So, the challenge has been thrown out: put together a draft board of 10 wrestlers. I am going to approach this from the stand point of a would-be wrestling promoter and booker. This list is not necessarily a top 10 in terms of talent or rankings, but the 10 people I would look to hire if I were to be starting a new organization from scratch.
Before we get started, let's lay down some ground rules and guidelines. First of all, there will be a focus and priority on drafting Newfoundland talent. Nothing against imports but I want a roster that is solidly built around hometown talent; one, because it will look great in my marketing materials, and two, because of logistics. Secondly, in putting together a roster of 10, I will take into strong consideration the potential match ups I have in mind for my programs, so I will look to draft people I think can work well together both in the ring, and in terms of wrestling angles. Finally, I am going to use the Bret Hart triple ranking model in assigning value to potential draft candidates. Three criteria will be measured: one - in ring ability, two - microphone and marketing ability, and three - body, gimmick and overall athletic abilities.
Ok, here goes!!
#10 - Trans Mysterio (free agent)
Ok, seriously. Yes, I am going to book myself into my own organization - not because I am selfish, but because it is best for business! The novelty of a transgender pro wrestler on its own, will sell some tickets, not to mention, a local celebrity who has been involved in the local political and athletic scene. Also, what many people don't know about me is that I did some amateur wrestling at the high school level, and I was also trained in pro wrestling and performed a match in front of my entire school when I was only 14, and did so with a legitimate broken arm in a cast! Furthermore, I boast the experience of having run 30 marathons, and have a demonstrated history of performing athletics while hurt and I have incredible recovery power. Also, while not ideal to have gained so much weight due to transgender hormone therapy, at 5'10 and nearly 300 pounds, I can be a rather intimidating figure! Furthermore, as a trans person, I can literally blur the lines of sex and gender, and hence, can wrestle against men or women wrestlers and be seen as credible. Finally, since nobody else is likely to ever sign me to a wrestling contract, my own fantasy draft may be as close as I can get!
#9 - Dennis Guthrie (cutting edge)
Wrestling isn't just about athletics - it is equally about entertainment, and there is nobody better on the microphone in this province that Guthrie. While only a manager and on-screen commissioner, this guy's promos are among the best I have ever seen. His ability to articulate anger and hatred towards his client's opponents, and the crowds, are right up there with Paul Heyman! While I have no idea whether or not the guy can wrestle, I want him on my roster!
#8 - Dirty Don Martini (cutting edge)
Don is awesome on the mike and has some really good technical skills in the ring. The leopard skin wrestling tights are gonna have to go though. I think he is a little overrated in terms of his placement at the top of the cards at CEW and see him more of a mid carder for my promotion, but he's a solid and versatile worker who could have a great match with just about anybody!
#7 - Mr. Fantastic (legend city)
Here's a guy that's over with the crowd, has an awesome classic 80s good-guy comic book gimmick, and is great both on the mike and in the ring. Furthermore, what better opponent for Trans Mysterio to start feuding with than a virtual lookalike in a pink mask? :P
#6 - Kowboy Mike Hughes (legend city and red rock)
Ok, I am going to allow one import (Mike being a PEI native and resident), because this guy is the total package. He's essentially an honourary Newfoundlander by virtue of his many years of frequent tours with LCW, but most importantly, it is what he brings to the table as a pro wrestler that I like. Let's start with the look. He gets a perfect 10 on his look and gimmick. Mike is your typical bad ass biker dude character that brings characteristics of attitude era Kevin Nash, Triple H, and biker era Undertaker. He's tall and muscular with that intimidating look. He also has great in ring skills and is solid on the mike. He also brings years of experience to the table, including a stint in the WWE. This guy not only makes my roster, but he is likely to main event many of my initial cards and could potentially hold the strap for a while, until some of my younger talent is ready for prime time!
#5 - Bucky Gotch (cutting edge)
One thing that seems to be missing from most mainstream international wrestling promotions, is the super heavyweight. Back when I grew up watching the business, the 450 pound behemoths were often the main event heels: King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang, Bam Bam Bigelow, Van Vader, Yokozuna, and Kamala, to name a few! Bucky will bring that element back to wrestling in my promotion. I also love the cabbage gimmick, which reminds me of infamous Mike Shaw, who wrestled under similar gimmicks known as Norman the Lunatic, and Bastion Booger. Bucky is solid in the ring and is very much over with the fans, and he can also sell a beating like no other!
#4 - Psycho Mitch (cutting edge)
This guy would have been a perfect fit in Paul Heyman's ECW. Not only does Mitch have an awesome and intimidating look, he's wild and crazy in that ring. This guy can do stunts that many WWE stars would be afraid to try. The top rope piledriver at last week's CEW card sold me on Mitch being the lead heel in my promotion. A cross between Big Van Vader and Mick Foley's Cactus Jack character, Mitch will make the audience tremble in fear and make the baby-faces look humbled and humiliated!
