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Posted in: Fact or Fiction
FACT or FICTION: May 2017 (Women's Tourney, NJPW In America, Balor A Credible Threat?, Much More!)
By Steven Bell
May 30, 2017 - 8:45:13 PM

How the heck is already almost June? Nobody cleared this with me. I’m pretty sure the calendar just turned over to 2017 a couple weeks ago, right? And now you’re telling me we’re halfway through the year?

It’s true, though. May is just about gone and we’re almost to the officially official halfway point of the year. May isn’t quite all the way gone, though, and we’ve got a bit of business to take care of. So it’s time once again for…

 photo FOF Pulp Fiction Logo_1.png

Yup, that’s right, it’s time to have a bit of fun and gather some opinions on a few of the hottest topics going on in the world of pretend fighting. I’m your emcee for the festivities, Steven Bell, host of The Late Shift on Monday and Tuesday nights via Lords of Pain Radio and Admin of LOP Forums, among random other stuff. You can follow me on Twitter @StevenFnBell if you're down. If you’ve never read one of these, it’s pretty straightforward. I came up with four statements and got some of my writer friends from the incredibly spiffy LOP Columns Forum to tell me whether they feel that these statements are FACT or FICTION, elaborating on why they feel the way they do. Like I said, pretty straightforward, right?

We have a bit of an interesting twist to this edition of FoF. I generally gather up folks from the previously mentioned LOP Columns Forum to participate in these, both as a way to showcase some writers that you may not have read before and in an effort to perhaps entice a few of you to come join the fun. You head there, write yourself a column, prove that you can write consistently and draw a decent audience and you very well may find yourself participating in one of these Fact or Fiction columns or even work your way to being next in line when a spot opens up here on the LOP main page. See that bold "Columns Forum" a couple sentences back? You can click that to find your way there now. After you read this, of course. There's also a great big link waiting down at the bottom, if you prefer.

I digress. The interesting twist this time around is that a couple of our participants were promoted to the Lords of Pain main page over the course of putting this together here in the last week or two. Very cool stuff, and I’m sure you’ve already seen some of their stuff popping up here and there. Matter of fact, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve read something from all of our participants this time around, at some point or another, as we’ve got ourselves a pretty righteous lineup.

Our participants for May’s Fact or Fiction are...

JSR-13 (@Jsr13sDecree on Twitter) - Our newest writer here on Lords of Pain, but one you’ve likely seen before due to his having won two straight Columnist of the Month competitions in the Columns Forum earlier this year. Definitely someone to keep your eye on, as he has the sheer talent to become a force here on Lords of Pain

Xanman (@XanManLOP on Twitter) - An LOP Columns Hall of Famer since 2006, few writers on this site have established the legacy of consistently rock solid, excellent writing that has the Man Called Xan. Most recently seen here on the LOP main page in the form of his NJPW on LOPR series for LOP Radio, I have a feeling that you’ll soon be seeing a bit more of him around this general area in the weeks to come.


Skitz (@SirSkitzAlot on Twitter) - A mainstay here on Lords of Pain for years, the Fruity One has returned to the Columns Forum where he started his journey. Never fearful of letting his opinions be known to any and all who care to listen (perhaps even those who don’t), he makes his return to the LOP main stage here in Fact or Fiction.

You can click each of those gentlemen's names, there, to find their latest columns, (or in Xan’s case his latest NJPW on LOPR show), all covering various aspects of this pro wrestling stuff we all love so much.
Enough chit chat, let’s get to it.

While most seem to agree that the Brand Extension has done a good job of helping to showcase talent that otherwise may not have had an opportunity to shine, one major shortcoming of the entire thing has been that the Tag Team and Women's Divisions are pretty much paper thin on either side. There are a fair amount of teams and women in NXT who could help with that situation, but the Gold Brand frankly isn't doing a whole lot better, themselves. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though, at least as it pertains to the women, as the upcoming Women's Tournament will be loaded with talent from around the globe, many with years of experience behind them. Is it FACT or FICTION that the Women's Tournament will cause an improvement in the current state of WWE's Women's Divisions?

