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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 13, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUSLY:
1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002 1-28-2002
2-4-2002 2-11-2002 2-18-2002 2-25-2002
3-4-2002 3-11-2002 3-18-2002 3-25-2002
4-1-2002 4-8-2002 4-15-2002 4-22-2002
4-29-2002 5-6-2002
  • Okay, look, here's the deal. The obituaries, as sad as they are, contain some of Dave's best work. But good lord, they are looooooooooong. And they never contain anything newsworthy that is relevant to 2002 or anything. But they're always super interesting from a historical perspective. But last week, Dave wrote a brief obit for Lou Thesz (only 5,000 words, ahem) and promised to go into more detail this week. So this week, we open with a 16,000+ word obituary for Lou Thesz and I just can't. Sorry. It's really good though, you should all go read it. But I've got, like, a family and a job and responsibilities and stuff. I can't recap this. It's an incredible piece of work though.
  • The World Wrestling Federation is no more. On May 5th, the company unveiled its new name, World Wrestling Entertainment. Dave recaps the history of the company briefly (was originally called "World Wide Wrestling Federation, or WWWF, until 1979 when it was shortened to WWF, which is has remained for the past 23 years). But as of this week, the company has been rebranded to WWE. The website domain was changed to WWE.com and all references to "WWF" were changed to "WWE." The scratch logo was also changed, with the F being removed, so now it simply looks like "WW" (which, honestly, never really did make much sense to me. Even though the logo has changed, it's still "WW" to this day). Anyway, this all stems from the World Wildlife Fund lawsuit over in the UK, in which the WWE lost every court case and appeal. They were planning to appeal the ruling in the UK's highest court, their final last-ditch effort to save their name, but the reality is, they weren't going to win that case. Vince McMahon and the company blatantly and repeatedly violated the agreement they signed in 1994. It was 1000% obvious they were in the wrong here and they had gotten spanked by every single court before, often losing their appeals by unanimous decisions. So they weren't going to win this final appeal either and they knew it. So they dropped the appeal and threw in the towel and finally agreed to just change the name. The WWE has until May 15th to remove all references to "WWF" from their shows and merchandise. Any merch with "WWF" on it can no longer be sold after that date. All video packages and posters will have to be changed and any "WWF" mention or logos after that time on television or in past footage will have to be censored. Last year, during the court case, the WWE claimed it would cost them more than $50 million to change their name and to deal with all the legal and rebranding headaches that come with it. But this week, they backtacked on that and said it wouldn't be that expensive after all. Who knows if that's true, but the idea of this costing $50 million was enough to make the shareholders shit themselves, so Dave says they claimed it won't cost that much in order to keep the stock from plummeting. Anyway, none of this had to happen. In 1994, Vince McMahon and the Wildlife Fund signed an agreement that the wrestling company would not use the "WWF" name for promoting itself outside of the U.S. (since the Wildlife group is based overseas) and that worked well for a year or two. But then Vince McMahon apparently decided, "Meh, who cares about agreements?" and began repeatedly and blatantly violating it, constantly, for years, at which point the Wildlife group finally got upset enough to file a lawsuit. Anyway, on the first Raw since the name change, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler repeatedly stumbled over the new initials, accidentally saying "WWF" multiple times. Gonna take time for everyone to get used to calling it the new name.
  • The buyrates for Wrestlemania 18 are in and it appears the event will have to settle for being the #2 biggest money show in wrestling history after it came up short and failed to surpass Wrestlemania 17. Final numbers aren't in yet, but latest estimates put it somewhere around the 800,000 buys range (ended up being about 880,000) which is quite a bit down from WM17. It was also #2 in total revenue from live gate and merch. Internally, it's actually being seen as something of a disappointment because with the power of the Hogan/Rock dream match, they were hopeful this show would top 1 million buys but unless something drastic changes with these buyrate numbers, it looks like the final total will be a good bit short of that.
  • NJPW's latest Tokyo Dome show is in the books. The show drew a sellout crowd of 57,000 fans, there to see the Masahiro Chono vs. Mitsuharu Misawa dream main event (which ended up going to a 30-minute draw). It was the biggest non-Jan. 4 crowd NJPW has drawn to the Dome in 2 years. So that's the good news. The bad news is that the show flopped in the ratings on TV. A big part of that is because the Chono/Misawa match didn't air as part of the show (due to the Asahi-TV/Nippon TV network issues discussed in past issues) so the televised show was built around the Shinya Hashimoto/Naoya Ogawa vs. Scott Norton/Hiroyoshi Tenzan match and man, the fans sure didn't seem to give a fuck about that. In fact, the rating was so bad that there's concern that this will be the end of pro wrestling on prime time TV in Japan for the foreseeable future. But there are justifiable reasons for the rating. The show went head-to-head with the Kirin Cup soccer tournament, which was a huge deal and did more than double the rating the NJPW show did. Unlike the U.S., wrestling and "real" sports in Japan have a major crossover audience, so having real sports competition severely hurt NJPW's show. Also, while Ogawa is a draw as a singles star, putting him in a tag match against Norton and Tenzan isn't exactly setting the world on fire. The show lasted 6 hours, which was way too long and the crowd was burned out before Misawa vs. Chono even started.
  • Other notes from the NJPW show: it opened with an hour long 30th anniversary ceremony. They had a 10-bell salute for Lou Thesz and brought out a bunch of legendary NJPW names from the 70s and 80s. Then they did an angle where Antonio Inoki came out to give a speech, but he was attacked by Tiger Jeet Singh. But then Chyna made the save, attacking Singh, running him out of the ring, and challenging him to a match. Inoki's ex-wife, famous Japanese actress Mitsuko Baisho then made an appearance, getting a huge pop, and she and Inoki did his famous catch phrase to kick off the show. Minoru Suzuki of Pancrase (who started with NJPW as a pro wrestler) was also there. Jushin Ligher and Minoru Tanaka won the IWGP Jr. tag titles and then Liger challenged several NOAH wrestlers who were at ringside (most notably KENTA) and they all jumped in the ring and it ended with a staredown. The Steiner Brothers reunited to face Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kensuke Sasaki, with Chyna as the special referee. Tanahashi was working hurt, but he still worked. They did a spot where Tanahashi ran into Chyna and he went down off the bump instead of her and Dave seems annoyed by this since Tanahashi is a guy they really need to be pushing who can be a huge star for this company. Dave doesn't like him selling bumps for Chyna. Anyway, decent match but the Steiners basically steamrolled them and Tanahashi was pinned by Scott Steiner. Chyna then challenged several All Japan Women at ringside as well as Scott Steiner, Tanahashi, Sasaki, and even IWGP champion Yuji Nagata, saying she wanted a title match. Dave thinks this company has lost its damn mind. Speaking of Nagata, he retained his title in the next match. And then, of course, the main event. Usually during interpromotional matches, the crowd is always super pro-NJPW but this time, they went insane for Misawa and it was clear there were a ton of NOAH fans in the building. Chono did some Inoki moves and Misawa did some Great Baba moves, to kinda have a spiritual "Baba vs. Inoki" tribute in the match I guess. Ended in a draw and by the time it was over, no matter how big the dream match was, the crowd was burned out and weren't as hype for the match as you might expect once the entrances were done.
WATCH: Misawa vs. Chono highlights
  • Goldberg has received a full buy-out of his WCW contract from Time Warner and as of this week, he is now an unsigned free agent. Goldberg did not request the buy-out, the decision was made by the Time Warner side after the most unprofitable quarter in their history. The company was looking to cut expenses, even at a loss, just so the books can look better in future quarters. Goldberg reportedly received almost all of his remaining salary (more than 90% of the nearly $3 million he was still owed) in order to get him off their books. When Goldberg realized he's going to be a free agent a year earlier than expected, talks with WWE started up. But as usual, they went nowhere. WWE (I feel like I'm having to get used to typing that all over again. Really does feel like 2002 again) has interest in him, especially given the way ratings continue to plummet lately. But Goldberg has always wanted more than WWE is willing to pay. Plus, they're feeling burned right now after signing Hall and Nash to big money, long-term contracts for part-time work, only to have Nash get injured and Hall likely to get himself fired at any moment (that moment is coming sooner than you think), and neither of them really getting over in any meaningful way. Even Hogan, who is also making big money for a reduced schedule, was hot for a minute and boosted ratings and buyrates. But after only a few months, that train already seems to be out of steam and TV ratings are back to floundering with Hogan as champion leading the shows. So WWE is kinda gun-shy on opening the checkbook and paying out the ass for these big stars, futilely hoping that one of them is the quick-fix that can stop the bleeding.
  • There's also the question of how Goldberg would fit within the WWE locker room. He hasn't been shy about his dislike for Triple H, dating back to WCW when Triple H trashed Goldberg in a radio interview and saying that even if Goldberg was available, they wouldn't want him (which, at the time, when WCW was still alive and Goldberg was the biggest star in the company, is just about the dumbest thing he could have said. In 1998, WWF would have gladly traded 10 Triple H's for Goldberg). Anyway, Goldberg took the comment personally and even confronted Triple H face-to-face at the Toy Fair convention in New York a couple of years ago, in a bit of an ugly scene where Goldberg was yelling at him and Triple H and Stephanie kept their heads down and said nothing. Goldberg also has a lot of dislike for Scott Hall, which is another of Triple H's good friends, so ya know. The latest on Goldberg is that he's considering working some in Japan but he's just fielding offers right now. Word is he's interested in working with PRIDE as well as NJPW. Of course, if he's looking to maximize his money potential, WWE is still the place to go if you want to make big bucks. If promoted right, matches against Rock, Austin, Triple H, and others could do huge buyrates. And if they keep Goldberg and Austin apart for a year and build to a match with them at Wrestlemania, well, needless to say, that show would set records. Dave talks about how Goldberg got nuclear hot in 1998 and even in 1999, he was the biggest drawing wrestler in the business. But by 2000, the company was dying, Goldberg was injured, and "Jesus Chris with an Etch-a-Sketch" couldn't have drawn in WCW. Dave again does the math and talks about how WWE should have brought Goldberg in for the Invasion angle. Yes, it would have cost them a lot of money and upset the salary structure, but he would have more than made up for it with the kind of buyrates he could have drawn with those dream matches and the Invasion angle might have had a chance. But alas.
  • And of course, who's to say how WWE would use Goldberg? They already have Brock Lesnar and they're currently giving him the unstoppable monster push. Lesnar is bigger, younger, and a more legitimate athlete (for whatever that's worth). And WWE probably isn't going to give Goldberg an endless string of jobbers to beat. In WWE, he's going to be expected to work longer matches, sell for people, etc. They won't book him the way WCW did so who knows how he'd get over in WWE? If they wanted to build to an Austin/Goldberg match, it would make sense that Goldberg first has to plow through guys like Triple H, Undertaker, etc. And politically, that just ain't gonna happen. Dave doubts NJPW can afford him for anything more than one or two big shows. As for PRIDE, he could probably make a lot of money there, but the problem is.....PRIDE is a shoot. They haven't had "worked" matches in a couple of years and doing so now would kill their credibility. Which means Goldberg would have to go into a legit shoot and one embarrassing loss there would severely hurt his future earning potential. In the end, Dave thinks it's inevitable that Goldberg will end up in WWE, but probably not any time soon. But he's certain it will eventually happen. There's too much money on the line for both sides and WWE's ratings woes are making them desperate, so it'll happen some day (yup, less than a year from this).
  • And the moment is here! For those of you who had "under 3 months" in the "How long will Scott Hall last?" pool, come collect your prize. Scott Hall was released by the WWE this week due to misbehavior on the European tour. Firstly, he went on a drunken binge during the entire tour and was even worse on the plane ride home (much more on that in a bit). Dave says this was inevitable. WCW fired him. Even ECW stopped using him when he got arrested at one point. And even though he was seemingly behaving during his Japan tours, even NJPW cut ties with him shortly before he went back to WWE because they were fed up with some of his antics. And now WWE has fired him. Dave talks about how Hall made a drunken spectacle of himself in the locker room on his very first day back in WWE, before the NWO even debuted on TV, then he showed up in Toronto for Wrestlemania in no condition to perform (later came out that he was hungover from the night before), which caused Austin to insist on ending their feud at WM (which was the plan, but Dave says Austin has continued working with Hall afterwards simply because they don't really seem to have any other credible opponents for him). Hall's match with Bradshaw at Backlash was an embarrassment and the night before that show, agents had to help him back to his hotel. Just endless incidents like this. In Europe, Hall was such a blatant drunken mess that even the other wrestlers were calling for him to be fired. Hall was 45 minutes late for the bus they all took to London and then passed out in the locker room during the show. On the plane ride back, he was starting fights with people and eventually passed out and it got to the point that people were worried about his health. When they got back to the U.S. for Raw, they literally had to wake him up from a drunken stupor backstage to send him to the ring to do his segment (and yes, he wrestled). After the show, they fired him. No one came to his defense, and even Hall's closest friends are now admitting that he simply can't handle the pressures of being on the road and being released is the best thing for him right now. Dave talks about how a lot of wrestlers have been fired in the last couple of years for drug and alcohol issues and that's all well and good, but the big problem is why hire them in the first place? Scott Hall's issues were not a secret. It wasn't like he cleaned himself up before he came to WWE. He was getting in trouble and collecting arrests like Pokemon all the way up until the day they brought him back. Anyway, Hall had a 2-year deal, believed to be worth $600,000-per-year downside for only 10 dates per month. So a really sweet deal, but it's gone now.
