AF Diary #5
Hi, I’ve had a bit of a crazy weekend so this is later than I intended. It started on Wednesday night when my daughter rang me at 1am to say she’d been in a car crash and was being taken to hospital. My wife then drove 3 hours to check on her while I basically sat on the edge of the bed worried before getting up and going to work. Completely zoned out for the next day but found out my daughter was ok, albeit shook up. The car was a mess. I’d like to thank everyone that dropped me a message or replied to that tweet I sent about it. It was helpful and kept me from going nuts. Over the weekend I’ve had a lot of social engagements to deal with and a 14 hour zoom call on Sunday for a virtual Albert Day left me mentally drained. It was a good time though. So now it’s Monday night and I’ve finally caught up on my sleep. While I was stressed out/busy things happened so here’s a round up of the #SpeakingOut fall-out.
WRESTLING CLEANS HOUSE.
Dave Crist and Joey Ryan were both fired by Impact Wrestling. How bad of a person to you have to be to get fired by Impact? The company has made a habit of signing up anyone that the other big promotions won’t touch because of their historical issues outside of the ring. Both Crist and Ryan had a catalogue of accusers. Ryan maybe had the worst collection of anyone. Not only did he have a lot of accusers but also people involved in the #SpeakingOut movement had personally seen him be inappropriate.
Alongside this Impact opted to suspend, and later terminate, Michael Elgin. Which caused a few reactions from people wondering what had changed in this situation. Elgin was a known issue when he signed for Impact but it didn’t seem to bother them at the time. Scuttlebutt suggests Elgin was fired for getting into a backstage fight with Sami Callihan and that’s the reason why he was let go. Convenient timing perhaps with new allegations against him coming forward.
They didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory. An old interview with Sammy Guevara was brought to their attention where he claimed he wanted to rape Sasha Banks. He apologised to Sasha for making these remarks and Banks accepted it. Guevara remains employed by AEW. Also still employed is Jimmy Havoc. He was accused of a number of things by former partners, which led to AEW announcing he’d been sent to rehab. Presumably blaming alcohol and drug issues for Havoc’s behaviour.
Which leads to a follow up question of AEW’s competencies in hiring Havoc to begin with as his alcohol issues were well known in the wrestling community and even joked about on podcasts. Florida law prevents companies from firing employees who have entered rehab so it’s unclear as to how this will end. It does seem, from an outsiders point of view, that Havoc is unlikely to continue to be employed by AEW when all is said and done.
In a rare instance of WWE having one of the better responses they cleaned house pretty quickly. Jack Gallagher admitted the attempted rape story was true and WWE released him immediately. After further investigation both Ligero and Travis Banks were also released. WWE have been pretty quiet about other accusations but NXT-UK faces an uncertain future with so many people involved in it also caught up in this scandal.
The likes of Joe Coffey, Wolfgang and Jordan Devlin are all in the firing line. Is there a chance that WWE simply end the NXT-UK experiment? One much-maligned as being damaging to the once vibrant UK scene. With higher profile stars like Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven and Toni Storm likely to make their way to Florida full time is it time to just give up on this concept and skim the top talent away? It’s noticeable that several figures from this NXT-UK area have either neglected to comment or have lawyered up to prevent further accusations from coming in. Trent’s response in particular seems to be leaning towards protecting his reputation.
Fight Club Pro.
It does seem that FCP have stopped pretending that there’s a future for them. On June 21, they released a statement addressing safety at shows and a further one on June 27 saying that all tickets, including season tickets, will be refunded. It’s been radio silence since then leaving us to speculate that FCP is indeed finished. They’ve been at the heart of a lot of allegations and the Travis-Millie relationship took place on their soil. There is still a lot of talent who have not been implicated in allegations but the branding is perhaps irrevocably damaged. It would make running under the FCP banner very difficult and it would probably be better to just start over.
I’ve barely mentioned ICW so far but like FCP they’ve had a lot of accusations aimed at their talent and even owner Mark Dallas for his own behaviour. They issued a statement on June 22 where they promised to check with roster members and “decide on a course of action” whereby they would “sever ties with any individual who poses a threat”.