JSR-13 - I don't enjoy being a pessimist when it comes to wrestling, especially WWE. But it's just too difficult to ignore history. And we don't even have to travel that far back in time for an answer to this one; look at how awesome the CWC was, and look at how awesome the cruiserweight division in the beginning was NOT. Further, I've been saying since around 2014-2015 that throwing more women into the mix won't fix anything. People couldn't wait for the Four Horsewomen to get called up; and then it happened. And... ? WWE has always had the talent in the women's division to improve the quality, but they always failed to properly utilize it. While we are drooling over the prospect of our favorite indy woman mixing it up on Raw, Smackdown or NXT, the reality is that at some point, if they are to receive that juicy contract, they will have to answer to the same people who tell Nikki Bella to hold onto the title for over 300 days, Alicia Fox to act crazy, Bayley that she's going to win the title in the worst scenario possible for her character, Emma to try and be Emmalina, etc. FICTION.

Xan - This is a tough one. On one hand, both shows have a limited roster of women and it is really easy to run out of potential matches very quickly. On the other hand, there is only so much time with which to showcase the women on a weekly basis. The problem with both divisions is the boneheaded idea to actually make the "brands" as homogeneous as possible. The reason I have brands in quotation marks is because they aren't truly portrayed as brands; instead it is as if they are two separate promotions within the (ugh) WWE Universe. I have maintained from the beginning--and have yet to see any reason to change my position even for a second--that one show should have gotten the women and one the tag division. Now, did the separation of the divisions create a star in the wonderful Alexa Bliss? Well, she certainly became one earlier than she would have, but given time she would have built momentum in nXt and gotten there eventually anyway. What it really did was throw the Sasha/Charlotte feud into overkill, make them rush Bayley into being a champion, put Naomi in a position she doesn't deserve, and rush Dana Brooke to a spot she clearly isn't ready for. The tag division is in a similar state, with the main catalyst for that being the insistence on overwriting Demolition's tag title reign due to a grudge and deciding to push Rhyno and Heath Slater instead of showcasing American Alpha, but that's neither here nor there. I will say it's a FACT that the addition of new, talented, experienced women will improve the WWE Women's division, but not as much as them all being on one brand and having a show of their own similar to 205 Live would. I probably wouldn't watch it, just like I don't 205 Live, but plenty of people would and it would give them time both to work and improve their craft that the limited time on the other shows doesn't grant them. The Revolution clearly needs some evolution.

Skitz - Because of what happened with the CWC and Cruiserweight Division last year (or rather what didn’t happen), I feel inclined to go fiction here. But since WWE already has three established women’s divisions and they all kinda suck, I’ll say FACT. Odds are the company is using the Mae Young Classic primarily to recruit new talent. Yes the tournament’s meant to draw in more Network subscribers but it’s also a bunch of tryout matches for the women involved. I have no idea which names will be participating but can’t imagine they’re any worse than the Barbie dolls Asuka’s been toying with down in NXT for the last 9 months (sans Ember, Ruby and Nikki). So please, put some fresh faces on my TV screen. I can’t sit through another fuckin’ Becky/Natalya match.

Impact Wrestling continues to, well, continue. Despite all the issues of the last few years and the loss of key talents over the last six or so months, the company is still trying to find its path and succeed under new ownership and management. That having been said, many long term fans of the former TNA have been turned off by the company since the changes went into effect, be it because of how former talent was treated or simply because they don't like the current creative direction. Is it FACT or FICTION that Impact has any real chance of ultimately succeeding?

Xan - FICTION. I know you're probably looking for more than that, but I honestly don't think there's much more to say. There have been times that I have loved this promotion; most notably when they were still doing their weekly pay per views and I frankly think they jumped to a regular television program years too soon. They clearly weren't equipped for it, the spoilers that come with taping weeks in advance hurt the excitement of watching new and talented performers, and this is where they started being more "WWE Lite" by going to a formulaic program instead of the dynamism we saw every week in their $10/2 hour weekly shows. Still, I kept watching them cursorily and they won me back with strong storytelling, but then they lost their deal with Fox Sports Net for about 6 months and then when they moved to Spike, they literally pushed the reset button, cancelling Chris Harris' push to reform America's Most Wanted, taking the title off Raven to put it back on Jeff Jarrett, and moving AJ Styles back to the X-Division and putting the title back on him. It was like they wanted the fans who had been watching to pretend like the previous two years hadn't happened, which was bad enough, but then they had an amazing night at Bound For Glory 2005 that saw Rhyno ascend to the top of the promotion...and then put the title back on Jarrett three days later. People point to Samoa Joe losing to Kurt Angle as TNA's biggest mistake, and it might be, but Jarrett beating Rhyno is what convinced me TNA would never be a major player. They have had their moments since then; Austin Aries' ascension via Option C, Aces & Eights, the Broken Hardys, but every time they find a way to mess it up and crash back to Earth. And now Jarrett is back in charge of the company. Toast.

