Friday, February 24, 2023

Immortalized: A Somber Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

This is not the news anyone wants to hear at all. Last night I was checking my social media feed around 7 PM. I noticed things blew up out of DFW indy wrestling scene with posts from the workers and the fans posting hearts while keeping it hush hush. I sensed a bad feeling out of it. I messaged a person from there asking what's going on. That person gave me the news as well not say anything til its out publicly: DFW indy wrestler Jason Silver died. Wait a minute. Jason Silver died? The Immortal who wrestled few days ago over the weekend for Metroplex Wrestling (MPX) on Saturday and Heart of Texas (HOT) on Sunday? The death defying aerial high flyer wrestler who took some of the nastiest bumps I seen live in person and getting up like nothing for almost 12 years throughout various feds is gone? I message another person who is the biggest fan and supporter of DFW indy scene only to confirm the news is true. A huge shock shot over me leaving me an emotional wreck for the rest of the night. Everyone who heard and received the news had the same feeling of disbelief and shock. His death publicly announced around 8:30 leaving ginormous wave of grief and sorrow from wrestlers and fans. It was sudden and unexpected. You never know a person will be here today and gone tomorrow. Life is brutally unfair. Memories and photographs of him poured on social media. It's hard reading a post from Sky de LaCrimosa. They been together as tag team partners under the name The Lost Boys and as well feuding rivals in the ring along being traveling friends throughout the Texas indy wrestling scene for close to 15 years.

Jason Silver is a talented high flyer with no fear. There are so many times he would do insane spots and took hard landings absorbing amounts of pain. Despite taking it he would still get up and walked like he's bulletproof. There's a clip I saw from MPX show where he went for asai moonsault on the outside, but his knees hit part of the tiles from the side ceiling and immediately dropped down head first. It's a miracle he wasn't hurt very badly out of it. Around the workers he would give out advice helping them to improve. Outside the ring, Jason Silver is superb human being taking time with fans after the show to giving out advice of wisdom on his social media page. He was truly one of a kind.

I have so many wonderful memories of Jason Silver in the ring for over a decade from matches to crazy spots and landings as well chatting with him after the show. I still remember the show stealing match in ACW against a returning "Unholy" Gregory James (now known as "The Guttersnake" Izzy James). Every time when he does Spanish Fly move I always called it Complexity because it sounded way much better. The few times I been to MPX show he would be surprise to see me in the crowd. I attended MPX show on day before 2021 WWE Money in the Bank and walked up to him after the show catching him by surprised. I seen him wrestle in singles, tag team, multi-team matches at various feds around the state such as ACW, MPX, Inspire AD, and BOW-ATX/PWX. I seen him evolve from one of the Lost Boys with Sky de LaCrimosa with them feuding with each other as he went on a single run being a Complex Killer. He formed  an unholy union with Gregory James as Unholy Complex winning ACW tag team titles before splitting and feuding with each other. He went on to win multiple championships in feds such as ACW and MPX. I was there when he won Lone Star Classic 2017 tournament and few months later won ACW Heavyweight title. At MPX he reunite with Sky de LaCrimosa reforming The Lost Boys and causing chaos with manager Isaac Maser giving out instructions of in-ring destruction as well becoming The Immortal. The last time I saw him in person was in late August of last year. It was first show of ACW re-boot. I drove up to Austin for the show and happy to see me along rest of the talent who recognize me from years of shows I attended previously. Just like that it came full circle. The first time I saw him in person was at ACW in 2011. Last time I saw him it was ACW in 2022.

Jason Silver you will be forever missed by the workers and the fans around Texas independent wrestling scene. Thank you for providing in-ring and outside the ring memories! You are immortalized and your memory lives on. Remember Lost Boys don't cry. RIP.