  • Hey, speaking of that European tour, turns out there was a bit of trouble on the flight back to the U.S. Perhaps you've heard of it. Most of the trouble wasn't even due to Scott Hall. Turns out Vince McMahon didn't make the trip and lots of people decided that was a good reason to cut loose and have fun. Plus, since everyone has seen Hall get away with being drunk 24/7 for the last few months, they figured nobody would get in trouble. So....folks got DRUNK. Among the various incidents on this flight: Goldust got on the speaker system and began drunkenly serenading his ex-wife Terri with love songs. Terri was extremely uncomfortable and begged him to stop and then Jim Ross had to go sit him down. Ric Flair also "started to get wild" but Jim Ross calmed him down as well (Dave doesn't seem to know just yet exactly what Flair "getting wild" entailed, but if you don't know, it involved getting totally naked except for his robe and started helicoptering his dick at flight attendants. And it gets worse if you feel like researching it. The flight attendants later filed a lawsuit against Flair and accused him of sexual assault). Curt Hennig was spraying people with shaving cream and he kept trying to get Brock Lesnar to fight him. Lesnar, being a newcomer, didn't know how to handle it and didn't want to get in trouble, but he ain't gonna let Hennig talk shit to him either. So anyway, Lesnar got up and basically annihilated Hennig, repeatedly taking him to the ground and embarrassing him because, well, of course he did. It's Brock Lesnar. At one point, Lesnar slammed Hennig up against the side of the plane, right into the emergency exit door, which freaked everybody out for obvious reasons. Michael Hayes got into a scuffle with Bradshaw and then tried to pick a fight with Hall (although everyone on the plane said Hall had it coming). Anyway, Hayes was apparently obnoxious as hell and annoyed everyone. But then he made the mistake of falling asleep and someone (believed to be X-Pac) cut his hair off. When Hayes woke up, he was furious and tried to fight several people. The next day at the Raw tapings, his entire mullet was in a plastic bag, pinned to the wall of the locker room for everyone to see. Gerald Brisco, Arn Anderson, and Hayes all caught a ton of heat from Vince afterward since they were the people who were supposed to be in charge. Anderson and Hayes especially, since their jobs are to keep the boys under control, but they were apparently having just as much fun as everyone else. Everyone's waiting to see how Vince is going to handle this situation. As noted, Hall was already fired and Hayes got an earful from Vince, Stephanie, and JR at Raw the next day, but there will likely be more fallout. Undertaker was also said to be furious over how out of hand everything got (I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this).
  • Anyway, while they were in Europe, WWE presented its latest UK PPV, Insurexxtion. As usual with the UK PPVs, this was little more than a glorified house show. They announced the show as sold out, but there were empty seats everywhere. RVD vs. Eddie Guerrero for the IC title was the show-stealer according to every report Dave heard, and was said to be far better than their Backlash match. Brock Lesnar teamed with Shawn Stasiak (lol wut) and lost to the Hardyz. Brock beat up everybody after the match. Triple H beat Undertaker in the main event and Dave doesn't know why since Undertaker is the one challenging Hogan for the title at the next PPV. The top rope broke during the match when they did an Irish whip into the corner and when the rope snapped, a metal piece broke off from the corner and flew into the crowd and barely missed hitting a small child in the face.
  • Smackdown on 5/2 drew the all-time lowest rating in the history of the show. Dave says that's the scariest thing to happen to WWF in the past 5 years. It was also the 3rd lowest rating for any Smackdown or Raw dating back to 1998. The rating was a full 18% drop from the week before, which was already scary. The rating was even lower than previous holiday episodes. So what was the problem? Well, it was headlined by Hogan defending the WWF title against Chris Jericho (as it turns out, the final time the "WWF" title was ever defended). Dave says the title has been meaningless for years now and Hogan's steam is running out. And Jericho hasn't recovered from spending the first part of the year being emasculated and playing second fiddle to Stephanie McMahon in the Wrestlemania feud. Add all that together and you've got a recipe for a shit ratings night. Among other things. Dave isn't blaming this all on Hogan and Jericho by any means, there's a lot of problems with the company as of late, from bad storylines to failing to make new stars, and it's all starting to come home to roost.
  • Keiji Muto wrestled a match in AJPW under his alternate gimmick of Kokushi Muso. Turns out "Great Muta" isn't his only other persona. The Kokushi Muso gimmick is basically like Hakushi in WWF, where he's covered his entire body in Japanese writing. He originally debuted the gimmick in Michinoku Pro last year, when teaming with....Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki, who occasionally brought back the old Hakushi gimmick in Japan). Anyway, same thing here. He teamed with Hakushi for this match, while using that gimmick (Muto would use that gimmick a handful of times throughout the years, always when teaming with Hakushi. It's like that was only his gimmick for that team. The last time he used it was in 2009, also in a tag match with Hakushi).
  • Former NOAH Jr. champion Naomichi Marufuji underwent knee surgery this week and should be out around 6 months (ends up being 9 months).
  • NJPW is doing an angle (according to Dave) similar to the Vince/Flair angle last year where Antonio Inoki and Masahiro Chono are battling over control of the company. Although it's more realistic. Inoki is in the press talking about how many of NJPW's shows aren't doing well and is pushing for them to use Naoya Ogawa more, while Chono doesn't want to. Inoki is also saying Chono needs to retire from wrestling and focus his energies on managing the day-to-day business of the promotion full-time. Dave says this is an angle, but it doesn't sound like much of one to me, and I think later years have kinda proven there was a lot of blurring between fiction and reality here, because there was a ton of behind the scenes turmoil in NJPW during this period.
  • Will Smith appeared alongside Antonio Inoki at the Japanese movie premiere for the film "Ali" based on Muhammad Ali's life. Crowd went absolutely insane for Inoki (I've tried like hell and can't even find a picture of them together. But then again, I can't find a single pic from the premiere at all).
  • When reviewing the recent Dos Caras Jr. shoot fight in Japan, Dave talks about the guy's potential as a wrestler. He has a strong amateur background, legit shoot skills, and a famous name. Dave thinks, if he's even halfway a decent worker, he can almost be a guaranteed star in Mexico (based on his name alone) and probably Japan too, if he decides to pursue that career (indeed he did, and indeed, he was fairly decent at it. Of course, he later became Alberto Del Rio, accused rapist and pretty much confirmed all-around piece of shit).
  • Former long-time WCW referee Randy Anderson passed away this week after a long battle with testicular cancer. Back when WCW was still around and he first got diagnosed, they did an angle out of it where Eric Bischoff fired him and then laughed at his wife and kids when they begged him to give Anderson his back. Of course, he was later re-hired when Flair became on-screen commissioner and continued to referee until 1999 when the cancer forced him to retire.
  • Random news and notes: Bobby Heenan is said to be in good spirits and is especially excited because WWE recently contacted him about doing a WWE Magazine feature on him. Verne Gagne's wife Mary passed away from cancer this week. Goldberg will be appearing on this week's Wrestling Observer Live show to be interviewed. Mil Mascaras is releasing an autobiography (in Spanish of course) and man, I'd love to find an English translation of that because I bet it'd be interesting. Chyna appeared on "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" this past week.
WATCH: Chyna on Sabrina The Teenage Witch
  • Bruno Sammartino turned down an invitation to attend the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony in New York (yes, that HOF existed and still does, in a different city now). Bruno did an interview with the local paper and said "Wrestling is how I made my living and supported my family, but it's over. I don't want anything to do with it anymore." Bruno managed to turn the discussion to the WWE, despite them not having any affiliation with this HOF and grumbled about how Vince McMahon blocked him from being inducted into the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame. However, the new MSG owners have apparently promised Bruno he'll be inducted this year, since he sold the place out 200 times (Dave jumps in here to correct it and says the real number of sellouts is closer to 45. Bruno only main evented the Garden 127 times and by no means were they all sell-outs. But it's one of those myths that has been perpetuated for so long that Dave begrudgingly recognizes that people are always going to believe the 200 number is true, but it's not even close. He compares it to the claim that Andre The Giant was 7'4, which also wasn't true but people repeated the lie so often that it became accepted as fact).
  • Afa Anoa'i Jr., the son of the legendary Wild Samoan, is a star football player at his high school and is being recruited for Penn State. He also sometimes wrestles on his father's indie shows (that would be Manu, who was very briefly part of Legacy with Orton, Dibiase Jr., and Cody).
  • Former WCW announcer Scott Hudson will be doing commentary for Jerry Jarrett's new promotion, and Bob Ryder is said to be in a major front office position.
  • Jarrett has put out a press release saying that his new promotion has had talks with Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior. Word is Warrior wanted a 15% ownership stake in the new company, which pretty much ended those talks right there. They're also apparently interested in Scott Hall now too, with the idea that since they're only doing 1 show per week, he won't be a screw-up here. Dave is skeptical. Anyway, currently Road Dogg and Brian Christopher expected to be some of the company's top stars and Dave's not optimistic.
  • XWF wrestlers were told last week that a television deal should hopefully be finalized this week. But Dave has been told no chance it's happening that soon. The rumors are that the deal is either with the FX or Fox Kids networks. Ted Turner had inquired about buying this promotion a few months ago, but when he learned how much it would cost to get them off the ground and make them competitive, he lost interest (TV deal never materializes, company is already dead, etc. etc.).
  • The Scorpion King slipped to 2nd place this week, falling to the new Spider Man movie which did a record breaking $114 million opening weekend. Randy Savage has a small role in that movie.
  • Speaking of, The Rock worked his first match in about a month at a Fort Lauderdale house show, teaming with Hogan to beat Jericho and Angle. After the match, Hogan tried to get Rock to pose with him, but Rock wouldn't do it. Rock thanked the fans for the success of Scorpion King and said it would likely be his last match for awhile. There was a ton of local media there, but Rock didn't talk to any of them. Basically, the house show was in his neck of the woods and he simply decided to show up and work it just so he could see his friends and hang out with the locker room, he had no interest in doing interviews. He was just there because he wanted to be. Backstage, Rock was telling people that Hollywood higher-ups have told him he has to leave the wrestling business if he wants to be taken seriously as an actor. Those in the company feel it's a certainty that Rock really is leaving and he's likely going to break out of wrestling into Hollywood and actually become a rare success story (yeah, you could say that).
  • Look how long this is already. Imagine if I had covered that Lou Thesz obituary in full. JUST IMAGINE!
  • Notes from Raw: Dave compares it to an episode of Thunder, with the crowd half-dead for everything. Also, the roster was exhausted after just returning from the Europe trip (and the plane ride shenanigans) and that was apparent too. Brock Lesnar won his match via pinfall instead of the usual ref stoppage and Dave says that word is Triple H got in Vince's ear and convinced him to end the ref stoppage gimmick for Brock. Sure, why not? Hogan was supposed to ride off on Undertaker's bike at one point, but then the motorcycle wouldn't start. It was one of those awkward live-TV moments where time stood still and nobody knew what to do. Flair finally turned heel on Austin, to a shocking lack of heat from the crowd. Nash returned, etc. Dave recaps the rest of this show and it sounds like a lot of bad WCW stuff, coincidentally enough with a lot of the same people.
WATCH: Hogan can't start the motorcycle
  • The man who played the effeminate gay guy applying to be Vince McMahon's secretary on Smackdown a few weeks ago was new creative team member David Lagana. He recently joined the company and has written for several other TV shows, including "Friends" and has a strong knowledge of the industry (Dave says if you've been reading the Observer closely for the last few years, you're probably familiar with him, he's written in to Dave a lot over the years).
  • Dave goes on a brief rant about how to use older stars. In the past, everyone, even Vince McMahon, talked about how you should use guys like Hogan and Flair in small doses and how WCW's reliance on older stars like that is what made them less special. Dave talks about back in the day in Memphis, Jackie Fargo would come back once or twice a year and he was always the biggest star in the company when he did. Because he was used sparingly. But WWE has pretty much built its company around Hogan and Flair (and to a lesser extent, Vince and Undertaker) over the last few months and they've been totally overexposed because of it. Just 6 weeks ago, Hulk Hogan was getting some of the largest crowd reactions in the history of the business. Now, he and Undertaker are practically hearing crickets during their on-screen interactions.
  • Lita underwent neck surgery this week and isn't allowed to do anything physical for 9 months. Scotty 2 Hotty also had neck surgery and is expected to be out for about a year. Both are expected to make full recoveries though.
  • Jesse Ventura admitted this week that he received WWF stock options as partial payment for some work he did with them. Dave doesn't know if it's related to the Summerslam appearance a few years ago or the XFL announcing gig. Ventura says he has 10 years to exercise those stock options but wouldn't give any further details.
  • Scott Steiner told WWA he will work their next UK tour but after that, he's going to WWE. Dave is skeptical. Reports are that Steiner was in horrible pain after every match he worked on the last WWA tour and there's significant doubt that his body will hold up to a WWE schedule.
  • The new Steve Austin "What!" DVD has a lot of WCW footage, including the full Austin vs. Steamboat match from WCW Bash at the Beach 94. Dave doesn't say so, but I believe this is the first time WWE used any of the WCW library for commercial release after they purchased it the year before.
  • Someone writes in and asks Dave to stop spending so much time writing about steroid use in wrestling and instead says he should write a story about racism in the business. This person writes about the allegations from years back of Dusty Rhodes using the N-work with impunity, or the time DX parodied the Nation by wearing blackface. The WCW discrimination lawsuit, the embarrassing angles they've done with Mark Henry such as Sexual Chocolate, etc. This guy is asking why is it white wrestlers outnumber black wrestlers by 35-to-1 ratio in the U.S. (70-to-1 in Mexico and 80-to-1 in Japan). He wants to know why Dave isn't writing about that stuff. Dave responds and agrees that the blackface DX promo was racist, and it was racist when Buff Bagwell did it in WCW and when Roddy Piper did it in the 80s. Dave says wrestling, especially from the 70s through the 90s, had a horrible history of exploiting stereotypes and/or saying and doing racist things. You can argue it's gotten better, but no doubt the problem still exists. Dave lists some examples but he also pushes back on some others. For example, he's heard people complain that Booker T isn't being used properly due to his race and Dave disagrees. It's true that Booker T probably deserves a bigger push, but you can make the same case for guys like RVD and Jericho and Raven or DDP (when he first debuted, at least) and that didn't happen either, so Dave doesn't necessarily think Booker's lack of top-star push can be blamed on his race (we're less than a year away from Triple H definitively proving otherwise).
  • There's also 2 letters about the Rock/Hogan match at Wrestlemania and they couldn't be more different. One guy writes in and he can't understand why people are praising that match because if you put aside the hot crowd, it was awful, everyone's moves looked bad, it was embarrassing, etc. and says Hogan should have retired afterward. Then someone else writes in and says he was there live and, taken as a whole, Rock vs. Hogan was the greatest match he's ever seen. Basically the same "love it or hate it" opinion people have about that match to this day. Also, someone else writes in about the recent Low-Ki vs. American Dragon match from an ROH show and puts it up there among some of the greatest matches of all time (listing off several classic WWF matches like Shawn/Razor and Owen/Bret at WM10 for example). So there ya go.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: more fallout from the Plane Ride from Hell, more on the beginning of Jarrett's new NWA-TNA promotion, more on the NJPW Tokyo Dome show, and more...
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OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – BAR FIGHT? NOT WITH DOC BIONICFINGERS! Part one.

