Evolution, It’s A Beautiful Thing

I want to root for TNA, I really do. The business needs an alternative. However, most of the time it’s hard to do so because beind-the-scenes they haven’t been very receptive to good ol’ Jarry Park. Actually, they have been downright rude to us on MANY occasions but, nevertheless, they are the number two game in town right now and that, in itself, makes them relevant. I won’t start covering their PPVs or big shows anytime soon but I will give props when it is due.

This past episode of Impact! featured two video packages that should give wrestling fans hope that TNA actually knows how to produce an interesting and compelling television show because for a while the jury was still out on that one. And, wouldn’t you know it, the genesis of both ideas came from outside the wrestling world. Who would have thunk it? There are actual lessons to be learned from the real world.

WWE refuses to change with the times. The Mayweather-Show angle – which should have been a home run – has been adequate at best (this week’s package on the Big Show at home with his wife and dogs was interesting but I have no idea what he said as I was blinded by the royal blue shirt he was wearing).

So, here comes Team Orlando showing Samoa Joe training with the likes of UFC fighter Marcus Davis. They are actually building up Angle-Joe XXXVIII into a heated affair. No girlfriends, no wives, no underwear, no tanning beds – just two guys who want to kill each other and have valid reasons for wanting to do so. Brilliant.

Next, we have the next installment in a new segment called “Rough Cut.” (On a sperate note, one thing that really gets under my skin when watching TNA is how much television terminology they use during their broadcasts. The average person doesn’t know what B-Roll or even a rough cut means yet, for some reason, they continue to use them.) Sure, I could give a rat’s behind of the problems Kipe and BG James are or have been experiencing but the segments have been great if not a little short. Make these characters real. Forget the gimmicks and the over-the-top storylines. Give me Jay Lethal and Christopher Daniels and get rid of Black Machismo and Curry Man. If I want to see cartoon characters I’ll watch ABC on a Saturday morning. If I want jokes I’ll watch Comedy Central and if I want to see porn I’ll watch Skinimax.

Is it that f*cking hard to understand?

Jarry Park’s Top 24 Wrestlemania Moments

Can you feel it? We’re just over a week away baby. Time to break out the big moments. If you’re joining us in progress, click here for moments #24-21, here for #20-17, here for #16-13 and here for #12-9.


#8: Climbing the Ladder
Wrestlemania X – Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
March 24, 1990

The Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (c)

The Moment: This match is widely considered as the genesis to all the amazing ladder matches of the next decade. The moves these two pulled off were definitely the first of their kind.


#7: A Rattlesnake is Born
Wrestlemania 13 – Rosemont Horizon, Chicago, IL
March 23, 1991

The Match: Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

The Moment: It’s not often that the loser of a match comes out looking stronger than the victor but that’s exactly what happened when Hart and Austin battled in a submission match at WM 13. The WWF pulled the old switcheroo by turning Hart heel and Austin babyface in one simple moment of defiance.


#6: The Boyhood Dream…
Wrestlemania XII – Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, CA
March 31, 1996

The Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (c)

The Moment: Alright, now we are getting into the “arguably the greatest match in Wrestlemania history” territory. Exhibit A: Bret vs. Shawn. Ironman match. Some doubted whether they could hold the crowd’s attention for 60 minutes. Did they ever…and then some.


#5: Year of the Dragon
Wrestlemania III – Pontiac Silverdome, Detroit, MI
March 29, 1987

The Match: Intercontinental Championship: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage (c)

The Moment:
Forget Wrestlemania, many wrestling fans consider this I-C title match to be one of the greatest matches ever. While I will forever love this contest I don’t hold it in that high regard. The best parts, hands-down, were the near-falls. Back-and-forth they went and in the end, Steamboat, with the incomparable George “The Animal” Steele in his corner, would add another title to his impressive career resume.

A Legend Passes

derek_warrior_hart.jpgAs a wrestling-loving child I was always drawn to the talkers. You know, the guys who were able to sell a match or a feud on the mic. And while the business has seen countless eloquent speakers come and go none were better than “Playboy” Gary Hart (left). The former World Class Championship Wrestling star passed away Sunday afternoon at the age of 66.

Not only was Hart a great performer he also had one of the best minds in the business. The Chicago-native is credited for being one of men responsible for making WCCW one of the hottest promotions in the 80’s.

Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of great footage of Hart available on the Internet but I think this clip paints a strong enough picture of his wizardry on the mic.

Dan “The Beast” Severn Just Keeps On Tickin’

The UFC Hall of Famer looks back on his legendary career

They don’t get much more legendary than Dan “The Beast” Severn (left). Seriously, I could have asked Severn eight hours worth of questions with regards to his MMA and pro wrestling careers but instead I settled on forty minutes. And, boy, did we cover a lot:

* Why he continues to fight

* When he expects to retire for good

* His thoughts on the current MMA scene

* Did he ever think the sport would become so popular

* The success of so many amateur wrestlers in MMA

* Lesnar-Coleman predictions

* Getting stripped of the NWA title prior to the first TNA show

* The biggest regret of his career

* His time in the WWF/E

It’s not often that you get to speak to a legend who has excelled in wrestling and MMA so it was obviously a great thrill to chat with “The Beast.”