Skitz - I guess it depends on what you mean by succeed. Will they ever be competitive? (bursts out laughing) No and that’s fine. The problem is TNA just can’t be content with what they are. It’s always been about competing with big bad WWE which is the wrong way for a small company to do business. When you turn on TNA nowadays, what’s the first thing you see? An intro that shows nothing but former employees who now work for Vince. Then later in the broadcast, you’ll get a Don West infomercial where he’s shilling AJ Styles DVDs or some other bullshit. Is TNA so tight for money that they need to sell off every last piece of Kurt Angle merch? Or are they that desperate for a larger piece of the pie? Be happy with your serving size dammit. TNA’s lucky to still have a TV deal at this point. As for the question, I think it’s a FACT that they’ll stay in business. The glory years are far behind them however.

JSR - The easy answer is to say something to the tune of "LOL TNA sucks!", "F- that Owl!", "TNA still exists?", "TNA will be gone this time next year...", or to regurgitate one of those tired "what's (blank) doing in the Impact Zone?" jokes here. Instead, I'll share what I've seen on a few bumper stickers: "As Long As I Breathe, I Hope". Even with the black eye that the company has given itself with allowing key players to walk away, the seeming nosedive in quality, and of course the legal back-and-forth with the Hardys, I say it is a FACT that Impact does have a real chance of succeeding. The cash cow that they've been waiting on for so long is there, and there have been plenty of major moved made such as partnering with other promotions and are set to take another stab at touring. I can provide to you a laundry list of things they are doing wrong- and I do with my weekly reviews (plug!)- such as trying to make Jarrett's GFW a thing, but the question was "do they have a real chance"- not "is there any guarantee". They could fold by 2018; or Anthem can smarten up to Jarrett and kick him to the curb- who knows? YOU, dear reader, may never watch it again- or maybe something from it will spark your interest again. There's no point in calling for its death like we've been doing for the last decade. Impact is still breathing- so there's always hope.

Here's a dumb but fun one. Short and sweet. WWE recently announced that the Raw branded July PPV event will be named... wait for it... Great Balls of Fire. Is it FACT or FICTION that this is the straight up dumbest name there has ever been for a major company PPV event?

Skitz - Goodness gracious, I hope you included that piano-playing picture of Brock from Twitter. It’s always good for a laugh. The name of this pay per view title is pretty comical itself. Dumbest name for a wrestling event though? WWE’s Global Warning Tour disagrees. As does Tables, Ladders, Chairs & Stairs. One Night Stand too seeing as how there were four of them. If you do a little digging, some of the In Your House subtitles from the 90s were also pretty terrible. This is 2017 though and WWE should know better than to liken the name of a major event to an STD. My head’s burning just thinking about it. FACTOID!


You heard me.

What- you guys have a problem with PPVs being named after popular song titles? I for one welcome the idea, and confidently surmise that my network subscription will remain current when I have the Raw exclusive "WWE Shake It Fast!" to look forward to. I hope they continue with the trend, and even replace one of the soon-to-be obsolete names of the 'Big Four'. Just imagine- coming back from commercial break to hear Cole say "we are on the road to WWE I Will Always Love You!" and watching how the feuds and angles for that event unfold. I sincerely believe with everything in me that one day (don't know when- but ONE day), No Way Jose will challenge for the NXT title at "WWE-NXT Takeover: Feelin' On Yo' Booty (Remix)". Take my money NOW.

Xan - Look, Great Balls of Fire is a dumb name; I don't think there's any questioning that; but the dumbest pay per view name ever? Nah, man. Bash at the Beach was often not even at the beach; they would just bring sand in to make it look like there was a beach in the building and in the first one, there was a goddamned bikini contest just because they were at a fake beach. That's fucking dumb. Insurrextion isn't even a word. Uncensored when none of the pay per views were censored anyway? nXt isn't really taking over anything, yet all their big shows are called Takeover. It was cool the first time around and we all take it for granted now, but it really is dumb if you think about it. I think naming pay per views after the gimmicks they revolve around is incredibly dumb, as well, and while This Tuesday In Texas certainly let you know where and when, it certainly isn't awe inspiring, y'dig? I would take Great Balls of Fire over any of these, so it's clearly FICTION, but you know which one I think was the absolute dumbest? Roadblock: End of the Line. It is so dumb that this is the first time I have ever referred to it by that name. The only reason WWE called it that was because they had another Roadblock in the same year that actually made sense because it was [slaps forehead!] right after FastLane on the Road to Wrestlemania. Deciding to have another one in December, which isn't on the road to anything, and then having to add a stupid subtitle (and then shoehorn in a reason for it) is so asinine that I can barely stand it.