Have some matches and highlights of the late Jason Silver

MPX - Jason Silver vs Mike Foxx (casket match)

ACW - Jason Silver vs Jay Serious vs Exodus Prime vs Gabe Wilder

MPX - Jason Silver vs Sku de LaCrimosa

Various Jason Silver vs Barrett Brown matches from various feds. Call it his best in-ring rival

MPX - Jason Silver vs Brent McKenzie
MPX entrance theme

Friday, January 20, 2023

The Night ATX Wrestling Scene Changed

Jerry Lynn, Rachel Summerlyn, and Scot Summers together for one final time
The Austin independent wrestling scene still vibing with soon to be four feds running along the wrestling school in the area. It remains one of hot beds in indy wrestling scene as talent from in and outside the state coming in to work one of the shows. How did they get there? Let's go back to 10 years ago on January 20, 2013 when the scene took its major shift.

Anarchy Championship Wrestling held their flagship ship Guilty by Association 7. A sold out crowd crammed The Mohawk to watch one of final matches of retiring Jerry Lynn who is in his final leg of his retirement tour. He took on "Showtime" Scot Summers in a rematch from Guilty by Association 2 as well previous shows before GBA2. The show highlighted with, in my opinion, the greatest ACW match in history between ACW hardcore champion Matthew Palmer and ACH which I've dubbed the hardcore mat classic. J.T. LaMotta announced after his match against Jason Silver this will be his final year wrestling full time and set his sights against Jimmy Jacobs as his final opponent (note: it didn't end well). ACW TV title match between the late Shawn Vexx and Davey Vega fighting for current ROH women champion Athena affection only for Athena to cash in her no.1 contenders title shot and beat both of them at same to show both of them she's not property and is her own person while becoming TV champion. The schedule match between ACW heavyweight champion Rachel Summerlyn and Darin Childs never happened as former champion Jaykus Plisken jumped Childs before the match and insert himself in the match. Summerlyn would dispatch Plisken. Then the main event between Lynn and Summers as they gave the crowd a finale with Lynn winning. Just when fans think they're getting a happy ending, Evan Gelistico and Gary Jay of Submission Squad ambushed Lynn and Summers with Lynn getting handcuffed to the rope leaving the crowd shocked. Gelistico called out Rachel Summerlyn to put the ACW heavyweight title up immediately or he will kill Lynn. Summerlyn did and within minutes Gelistico pinned Summerlyn to become ACW heavyweight champion in front of a shocked and angry crowd. Gelistco and Jay had fight their way through the crowd on the way to back as fans would sneak in punches to their body. When all is cleared this shot I took turned out be iconic. It's the final time The Godfathers and Godmother of Anarchy appeared together in the ring as they gave their speeches.

Behind scenes was reportedly chaotic before and during show with so many variations tossed around. At the end Rachel Summerlyn left ACW. She would wrestle few more matches before leaving wrestling altogether. Another person to leave ACW after the show is Justin Bissonette citing burn out. I remember watching the DVD of this show after Gelistico won the belt, J.T. LaMotta doing commentary for the match mention the lines of changing landscape in wrestling. He predicted it.

What changed? ACW went another route. The all-out wild brawls still there but they had a different emphasis as certain talent got pushed up as well newer wrestlers popping up. Then came the ACH and Jeff Gant match few months later. The crowd hated it despite being a good match. Many of the local fans pointed to this match on why Inspire Pro (now renamed Inspire AD) formed involving Max Meehan and Justin Bissonette who reluctantly return to wrestling but gave it another go. Inspire ran their first show in July of that year building upon the fed using top talent around the state as well occasional fly-ins. It renew Bissonette interest in wrestling as he always have an eye on talent and been there since. In 2017 Wrestling Circus started up booking big indy wrestling names. Despite the success of their shows it was also their undoing as well having trouble finding a building to run a show. They would shut down then restart before shutting down permanently in 2019. As of this day, Inspire AD and ACW (under new management) still running having to survive the 2020 pandemic year. Also running around Austin is the upstart Infamous Wrestling (run by former ACW referee Donnie Davis) which debut last year. Soon to be starting Borracho Pro (run by a crew of five) with their debut show coming up on February 4.