That reminds me of a story.
I’m going cooped-up crazy. Shacky-wacky. Hotel doldrums have set in.
Yes, I know. Es and I just got back from a resounding tour of a shipbreaking yard in India.
Flew way above First Class.
Never had to even touch our luggage.
♫Oh, what fun it is to charter flights. Limos all the way. Hey! ♫.
But, the hotel bars here are paling quickly. Quiet. Too quiet. Same old, dull, dazed, and dormant crowd. The Expat population in Dubai is dwindling mightily. The COVID craziness is a madness that is taking a heavy toll. Everything’s shut down. Everyone’s staying at home.
I’m almost nostalgic for a good old Dubai 35 car pile-up and traffic jam.
Es sees that I’m in a quandary. She had quite a few friends here in Dubai. The ones I had have all left due to cratering oil prices or they’re what’s considered an ‘essential employee’, and thus unavailable.
“ROCK! QUIT YOUR PACING!” Es says in her most inimitable manner. “YOU’RE MAKING ME CRAZY!”
“A thousand pardons, my darling. But, Boditek. I suffer! Klytus, I’m bored. Bored out of my fucking mind. I can only write so much on the Precambrian Hydrocarbon reservoirs of Eastern Siberia. Television’s a bust, there’s no Netflix, even Pirate Bay is blocked here, and I’m going spare!” I whimper.
“Go then. Begone with thee. Go find a dark bar and grab a seat on Mahogany Ridge. You need a night off. Just take your fingers with so you won’t scare the locals. And be home before they open the borders. We want to be first in line when that happens” she says.
“By your command!”, I say, grab her around the waist, give her a spin, a quick smooch on the cheek, and pat on the backside before I hit the stairs in our suite in a flat-out gallop to retrieve my now charged digits from their charging port on my nightstand.
A few minutes later…
Stately, plump Dr. Rocknocker came from the stairhead bearing three incredibly expensive technologically-derived Kevlar-ed digits. He was clad in his finest Desert Fox chino shorts, freshly cleaned and oiled field boots, a new pair of jade Merino Rannoch Luxury Country Socks, best new Hawaiian drinking shirt, a Blasting technician T-shirt and black, recently blocked, Stetson.
He was so full of himself, that he actually stopped talking about his own self in the narrative in the third person.
“Esme? Darling? I’m off!” I say with a lilt in my voice and a cheeseburger in my pocket.
But that’s another story.
“You’re off, all right”, Es chuckles. “Now Rock, remember. This is the first time in a long time I’m letting you off the chain, out unsupervised among the general population. Don’t break anyone if you can avoid it and even if someone needs a quick killing, remember, you’re on vacation. OK?”
“Oh, my dear!” I chuckle and snicker, “You know me. I wouldn’t kill anyone here in Dubai. There’s no money in it.”
“Still. Best behavior?” She admonishes.
“I can’t guarantee anything, but I will try,” I reply.
“Pinkie promise?” she requests.
Damn. One of the few fingers of which left I have a natural set.
Now I can’t say that it was just a Kevlar-coated contract.
“But of course”, I say as we entwine pinkies. Hers nice, clean, and pink; mine keloidal, gnarled, and scarred.
Yeah, it about makes me retch. But Es sort of enjoys these silly things now and again.
I’m waiting in the hotel bar for my cab to arrive. I have a quick Long Island Iced Tea or three before I hit the streets. I’ve got this weird hankering for a sports bar. Don’t know why. I hate football, i.e., soccer, cricket, and those other weird forms of ball chasing they call sports over here.
But I yearn to be in a bar full of leather, hewn wood, and smoke. Attended by the smell of manly men drinking as they see fit.
In Dubai? Fat chance.
I ask my driver, who has just arrived, and who will be with me all night; if he minds me smoking, having a drink in a plain brown wrapper, and if he knows of a decent sports bar in Dubai.
No.
Nope.
Quantum Sports Bar.
“It’s sort of pricey”, he tells me.
My driver for the duration is one Roy Toisuta, an Indonesian chap who looks like he fell off a charm bracelet. In reality, I could make up three of him. But he’s affable, quick on the gas and bound to be a boon companion.
He is wiry in that whipsaw sort of kill-you-with-a-paperclip-1000-different-ways sort of manner. Like the human personification of a gaunt wolverine.
We’ll get along famously.
He tells me he doesn’t drink for whatever reason. He announces that he would wait for me out in the car while I go in and do whatever one does in a Sports Bar in Dubai for a few hours.
“Look, Roy”, I say, “I’m on retainer. C’mon in and I’ll buy you dinner and all the coffee, tea, or fizz water you could want. I just need someone non-judgmental. See, I have this affliction. I’m an alcohol-fueled carbon-based organism. I tend to drink a lot, but only to excess. You have any sort of problem with that?”
“Well, Rock”, he says, “As long as we’re being honest, I have no problem. The way I see it, the more you drink, the looser your wallet becomes.”
“I don’t suppose you’d care to lay a small wager on that conclusion?” I ask, leerily in that strange way I have that makes Komodo Dragons gulp in disbelief.
“I’ll bet, after what you told me about your recent confinement, that I’ll be dragging and/or carrying you out of the bar tonight. “ he snickers, dreaming of my very loose wallet and its contents. “You’re going to be tying one on, I can see that.”
“You can see me. But you can’t see my past” I think.
“Well, you’re not drinking, so what’s in it for me if I win?” I ask.
“A free driver for the next week?” he asks.
“Want to make it a month? I’m really, really thirsty.” I sneer.
“Make it a fortnight.”, he laughs. “Easiest money I’ve ever made. I can barely hold you back.”
“Deal”, as we shake hands. He notices my gloves for the first time.
“What’s that all about?” he asks.
“Industrial accident years ago. Not terribly pretty.” I say.
“Oh. OK. Ready to go?” He asks.
“Gentlemen”, I announce, “Forward. Drink!”
Roy accepts a cigar from one of my travel pocket humidors and we walk up to the entrance.
“You be who?” asks the doorman.
“Well, my good man, I am the Motherfucking Pro from Dover, and this is my able-bodied companion, Kato”, I say in my most affected Elliott Gould imitation.
“What?” he asks trying to corral at least two functioning synapses.
“Pardons. I’m Dr. Rocknocker and this is my trusty driver, Roy.” I continue.
“Ah. What? Hmm? Who?” was the response.
“Oh, I am sorry. Which word confused you?” I asked, most deferentially.
“You trying to be smart?” he asks.
“Well, I reckoned that at least one of us should,” I replied.
He sat there and fumbled with that reply like a nun in a warm bathtub fumbles with a bar of soap. You know the type, she has hope in her soul…
As he struggles to come up with an answer, I offer him a cigar the likes of which I’m certain he’s never seen outside of a Hollywoo movie.
“Here, my good man. My card.” I say as I hand over a large example of the perfection of the tobacconist’s art.
He gratefully accepts the cigar and removes the rope barrier.
“Have yourself a good time, gents.” He says.
“Oh. We intend to”, I reply.
“Ever need anything, just ask for Sandeep” the towering Nepali remarks with a smile.
“Thanks. Have a night yourself…”, I reply and stuff another cigar in his shirt pocket for later.
He grins wide as Dubai Creek and just as brown. He shoots me a wide smile and a universal thumbs-up sign.
“Best to make friends rather than antagonize the locals”, I muse.
“You’re an odd bird, Doctor Rocknocker.” Roy chortles.
“Roy, it’s just ‘Rock’, OK? It’ll save both time and cuts down on CO2 exhalations. And I’m all for protecting the environment.” I smiled back.
Roy chewed on that one for most the rest of the night.
The Sports Bar was quiet. Fairly empty, with probably more wait-persons than patrons.
One particularly buxom specimen of the female side of the equation welcomed us in an overtly and obviously affected mien. She wanted to show us to a table that was within the sphere of her waitressy influence.
“No, thank you”, I said as I spied acres and acres of glistening unoccupied Mahogany with tens of unoccupied seats that both faced the long bar and the several large-screen televisions there.
Seemingly bereft of people to wait and prey upon, she ignored us roundly. To her financial detriment as we would all find out during the course of the evening.
I chose a likely looking seat at the bar and Roy joined me, cautiously, a seat or two away.
“I don’t bite, Roy”, I said.
“Social distancing”, he replied.
“Ah. Well, I have a fully functional immune system as well as the hardest working liver in the galaxy. I assure you I’m in no way communicable.” I replied, slightly miffed. “Besides, after that cab ride here, whatever ætiology I have, you have as well, and vice versa.”
He scooted over one seat but shuttled that seat back to the right about 15 more centimeters.
“Some folks just don’t like their personal space invaded”, I surmised.
I pulled out one of my cigar cases, a cutter, lighter, and a stack of currencies that I was going to try and get rid of that night.
I had freshly minted UK Pounds, Euros of many nations, Indian Rupees, Russian Rubles, Japanese Yen, Chinese Renmimbi, some Uzbek Som, Afghani Afghans, Argentinian Pesos, down under Ozzian Dollarydoos, Mongolian Tugriks, Omani Rials, a few Samoan Tālā, and a bunch of US dollars.
How I ended up with that last group remains a mystery.
Roy goggled at the stack of weirdly colored and weirdly wonderful currencies of many nations.
“Sorry, Roy”, I said, “No Indonesian rupiah. Haven’t been to Jakarta in a long time.”
“What the hell are those weird ones there?” he asked.
“Which ones?” I chuckled back.
It was at that time our reverie was broken.
The bartender, one Zac O'Madden, an Irish national currently working for the hotel to which this bar is attached, interrupts our nascent debauch and asks for our drink orders.
“Not so fast there!” I say. “Introductions first. We’re not savages here.”
Zac chuckles. “You’re obviously American.”
“Вы уверены в этом? [Are you certain of that?]”, I say in return.
Zac just stands there and laughs.
“Та үнэхээр итгэлтэй байна уу? [Are you really certain?]” I ask in Mongolian. “Ĉu vi vere certas? Bạn có thực sự chắc chắn?”
“You’re as Russian or whatever that was as I am Kenyan. Now I know it. You’re American.” He says assuredly.
“And you have this nasty habit of being correct. I’m Dr. Rocknocker, call me Rock. This slight but solid fellow to my right is Roy, late of Jakarta and Krakatoa, actually west of Java.” I snicker.
“And I am Zac O’Madden, of Dublin and points east. Nice to meet you all. What can I get for you?” he asks.
After we shake hands in a very manly, indeed, manner, I ask Roy what is his pleasure.
“A tall club soda with a twist of lime, on the rocks.” He replies offhandedly.
“You’ve done this before”, I observe rather unnecessarily. “Zac, Roy gets what he wants tonight, my tab. I’ll have a Sazerac, hold the sugar. Actually several. You see, on the flight over, I sat through another showing of ’Live and Let Die’, and now I miss Mardi Gras, New Orleans, and Pat O’Brien’s. But I don’t like sweet drinks.”
“Coming right up”, Zac says with a well-practiced swish of his bar rag.
“Oh, but I’m not finished. I’d also like a beer chaser. A pint of…ah, do you have a beer menu?” I ask, looking down the long row of tappers.
“Coming up”, he says, and races off to find me one.
A few minutes later he returns with my cocktail, Roy’s fizz water, and a bar beer menu.
I raise my glass to Zac and then to Roy. We clink and I say, “I like this guy. And I like this bar. We’re going to have us a large night.”
I drain my unsweet Sazerac in one go.
Hey. I was thirsty. Needs a scootch more absinthe I observe.
Roy and Zac just sort of stare, wide-eyed, as I peruse the beer menu.
Nice menu, nice diversity. Oh, very nice.
“I’ll have the Asahi Kuronama Black if you don’t mind. Plus another Sazerac, a bit more absinthe if you please. You see, I have this genetic condition I need to keep in balance.” I grinned.
Zac looked at me like I had some sort of adverse medical condition.
“You OK, Rock?” he asked most earnestly.
“Look, Zac, I just met you and you’re a hell of a tarbender, far be it from me to tell you your job, but you see, there is this…” I said, trailing off.
“Yes?” His was a look of genuine concern. The genuine concern he won’t own that pile of currency on the bar in front of me by the end of the night.
“Yeah. Genetics dealt me a weird hand. See. I’m an ethanol-fueled carbon-based organism…”
Roy just rolled his eyes.
Zac looked puzzled.
“Yeah, I require alcohol in good-tasting and heroic amounts on a regular basis. I also have to smoke huge, black cigars in order to moderate the bioreactor.” I smiled, as I leaned back and fired up a heater.
Zac looked at me. Chewed over what I said for a moment or two. He shrugged his shoulders, grabbed my empty glass, and said, “OK, whatever. Round two in moments.”
Roy went to ask me something, thought better of it, and just leaned over and grabbed my Zippo from Irkutsk.
He looked at the cameo-relief silver and amber city crest attached to the lighter, flipped it open, and tried firing up his cigar.
“They draw better if you cut the end first,” I said, absently; and not looking, just hand him my V-cutter.
Zac returns with a new Sazerac, a chilled bottle of Asahi Kuronama Black, a tall pilsner glass, and a new club soda for Roy.
I puffed my cigar, drained another Sazerac in one go, tried the Japanese black beer, and found it to my liking. I leaned back to observe what sort of sports carnage they were observing on the big screens.
Roy just looked at me with wide eyes but said nothing.
The evening wore on. After a couple or twelve more Sazeracs, I decided it was time to teach Zac the finer points of mixology via premium vodka, bubbly citrus, ice, and lime wheels.
I also found that they had a stock of Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844, from China.
“PBR!”, I almost yelled, “Holy wow! I grew up on the stuff.”
“Not this stuff, Rock”, Zac said, “Look at the price. We only got a small amount due to a shipping error. It’s not sold outside of China normally.”
It was UAE 165 per bottle, about US$45, and worth every dirham. Zak was amazed when I told him to go ahead and have one on Roy and me.
“Really, Rock?”, Zac exclaimed. “The usual buggers here are so tight, they hum when the wind blows. Hardly anyone buys me a drink. Except for you Americans. Finest kind.”
“That’s me. An international ambassador of amity and alcohol,”, I say and toast in his general direction. “Crack tubes!”
Roy was getting tired as a newt. Evidently not drinking, listening to old war stories, and watching recorded US Football games due to the COVID lack of anything live, can take its toll as well.
I’m going strong as I’m asking Zac to explain what the fuck cricket is all about.
“So, let me get this straight,” I say, ordering another double cocktail and a couple of PBR chasers for Zac and myself. “The guy on the mound runs up and pitches to the guy dressed in the body armor. He uses a bent 2x4 to defend the wicket, which, if I recall correctly, can be sticky. Then he keeps the aliens from stealing the stumps and burning them to ashes in Australia...”
“God”, Zac exclaims, “You’re fucking hopeless.”
“Everything I know about cricket I learned from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy.” I smiled proudly.
“That was rather obvious…” Zac sheeshed. He left to attend to another patron, a loud and woozy Kiwi.
I looked at the source of all the bad noise and in my inattention, just clicked my full beer glass. I inadvertently violated Rule #1 and spilled a small soupçon of expensive, imported beer onto my left hand.
“Whoops!”, I said and stripped off my sodden left-hand glove. I used Zac’s bar towel to sop up the bar and dry my techno-digits.
Roy looked not only at my ‘whoops’, but goggled my Japanese one-off, so far, electro-fingers.
“Rock. What the hell, man. I mean, what the fuck. Are those for real?” he asked.
“Yeah, they are a new prototype and I’m the lab rat.”, I said, waggling them and seeing that something as mundane a beer spill could never possibly injure them.
By this time, Zac wanders back, sees I’ve used his bar rag, and looks at my hand for real for the first time.
“What the fuck, Rocko? You some sort of cyborg?” he asks.
“By definition; yes, I am. And my grandfather used to call me that. Thanks.”, I replied. “But, yeah, I’m an alcohol-fueled one at that,” I say, tapping and pointing rather pointedly at my currently unpopulated cocktail glass.
Zac returns with a reload. He and Roy demand to know the whole story.
“If you must pry…” I say.
“Oh, we must, we must”, they reply in unison.
So, I regale them with the tale of the Siberian rig. The blowout, fire, and the moderately overzealous Russian FNG.
“Rock, I don’t know if that’s true, but by your appearance, it has to be. Let me buy you a drink.” Zac says.
Roy asks for a Molson Light.
“Roy! You old fraud.” I said.
“I usually don’t drink. But after that story, I think I need something cold, wet, and with a little punch.” He said, staring at my hand.
“Then you’ve chosen well”, as I down another Rocknocker, sip at my PBR and snip a new cigar.
“Rock, can I ask you a question?” Roy asks. Zac is polishing our spot at the bar insistently. I think he has a question or two as well.
“Sure. Go nuts.” I reply, puffing on my new cigar and sipping this lovely amber 1844 brew.
He crouches conspiratorially and asks in a low sotto voce: “Is that why you drink as you do? To dull the pain? From the accident. That’s it, right? Isn’t it?” Roy asks, almost genuinely concerned.
I laughed loud and long. I chuckled, snorted, and had to calm myself with gulps of my beer and cocktail.
“Roy, Roy, Roy…I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m from Baja Canada originally. I’m a multiply-degreed petroleum geologist. I’ve lived and worked in Russia for many, many years. And, as I’ve said, I’m an ethanol-fueled organism. Quadruple perfect storm. My fingers don’t hurt. Or they might, I have no idea. I don’t even know where hell they are.” I laughed at my own witty repartee.
Roy actually paled some. He took a long draught of his anemic beer and just stared at me.
Zac had disappeared. He presently returned with a bottle of Beluga Gold Line Vodka.
“Rock, after that, this one’s for you. On the house.” He said.
“Only if you will join me. And let me pay for yours.” I said.
Zac agrees.
The shnozzled Kiwi from previous in the narrative staggers by and hears the tag-end of our conversation.
He leans over to grab the expensive bottle of vodka and says “Don’t mind if I do.”
“None for you, asshole. You’re lucky I let you stay here waiting on a cab” Zac growls, and grabs the bottle away.
The Kiwi looks at Zac. He looks at Roy. Then he looks at me, my drinks, cigar, and the smaller pile of currency on the bar.
He may have been loaded, but something swam upstream against his internal current of booze and made him decide that right now, discretion was the better part of valor. He toddled unsteadily away.
“Asswipe”, Zac spits, “He’s here every other month. He pays for his drinks, but he can’t hold them. Never once tips or buys a round. General asshole. Still, management won’t let me toss nor ban him.”
“Some people”, I distastefully agreed and poured Zac and myself a healthy double-tot of the fine, smooth, and icy vodka. “I weep for our species sometimes.”
I insisted Zac join me. I asked Roy if he’d like a taste.
“Thanks, Rock. But you’ve already been too much of a bad influence on me.” he smiled, and tipped his almost empty pilsner glass.
“OK, no pressure. I may drink like a school of belugas, but if someone else doesn’t want to, I respect that all day long. Still, the offer stands.” I continue.
“I’ll think about it, Rock. I’m still not over how you can just sit there and joke about your cybernetic fingers and how you got them. I’d…I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. “ he shudders.
“Want to see the scar on my leg where I got shot with a .45? Or the scar on my coconut from a hunk of falling ice on a drilling rig?” I asked.
“Fuck no!”, Roy almost screams. “What the hell. You held together by scar tissue?”
”That. Baling wire and Duct Tape.” I laughed, “And people wonder why I drink.”
“I thought so!” Roy exclaimed.
“I drink because I chose to. I can stop anytime. In fact, I stopped smoking and drinking once; by nothing more than sheer force of will.” I said proudly.
“Really?” Roy asked.
“Yep”, I replied, “It was the worst 45 minutes of my life.”
To be continued…
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Online gambling legislation and regulation. Starting your own gambling product.

