Episode Seventy-Five - The Shareef Don't Like It

Just one example of Vince McMahon’s great history of Middle East relations.

Just one example of Vince McMahon’s great history of Middle East relations.

On the eve of the WWE Crown Jewel (aka Blood Money) special, I’m joined by Associated Press reporter Ashraf Khalil (@ashrafkhalil) to talk about a variety of issues related to the show. Among the various topics discussed, we talk about the history of xenophobia in pro wrestling, Middle East politics, the familial permutations of all the Samoans and other Pacific Islanders, late 1980s AWA, the socio-political demographics of wrestling fans and other diversions. We also actually talk about the show next week, how it will be booked and how much propaganda there will be compared to the first KSA show held earlier this year. Apologies if some of the facts are a little off. We recorded the show a few days after originally scheduled and I did not have all the prep work I had done earlier readily available. Also, this show was recorded with a new program, so there may not sound the same as part shows.

Also, there’s a brief obituary to Keiichiro Kimura, the Japanese animator who passed away recently. He was the animation director and character designer for the classic Tiger Mask cartoon, a favorite of longtime Japanese wrestling fans around the world.

Episode Seventy-Three - Castle (Pay) Walls

The dear, departed National. Is The Athletic its spiritual successor? 

The dear, departed National. Is The Athletic its spiritual successor? 

The podcast returns after a medically-related hiatus to a jam-packed sports calendar. To help discuss it, we are very honored to have on the show Stephen Brunt from Sportsnet and the Fan 590 in Toronto.

First, we discuss Stephen's return to co-host Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown, the genesis of his return, sharing the co-host chair with former pod guest Richard Deitsch and more. That segues into a discussion about sports journalism in 2018, the pay model of things like The Athletic and Second Captains, sportswriters moving to TV and and radio, the late, lamented National Sports Daily and what demographics will pay for content, sports or otherwise. 

Then, we talk about a variety of sports topics, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Maple Leafs struggles vs the Bruins, playoff predictions, the CONCACAF Champions League final between Toronto FC and Chivas de Guadalajara, the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal, the recent HBO documentary on Andre the Giant, the passing of Bruno Sammartino and more. 

You can hear Stephen on Prime Time Sports (when he is the co-host) 5-7 PM weekdays on the Fan 590 and read him on Sportsnet.ca. You can also get his books on Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Muhammad Ali and more at Amazon and the other usual places they are sold. 

Episode Sixty - Dangerous Va-K-tion

Tim gets a handshake from Kawada, instead of a stretch plum. Photo courtsey Tim Livingston

Tim Livingston (@mrtimlivingston) joins the show to talk some basubaru and puroresu. First, we discuss his trip/vacation to South Korea and Japan, why he went and what he did while he was there. Plenty of talk about video games, baseball (in both countries) and pro wrestling, when Tim went to some famous venues and ate at some famous places. He even got to meet his favorite Japanese wrestler, Toshiaki Kawada. Then, we talk about his career in baseball, from working for the Dunedin Blue Jays to being the play-by-play voice of the Sonoma Stompers @sonomastompers). We chat about how he got the gig for his hometown nine, their progressive philosophies on and off the field, how Francis Ford Coppola fits in to the story and hanging out with "the Spaceman" Bill Lee.  

Tim did a write-up for Place to Be Nation. You can also catch Tim as the voice of Phoenix Pro Wrestling (@PPWPetaluma).

Episode Fifty-Five - El Classico

The podcast remembers Chavo Guerrero Senior (Salvador Guerrero) who passed away at the age of 68. Chavo was the son of Gori Guerrero, brother of Hector, Mando and Eddy Guerrero and father of Chavo Guerrero Jr. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Magazine contributor Matt discusses Chavo's long career wrestling in Houston for Paul Boesch, including his singles feuds and matches teaming with Hector.  We mention their feud with the Fabulous Ones, amongst others. Lots of footage of Chavo in Houston can be seen on the NWA on demand streaming service. We also talk about some of matches available on the service, including a just-posted NWA title match from 1977 between Terry Funk and Harley Race. We also have a brief chat about new comics we are enjoying, including US Avengers and Ultimates 2 by Al Ewing.

Then, we have an exerpt from Winter Palace episode 7 with Vandal Drummond (@vandaldrummond). At the time, we discussed the passing of Roddy Piper and Vandal seeing him live in LA in the late 1970s and part of our discussion was about Piper's feud with a young Chavo.

We did not have a change to get someone on to talk about Chavo's career in Japan or his time as NWA Junior Heavyweight champion. We hope to try and get a guest to discuss that on an upcoming episode of the podcast. 

Below are a smattering of Chavo's work that can be found on youtube. 

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Episode Forty Nine - Holy Cow

How about that kid in the sombrero?

How about that kid in the sombrero?

Egyptian-based journalist and Chicago native Ashraf Khalil (@ashrafkhalil) joins the show to talk Cubbies and the world of popular culture. First, we talk about what it was like to experience the Cubs World Series win while halfway around the world. We also discuss how Cubs fans will be viewed now that they are no longer "lovable losers." Then, we talk about watching American sports abroad, sports podcasts include those by Dan LeBatard and Tony Kornheiser, watching or not watching the NFL in 2016 and more.  Then, we talk pro wrestling, WWE getting mainstream coverage, watching the network vs youtube,  American wrestling versus lucha watching habits and reminiscing about old school grappling. Next, we talk current comics, what Ash is reading (Chew, Sex Criminals, Revival) and what he should check out next (Vision, Lazarus, Southern Bastards, The Black Monday Murders, Casanova, The Goddamned).  We end with a look at how the Presidential Election is seen in the Middle East and Red vs Blue dynamics across the country.