Change is good and it helped out Austin indy wrestling scene in the long run. During those 10 years in between there are four wrestlers that end up making a mark in the area. Look for it next month.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

My Favorite Kevin Harvick Moment

Kevin Harvick announced he will retire after 2023 NASCAR season marking the end of his 22 year run in Cup with 60 career wins to this date and a NASCAR cup championship. Since his Cup debut in 2001 he had many memorable moments. My favorite moment of him when he won his first career NASCAR cup race.

Before the first race of 2001 season his driving schedule was driving a full season in Busch (now Xfinity) series as well 5 races in Winston Cup for Richard Childress. All that changed after the first race of the season when Dale Earnhardt tragically killed in the final lap of Daytona 500. His Cup season when from 5 races to full time as well doing double duty in the Busch series. He had a difficult task being the driver to replace the Dale Earnhardt at Richard Childress Racing. Can RCR car win a Cup race without Dale? They have won exhibition races without Dale, but no official Cup victory.

When Kevin Harvick took the track for very first time in a Cup car it was at Rockingham driving a white renumbered no. 29 GM Goodwrench sponsor car. He ran a respectable 14th place finish in his first race. The next race at Las Vegas he finished 8th after starting the race in 20th. At Atlanta, he qualified 5th and would muscle his way to the lead at lap 7 leading for 12 laps. He remained in the top 10 throughout the race while Jeff Gordon, Dave Blaney, Dale Jarrett, and Jerry Nadeau swapped leads. Then came final 22 laps as one of best battles for the lead down to the checkers. Nadeau lead the field to the green flag after 4 lap caution flag stint. Behind him is Dale Jarrett, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Jeff Gordon. Nadeau and Jarrett ran 1-2 while Harvick, Earnhardt Jr, and Gordon held back til 10 to go. Harvick made his charge toward Jarrett along with the two behind him. Jarrett would take the lead from Nadeau for a lap then Harvick from 3rd slipped past both Jarrett and Nadeau going three wide and getting them at the line with 5 to go. Nadeau and Jarrett tires went away as Jeff Gordon charged past them. Dale Earnhardt Jr would suffer a blown right front ending his top 5 run and into the pits to change the tire. Harvick lead for the remaining laps holding off a charging Jeff Gordon. He barely beat him to the start/finish line on the lap side-by-side to take his first career victory also the first for RCR since Dale Earnhardt died. Even when I watch the finish to this day I still lose it in happy tears. It was a sign things will be okay for RCR. Dale Earnhardt can never be replaced. There are hungry drivers that will take to the track. Even I don't watch or follow NASCAR that much I still respect Kevin Harvick through the years driving the 29 car for RCR to the 4 car at Stewart-Haas Racing. He's always in contention for a victory during the season. Thank you Kevin Harvick for those moments.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Merry Christmas (and long overdue Houston Astros 2022 World Series champs post)

