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  1. #1
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    Maz Debating in Self Isolation: Week 1

    Maz Debating in Self Isolation
    Week 1 Day 1


    ‘Sup, Lords of Pain? Look who’s back!! It’s certainly been a while. Aside from my cameos with Prime and Skul I don’t think I have written a column since gloriously defeating Plan in CSI two years ago. Those of you who follow me will know that I am not particularly enamoured with the product right now. In fact I am not watching any wrestling at all, and aside from the Royal Rumble, I haven’t in the last six months or so. So why come back now? Well it is simple. The world is in a seriously unprecedented situation right now. People are staying home with a lot more free time on their hands. I can’t give much to the world with my limited talent but I can give columns. And by columns, I mean me getting more talented people to do the work under my brand while I reap the rewards. The old Renegade tactic. Jigga was a genius. I am considering changing my handle to T.O. in the next reset in honour.

    So what is the idea here, I hear you ask? Well the title is purely to get an eye-roll from Plan. If that is all I achieve from this project then great. But realistically what I have always loved the most about the CF is the sense of belonging. For most of you reading this you will know exactly what I mean. This place is home and the people are family. Some you like, some wind you up a little. You can come and go. Sometimes you can be gone for a long time but it is still home when you return. And in a time of worldwide insecurity, there is no place like home.

    I think I’ve visited Lords of Pain, on and off, for most of its existence. In the early days of the internet being a thing for everyone, I remember checking out the inside scoop. It was always a badge of honour to be able to give out real names of wrestlers or knowing who they used to be in another company. We are talking about the height of the Attitude Era here. I had no need for the forums at that point. My wrestling watching habits for that period of time involved me watching Raw whilst getting ready to go out on a Friday night. PPVs would be all my mates around someone’s house trying to stay awake. There were a lot of runs to the 24 hour Maccie Ds involved, and believe me, those were few and far between back then. By 2003/04 we were still watching but the meet ups were definitely less frequent. I moved from London to Mauritius in ‘04, spent a while without wrestling until I found a shop that sold WWE PPVs on VCDs (remember those anyone?). Wrestling really started to become my big escape at that point. I started to read LOP a lot more. Lurked the forums and eventually jumped in with both feet in 2008.

    It was a tough transition for me going from essentially living in the pockets of childhood friends to being in an entirely different country. I had a wife and kid who were (are) everything to me but you still need that male camaraderie. LoP really filled that hole (not THAT hole you dirty fuckers). I’ve made friends who I have been talking to regularly for over a decade. More importantly I’ve done it without leaving my house. So when the world is locking down and people are staying home, it seems only right that I head back here. During my initial run, I remember absolutely loving a UK show called Skins (I think there was an American version but it really didn’t work). The show basically has an ensemble cast and each episode revolved around one of the characters. Definitely recommended for anyone getting bored in self-isolation.

    Anyway, I have recently been rewatching Skins and it helped spark the idea. I have a Facebook friends list and Twitter followers list chock full of current and former LOPers. Some I know pretty well at this point. Some not so much. But we all have a story. We all have a story of how wrestling has impacted our lives. How we became fans. How we arrived in the forums. What the forums means to us. Some have told their stories multiple times over the years. Some maybe not at all. Some of you will know their stories. Some you may never even have heard of, or maybe just seen their names as COTM or tournament winners. My plan for this series is to talk to these people. I get to play chat show host again under the ridiculous Maz Debating banner. But this time it would be fake dialogue with wrestlers. It will be real talk about wrestling and Lords of Pain with forum family members.

    I have a week planned out but if things go well then maybe I can carry on. As always, you are the consumer so send me that feedback. Is this the content you want? What questions do you want? Who would you like to see featured? I’d love to get absolutely everyone I know from this great place featured if I can and who knows, maybe we can bring a few old faces back to the forums at a time where old habits could sneak back in. That is all for today however. My story with LOP and wrestling is a long one and bits are sure to come out as I talk to people along the way. I was originally going to start this yesterday so maybe, just maybe I will have my first guest entry before bed. Only if you are good though. Until then, peace!
    Last edited by Mazza; 5 Days Ago at 06:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    I wasn’t invited to the maz debating party. Ouch. Fuck you.

    Really happy to see you posting. Love the concept and the idea and look forward to reading what comes next.

  3. #3
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    This could be fun. Probably won't remember half the people because I'm a noob who only found LOP in about 2011ish, but hopefully most should be at least vaguely familiar.

  4. #4
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    Oh Nony, you know I am always up for a spot of Maz Debating with you. If this first goes well and I can keep up the motivation I would love to keep at this. The conversations in themselves are really fun and one with you would certainly be a ride. You probably have crazier stories than most about this place.

    DB, probably know more than you think. I haven't gone overly old school this week and really I only have 2-3 years on you myself.


    Maz Debating in Self Isolation
    Week 1 Day 2
    PRIME TIME



    'Sup, Lords of Pain? If you are reading this it means I've actually decided to go ahead with day 2. To be honest I am still not 100% sure what this will be but I have a week's worth of guests lined up so I will get through 7 days at the very least, just like Craig David. I am sure it is the same for a lot of you long time columnists. You get an idea. You go back and forth on how good that idea is. For every good idea that you eventually put out, there are probably 10 bad ones. To be honest for every bad one you put out there are probably 10 good ones too. I am babbling already, there's a surprise. It's almost like I need someone to keep me in check and focus here. A Monsoon to my Heenan if you like. And if there is one person who fits that bill, it is a guy who was a LoP legend before I even started this column writing stuff over a decade ago. Pee Tee Squared, welcome to Maz Debating. How are you doing during these crazy times?


    Prime: It's only when you spend this long at home and you've quit watching wrestling that you realise that there isn't enough porn on the internet. That's how I'm doing. I think I finally get how Uncle Joe feels. Anyway, how are you doing?


    Maz: A touch more paranoid than normal but you know, getting there. It seems like this could become the new norm for a while so we better get used to it. And while we are it will be great for us all to get to know each other a little better. Or get to know each other again. You must have seen a lot over the years on these here forums. When did you first show up and what brought you here?


    Prime: The same reason everyone was around back then. To help us forget about the blitz, and to take the edge off rationing. Plus it was so long ago that even real life was in black and white.

    OK, so it wasn't that long ago. But it was 2002, so the internet was undergoing a mass expansion here in the UK. A couple of years earlier it was pretty rare to have it in your home, but now those of us in the working classes were getting with the programme more and more. And wrestling had been the biggest part of my life in many ways for years, so it made sense that it would be one of the first things I'd check out.

    I kinda graduated from just reading the news and other people's columns to writing my own between 2002-03. In hindsight I guess that was because of my dissatisfaction with what I was seeing, that I had a lot to say. But back then the way it manifested was in a naive, let's look for the positives approach. With fifteen years + of distance the idea that we could somehow fix wrestling by getting behind the things that were working seems laughable, but that seemed to be the gist of what I was writing from 2003-2005.


    Maz: I wouldn't say the idea of that in itself is laughable, but seeing the path Vince McMahon has taken over the last decade or so certainly brings us there. That said I think we all look at our early attempts into column writing and cringe a little. Hell I've just brought back the Maz Debating title in 2020. Still I know back in the day the CF wasn't a place you could rest on your laurels for long. People weren't afraid to throw up plenty of constructive criticism. Who were the big names when you first showed up?


    Prime: We were in a bit of a transition when I first started writing because some of the big hitters had recently been promoted. Davey Boy and Snapple are a couple of names that people might still be familiar with, and they were both new to the main page at that point. In fact, it was Davey Boy that told me to give column writing a try in the first place. I suspect he just didn't want to read through long e-mails anymore! Still, he was very supportive and obviously I kinda parlayed that into a whole thing.

    So, given the recent promotions I'd say that the big names were Wevv Mang and Double Helix, and then everyone else was maybe a couple of columns further down the line than I was. A guy like Dubzilla, for example, went on to be a main pager and win COTM and do all the things that writers aspired to do, and we started at pretty much exactly the same time. Over the next few months, some familiar names started to drop by - Winter, Xanman, Random Guy and Sheepster all started up by the end of 2003, and YourAyatollah - Steve, to many - was back for his second stint not long after that.


    Maz: A veritable feast of absolute legends there. We are talking about 5-6 years before I showed up (as a writer anyway, I lurked the Main Page for a good long time before that). Do you have any fun stories from that time? Good friends or enemies made? And how long did it take you to get to that Holy Grail that is a MP spot?


    Prime: I don't think I've made a genuine enemy in all of my time at LoP. I simply ignore people if they bother me. Life's too short for that nonsense. But I made some good friends. I used to talk to Tinaali a lot, who was a COTM winner and would have gone on to make the main page. Instead, she ended up moving over to TNA's board - she was one of the first big backers of their product when it was a weekly PPV affair and she ended up essentially running their online presence I think.

    I could list half a dozen others from that period that I would speak to a lot over the next five years or so, though sadly I've lost touch with most. As for stories, one that comes to mind was the first King of the Columnists tournament being hit by plagiarism. There was another columnist at the time, an older woman whose 'gimmick' was that she was obsessed with Brian Kendrick. She went by the name Spankadette. Anyway, she reached the quarter finals before it became clear that quite a lot of her output was lifted wholesale from another writer. I guess that means that there must have been another Spanky-megafan out there? Anyway, that stands out. Plagiarists come and go of course, but it's rare you find someone who has stuck around and made a bit of a presence for themselves who gets busted.

    As for the main page, it took me 11 months to get there in the first run. I think it was more to do with consistency than that what I was writing was particularly brilliant. I think I averaged a column about once every three days at the time. So yeah, I started 'up top' in April of 2004, and stayed there for the next four years.


    Maz: Spankadette you say? Wow I had never heard that story. Although, it makes you wonder. What if they came back a couple of years later using Kendrick's theme tune as a handle? There are a lot of tin foil hat stories doing the rounds during this coronavirus debacle but this one may have legs. Just remember you started it.

    It must have been a very different vibe writing on the main page during that time. You would have had lots of eyes on you but without the insta-reactionary feedback that a comments section brings. And this was all before social media was so big too. Did you find it a big difference back then as a lot of people often do, and struggle with? What were some of the strange email replies you had?


    Prime: The best email I ever got was hate mail for another columnist! Winter, who I mentioned above, had a knack for putting people's noses out of joint and he wrote a column in the midst of the Un-American gimmick called 'America Sucks'. You can imagine how that went over on the main page. Anyway, long story short I got an e-mail saying they couldn't reach him, asking me to pass on their feedback - the whole thing was aimed at him apart from two words near the end that just said 'Pt2 rox'. I'm not sure I ever did pass the e-mail on to Winter, now I think about it. But yeah, it was a world of difference dealing with people who had to e-mail you. I made a point of replying to everyone who sent me a message but I don't think I'd even read the comments if I was on the MP today.


    Maz: It would be hard to bite your tongue if you did and you really don't need to be getting into it with the trolls. My favourite email is from when Uncle Joe and I did the very first Smarks Court. We went the route of going deep in on the Shawn Michaels criticism which was a real no-no back in the day with your average dirt sheet reading fan. A guy emailed calling Unc all the names under the sun. He calmly replied saying that doing that using his work email probably wasn't the best idea. They soon became best friends. I wouldn't be surprised if he was still locked up in Joe's basement.


    Prime: I hear Joe's basement is quite the experience.


    Maz: So what was it that caused you to step back. 4 years is a long time. Writing burnout? Shit product? Just life?


    Prime: Y'know, you've asked a good question there. The truth is it's a combination of all three. I was a lot busier from the end of 2007 through 2008, and my output dwindled as a result. Though I finally hung up the keyboard with a farewell in May, I don't think I'd written since February 2008 before that.


