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Posted by ViRTUE on 01/22/2017 at 11:09 PM

January 22, 2017

Twitter: @EGW_FOW_Virtue

Wrestling Video Games Have Desensitized Fans

Folks, welcome back to yet another edition of my RAGE! This is going to be a super column of sorts, as I want to first briefly talk about how wrestling video games have evolved over the years, and (in my opinion) have desensitized fans. Also, the rest of this column will be the year in review for the Indy Wrestlers of the Month I selected for 2016. Please keep in mind that I started choosing Indy Wrestlers of the Month last May; thus, you will not see selections for the first four months of 2016. Okay now, ready, set, go...

The first wrestling video game I ever remember playing was back around 1989. The game was WWF WrestleMania for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The wrestlers available to use in the game were Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Andre the Giant, Honky Tonk Man, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Ted DiBiase. Over the next few years, I specifically remember these other 8-16 bit old school wrestling games: WWF Royal Rumble for Sega Genesis/SNES, WWF Raw for Genesis/SNES, WWF Super WrestleMania for Genesis/SNES, WWF Superstars 1 and 2 for Game Boy, and WWF WrestleFest for the Arcade. By the time I was in junior high school, the games and their sprites evolved into digitized graphics in games such as WWF In Your House for PlayStation and Sega Saturn, and WWF WrestleMania the Arcade Game for all consoles. The roster for this WM Arcade game was Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Razor Ramon, Bam Bam Bigelow, Yokozuna, Doink, and Lex Luger. The digitized characters looked very realistic for their time. I always remember it actually felt like I was playing as the real wrestlers when playing the game.

By the time I graduated high school, gaming was about polygons, and the top wrestling video games were WWF WrestleMania 2000 for N64, WWF No Mercy for N64, WWF Attitude for all consoles, WWF SmackDown for PlayStation, WWF Royal Rumble for Sega Dreamcast, and a handful of WCW games. There were clearly 2-3 times more wrestling games than back in the 8-16 bit era. The games themselves were also much more involved, and create-a-wrestler modes now existed in the games. That’s right folks, fans could now create themselves in wrestling video games and virtually wrestle the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock. I am going to be honest with you, after this period, all wrestling games were a blur. ECW, TNA, WWE all had games released. Specifically, WWE had a new game ever year with updated rosters, just like the Madden, MLB, and NFL games. Not only were the visuals and graphics becoming more realistic as each year passed, but the rosters and story modes significantly enhanced. The fans were now able to virtually put themselves in the business more so than ever.

Fast forward to today and looking at the WWE 2K franchise, every wrestler in the game has detailed bios that include all of their specific moves, abilities, entrances, ring attire, etc. If you think about it, fans can basically create their own events, their own matches, and their own outcomes (depending on what game mode they play). They can also play online against people from all over the World, and as I previously mentioned, they can create themselves as a character in the game and virtually wrestle the wrestlers they watch on television. If the Internet leaking insider news to fans since the late 1990s was already a major catalyst for desensitizing fans, then wrestling video game evolution throughout the 2000s was just the icing on the cake. That’s right folks! I believe many fans’ expectations while at a wrestling event or while watching on TV are now just outright absurd. If you have noticed over the years, wrestling matches have become much more fast-paced with multiple high spots and several false finishes. Think about it! How else can the professionals get a rise out of the crowd? The real life wrestlers are basically competing against their digital selves, on top of the fact that many fans know what is probably going to happen because of the dirt sheets.

Look, I know there are still fans out there that still get emotionally invested in wrestling despite playing video games and reading dirt sheets. It is 2017, and unfortunately the way of the Internet has dominated our World. Most of the fans who still give an organic pop are the unsuspecting children and parents. The rest of the crowd reaction is basically the fans going into business for themselves, trying to put over what they think should be over. It is kind of funny if you really think about it because the original marks for the wrestling business have always been the children and parents, but over time, that demographic has seemingly decreased in favor of the “smart” Internet fan. And most of those Internet fans are the ones who always read what is going on in the business, and then they play WWE 2K17 to pass the time for the next story or news bit to break. Wrestling today now has to cater to a desensitized fan base. Oh joy!