Online gambling legislation and regulation. Starting your own gambling product.

Mobile gambling
If you plan to develop an app with the ability to deposit and withdraw real money, then such a product automatically falls into the category of gambling and you will need to license your business for successful operation.
Mobile and Web Based Apps
So let’s talk about the different kinds of online gambling apps available on web and mobile. We’ll be covering both free-play gaming apps and real money casino app games you can find for iOS, Android devices and web browsers.
Mobile gambling is more common for poker, casino, bingo, and skill games. They have advantages in terms of a low barrier to enter the market, instant liquidity, product knowledge, and marketing expertise, minimal infrastructure costs, and the ability to bring a brand to the market quickly. Consequently, this form of gambling does not sit neatly with jurisdictional boundaries. Multiple gambling opportunities are available, including betting on various events and markets, in a relatively simple format. Gambling products can also be integrated into betting on television shows or virtual racing and sports games as well as offering lotteries, bingo, poker and casino games.
Most Popular Gambling Apps
Sports betting, casino, poker and lotteries are the most popular forms of online gambling. However, other forms are available too. These include the following: Bingo, slot machines, different card games, roulette and other game of chance. One of the best things about online gambling and betting apps is the number of choices you have.

Sports Betting

Betting means making or accepting a bet on the outcome of a race, competition, or other event or process, the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring, or whether anything is or is not true. Today most sports betting is done via mobile-friendly sites and apps.
Today most sports betting is done via mobile-friendly sites and apps.
The introduction of live betting for sports like soccer and tennis means that bettors who are sitting inside stadiums watching games can now pick up their mobile devices and find real-time betting value with the best sports gambling apps. This has really unlocked a door to the future of sports gambling and the popularity of online gambling apps.

Poker

Many sites offer free poker, where no real money is wagered, although in some cases players can accumulate credits that can be exchanged for prizes. This is the case why people are going to play for real money. There is an ongoing debate over whether poker should be classified as a game of chance or skill. The parameters of legal poker playing are still unclear and differ between jurisdictions. Since you are not gambling with money, I’m pretty sure under the law it’s just a video game for now.

Blackjack

Blackjack is the game of choice to many high-rollers and do you know why? Because blackjack is a challenging, logic and skill-based game where your thinking, strategy, and calculations determine the outcome of the game.

Bingo

Bingo is one of the most popular and socially accepted games in the world. Bingo is a traditional form of gambling that has seen considerable innovation in recent years. It is also the only form of gambling recognized in the Gambling Act that does not have a specific statutory definition, the Act providing simply that “bingo” means “any version of that game, irrespective of by what name it is described”. Bingo must be played as an equal chance game. For game to be classed as “bingo” it must meet the Act’s definition of “equal chance gaming” (as opposed to casino gaming). Thus, it: must not involve playing or staking against a bank, and must be a game in which the chances are equally favorable to all participants in the sense that each ticket or chance has the same probability of success as any other.
Licensed bingo is a well-regulated and socially responsible form of gambling that takes place in a safe environment. Many sites offer multiple forms of bingo with different features, types of games, and costs of play. These sites often cater specifically for women and some research suggests that they may appeal to markets who would not typically engage in traditional forms of gambling.

Slots

Slot machine is one of the most beloved game among the gambling community and it has been a part of the industry for a long time. They provide fun and entertainment and their simplicity allows gamers to start playing at once. This can play out in different ways depending on the machine you’re playing. For instance, there’s Pick a Fortune, a five-reel, 20 line game that puts players right in the studio of a television game show, including the potential to play a Deal or No Deal-style bonus round. A super trend over the past few years is mobile-friendly slot games. These apps and websites were developed to enable players to enjoy their favorite games on their smartphones at any time. Another dominant slot trend is licensed branded slots that are based on popular movies, television, and musicians.
Virtual Money vs Real Money
Let’s find out the difference between social gambling and real money gambling, as well as the differences between gambling through apps and gambling through a web browser. It can be quite confusing trawling through all the casinos, slots, and lotteries available, both through your mobile web browser as well as through mobile app stores, in the form of downloadable apps.

Virtual money

The main difference between virtual money and real money gambling is that the in-game virtual currency in social games and gambling-type games is used only like credits that are not paid out as winnings or anything given to player in cash, making these games exempt from gambling regulations.
Virtual money is loaded on user game accounts via in-app purchases in mobile applications or the game balance funding from a card via web based applications.

Real money gambling

Real money gambling via your mobile device is only allowed in countries where laws have been passed that allow for this type of gambling online, or there are no laws in place that prevent it. The payment systems are the legal way of services payment in the gambling app, performing as the intermediary between the gambling facility and the client. With their help, users replenish deposits and withdraw funds to personal accounts in financial institutions. If the application uses the payment system of a well-known brand, that gives players additional confidence in the resource. Nowadays, there is a wide range of payment systems, some of which operate all over the world, other systems are oriented towards the citizens of one or several countries. A number of services accept money of different world currencies, while others allow currency transactions of one state only.
What is an Online Gambling Licensing
The internet has a global audience, there’s no single piece of legislation that covers the legality of online gambling for the entire world. Mobile gambling doesn’t typically accept customers from every single country in the world. It often focuses on certain specific regions.
Instead, most countries have their own local laws that deal with the relevant legal and regulatory issues.
Ultimately, questions of legality all go back to the location of the casino or where the website operates out of. In closed regulatory systems, such as Italy, France, and the Netherlands, licenses, and advertising rights are limited to domestic providers, which must be located within their country’s geographical boundaries and these are only permitted to offer some types of products. Some jurisdictions, for example, Norway, Sweden, and Canada legalize and regulate online gambling, but this is limited to a single site that is owned by the government. Under such an approach, the government becomes the operator and regulator and all revenues are returned to the government.
Remote gambling is generally permitted. That means that an operator that is licensed may provide gambling services to citizens in the country via all forms of remote communication (and using equipment that may be located in the country or abroad). Equally, a remote operator may be licensed to offer gambling services to citizens in any jurisdiction in the world using equipment located in the country. The law provides that, for each type of gambling (betting, gaming, and participating in a lottery), there will be two forms of license available: remote and non-remote forms (land-based). If you provide facilities for remote gambling, online or through other means, and advertise to consumers you will need a license from the licensing jurisdictions or local licensing authorities. Before an online gambling site signs up its first customer, before it accepts its first bet before the first card is dealt, it must be licensed by a recognized governmental entity.
Certain regions in the world have specific legislation in place that allows them to license and regulate companies that operate online gambling sites or provide industry services (such as the supply of gaming software). These regions are referred to as online gambling jurisdictions or licensing jurisdictions.
Depending on what type of entertainment you are going to implement in your internet establishment, you will have to apply for the corresponding permissions. Online gambling laws in Europe vary from one country to the next. The industry is well regulated in some countries and less so in others. There are several online gambling jurisdictions located in Europe. Some of these are members of the European Union (EU), and thus subject to the various rules and regulations of that body, while others are independent. Each of these jurisdictions has an authority that’s responsible for approving gambling sites for licenses that enable them to offer their services legally. They also regulate their licensees.
Countries that Provide Gambling Licensing
Today there are lots of licensing jurisdictions located all over the world and offering different terms for their customers. Depending on the country, licenses can be local, international (distributed in several countries), have a different set of documents for registration, costs of registration and further support, various operating conditions and other special details.

Which gambling license is both internationally recognized?

The government of Ireland offers casino operators, software, and service providers in the gambling industry, with a gambling license that allows gambling operators to conduct business related to casino, lotto, and other gaming-related activities. Ireland Gambling License is one of the most popular license for online casinos worldwide. Ireland has long been recognized as one of the preferred locations for Online Gambling operators to base their operations. This success has been due to a combination of factors, such as a progressive legislative system, political stability, first-rate telecommunications facilities, and a well established financial services industry. A wide range of gambling sites operates out of Ireland including sports betting, casino sites, poker, bingo, and more.
In stark contrast, the UK is the largest regulated market for online gambling in the world, and corporations are already comfortable exploiting the intersections of gambling and gaming, betting in-play, social gaming, Bitcoin, financial trading and spread betting, betting exchanges, e-sports and, most profitably, mobile gambling. 40% and 60% of online gambling in the UK took place in Gibraltar.

International licensing

Europe is home to the following online gambling jurisdictions: Alderney, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Malta. Malta is currently the country that is most accommodating to gambling companies, and the license offers whitelisted online gambling in sports and casino games in many European territories. But takes an extreme amount of time in paperwork and background checks. Also, you pay 5% of all your gross profit to the EU.
Among countries offering gambling licensing services, the attention should be paid to Curaçao jurisdiction, which is considered to be one of the most promising for the online gaming business.
Curaçao Internet Gaming Association (also known as Curaçao eGaming) is both a regulator and a licensor, and its licensing works worldwide except Curaçao itself, USA, France and Netherlands. Using Curacao as an example, let us examine in detail the process of obtaining a license, the necessary documents and expenses.
How to get a License on Curaçao
  • Documents necessary for company registration:
  • criminal record;
  • passport scans;
  • bank account confirmation;
  • documents proving payments for utility services.
After the company is registered, an operator can apply for the license providing the following documents:
  • a document certifying the right of domain possession;
  • description of games planned to be used in the project;
  • a list indicating countries of potential operation;
  • illustration of server locations to be used in the project;
  • a copy of the agreement with a software provider.
Gambling license cost:
  • Bank account opening $1000
  • Company registration $3600
  • Company management per year $3600
  • Application processing fee $1000
  • License fee per year $4800
  • Equipment/software fee starting from $1500
  • Server maintenance per year $6000
Apart from that pay for technical support and maintenance every year. The entire license issuing process takes between 2-4 weeks. Curacao Internet Gaming Association (CIGA) also has the power to review a license and, if it finds that an operator has breached a license condition, has the power to impose a range of sanctions including revocation of the license.
Apple and Google Gambling Rules
You’ll be surprised at the limited number of real money gambling app options available on the AppStore and Google Play Store. Most real money casino gaming is done through gambler’s mobile web browsers and not through mobile gambling apps that you’ll find for iPhone and Android phones. Apple allows online gambling applications in a few forms, and not just in places where it is explicitly permitted. They do not allow any payments through the applications – those have to be done on the websites. Apple has far stricter developer guidelines for iOS apps than Google does for Android apps, so it’s fine to assume that whatever you choose to download from iTunes is usually safe, secure, and meets a certain standard.
Any real money casino in the iTunes app is required to have proper licensing and permissions before Apple will approve the app for use or downloads. While Google Play is technically regulated, it is much more loose in what can be hosted.

Apple Store

Gambling, gaming, and lotteries can be tricky to manage and tend to be one of the most-regulated offerings on the App Store. Apple has rules for apps that support real money wagering, including sports betting and poker. Those apps and lotteries must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the App is used, must be geo-restricted to those locations, and must be free on the App Store, and Apple rate even simulated gambling apps as appropriate only for users 17-years-old and up.

Play Store

Google keeps the reigns tight. To be able to successfully upload apps to the Google Play store, developers need to have a valid license for the specific countries they are targeting and comply with their regulations. The app must be free to download and must prevent under-age users from gambling in the app. As a final precaution, all gambling apps are required to display prominent information regarding responsible gambling practices. This brings its policy in line with the Apple App Store.
Countries where gambling is illegal
It is also important to remember that while gambling is growing rapidly in many places, in others it is totally or partially prohibited. As well as in the majority of the US, sports betting is illegal in India, Pakistan, and China, three of the largest gambling markets in the world. Most countries have rules against gambling. Almost all Islamic countries prohibit gambling of every kind, but many turn a blind eye to online gambling or simply do not have regulations in place for this grey area.
In the United Arab Emirates, however, any kind of gambling is prosecuted. National lotteries are the only legal forms of wagering on the Asian country’s mainland. Cambodia, North Korea strictly forbids online and offline gambling amongst its own citizens but allows tourists to participate in these activities.
Qatar is the strictest country of all when it comes to gambling laws. All forms of gambling activities are considered illegal, and even sports betting is not permissible.
Starting your own gambling product
Numerous online casino platforms in the market offer fantastic casino games like bingo, poker, roulette, and many more.
If you have an idea, but don’t know where to start, we advise you begin with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to pilot your proof of concept for investors. MVP spotlights your core features and lets your investors know there are bigger and better things to come.
For MVP you do not need a large team, just a few people are enough to create a fully functioning prototype. In the case of successful numbers of your prototype, the further development of a full-fledged product will require more team, resources and time, however you will be sure that your development and your costs will pay off.
submitted by Fgfactory_ua to gamedev [link] [comments]

[Translation] The Libero's murderer: how Arrigo Sacchi revolutionized tactics and built the best team of all times.