    Maz: That is definitely understandable. We are talking about a big difference in the product quality between you picking it up and putting it down. But as is tradition with LOP, a whole new bunch of writers were coming through. By the end of '08 a cocky little fucker was starting to flex his muscles. There has always been a strong feeling of "respect and learn from your elders" in the CF. By my generation it was usually a case of finding your way to the CF because someone had led you here. I am pretty sure there would be a clear Mount Rushmore of Tito, Davey Boy, Hustle and Doc by this point. Like you I was definitely a Davey guy. But once you have dipped your toe in, you start to learn from a lot of people out there. Even if you don't know it, you are learning from people who learnt from them. By the time I was fully initiated I wanted more of those legends about. I also wanted to use them to make my columns better (some things never change). I had dreams of doing a legends version of Smarks Court and amazingly, despite a lot of them not currently writing, I managed to convince all my first choices. I believe it was yourself, Tollah, Wevv, Teets and Davey. Not sure how I managed to pull that off to be honest.


    Prime: Did I do Smarks' Court? Forgive me, I'm not sure I remember that - though I suppose it would have been a long, long time ago. I remember being a judge when you were participating in the first US vs UK. And I do know that once I'd dipped my toe back into the water of wrestling in 2010, you made me write a collab with you where I basically complained for about 3000 words. No change there, I guess.


    Maz: You did, but I think you may have started your comeback by that point. That UK vs US tourney was something though wasn't it. It was a mega-competitive CF at the time and it was a really nice split. I remember talking a lot of trash. Probably out-trash talking the Yanks too which is rather ironic. Think I caught the spirit of Roger Black and Kriss Akabusi. You are going to have to jog my memory on that collab. As I said, I do like someone writing a column for me!


    Prime: We were mainly active in the sport forum at the time, talking about football. It would have been around the same time that we did our blog for the 2010 World Cup. The gist was basically you asking why I didn't like what wrestling had become and whenever I answered you'd make fun of me for liking the New Gen. I guess it was basically early preparation for your years as a Ponder.


    Maz: Haha, I was going to say, that does sound like me. The thing with this column writing gig is though, you always catch the bug again at some point. Always great to have those legends back around and creating more things for the legacy. You would soon be embroiled in LOP's answer to peak WCW vs WWF as your History of the Monday Night Wars series would be turning heads at the same time as Plan's 101 Matches to See Before You Die
    Definitely a great time for the column readers. Where would you put that up against your other projects and series over the years?


    Prime: It's a weird one to think about because in the end I didn't even come close to finishing it. But between one thing and another it took too long, and once the Network was launched the whole reason for it existing was gone. The point was that WWE were essentially rewriting history in their releases, but once the Network had every episode of RAW and Nitro on it you could always go back and watch it for yourself. You didn't need me to describe what had happened in intimate detail any more. So it was a series for a very specific time and place and I'm not sure how wide the appeal goes for the average column in that series, especially compared with some of the stuff I did afterwards. Though having said that, there were a few columns - the intro, and the one wrapping up the end of each year - that I think would stand up at any time. So I've got pretty mixed feelings about the series on the whole. I had some good columns but it's mixed up with a sense that a lot of it became redundant, and another sense of.... unfinished business. I don't like leaving things incomplete, but it would have been worse to plough on for another decade with something that had become pointless.


    Maz: I think you have probably forgotten just how much it was loved at the time. But we move on. You have hosted a couple of very fun clusterfuck collab series over the last couple of years while doing your solo stuff and being Mum of the forums. How have you kept up the motivation at a time where the WWE product has been pretty shambolic?


    Prime: To cycle back quickly, I don't want to seem like I'm playing down the popularity of the series. At the time it had a very dedicated group of readers and that was great. But at the same time, I guess I feel like it was 'of it's time', rather than 'timeless'. I'm not sure I'd hold up much of it as something to go back to now, other than the ones I mentioned above.

    Now, to answer the other question I think the main thing has been that writing itself has been a motivation. I enjoy writing for its own sake, truth be told. The other thing has been that over the past decade I've had plenty of other inspirations than the WWE. There was a spell early in the decade where TNA was a much more consistent product than WWE and deserved to break out and do better than they did. That all went to shit eventually but it was a lot of fun while it was going on. I've had a bit of a flirt with NJPW in recent years and while that couldn't hold me long term, it's a lot more inspiring than what WWE have done. So between the desire to write just to be writing, and some brief forays into other products, there's been a few things to keep it going. In the end, I still feel like writing; it's just reached a point where I don't want to think about wrestling, let alone watch it.


    Maz: I can totally understand that. I often get that urge too but it becomes hard to go with a different subject matter when you have a built in base and rep with the wrestling. I know we have flirted with the footy side over the years and sometimes posts in other parts of the non-wrestling forums can turn into mini-columns.


    Prime: Yeah, I know what you mean. I can talk at length on any number of subjects. I'm connected to this place and love it, but I suppose there's no guarantee of any great connection or interest out there other than in what brought us all here in the first place. That's a shame, but it's hardly surprising.


    Maz: I will always try and get back in some capacity as long as I can. There have probably been times where I have been holding on primarily thanks to your footy prediction contest.

    Anyway it has been a fun little catch up. I think we can finish up with a few quick fire questions.

    Favourite wrestler of all time?


    Prime: Bret Hart. Sorry Maz, I know you just fell asleep, but old habits die hard.


    Maz: Best columnist you've seen on LOP?


    Prime: That depends on what you're looking for, I suppose. Often the best technical writers aren't the best judges of wrestling, or the funniest people, or the best at coming up with interesting concepts and very few are tens in every area. I know I'm sure as hell not. I hate to look like I'm sitting on the fence but that's the honest answer to that one.


    Maz: Fuck me. So much for quick fire. Ok then. Favourite columnist?


    Prime: Probably Davey Boy. I can remember looking forward to seeing his reports on PPVs and was always curious to see how he'd grade it, back when wrestling was still really central to me. Hard to get past that, though if you ask me on another day you might get a different answer.


    Maz: Would UK beat US today in the CF?


    Prime: UK struggled to raise a team last time we tried to run it, so the smart money would have to be on 'no'.


    Maz: Favourite column you've written?


    Prime: Probably the last one. It's a bit of a mess but there's a lot of things I'd wanted to say that came out in the process.


    Maz: Last one. Is there one world title Mania match that could make you care?


    Prime: No. To use a house as a simile, that's like having a problem with the foundations and worrying about your curtains or wallpaper.


    Maz: Like do the curtains match the drapes?


    Prime: Wrestling certainly feels very pubic nowadays.

    And wait, aren't curtains and drapes the same thing?


    Maz: You make a good point. And I think that makes a good time to bring this to an end. Thanks for bringing us your story Prime. No columns these days I guess but anything to plug before we go?


    Prime: I wrote something about the history of Britain in our non-wrestling writing forum, and I guess if that's the kind of thing that interests people it'd be cool if they checked it out


    Maz: Go people. Our leader has spoken. I shall be back tomorrow with another ham and egger to talk about their LOP and wrestling journey.
    Last edited by Mazza; 5 Days Ago at 06:10 PM. Reason: Formatting like a bloody noob

  5. #5
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    This is a really great idea. It's fantastic hearing stories about years gone by in the CF and it was interesting to see things from Primes perspective and hearing about his come-up. Looking forward to the next one.

  6. #6
    Good to see you back, Mazza. I really enjoyed your chat with Prime. Two CF legends just sitting down and having coffee. Thanks for stopping by in these strange times.
    See the latest of my Ric Flair saga click here. http://lordsofpain.tv/showthread.php...acock-(Part-2) View my story inspired by colorful wrestlers I've come across in my fandom. http://lordsofpain.tv/showthread.php...-the-Challenge

  7. #7
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    OK, so I remembered about 3/4s of those names - wouldn't necessarily remember specifics about what they did though. This is a good thing though, I hope you manage to find the inspiration to keep it up at least as long as lockdown goes on for.

  8. #8
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Loved this. Excellent work from both of you. That idea of a Mount Rushmore of LOP and your choices were so, so wrong. I couldn't disagree with 2/4 of them more. Ugh. Feel mildly sick.

    I loved Pete dodging his "favourite columnist" question- ever the politician.

    Really looking forward to the rest of these.

  9. #9
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Hey, I didn't dodge the favourite question - I dodged the 'best' question! And I stand by my answer!

    On the Mt Rushmore thing obviously personal taste might throw up all kinds of answers but if you're going with the 'biggest' four then it's those guys, and pretty comfortably too. And that's usually a criterion for this sort of thing.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  10. #10
    Hahah nice read! prime is too nice. Find someone more inflammatory. I bet Tito packs a whole lot of stories!

    And yes, History of MNW was really awesome.

  11. #11
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    Donny - Thanks for dropping by Sir. Yeah these are proving to be really fun to write. Hopefully the week goes well.

    Benji - Great to see you about these days! Always good to be home for sure.

    Dyno - Yeah Prime goes way back so if you are getting most of the names from there then you are good. Spankadette was a new one for me!

    Nonymod - I think if you look at it as posterboys/successful MP writers then it is those 4 by a mile. You take to the CF or base it on the best then you have a very different look with a lot of room for debate and opinion. Hold that thought though, could be a fun convo for down the line.

    Prime - thanks for taking the big first guest spot and dodging the question

    Jay Dub - Oh trust me, I've got some absolute knobs lined up too. In fact....




    Maz Debating in Self Isolation
    Week 1 Day 3
    BEAR


    'Sup, Lords of Pain. Welcome to another day of Maz Debating in Self Isolation. Today's guest is definitely special. A dirty filthy Manc who stumbled into the forums, really came into his own during the NXT 2010 tournament and has been a part of the furniture ever since. He's also a bit of a cunt, but I guess he is our cunt. Ladies and gents, I give you BEAR!


    Bear: ĎSup ladies and gents, and Mizfan

    Thatís three insults in one opening? All fair. Howís isolation treating you? Is it worse than your aids?


    Maz: Hardly seeing a difference to be honest. Got a teenager who never leaves his room anyway. I work from home most of the time. Just me trying to avoid the missus who spends all day in the supermarket rather than the other way round.

    Now you are someone that has discussed your journey as a fan over the years quite a bit but how about a quick recap. When and how did you become a wrestling fan?


    Bear: Probably mid 80ís I got the bug. My Granddad, pretty famous in these parts, introduced me to World of Sport. I was a Johnny Saint fan before I supported any football teams.

    I probably missed the Big Bang of WoS though, when Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks had half the country watching. Everything I consumed was because Granddad Tommy recorded EVERYTHING, and if he caught replays of stuff he liked before VHS was even invented, he recorded that too!


    Maz: Granddad Tommy. A proper LOP legend. So you were literally grandfathered into being a fan. That's not actually something you see much of in wrestling. Most people stumble across it or get into it because of mates. What were some of your early memories of the British scene and can you remember your first experience of the WWF and what you thought? As someone that grew up with WoS on TV a lot, I didn't pay a great deal of attention until I saw the razzmatazz of the Yankee take on it


    Bear: I was extremely loyal to the British scene for a long time, WOS was always my base but I often ventured out to local venues further down the line.

    WWF wise, it was Hogan that got me interested, but Davey Boy that really got me invested, having seen him in WoS he was very much my boy (until Regal came!). I didnít have Sky growing up so my cousin sent me random shows every now and then. I watched Mania 7 and a random Hogan VHS almost daily. Then once everyone in school got involved I got way more serious about it for a number of years, and weirdly, Iím probably the only person who didnít stick around for a lot of the attitude era.


    Maz: What made you drift away? Girls and Fergies boys would be my best prediction there?


    Bear: Absolutely. I smelt poontang for the first time, tasted alcohol and was heavily invested into football. Mostly the poontang though. I watched from afar and kept up to date but chicks donít suck guys off who watch wrestling.


    Maz: Don't I know it! It was mid New Gen for me where I couldn't be arsed with it all but got dragged back in more and more as the Attitude Era progressed. What was it that eventually got you back to paying attention? Did your lady charming skills get so OP that you didn't need to hide it anymore?


    Bear: I canít really pinpoint a specific moment. I know William Regal was absolutely a part of it.

    I was lurking at LOP for a long time, but really believe it was this place that reignited my love for it again. Having people to discuss it with really helped because nobody I know still watches. Learning about the inside information, the backstage booking and such really interested me. So yeah, I guess this place did it.