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone! This is a much long overdue post of 2022 World Series champions Houston Astros. Why would I post something that happened six weeks ago? I tried to put words in it, but it kept going blank. The truth is, I couldn't put words into a fan's ecstasy of his favorite team winning the World Series. When I take a look at this team you can never ever count them out ever. Astros are already driven by opposition dislike that they channel it into motivation. Whatever adversary comes at them they tackled it head on finding ways to fill in the gaps. It started before the season when Carlos Correa left in free agency. Team plugged rookie Jeremy Pena in his spot. Very quickly he made fans forget about losing Correa as he went to have amazing rookie season from the start of the season to the end of the World Series netting himself Rookie of the Year and World Series MVP. Team's ace Justin Verlander, coming from TJ surgery and being out for a year and half season, quieted doubters as he never lost a step on the mound leading the league ERA and winning Cy Young award. Alex Bregman started the season off slow, but bounce back in the middle of the season end in a solid high note. Offensive contributor Michael Brantley was lost for the entire season for a shoulder injury during the middle of the season. The team worked their way around with Chas McCormick filling in his spot in left field while Yordan Alvarez is plugged in DH role. Speaking of Yordan, he and Kyle Tucker provided 1-2 punch in the lineup. Jose Altuve went on a huge slump during the playoffs only to break out of it at right time at game 4 of ALCS against New York Yankees. When Yulieski Gurriel got hurt and pulled from the game 5 of World Series due to injury, Trey Mancini, who the Astros picked up around the trade deadline, filled in for him at first base. He made, not only, inning ending, but one of game saving plays snagging a line drive off Kyle Schwarber preventing potential runs from scoring. That same game in the bottom of the 9th inning, another game-saving play made when Chas McCormick (who took over injured Michael Brantley spot during middle of the year) caught a deep fly ball from J.T. Realmuto ending potential threat from the Phillies. There's the pitching as they formed a solid starting rotation core with Framber Valdez breaking out on his own along Christian Javier, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy. Speaking of Christian Javier he started both of the team's combined no-hitter games this season. This despite not having starter Lance McCullers, Jr. for most of the season due to injury. When McCullers returned he pitched decent in 8 starts. The middle relief no longer became questionable with the core of Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, Ryne Stanek, and Hector Neris holding the lead before turning it over to Ryan Pressly closing it out. The team proved naysayers wrong and became a case of be careful what you wish for or you might get it. When Yankees fans chanted on wanting the Astros in ALCS, they swept them badly. When Yankees manager Aaron Boone complained about the roof being open at Minute Maid Park causing a potential homerun to become fly out, Chas McCormick and Jeremy Pena hit a homerun in the open air confines of Yankees Stadium. Phillies fans, not only demanded Astros in the World Series, but poke the bear going after Astros super fan and philanthropist Mattress Mack. Astros responded with three straight series clinching wins as well combined no-hitting the Phillies. It's fitting the one of final runs Astros scored in the season when Yordan Alvarez turned Jose Alvarado into Mitch Williams sending a 3-run 450 feet homerun shot into center field of Minute Maid Park to give them the lead for good. Astros World Series championship gave them redemption and manager Dusty Baker a long overdue World Series ring as manager. Was this a magical season for the Astros? It's too easy say that. I will say this Astros season started with driven motivation for being branded the "bad guys" with some bad breaks in between and ended with Kirk Cousins-esence "You like that?!" moment.

After six weeks I finally puts words into this. How? I received my Christmas presents and I felt that ecstatic joy once the second the ball hit the glove for the final out of 2022 season clinching World Series championship.

I love having championship gear of my favorite team. Not pictured is the 10-card Topps Now Astros World Series set. Here to the 2022 World Series champions the Houston Astros!

May be an image of 2 people

As of this posting the team will be missing few players from the championship through free agency like Verlander, Aledmys Diaz, and Trey Mancini, as well searching for GM. They might not re-sign Yulieski who is a free agent. They re-signed Rafael Montero and kept all their coaches. For the team's first big free agency move they signed Jose Abreu. Meanwhile, former Astro Carlos Correa, who gambled on himself after a season with Twins, find his signing with New York Mets in potential limbo because of concerns from his physical.

Friday, December 16, 2022

10 Years in the Making

When 2012 Allen & Ginter came out I went to the local card shop and bought the hobby box on the day it got released. Months followed with me buying up blaster boxes trying complete the set to the point I was getting repeats that I don't need to buy blasters and going after singles. Like almost every set I tried to build I stop then start again later years later. 2012 Allen & Ginter is no different as I would buy singles once in a while throughout the years. Then in a collector moment I would forget to update the checklist database and end up re-buying some of those singles. After realizing I just need less than 10 cards I made it my mission to complete the set. One of the cards was Bobby Hurley, Sr. that took me a while track down despite not being a short-print. After that I just needed two cards and one of them was kinda biggie: Derek Jeter and Mike Trout. Jeter is no problem as I picked one up for a $1. Then there's the Trout card that commands spending big bucks. If you want track one down on Ebay expect to spend $15-$20 and its not even his rookie card. Luckily there was one seller with a buy now price of $10. I jumped on it quickly and now I have wait for the cards to come in the mail to make the set officially complete. Then it came:

