Tuesday, March 30, 2021

'Australian' Jim Kelly: New Jersey's adopted bareknuckle boxer son

Our very own Matt Ward has teamed up with our friends at MaxBoxing.com to bring you another great boxing history article from the Jersey Shore! 

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Monday, March 22, 2021

WWE Fastlane 2021

By Steve Ward

This evening marked the final pay per view on the Road to Wrestlemania, as well as, the first pay per view on the Peacock Network and the final one on the WWE Network in the U.S. The event emanated from the Thunderdome at Tropicana Field and should mark the final pay per view in the Quarantine Era as each day of Wrestlemania is expected to host a significant number of fans. This evening’s card featured seven matches with titles defended including Roman Reigns squaring off with Daniel Bryan for the Universal Championship.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (c)
Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax via pinfall

The opening contest of the evening presented an interesting dynamic as Wrestlemania opponents became partners for one evening as Belair and WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks, teamed up to challenge for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. As expected, this match closed with a meltdown between Banks and Belair. After Belair allowed herself to be shoved into Banks as she had the Bank Statement cinched in on Baszler, Sasha blamed Belair for preventing the submission. While the two were distracted, Baszler rolled up Banks for the pinfall.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Winner: Big E via pinfall

Big E’s power was on full display for much of the early part of this match as he dismantled Crews while delivering a pair of brutal splashes out on the ring apron. Crews was able to build some late momentum but could not capitalize as a series of inside cradle reversals finally settled in favor of Big E. Following the match, Crews proceeded to assault Big E until he was beaten senseless so it would appear this rivalry has not concluded quite yet.

Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker vs. Braun Strowman
Winner: Braun Strowman via pinfall

This bout was originally supposed to feature Shane McMahon going toe to toe with Strowman, however, he suffered a training injury to his knee early in the day. Following a conversation backstage between Elias and Shane regarding his Wrestlemania involvement, Elias found himself as the substitute for this match. Strowman essentially mauled Elias like a bear attacking it’s prey until he mercifully finished him off with the running power slam.

Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

As Rollins continues to find his footing following paternity leave, he has lately been on a mission demanding respect. This match came to fruition on Friday Night Smackdown after Nakamura delivered a kick to Rollins’ face creating a contest between two top tier stars who WWE creative have no clue what to do with. Nakamura appeared in prime position to overcome Rollins late in the match, however, a failed Kinshasa attempt was the only opening Seth needed. Rollins unleashed an offensive onslaught that included a well executed Falcon Arrow before he finished off Nakamura with the Curb Stomp.

No Holds Barred Match
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
Winner: Drew McIntyre via pinfall

After Sheamus turned his back on his longtime friend several weeks ago, the two have become embroiled in a bitter feud that would culminate this evening in a No Holds Barred Match. Sheamus appeared to be in dire straits early in the match as he was thrown through a bay of the dystopian fan screens which ignited in sparks, however, he did turn the tables to give McIntyre all he could handle - most notably a White Noise through the announce table. In what ended up being a surprisingly brutal match, McIntyre finally persevered in the end as he put the Celtic Warrior down with a Claymore Kick.

Randy Orton vs. Alexa Bliss
Winner: Alexa Bliss

After Orton “burned” The Fiend alive three months ago, he has found himself repeatedly confronted by Wyatt’s sidekick Alexa Bliss in encounters that are just flat out weird. This brings us to tonight where the two were scheduled to square off. The first few moments of the “match” saw Orton stalking Bliss around the ring dodging things such as falling scaffolding and fire. Once they returned to the ring, a hand punched through the ring and grabbed Orton by the ankle. After flames shot up through the ring, The Fiend emerged sporting attire that appeared to have been singed in the spirit of Jason Voorhees after he was sent to hell. The Fiend proceeded to deliver the Sister Abigail to Orton which allowed Alexa Bliss to pin The Legend Killer.

WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Daniel Bryan
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

After Daniel Bryan overcame the odds by surviving a grueling match against five other men at Elimination Chamber last month, he was immediately thrown into his title opportunity with Roman Reigns that of course became an impossible task. Bryan then found his way into a rematch which Edge took exception to and subsequently lead to his position as the special ringside enforcer for this contest. Late in the bout, Bryan continued to bring his A submission game as he repeatedly tied up Roman Reigns. Bryan then attempted the running knee but Reigns ducked out of the way leaving the referee to take the full blow. Edge then stepped in for the referee and failed to count the pinfall on Reigns first attempt to cover Bryan. Next, Jey Uso made his way to the ring and delivered a super kick to the face of Edge and then Bryan.

Uso then introduced a chair into the ring which ended up backfiring on him as he was quickly disposed of. Daniel Bryan proceeded to grab the chair and attempted to take out Reigns who again ducked and left Edge to take the shot this time. Bryan then took out Reigns and trapped him in another Yes Lock. As Edge recovered, he cracked Bryan in the back with the steel chair while Reigns was tapping out. Edge continued to lay waste to both men before storming out of the Thunderdome. Another referee made his way to the ring just in time for Reigns to roll over and cover Bryan to retain his title. 

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Boxer Who Defeated Ali to Sign Autographs this Saturday

Larry Holmes will be on hand this Saturday, March 13th from 1 PM to 4 PM to sign autographs at Carl's Cards and Collectibles in Havertown.

HAVERTOWN, PA — This Saturday, March 13th from 1 PM to 4 PM, former World Heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes will make his autograph signing debut at Carl's Cards and Collectibles in Havertown. Autographs are $49 for flats up to 16x20 and $69 for premium items (i.e. gloves, trunks, and larger flats). Inscriptions cost an additional $15 for short inscriptions and $25 for longer inscriptions.

“As a local living legend from the Lehigh Valley and an International Boxing Hall of Famer, we thought Larry would be the perfect autograph guest. Larry not only had one of the best left jabs in boxing history, but was also one of only five men to defeat Muhammad Ali,” said Lauren Henderson the PR and Marketing Director of Carl’s Cards and Collectibles.

Holmes' professional boxing career spanned four decades, compiling an impressive record of 69 wins (44 by way of knockout) and six losses between 1973 and 2002. His legendary career included victories over a "who's who" list of boxing superstars in the heavyweight division. Holmes’ 1980 victory over Ali was the only time the boxing legend was stopped in a professional fight. This fight ended when Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee, having seen enough of the one-sided affair, stopped the fight after the tenth round.

Considered by boxing analysts and insiders as one of the all-time greatest heavyweight boxers, "The Easton Assassin" was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2008.

When asked what Larry Holmes means to her as a sports fan, Lauren Henderson told Patch, “Larry has so many amazing boxing accomplishments, from winning his first 48 bouts to being inducted into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame; but when I think of Larry Holmes I think of all of the great things he’s done for his community in the Lehigh Valley and specifically Easton.”

Following his long boxing career, Holmes invested his winnings from the ring in the Lehigh Valley by starting businesses in the region that employed hundreds of people. He is so beloved in his hometown that a statue was erected in 2015 to honor him.

Henderson told Patch, “He’s more than just an athlete. When I think of Larry, I think of a great community representative of our area.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, selfies and photos with Larry Holmes will not be allowed. All customers are required to wear masks inside of the store.

Carl's Cards and Collectibles is located at 22 W. Eagle Road in Havertown, Pennsylvania. For more information on this weekend's autograph signing, please visit the Carl's Cards and Collectibles website, or call the store at (610) 789-4996.

This story also appeared on Patch.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

AEW Revolution 2021

By Steve Ward

All Elite Wrestling returned to pay per view this evening with a star studded show from a sold out (or as sold out as they were permitted) Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. I can safely say that I haven’t watched a pay per view from this company that I haven’t enjoyed and this one was poised to continue this trend. Some of the most anticipated matches headed into this event included the icon Sting’s return to the ring, as well as, one of the most notoriously violent matches in the history of pro wrestling - an exploding barbed wire deathmatch - for the AEW World Title.