Note: We apologize for the podcast hiatus. Health issues of the ENT variety made doing a show problematic. Hopefully, things will be back to a more regular schedule soon. We tried to edit out any extraneous coughing and other issues, but some may have slipped through. Thank you for your patience. 

Episode Forty-Five - Georgia on My Mind

Did the Battle of Atlanta ruin Tommy RIch's career?

Did the Battle of Atlanta ruin Tommy RIch's career?

Wrestling Observer Live's Mike Sempervive (@sempervive) returns to the pod for some old school rasslin' talk. We start with the WWE Network unveiling the thought-lost footage of the Battle of Atlanta between Tommy Rich and Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer. We talk about the match's historical context, does it hold up to 2016 eyes and how does it compare to the Magnum TA vs Tully Blanchard Starrcade 85 cage match. We talk about the history of Georgia Championship Wrestling both before and after that feud, including the legendary Ole Anderson heel turn on Dusty Rhodes (see below). We discuss all the wrestling content now available, including the WWE Network, the NWA On Demand Service, New Japan World, CMLL's streaming options and all the classic footage uploaded by folks like Kris Zellner (@kriszellner) and @Monsoon_Classic, to name just a few. We also talk about the current WWE scene, will HHH's success with NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic translate to the main roster, how will mainstream fans treat guys like Jack Gallagher and TJ Perkins and more. We wrap up with a brief chat about the just-starting World Cup of Hockey. Can anyone beat Canada? Will the Young Guns make it to the semi-finals? We taped the show during the North America vs Finland match. 

Episode Thirty-Nine - Of Proud Adonis


Lucha Week continues as we are joined by CMLL wrestler Sam Adonis (@samelias89) to talk about coming to Mexico, working in CMLL, the CMLL Grand Prix ippv, his  almost-immediate rivalry with Shocker, his favorite opponents so far, the fluidity of opponents in CMLL, atmosphere at lucha shows, lucha vs British wrestling, great British wrestlers not yet known in the US including James Mason, the Knight family (of WWE's Paige fame), being trained by his brother (Corey Graves, formerly known as Sterling James Keenan) fliers and bases in wrestling and more. We were lucky to catch up with Sam on the same day he was main eventing Arena Mexico. 

Episode Thirty-Four - All Stars

Are things afoot?. From Baker Street Irregulars. (C) 2016 Roger Langridge and Andy Hirsch.

Are things afoot?. From Baker Street Irregulars. (C) 2016 Roger Langridge and Andy Hirsch.

Happy Anniversary to us. To commemorate our first year, it's the return of our first guest, Al Kennedy (@housetoastonish) from the House To Astonish podcast/website. We talk about the recent Chikara Pro Wrestling UK tour, including the show Al went to in Glascow and compare this year's show to last, what they ended up having in common and some of the recent Chikara angles. Also on the wrestling front, we talk about the future of NXT ahead of the next Takeover special and UK tour and what the future holds for wrestlers like Bayley and Samoa Joe. We also discuss some comics news (not THAT news) and reviews, including some of the DC Rebirth titles, Civil War II, The Baker Street Irregulars, Limbo and more. Finally, we talk about Marvel Puzzle Quest, how our alliance did during the recent Civil War event and how transitioning from 2-star to 3/4-star level and finding time to play as part of a competitive alliance.

Episode Thirty - Olde Tyme Hockey

Blackjack Mulligan and Ric Flair in the Crockett territory.   

Blackjack Mulligan and Ric Flair in the Crockett territory.


Jeff Marek (@jeffmarek) from Sportsnet and the #MvsW podcast returns to talk Stanley Cup playoffs with a break-down of each first-round series, (17:42) the passing of legendary Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider, (26:00) a quick look at the junior hockey playoffs and Memorial Cup preview and (27:50) the passing of Blackjack Mulligan, patriarch of the Windham Family, who Jeff saw in the 1970s in Toronto.. 

Episode Nineteen - Cretinous Humanoids


01:56 - Former wrestling manager Scott Bowden (@KFriedRasslin) from Kentucky Fried Rasslin talks the passing of Tommy Gilbert: his career as a wrestler, referee & head of the Gilbert Family with sons Doug and Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert. We also talk how Eddie turned Scott from ref to manager, Nick Bockwinkel in Memphis and his famous match with Jerry Lawler, Dream Machine Troy Graham, the funeral for the Bruise Brothers, the all-too-brief brief Koko Ware & Bobby Eaton tag team and more.

30:37 - Matt D talks Bockwinkel, his matches in the AWA and other territories, the Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi feud in CMLL, (49:21) the season finale of Doctor Who, (51:20) comics talk including Art Ops, Doctor Strange, Guardians of Infinity, Spidey, The Vision, Black Knight and Paul Cornell's work at Marvel, James Robinson's work on the Uncanny Avengers Annual, Scarlet Witch, Airboy and Leave It to Chance and (1:03:50) some slighty-spoilery talk about Marvel's Jessica Jones TV show.