Back to serious topics. New Japan Pro Wrestling has now officially run its first shows on American soil. With the company's recent stated goal of expansion, many see this as the first step towards them gaining a solid foothold in the American market and potentially gaining significant momentum. As to whether they'll ever truly compete with WWE is highly questionable, but it seems very possible that they could, with a few key moves, perhaps rise as high as the #2 position here in the States. Is it FACT or FICTION that NJPW will supplant Impact as the 2nd most high profile wrestling company in the American marketplace within the next 2-3 years?

JSR - This is a tough one to call, and one that I honestly hope I'm wrong about- but I say FICTION. The reasons being that while we are less than two months away from its official live American broadcast, New Japan has already been accessible to the American audience. There are already people who are subscribers to their streaming service-not to mention, a lot of their material (including that six-star match with Omega) is readily available on Daily Motion. NJPW has been collaborating with Ring of Honor for years. Some of the biggest stars from Japan in Nakamura, Itami, Asuka and even Manami Toyota have touched down on American soil in some way shape or form, and WWE has even name-dropped the promotion several times. I wonder- exactly how much buzz is generated from all of this among people who are not already card-carrying members of the fan club? On top of all this, I feel that casual American fans are so accustomed to their Make-A-Wish faces, reality stars and Attitude Era relics, that the strong style and closer-to-real-life-fighting method of New Japan won't really resonate well, unless they 'sell out' and go for "sports entertainment". Maybe from a standpoint of perception, hardcore fans will love it more than Impact, but I think it will more or less 'blend in' and just be one of many 'not-WWEs' running around.

Xan - As "Mr NJPW" for Lords of Pain--and allow me to state that I, and perhaps a partner, will be broadcasting a live review of Dominion on June 11 shortly after it goes off the air--I feel the need to point out that these two shows you are referring to actually haven't yet occurred. For years they have been running joint shows with Ring of Honor, but the first NJPW shows to run in the United States will take place in Long Beach, CA on July 1 and 2 and it was recently announced that part of those shows will include a tournament to crown the first ever IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. They have also recently revamped their streaming service, NJPW World to be smoother, cleaner, and more user friendly (though I am still getting used to it); and have debuted a new English language website, njpw1972.com, so they are really going all-in to try to make themselves less obtuse to non-Japanese fans. There is even talk of a California territory starting up in 2018. They are already the best wrestling company in the world. Don't get in a twist that I said that. I didn't say the biggest. I didn't say the greatest. I said the best. My top 6 matches this year all either took place in NJPW or featured NJPW talent; that isn't a coincidence. All of this said, though, there is a major barrier to them truly becoming the #2 company in the United States: television. NJPW World is nearly as user friendly as WWE Network now and I really enjoy the way their English language commentators--Kevin Kelly and Don Callis--have gelled and, to be fair, the first night of the Long Beach G1 Specials are going to be on AXS, just as their weekly show is, but they really need to be on a real cable network. I mean, I don't even get AXS and I know there are a lot of people out there in the same boat, plus a lot of the time it seems like NJPW doesn't realize that relationship exists either. So, assuming they get a better cable deal, and acknowledging that with Impact Wrestling being horrible this might happen by default anyway, I'm going to say FACT. If you love pro wrestling, though, and love having variety, regardless of whether I'm right or not you should support the promotion. At least give it a shot, because the quality they put out truly is awesome.

Skitz - FACT. To be honest, I already view New Japan as the #2 wrestling company in the world and don’t think it would take much for them to surpass TNA. There appears to be an amicable working relationship between NJPW and WWE given the exchange of talent over the years (not to mention New Japan is the only outside company referenced in NXT). The Bullet Club generates plenty of revenue in the Far East and will no doubt do the same here in the states. The bigger question is how long will NJPW be able to keep guys like Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks under contract. They’ve restocked nicely since WWE plucked their roster in 2016 but is another raid on the horizon?