    Maz: Very similar to my story and probably many others. How long were you lurking and when did you finally take the big jump and really get involved? It seemed like one day you were suddenly there and involved in pretty much everything.


    Bear: I was probably lurking for a couple of years. Now I hate to say this, but it was you that got me posting, not to call you out for your nonsense, but I replied to a Smarks Court one day, and you suggested I go to the CF. So I did, and it was a disaster.


    Maz: Fuck me, I'm responsible? Tomorrow's column will be a full length apology. And as we know first columns usually are a disaster. My first review ranked matches on 5 different things out of 20. What was I thinking?!?! So we are talking like late Ď09, early 2010 here? A decade of destruction under your belt. Boy those early days were fun though. What were some of your best stories as a LOP noob? I am sure NXT will come up here!


    Bear: Yeah around then. I signed up in Ď07. Honestly. Those first few years were at entirely different place to what we see now. We had everything, we had the most creative minds Iíve seen anywhere in any walk of life.

    This place has been part of my life for so long, I have friends for life Iíll likely never meet... thatís actually insane. My first few columns were about Regal and Finlay (shock) and I was roasted. That stuff doesnít happen here anymore, I had 7-10 quality writers pulling everything apart. A lot of us from then had very thick skin, and made the most of it. Prime was the first person to ever feedback and Missou (who I had struck a great friendship with in the general forums) gave me a few pointers on etiquette, but I was like a sponge.

    So many stories, most of which youíve been in on and thereís no way we could repeat some of the tournament shit weíve pulled offÖ Getting drunk with Shane and writing live reviews was fun. PPVís were on at like midnight in the UK, so I would be watching Sunday football in the afternoon, then carry on and watch the PPV and write a column.

    LOPNXT was one of the best tournaments ever I believe. It was a stacked tourney, and by then Iíd developed a style of writing that was ďuniqueĒ. I had been writing with Uncle Joe a lot, as well as yourself so when the talking vagina column came out, I kinda knew it would divide the place. Steve really helped me through that. Having PnK absolutely stitch me up and then leave was a poor start, but under Steve I ranked top twice. He really made me look at writing differently and added a few strings to my bow. I never really had a style I was known for here, kind of a jack of a trades, master of none, so I could keep myself fresh.


    Maz: That tournament really was something. A little insight to people who were not around at the time, it was based on the original NXT format of a rookie and a pro with a Main Page slot going to the winner. The forums were absolutely heaving with talent, fresh and old at that point. I am not sure why it was quite so busy but that NXT/Nexus angle really was something special before SummerSlam and probably had a lot of people involved. The rookies consisted of relative newcomers like Chris and some insanely talented vets who had never written on the Main Page for whatever reason. The competition was fierce, not just amongst the competitors but also with the pros. We all wanted our rookies to win. As we all know, the more eyes and opinions on your column, the better it is likely to be. So having a former main pager hold your hand through the whole process, even if you were already a great column writer led to some extraordinary work. Then you would get absolutely brutal feedback from the other pros who were looking out for their investment at the time. There has never been a more intensive time to be a columnist than during that tournament. You take a guy like Doc, who I mentioned yesterday would be on the Mount Rushmore of LOP Main Pagers, and my feedback to him on a particular column in that tourney still bugs him to this day. I say it spurred him on to make him what he became. Yeah, I'm gonna take credit for that! You essentially came out of that tournament a made man but also with a bit of a reputation. A long running hilarious feud with Tito started out there. But you became one of the go to guys in the CF. One of the anchors of the place. You wrote a lot of columns, a lot of series. What were some of your favourites?


    Bear: Yeah the reputation thing. See, most see me as this confrontational guy, a bit grumpy etc. although kinda true, thereís enough people here that know me personally to say that I just say things as it is, but when it comes down to it, Iíd do almost anything for a lot of people here. It may be because I could take it, I had enough when I started, or because I know it works. Look at someone like Mizfan, I gave that guy so much shit, so much feedback that Iím sure he hated me at most points, but I know for a fact it pushed him.

    The Tito thing. Always just tongue in cheek for me, I say a lot that other people think or say privately. He still thinks thereís this hatred or that he ďlit a fire under meĒ, neither is true of course but every now and then it pops up for banter. The real feud is with Mizfan, who has never beaten me in a tourney. Or with Team USA who have never beaten us.

    Column wise. Greetings Grapple Fans was an absolute labor of love. The amount of watching I did for that was insane, I learned so much and got to meet Johnny Saint again, and we still contact each other! I think that won me a CoTM too, I beat Morph, Oni and a few others that month. It was huge. I enjoy the song parodies I did the most, the one we did was awesome, and the SummerSlam loviní got a lot of love

    Weirdly it was Bearly Reviewing that actually got me to the main page. I have two thoughts on it because it was probably my worst work, was very niche and I enjoyed working with Oli so much. Weíd had very little interaction before that really, now we speak all the time. Thatís better than any MP stint. It was good to get that mantle off my back though. At that point in time many people (mostly me) had me down as ďthe best to never write for the MPĒ, Kinda like a Steve Bruce and England cap. I didnít want to be the Steve Bruce of the CF. Also though, it did show that itís way easier to get there now. I started with Doc, Chrisss, Shane and others, all who made it years before me, deservedly so, but I feel, and always have that there WAS more creative minds and less generic writing in the CF. Iím a CF guy.


    Maz: Nobody wants to be the Steve Bruce of anything to be fair! I totally get the Bearly Thing. It is often the case that what you consider your best work doesn't have the mass appeal other things do. Plan loves to point out me winning COTM for something I didn't even write when I came up with Mazlining. While not strictly true (I didn't win it for the free for all month), that series pretty much wrote itself whereas other things I have written which I loved barely made a dent in the voting. I've had my fair share of MP stints. Probably more than anyone not named after fruit flavoured sweets, but I agree. The MP is a totally different place to write and big up to the guys that nailed that, you mentioned two very successful ones there in Doc and Chrisss, however CF is a home. The love is real and no matter how long you step away from it, it always will be.


    Bear: Did you say Mazlining wrote itself? I wrote it for two weeks. Which reminds me, my dailies that last for 6 weeks but had 9 different hijacks.


    Maz: It went on for a few months. There was mine, there was mizfanís, yours with the hijacks, even a tourney version that Shee won. It came out of nowhere. Took over for a few months then fucked off again. Hopefully Corona is the Mazlining of viruses.


    Bear: What illness would The Watcher and Spartacus be?


    Maz: I'd say mild eczema and super gonhherea respectively. I'm not even gonna spell check that later. Fuck it. I'm a legend. So what about now then? You are still lurking. Don't see you talk about the graps that much anymore. Are you still watching anything?


    Bear: Always lurking, I read a lot of the CF stuff, every now and then we have something mildly interesting. I think these days people are so focussed on being MP ready or wanting to write for a broader audience, they are scared to have fun with it, try new things and just practice different types of writing.

    I still watch most things to be honest, WWE, NxTUK, AEW. Nothing else really appeals right now.


    Maz: And what is working for you right now? AEW is getting established and Mania this weekend. What is out there that may get me interested once again?


    Bear: Honestly, itís probably just habitual now. Thereís very little to get excited about. Mania is great and all, but same old, very old, faces. AEW is pretty much peak TNA, so itís interesting to watch.


    Maz: World of Sport to AEW is one helluva journey. I have to ask now, are you passing that fandom down to the next generation? My eldest never gave a fuck. My youngest had a couple of years where he was interested but it didn't hold so I am back watching by myself again.


    Bear: Well my little ones are 2 and 2 weeks. So unless John Cena fights a T-Rex, my eldest wonít care. That being said, a T-Rex wasnít a draw in the 90ís so probably wouldnít get a look in.


    Maz: They were in the 70s though. My brother loves them. Marc Bolan is an absolute legend. Think we finish up with some quickfire questions. Saint or Regal?


    Bear: Damn...

    Regal


    Maz: Favourite column you've written?


    Bear: Such a difficult question. I wrote a column with a huge twist about NXT when it started. I loved that. Iíve done a few mis-direction columns that fooled most, but this one got past you, only one to do so.


    Maz: Do you consider yourself an Aussie at this point?


    Bear: Know what. Iíve never thought about it but I do, just not in a sporting sense. I love the life I have here. My kids will have an Aussie accent which blows my mind. If theyíre good at football theyíll play for England, but if theyíre shit, theyíll play for Australia.


    Maz: Greatest United player of all time?


    Bear: I think the answer is George Best, but I didnít see him play. Iíd have to go with Cantona, what he did for the club, and the way he did it was unreal. Loved him.


    Maz: Best columnist you've read?


    Bear: Best columnist... Jesus.

    Iíd go with Monkey. He could do it all, kept himself fresh and was unbelievably creative.

    Honourable mentions to JBoom, Plan, Nony and Unc though


    Maz: Anyone else deserving of an HM? Surely one more?


    Bear: Yeah, Joey Shinobi, Steve and Doc. Thereís so many, think I have most covered off now.


    Maz: You really are a cunt, you know that? Who next? NightofDay?


    Bear: Mate. Donít take it personally. Youíre good, but a level below those guys. Letís not be here pretending I didnít give you your best ideas...


    Maz: Fuck me, are we going there? I wrote your best columns... Shit, are we supposed to say that?


    Bear: I didnít write them... I told you what to write, huge difference. These secrets need outing.


    Maz: We'll all be dead soon anyway. No amount of daily positive news can change that. Now sod off. I'm sure I can do better than you tomorrow. I'm off to find an upgrade.


    Bear: Upgrade? Good luck. Youíre just a shit ĎNony


    Maz: I am a fish. I am a fish. I am a fish. I am a fish. I am a fish.


    Bear: I donít even know what that refers to you weirdo


    Maz: Just say "William Regal" and we can all go back to our corona-laden lives.


    Bear: Rob Terry

  12. #12
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    I'm A-OK with you taking credit for my LOP success, Maz. And the following will prove your point about it annoying me to this day : )

    "A Doc column is a Doc column" was I believe what you said about an early round effort of mine. So, then I bucked convention and wrote a recap of a match backwards (like the Nas song). I remember two comments about that column...written 10 years ago. One was from Hustle, who told me "You...Fucking...Killed it." The other of course being yours. I don't recall your exact words, but damn you hated it. I practically wrote that in direct response to your "is who he is" comment, and you hated it.

    Fun to see this, frankly.

    Fascinating how the escape is needed sometimes even if we don't like the product that created the escape in the first place.
    Author of The WrestleMania Era book series, author of The Doctor's Orders columns on LOP since 2010, LOP Columns Hall of Famer, former host of The Doc Says podcast on LOP Radio (2013-2018), former LOP Raw and WWE PPV Reviewer (2006-2007), and former LOP Smackdown Reviewer (2004-2006)

  13. #13
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Still grumpy about the main page Mount Rushmore thing and couldn’t disagree more... regardless of my opinions of the people, I think 1 is debatable and 1 really doesn’t belong and the vocal “new gen” are forcing it too much when it’s inaccurate. I’ll shh though in case it comes up another time.

    The interview with Bear was wonderful, of course. Very different to Pete’s as he was from a different (HOC?) generation (Still angry skitz took the plaudits for HOC too). Bear’s wrestling story is so much nicer and sentimental than mine, it’s really interesting. Got a lot of time for that sort of story.

    Shane sucked. But I always did give him a hard time when he started... then went off and lost relatives mid-nxt. He still sucks though....

    I miss tearing apart rookies so much. It was amazing. I really want to BC one more column before I retire. Take it apart piece by piece. Those were the days.

    Bearly’s main page stint was shit. They didn’t get it on the main page and it killed the series, which I genuinely loved. It was the best part of wrestling for me.

    Good stuff of course.

  14. #14
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Nony, when I first posted in this forum back in 2009 under a different name you roasted me. From memory you said something like, 'if you have that attitude towards grammar then I don't think we'll get along'.

    Sucker I was playing the long game all along.

    This series is brilliant Mazza. Really fun and conversational.