Twitter: @EGW_FOW_Virtue

The following material has been prepared by Dark Angel (Twitter: @dark_angel_7)

2016 Indy Wrestlers of the Month

Back in May of 2016, ViRTUE’s RAGE started posting Indy Wrestlers of the Month at the end of certain columns. Now we are going to do a year in review for the wrestlers that were selected for May through December of 2016. In case you missed who was selected, here are the wrestlers chosen for each specified month: Amazing N8 Mattson kicked things off in May; followed by Lexx Vegas in June; M-Dogg Matt Cross (aka Son of Havoc) in July; Rickey Shane Page in August; Dylan Bostic in September; Jason Gory for the month of Halloween in October; No Strings Attached (Alex Daniels, Gregory Iron, Ray Lyn, Veda Scott) for the months of November/December.

In this 2016 year in review, we will specify when each wrestler made their debut, who they were trained by, what promotions they have wrestled for, what some of their signature moves are, what titles they have won, as well as some other accomplishments they have achieved during their career. Let’s get started!

In May, ViRTUE’s RAGE introduced you to its first ever Indy Wrestler of the Month, Amazing N8 Mattson. He is a resident of Detroit, Michigan and is one of the best wrestling heels on the Independent scene. N8 is the type of heel that you love to H8 (hate)! He began training at Can-Am Wrestling School, owned by Coach Scott D’Amore, in April of 1996. N8’s initial trainers were Irish Mickey Doyle and Doug Chevalier, with the assistance of D’Amore. N8 made his debut on November 24, 1996 for Border City Wrestling. Following his debut, he began working the Michigan and Ohio Independent circuit. N8 had become a regular roster member for NWA Michigan and Cleveland All-Pro Wrestling for the remainder of the late 1990s to the early 2000s. He joined a number of promotions throughout the Midwest; namely- IWR, WAR, IWF, MXPW, UCW, CIW, POG, CWM and XICW. By the mid-2000s, he worked regularly for 3PW, AWA/World-1, and Revolucha (formerly IWR). N8 debuted for Pro Wrestling Ohio (PWO)-later known as Prime Wrestling- and became a mainstay with the promotion as an on-air talent, as well as a backstage agent. From 2007 to 2012, he has wrestled a handful of dark matches and has done some extra work for WWE, TNA, ROH and DGUSA. N8 has also suffered through some injuries during his career; those injuries include a separated shoulder, torn knee ligaments, two broken ankles, a broken leg, and a displaced fractured thumb. In 2012, N8 briefly retired from wrestling; however, six months later, he successfully made his in-ring return. It is worth noting that he is credited for helping train Chris Sabin. Some of N8’s signature moves include: the Amazing Leg Drop, M-80 Swinging Neckbreaker, and the Figure Four Leg Lock. N8 is also no stranger to tag team action. He was a member of Michigan Invasion with Truth Martini; however, he is most known for being a part of the Sons of Michigan with Benjamin Boone. N8 has won the Border City Wrestling TV Championship once; IWR King of the Indies (7 times); PWO Television Championship once; PWO Tag Team Championship once with Benjamin Boone, among many others throughout his career. N8 has also won multiple career awards over the years. He has been listed on the PWI 500 multiple times: #326 in 2005, #455 in 2006, #364 in 2008, #253 in 2010, #325 in 2011, #208 in 2012, #278 in 2013, #327 in 2014, and #481 in 2016. N8 has also made television appearances on shows such as MTV’s MADE and the Travel Channel’s Man Vs Food.