#3 - Matt Wheeler (legend city)
Ok go ahead and laugh, but nobody can sell a beating like this guy! He would have been a star in the 80s as a jobber. He'd have gotten the big push that Barry Horowitz got in 1995, after 20 years of losses! Wheeler is your quintessential underdog who can bring it in the ring. His skill is technically sound and he is good with the high-flying aerial tactics. I've never seen him wrestle a bad match, the fans love him, and I think he can work with anyone!
#2 - Bulldog Brandon Hynes (legend city)
This Bay Roberts native is baymen tough. He's also one of the most versitle wrestlers I have seen. His in ring psychology, especially in tag team matches, has impressed me significantly. While not very tall, he brings a big-man's game to the ring, with some great technical wrestling, mixed in with some good aerial moves and some equally impressive power moves. He is very over with the crowds as a heel, but appears to be a great ambassador for the sport when out of kayfabe. I've also really admired the chemistry he has in the ring with my #1 draft pick, and see Brandon and him main eventing many of my shows in what could be the best long-running feud in Newfoundland wrestling history!
#1 - Dynamite Dillon Davis (legend city)
Well, some of you may be surprised at this first overall pick, but I'm looking for a cornerstone for my franchise who is young and talented. It took guts for Vince McMahon to move on from the Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior prototypes and put the world belt on Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, but it proved to be the right move, and perhaps the most pivotal turning point in the history of the industry.
Dillon is my Shawn Michaels. He is the future of wrestling in Newfoundland and he is the guy I would take to be the cornerstone of my franchise. He's got the perfect look to be the top baby face in the company - the young handsome movie-star good looks, as well as an amazing body, by virtue of his extra efforts in the gym as of late. He's very versatile in the ring, bringing amazing power moves, technical grappling, and aerial moves. His top rope flying headbutt is good enough to make the innovator, Tom 'Dynamite Kid' Billington, jealous! Davis has also impressed me with his on camera interview work, and while he may be on the lower end of experience in terms of in-ring promo work, I know he has the dedication and perseverance to be the best this industry has to offer. Finally, his work with Bulldog Hynes in recent months has highly impressed me and their matches have easily stolen the shows. I see Davis working well against opponents of all types, as well as fitting in nicely in tag team matches.
So there you have it. Apologies to the many great talents of both LCW and CEW who did not make the cut. Obviously, in the real world, one needs more than 10 people to make a wrestling promotion, and there are many folks who deserve honourable mention, and who I'd also love to have as part of my team.
Ironically, I have left out both world champions, El Leon Apolo and Justin Lock. These are both great big-guy power wrestlers and I enjoy watching them work. In fact, I'd love to see them work a match together! Yet as I have outlined, I am banking my success on the smaller guys.
One wrestler I am particularly sad about leaving off my list is Prince Aziz, because I totally love the gimmick. The Iran/Iraq bad-guy has been an institution in wrestling for many decades, and Aziz does this as well as anyone. I also love his in-ring work, both technically and in terms of ring psychology. If I had a #11 draft pick, he would be the guy!
I also can't conclude this blog without paying tribute to Alexander and Bradley Guthrie, who gave us an awesome brother vs brother street fight retirement match last week. However, i can't have one without the other, and with Alexander banished from CEW, I considered him ineligible for drafting.
So to conclude, my vision for my first ever card, will focus on an 8-man single elimination tournament to crown my inaugural champion! I will seed my top 8 picks as follows:
- Quarter Final 1 vs 8
- Quarter Final 4 vs 5
- Quarter Final 3 vs 6
- Quarter Final 2 vs 7
- Semi Final 1/8 winner vs 4/5 winner
- Semi Final 3/6 winner vs 2/7 winner
- Overall final match
..and as an added bonus, the show will open with the only non-tournament event, a debate between Trans Mysterio and Dennis Guthrie (which of course, will eventually turn into a brawl, that will lead to the first ever officially sanctioned match in company history!) .....and yes, I will squash Dennis in less than a minute, and make me the first ever match winner in company history! hehe....
Well, there ya have it! Oh wait, I suppose you want the results of the card! Ok, fine, here goes!
Dillon beats Martini at 12.07 with a school boy roll after Martini argues with the ref after he thought he had the match won, but the ref caught him using the ropes for leverage.
Mitch beats Bucky at 6.34 by count out after a piledriver off the top rope onto a table outside on the floor, Mitch rolled back into the ring on the 9 count. Bucky was carried out on a stretcher with a neck brace.. lol
Kowboy Mike beats Wheeler at 13.13 after Wheeler passes out to a bear hug.
Bulldog Hynes sneaks by Fantastic at 8.56 after using his chain as a foreign object when the ref was temporarily knocked out.
Mitch and Dillon fight to a double count out at 7.34
Hughes and Hynes fight to a double DQ when both bring weapons into the ring at 10.14
Finals: impromptu decision to allow all 4 semi finalists to compete in a fatal 4-way match for the title. and the match is won by Dillon who pinned Hynes with a small package while Mitch and Kowboy are brawling outside of the ring and into the dressing room, at 17.45. Winner and inaugural champ is Dynamite Dillon Davis. He is then presented with the new world title belt by yours truly, Trans Mysterio. Then, an angry Bulldog Brandon sneaks up from behind and takes out both Trans and Dillon with a chair and steals the title belt!