It seems hard to fathom that (if Cagematch is preaching gospel) Huracanrana and I witnessed Aria Blake’s very first professional match. This surprisingly entertaining dark match at Shine 30 in Ybor City featured Blake squaring off a very game Aspyn Rose. Over the next couple years, and seemingly everywhere we went in the Tampa/Orlando wrestling […]


Editor’s Note: While we’ve rightly celebrated a fair number of outstanding athletes and talent on this site, I confess to holding off writing this most overdue spotlight. Specifically, I didn’t even know where to begin in telling the story of arguably the most important woman in the modern wrestling era. Yes, I understand this a […]

ATHLETE APPRECIATION: In Memoriam – Harry “Mr. Fuji” Fujiwara

Editor’s Note: We are thrilled and honored to bring you a touching eulogy via someone who knew Harry Fujiwara well, with Mr. Fuji a central part of his family’s life. It is with privilege and pleasure we both introduce Fuji Vice, likewise share his beautiful thoughts. ********* BY: Fuji Vice First, a short intro. I met Intercontinental Belt […]


When Raymond Rowe called out Shane Taylor at Ring of Honor’s August 2016 Death Before Dishonor in Las Vegas, this challenge was certainly no coincidence. See, Rowe’s miraculous recovery and inspiring story was anything but ordinary. And his recognizance of Shane Taylor’s journey to this point likewise far from happenstance. Simply put: these are two […]


Long on the road to recovery and often overshadowed by highest profile tag team partners, it’s easy to under-appreciate Matt Taven. New Hampshire’s Michael Marinelli remains a core figure in the upper tier, independent wrestling scene, the man of a million moves and throwback 80’s hair. It’s natural to take Matt Taven for granted as […]


The thing about Jonny Vandal is he’s been so good…for so long…and in so many ways…one almost takes it for granted. I did a double take in realizing there wasn’t already an ‘Athlete Appreciation’ on dedicated to this terrific talent. We first spoke of Vandal last August as one of five indy wrestlers you […]

ATHLETE APPRECIATION: Mauro Ranallo Is a Game Changer in the ‘Social Era’

Perhaps the single greatest pro wrestling industry accomplishment of 2015 was the prime time seat for Mauro Ranallo on the WWE Smackdown desk. Yes, a bold statement….but one I can arguably back up. To explain, with WWE facing a television ratings identity crisis plus simultaneous challenge from an array of independent wrestling promotions, Mauro Ranallo […]


The latest Athlete Appreciation takes us literally across the world, to Melbourne, Australia’s Adam Brooks. We didn’t select ‘Brooksy’ by accident. See, Adam Wilmot – at the young age of 24 – is already a recognizable star in his home country. He’s arguably best known for a slew of impressive matches – as an opponent […]