    BEAR your kids will play for Australia and make us great.

    I will say that I think you are possibly right about the attitude around writing and wanting to have mass appeal, we don't explore enough on the main page and honestly the place is probably worse off for it. The thing that helped LOP stand apart to me when I first discovered it was the crazy creative stuff from Monkey & Shinobi on the MP in the lead up to Mania 25. It doesn't drive the instant feedback of clicks & comments like current events does though and takes a lot more effort. Perhaps in the time of COVID it could be a chance to do something different.

  15. #15
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous View Post
    Still grumpy about the main page Mount Rushmore thing and couldn’t disagree more...
    Do you disagree enough to write yours as a column?

    Challenge presented...

  16. #16
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    No. I'll wait for if Mazza can invite me to be a part of this. If that came up. I wouldn't want to offend anyone too much either.

    I will write something soon though.

  17. #17
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    I'm offended by the challenge denial

  18. #18
    Do I shit in the woods? BEAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirSam View Post

    I will say that I think you are possibly right about the attitude around writing and wanting to have mass appeal, we don't explore enough on the main page and honestly the place is probably worse off for it. The thing that helped LOP stand apart to me when I first discovered it was the crazy creative stuff from Monkey & Shinobi on the MP in the lead up to Mania 25. It doesn't drive the instant feedback of clicks & comments like current events does though and takes a lot more effort. Perhaps in the time of COVID it could be a chance to do something different.
    Glad you agree. We can have it on the MO until itís here though. Look at Dynamite for example, he pretty much said he doesnít do creative columns anymore because he sucks at them, so thatís a couple of things, either he didnít get the feedback to help him, or weíve created a culture whereas the only way you can get an MP gig is to offer straight up generic columns. LOP has never been that place, sure, thereís always a need/room for those types, but we have always been proud to have the best writers, creative minds and collaborative writers around. We donít anymore, and until CF writers start to push themselves (or be pushed by each other) that will never filter into the MP.

    Nony is correct Bearly MP stint was a disaster, it was always too niche in references to work, but there were definitely people who loved it as it was something new.

  19. #19
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    This is fun Maz. I'm enjoying them! But you definitely did win COTM without writing anything... "And that's all I got to say about that!"

    I feel sorry for these people who get caught up on minor quibbles that happened to them here years ago......

  20. #20
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    F2F before the main meal

    Doc - I imagined this as you were doing vital cervical surgery while, at the same time, curing the guy of covid-19 and in the middle of the procedure you throw everything down, take your mask of because your spidey senses tingled about that column being mentioned. You typed it with the patient's blood all over your keyboard. I will always stand by Doc columns being Doc columns being what made you an absolutely legend here though. And always fun to be home. It's great here. If you are still lurking, definitely wait by the phone, or email, or whatever the best way to contact you is in 2020.

    Nony - Variety is the spice of life with these. I will try and mix them up a bit, try not to do too many guys from a similar time frame or of a similar temprement around the same time. Bear was after HOC. That was my class. BK, Ry P, and Skaos. Ah man, I'd love to get Skaos in on this! I'd us to do an NXT again. I mean there probably wouldn't be the people to get it done but it really was something. I kinda get the feeling that level of feedback would lead to some serious meltdowns with how the world is in 2020 too.

    Sam - I think similar to what I was saying about feedback, there is also that whole "want it now" attitude about today. Although things are so much quieter, there's no reason you wouldn't get a quick run to the MP if you are even semi-decent. Again, the product quality probably doesn't help matters either.

    Deebs - Leave him alone, this needs to be a Maz Debating exclusive, I will need the content before too long!

    Bear - Sod off

    Plan - You too. Oh, and stop using pink font!


    Right, got a nice little comeback lined up today. Blast from the past incoming...


    Maz Debating in Self Isolation
    Week 1 Day 4
    PRIEST



    'Sup, Lords of Pain. Well yesterday was certainly something. Proof that anything can happen on live TV, even when it is not TV and not live. Thankfully I've scoured the globe and found a really good replacement. Like Chris, he is also a dirty filthy Manc who stumbled into the forums and really came into his own during the NXT 2010 tournament. He tore shit up for a year or so and then disappeared without a trace. Well a little bit of a trace which is how I found him. Please welcome to Maz Debating in Self Isolation, the man, the myth, the bellend, Priest!

    Maz: In these uncertain times having a Priest on our side will surely be handy, but the question on everyone's mind is where the hell did you disappear to?


    Priest: I basically decided hanging out with virgins over the internet was lame, so I instead decided to get out in the world and started hanging out with virgins in real life instead. What an 8 years it's been!


    Maz: Fuck me, I think I was better off with Bear. Also I have to say, that calling yourself Priest on the internet and then moaning about virgins is a bit rich. Anyway, let me try again here. Let's start at the beginning. You snuck into the CF quietly in 2010 and then exploded as top guy. What brought you to the forums? Had you followed the main page for a while first?


    Priest: They weren't after I was done with them, but fair point. It actually all happened pretty quickly for me in terms of the move into the CF. I had been following LOP for a while, then started following a few of the main page writers at the time (the one that sticks out was Hustle doing his daily series). From there I ventured into the CF and it all started from there. I was a student so had a lot of free time, and a certain creepy 30-something then took me under his wing and started grooming me...


    Maz: Thirty. THIRTY! There was no something at that point, thankfully because that would make me something insane today. Not quite sure what, I will get my abacus later. What Priest was referring to there was the first NXT Tournament I talked about with Chris yesterday. I was originally "Pro" to another rookie but ended up swapping with Sheepster. Sheep being Sheep just totally disappeared off the face of the earth not long after and I was babysitting the new kid on the block. I didn't know much about you at that point but I'd soon know more than I'd care to! There were some fantastic veteran column writers in that tournament but you kept yourself in contention for a really long time. What was that experience like, having some twat trying to tell you what to do and then having feedback from a bunch of people who have been doing it for years basically telling you the opposite!


    Priest: I mean that's my age now, so I'll take that way of thinking anyway... I didn't realise you weren't originally my Pro - guessing you begged for a swap once you discovered how young & impressionable I was then eh? NXT came at the absolute perfect time for me. When I started I had no idea on so many of the basics - column structuring, writing topics, even basic grammar. I felt like I was always decent at coming up with ideas for columns, but putting them into practice I struggled with (the less said about that 'El Hijo' column, the better...). That tournament, and annoyingly to be fair to you working with Maz, was basically a crash course in column writing and was the reason why I was able to challenge for COTMs and tournaments within a few months of debuting. Looking back, that was a stacked NXT too, with the likes of Bear, Doc, Da Shee, Stinger, PEN15, Rey Cash, etc all in there.

    By the way, when I say 'challenge', I mean 'comfortably win'.


    Maz: You know, I've not spoken to you in a very long time, but I can totally see my influence. It's like when I see my kids shouting at video games because they are rubbish at them. But you are right, NXT might have been a tad too early. If we could have ignored those first couple of rounds you may have had a shot at winning it all. But your wins would come with COTMs, the King of the Columnist tourney and, of course, collabs with your pro. That's got to be the highlight of your run surely?


    Priest: KOTC was definitely a highlight, particularly the semi final. Do you remember that one Maz?

    But you're right, COTM, KOTC and the DaveyBoy Cup were all great, but the thing I enjoyed the most about writing in the CF was the interactions with others, whether it was a collab or discussing column ideas with the likes of you and Bear (Bear was actually the one who came up with The Confession Box idea, a collab series in which columnists would 'confess' their wrestling sins to me). One that sticks out was in the DaveyBoy cup semis, where me and Da Shee were actually helping each other with our ideas for our decider. That kind of thing always shone through in the CF. There were plenty of great columnists about, and I loved the writing aspect of it, but the most enjoyable moments for me involved chatting crap with you, Bear, Rey, etc.


    Maz: If I didn't win a tournament I was in, did it really happen? Not for my money. The Confession Box was great fun. And there really is something about collabs. I've always loved them but over the last few years I've struggled to write anything by myself but can always seem to muster up enough enthusiasm to work with someone. So at what point did you disappear, was it as you stopped being a student or just got a bit bored of it all?


    Priest: It was actually never an intentional thing - the DaveyBoy cup took place when I first started working full time after moving to London. After winning that, I had a main page slot for a month whenever I was up to it. I was pretty burned out after writing two/three columns a week for a couple of months, along with getting used to 9 hour days, especially without any wank breaks to break up the day. Me and Doc (who ran the tournament) agreed I'd take a bit of a break and take the slot once I was refreshed, but as the weeks & months went on I got into a routine of work, actually having a social life again, and struggling to find the time to keep up with wrestling, let alone write about it. The longer that went on, the harder I found to pick it back up again. I probably also was putting too much pressure on myself to try and live up to a possible future MPer, rather than doing what you and Bear did well which was just to have fun with it.


    Maz: It's actually often been the way it goes. Guy kills it in the CF. Gets called up. Gets burnt out. I've seen it happen a lot. I've had it happen to me. We aren't talking about a golden era for the product either which I am sure doesn't help matters. So was that it for you as a wrestling fan?


    Priest: That was another big factor - my CF 'career' coincided with the Summer of Punk, and we all know how that eventually played out. Nothing was gripping me to stick with wrestling at the time, and similar to the CF I found myself going from watching every week to then watching highlight shows on YouTube, to then just checking the results on LOP, to then just reading about the PPVs, etc. I had a break completely for a few years - in fact, it was only reading on Facebook, Twitter, etc from some of you guys about THAT Bryan story arc which got me back into the product, and bit by bit, I got back into being able to watch all the PPVs/Super Sensational Mega Fantastic Oil Money specials and the weekly shows most weeks now, along with AEW where I can.


    Maz: Oh wow, so you are all-in once again. It always comes back around. As someone who is currently on the outs with the business, what are some positives that could draw me back in? I am tempted to try Mania with this whole lockdown thing even though the card does nothing for me.


    Priest: Ffs, I knew you were gonna ask me that... A few months ago, this would've been a very different conversation. Rollins was just turning heel, a role I think suits him best, and The Fiend was the most captivating & intriguing character wrestling had come up with in years, in my opinion. However, the second they decided to put the title on The Fiend, you knew this was doomed. Why the hell they didn't just stick with the whole Bray avenging his defeats shtick is beyond me. Bray vs Cena would be so much more fascinating if his character had been hell bent on avenging against those who had driven him to this, taking out the chief destroyer at Mania. You could then setup a match with Taker for Summerslam, retiring Taker and establishing The Fiend as the new mythical force within the industry.

    That's definitely taken a lot of the gloss off for me recently, however the Orton & Edge build up work has been nothing short of stellar. When I heard this was the direction they wanted to go for Edge's return, I wasn't sold, but the promo & character work has shown why they're two of the best. The match should be fantastic, so I'd definitely recommend checking out some of that if you haven't already.


    Maz: I think when all is said and done, there will be nobody in wrestling history that has been mishandled as much as Bray. Time and time again they just shit the bed. As for Orton and Edge, I am kind of intrigued purely for the fact it is the Mania match they deserved in 07 when they just got shoehorned into Money in the Bank. I've heard similar opinions to yours on the build though so maybe that might do the job. I will see if I am ready to tune in come Saturday. I guess that leads onto one big question. You are watching again. You have technically returned to LOP today. Do you ever get that writing itch and if so do you ever see yourself acting on it?


    Priest: Since I started watching again, it honestly hasn't even crossed my mind to start writing again. I just don't know if I have that drive anymore, and am nowhere near good enough to churn out even weekly columns for a consistent period of time. This little experiment though has definitely lighted something, whether it be a return of The Confession Box for now as a starter, or something else, so watch this space. If I ever returned full time, the only way I could see that happening is through pod form. I listen to TRSOTP (on the weeks that you're absent), Doc Says, Outsider's Edge, etc, and think if I ever did 'return' it'd most likely be through that form.


    Maz: An audio version of the Confession Box could be something? If I am ever talking to Bear again maybe we can come up with something. Seriously though it has been great to catch up and I am sure the people out there will be glad you are still alive. Will finish up with some quick fire questions.