In June, ViRTUE’s RAGE selected Lexx Vegas. He is a resident of Cleveland, Ohio and is also a professional rapper. Lexx made his debut in 2008 in a 3-way match against the Crow and Chainsaw (now known as Danny Spitfire). Lexx was trained by The Crow. He has worked for many promotions including OWO, HKW, WASP, CWA, MAW, SAW, IWI, NOW, SCW, UWL, MCW, XCW, RCW, TCW, UxWA, Empire Pro, and whatever the HELL Spanish Fly’s promotion is called. Lexx’s signature moves include the Lexx Effect and the Blackcard. He has won multiple Tag Team titles, including WASP, MAW, OWO, Empire Pro, UxWA, SCW, and UWL. He is also a 3x CWA Heavyweight Champion, and a 1x UxWA Heavyweight Champion, CWA Memorial Champion, MAW Heavyweight Champion, SAW Heavyweight Champion, and IWI US Champion. Lexx Vegas is also known as the Black Superman, Mr. Amazing, and Your Girlfriend’s Favorite Wrestler. He has a hip-hop album due for release in the Spring of 2017. As of January 2017, Lexx is the #1 ranked hip-hop artist in Ohio.

In July, ViRTUE’s RAGE selected M-Dogg Matt Cross, more popularly known as Son of Havoc in Lucha Underground. He is a resident of Cleveland, Ohio and is one of the best high-flying wrestlers in the World today. Before starting his wrestling career, Cross had participated in competitive gymnastics for ten years and won gold medals in both the Rings and the Vault at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in 1999. His career started in backyard wrestling before enrolling at the Cleveland Pro Wrestling training school under the tutelage of JT Lightning. Interestingly, Cross was on the cover of the first Backyard Wrestling video game dubbed “Don’t Try This at Home”. After completing his training, Cross began competing on the Independent circuit under the ring name M-Dogg 20. On October 11, 2003, he defeated Jerry Lynn to win the vacant Union of Independent Professional Wrestlers (UIPW) Championship. Cross formed a very popular tag team with Josh Prohibition (Piscura), known as Youthanazia. They have won the Cleveland All-Pro Wrestling’s (CAPW) North American Tag Team Championship twice; Xtreme Pro Wrestling’s World Tag Team Championship twice; and International Wrestling Cartel’s Tag Team Championship twice. In 2006, Cross made his debut for a Hawaii-based promotion known as Action Zone Wrestling. In November of 2009, he participated in the Hulkamania Tour of Australia under the ring name Spartan 3000. Cross has also wrestled for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Ring of Honor (ROH), and MTV’s Wrestling Society X. He even appeared on WWE’s Tough Enough in 2011. In September of 2014, Cross signed with Lucha Underground. On October 29th, he wrestled during the first episode of LU as the masked wrestler known as Son of Havoc. Some of Cross’ signature moves include; Death From Above (Shooting Star Press) and the Flagpole Press. He has wrestled in countries all over the World such as Japan, Mexico, Australia, Egypt, Russia, Singapore, Colombia, Canada, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Island of Majorca (Mediterranean Sea), the Canary Islands (just off the Northwest Coast of mainland Africa), and the Island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Cross has also been on the PWI 500 list on numerous occasions.

In August, ViRTUE’s RAGE selected Rickey Shane Page. RSP has also wrestled under the ring name Christian Faith in various promotions. He is a resident of Sandusky, Ohio and is one of the most insanely crazy professional wrestlers on the Independent scene, often bleeding during matches. RSP made his wrestling debut in 2001. He was trained by Killa Chris Cole. He has won the A1 Zero Gravity title; AAW Heritage title; AIW Tag Team titles (3 times); AIW Absolute title; MCW United States Tag Team titles; and OHW Tag Team titles. This is directly from Combat Zone Wrestling’s (CZW) website: “Rickey Shane Page capped off a dream realizing year (2016) when he defeated Danny Havoc. Following RSP’s match, he proclaimed his new goal is to capture the top prize in CZW by the end of 2017. Officials liked that idea and scheduled the championship match for Awakening!” Some of RSP’s signature moves include the Top Rope Power Bomb, Roaring (Rolling) Elbow, and the Back Body Dropkick. Rickey was also a part of this year’s PWI 500, ranking at #435.

