Remembering The Greatness That Was The Survivor Series

This Sunday, World Wrestling Entertainment presents the 21st Survivor Series. When WWE (then known as WWF) only ran four pay-per-views a year this one used to be my favorite. Something about it being held on a Thursday, the Thanksgiving theme and team format always made it fun to watch.

Sadly, the event has completely lost its luster simply because there are usually only a couple traditional Survivor Series elimination matches on the card (right now there is only one). Wasn’t that the whole appeal of the event to begin with! WWE runs 12-14 PPVs a year so why not make one a little different?

Anyhow, since Jarry Park specializes in bringing you enlightening combat sports interviews I thought it would be interesting to showcase some classic SS interviews. These are all great because they feature some of the best talkers in the business.

So, enjoy Jarry Park’s top three Survivor Series promos (also known as the best three I could find videos for)…just for old time’s sake:

3. 1993 Survivor Series – Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart before their ‘Family Feud’ Match (watch out for the late Ray Combs):

2. 1988 Survivor Series – Andre The Giant and Jake “the Snake” Roberts. No doubt Roberts is a troubled soul but his work on the mic is legendary (gotta love Andre referring to Tito Santana as “Frito”):

1. 1993 Survivor Series – Jim Cornette explaining how his team, The Foreign Fanatics (Quebecer Jacques, Yokozuna, Ludvig Borga and Crush), will destroy their opponents, The All-Americans (Lex Luger, The Steiner Bros. and The Undertaker). Cornette is still one of the greatest in the game:

Swiss Beats

Without a doubt, Claudio Castagnoli, is one of the brightest young stars in wrestling.

The Swiss-born Castagnoli crafts his trade all over the independent wrestling scene but can be seen on a national stage through the Ring of Honor wrestling promotion.

While the 26-year-old Castagnoli has already held several world titles he has really come into his own within the last year as a main eventer in ROH.

Last year, it appeared as though all of Castagnoli’s hard work had paid off when he signed a developmental deal with World Wrestling Entertainment. However, WWE severed ties with Castagnoli just five weeks after signing him. Rumors circulated that it was because he didn’t have a proper working visa but Castagnoli has repeatedly proclaimed that he is completely legal to work in the US.

Clearly, Castagnoli has put that strange incident behind him and is enjoying arguably his best year as a pro wrestler. He signed a long-term deal with ROH and recently won their Race to the Top Tournament.

I caught up with Castagnoli to discuss his current ROH run, his relationship with WWE, the independent wrestling scene, the now-infamous San Francisco wrestling convention and whether or not wrestlers deserve an off-season.

Claudio Castagnoli – 11/14/07

Shawn Stasiak Has One More Run Left In Him

The last time wrestling fans saw Shawn Stasiak he was banging into walls and talking to himself as the lone citizen of “Planet Stasiak.” Talk about the gimmick from hell. Stasiak, the son of wrestling legend, Stan “the man” Stasiak, always struck me as a wrestler who, for whatever reason, didn’t realize his enormous potential in the ring.

A former collegiate wrestling standout, Stasiak broke into the WWF in the Spring of 1999 and from the start was saddled with one horrible gimmick after another.

While Stasiak would eventually enjoy some measure of success in the now-defunct WCW, WWE’s purchase of the promotion would quickly halt his rise up the wrestling ladder. Sadly, his second run in WWE was less memorable than his first.

With this in mind, I fully expected to come across as a bitter man when interviewing Stasiak. Quite the contrary, really. Stasiak, now a licensed certified chiropractor living in Dallas, appears to be the rare kind of pro wrestler who does not look back on his time in the ring with any kind of resentment.

He is the subject of a new documentary entitled Shawn Stasiak: Determined – a film which, in many ways, has nothing to do with pro wrestling. And that’s a good thing. Truth be told, a lot of wrestlers can learn a ton from this documentary.

I had the opportunity to talk with Stasiak about his wrestling career, his new life outside the ring and whether he has any desire to step back onto the national wrestling scene.

Shawn Stasiak – 11/08/07

(For more on Shawn Stasiak: Determined check out

Respect Has Been Earned: Ring Of Honor Is Here to Stay

Bored by the soap opera-like product being churned out by the like of World Wrestling Entertainment and/or TNA Wrestling? Well, you need to check out Ring of Honor pronto. A throwback wrestling promotion if there ever was one, ROH continues to produce the best matches of the year and are manufacturing the same kind of loyal fan base the orginal ECW was known to have.

For the last five years, ROH was a nice little independent wrestling promotion that relied on its DVD sales to stay afloat. However, this past summer things began to change. ROH made its pay-per-view debut and to say the show was widely accepted by the wrestling community would be a major understatement.

Clearly, WWE and TNA have taken notice of ROH since they keep plucking away their talent. What do Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Homicide and Jay Lethal (to name a few) have in common? They all made their initial name in ROH. (Maybe we like ROH so much because they kind of remind us of the Montreal Expos. We know all too well about losing homegrown talent to the big bucks).

Coming off a huge weekend in the Northeast in which the promotion presented Glory By Honor VI, I reached out to ROH owner, Cary Silkin, to discuss how he got involved with ROH, their initial foray into the PPV world and what lies ahead for everyone’s favorite “independent” wrestling promotion.

Cary Silkin – 11/05/07

The State of Pro Wrestling

Last week, I apologized for this kind of lame title but it’s actually starting to grow on me and since our “state of boxing” disucssion with Larz from No Mas garnered so much interest we reached out to Bryan Alvarez, editor of the acclaimed Figure Four Weekly newsletter and the new host of Wrestling Observer Live on Sirius and the Sports Byline USA, to discuss several wrestling topics on my mind.

Wrestling has and always will be my number one love when it comes to combat sports but lately there were several issues irking me and who better than Bryan to help make everything right again. Below is our discussion.

Bryan Alvarez – 11/01/07

Kurt Angle discusses his DUI, his future in MMA, Lesnar signing and more

Kurt AngleWhat a year its been for Olympic Gold medalist Kurt Angle. First, he leaves World Wrestling Entertainment after a legendary seven-year run. WWE claimed they fired him for repeated drug suspensions; Angle claimed he pulled a fast one on Vince and tricked him into releasing him. Rumors then begin to circulate that Angle is talking with the UFC about fighting for their promotion. Then, all of a sudden, he signs with TNA wrestling and it appears as though his wrestling career is back on track…That is until his name comes up in a Florida steroid investigation, BodogFight begins negotiating an MMA contract with him and he wins the TNA heavyweight title…

…But his year didn’t end there. Angle recently appeared at an International Fight League event fueling more rumors that he is interested in trying his hand at MMA, he’s charged with a DUI and UFC president Dana White continues to call him out. Then the UFC announced that they had signed Angle’s long-time friend and opponent, Brock Lesnar, to a two-year deal.

And while announcing the Lesnar signing, White didn’t forget to (sort of) take a shot at Angle:

“I don’t think there are any other pro wrestlers who can make the transition to MMA except for Brock Lesnar.”

It was time to reach out to Angle and ask him about his future in MMA, his recent arrest, Lesnar’s signing, Couture resigning and more. All in a year he will surely never forget.

(Sorry for the echo in our voice. It will never happen again. Enjoy.)

Kurt Angle – 10/22/07

Inside The Steroid Sting [Sports Illustrated]
Angle Gets Fired Up Ringside At IFL Finals [IFL]
Dana White: Kurt Angle Is “Full of Sh-“ [MMA Junkie]
Brock Lesnar Is The Latest Heavy Hitter in the UFC [UFC]
UFC Signs Lesnar [Yahoo! Sports]