    Priest: It wouldn't be the first threeway of our lives and sure as hell wouldn't be our last. It's been a pleasure, thanks for the invite.

    Maz: Favourite LOP Columnist?


    Priest: Does myself count? If not I'd have to go for Bear, though I always admired Mizfan's ability to churn out high quality columns on a regular basis.


    Maz: North London or South London?


    Priest: South London everytime, Brixton boy for lyf now.


    Maz: You really are my rookie forÖ lyfÖ Favourite wrestler of all time?


    Priest: Jericho has moved into that sphere now for me, he was always up there but the last few years have pushed him on.


    Maz: Favourite wrestler currently?


    Priest: Outside of Jericho, I'm digging Cody's character arc, but The Fiend still does something for me that only a 2000 Kelly Brook could rival.


    Maz: Who would win a fight between El Hijo Del Santo and Roy Keane?


    Priest: El Hijo all day. I'm an expert on him, didn't you know?


    Maz: So I hear! Awesome, been great to have you on Priest and hopefully we will see you around again one day, even if just the odd cameo. And to everyone else, that is all for today. I will be back again tomorrow with another guest.

  21. #21
    Part Timer Maverick's Avatar
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    Just dropping in to say hi really. All these were great. Youíre always modest about your writing Maz, but you have always had the populist touch and known instinctively what sells. People talking about their fandoms is one of the most fun things you can read as a wrestling fan. Donít forget the Pond squad as this goes on! Ha ha.

  22. #22
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    I'd be down for doing one of these with you, Maz. I had set 2020 up to be the year I completely got away from the internet wrestling community, but I always leaned on the wrestling escape when I needed it....I kinda feel like I need it right now. The world just flipped upside down these past two weeks; it's friekin' nuts.

    Now I want to know who 'Nony's Mt. Rushmore is. I'm assuming me and Hustle are the ones that don't belong because you can't argue the other two. Reading 'Nony talk about his desire to bust rookie balls brings back another CF memory. I wrote a column about you, 'Nony, disguised as a column about Undertaker and CM Punk, with me being Punk and you being Taker. I wasn't familiar with your work, but had been around forever doing recaps and you were busting my balls, so I wrote a column that basically said "Who the hell are you?" The title had "The Professor" in it, and channeled a lot my irritation toward doctors in school who criticized me; I've never taken well to criticism FYI : )

    On another note - there is a lot of spam in my LOP inbox, so Maz please email me if you need to reach me
    Last edited by The Doc; 3 Days Ago at 07:10 PM.
    Author of The WrestleMania Era book series, author of The Doctor's Orders columns on LOP since 2010, LOP Columns Hall of Famer, former host of The Doc Says podcast on LOP Radio (2013-2018), former LOP Raw and WWE PPV Reviewer (2006-2007), and former LOP Smackdown Reviewer (2004-2006)

  23. #23
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Interesting interview. But the Fiend has been ruined already. I love how many of the NXT rookie class stayed around for a while after. Might have been one of the last golden generations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc
    Now I want to know who 'Nony's Mt. Rushmore is. I'm assuming me and Hustle are the ones that don't belong because you can't argue the other two.
    I think it’ll be addressed shortly. People talk of Wrestling’s Mount Rushmore and they don’t exclude people as they were bad, merely because they believe other wrestlers deserve to be on there more. I worship Rikishi but wouldn’t put him on a Mount Rushmore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc
    Reading 'Nony talk about his desire to bust rookie balls brings back another CF memory. I wrote a column about you, 'Nony, disguised as a column about Undertaker and CM Punk, with me being Punk and you being Taker. I wasn't familiar with your work, but had been around forever doing recaps and you were busting my balls, so I wrote a column that basically said "Who the hell are you?" The title had "The Professor" in it, and channeled a lot my irritation toward doctors in school who criticized me; I've never taken well to criticism FYI : )
    That seems kind of fitting. See I’d been around a long time too and was familiar with your work. And I was disappointed with the quality of columns in the forum at that time. The movement towards the 800 word “blog” style weakened LOP in my opinion. I much preferred the 3-course, image and graphic loaded work that was coming in previously. I love that it motivated you to write though.

    When I started at LOP; Degenerate, Steve and aisce, amongst others, destroyed my first column. I was about 14/15 at the time and I was devastated. Then I got up and wrote something trying to fit less in the norm and be more “me”. And it went down much better and I found my niche. So the rookie-beating worked. I hope for some others I made a difference and spurred them on.

    I do think constructive criticism really helps on LOP though. Plan’s honesty with me over the years has kept me humble and also helped me improve far more than false flattery. As a person and as a columnist.

    Steve would be furious if he thought I’d taken on the role of “The Undertaker” of LOP. I’m far more of a Bradshaw/Hardcore Holly level.

  24. #24
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    However, the second they decided to put the title on The Fiend, you knew this was doomed. Why the hell they didn't just stick with the whole Bray avenging his defeats shtick is beyond me. Bray vs Cena would be so much more fascinating if his character had been hell bent on avenging against those who had driven him to this, taking out the chief destroyer at Mania. You could then setup a match with Taker for Summerslam, retiring Taker and establishing The Fiend as the new mythical force within the industry.
    This is so true. I hope the character can be saved, but losing to a shitty suplex (it certainly wasn't a JackHammer) was a stupid decision.

    Except I think the Taker thing would be better at Survivor Series.

  25. #25
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    Mav - Cheers mate, and I certainly intend to as time goes on. As usual I wasn't quite sure how this would go before I started but these are very enjoyable so hopefully I can get through quite a lot of people.

    Doc/Nony - I think it definitely helps. I can leave a bad taste in your mouth at times but if you either let that spur you on, or take the positives from it, it will only make you better, which we have all done.

    DB - Time and time again. I can't believe they do it so often on such a talented guy.






    Maz Debating in Self Isolation
    Week 1 Day 5
    RANTING RANDALL



    'Sup, Lords of Pain? Welcome to another day of Maz Debating in Self Isolation. Today's guest is a guy who seems to have been around the fringes of LOP for what seems like forever now. While you are there doing your thing, he is there lurking, with a drink in one hand and hopefully nothing in the other. His claim to fame is that he has more Twitter bans than Flair, Funk and Foley have combined retirements. And if you have ever come across him you will know exactly why. Welcome to everyone's favourite foul mouthed Irishman, Ranting Randall.

    Maz: Randy, how are you keeping during this strange time for the world?


    Randy: Same shit, different day. Last I heard from you was just after we met up before Wrestlemania last year. What's the occasion this time? Or are you just scraping the barrel by having me here.


    Maz: I did get a few hard nos. A few fucks offs. A couple of who even are yous. But you know I love you. I am intrigued now about where you came from. I struggle to put a timeline on it really. When were you first aware of LOP and how did you start to get involved?


    Randy: Roughly 2002. I had heard about my favourite wrestler (Chris Benoit) returning from injury and decided to search for some news. I stumbled upon the website and read a column from a writer named Daveyboy and was hooked from then on in. I miss The Wrestling Menu.


    Maz: A fellow Davey Boy guy. A man of taste I see. Did you hit up the forums at that point or were you pretty casual?


    Randy: I never ventured into the forums until around 2009/10 when I created my first Twitter account and got tweeting with guys like Hustle and Morpheus. Damn, I feel old....


    Maz: First of many Twitter accounts! Was this during the running diary era?


    Randy: Kaientai voice INDEED. Hustle was a monster for pulling that shit off back then and it kept me stocked up with content to read during meal times (I always have to read when eating for some reason)


    Maz: Makes sense. I loved a column with my morning *** and cuppa back then. So were you active much in the forums? And did you ever find your way to the FFA? Seems like it would have been a good fit..


    Randy: I put out a few of my own columns (think I have them saved in my Google Drive somewhere) and gave a hand with collaborations (batted for Rollins in your Smarks Court, provided stories for Triple R's DOA and always helped Skitz whenever he popped his head out from his ass every 6 months). As for the FFA, I have no idea what that is....


    Maz: Ah yes. Wow crazy to think so many people will have no clue about the FFA. it stood for Free For All and was basically a forum where you could flame and people certainly did. Not really any wrestling content there by the time I arrived but was an infamous corner of LOP before it was nuked.

    With all your Twitter bans, have you ever copped one on the forums?


    Randy: Ah yes, I heard about that place. Think I'd have fit right in. As for being banned on the forums, it was just once by YourAyatollah (Steve, to the common plebs). I can't remember what for but I know it involved Pen and my disdain for him. Joke was on Steve though, I only used the columns to read and put my predictions in for Prime's Premier League sessions haha


    Maz: Letís head back to your fandom now. What got you into wrestling?


    Randy: Kids at school during the Attitude Era. I didn't have Sky when I was younger so never got to watch it but the way everyone talked about it, I had to check it out. I had been exposed to wrestling before that, with WWF wallpaper in my bedroom that gave me nightmares with The Undertaker standing beside an open grave and a VHS with the Wrestlemania X ladder match on it (no idea why I had that).


    Maz: What kept you there? Who did you like? What matches and events jumped out at you?


    Randy: Athleticism. I appreciate a good talker but I'm more into the technical/submission wrestlers. Jericho in his prime, Angle, the aforementioned favourite in Benoit.

    Matches that stuck out were a Nitro match on another random VHS of Sting (the World Champion) vs Benoit and the Jericho/Benoit ladder match on the Royal Rumble that aired on Channel 4 here. Wouldn't get that for free nowadays lol


    Maz: That's how they get you. Lure you in when things are great and then you are stuck watching through all the crap. I think that is where the joy of having a place like the forums really helps. You can find positives and negatives in the product but you always have an outlet to talk about it. Of course, with the rise of social media that has kind of taken away from the forums. There is a nice little community of current and former LOPers on Twitter but probably nobody as good entertainment value as you. Well at least there wasn't. You must have some good wrestling related blocks and bans on there.


    Randy: Oh you, butter me up there. First ever wrestler that tweeted me was Chavo Guerrero after I called him a wanker. He never blocked me though. Mick Foley blocked me, can't remember why. Stone Cold, for calling him a wife beater during a recording session for LOPRadio with Steve. There have been plenty more but can't think off the top of my head.


    Maz: You are such a charmer! Some real highlights there. What about your LOP time? What are some fond memories of this place? You were a huge help to us on the Pond back in the day. You've been part of a lot of columns over the years. You pretty much wrote the P10 when I got bored of the idea.


    Randy: Always enjoyed taking part in (or airing) TRSOTP. Even did a double bill one night with a recorded session with you guys followed by a live show with Triple R and zzzorf straight after that got a good listener count. The P10 was fun while it lasted but with the WWE being so bland, it turned me off watching them due to all the reviewing lol


    Maz: Yeah, we really couldn't have picked a worse time to do that to be honest. My lack of motivation didn't help matters though. One of those ideas that sounded good but it just kinda fell away. If we had done that in that 2011-2014 period I think it could have worked well.


    Randy: We'd have had a field day during that time period with Punk, Bryan, AJ Lee, etc. Nowadays I'm more interested in supporting AEW and NJPW (hi Sam/Imp!). Ugh, shameless plug. Worse than Foley...


    Maz: What about these days, you got anything going on in the LOP world? Being on the Twitter blacklist is probably not helping you that much while Facebook isn't really the best platform for that sort of thing. You end up having to de-escalate situations between uncles and chiefs!


    Randy: Ahaaaa, inside jokes. I logged out of the forums in October after sending a mail to delete my account. Never use it and I have a link to read any columns that pop up anyway, not that there are many these days. Think that's a testament to how lackluster the WWE scene is and with AEW still only new(ish?), there's not many people covering it or interested.


    Maz: Hopefully this can get you to sign up again! To finish up, as is tradition now, I will throw some quickfire questions at you. Favourite columnist?


    Randy: Doc. Hate you for making me choose.


    Maz: Favourite wrestler of all time?


    Randy: Chris Benoit....


    Maz: One LOPer you know you couldn't drink under the table?


    Randy: That's a silly question. No-one could drink me over, under or through the table.