In September, ViRTUE’s RAGE selected Dylan Bostic. He is a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has one of the trendiness gimmicks on the Independent scene, as he has over 200,000 followers on Twitter and is even followed by Justin Bieber. Bostic made his wrestling debut in June of 2007 at the age of fifteen. He trained at Ohio Valley Wrestling and is often referred to as the “Justin Bieber of Professional Wrestling”, primarily being a heel in the process. Bostic’s main catch phrase is “Who sucks now?” His signature move is the Double Springboard Moonsault. Some of the Championships he has won are the Federation of Elite Wrestlers Heavyweight Championship, Frontier Elite Wrestling Midwestern Championship, HPW Light Heavyweight Championship, IPWA Ohio State Championship, NEW Heavyweight Championship, NEW United States Championship, OVW Television Championship, and OVW Tag Team Championship with the Mexicutioner. Bostic is married to fellow professional wrestler Ray Lyn (see November below).

In October, ViRTUE’s RAGE selected Jason Gory, aka just “Gory”. It is very fitting that October is the month of Halloween because Gory’s gimmick is primarily that of a dark, heel character. He has even worn Freddy Krueger themed ring gear. Gory is a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is definitely one of the best “characters” on the Independent scene, often using tag lines such as New Age Plague and Infect the World. He made his debut on August 21, 2004. He was trained by Glenn Spectre, Shirley Doe, and Super Hentai. Gory has been a part of multiple tag teams including Flippin’ Ain’t Easy with Façade. He is most known for being part of the Dead Wrestling Society with Krimson and Kirst, aka the Anti-Heroes and Generation Dead. Gory has worked for EVOLVE Wrestling, International Wrestling Cartel, Extreme Rising, Combat Zone Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Ohio (Prime), Juggalo Championship Wrestling, Absolute Intense Wrestling, Hybrid Pro, and Firestorm Pro Wrestling. Some of Gory’s signature moves include Pestilence, Trepidation, and Bloodlust. Some of the titles he has won include the IWC Super Indy title, IWC Tag Team titles twice (with Shimma Xion, and with Façade), ICW/ICWA Tex-Arkana Television title (5 times); PWO Television title; CWF Heavyweight title; BDW Heavyweight title; BDW Diamond Division title; FNW Tag Team titles with Jason Cage, and RWA Tag Team titles with CJ Sensation. Gory has also been part of the PWI 500 list; #261 in 2013, #266 in 2014, and #271 in 2015.

In November/December, ViRTUE’s RAGE selected the group “No Strings Attached”, excluding Marti Belle because she was a regular in TNA which is the second largest mainstream wrestling promotion in the US. The rest of the team consists of Gregory Iron, Alex Daniels, Ray Lyn and Veda Scott. They are considered one of the best current heel stables on the Independent scene.

Let’s start with the most recognizable member of “No Strings Attached”, Gregory Iron. Greg was born with cerebral palsy, leaving his right arm withered with extremely limited range of motion. Because of this disability, he was subjected to bullying as a child. Greg made his wrestling debut on July 9, 2006. He was trained by Josh Prohibition, Johnny Gargano, and JT Lightning. In early training with JT Lightning, Greg took a great deal of punishment, but wanted no pity because of his disabilty. He appeared on the very first episode of Pro Wrestling Ohio (PWO), which was televised on Sports Time Ohio on November 20, 2007, where he defeated Johnny Gargano. At another TV taping during a pre-show battle royal, Greg was inadvertently suplexed on his head, giving him a severe concussion and causing bleeding on his brain. This injury put him in intensive care unit for three days. Coming back from such an injury with his cerebral palsy caught the attention of several wrestling promotions and fans. People were starting to really appreciate his passion and wrestling ability, despite his recent injury and disability. Greg is known for teaming up with Hobo Joe and calling themselves the “Homeless Handicapped Connection”. They feuded with Sex Appeal (Bobby Beverly, Bobby Shields, Nickie Valentino) and enlisted the help of another handicapped wrestler, Zack Gowen who only has one leg. The Homeless Handicapped Connection ended up winning the PWO Tag Team Championship from Sex Appeal. Later on, Iron and Gowen then teamed up in 2012, calling themselves “The Handicapped Handguns”. In January 2013, they defeated the Dead Wrestling Society to become Prime Tag Team Champions. In March, Iron and Gowen changed their name to “Handicapped Heroes” due to the amount of school shootings that occurred earlier in the year. Going back a little bit, on July 23, 2011, after teaming up with Colt Cabana, Greg remained in the ring for a few moments and was surprised by Cabana’s return to the ring with then WWE Champion, CM Punk. Punk endorsed Greg by saying this, “You’re awesome! You overcame more than I ever have just by waking up every morning. The fact that you became a pro wrestler, I’m only assuming it’s because it was something you wanted to do. You didn’t let anybody tell you that you couldn’t do it. I saw something special watching you in this ring.” On December 21, 2015, Greg and Gowen created Warriors for Wrestling, a non-profit promotion to help kids with medical issues. Some of Greg’s signature moves include Handicapped Parking, Crippled Crossface, and the Gimp Slap. Greg has been part of the PWI 500 list, ranked #386 in 2013.