-"How was Italian football before Sacchi?" -"Like now."
Just two words are enough for Arrigo Sacchi to disarm your face-to-face strategy and leave you out of the game like a beginner. Three words that, however, do not strictly correspond to reality. They are only half true. Only by digging deep into his footballing imagination can one discover how the man who built one of the greatest teams of all time is able to disregard his legacy and blur it in the timeline of the evolution of the beautiful game in Italy. Despite his modesty, there is no doubt that Arrigo Sacchi and his Milan team mark a turning point for Italian football, although from the manager's point of view it is not a turning point but a mere parenthesis. Italian football changed during his time on the bench, but recovered its natural course as soon as he stepped off the pitch and into the offices. "Clearly there has been some change, but not like in the rest of Europe. The televisions have made us see that a different kind of football is being played. 'They've changed all over the world except in Italy,' Costacurta told me a few years ago when we were watching the Italian U-21s against Denmark," explains Sacchi. What are the reasons for this lack of evolution in Italian football? Sacchi is able to recite them with the confidence with which a surgeon points out the ills to be removed. "In Italy, you don't know what the merit is, you just want to win. The fans and the journalists don't ask for the show or the fun, they ask for the victory. -And then how do we seek this victory? -We seek it in the way we know best, through cunning or the art of achieving what we set out to do. Then, our football is a football that costs to be updated and to evolve". Like a wharf which, however much you stretch, returns to its original form, Italian football always tends towards its most primal concepts. And to find the origin of those concepts, you have to do some archaeological work until you get back to the embryonic stage of football in Italy.
World football is roughly divided into four schools. First we have the direct style which was born in England and is still representative of British teams nowadays. Then we have the cheerful, colourful and lighthearted way of life that the Brazilians have been able to bring to the pitch to the height of artistic movement. Thirdly, there is the Dutch philosophy. The so-called total football with which Rinus Michels overtook Herbert Chapman's WM team to surprise the world, generating an idea of play that still has imitators, as is the case of Barcelona in recent times. Finally, we find the Italian style, baptized under the term of Catenaccio, which means lock in Italian. A nomenclature, by the way, quite illustrative of the ideals of the game. In its most basic concepts, the Italian is a football mostly defensive and disciplined, where the result prevails over any commitment to aesthetics. In line with Niccolò Machiavelli's 'Prince' ("the end justifies the means"), Italian football has always assumed that anything is permissible as long as victory is achieved.
Ironically, Catenaccio has no Italian parents. It is not clear who invented this style, but none of those who claim paternity were born in Italy. According to the accomplished historian Brian Glanville, the Catenaccio was invented by the Austrian coach Karl Rappan during the first half of the 20th century. In the 1940s, Rappan developed a tactic that the press christened Riegel (lock, in German) and consisted of having one of the five men on the WM front line move in behind the three defenders. The job of this sweeper would be to keep an eye on the opposing forwards who were running away from their marker. Helenio Herrera, however, not only proclaimed himself the inventor of the Catenaccio but claimed to be the first player to play the role of a sweeper. "It occurred to me when I was playing in France," explains the Argentine coach, as Simon Kuper relates in Football Against the Enemy. "We were playing with the WM formation then," continues Mago Herrera, "and in a game where we were winning 1-0 with 15 minutes to go, I left my position to get behind the defense. I had these ideas in my time as a player and when I became a manager years later I remembered them." Glanville believes Rappan invented the Catenaccio, Nereo Rocco introduced it to Italy and Helenio Herrera perfected it. Whether it was one or the other who invented it, both versions agree that the key piece of this style is the figure of the Libero. Without it, there would be no Catenaccio.
The success of the ultra-defensive Inter Milan during the 1960s, which razed Europe to the ground with two consecutive European Cups (1964 and 1965), made the Catenaccio the book that rested on the bedside table of any self-respecting Italian coach. Anyone who wanted to win had to resort to defensive football. Nereo Rocco's triumphs with Milan in the late 1960s and Giovanni Trapattoni's triumphs with Juventus in the 1980s did not invite the idea of an alternative. That was the context in which a discreet footballer who had not managed to get out of the lower ranks of Italian football decided to hang up his boots to become a coach. At just 26, Arrigo Sacchi sat on the bench for the first time. At Baracca Lugo, a team in the neighbourhood where he worked as a shoemaker. "I was 26, my goalkeeper was 39 and my striker was 32. I had to win them" It was the start of a rise to the elite with stops at Bellaria and Rimini and the youth teams of Cesena and Fiorentina. But fate awaited him at Parma, with whom he would achieve promotion to Serie B in just one season and leave him three points behind the top flight of Italian football. During that season, a 1986-1987 Italian Cup play-off would change his life forever. He would beat AC Milan by the smallest of margins, playing a game that caught the eye of the Rossoneri's top executive. It was on that night that Silvio Berlusconi was enthralled by Arrigo Sacchi.

01. "The birth of Sacchi's Milan"

Silvio Berlusconi had recently became the owner of Milan. After a failed attempt to take over Inter Milan, he ended up buying the Rossoneri on 20 February 1986, ready to build the best team in the world. Although Milan did not seem to be the most suitable club to do so. The golden years when Europe was painted in red and black had already long survived only in the history books. In the early 1980s, Milan was going through its most traumatic period. Former president Felice Colombo, members of his board and some players were involved in the 'Caso Totonero' (blackjack), the illegal betting and match fixing scandal that rocked Italian football in the 1979-1980 season. As a result, Milan were administratively relegated to Serie B and began a dark period from which they could not escape. Despite the arrival of stars such as Paolo Rossi, top scorer in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, or the hiring of symbols such as Nils Liedholm to the bench, Milan did not get off the ground again. Berlusconi would become the end of Rossoneri's troubles. He took over from Giuseppe Farina in the presidency, brought optimism to the stands, millions to the coffers and, above all, a new philosophy for the team. He set himself the goal of becoming the best club in the world by always opting for attacking football that would be attractive to fans. To achieve this ambitious goal, he relied on the coach he had fallen in love with when he faced him in the Italian Cup. He trusted Arrigo Sacchi.
An unknown, with no past as a footballer, he was in charge of one of the most successful teams in Europe, making front-page coverage in the Italian press. The headslines that considered Berlusconi's gamble to be wrong were multiplying. They accused him of losing his mind. It was too shocking that someone who had not previously been a professional footballer should take over one of the giants of Italian football. That was the first obstacle Sacchi encountered in his promotion to the elite. It was a rare thing at the time. Ottavio Bianchi coached Napoli, Rino Marchesi coached Juventus, both of whom had a history with the Italian national team, and the illustrious Giovanni Trappatoni, who was a European champion in Rossoneri colours, sat on the Inter Milan bench. However, Milan's fate was in the hands of a rookie who was not known for his footballing skills. Replacing a myth like Liedholm didn't make things any easier either. Sacchi defended himself as his Milan would later, knocking out the critics with a simple phrase: "I didn't know that to become a jockey, you first have to be a horse".
Despite the doubts of the surroundings, there was total confidence in Arrigo Sacchi at the club. Silvio Berlusconi gave his new manager full powers to build a team to suit him. "My work at Milan is made possible by a great club. A club that was positively impressed by what I did at Parma, that believed in a few things and followed me completely. They even threw out some players who were undoubtedly valuable, but who were not functional and others who were not professionally as I wanted them to be," says the Italian coach. Sacchi does not give out any names so as not to reveal the identity of these non-functional or unprofessional players, but to draw your own conclusions you need only look at the list of players who left Milan that summer in 1987. Agostino Di Bartolomei set out for Cesena despite being the player who had played the most matches the previous season. Dario Bonetti, Ray Wilkins and Mark Hateley, among others, followed the same path.
But the key of that summer was not in the departures, but in the arrivals. Sacchi marked a clear line in the transfer policy. "I believed in ideas and work," says the Italian coach, "and to do this I needed to have reliable people, people who were enthusiastic, generous, a culture of professionalism, perfectionists, and we looked for these kinds of people. Then, that they were functional to the technical project we had in mind and that they were complementary to each other." It was within these parameters that Sacchi brought Walter Bianchi and Roberto Mussi with him from Parma, requested the signing of Carlo Ancelotti and was given two top stars by Silvio Berlusconi's checkbook: Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit. The former arrived from Ajax in exchange for 1.75 million euros. For the second, 13.5 million was paid to PSV Eindhoven. Both would become the totemic symbols of their Milan. "Van Basten was the best, but Gullit was the emblem. Without being the best he was the one who helped me the most", Sacchi confesses. Together, they formed the basis of the team along with promising youngsters such as Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Roberto Donadoni. Frank Rijkaard, the Holy Trinity's companion from the Rossoneri tulips, was not due to arrive in Milan until the following summer.
After a summer of avoiding criticism and disdain while transmitting to some heavyweights that they should make the suitcase, Sacchi managed to build his Milan and this had its first test in official match in the Coppa d'Italia against Bari. The business card could not have been better. The Rossoneri won 5-0 with goals from Donadoni, Virdis, Van Basten, Gullit and Massaro, and that 23 August 1987 has become a holy day in the history of Milan. It was the moment when the team that changed the destiny of the entity was born. Three days later it would beat Como, then Monza, and then make its Serie A debut with a win over Pisa. Milan had become a machine, from the beginning, that was very difficult to stop. Disappointments such as the early elimination from the UEFA Cup against Espanyol and some unexpected results injected doubts in Berlusconi, who even flirted with Johan Cruyff to give him the Rossoneri bench, but negotiations with the Dutchman did not bear fruit. Sacchi held on to his position and ended up building one of the best teams in history.

02. Milan's tactical analysis.

Sacchi's avant-garde ideas were the reconstruction of tactical values not only in Milan and Italian football, but also had a great impact on the world stage. His tactics marked a complete break with the style that was being imposed in Italy and, therefore, also in Europe. It was a tactical revolution and, as such, it required some sacrifice. Marat's death set fire to the French revolution and the assassination of Martin Luther King accelerated his 'dream'. For his own revolution, Arrigo Sacchi murdered the Libero. The Libero represented the icon of the Catenaccio, the figure with which the hitherto unquestionable WM formation was overthrown to create a new style in which defensive concepts were varied. "Italy has a defensive mentality in general, not just in football. For centuries everyone was invading us. When I arrived, most of the attention was on the defensive phase. We had a libero and a line of markers. The offensive phase was left to the intelligence and common sense of the only creative element in the team, the number 10," he says in 'Inverting The Pyramid'.
Sacchi changed everything. He abolished the law of the sweeper to form a very forward four-man defensive line that was perfectly synchronised to zonal marking and managing offside when necessary. Franco Baresi was in charge of the back line and marked the line over which the rest of the defence was to be deployed. Such a forward defensive line meant that spaces were reduced, providing a key safety net for the other two lines to push the opposition's ball out of their control. Thus, if an opposing player crossed a line, he immediately crashed into the next one. "We wanted to get the ball back as quickly as possible," says Sacchi, as if it were the simplest thing in the world. However, every move of that pressure was totally studied. To the extent that there was a false pressure, like the striker: "Sometimes we practised a false pressure. We pretended to put pressure, but in reality we used that time to recover our strength".
That kind of defensive work was the first necessary condition for a footballing bet that depended solely and exclusively on ruling the game through possession. Without the ball there was no plan. So it was necessary to get it back as soon as possible. In a way, it was a reinvention of Rinus Michels' total football. "We had the presumption, also the hope, of knowing how to do everything. We wanted to get the ball away from our opponents quickly and when we had it, we wanted to know when to have possession or when to play a vertical game. We defended by attacking, by running forward," explains Sacchi, "and when we had the ball we knew when we had to play upright or, on the contrary, when to pass backwards, change sides." As he talks about his tactical ideals, Sacchi seems to have moved into the dressing room for a moment. He looks down, forgets about the camera, the focus and even the journalist in front of him, and stands in front of an imaginary team he's coaching before a game or during a training session. He speaks without resting. Having a tactical conversation with Sacchi is the perfect metaphor for the game that Milan played on the field: he takes possession, monopolises the words and leaves hardly any space for the interlocutor to interact. He is the unequivocal master of the dialogue and one can only shut up, listen and learn. "We trained believing that pressure was important because it allowed us to grow our self-esteem and personality and impose on others a rhythm of play they were not used to. We also tried to condition them when they had the ball. But when we had the ball we had to know how to manage it and understand if it was time to play vertically or start again with the ball, change the game or change the zone. It was a team that I think knew everything and was played by excellent performers, with a great club behind them. We had the interpreters and they were all functional. For me, they were the best players in the world, all 18 of them. I knew that wasn't the case, but I wouldn't have swapped them for anyone else," he concludes, before taking a breath. By way of false pressure, we intuited.
Paradoxically, that Milan that needed the ball so much to represent their football ideas on the field, often worked out without it. The ball was not a usual assistant in Milanello, training center of the Milan team. Sometimes, Arrigo Sacchi designed purely theoretical work sessions in which the players did not even need to jump onto the field. At other times, he encouraged positional play and Sacchi forced his disciples to show him where they should be on the pitch depending on where an imaginary ball was. The coach would walk around the pitch and the players would have to correct their position with millimetric precision. His tactics revolutionised Italian football to the point where the foundations of the game were called into question. Italian teams were divided internally according to the characteristics of their players. Some had the responsibility to defend and others were in charge of attacking, being exempt from running backwards. With Sacchi, although this had already happened with Michels, both parties merged to reward the block. They all ran to get the ball back and they all represented basic pieces in the creation of attacking football. With Sacchi came the supremacy of the group over the individual in the Serie A.