    Saying that, maaaaybe Danno.


    Maz: If there was one arena/stadium in the world you could go to watch a live wrestling show, where would it be?


    Randy: Madison Square Gardens.


    Maz: Definitely on the bucket list! Last one, if you could have any wrestling personality past or present sit on your face, who would it be.


    Randy: Yokozuna.

    Wait

    I mean

    AJ Lee and Alexa Bliss. I'd die happy from suffocation.


    Maz: You know I have the power to edit this and you aren't even a forum member now to tell your side of the story?


    Randy: I fucking knew there was a catch to this shit. I know where you live, dammit!


    Maz: Good luck getting here right now!


    Randy: The waiting game it is then...


    Maz: But seriously, thanks for popping by. Go sign up! That is all for today people. It is definitely a strange WrestleMania weekend ahead but as pro-wrestling fans it is still there and I hope you enjoy, whatever the plan. I will be back again tomorrow with another guest. But until then, peace!

  26. #26
    Cool to see a lurker in there. Dunno if Randy is reading this, but more than ever would be a good time to try your hand at your own column.
    See the latest of my Ric Flair saga click here. http://lordsofpain.tv/showthread.php...acock-(Part-2) View my story inspired by colorful wrestlers I've come across in my fandom. http://lordsofpain.tv/showthread.php...-the-Challenge

  27. #27
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazza
    I can leave a bad taste in your mouth at times
    You said it.

    Great to hear from someone a bit more edgy and hear their points. Really enjoyed this.

  28. #28
    Forgotten Ponder Super Hoody's Avatar
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    This is fun Maz. That Randall dude is pretty nifty and actually made me log in to comment that.

    Benjy, I always have the idea of typing columns out but I get distracted and/or lazy too easily. Only when I'm drinking does the shit get done. Always been more of a supporting act which I'm usually happy with, everyone else here is too damn talented for me haha.

    Nony <3

    Thanks for having me Maz. Next user and abuser of me will be Skitz around christmas time again I reckon. Interested to see who the next guest is (hopefully not 'Planuel)

  29. #29
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Two more really fun chats.

    Pretty cool seeing someone like Priest who I have never seen anything of except for in the COTM list but who obviously still holds a lot of the guys here in high regard. Even the stories feel familiar but just from a different time. Cool to read.

    Also Hoody, good to see you alive, I think your last Twitter bout lasted all of five minutes, I got a notification you had followed me and by the time I clicked it you had already had your profile removed. Would love to see a column out of you some time. Glad to hear you're enjoying NJPW & AEW what's been the highlights for you lately?

  30. #30
    Forgotten Ponder Super Hoody's Avatar
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    Yeah, I keep circumventing the bans and they always find out. This time was within an hour so they've caught on to me haha.

    NJPW has been Takahashi. I never saw much of him but knew of the injury that kept him on the shelf. The match with Ospreay at WK was the highlight of the weekend for me, absolute masterclass.

    As for AEW, Jericho reinventing himself again, Moxley's run, MJF in general and top absolute no surprise, Hangman Page. Who would've thought a drinking gimmick would make me a fan, eh?

  31. #31
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    I could easily drink you under the table, just FYI...

  32. #32
    Forgotten Ponder Super Hoody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous View Post
    I could easily drink you under the table, just FYI...
    Oooh, a challenge. I accept.

    *points at Wrestlemania sign*

  33. #33
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    Benji - Keep on at him!

    Nony - Variety is the key here. I feel a lot of the questions will be similar so hoping to get some nice variation in the answers to sustain this bad boy.

    Randy - You're in now. Start posting stuff.

    Sam - Yeah, Priest really was a moment in time here, absolutely dominated for a while. Was shocked he was still watching to be honest. Holding out hope he will pop by at some point.

    Nony/Randy 2 - Can you do drink challenges on Tik Tok?




    Maz Debating in Self Isolation
    Week 1 Day 6
    SIR SAM



    'Sup, Lords of Pain? Here we are back for another day of trying to get through these crazy times for the world. One thing I have always loved about the CF here at LOP is that it is always in good hands. You can look after things for a while, burn out, and there will always be someone else to take on that torch. It seems like forever since I was putting in some serious effort around these parts but thankfully there are still plenty of you about. One guy who has jumped out at me over the last few years has been Sir Sam. So Sam, first and foremost tell me a little bit about your journey to this cool little corner of the internet?


    Sam: Well I guess it all starts with a Sunday afternoon in my first year of uni, where I stumbled upon a show called Smackdown Afterburn where Batista was wrestling The Great Khali to keep his World Title shot at Edge. I had never watched wrestling before in my life but something about the over the top characters really stuck out to me.

    I then went on a binge all across the internet and eventually stumbled upon Lords of Pain and columnists like Skitz, Eyes of a Monkey and Shinobi who were writing in ways no one else in wrestling was. Under a long forgotten nickname I lurked, commented and even penned a couple of columns in the CF until I drifted away from wrestling in late 2010.

    I then wrote about a few other sports for an Aussie website called The Roar and started watching wrestling again in the buildup to Wrestlemania 30. A few years later in the leadup to Summer Slam 2017 I convinced my editor over there to let me try writing about wrestling, asked Doc & 'Plan for feedback and they both told me I should post over here. The rest I guess is history.

    Did I tell you this was going to be a bit of a winding road?


    Maz: Ah the long term lurker. Gotta love one of those. If I had kept my first LOP forums login I would be known to the wrestling world as HoTJuuS right now. I'm a little intrigued though. I must have stumbled across you in that first stint. Maybe we can dig a little deeper one day. Interesting that Khali was a part of what gripped you. I think as "smart" fans it is easy to forget what that type of attraction can do for a casual. Let’s jump on those early days a little. Who did you like? Who were the guys that grabbed your attention? I don't talk to newer fans that often so I am eager to find out the people and matches in that era that really pulled in the viewers.


    Sam: I can't say my nickname would have been any more flattering than yours. At that time I was going by either skam or browneye (look that piece of Aussie slang up) on different online forums or games so hardly something I'd be proud to put my name to.

    It was really Batista that pulled me in initially, he was like an anime character come to life and in Edge he had the perfect dastardly foil. After watching a bunch of his matches on YouTube (and yes the Punjabi Prison Match against Kahli was one of them) I got really into the Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho feud that was happening on Raw at the time. That was a far more nuanced kind of story and really opened my mind as to what wrestling could be. All of them were a great collision of compelling violence mixed with high drama. So I would say early on those four guys, Batista, Edge, Jericho and Michaels were my anchors.

    As I journeyed back in time through whatever videos I could find online, mostly 00s stuff, I quickly found a huge love for Mick Foley, another guy who mixed incredibly compelling characters and insane action. I can't count how many times I watched his hardcore matches with Randy Orton and Edge and the promos he did around them. To this day both of those matches occupy a special place in my mind.

    The other guy that really stuck out to me was Chris Benoit, who may not have had the character complexity of some of those other wrestlers I've spoken about but more than made up for it with pure intensity. As a shorter guy who loved to get stuck in on a rugby field, I loved the raw aggression and technique Benoit brought to his work to match it with larger opponents. His crowning moments in the 2004 Rumble and Mania Triple Threats were two matches I watched over and over again.


    Maz: Not a bad bunch of guys to bring you in for sure. And it seems you got your smark wings pretty quickly. Also, thanks for making me revisit urbandictionary.com. There was a while there back in the day it was bookmarked for LOP purposes and I may even have a couple of cheeky entries still on there. Now I find myself asking this question. Would I rather watch Sam drop a browneye or watch Khali in a Punjabi Prison match? Think the answer to that is going to take some serious thought!

    It's funny, two and a half years isn't a huge amount of time to be here but you can squeeze so much in that time being a key part of the community. While the forums aren't as busy as they were back in the day, it is still a great place to meet like minded people. I spend more time talking to people I met on this site than I do talking to my best friends and that is something you take with you forever. Tell me a bit about your early experiences in the CF and forums in general. Any funny stories?


    Sam: Early on somehow I got Olly and BEAR mixed up and BEAR gave me quite the serve for that. I think it was just his way of testing and hazing the young cub in the ranks but as a newbie to the scene I didn't quite know how to take it all.

    I also got banned by my wife from checking in on the first ever COTM vote I was in the running to win. We were on holiday and I kept checking on my phone if I was still ahead on votes, she ended up literally grabbing the phone out of my hands. She's come to terms with my wrestling obsession but I think it all got a bit much when we were away, were meant to be spending time with each other and she had to share our getaway with the entire forum.

    Overall though I was very fortunate to come into the CF in quite a busy spurt in late 2017, 205 Clive, TypeItInMan and I all debuted within a few months of each other, Donny, Imp, Rich Latta, Mizzie, Rob & Steve were all quite active at the time too so it felt like there was just a constant stream of great writing to enjoy and compete against. I think my favourite month in the CF was December 2017 when we did the ABCs of Wrestling and I also wrote my first year of the 'Stories That Defined' series, every day really fun stuff was going up and that series felt like a real culmination of the work I had put in as a writer at the time. I still think I should have won COTM for that month by the way Steve.


    Maz: Fantastic. Bear will do that and yes, this place has the tendency to totally consume your life at points. I've been in very similar situations where you just can't stop checking at various points over the years. We all have those COTM's that got away too. What happened that December?


    Sam: Well I'm sure if you asked Steve he would say he won because of the three fine creative pieces he wrote and for organising the ABCs of Wrestling that year BUT I not only kicked of the ABCs with A, I wrote five of my best to that point with The Stories That Defined 2017. Still I'm not bitter or anything, I just think people felt sorry for him at Christmas time.


    Maz: Haha, we all have that one we can't let go of. JohnnyBoomerang and I got eliminated in a collab round once with an Men In Black themed column. It didn't get a good reception and our opponents' piece was loved. I will swear to this day everyone was wrong though. It still bugs me. It was probably for the best though, as if we went through we would have faced off and J-Boom would have slaughtered me at that point. So let's discuss a little bit about your time as a writer. Any columns or series that you are particularly proud of or enjoyed doing more than others?



    Sam: A Men In Black Column with J-Boom sounds like it should have won for sure. Let's just both take the moral victory now.

    In terms of things I’m particularly proud of, I've already mentioned my Stories That Defined series I've done at the end of each year since I started writing about wrestling. My favourite thing about wrestling is how the characters and individual stories can string together to create a huge overarching narrative and while those pieces take a lot of effort to put together, they are probably the columns I'm most proud of.

    More recently a series I absolutely loved putting together was the 2019 NJPW G1 weekly reviews I did with Imp. The tournament came at a time when my WWE fandom had hit rock bottom and I was struggling to find any motivation when it came to writing. However the combination of Imp being the most chipper fella in the IWC and the amazing matches from the tournament really turned things around for me.


    Maz: Your wrestling outlook has always seemed to be a perfect match with us Ponders. You'd fit right in if you weren't a dirty Aussie! Seeing as you lot got stuck with Chris, maybe we can take you in return.

    So are you still on the outs with the WWE at the moment or are they keeping you involved? What are some big positives out there in the wrestling world for you in 2020?


    Sam: Funnily enough my dad was born and raised in Maldon, Essex so there is enough dirty pom in this Aussie convict to become a British citizen.

    This year so far the biggest highlight was the incredible closure to the story of Tetsuya Naito at Wrestle Kingdom. An epic story of a man fighting through self doubt and acceptance of his past failures that tracks back years and years and culminated in an incredibly cathartic match.

    Beyond just that moment though I have very much enjoyed getting sucked in to AEW and choosing to focus my fandom on that. It isn't that they are perfect, far from it, however they get so many of the things that had been frustrating me in the WWE right. Be it character consistency, properly pacing out their stories, giving newer wrestlers every chance to breakout as stars or even just pushing Jon Moxley to the moon, more often than not in 2020 they are nailing it. Instead of sitting down wondering what they are going to screw with this time, it's a joy to sit down and be taken on a ride I know will be fun.

    Have you been watching, anything?