The next member of “No Strings Attached” is Alex Daniels. He currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio and was trained by Johnny Gargano. Daniels is currently the Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW) Intense Champion. He wrestles for Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), Mega Championship Wrestling, and Alpha-1 Wrestling. He is also currently Mega Championship Wrestling’s Mega Champion. He is known as “The Realist” and “The Real Life Ben Affleck”. The next member is Ray Lyn. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is married to Dylan Bostic. She debuted on September 4, 2013 and was trained by Al Snow and Nick Dinsmore (Eugene). She wrestles for Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). In 2014, Ray Lyn wrestled for Pro Wrestling Xtreme, Ultimate Combat Wrestling, White River Wrestling, Renegade Wrestling Alliance, Vicious Outcast Wrestling, and Resistance Pro. Her signature moves include Ray Cray O and the Wrecking Ball. She is also known as “The Miley Cyrus of Professional Wrestling”, which coincidently complements Bostic’s gimmick. The final member of “No Strings Attached” is Veda Scott. She currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island. Veda made her debut on May 15, 2011. On November 23, 2012, she and Greg Iron became AIW Tag Team Champions (Hope and Change) by defeating Obariyon and Kodama. On March 11, 2015, Veda won the FEW Women’s title in a mixed tag team match. She won the AIW Women’s title in a 4-way match on April 24, 2015. She defeated Athena and Jessica James in a 3-way match on May 31, 2015 to win the Inspire Pro XX Division title. She also recently worked for Ring of Honor (ROH). Veda’s signature moves include the Crucifix DDT, Jumping Clothesline, and Snapemare Driver. She was trained by Daizee Haze and Delirious. Veda made PWI Top 50 Females: #50 in 2012, #43 in 2013, # 42 in 2014 and #33 in 2015.

This concludes the 2016 year in review for ViRTUE’s RAGE Indy Wrestlers of the Month. Please be sure to like/follow these wrestlers on Facebook and/or Twitter to keep up to date on where they will be making appearances. The ViRTUE’s RAGE Indy Wrestler of the Year for 2016 is none other than M-Dogg Matt Cross, aka Son of Havoc. Please stay tuned for more ViRTUE’s RAGE Indy Wrestlers of Month in 2017!

Amazing N8 Matson: Twitter @AmazingN8
& Facebook facebook.com/AMAZINGN8

Lexx Vegas: Facebook- facebook.com/LexxVegas

M-Dogg: Twitter- @MDoggMattCross
& Facebook- faceboo.com/mdoggmattcross

Rickey Shane Page: Twitter- @RickeyShanePage
& Facebook- facebook.com/RickeyShanePage

Dylan Bostic: Twitter- @Dylan_Bostic
& Facebook- facebook.com/DylanBosticofficial

Jason Gory: Twitter- @JasonFnGory
& Facebook- facebook.com/jasongory

No Strings Attached
Gregory Iron: Twitter- @gregoryiron
Ray Lyn: Twitter- @Ray_lyn
Alex Daniels: Twitter- @AlexDanielsAGD
Veda Scott: Twitter- @itsVedaTime


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