The Buy-In Pre-Show

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. w/ Rebel & Maki Itoh vs. Thunder Rosa & Riho
Winners: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D & Maki Itoh via pinfall

The Buy-In certainly amped up the crowd by featuring some of the most talented women in AEW. This highly entertaining bout came to an abrupt end as Rebel cracked Thunder Rosa over the head with a crutch while referee Paul Turner was distracted allowing Dr. Baker to roll her up for the pinfall.

Main Card

AEW Tag Team Championship
Chris Jericho & MJF w/ Wardlow vs. The Young Bucks (c)
Winners: The Young Bucks via pinfall

The main portion of the card wasted no time getting off the ground as “Le Champion” Chris Jericho teamed with his Inner Circle cohort Maxwell Jacob Friedman to challenge The Young Bucks for the tag team titles. The ageless wonder Chris Jericho, a 30-year ring veteran, put forth a phenomenal effort, however, it wasn’t quite enough as Le Champion succumbed to the Meltzer Driver at the hands of the Young Bucks to secure the pinfall for the defending champs.

Casino Tag Team Battle Royale
Winners: Death Triangle - PAC and Rey Fenix

AEW put a unique spin on their traditional Casino Battle Royale by introducing a tag team incarnation. The rules stated a new team would enter every 90 seconds and a team would only be eliminated when both members were eliminated by being thrown over the top rope. If that weren’t enough, the winners would earn a shot at the AEW tag team titles. The competitors (in their order of entry) included The Natural Nightmares, Dark Order members 5 and 10, Santana and Ortiz, Matt and Mike Sydal, Dark Order’s Evil Uno and Stu Grayson, The Gunn Club, “Pretty” Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi, The Varsity Blondes (Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison), Bear Country, Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus), Butcher and the Blade, Private Party, SCU (“The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian), Death Triangle’s PAC and Rey Fenix, and Dark Order’s John Silver and Alex Reynolds. The final four in the ring were John Silver, “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry, PAC, and Rey Fenix - leaving the Death Triangle members as the only intact team remaining. Jon Silver was the first eliminated by Fenix who walked the ropes and delivered a kick to his jaw as he hung on for dear life from the ring apron. PAC was the next to go as Jungle Boy ducked and pulled down the top rope down allowing the charging PAC’s momentum to propel him from the ring. Finally, in a blazing fury of action, Jungle Boy’s momentum was halted by a stiff kick in the face that allowed Fenix to clothesline him over the top rope to earn the victory.

AEW Women’s Championship
Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Ryo Mizunami
Winner: Hikaru Shida via pinfall

This match came to fruition after Ryo Mizunami shocked the pro wrestling world by surviving the Women’s Title Eliminator tournament and overcoming Nyla Rose in the finals this past week on Dynamite. Ryo gave Shida all she could handle and withstood multiple Falcon Arrows before she finally fell victim to a brutal kick to the head that allowed the champ to retain her title. Following the bout, a brief melee ensued as Nyla Rose, Dr. Britt Baker, and Rebel jumped Shida and Mizunami until Thunder Rosa came to the rescue and cleared the ring.

Miro and Kip Sabian w/ Penelope Ford vs. Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy
Winners: Kip Sabian and Miro via submission

Before this match could even begin, Cassidy and Taylor were ambushed by their opponents backstage. After Miro used Taylor’s head and forearm to break a glass window, he dragged him to the ring where the contest began as a handicap match until Cassidy stumbled out to the ring several minutes later to even the odds. The closing moments saw Miro assert himself as an unstoppable force as he finally finished Taylor off with The Game Over for the submission victory.