    Maz: Not a jot. Just the rumble over the last 6 months. Weighing up Mania right now which is more likely given the 2 days and the whole global situation. The lure of Mox has not brought me to AEW yet. However adding in Harper and the Revival pending, that could very well change. I hate the Bucks. I mean despise them. But seeing them against Top Guys. That is money.


    Sam: I watch Mania with my best mate each year, he doesn't watch wrestling at any other point during the year so it's fun to see an ultra casual's perspective on things. This year in the era of social isolation we'll do it on a Zoom meeting, sharing screens which will be interesting to say the least. I have no idea what to expect, if nothing else hopefully we'll get a laugh.

    The Bucks are my least favorite members of The Elite and seeing The Revival give them some serious issues would be fantastic. They may even snag Tully Blanchard as a manager if they are smart.

    I’m curious though, what is it you don't like about The Bucks? I don't love them but don't despise them as some do. As a Triple H guy I would have expected you might enjoy their reimagining of the DX schtick?


    Maz: ...


    Sam: Maz, you still there mate or did me comparing The Bucks to Trips finally tip you over the edge?


    Maz: Breath.

    Take a deep breath.

    And go. Yeah so my issue with the Bucks has been the light level of psychology displayed. I don't know if that has changed but it was certainly my big criticism of them as someone that checked them out every now again. Plus there is just something about them that bugs me. That famous x-factor I guess. That is also what makes them fighting the Revival so intriguing to me. Dash and Dawson are pretty much the polar opposites, and despite my criticisms of the Jacksons, I will not deny that they are mega talented athletes and have immense skills in working crowds. DX was a moment in time for me. What appealed to me at 18, doesn't necessarily at 40. Hell it didn't at 26. So I think it is time to start drawing things to a close. I am interested right now in any goals you still have for the future in your LOP life?


    Sam: Right now I'm really enjoying covering AEW on a weekly or sometimes fortnightly basis and don't have any plans to change that any time soon. I would certainly like to finish my Stories That Defined A Decade series, as I said earlier I really love writing those pieces, even if they take a whole lot of effort and don't generate quite the buzz the 'current events' opinion pieces do.

    Aside from those I would like to win a competition at some point (if we get another together). I was happy with how I went in that star studded Column Series Invitational you won at the start of 2018, bowing out in the pool stage to Doc and Steve, two LOP Legends. Last year though I got eliminated in the first round of the King of the Columnists in a tough head to head against JWG and was pretty disappointed with myself for that.

    Also because I'm a 31 year old white dude, I think it's mandatory for me to say that I've always liked the idea of starting a podcast. We'll see what happens with that one though, having a 18 month old little one and being in the opposite time zone to just about everyone else in the wrestling world certainly doesn't make that easy.


    Maz: Trust me, there is definitely no shame in losing to Jacob! And just from writing this I can see that teaming up with someone in the podcast world wouldn't be the easiest. I am sure you could find a way though. I tried a solo podcast in the car on the way to work once. Wasn't the greatest idea. So what about the wrestling world, what cool things do you see happening for the rest of the year assuming the Corona situation improves?


    Sam: I know you said what will happen afterwards but I'm intrigued what's going to happen in the next few months because the COVID-19 restrictions are going to push the creativity of how wrestling is presented. There is nothing that can replace a live crowd and the energy it generates but at the same time there are some interesting things that can be done in a time where wrestling is forcibly unshackled from being live and in an arena. I'm not sure how much of the Broken Matt Hardy stuff you have seen but I think it points to a more cinematic style that could be adopted and adapted to. The Elite guys have been doing a kind of serialized storytelling in their YouTube show Being The Elite for a while now as well and while those stories have mostly climaxed in actual matches I can see them making a few changes to put those kind of setups on Dynamite to break up the empty arena stuff. One of the reasons I'm kind of excited for Wrestlemania this weekend is because theoretically WWE should have the best production values out of any company so I hope they've used it to make something special. It could all be an absolute shit show but I'm interested to see what the different creative minds in the business come up with.

    After that is all over I'm really hoping fans and wrestlers come back red hot and ready to go. The first big shows back will be spine tingling events and I for one cannot wait to watch.

    To get specific, I'm super excited to see Jon Moxley as AEW Champion, while he was indeed utlised a lot in WWE in the upper-midcard I don't think anyone will argue there was a ceiling placed above him early on as a singles performer. Since leaving WWE he has pulled that ceiling down bit by bit and I'm very excited to see what he can do in the top guy position. At the end of the day I will always be a fan first and seeing my guy on top is pretty damn fun.

    I'm also very excited for the New Japan G1. The two years I've watched it so far have just been pure wrestling indulgence, every night a two hour show of great matches between some of the best workers in the world with ongoing narratives slowly weaving their way through the month. Due to the Olympics New Japan scheduled it for far later in the year than normal so there is a chance they will be able to go ahead without a hitch when the time comes.

    It would be amazing if WWE picked up its act too but I'm well beyond leaving the back porch light on for that vagrant.


    Maz: That is absolutely fair. So there are plenty of positives out there in the wrestling world during this crisis and once we get through it. As is tradition, I am now going to do a few quickfire questions.

    Who is the best wrestler in the world today?


    Sam: I'd love to say Jon Moxley because he is undoubtedly my favorite but no one is able to bend the crowd to their will like Daniel Bryan so I'll go with him from a more objective perspective.


    Maz: Who is your favourite columnist?


    Sam: There are so many good ones doing the rounds. The hottest at the moment I think is 205 Clive, who has been killing it since his Main Page return. Favourite all time though I'd have to say 'Plan, he's certainly influenced the way I watch wrestling for sure. I know sorry to do that in your column and all that.


    Maz: If two wrestlers could work a story that lasted months in self isolation before finally meeting, who would you choose?


    Sam: That's easy, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. When I came back to watching wrestling in 2014 it was because of Daniel Bryan but I stayed because of those two. The way their story wound its way through the years was amazing so if any pair was up to the task it would be them.


    Maz: Neighbours or Home and Away?


    Sam: The Yanks are going to have no idea what we are talking about here. Because it gave the world Kylie Minogue whose hot pants in her Spinning Around video clip awakened funny things in my eleven year old body, I'll go with the classic, Neighbours.


    Maz: You know, it was the Put Yourself in My Place video for me (I would tell you it was a spoof on Barbarella but I guess that would leave even more of a blank in 2020). Basically she was performing a space striptease. My brother told me there was an uncut version they played late at night where she actually got naked. You know how much time I spent watching MTV until the early hours before I realised he was bullshitting? Fucker! Anyway, I digress. Who do you think would make an ideal collab partner when you do jump into the podcast world?


    Sam: Do you know anyone who lives in the GMT+11 timezone and is willing to submit to the schedule of a dad with an eighteen month old? If so send them my deets.


    Maz: Anyone up for it, get in touch. Thanks so much for joining me Sam. This has been fun. Anything to plug before we go?


    Sam: Thanks Mazza, it's been a pleasure. All I'll say is keep checking out the columns by the guys on the main page, would be great to see some comments from familiar faces up there, especially for some of the newer guys on the roster.


    Maz: And that is another day wrapped. Make sure you drop back by tomorrow as I finish up the week with someone who… I’m not really sure how to describe them at this point. There will be some good stories though. Until then, peace!

  34. #34
    The Brain
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    When I first came into the CF, Maz was the heart and soul of this place, and the moment he jumps back in it takes me right back to that time and place. Great to see you Mazda, sorry it took me so long to get to this!

    All of these have been great but I specially marked out for Priest. If you can find Missou or Oni, my mind will really be blown. Bonus points for a Morpheus sighting.

  35. #35
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    Really good entry guys! It's cool to hear the story of someone of a much more recent influx, rather than make it a giant nostalgia trip exclusively so great shout to include Sam - who, of course, related his story with the aplomb we've come to expect from him!

    He's also clearly a man of phenomenal taste in writers.

  36. #36
    Do I shit in the woods? BEAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Hoody View Post
    Oooh, a challenge. I accept.

    *points at Wrestlemania sign*
    Fatal 3-way?


    Also - Glad you added Sam, was thinking it was just old English blokes

  37. #37
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    Mizziekins - It sounds like you have an interesting backstory in this place!! That could come in useful. Good to see you still being the heart and soul of this place. I will be exploring it a bit further in the week. Was very cool to get Priest back in. I hope to get a few more people who haven't been seen for a while as time goes on.

    Plan - Def good to mix it up a bit, regardless of their taste in columnists!

    Bear - Mate, you are now a middle aged Aussie with 2 kids. The only shot you have of winning is if Vince is booking it.




    Maz Debating in Self Isolation
    Week 1 Day 7
    T.O.



    'Sup, Lords of Pain? Here we are again, Maz Debating through another day of social distancing. LoP is kind of like a whole big universe. Sometimes you can be stuck in your tiny little corner for years without much of a view of what goes on in other parts. That certainly was the case in my early years. It is a big old forum out there so if you have a bit of free time on your hands, go and explore a bit. My guest today is another forums veteran and, I believe, someone who definitely got around the place. Please welcome...

    Wait...

    Who the fuck signed off on this guest? It's week 1. Are we already having to scrape the bottom of the barrel?

    Ah fuck it, welcome T.O.


    TO: The only barrels here are the ones your momma throws at Mario. What the hell do you want? I'm busy blaming you for the coronavirus.


    Maz: A bit rude but I am used to that at this point. So you must have been a part of these forums for a very long time. The first big tournament I entered as a columnist was in 2009 and you were judging. It seemed you were pretty much part of the furniture at that point. When did you first show up and what brought you here?


    TO: It was February 2003 and I was a wee T.O. perusing Yahoo wrestling chat when I should have been doing homework for my History of Ancient Warfare class during my freshman year of college (the class was basically the only choice left open for me, I hated it).

    At the time, Test was scheduled to face Chris Jericho at the No Way Out PPV, but someone in the chat mentioned how Test got in trouble backstage, so Jeff Hardy got the match instead. I called BS and asked for proof, and someone linked me to a post on LOP stating the rumor. A week or so later, when the match ended up being changed, I figured the site must have at least a little credibility, so I gave it a shot. I stumbled onto the forum by mere boredom a week or so later. I may win the award for the most mark forum name ever: KurtAngle4Prez. I thankfully changed that a year or so later, oy.


    Maz: Wow. Thankfully you did. I don't think you could have been my nemesis with a handle like that. While I was checking in on the main page back then, I don't think I was even aware of the forums. But it was still a pretty hot time for wrestling. I can imagine the forums were a really busy place. Were you mainly in the WWE forum at that point or a bit all over the place?


    TO: Pretty much the WWE forum, yes. I didn't "know" anyone on the forum so I didn't feel comfortable in the Sanctuary or FFA (I still loathe the concept behind that forum, why be mean just for the sake of it?). I'd post infrequently in the video games forum and also quite a bit in the Sports forum. A thing of mine used to be running yearly prediction contests for baseball, football, and sometimes basketball. I tried out a stint in the efed, where Jaro (I sometimes wonder what the hell happened to him) and I ran roughshod over our fed as The Paragon.

    But yeah, most of my time was spent talking wrestling. I was exclusively a SmackDown fan, as my college stupidly didn't have cable hookups for dorms, so I couldn't watch Raw. It was probably for the best, this was the era where HHH ruled RAW with a fist only your momma could love.


    Maz: It's funny you mention that. The FFA was still doing its thing when I showed up but was probably already on its way out. Pretty much Slap trying to hold it together himself between bans. I never really saw the appeal and avoided it like the plague. Hard to believe it isn't where you honed your online personality though. The efed side of things is strange. Again it's a corner where I never really ventured but it would have been the type of thing I could have got into. No idea why it never happened. What about the CF? You are certainly no stranger to the place but I can't recall you ever dropping a column. Is it something you ever tried your hand at or just never really appealed to you?


    TO: A lot of what I post is just stream of consciousness stuff. I shoot from the hip and don't think about it in real life (ask LWO4Life, we went to college together and he knows my nature to just say what I'm thinking), so as a rule I tend to not plan out what I write. It's just not my style.