Dan Severn – 03/17/08

Jarry Park’s Top 24 Wrestlemania Moments

Just over two weeks away from the big one. If you’re joining us in progress, click here for moments #24-21, here for #20-17 and here for #16-13.


#12: Honor Thy Wife
Wrestlemania VIII – Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis, IN
April 5, 1992

The Match: Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. Ric Flair (c)

The Moment: For months leading up to this match, Flair had teased Savage that his woman, the lovely Miss Elizabeth, had been “with him” before she was ever with the Macho Man. Flair’s constant threats of exposing nude photos of Elizabeth following their match drove Savage nuts. So when these two legends squared off in front of over 60,000 fans there was much more than a title at stake. In the end, Savage captured the WWE title and shut the Nature Boy up… for the moment. (I may be wrong but I believe this match also marked Shane O’Mac’s WWF television debut. Try and find him).


#11: The Mega Powers Explode
Wrestlemania V – Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, NJ
April 02, 1989

The Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage (c)

The Moment: I think I’ll let the Hulkster and the Madness set this one up:

Hogan gets the nod for the better promo and also wins the match. Reminding everyone to NEVER mess with the Red and Yellow. Brother.


#10: Hell Freezes Over
Wrestlemania X-7 – Astrodome, Houston, TX
April 1, 2001

The Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (c)

The Moment: In the late 1990s, no WWF superstar was more popular than Stone Cold Steve Austin. Part of his popularity stemmed from the fact that he was never shy to tell, or show, his boss, the evil Mr. McMahon, how he truly felt about him. I mean, who wouldn’t want to flip off their boss? So when McMahon decided to interfere in the main event of Wrestlemania X-7 everyone was pretty sure as to whom he would be helping out. The Rock, right? Think again…


#9: Sibling Rivalry
Wrestlemania X – Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
March 24, 1990

The Match: Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart

The Moment: Bret Hart actually wrestled twice at WM X (he defeated Yokozuna to capture the WWF title) but it’s his match against his late brother Owen that everyone will remember. The build to this epic encounter was unforgettable and by the time the reluctant brother, Bret, stepped into the ring with his jealous brother, Owen, no one knew what to expect. In the end, Owen came out on top but I can’t help but feel a little sad when I think back on this match that featured two men who had their careers cut way too short.

Who’s Sported The Greatest Mustache In Wrestling History?

Jon Chattman Counts Down Wrestling’s Finest ‘Staches

Listen, it’s not all fun and games at The Park. Sometimes we’ve got to do some dirty work, break news and even provide our residents with definitive combat sports lists. So, with that in mind, we present the top 5 greatest mustaches in pro wrestling history.

On April 1, Triad Publishing will be releasing a book co-authored by Jon Chattman and Rich Tarantino entitled “The Book of Bert: High-Class Stars With Some Hight-Class ‘Stache.” Now, you must understand that since my entire family is from the Middle-East, I am well-versed in the art of the mustache. So, naturally, my first inclination upon hearing about this book was that I must purchase it right away. However, once I heard that a) the authors were wrestling freaks just like I was and b) they actually devoted several sections of the book to wrasslin’ I knew right away that I must speak to these geniuses.

Take a listen as Jon Chattman awards the top 5 ‘staches in wrestling history and even exposes some of the more unfortunate ones to sprout. I dare you not to laugh at least a couple of times while listening to Jon analyze facial hair.

Jon Chattman – 03/13/08

For more on Jon check out his website at thecheappop.com. For more on ‘The Book of Bert’ click here AND for more on mustaches check out The American Mustache Institute.

Memories From The Park: When Muhammad Met Gorilla

Let’s forget about everything that happened on the RAW following No Way Out up until last night, ok? None of it occurred, it was all just a dream.

Last night’s Mayweather-Show segment – while not as good as the one that started it all – got me excited all over again for Wrestlemania. By now you know the gist: They pulled the double-turn, they gave Show some backup, Mayweather “injured” his arm and Shane’O Mac fell (which has to be a work simply because Leonard Ellerbe was the man who pushed him. Sure, he could have eased up a bit I have no doubt that it was part of the plan).

Every single person – from the huge guy wearing a cut-off t-shirt in PBF’s posse to Trevor Murdoch – did a tremendous job except for maybe Floyd. Once again, his delivery seemed a little too scripted but, at this point, I’m expecting nothing less so it doesn’t bother me anymore.

On that note, today’s inaugural edition of Memories From The Park takes us back to June 2, 1976, when the former Cassius Clay got physical with Gorilla Monsoon in Philly. It’s certainly interesting to watch the similarities between the way this angle was planned compared to Show-Mayweather. To the footage we go…

Jarry Park’s Top 24 Wrestlemania Moments

We continue our look back at the 24 most memorable moments in Wrestlemania history. If you’re joining us in progress, click here for moments #24-21 and here for #20-17.