Big Money Match
Matt Hardy vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
Winner: “Hangman” Adam Page

Following Hardy’s failed attempt to persuade a drunk Page to sign a contract with him that would financially benefit Matt, an interesting stipulation arose for this match as the winner would collect all of his opponent’s income from the first quarter of 2021. In the closing moments of this bout, Hardy’s associates, Private Party, made their way to ringside to serve as a distraction. It appeared their efforts would prove to be the deciding factor as Hardy executed the Side Effect and Twist of Fate, however, it wasn’t enough. The reinforcements for Adam Page then made their way to the ring in the form of The Dark Order. Adam Page shortly thereafter hit the Buckshot Lariat to put Hardy away.

Face Of The Revolution Ladder Match
“Platinum” Max Caster vs. Lance Archer w/ Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Cody Rhodes w/ Arn Anderson vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page
Winner: Scorpio Sky

This contest had five of the six competitors designated prior to this evening with the final surprise entrant revealed as former two-time Impact Tag Team Champion, as one half of The North, Ethan Page. The winner of this match would be crowned after ascending to the top of the ladder and retrieving the literal brass ring suspended above the ring earning him a shot at Darby Allin for the TNT Championship. The closing moments saw Cody and Sky face-to-face at the top of the ladder trading blows. Cody and his battered left shoulder could only hang on for so long as he was dropped to the canvas allowing Scorpio Sky to retrieve the brass ring setting up a title opportunity this Wednesday.

The next segment revealed the “hall of fame worthy” wrestler who would be signing a long term deal with AEW, as alluded to by Paul Wight this past Wednesday. After a countdown on the screen, he was revealed as none other than Christian Cage! Cage made his way to the ring with a contract in hand where he signed it, left it in the center of the ring, and departed.

Street Fight
Sting and Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Ricky Starks
Winners: Sting and Darby Allin via pinfall

Darby Allin had found himself with a target on his back for the past several months following his rejection of the invitation to join Team Taz until he found some backup in the form of the icon Sting. Their rivalry finally came to a head this evening in the form of a street fight at an undisclosed location. The fact this was a “cinematic match” made perfect sense being positioned just before the main event as it allowed the ring crew to set the stage for the Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match. As far as cinematic matches go, this ended up being one of the better efforts I’ve seen. Sting and Allin overcame the numbers game when Powerhouse Hobbs and Hook came to the aid of Cage and Starks as the great equalizers proved to be the signature baseball bat and then a shovel in the hands of Sting. The match reached it’s conclusion as Sting executed the Scorpion Death Drop on Ricky Starks to earn the pinfall.

AEW World Heavyweight Championship Expolding Barbed Wire Death Match
Kenny Omega (c) w/ Don Callis vs. Jon Moxley
Winner: Kenny Omega via pinfall

The main event of the evening saw Jon Moxley attempt to regain his title from Kenny Omega in an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match. In this match the ring ropes were covered with barbed wire rigged with explosives that would be triggered on contact on three sides of the ring and if that weren’t enough, the ring would “explode” if the match reached 30 minutes. Additionally, the referee for the bout was dressed in a flame retardant hazmat suit with a face shield to add to the narrative for the gravity of the situation. This was a bloody, visceral affair that sadly saw its conclusion come with the interference of The Good Brothers who allowed Kenny Omega to gain the upper hand. Omega used this advantage and proceeded to execute a One Winged Angel that broke Moxley’s body over a chair allowing him to secure the pinfall retention of his title. Following the match, Omega, Gallows, and Anderson left Moxley handcuffed in the ring as the timer was displayed in the arena counting down to the detonation of all the remaining explosives. 

As Omega and The Good Brothers exited with Don Callis, Eddie Kingston made his way to the ring to rescue Moxley. In what ended up being a truly comedic moment, that drew an onslaught of boos from the crowd, Kingston covered Moxley (as if to protect him from the imminent explosion) only for sparklers to fire from the ring posts and firecrackers to go off on the ropes - but give credit AEW for putting forth their best effort to sell it as Kingston remained on top of Moxley seemingly rendered unconscious from the “devastating” explosion, the commentary team responded with shock and terror, and the medical team swarmed the ring. Despite this development, it was a solid and entertaining main event to conclude the show minus this blunder.

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