    I've contributed to quite a few pieces here and there but by now I'd say my "brand" is one of just pure randomness. Even I don't really know what I may say next. Except for this: Randy Orton is a dreamboat and the world deserves Rock/Cena III.

    Plus, when I first stumbled into the CF, I was in the midst of college and then graduate school. I already had to write so much for my classes, so why would I want to write even more for free? I'm not denigrating those who do, it just wasn't the choice for me.


    Maz: I get that. I think it's something I have done more and more as time has gone by. That's why this type of column and podcasts are what appeal to me more now. I get lots of ideas but can't actually be arsed to get them down. Let's get back to your love of the business for a bit though. Obviously a Kurt Angle fan with the SmackDown Six anchoring your fandom when you arrived at the forums but when did you first discover wrestling and who was it that drew you in?


    TO: Like most people my age, the answer revolves around two men: Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. While I watched my share of the WWF in the 90s, I was always drawn more to WCW, for reasons I could never explain.

    Come to think of it, it actually was Hulk Hogan, yeah. This larger than life orange dude who would talk about hanging and banging (he learned it from your moocow of a momma, didn't he?), and leg dropping fools in the face mesmerized me. When he dropped the leg on Randy Savage at Bash at the Beach in 96, I truly wanted to kill him. When Curt Hennig slammed the cage door on Ric Flair during a War Games match, I felt truly scared for him.

    I was a monster Nitro fan back in the day. For some reason I was always a Lex Luger fan as well (LUGER WON THE TITLE!!!), but was also heartbroken when Sting apparently turned his back on WCW. I half knew that it wasn't really him that betrayed WCW at Fall Brawl, but teenage me also got sucked into the story enough to believe it.

    Starrcade 1997 remains the most bitter memory in my wrestling fandom to me. Such a tremendous story, and they end it like that?!


    Maz: 97? That was our sticky bomb on a pole main event, no? Seriously though, there is nothing quite like that feeling where you are totally sucked in to the story. It happens less and less as we get older but it is still possible. I guess the build to Mania 30 was the last time it really got me. Anyway, you hitting the forums came pretty much at the same time as a young Randy graduated to the main roster from the OVW CLASS OF 2002. You would have been watching the wrong show I guess at the time. So when did that love story begin and how did that fandom develop. During that Cena era from '05 I guess people needed someone or something to gravitate to, just to get us through the next 5-6 years.


    TO: I was able to catch a random Raw episode here and there (I watched every week in the summer), and was instantly hooked by this smarmy, jackass of a kid who believed he could do no wrong in life.

    It resonated with me so much, as I saw Orton as the wrestling version of myself. As a teenager and young adult, I was one of the most insufferable pricks you could have ever met. I was my own worst enemy, much like Orton was back then. I even used the RKO as my finisher in the efed, calling it the TKO in tribute.

    Being a fan of late 80s WCW gave me an appreciation for Randy's old school wrestling style. His ground and pound, wear you down style was different from a lot of what was going on at the time. He didn't go for the flashy moves just for pops, and I think that honestly helped him garner even more heat with smart fans.

    I truly believe people sometimes hate on his style just because it's what others think and they don't want to be seen as contrarian to the popular opinion. Groupthink is a cancer in the IWC.

    All that and, to be honest, Randy Orton is one sexy beast.


    Maz: Hold up. "I was one of the most insufferable pricks you could have ever met." I refuse to believe this!!!

    Describing Randy there it is very similar to Corbin now (apart from being a sexy beast). I think the difference is we know Orton has more range. I don't think I've ever gone hot and cold on anyone in my life as much as The Viper. As a heel he tends to have the character work down to perfection most of the time, yet that tends to be where those criticisms of his boring style come in. As a face his wrestling style is a lot more exciting, yet he has rarely managed to hold my interest as a good guy character. He has all the tools but it never seems to all come in the right package. But I really don't want this to become a discussion about Randall's tool or package. You must have had some fun defending him in the forums over the years. Anyone one you have got particularly animated on the subject? We know how sometimes these things can get out of control quickly?


    TO: To be honest, people have been incredibly civil about my love for Randy. Some don't get it, but no one has blown a gasket about it.

    I think that's a good quality, though. A lot on modern wrestling really annoys me (crowds, Kevin Owens, bad camera work, taking money from the Saudis), but I don't let that empower me into stopping others from enjoying what they love.


    Maz: I think that is sadly where a lot of wrestling fans are heading these days. It’s “you're either with me or you're wrong and a fucking idiot”. Not just in wrestling either, it's kind of becoming the way of the world. That is probably one thing the forums taught people. A bit more respect for the opinions of others rather than the social media platform which allows you to pick and choose what you want to acknowledge and call people's momma's moocows.


    TO: See, I'm always right though. Especially when I say the people deserve Rock/Cena III. And your momma.

    I think a lot of it has to do with the online nature of the world now. People have access to so much more information, and thus think they know everything. Workrate obsession has replaced entertainment factor far too much in professional wrestling. There's a place for both of them, still. I'm not a fan of Joey Ryan's style, for example, but I understand there are people who appreciate it.


    Maz: It's crazy that there are so many styles within wrestling that people can be snobbish about, yet to everyone outside it is all the same shit. We pick and choose what we will suspend our disbelief for. I am as guilty of that as anyone but it really seems crazy. But I guess that means I should try and hear people out. You've clearly got a Rock-Cena III fetish going on. Sell me on that mofo.


    TO: I look at it like this: Wrestlemania has always been booked as a supercard of sorts, more of a spectacle instead of a pure wrestling show. What could be bigger than two of the biggest box office draws in history settling the final score in their feud? Remember, both men won a match in the series, so we never got an answer as to who the better man is.

    Also, as of this writing, both men have lost their last matches, both at Wrestlemania. The Rock lost the WWE Championship to Cena, and Cena was embarrassed and squashed by The Undertaker. For men with two highly praised resumes, that has to sting. Both men should want to go out on a high note so they likely have motivation to have that last final showdown.

    Besides, look at the roster right now. Is there anyone else even worthy of main eventing, besides Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, or Randy Orton? The pickings are quite slim.

    Seth Rollins? Failed multiple times as champion. Kevin Owens? Too fat. Drew Macintyre? Too foreign. Bray Wyatt? Too stupid of a gimmick. There's a reason WWE keeps falling back on the part timers. The choices they have now mostly just flat out suck.


    Maz: I guess the counter to that is that they don't trust the others because they keep going back but that debate would turn into a whole column by itself. I could probably get behind them going at it one more time. They are both Hollywood now anyway but I can only assume both of them still have enough in the tank. Over-exposure means I would happily never watch Cena again but he has wrestled everyone that even half matters in this generation. I'd love to see something fresh for the Rock ideally though. A match with Roman intrigues me. I tell you this though, if Cena vs Rock was on the card next week, it would probably be the match I'd most be looking forward to. That says more about the card however than my desire to see it a third time. Once was enough for me.

    So what about Randy? Anything left you want to see him do? He's finally getting that long awaited Mania bout with Edge. He has amazingly never had that one-on-one match with Cena at Mania. Maybe even ply his trade elsewhere as he has trollingly teased in the twilight of his career. Maybe even shit in your bag?


    TO: I'd prefer he shit in your mouth first.

    Barring that fecal display, I would like a more extended run at Brock Lesnar, title or no title. Their SummerSlam match came about for no real reason, and ended poorly executed. ThevTKO finish left a lot of fans with a bad taste in their mouths, with no real conclusive reason as to why it happened, either than to put Brock over as a monster yet again. Maybe Randy would like to exact revenge? He has a history of long, drawn out revenge plots, including the IED storyline at Wrestlemania 25, and CM Punk's revenge plot against him for costing him the world title in 2008.

    They didn't book the feud as well as they could have, either. They put the RKO over as a move that could strike at any time, but instantly negated it with Lesnar ambushing Orton a week later on TV. What was the purpose? You'd think they want to build a little more suspense in the RKO being the one move Brock couldn't defend, up until the match itself. I had no problem with Brock winning the bout, it was just the route they took to get there that still irks me.

    Oh, and I'm not a fan of the Edge feud. Far too late, they should have had a match at Wrestlemania 23, when the story was asking for a match.

    I don't watch AEW really so I can't comment on his fit there. Probably would fit as well as your momma in a pair of skinny jeans, though. Great, now I need to bleach my eyeballs.


    Maz: I will gladly supply the bleach. They certainly shit the bed on that whole Brock thing. And confused poor Jericho. That almost makes it worthwhile to be honest. Right, before we finish up let's come back to the forums. You've lived through some busy times. It's fair to say it is a lot quieter these days. Aside from that do you see big changes or is it essentially the same at the core?


    TO: It's pretty much what it is. I'd be lying if I said the emergence of social media isn't what drove a lot of us away from this forum. It's so much easier to discuss things via those means, as you get real time responses instead of having to refresh the site to see if the discussion has furthered itself. Hell, even I took a hiatus of a good year and a half from the forums. Most of which I spent scouting sniping positions outside your house.

    At its core, too, I don't think there is much in the way of development for sites like this. 90% of us have been here for 9ver ten years, I'd bet, so we're familiar with it all. But, sites like reddit (I don't go near that cesspool), Twitter, and Facebook have taken the crown away from forums. There's no way of going back.


    Maz: What if I told you I had a time machine?


    TO: I'd call you a witch and burn you at the stake.


    Maz: Pretty sure you'd do that regardless. I'd love to say it has been nice chatting, but you should never lie in writing. A few quick fire questions to finish up is the way this series has been going so... Who do you hate more, CM Punk or Seth Rollins?


    TO: CM Punk by far. I don't necessarily hate Rollins, I just don't buy him as the wrestling Jesus some see him as.

    Punk, on the other hand, is a product of believing your own hype way too much and throwing a fit when others don't agree.


    Maz: Who have you had the best debates with on the forums?


    TO: Pen, Team Farrell (Coach!), and your father. We had many arguments over whose turn it was to hose your momma down.


    Maz: Be nice. Please. Favourite thread of all time?


    TO: The weekly WWECW threads. They were just flat out fun. We didn't take anything too seriously and just shot the breeze with the brand. Very fun times.


    Maz: A dream match that could never happen?


    TO: Harley Race versus Randy Orton. Two old school styles clashing in a drag out brawl.

    Daniel Bryan vs prime Kurt Angle would be pretty boss, too.


    Maz: Biggest troll move you've ever pulled on GTA Online?


    TO: Killing the mechanic inside Los Santos Customs and then killing the poor souls who spawn back into the game. They had no defense for it 99% of the time.

    I would then hide in the shop and fire rockets at anyone who tried to seek revenge. It would take a good ten minutes for the cops to finally kill me.


    Maz: If I was there I'd have stickybombed you to high hell. Now leave my column. Anything to plug before you go? New version of Stable Wars or anything?


    TO: Not really, no. Let's pull the plug on this like I'd like to pull the plug on you. And then wrap it around your throat and shove it down your gullet.


    Maz: Always a pleasure!

    Well ladies and gents, that brings us to the end of the first week of Maz Debating in Self Isolation. Honestly it has been a blast and I am glad you are enjoying it. The plan right now is to work on a second week. I have a guest list all sorted and will get to work next week and hopefully post the week after. As always, feel free to drop me your honest thoughts and if you think I need to take things in a slightly different direction, that is always handy information. I will be back in a week or so and in the meantime I will try and put some forums time in too. Catch you soon!

  38. #38
    The Brain
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    Didn't expect TO! Nice to get to know the person behind all the little jabs and comments over the years. Sad I came to late for those WWECW threads, I watched that whole run and had a great time with it.

  39. #39
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    Read the one with TO. Good interview. I think this forum became a ghost town because WWE itself gradually became less and less popular. I started using this forum in late 2004 and at the time Randy Orton was getting a lot of hate, with people saying he would never make it big in WWE. He certainly proved them wrong.

  40. #40
    Mediocrity at it's finest kingzak13's Avatar
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    T.O actually writing? These truly are the end times.

    It's great to see the forums with so many people posting again, a shame it took a pandemic to make that happen.

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