03. Opera Prima

Sacchi's Milan reached its peak in the European Cup. During his time on the Rossoneri bench he gave Silvio Berlusconi a Scudetto, an Italian Super Cup, two European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and, above all, two European Cups. But, above the titles, key moments are remembered, matches in which Milan was consecrated as one of the best teams of all times. Probably one of those matches was the one that pitted them against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the 1988-1989 European Cup. Sacchi was facing his second season at the head of Milan. After winning Serie A, he had to export his success to Europe, where Berlusconi's most coveted ambition lay: the European Cup. After beating Bulgaria's Vitosha Sofia (2-7 on aggregate), Red Star on penalties and Werder Bremen with a solitary goal from Marco van Basten in the second leg, he would face Real Madrid in the semi-finals. Although the Merengue players barely remembered those European Cups that Di Stefano won in black-and-white television, they had brought together a generation that had been thrilling the stands: the Quinta del Buitre. The Butragueños, Michel and company were joining international stars like Hugo Sanchez to dream again with the trophy with big ears. There was plenty of talent in Madrid and it was, along with Milan, the fashionable team in Europe. It was unquestionable that the Spanish capital smelled of the Seventh, but the first leg generated doubts. After 90 minutes, the score was a 1-1 draw, but the feeling was very different. Sacchi remembers it clearly and confesses that even Butragueño recognized to him years later that he did not know how they had obtained that draw in the Bernabéu. "Butragueño told me when I was at Real Madrid - when he was vice-president and had been a great player since he was little and therefore knew everything about Real Madrid - that he had never seen in his life, having followed football and having played it, "a team that came to the Bernabeu to do what you did. We managed to recover a draw not knowing how. You looked like twenty and we looked like ten or eleven. You attacked even Buyo", recounts the Italian.
The key to Milan's dominance in Madrid was once again pressure, the hallmark of Sacchi's Milan. Such was the superiority shown by the visitors that, when adding up an insufficient result, the Milan players went into a state of depression. Sacchi had to work as a psychologist to lift the spirits of his team and show them the way to seal their qualification for the European Cup final. "I remember that in the following 15 days I was telling the players: 'Remember that at certain levels, when you have to win and you don't win, you lose nine times out of ten. So either we make a masterpiece or we lose here". That work of motivation was the first stone to build what later has been considered the Opera Prima of Milan. Milan has given three artistic jewels to the world: the Scala, the Duomo and the Manita to Real Madrid. Milan came back with a 5-0 win at the San Siro, although things did not start off well. So much that as soon as the match got underway, Sacchi considered removing his main star Marco van Basten from the field. "When they came here, Madrid started well, we didn't start so well; van Basten was static, so much so that I immediately got a striker warming up. I remember Ramaccioni saying to me: 'Arrigo, calm down a bit'," said Sacchi. Then came the stroke of genius. All it took was a tactical move and the game changed in favour of the Rossoneri. Carlo Ancelotti was the embodiment of the strategy. To find the origin, you have to go back a few days before the meeting. "Carlo unlocked everything," analyses Sacchi, "and that's how I see football. On Tuesday, Evani had been injured in a clash with Albertini; because we trained on Tuesday as if it was already the match, with that strength. I had many solutions to replace him: to put Donadoni as a winger, who although many journalists put him there, we didn't use as a winger. We used him as a midfielder, the fourth central player, because if he ended up on the right or left wing, he bothered the wings, which were Evani and Colombo. Or putting Virdis in attack with Van Basten and Gullit as a midfielder in Donadoni's place, but Gullit didn't guarantee me on a tactical level what Donadoni guaranteed me... In the end I played the player least likely to replace Evani, who was Ancelotti, but he was the most available and gave me his 100%."
The gamble proved to be perfect: "The prize was that the first goal was scored by Ancelotti. And then he played the final in that position too. What did the Steaua coach do? He put Hagi in that area, but he didn't know that we never had a marker, we had two or three, because our team was, in that way, compact, short in that period of time compared to the others, but we were always going to mark with two or three men. And this happened against Real Madrid, where we had a numerical superiority in the pressure on the ball." Sacchi believes that the basis of the victory over Real Madrid was, as it was throughout his career, the importance of the team over the individuals. "They had players with great technique, probably better than us, but we were a great team. They had a group, but less of a team than we did. And in football the collective achieves more than the individual. You have to know this," says the Italian. That victory marks the definitive explosion of Milan, who went on to become the dominant force in European football.
After that, they won the Intercontinental Cup against Nacional de Medellin and went on to reach the footballing heavens. However, that match also represented the change in the way teams faced Milan. The Colombians were the first daring ones who forced Arrigo's thoughts to change. "With Nacional of Medellin they were the ones who made things difficult for us because for the first time we were up against a team that attacked us a lot. Then, of hunters we became hunted. It took us tranquility, security. This requires patience, which is a virtue I have not always had, but at that time I had it. I remember that at half-time Van Basten said to me: 'We are not well, we are not in shape, we have to have patience'. It wasn't a pretty game, but I was amazed at how many people said it was bad. Those people never understood that Milan were playing great football. I have to say that it was a game similar to reading a Kafka book: heavy, difficult," says Sacchi for El Enganche about that 1-0 win for Evani in the last minute of extra time, which represented the club's second Intercontinental and the first one to be shown in his living room. Milan, however, were already a despotic side who had challenged the previously dominant footballing laws and turned them to their advantage.

04. Gullit vs Van Basten, angel vs demon.

Despite the successes achieved with his Milan, Arrigo Sacchi was not lacking detractors. His style was so far removed from Italian traditions that some were unable to digest the change. "Even now it is said that when Milan played well it was because they had good players and when they played badly it was because Sacchi was there," joked the Italian coach, seeking complicity. Gianni Brera, the legendary Italian sports journalist, was one of his fiercest critics. Brera, an exquisite connoisseur of football and tactics, professed admiration for a doctrine that was antithetical to that represented by Sacchi's Milan. His attacks on the ideas of the revolutionary coach were commonplace in the Gazzetta dello Sport. Although Arrigo was intelligent to take advantage of these criticisms and reverse them in his favour. Before the 1989 European Cup final against Steaua Bucharest, he used an article by Brera to motivate his players. "I remember before the final with Steaua, that the greatest Italian sports critic, the poor Brera, an excellent writer, very good indeed, but with footballing ideas very distant from ours, said: 'Milan will play against the champions of dancing football, against the champions of possession of the ball, they will have to wait for it, defend it and go on the counterattack'. On Tuesday before the match the best Italian sports journalist wrote this and I read it because I needed to know his convictions. You cannot say 'do it because I say so'. According to him, we had to use that strategy. Gullit stood up and said 'we'll attack them from the first second until we have the forces. Okay, everybody? And we did."
However, Sacchi's most surprising enemy was not Brera, but was hiding in his own dressing room: Marco van Basten. Known to all, the relationship between the two was not good. So much so that the Dutchman often questioned him in front of the group. Sometimes he found it hard to see the logic in his coach's approach, and so he let him know. "Van Basten asked me why the others were winning and why we had to win and convince them. He also told me that we worked too hard and didn't have any fun. I always told him: 'You're a clever boy and you have to have fun in a different way. We're here to make sure the audience has a good time. He never understood that you can't get a lot without giving a lot. Van Basten has been an extraordinary player for me, not easy to manage, but extraordinary," says Sacchi. Years after their paths diverged, Sacchi and van Basten crossed paths again and the Dutchman acknowledged his mistakes: "When World Soccer recognised not too long ago that Milan had been the best team of all time, from when football existed, I said to him: 'Did you understand why we had to win and convince? And he said: 'I understood. And I understood something else too. Now I am a coach and I understand how many problems I created for you". And I said to him: "If I can console you, I didn't solve many of them." Nevertheless, Sacchi admits that he wouldn't have swapped van Basten for any other player, either of the time or of the present. "When they tell me 'between Ronaldo and van Basten who would you have signed,' I have no doubt: van Basten. But not because van Basten was more talented than Ronaldo, but because he was more functional in terms of our style of football and was a professional who gave more guarantees than Ronaldo, who was an unimaginable talent."
While the estrangement with Marco van Basten was evident, Sacchi had a close relationship with another Dutchman in the team: Ruud Gullit. He was his main support in the dressing room and the player through whom he injected his philosophy to the rest of the players. "Gullit was considered the emblem, for me he was a phenomenal player and an extraordinary person; probably the one who helped me the most without being the best, because the best was van Basten, but he had personality while van Basten hid himself, he was discontinuous. Gullit helped me a lot in making Italian players who always ran backwards run forward. He was the most convinced of this," he says. Sacchi changed the philosophy of Italian football, but Gullit transformed the philosophy of the Milan dressing room. The combination of the two Italian players made Rinus Michels' total football a success, building a Milan that would go down in history.

05. Revolutionary without revolution

After winning everything with Milan, he took over the reins of the Italian national team with whom he was second in the 1994 World Cup. He then went through an erratic career with a brief return to Milan and a few stints with Atletico Madrid and Parma before making the jump to the offices. With the perspective of his entire career, it's time to ask the same question as at the start: what was Italian football like before Sacchi? How have things changed since his revolution? Sacchi himself answers: "There has clearly been some change, but it is not linked to globalisation. Capello said it: 'We've rediscovered the Libero'. Most teams play with a fixed sweeper in the back." With Sacchi, Italian football learned that everyone must defend and attack as one, as a whole, without the previous attack-defence division. But it has forgotten everything else, and that takes its toll in Europe: "More and more we are getting slapped around and then we say: 'Why don't we spend? Why don't we use more start-up money? Then it happens that Borussia Dortmund reach the final and spend less than most of the big Italian teams or that Atletico Madrid reach the final of Champions and spend less. Our clubs are full of foreigners, full of fear, full of an eminently defensive football, playing with a sweeper. Then the result when they play at international level, where they find themselves with one less player in midfield or in attack, with the rival having players of level and leaving the ball and the initiative to them... well, they put you in difficulties".
"Also because outside the country, in general, they're much better at attacking than defending. So, if you want to put them in trouble, you have to attack them, not stop their attack. But all this requires work, organization, time, planning, programming and less improvised teams, teams that make some sense. What does a sense mean? Putting each value in its place. Since we are talking about a team sport, let's start with what unites the team: the game. What is the game about? From ideas and work. And without ideas and work, you don't have the game. If you don't have the game you rely only on individuals, and no individuality will ever have the power of a team. In some teams, this tendency to improvise - which we call fantasy - causes total disorganisation, with the consequence of losing the team," he adds to close a precise X-ray of the ills that Italian football is suffering from. Three decades after the birth of Sacchi's Milan, Italy has forgotten everything it has learned. There is no trace of the game with high pressure, offside is just another resource and even the sweeper, whose assassination triggered everything, has come back to life. Sacchi is a revolutionary without revolution. No one has been able to pick up on his witness. Italy has forgotten him, but football hasn't. Football just cannot forget the creator of one of the best teams in its history.
by Massimo Callegari & Francisco Orti for El Enganche.es (2016).
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Gayniversary: Six Stripes, Six Years - Part One