#16: Chris Benoit Wins The Title
Wrestlemania XX – Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
March 14, 2004

The Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit vs. HHH (c)

The Moment: For obvious reasons, I struggled a lot with this one. Given last summer’s murders, I wasn’t sure whether to celebrate Chris Benoit’s crowning achievement or not. In the end, I felt that we shouldn’t deny that this was a great ‘Mania moment. So, I kept it in.


#15: Family Feud
Wrestlemania X7 – Astrodome, Houston, TX
April 1, 2001

The Match: Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon

The Moment: The McMahons, the first family of wrestling, have had their share of infamous moments inside the ring but none more entertaining (or disturbing) than when Vince McMahon faced his only son, Shane, in a brutal match at WM X7. In the end, youth won out as Shane, who had just “purchased” WCW less than a week prior to their bout, reigned victorious over his old man with a devastating rendition of the Van Terminator.


#14: To the Employed Go the Spoils
Wrestlemania VII – LA Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
March 24, 1991

The Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy “Macho King” Savage in a Retirement Match

The Moment: There’s really nothing like a good ol’ fashioned retirement match– especially on the grandest stage of ‘em all. What made this one so intriguing was the uncertainty of who would have to call it quits. Would it be the babyface Ultimate Warrior or the now-heel Randy “Macho King” Savage? (Obviously, this is wrestling so we all knew the loser would return in six months but nevertheless it was squared circle drama at its best).


#13: The Ultimate Challenge
Wrestlemania VI – Skydome, Toronto, ON
April 1, 1990

The Match: Ultimate Warrior (I-C Champion) vs. Hulk Hogan (WWE Champion)

The Moment: This was Pepsi vs, Coke, Nike vs. Reebok, Jordan vs. Bird all rolled in one. In the early 1990s you were either an Ultimate Warrior fan or a Hulk Hogan fan. You just couldn’t be both. More importantly, Vince McMahon felt that Hulkamania was on its last legs and it was time to crown a new champion. Thus, he pitted the Intercontinental Champion, Ultimate Warrior, against the WWF champ, Hulk Hogan, in one of the most anticipated matches in WWF/E history. In hindsight, it was kind of fitting that this match took place on April’s Fools Day because clearly the joke was on anyone who thought Warrior would be a bigger star than Hogan ever was.

Money May Has A Lot Of Money

You need to stop what your doing right now and check out the video below, courtesy of WWE.com. It’s mesmerizing.

The basic gist is it’s a clip of Floyd Mayweather showing us that he has a million dollars in his bedroom. All he is really doing is counting it but for some reason I have watched it three times in a row.

I still can’t figure out if this makes Floyd a heel or a face though. Should I hate the fact that he will make more in one night than I have made in the last three years (fine maybe four)? Or should I love him for not believing in the concept of banks?

Regardless, it’s still a highly entertaining two minutes and the only footage WWE has aired that has sort of resembled the brilliance that is HBO Sports’ 24/7.


Jarry Park’s Top 24 Wrestlemania Moments

The Grand Daddy of ’em all is a little over four weeks away and in the spirit of it all we continue our countdown of the greatest moments in WM history.


#20: Challenge Accepted
Wrestlemania IX
Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, NV
April 4, 1993

The Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna (c)

The Moment: Yokozuna defeats Bret Hart to capture the WWF title. Hogan comes out to help the injured Hart. Yokozuna challenges Hogan to an impromptu match. Pandemonium ensues.


#19: Godzilla Makes His Debut
Wrestlemania XI
Civic Center, Hartford, CT
April 2, 1995

The Match: Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

The Moment: Many doubted Taylor could hold his own in a WWF match – let alone the main event of Wrestlemania. But LT shocked the world when he went toe-to-toe with the “Beast from the East” defeating him with a, you guessed it, NFL-style shoulder tackle.


#18: Crash Test Dummy
Wrestlemania IX – Safeco Field, Seattle WA
March 30, 2003

The Match: Kurt Angle (c) vs. Brock Lesnar

The Moment: Brock Lesnar’s rookie year in WWE was unlike any other. He rose through the ranks faster than anyone in the business by becoming the youngest ever WWE Champion (Randy Orton has since broken that record). Considering his amazing amateur wrestling background it seemed inevitable that he would face the only Olympic Gold Medalist in WWE history, Kurt Angle. The match definitely lived up to the hype and with Angle on the ropes Lesnar decided to try a move usually reserved for men 100 pounds lighter than him. He probably should have kept things that way.


#17: Proud To Be An American
Wrestlemania VII – LA Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
March 24, 1991

The Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (c)

The Moment: Vince McMahon, being the ultimate promoter that he is, chose to exploit the Gulf War by turning former American Hero, Sgt. Slaughter, into an Iraqi sympathizer. Obviously, the Hulkster would have none of this and, in the midst of the first war in Iraq, he and the Sarge engaged in a little squared circle warfare. Just like in the Persian Gulf War, the good guys came through in the clutch (or, well, I guess that depends on who you ask).