The issue stems from Dallas being culpable, being aware of all the issues brought up over the years and being an active part in that toxic environment. Again, like FCP, with wrestlers interacting with fans after the shows at various drinking establishments. This allegation against him came on June 23 and ICW has said nothing since. Dallas himself has deleted all his social media. ICW is one of the promotions with strong links to WWE and was supposed to be going onto the network.
On June 25, ROH issued a somewhat late statement on an investigation into talent behaviour. Their main cause for concern being a story about booker Marty Scurll. The Scurll story had been common knowledge in BritWres for years and although the rumour ended up being somewhat inaccurate that still didn’t excuse Scurll’s feeble attempt at an apology. It was so bad he had to apologise for it.
Whether ROH will actually do anything with Scurll essentially denying any wrongdoing is unlikely. After all Marty was a big catch for them and having him stay there and not jump to AEW was also good news for them. ROH has been known to disregard most issues fans have taken with their wrestlers so I’m not expecting much. It is Sinclair. Apparently ROH will update us when their “investigation” concludes. Or perhaps they’re just hoping we forget about it.
Andy Q’s recent track record for dealing with wrestler issues hasn’t been brilliant. The Josh Bodom incident from last year’s Summer Sizzler is still fresh in people’s minds. So it was pleasing to see how quickly Quildan severed ties with Andy Boy Simmonz when he was accused. Quildan and Simmonz have been close friends for a long time. Rev Pro were one of the few companies to straight up address the “secret boys club” that was running wrestling and why it’s created this toxic arena for abuse. They’ve also vacated the Southside title that was held by David Starr. It seems that the Quildan-Starr storyline, which has rumbled on for several years, will end.
Mike Quackenbush is a weird guy. He took it upon himself to have a professional standard video apology shot where he was ‘overcome with emotion’ during it. His promotion, Chikara, is done. Given what has been said about the promotion over the course of time this created an opportunity for many wrestlers, dissatisfied with Quack’s weird behaviour and controlling manner, to simply leave. Although most of them were probably disgusted with Quackenbush’s behaviour too.
Chikara is the first company to fall during the pandemic and directly because of accusations. Quackenbush tweeted on June 25 that was “discontinuing CHIKARA and resigning as head trainer at the Wrestle Factory”. Quack has been winding down his in-ring career for several years and presumably his career is now over.
A few final thoughts from me on this whole #SpeakingOut process. Joey Ryan appears to be the poster boy for this whole thing. The man with the most reprehensible behaviour. When you do something bad and get away with it, it empowers you to do it again and again and again. Ryan had lost his moral compass and spiraled away into pure manipulation and evil. While he is a worst case example this behaviour and covering it up was deep-seeded in pro wrestling. It was covered up and ignored for years and I’m glad it’s out now. We can get rid of the scumbags who were ruining the wrestling scene. But we need to get them all gone. I can’t exactly name names here but let’s face it, we’re not done.
As a scene we need to continue to address this issue until it is wiped out entirely. Those responsible need to be weeded out and removed. Promotions who allowed this to happen to be held accountable. Things need to change. We need to create a safe environment around pro wrestling to stop the bullying, manipulation and abuse that has plagued BritWres and wrestling around the world. Now is the time to fix it.
Now something a little lighter….
So, last time out I’d just completed the double with Ajax and Brian Hates-Liverpool was faced with a summer of uncertainty. What jobs would come up? Where could he possibly go? And then the Juventus job came up straight away and he got it. Boom. I would say it was ‘moving on up’ but Juventus have not qualified for the Champion’s League, have no money and only one central defender at the club. To say I was somewhat alarmed by this revelation would be an understatement. They barely have a defence to speak of. The right back is probably going to leave and there’s only one left back. So I need to buy four defenders before I even think about doing anything else. Transfer budget? £3.8M. Bollocks.
Meanwhile Jimmy Football has a big summer with Canada. They start in the North American Nation’s League. They also have a shot at the Gold Cup. With the likes of Barbados, Honduras, Martinque and Haiti lined up that should be a tap in. I’ve played on and just about won the group after a 0-0 with Haiti (I am a tactical genius). Then we leathered Trinidad & Tobago. And by leathered I mean got completely outplayed and won on penalties. Semi-final was against Mexico, the tournament favourites. They basically outplayed us for the entire game and then we won on penalties. 10-9 though! It went through to the final outfield players. Pleased to report we’re on fine penalty taking form.