Crowd: YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! DUB-I-R! DUB-I-R! DUB-I-R!
Paisner: Can you BELIEVE the energy in here? And can you believe we ever made it this far?! Yes, it’s the sixth anniversary/Pride month show for an organization that didn’t even get to celebrate its fifth! I’m Allen Paisner!
Woodbridge: And I’m Mark Woodbridge! This is Gayniversary: Six Stripes, Six Years coming to you LIVE on iPPV from Indianapolis’s Old National Centre, and we have the privilege of hosting nine TITANIC matches in the stately Egyptian room!
Paisner: Yes, there’s going to be an Independent Championship match between two of the most enduring legends of WiR’s early years, a tag title match between two teams that represent this company’s future, and a world title… well, no comment on that one.
Woodbridge: Damn right. Plus Buster Braggadocio takes on some Canadian freakazoid in a blindfold match, Joey McCarty and the Son of the Milkman in a last man standing grudge match brawl, and coming right up the opening contest - Alex Perilmorde and Brendan Byrne look to settle the score with Charlie Krieger’s boys! Hit it, Javier!
Babaganoush: The following contest is a tag team match scheduled for one fall, with a 60-minute time limit! Refereeing is Mia So Hung!
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
Babaganoush: Introducing first…
“Inglorious” strikes up and a grinning King Mustafa, dressed in a black Balenciaga suit, comes from behind the curtain flanked by a stone-faced, occasionally snarling, Eddie Skelter, whose fresh as hell track outfit is the same shade of black. Once under the spotlight they simultaneously turn around to reveal half a Union Jack embroidered on each of their jackets, which makes the image of the whole flag when they stand right next to each other. They give each other a forceful handshake before Skelter slides into the ring to strip down to his trunks and Mustafa keeps calling random audience members “rasclot” and “batty boy”.
Paisner: Listen - we all know how dangerous these men are apart. Now look at how they entered the arena just now. They’re the picture of coordination. They’re a well-oiled machine. How much damage are they going to do to Perilmorde and Byrne tonight?
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Babaganoush: ...from the United Kingdom, weighing in at a total of 445 pounds, they are King Mustafa and Eddie Skelter - TWO! SMOKING! BARRELS!
Crowd: FUCK YOU EDDIE! / MUSTAFA SUCKS!
Babaganoush: And their opponents…
A cymbal strike - Death To The Hypocrite begins to play and out bursts a near-manic Alex Perilmorde. He rips up his string of rosary beads and runs down to the ring, wearing his Buru Gym Japan training jacket unzipped so that his gear can be seen - a singlet with a small symbol of a sword hanging from a thread embroidered on his left chest. He leans up against the ropes to relax when he gets in, smiling at 2SB with a grin that’s not so much taunting as it is innocently excited to kick their asses.
Crowd: YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Woodbridge: You think he’s still in a funk now, Paisner?
Paisner: No… he’s looking downright… cheery. Brr. I’m just glad he didn’t want to talk to me.
Babaganoush: ...from Pittsburgh, PA, weighing in at 213 pounds - ALEX! PERILMORDE!
Crowd: PERILMORDE! PERILMORDE! PERILMORDE!
Babaganoush: And his partner…
YOU’RE GOING HOME IN A FUCKING AMBULANCE
Crowd: YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Out comes Brendan Byrne to a reflexive roar from the crowd! He’s wearing a mask of the cloud version of Eddie the Head and does rapid-fire audience fist bumps as he imitates Perilmorde’s speed of running to the ring, then leaps up on the apron, wipes his feet, and hands his entrance mask off to the timekeeper before joining Perilmorde in the corner.
Paisner: ...What can I even say? Flawless. I am never not impressed by Brendan Byrne.
Babaganoush: ...from London, England, weighing in at 225 pounds… BRENDAN! BYRNE!
Crowd: FEEL THE BYRNE! FEEL THE BYRNE! FEEL THE BYRNE!
Mia checks everyone over, and calls for the opening bell.
DING DING DING!
Perilmorde opens the match against Eddie Skelter. The two circle each other before locking up. Neither man is able to gain the advantage, and Skelter shoves Peril into the ropes. Undeterred, Peril bounces off of the ropes with a head of steam, the two lock up again. The two battle for position once more, but Skelter once again pushes Peril off, and into a corner. Peril charges back out to meet him, refusing to give up the advantage, and they lock up again.
Woodbridge: Both men jockeying for position early, neither one willing to give it to the other.
Peril is able to slip Skelter into a side headlock, but Skelter pushes back to the ropes, forcing a break. Peril doesn’t take kindly to this and throws a 12-6 elbow that connects with Skelter’s dome, forcing him to back off, before throwing another quick strike.
Crowd: YEEEAH!
As Peril aims for the third, Skelter slinks under his arm and is able to gain some distance. The two circle each other again, before locking up once more. Peril gets over-ambitious with a vertical suplex attempt, and Skelter reverses the momentum on him, using it to push himself and Peril into his corner, where Mustafa tags in.
Crowd: BOOOO!
Paisner: And a quick tag here by Two Smoking Barrels.
As the two try and capitalize on the tag, Peril is able to slip free on a miscommunication, and he goes through the middle rope to the outside! Peril circles the outside of the ring for a moment, before re-entering right next to his own corner.
Woodbridge: and a smart move by Peril, able to get to a friendly corner of the ring.
Peril and Byrne exchange a quick word, before Peril lines back up with Mustafa. As Mustafa goes in for a lock-up, Peril backs up… and does Mustafa’s signature flexing taunt!
Crowd: YEEEAAHH!
Woodbridge: And some early mind games by Peril, trying to get in Mustafa’s head early, and maybe force a mistake.
Paisner: It won’t be that easy, Two Smoking Barrels are a very dangerous team, and it will take more than a flex to get in their heads. The two lock up yet again, and Mustafa backs Peril into the corner, before delivering a punch right to the stomach, knocking Peril to his knees, before delivering a second punch right to the head. Peril tries to get back up to a vertical base but is met with a third punch before Mustafa attempts an Irish whip to the other corner, but Peril turns it around! Mustafa bounces right out of the corner, into the waiting arms of Peril who drills him with a hip toss, followed by an arm drag, before he rises up and hits a huge dropkick that sends King Mustafa to the outside!
Crowd: PE-RIL! PE-RIL! PE-RIL!
Woodbridge: And this crowd is electric for this match! Mustafa sent to the outside!
Mustafa takes a moment to catch his breath, and doesn’t respond well to the fans cheering for Peril and Byrne. He slowly walks around the outside and gets back in the ring at the count of four. The two standoff once more, Mustafa beckoning Peril in, but the bait isn’t taken. Mustafa and Peril circle each other before Peril backs up to his corner… and tags Byrne in!
Crowd: FEEL-THE-BYRNE! FEEL-THE-BYRNE!
Paisner: And in comes Brendan Byrne! And listen to the ovation!
Byrne and Mustafa stare down, while Byrne soaks in the crowd.
Crowd: FEEL-THE-BYRNE! FEEL-THE-BYRNE!
Mustafa breaks the stalemate by charging in, pinning Byrne against the ropes. Mustafa rams his shoulder into the sternum of Byrne, before delivering an Irish whip. As he goes for a clothesline, Byrne is able to duck under, grabbing the arm of Mustafa and delivering a kick right to the side of the head that sends him to the mat!
Crowd: YEAH!
Byrne follows this up with a DDT that spikes Mustafa into the mat, and Mustafa rolls out of the ring. Byrne and Peril take the opportunity to hype up the crowd.
Crowd: Indecipherable cheering
Woodbridge: And once again, Byrne and Peril have Two Smoking Barrels looking for answers!
Mustafa and Skelter confer on the outside before Mustafa re-enters the ring to square off with Byrne. Mustafa feigns going after Byrne, but retreats and tags in Skelter.
Paisner: Right now, Two Smoking Barrels knows that the momentum is not with them. They’re trying to slow it down and get things going back in their favor.
Skelter and Byrne circle each other before locking up. Skelter tries to bring Byrne into the corner, but Byrne delivers a shot to him, and one to his partner on the apron! Mustafa enters the ring, and following suit, Peril does as well! All four men begin brawling in the ring! Peril sends Skelter to the floor. Mustafa is staggered, and he eats a punch from Byrne… followed by a forearm from Peril!
Paisner: And they’re playing ping pong with Mustafa!
Crowd: with every strike OH! OH! OH!
Peril returns to the apron, and Byrne drills a final punch to the skull, that sends a staggering Mustafa to a neutral corner. Byrne makes a tag to Peril, as Mustafa makes his way back to a standing position. Peril challenges Mustafa to a test of strength, but Mustafa instead takes the opportunity to wrench the arm of Peril, bringing him over to the corner, where he tags in Skelter. With Peril restrained, Skelter delivers a kick to the chest before the pair throw him to the outside of the ring.
Crowd: BOOOOOO
In the ring, Byrne, the non-legal man, is assaulted by Skelter, while on the outside, Mustafa throws Peril against the barricade.
Paisner: And a smart move by Two Smoking Barrels: distract the referee with an assault on the nonlegal man, while your partner damages the legal Peril on the outside.
Mustafa continues his assault, with a brutal spinebuster!, as Byrne is also knocked to the floor. While Skelter rolls to the outside, Byrne rushes to aid his partner, and Mustafa returns to the ring. Peril assures Byrne that he’s “got this” before re-entering the ring, and being met by Mustafa, who wrenches the arm Peril led with when he slid in, not allowing him to get on his feet.
Crowd: BOOOO
Paisner: Keeping him off his feet seems to be a good idea.
Mustafa wrenches the arm, taking a camel clutch position on the back.
Woodbridge: He might rip his arm off!
Paisner: Right now, Mustafa is working to take away the power of Peril, looking to cripple his arm so he can’t use it later on!
Mustafa repositions himself, while not letting go, and drops a knee right on the arm he’s been working. And then another one! Mustafa goes back to wrenching the hold, as Peril struggles to get back to his feet. Mustafa easily overpowers his attempt, and lays peril back on the ground, dropping another knee to the arm.
Paisner: Slowing the match down working effectively for Two Smoking Barrels, trying to isolate a single person, and wear them down.
Woodbridge: Mustafa taking a page out of Skelter’s playbook with this, usually it’s Skelter known for his hold-based grappling.
Paisner: The power of teamwork, probably learned from each other.
Crowd BOOO! PE-RIL! PE-RIL!
Peril fights back to his feet, and Mustafa adjusts to a hammerlock, but Peril is able to catch him as he shifts, and throws him off with a snapmare! Peril tries to turn and make the tag in to Byrne, but has his leg grabbed by Mustafa, as Skelter gets in the ring as well. Skelter delivers a rolling elbow to the trapped Peril, and cuts off his attempt at a tag. Skelter, not wasting a moment, grabs and wrenches the arm that Mustafa was working on.
Paisner: and Two Smoking Barrels have to make sure they they don’t get disqualified for breaking the 5 count.
Skelter slithers out of the ring, and Mustafa gets back to work. Mustafa Irish whips Peril, before launching himself off the ropes himself… and delivering The Shutdown!
Woodbridge: And Mustafa absolutely destroyed Peril with that Shutdown!
ONE
TWO
And the pin is broken up by Byrne!
Skelter flies into the ring as well, and he begins brawling with Byrne! Mustafa goes to help his partner, while Peril tries to pull himself to his feet with the ropes.
Paisner Things are beginning to break down here, referee having a very hard time controlling them right now!
Peril joins the fray, and all four men are brawling in the ring, exchanging strikes! The referee tries to break it up, and physically has to get in the way of Byrne and Skelter! He to get Byrne back to the apron, and while he’s distracted with that, Skelter turns the tides on Peril with a chop block to the back of the knee! With Peril down on one knee, Mustafa takes the opportunity to deliver an absolutely vicious knee to the skull!
Paisner: He may have knocked his lights out with that knee!
Cover, into a pin.
ONE
TWO
Kick out!
Crowd: YEEEEAAAHH! PE-RIL! PE-RIL!
Mustafa doesn’t let up, however, going right back to work on the arm that he and Skelter have been abusing. He applies an armbar, and as Peril tries to wriggle free, Mustafa uses his own momentum against him, pinning his shoulders to the mat, while keeping the hammerlock applied.
One!
Kickout at one!
Crowd: Indecipherable cheering
Woodbridge: And these fans are going mental for Peril! Rooting him on!
Peril fights to his feet, and as Mustafa tries to lock in another hammerlock, Peril kicks him in the shin. With one good arm, he throws Mustafa over his shoulders with a tremendous backdrop, before leaping across the ring to make the tag to Brendan Byrne!
Crowd: Going Mental
Paisner: And the roof just came off this building as Byrne was tagged in!
Byrne flies into action, delivering a rolling elbow to Mustafa, before launching himself across the ring, and clocking Skelter!
Paisner: Bang! Skelter’s rocked!
Woodbridge: This is the turning point here!
Byrne picks up Skelter and throws Skelter over the top rope with force!
Paisner: Skelter goes flying!
Woodbridge: And that’s key because that means Mustafa’s now the legal man and he’s in trouble!
Mustafa steadies himself to one knee up before Byrne runs over and DESTROYS the knee with a low angle dropkick!
Paisner: My God!
Woodbridge: Straight on the plant leg, it’s hard to fight with no legs!
Mustafa rolls out of the ring in anguish, and Skelter returns trying to attack Byrne from behind but Byrne notices just in time!
Paisner: Great ring awareness from Byrne!
Skelter and Byrne wrestle in the clinch with Skelter having a slight advantage. Skelter gets Byrne up against the ropes, but just as Wong goes over to break the count, Perilmorde reaches over and tags himself in!
Paisner: Victory Roll!
1
2
KICKOUT
Peril keeps ahold of Skelter and tries to lift him up for the Hypocrites Crusade, but Peril’s arm gives out, and Skelter wriggles his way out of it! Skelter scrambles and is quickly able to hit the Shutdown Spear! Quick cover! Byrne rushes in! Mustafa stands up to try and stop him, but his leg gives out!
1
Broken Up by Byrne!
Paisner: HIS KNEE IS FUCKED!
Woodbridge: He’s a non-factor now!
Byrne picks up Perilmorde and throws him out of the ring.
Crowd: WHAAAAAAT!??!?
Woodbridge: NO! HE’S NOT TURNING ON PERIL! HE’S NOW THE LEGAL MAN!
Paisner: LUCHA RULES! PERILMORDE IS OUT COLD BUT BYRNE IS STILL ALIVE AND KICKING!
Woodbridge: WHAT A GENIUS PLAY!
Skelter tries to throw a punch at Byrne but Byrne catches his arm! Ripcord! Superkick!
Paisner: TURN AND BYRNE!
1
2
3
DING DING DING
Javier: And your winner, at a time of 9:49... BRENDAN BYRNE AND ALEX PERILMORDE!
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
Paisner: What a brilliant bit of maneuvering from Brendan Byrne in order to snatch the win there!
Byrne’s theme hits but instead of celebrating he immediately rolls out of the ring to go check on Peril, and helps him to a vertical position, before the two roll into the ring and have their hands raised by Mia!
Woodbridge: And Byrne making sure his unceremonious dumping of Perilmorde didn’t cause any lasting harm before accepting the victory!
The crowd showers the two men with cheers, before they roll out of the ring and head backstage.
Paisner: That said, Peril and Byrne seemed to have at least some degree of chemistry there - I knew they were friends, but I didn’t expect them to gel as a tag team.
Woodbridge: They’ve got dissimilar styles, sure - but very similar goals. They focus down one part of the body, and aim for their big shot - and they’re both adept at changing that on the fly. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of them working together, to be quite honest.
Meanwhile, Mustafa has finally pulled himself up on his one good leg, and he hops into the ring to check on his fallen partner. Skelter begins to stir, and the two hobble their way to the back, taking the booes from the crowd as they do. The ring crew do a quick cleanup as Javier Babaganoush gets setup to announce yet again.
Paisner: Thank you for coming back. This is WiR’s Gayniversary: the gayest anniversary possible!
Woodbridge: And we're just getting started, folks, trust me, this next match is gonna be a doozy. Now, Allen…
Paisner: Yes?
Woodbridge: What the fuck happened with this one?
Paisner: Alright, listen to me: I was placed in a diffcult sit-
Woodbridge: I mean, I know this card's been kinda messy to book, but this match feels like it's all over the place!
Paisner: Look, this is a very valuable opportunity for two very talented contenders to move up the card and gain a ton of clout! It's a great idea!
Woodbridge: Really? A world title opportunity for a guy who debuted last week! That sounds like a logical idea to you?
Paisner: Eugh… Give me a fucking break, OK, dude? This is a humongous mess I'm trying to deal with!
Woodbridge: Well, whether I think it’s good or not, we're going through with this match anyways, we have our sweet boy Javier Babaganoush on the ring right now!
Javier: The following contest is scheduled for one fall!
Crowd: ONE FALL!!!
Paisner: Did I tell you I still hate that?
Javier: With a 30 minute time limit; the referee for this match, Ivan Itchicock!
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
Woodbridge: Nobody hates Ivan, that's for sure!
Javier: Introducing first, from the High Society, weighing in at 265 pounds, AUSTIN! BALANDRAN!
CASH by BROCKHAMPTON starts playing, and the crowd reacts as expected. Austin Balandran steps out from behind the curtain, accompanied by his stable partner Raven Van Loupe.
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
The two members of Coup d'Etat ignore the crowd's reaction in its entirety. Austin slides into the ring while Raven stays on the outside.
Woodbridge: Of course, Austin comes out with his insurance policy. With Marshal Wheeler and Mercenaire, the rest of Coup d'Etat, clearly busy with their championship match later tonight, having Raven Van Loupe with him gives a huge edge to Balandran.
Paisner: You already know how I feel about these motherfuckers, but this feels like overkill to me. It's not like his opponent's gonna bring out THE MORMON MOB with him or something like that!
Woodbridge: It's not really overkill, it's an intimidation tactic. If you really knew about the Mormon Mob, you'd know about it. You don't wanna mess with those men, never again.
The referee checks on Austin while he makes his way to the lower right corner. His music is replaced by the horn heavy intro of U MAD, the theme of his opponent.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
Javier: And his opponent! From Moab, Utah, weighing in at 210 pounds, DAN! SMITH!!!
Crowd: YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!
Dan quickly bounces his way down the ramp, shaking fans' hands and hyping them up along the way. He quickly makes his way up the stairs and between the ropes.
Paisner: He might have no mob with him,
Woodbridge: That's good news for me!
Paisner: but he definitely has the support and all the good vibes from the capacity crowd here in Indianapolis!