We're now over a month past the Superstar ShakeUp and all the various pieces have fallen where they'll officially be staying, debate continues to rage over who got the better end of the whole thing. Many point towards how quickly Raw has incorporated the Superstars they gained into top storylines while others hold fast that many of SD's gains haven't even debuted yet, thus giving them the advantage in the long game. That's just a couple of the multiple points to be made for either side, of course. Is it FACT or FICTION that Raw got the better end of the Superstar ShakeUp?

Xan - Oh, to me there's no question this one is a FACT, but it didn't actually start with the Superstar Shakeup; it started the night after Wrestlemania when they got The Revival. Hell, it started at Mania itself when they got the Hardys. As I stated earlier, I think the tag division should be on one show, but even with New Day and the Colons moving to Smackdown, RAW clearly has the upper hand in that department; plus we get cheated out of a Revival/American Alpha program on the big stage, proving once again that they have no idea how to book the latter. Who were Smackdown's new additions? Sigh Jobbinger, Fucking Tamina Snuka, and a guy who is no longer one of the top five wrestlers in the world in Shinsuke Nakamura. Granted, they could have a hit with that last one and he will have strong matches against some of the guys on the blue show, but I still think The Revival has the potential to trump. Then you have to consider RAW got Ambrose--which means they have all three of the shattered Shield--Bray Wyatt who is also a recent WWE Champion (even if they can't figure out how to book him consistently,) and The Miz who is being robbed of what should have been a WWE Title program, Smackdown really got jobbed. Sure, Smackdown also got Charlotte, but as far as I'm concerned, that's a wash when RAW got Alexa and a loss when you add Mickey James to that. There just isn't a division that I believe Smackdown won in these "trades" and it would take a real incompetent GM and Commissioner to have done all of these. Now, that said, Smackdown could still turn out to be great depending upon what they do with Rusev and how The New Day is used, but at this particular moment it looks pretty bleak. Not that I really care anymore. As great as Smackdown was for about 6 months, I have resigned myself to the fact WWE will never let it stay strong; RAW is Vince McMahon's love; even when Smackdown is set to bring him more green.

JSR - FICTION. I know we as fans feel that Raw had raped Smackdown, and the push of a certain Indian-Canadian is being met with mixed responses, but consider this: the 'main eventers' that were swiped from Smackdown are now fighting for the mid-card title, while a guy like Rusev, who never even came close to rising above the mid-card, is making some noise about challenging for the world title on Smackdown. We are still breathing fire about Mahal, and I'm not here to defend or revile the decision to push him- but to just use that as an example that some characters who are being allowed a chance to breathe and thrive for a change. This may be coming from a guy who has not had the urge to watch a full Smackdown episode since the Shake up, but I can at least find silver linings in that chances are being taken on people. I say that it really isn't fair to just declare that one brand will stand while the other one falls when we are barely two months removed, and we don't even know who will be world champion by the summer. And the end of the day, boys and girls- it's ALL WWE, and both shows are subject to the whims and impulses of Vince McMahon. So take comfort in THAT.

Skitz - RAW perpetually gets the pick of the litter but last year’s Draft seemed to favor SmackDown Live. Or rather, the blue brand did much more with far less. And having Cena part-timing it actually worked to SDL’s advantage as Styles stepped up to fill the void and lead a group of young, hungry workers. Fast forward nine months and it appeared SmackDown got the raw end of the deal yet again in the Superstar Shakeup. At first glance anyway. One look at the respective main events for Extreme Rules and Money in the Bank makes it abundantly clear that we have some brand quality for a change. Plus, SDL is still awaiting the arrival of Rusev, Lana, New Day, etc. It’s just the Maharaja of Mediocrity who’s watering down the blue brand at the moment. So no, RAW didn’t get the better of the bargain.FICTION it is.

Finally, one of the hottest stars in wrestling right now, as well as one of the hottest topics of debate, is Finn Balor. WWE is very obviously high on Finn, as they crowned him the first Universal Champion with only a grand total of like 3 matches under his belt on the main roster and have positioned him in some of the highest profile spots on Raw since his return. Major discussion has actually been flying as to whether a date with Brock Lesnar is in the cards sometime in the near future. While detractors bring up issues of size and lack of a real character, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Quite simply, Finn Balor is incredibly popular. But is that enough? Is it FACT or FICTION that Finn Balor can be viewed as a legitimate opponent for Brock Lesnar?