The final then. Against Jamaica. I had to change formations because everyone was knackered from playing back to back extra time games. I perhaps went in over-cautious and they were 2-0 down at half time. Including a penalty given away by a player I had zero trust in but had to play because of fitness issues. I immediately subbed him off but that was it. Lost the final, no trophies. No spreadsheet update on the whole ‘Glory Hunter’ thing. I immediately took the USA job. I am now hated in Canada, probably.
Nothing new came up for Jimmy Football so he remains at Anderlecht as the season gets underway, hunting down a third straight double. Juventus have started strongly in Serie A.
THE RETURN OF THE PREM.
We got back underway on Wednesday, 17th June. Two fixtures. Villa vs. Sheff Utd was marred by Hawkeye failing and Utd having a perfectly good goal not given. They’ve got VAR. How have they not seen that go in? Otherwise the game was a drab, lifeless procession that felt more like a training session. 0-0.
Second game was Man City vs. Arsenal. This was much better as City’s disciplined and organised robots passed Arsenal to pieces. The main source of hilarity in all this being the legendary David Luiz. I’ve always thought he was a clown and a liability. He got dropped, came on when an existing defender went off injured, gave away a goal, gave away a penalty and got sent off. Magic. Sensational work. I hope they renew his contract. 3-0 City.
I was naturally distracted during Saturday’s games but I did see the second half of West Ham vs Wolves. The Pedro Neto strike was absolute magic. Pure football. One of the cleanest strikes I’ve seen all season. 2-0 Wolves and they looked good. I also watched Bournemouth vs. Palace and Crippled Alice looked decent here. Great free kick from Milivojevic for 1-0 and a well worked team goal for 2-0. I’d be worried if I was Eddie Howe. Bournemouth looked unprepared and almost as doomed as Norwich.
Sunday I watched Newcastle have their way with the 10-men of Sheffield Utd. The break has not helped Sheff Utd at all and they look disorganised at the back, which is the opposite of their MO. Joelinton finally got a goal and he earned it. He worked hard up top and was a handful all game. Decent finishes from Saint-Maximim and Matt Richie too but defensively Sheff Utd didn’t cover themselves in glory. 3-0 Newcastle.
About two minutes into Villa vs. Chelsea I fell asleep. I woke up a few minutes before half time seeing Villa score. Apparently it was against the run of play. Second half Chelsea were too good for Villa anyway and won 2-1. Finally Everton vs. Liverpool. I have been an Everton fan since the early 80s and it’s hard folks. Although Pool had a lot of the ball in this game Everton arguably had the better chances. Opened up that Liverpool back four a couple of times and Tom Davies hit the post. It finished goalless and I was disappointed Everton didn’t edge it.
Monday night I was writing the #SpeakingOut column that appeared as Diary #4. So I had Man City vs. Burnley on in the background but I literally just saw the goals. It’s interesting to me that Man City have come out of a break looking the strongest when there’s no crowd. It’s because they’re all robots who don’t give a fuck about the fans in the first place. So it doesn’t matter if there’s 50,000 or 0 people there, they play the same, home and away. Whereas Liverpool, for example, are helped by the crowd, driving them on.
A larger concern was Burnley fans thinking it was ok to hire a plane to fly a “white lives matter” banner over the ground. White lives matter? Are you fucking kidding me? The audacity of these people and if you flew that plane you should have told them to fuck off.
The banner was the work of Burnley supporter Jake Hepple. He has not apologised and instead chose his moment of fame to claim he’s not racist and what he did wasn’t racist. Hepple is a supporter of far-right racist agitator Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon).
I watched Spurs vs. West Ham as well although, as with the above, I spent a lot of it on my phone due to continuing allegations in regard to the #SpeakingOut movement in BritWres. Spurs won 2-0 and I really don’t remember much about it.
I’ve not seen much else because of work and other shit but here’s the table. I guess Liverpool won the league. Big celebration by the fans, including setting fire to the Liver Building and ignoring social distancing.