Woodbridge: People love fresh faces, Allen! He seemed like a very decent, very talented guy, at least from what we were able to see in that wacky tag match on the go-home show!
Paisner: I knew you were impressed!
Woodbridge: Sure, I'm a sucker for scrappy workers like him. But a lot of people must be asking themselves right now: Is this kid, fresh off the oven, the guy who could become the next World Champion?
Paisner: Well, we're just about to find that out, aren't we?
Woodbridge: It seems like it, yeah.
Javier exits the ring while Dan gets ready to start. Ivan looks at both contenders and calls for the bell.
DING DING DING
The two men start the feeling out process circling each other, tactically ascertaining the situation. Austin dives in, going for a takedown, but Dan moves out of the way. He gets back up and the two men lock in a collar and elbow tie-up, with Balandran being the one to take advantage of his weight, putting Smith in a side headlock.
Paisner: A very average start, there's no room for mistakes here. They both know this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Woodbridge: I mean, considering how fast you gave in as soon as you saw Balandran's money, I don't know about that…
Paisner: Shut up, Mark.
Dan tries to pry himself out of the hold, but Austin moves towards the ropes, releasing his opponent sending him to the other side. Smith bounces off the ropes and Balandran tries to finish this one early with a spinning lariat, but Smith rolls under. Dan gets up, bounces off the other side and brings Austin down with a lariat of his own.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
Woodbridge: Not bad, not bad at all...
Paisner: Woah! Not bad? Did you see that, Mark? Austin Balandran was looking for a quick finish there, and he paid for it right away!
Woodbridge: It was a very clever idea, what else can I say: Dan is clearly excited to be given this opportunity, that excitement might get in his head and cause him to make mistakes, but NOPE, he's definitely focused today!
Balandran punches the mat and quickly scrambles back to his feet. The two men lock eyes for a second and Smith charges towards his opponent once again, but Balandran drops down. Smith jumps over him and hits the ropes this time going for a tackle, but Balandran jumps over him. Dan goes to the ropes for a third time, this time going for a clothesline, but Austin moves out of the way, grabs Smith by the waist and slams him down with a German suplex.
Paisner: OHHH!!! Very nice counter from Balandran.
Woodbridge: Dan might have a lot of energy, but he needs to be a bit smarter with these attacks. You can't expose yourself like that for an entire match.
Smith pops back up and charges at Balandran once again, but he gets stopped by a stiff European uppercut. Balandran then rocks him with an open palm strike, and after hooking Dan's head with his arm, Austin brings him down with a side Russian legsweep.
Woodbridge: That is a great resource right there. A very nice uppercut to create some separation and that Russian legsweep to bring Smith down.
Paisner: Not the most innovatively move to do there, though.
Woodbridge: It might be old, but it does what it's supposed to. Again, Dan comes with a ton of momentum but he gives out a lot of tells and constantly gets stopped, and that style doesn't seem to work very well for him today.
Smith grabs the back of his head after a rough landing. Austin gets up with no problems, only to immediately drop down once again, this time with his elbow aimed directly at Dan's chest. Dan tries to roll away, clutching his chest in pain, but Austin drags him back to the center of the ring and makes a jump, connecting Dan with a second elbow drop.
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Paisner: A very nice leap, it sucks that Balandran is the one doing that.
Woodbridge: It was very technically sound. And look, you should expect at least one more!
Austin turns towards the crowd and demands them to remain quiet, to no avail. He then hits the ropes and takes off, going for a third elbow drop, but this time, his opponent is able to move out of the way.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
Woodbridge: Whoop! There he went!
Balandran lands with all his body weight on his right elbow. He gets a hold of it while on his knees. Dan Smith gets up with the help of the ropes, and stuns the downed Austin with a sick-ass dropkick, dude.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!
Paisner: Dan Smith took control of the match really fast, and all it took was a poor landing from his opponent.
Woodbridge: It's still a back and forth that's just getting started. Don't let your emotions get the best of you yet.
Austin pops back up, noticeably startled at what's going on. Dan hits the ropes and comes back with a leaping clothesline, but Balandran rolls under. This makes Dan hit the ropes chest first, and by the time he turns to his opponent, a superkick from Balandran hits him in the face.
Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Woodbridge: See? It took me 30 seconds to be vindicated.
Paisner: Hmmmm…
Smith is left bumbling and stumbling, but is still standing, something that gathers a few cheers from the crowd, but this doesn't last very long, since he gets downed once again by an European uppercut. Austin puts Dan in a headlock and grabs him by his gear, forcing him back to his feet.
Woodbridge: Oof, that uppercut was a surefire jaw re-arranger. That's gonna hurt tomorrow!!! And he's going for a suplex, too!
Paisner: I had shorts like that, you know.
Woodbridge: What?
Paisner: Uhh, nothing.
Dan resists Austin's attempts of lifting him in the air with everything he's got, but this just leads to a barrage of forearm clubs. Smith drops to one knee and gets dragged to the top left corner by Balandran.
Paisner: Austin Balandran is not letting Smith go anywhere, Mark, that's for sure.
Woodbridge: If you give a fireball like Dan Smith even the slightest opening, he'll find a way to get away with it, Allen. You need to smother your opponent so he doesn't have time to think things through...
Paisner: Just like he smothered me with cash to get this match?
Woodbridge: Don't read my notes, OK? That joke was gonna land beautifully.
Balandran brings him up for another suplex attempt, but Dam manages to slip out of the headlock in mid-air, landing on his own feet and almost immediately jumping towards the stunned Balandran with a massive lariat that sends him over the top rope. The crowd goes mental, and Dan does too.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAY!!! DAN! DAN! DAN! YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!
Woodbridge: You know who Dan Smith reminds me of? A.J. Van Cleef.
Paisner: A.J. Van Cleef? Voltage's half-brother? That guy?
Woodbridge: Yes! A perennial underachiever who got fired up real fast and was one hell of a performer. Very similar to our own Stormin' Mormon, it seems.
Austin takes a messy landing on the outside, but quickly stands once again, even though he takes a powder by moving away from the ring apron. Itchicock starts the count-out, but the man from Coup d'Etat is in no rush to get back in.
1!
2!
3!
4!
5!
The camera pans to Raven, as they sprint towards their stablemate. This makes Balandran upset, and he yells at them to go away immediately, but in the meantime, Dan Smith hits the opposite ropes and flies over the top rope with a beautiful tope con hilo, that sends both Austin and Raven to crash onto the floor.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! DAN! DAN! DAN!
Paisner: WOAH-HO-HO-HOOO!!!
Woodbridge: And will you look at that! Just like Van Cleef, the smoothest tope con giro in the Southern indies 15 years ago!!!
Paisner: You know, I know Van Cleef myself, but it seems like other people who might not be as knowledgeable, might watch this thinking you're just making up names to spice up your commentary here and there.
Woodbridge: Uh, well… Fuck 'em!
After Dan's landing, Itchicock restarts the count.
1!
2!
3!
4!
5!
Dan hears the roar of the crowd and gets hyped, bringing Austin up trying to drag him back into the ring, but Austin resists it and after getting a hold of Dan's arm, he sends him head first to the ringpost with an Irish whip.
Paisner: OHHHH NOOO!!!
Woodbridge: What a brutal thud, that is. It wouldn't surprise me if that knocked him out, those are some big-ass posts!
6!
7!
8!
9!
10!
Balandran takes his time to catch a breather, while Raven moves back to Austin's corner.
11!
12!
13!
14!
15!
16!
17!
Balandran eventually gets up on the apron and steps between the ropes, followed by a clearly dizzy Dan barely making it under the bottom rope, just before the 20-count reaches its end.
Crowd: YAYYYYYY!!! claps
Woodbridge: Phew, that was a close one.
But that joy doesn't last a lot: Austin grabs Smith by his hair almost immediately and slams him down to the floor. Dan grabs the back of his neck and tries to move out of the way, but there's nowhere to go while Austin corners him and proceeds to stomp his head repeatedly.
Paisner: Gahh! Those stomps look disgusting!
Woodbridge: He's doing what he has to do, you know. They ain't pretty, but you can bet your ass they get the job done.
Itchicock does the standard five-count and Balandran moves out of the way and back to the corner, raising his arms to indicate he's done nothing wrong. The WiR official moves on to check up on Smith, but he almost gets hit by a running Balandran, who smashes Smith with a massive facewash...
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Paisner: Dammit, that was just devastating!
Almost hitting Itchicock as well along the way. The referee reprimands Austin, who ignores what he's trying to say and just focuses on dragging Smith by the legs moving him to the center of the ring. Balandran goes for the lateral press and Ivan starts the count.
1!
2-NO!
Smith gets his shoulder up. Austin brings him up, and with a strong headlock in hand, he drops Dan back first with a vertical suplex. Austin rolls through, though, and keeping the headlock in place, he lifts his opponent with a second vertical suplex.
Paisner: Mark, I have an honest question.
Woodbridge: I'm listening.
Paisner: How do you call this sequence if it's done by someone with no amigos?
Woodbridge: Damn, dude, that's kinda messed up.
Austin grabs Dan's shorts again, lifting him for the Partner-with-no-Emotional-Bond number 3, but the Mighty Mormon is able to counter it with a perfectly placed knee to the top of Austin's head, forcing him to release the hold, but then Austin hits him with a soccer kick to the chest. He grabs a now doubled over Smith by the waist and slams him down with a brutal snap powerbomb, that he follows with an instant pin.
1!
2!
NO!
Smith kicks out. Austin runs his hands through his hair and gets up again.
Woodbridge: There's a lot of fighting energy in that boy, that's for sure.
Paisner: And that's getting on Austin's head, too. He underestimated the resilience of Smith, who wants this as much as he does!
Austin drags Dan to the center once again, placing himself right behind him, kneeling while Dan is seated, and applies a very constraining choke hold. Dan tries to roll out of the hold and tries to take his head out of the lock, but this only leads to Balandran putting more and more effort in the hold.
Crowd: DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN!
Hearing the roar of the crowd, Dan slowly tries to get up, going from a seated position to being down on one knee. The crowd cheers and Austin tries to drag him back down, but an elbow to his stomach curbs his efforts. Austin cinches in the hold some more, but another elbow to the gut, followed by another one, AND ANOTHER ONE, forces him to progressively loosen up the hold until it's broken.
Woodbridge: Awwww shit!!! He's mormin' up, Allen!
Paisner: He's Mormin' Up?
Woodbridge: You heard that right: Dan Smith Is Mormin' Up!
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
A newly freed Smith connects with a killer right hook and grabs Austin by the arm, sending him to the other side with an Irish whip. However, the heavier Balandran reverses the whip and throws Dan to the ropes. Austin hits the ropes himself, jumping off them while going for a crossbody, only to get stopped in mid air by a knee to the stomach from Smith.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
Paisner: Just right on time!
Austin clutches his stomach, but doesn't take his eyes off of his opponent's. Dan gets his revenge with a kick to the left leg, another kick to the right one, and another kick to the midsection. The crowd celebrates while we see Raven on the outside, looking beyond frustrated. Dan hits the ropes and comes back with a leap, spinning in mid air and spiking Austin's head on the mat with a DDT.
Paisner: YES!!!
Woodbridge: Wildcat DDT from Dan Smith! And a cover...
1!
2!
NO!
Crowd: TWOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Paisner: But Austin Balandran gets his shoulder up!
Dan is the first one to get up, and as such he tries to take advantage of it with some forearms to the back of his opponent, trying to keep him down, but Austin gets back up responding with a mule kick and a back elbow soon after.
Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Woodbridge: That's a big yikes right there. He had this under control!
Dan steps back with his hands over his face, giving Austin enough time to bounce off the ropes and come back with a very large big boot aiming at his opponent's direction, but this plan gets literally and figuratively sidestepped by a much faster Dan, who hooks his leg, spins and drops him back first on the canvas with a teardrop suplex.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
Woodbridge: Will you look at that? You can clip it and ship it, as the zoomers say. That was just picture perfect, Allen.
Paisner: And a very technical way to counter the weight differential, I imagine!
Dan quickly pops back up, but instead of going for the pin, he steps back for the Curb Stomp, while Austin's still stunned by that suplex. Noticing the situation, Raven gets up on the canvas, something that upsets Ivan, who tries to kick her out.
Paisner: Woah, woah, woah! That can't be good!
Woodbridge: That's the purpose of Raven's presence, Allen. They're here to save Austin's ass as much as it's possible. If he wins this one, Coup d'Etat wins as well!
The whole ruckus distracts Dan, who can't stop himself from turning in that direction. Austin stumbles back to his feet, and seizes the opportunity in a very classic fashion: hitting Dan with a kick right on the zone that's supposed to be extremely covered by that wacky Mormon underwear that people always talk about.
Paisner: Ugghhh!! Sweet Moses, Mark!!!
Woodbridge: He got him right on the glizzy, that's for sure. I hope Dan does have a cup in those shorts, 'cause I felt that kick myself!
Dan drops on all fours, and puts one of his hands on his nether regions, making sure he still has two with him. Getting a hold of his other arm, Austin uses his leg to wrench it in, and flips over Dan, rolling him up into a la Casita pin. Raven steps off the canvas and the ref starts counting.
1!
2!
3-NO!
Paisner: Wait! Wait a minute!
Ivan suddenly stops the count, just as it was about to reach three, when he notices that Austin’s been using the ropes for leverage.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!! DAN! DAN! DAN!
Woodbridge: He almost got away with it. With a very interesting combo, by the way. A very smart pinning predicament in the middle of two very efficient pieces of rudo malarkey.
Ivan calls this out and gets up, breaking up the pin. Austin gets up and tries to defend himself to no avail, but in the meantime Dan gets back up and brings him down with a backslide.
1!
2!
NO!
Austin is caught by surprise and he is just barely able to kick out. The two men get up quickly, but Dan shoots first and Austin gets dropkicked into the upper left corner. Dan charges at the corner and floors Austin with a second dropkick and a jumping splash. Austin gets knocked down, clutching his chest as he drops to the bottom turnbuckle.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!
Dan looks shocked and he points at the crowd while moving to the opposite corner. He charges in Austin's direction and flips, knocking him out with a cannonball.
Crowd: YAAAAAAAAYYYY!
Paisner: Wild Child Cannonball, from Dan Smith!
Woodbridge: This move could easily be it for Balandran, but Smith won't even consider risking it. Look at him go!
Smith moves Balandran and places him in the perfect location for his next move. He Dan (ha-ha) moves to the turnbuckles and acrobatically jumps to the top rope, in a move that might remind some of a legendary stoner once honored in a WiR iPPV.
Paisner: This might be the famed Kingston Special, Mark! Get ready!
Smith: WOOOO-HOOOOO! BOOM! BOOM!
Dan gets his finger guns out just before he's ready to fly. However, before he does, he takes some time to look at Raven, making sure they don't intervene. Dan takes off and flips in mid-air, going for the senton bomb, but by the time he gets there, Austin rolls out of the way and there's no one home.
Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Paisner: Oh, no! Oh, no!
Dan lands back first on the canvas from a massive height. Austin gets up and forces a defeated, stumbling Smith back to his feet. His eyes, almost glazed over, contrast with the vicious smile in Austin's face. Keeping him up for just enough time, Austin almost decapitates his opponent with a spinning lariat.
Crowd: AHHHH!!! BOOOOOOOOOOO!
Woodbridge: What a brutal move. Decisive and very well executed, but brutal nonetheless.
Paisner: And as you know by the name of it, that is just The Prelude.
Balandran picks Dan up almost immediately after he lands, forcing him back up. He stares at Dan once again, who's barely hanging on, before gloating at the crowd some more. He flicks his sweat on Dan's face and puts him over his shoulders in a fireman's carry. Austin parades around the ring, with his opponent still on his shoulders, as the crowd keeps on booing him.
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+1/4 is the same as pk,+1/2, and +3/4 is +1/2,+1 , the quarter lines are just shorthand to show half the money is on th eth half-lines on each side iof the qaurter 06-20-10 07:26 AM #5 teaserpleaser Strategies and Tips for Soccer Over/Under Bets. One of the enticing things about soccer over/under betting is the ability to place live bets. Live betting is when you can bet on the outcome of the game after it has already started. For example, Chelsea is playing Manchester United, its 10 minutes in and Chelsea has just scored a goal. As you prepare to dive into the world of sports betting, here’s a breakdown of how the lines work, starting with … Spreads It would be really easy to bet on a game if you could put money on a Betting Goal Lines (aka Spreads) Similar to betting the Two-Way Moneyline, the Goal Line is a type of wager that eliminates at least one outcome. Goal Lines are similar to Puck Lines in hockey and Point Spreads in football or basketball. Betting Totals. Totals in soccer work much differently than they do in other sports and can be shown in On the other side, betting Iran +2.5 goals means to win the bet, Iran can win, draw, or lose by 1 or 2 goals. Betting Totals: Totals in soccer work differently than other sports and can be shown in multiples of .25 goals. Since scoring is minimal in soccer, bookmakers will often times set a Total of 2.25 or 2.75.

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