JSR-13 - Part me wants to reveal itself as one of those 'detractors' and say FICTION. The 190-pounder who does pele kicks and stomps gently on his opponents to finish them off doesn't look like he'd could even cause Brock to sweat- and Brock ALWAYS sweats. Finn is probably the smallest competitor next to Kalisto, and his repertoire of moves may have been enough to cause the Brock of the 2000s to stumble, but not the Suplex City Brock of the 2010s. It's quite odd that there is a thing such as the cruiserweight division and a show called 205 Live, and that Balor weighs less than the reigning champion of that division- yet he's in talks for fighting Lesnar.

However- WWE is not necessarily the beacon on rationality, and they tell us what they want us to believe. So I'm going with FACT. If WWE wants to tell us that Orton can survive a refrigerator crash and that a man can tip over an ambulance with his bare hands- than that's what they'll show us. And if Finn's demon merch is moving and he gets pops, then it's a strong possibility he'll get to at least look credible in a match against Lesnar- assuming they don't just book Brock to put him over altogether. We at least have Finn's matches with Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens as reference points for how he could do against near-300 pounders (yeah- I know comparing Owens' work to Brock in his current state is apples and oranges, but still), and don't be surprised to see Finn cleanly put away guys like that en route to a clash with the beast.

Xan - Absolute, unadulterated FICTION. Remember how Lesnar dominated Seth Rollins in his title defense at whatever PPV that was in 2015? Yeah; Rolllins is a much better performer and weighs a lot more than the incredibly overrated Balor. I know, I'm the NJPW/Indy guy who is supposed to love Prince Devitt. Guess what? I don't. I have heard he's a great heel, but I've never seen it, so like many of you I only have the stuff in nXt and WWE to go off of and what I see is a bland sub-200 lb professional wrestler who I don't even think is that talented in the ring. He does have one thing in common with the guy who kept dominating Lesnar in that his set-up move for his finisher is much more impactful and cool than his actual finisher. Other than that, they have nothing in common and if you made me choose, I'd pick Goldberg over him any day of the week. A legitimate opponent for Lesnar? Shit. He's a legitimate opponent for Sigh Jobbinger in the "most annoyingly pushed" wrestler title tournament, but that's about it.

Skitz -

Steven - Skitz didn’t check his inbox thoroughly enough to find this question, so he didn’t answer. He has told me in private that Finn’s demon entrance gives him horrific night terrors, though, but that he curiously always wakes up from them with a tent-like situation in his trousers due to his adoration of Mr. Balor’s abs. He said something along the line of, “You could grate cheese on those beautiful bastards.”

Skitz is a weird dude.

And that, my friends, is that. We even threw in a couple of bonus questions this time, just for fun. We all very much hope that you enjoyed it. If, by chance, you’d like to know what I thought of these subjects, well...

Steven Says...

Women's Tourney: FACT
Great Balls: FACT
NJPW in America: FACT
Balor: FACT (but only with some work, which it looks like they're more than willing to put in)

Feel free, as always, to leave your thoughts below in the Comments section. If you’re someone who REALLY likes commenting and would perhaps like to try your hand at one of these columns in the future, I invite you to make your way to the Columns Forum and take your shot at being LOP's next big thing. Even if you don't have the inclination to write, the Columns Forum is a fantastic place to find the best wrestling columns on the internet, hands down. The amount of talent and diversity of styles are unrivaled anywhere else, bar none. You can join in the fun by clicking the spiffy image below.

If you want to participate in one of these one day, this is your doorway.

I'd like to thank JSR-13, Xanman and Skitz for agreeing to join me for this. A reminder that you can find their respective most recent works by clicking their names up there in the introduction portion of the column. Further reminder that you can now find JSR’s work here on the Lords of Pain main page, as 13’s Decree has moved on up to the east side. Join him in his deluxe apartment in the sky to read some of the most quality wrestling writing you’ll find anywhere. Also be sure to be on the lookout for new stuff from Xan in the not too distant future, as LOP’s official NJPW guy brings the thunder in both written and audio form.

Further thanks to all of you for joining us for what we hope you will agree was one hell of a fun column. Enjoy Extreme Rules this Sunday and be on the lookout after the show for immediate reactions from your favorite columnists, some of these guys possibly among them, and for the always fun LOP Radio Aftershock show hosted by yours truly. Until then, take care of yourselves out there in the really real world and remember that nothing is trivial.

Much love, folks.