strange Things in Wrestling.

Just break already, will you!

The independent promotion Innovate Pro Wrestling managed to accomplish something and gain lots of exposure, whether intentional or not. They sure seemed to innovate something all right! As fans looked on filled with anticipation, it wasn’t one of the wrestlers that was the star of this match, but rather an inanimate object. During what appeared to be a hardcore matchup, the table in the ring managed to get reaction after reaction from the crowd. It would be easy to assume that this was made up, or even a typo, but it isn’t.

Was it bizarre to see a table fail to break repeatedly? Without question! There were at least a half a dozen men and women involved in the in-ring action, over a period of about two minutes. During the sequence, we saw a double stomp, an attempted Batista bomb, all attempting to break the table to no avail. It wasn’t until a huge splash split the table in half that there was a resolution. A close look at the table brings the realization that it wasn’t a typical table, but one that seems to have been reinforced, considering the punishment it took.

Fans’ reactions to this table failing to break was incredible. I couldn’t make out whether or not there were chants of ‘don’t break forever’ or not, but clearly, the table got over by doing a great job of no-selling the beating. This table was the table amongst men! Okay, no more attempts at being funny…for now.

https://www.facebook.com/InnovateWrestling/videos/1993600010681185/

Guy wants to generate ‘heat’?

Fire is a really dangerous prop when used in wrestling. When used in more mainstream promotions like ECW and WWE, it’s often controlled. For instance, Kane is always tied to fire, or shall we say hellfire and brimstone. When he walks to the ring, fire blazes from the ring posts, and the heat generated from it is incredible. Another instance of fire playing an integral part to a wrestler was when Terry Funk’s character would use a branding iron to mark his opponents. That created buzz because it seemed so dangerous. Fans will also recall how a flaming table played a part in the feud between Edge and Mick Foley, with the result being nearly catastrophic at WrestleMania 22.

It is, however, whether intentionally or not, funny to see someone use fire without any sense of the potential for risk. In one instance, a young man in the Philippines thought it would be a good idea to grease himself up and dive to land on nothing; in another, a guy got more than he bargained for when he lit his head on fire. When the risk is mitigated and controlled it can be worth taking, but a fire is so unpredictable. One gentleman had his head wrapped and proceeded to light it on fire, with the intention of probably dropping a diving headbutt, but or something. The result was a panicked wrestler that lost control of the fire and burnt his ear in the process. We get he wanted to get heat from the crowd, but he really could have gone about doing it a different way.

https://www.facebook.com/jay.bigg.77/videos/2062054507371185/?t=1

Bobby Lashley’s ‘sisters’

Fans get it, WWE is known for bad comedy. Hey, if you’re reading this column you’re probably fairly familiar with things that aren’t funny, and yet you still keep reading…Thanks? Regardless, one of the stranger things in wrestling (and we mean this in the nicest way possible) was the feud between Sami Zayn and Bobby Lashley on Raw. While the feud is a few months removed, the entire storyline was for lack of a better word strange. These two are world class athletes that can perform incredible moves with the greatest of ease. Neither of these men are new to the sport, both being seasoned veterans concerned with putting on the best possible show for those watching. A problem arises, however, when bad comedy and bad writing take precedence over those involved in the angle, making it almost unwatchable.

One prime example that has been talked about was the segment with Sami Zayn interviewing Bobby Lashley’s ‘sisters’. These three ‘women’ were talking about how poorly Lashley treated them, and the reaction from fans made it clear how bad this segment was! Lashley came to the ring to address these ‘women’ and ended up beating them all down. Fans definitely cheered that, not because he wiped out everyone but because he was bringing the entire segment to an end, it was that painful to watch. It may not have been ‘Bayley, this is your life’ type of bad but it was pretty close. It certainly was…you guessed it…strange.

Winnipeg reigns over Japan?

While what transpired at NJPW’s Dominion event in June may not seem like so much of a strange thing, it really is a little bit odd. The two men that are currently reigning supreme over New Japan Pro Wrestling caught everyone off guard. Not only did Kenny Omega capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and Chris Jericho capture the IWGP Intercontinental championship, but it happened on the same night. The oddness of these men capturing championships arises from the fact that, not only is neither of them from Japan, not only are they from the same country, but they have the distinction of being from the same city, Winnipeg, Manitoba, hardly a huge metropolis.

Only a few months ago, Jericho and Omega faced each other in a five-star classic. And then, just a few months later, both men captured championships on the exactly the same night. Both men have competed in Japan extensively, and Omega continues to compete there on a regular basis. Having two non-Japanese stars as champions, not to mention they are from the same city, and to that one is inextricably linked with another company, is quite remarkable. Now if they both appear at a Winnipeg Jets hockey game or Winnipeg Blue Bombers football game with their championships, fans witness two men who came back home to a hero‘s welcome. That was a mildly amusing Canadian sports reference that someone may laugh at. The strangeness only adds to the fact that Jericho hasn’t competed for NJPW since.

Remember, if you ever confuse where Jericho is from, he’ll be happy to let you know…you idiot.

So ends this edition of Strange Things in Wrestling. Unlike other periods where we were completely focused on a particular period of time, we used the term ‘month’ very loosely. Before anyone begins to question why some of the items listed tookplace in April, others in May, some in June or even July, we played around with the rules in order to give you stories to make you smile, possibly even laugh. We featured some infrequent suspects, and social media played a major part in many of the stories. We could have talked about other things that caught our attention, but we didn’t focus on hard-hitting issues in the world of sports entertainment, because that’s what everyone else does, and we wanted to make you all look at this column differently. And face it, our intent here is to look at wrestling much like Weekend Update looks at the news. (Do people still watch Saturday Night Live?)

We are above mind-numbing, staid old news coverage in the Strange Things In Wrestling series! We hit you with the fun that comes from putting things in a blender and testing the end result, to find out if it should be something that appears in an edition of a book with alternate endings. Did we miss something, or should we have talked about something else in this month’s edition? For Strange Things In Wrestling, this is Marc Madison saying, see you next time…and if it’s strange, there is a pretty good chance we’ll talk about it. Feel free to email or hit me up with any stories that should become a focal point.

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