Welcome to the inaugural edition of Strange Things In Wrestling This week with Marc Madison. While the column is intended to be somewhat light in nature, it allows fans to explore (or even suggest) some of the more out there, unusual events in wrestling for a given week. It would be safe to say there is enough highly-detailed accounts matches, and stories to keep posted on. In this instance, we’ll dive into a few occurrences from the week that stood out, whether their strange nature is something that should be highlighted, and why.
Readers can see above a snazzy banner courtesy of Steve Melo, TJR’s resident graphic guru. We thank him very much and appreciate the time he took to put this together. From week to week, readers can anticipate something outside normal online wrestling culture when it comes to the weekly (possibly bi-weekly) edition of this column. Unlike other columns, we may focus on a tweet from a wrestler, an image, a scenario, a match or even a storyline, and really hope to lighten your day in the process. Without further ado, here is the Strange Things In Wrestling for the week of January 2nd to the 8th.
Did Mick Foley Upset His Barber?
It was the elephant in the room when fans saw it. As many fans know from either watching ‘Holy Foley’ on the WWE Network, or from following him on social media, Mick Foley has lost an incredible amount of weight. In fact, he looks great. But apparently losing weight also meant that Foley felt he needed to undergo a change in other ways. Hey, physical change often offers a new lease on life and a new outlook. But we weren’t entirely sure what happened to Foley when he emerged with a new haircut, and his beard trimmed down beard to a (still bushy) goatee.
There are enough criticisms out there, whether it be on social media or during the in-ring promo involving Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. As someone that doesn’t have much hair, I’d be the last one to judge someone’s hairstyle, but if I did, I’d point out that the sideburns looked like something that would raise the ire of Mr. Burns on ‘The Simpsons’ (just ask Don Mattingly.) It sure caught a number of people off guard, and made others wonder if Brutus Beefcake was coming back. I heard somewhere it appears as though Foley was in on the joke. We aren’t quite sure if that’s the case. On the flipside, its hair, it’ll grow back…at least for some of us. *tear*
The Curious Case of Apollo Crews
The title above was in reference to a film starring Brad Pitt. To anyone that hasn’t seen the film, it’s about a man who ages in reverse. While the rest of the world is aging, he begins life already as an old man, but appears younger and younger as the years pass, until he is a baby, and then no longer born. We aren’t suggesting that Crews is a movie star, or a cad who treats romantic partners like Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston poorly. Nor do we think he hangs out with buddies George Clooney or Matt Damon. We also aren’t suggesting that Crews is aging in reverse, or that he is wise beyond his years (although he might be, we just don’t know him well enough to say either way).
What we are saying is that Crews’ recent appearance in Smackdown Live was so brief that if you blinked, you would have missed it. He engaged in an altercation with the newly heel turned Dolph Ziggler, and some could say The Show Off handled Crews as though he was an elder…or possibly a child. We aren’t completely certain either way. What we will say is that Crews’ appearance will hopefully not result in a disappearing act like the film. We will have to tune in next week to be certain what came of it…and perhaps how old Crews may be.
Ziggler Hates IKEA
Now now, this is just a guess, but something this past week led us to believe he does despise the Swedish furniture store. We aren’t completely sure why; could it be the mandatory use of those damned Allan keys to assemble tables? Could it be past trauma from parts missing, and that he is furious because of it? Regardless of what the reason is, his display after hitting Kalisto with a superkick lead us to believe he hates the store. Or at the very least he strongly dislikes furniture. Why else would someone want to take out their frustration on perfectly good office furniture? Could it be the lack of comfort? Possibly, but the jury is still out on that one.
We aren’t completely sure of why he felt compelled to toss chairs around from side to side to demonstrate he didn’t want anyone’s help. It was reminiscent of a frustrated father refusing assistance as he tries to assemble a Bjursta. His disdain isn’t necessarily isolated to furniture, but to clothing as well. He clearly had a bad experience at the Gap or Old Navy. Customer service can be a real pain sometimes, after all. After hitting Kalisto with a superkick, Ziggler went to the back and showed his frustration on clothes in the locker room as well. It could have been worse though; he could have had issues with Home Depot.
An Omega, An Okada and a Priest all walk into a ring…
It definitely sounds like a bad joke, but what isn’t bad was the match Kazichuka Okada and Kenny Omega had for New Japan Pro Wrestling at Wrestle Kingdom 11…minus the Priest of course. For 45 minutes Okada and Omega hit each other with everything but the kitchen sink, although we believe they considered including it in the match. The length of their match isn’t typical by today’s wrestling standards, but is reminiscent of the good old days of what was called ‘the hour broadway,’ where wrestlers would compete for as long as one hour, demonstrating their overall stamina. Those performances could only help them build endurance in the event that they were to engage in a match that mirrored those of the classic Steamboat/Flair matches of their time.
What is notable about this particular match wasn’t the length of time, but rather the ferocious nature with which they hit each other. As many know, wrestling in Japan is known for being stiff. The punches and kicks were enough to make competitors in the UFC shudder. Given the nature of how Okada and Omega hit each other, or the impact on their necks and back, it is a wonder either of them are standing. (Please note at the writing of this, we don’t have confirmation that either of them are actually standing.)
Seriously, just give Neville his crown already.…or should we?
Since shaking the hand of WWE Cruiserweight champion Rich Swann and then knocking his head off, Neville has been a frightening sight. That fear could consist of the shaved undercut hair style, or it could be the fact that his constant claim of being the King of the Cruiserweights may mean he’s bent on sitting on an Iron Throne like Game of Thrones. He has been frightening in the ring and while delivering promos. That isn’t a criticism on his promos and that they tend to ‘dottle‘ (we aren’t quite sure what that means.) He has certainly been channeling the evil foreigner character that seem to be popular in the WWE.
If we were Neville, we really wouldn’t be so keen to be a ‘king’ in WWE. The last two Kings are no longer with the company. Besides, Neville really shouldn’t want to walk around with a sceptre and crown like King Barrett (which would look really goofy, by the way,) or the way Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler did earlier in his career. He would be better off getting medieval with his opposition and putting them in an iron maiden! (not the band, the torture device, although the band may need a new member, and hey, it worked for Jericho!) Hey, it could happen!
And that brings to a close a few of the odder circumstances that took place over the course of the week in wrestling. Sure, we could have gone into more detail asking what a ‘supernova’ is, or why lady’s man Noam Dar feels the need to pose by placing his hand over his face, or that Kevin Owens had a human sign for ‘The Kevin Owens Show,’ but we held back. It would be easy to be nitpicky about each and every moment, but we won’t do that either. Each week we may explore something new and different that stood that particular week.
Does that mean we will ask whether or not President elect and WWE Hall of Famer Donald Trump should appear on an edition of Raw, or that Ellsmela is probably the most (intentionally) awkward looking couple in wrestling? We will save that for another week. There are so many other moments that readers may have noticed that we encourage them to share with us any comments or queries about the lighter side of wrestling that we can explore from week to week.
For TJRWrestling this is Marc Madison saying, look out for the stranger things in wrestling, and if not, at least have fun talking about it.
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