And boom there it is. The 2012 Allen & Ginter set finally complete as it took me ten years to finish it. With one set done time to see what other sets I need to complete and there's alot of it in my collection.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Topps Caught With Their Hand in a Cookie Jar

Topps quality control took another huge hit. On late Friday afternoon Topps issued a press release on social media on authenticity of Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena autographs from this year's Topps Definitive set. They came to "conclusion" both are fakes and those who pulled the card will be getting a replacement box of 2022 Topps Definitive and a replacement card to go along with it. It made me go what happen to their quality control and how did it get passed? Topps must have known, but decide to pass the product on the consumers hoping no one will know. The consumer will know and they will find out harder it turns out to be a fake. Reading the comments section on one of a social media sties there's one that stuck out. A collector/fan called Topps out on F1 driver Lando Norris autos being fake. The fan met Lando and showed him the card. Lando said he didn't sign it. It's highly potential it might be widespread but refuse to admit it. Topps blamed the process on covid protocols, but its not a good excuse especially when collectors and consumers are shelling over hundreds of dollars on sport card products. It didn't help when the back of Topps autograph card said all signed cards are witness by a Topps representative. So far its been proven to be false. Want to know how much a box of 2022 Topps Definitive cost? $2,000-$2,500. Imagine spending that much only to get pull a card with fake autographs. Might be forced to go over my collection over the weekend and question any autographs I pulled from Topps are legit especially the past two years. Not a great look for Topps.

For those who want a look at questionable card its this:

It can immediately tell its a horrible fake. In fact, I got Randy Arozarena signed in person at minor league game in 2017.

Yep way off from Topps. For those who don't want to spend digging through Topps social media for the press release here it is:

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Re-living My Youth Through Music

Getting old sucks. Settings, tastes, trends, and excuses changed, body parts don't work the way it used to, things I used to enjoy no longer enjoyable, and daily life is ever-changing so quick in a nanosecond I can't keep up fast enough. No matter how hard I look forward I go back into those reflective days of "Yeah things were better way back then." Music is no different. I still have my CD album collection and once in a while I would pop one in to listen wondering if it still sounds good to this day. When tickets to Everclear 30th Anniversary tour went on sale last month I immediately bought a ticket to it. Funny thing I never owned Everclear album to this day, but I remember their songs of Santa Monica, Everything to Everyone, and A.M. Radio. Their songs were played on the radio or MTV's dying years of music videos. I'm sure we all heard at least a song from them once. Supporting them are The Nixons, who I remember for their hit song Sister, and Fastball, who I will remember for The Way as well owning their debut album All the Pain Money Can Buy. I grew up in the 90s heyday of alternative rock. Time to re-live their music live in person.

The day of the show was on Tuesday in Odessa. On the day of the show the city of Odessa hit with a disaster when a main water line broke leaving the city with no water for a good two days. The concert was in limbo til the venue announced in the afternoon it will go on. Off to The Ector Theatre I go. When I got there I realize most of the crowd were like me: mid-30s to their 50s. Even few brought their teenage kids to the show. Can't beat re-living the music you grew up to and have your next generation kin enjoy it.

The Nixons started out with a 30 minute set which included Baton Rouge, their new single Kaleidoscope, cover of Elton John's Rocket Man, and finishing with their big hit Sister. Met the band after their set while Fastball was setting up theirs. Purchased their newest EP album Kaleidoscope and got three of the four members to sign the sleeve as well getting my picture taken with guitarist Jesse Davis.

Up next is Fastball and they started with Fire Escape. They were way off on the song but built back up and played well on the remaining set with Outta of My Head, You're An Ocean, and The Way. Tony Scalzo looked impressive playing the guitar. Their set ended with a cover of Z.Z. Top - Thunderbird.

Then the main band of the show Everclear. Only founder and singer Art Alexakis is the original member of the current incarnation of the group. I got in the pit and up close before their set started. They came on playing their hits as how it should be. Got the groove and getting lost in their music rocking, moshing, swaying, jumping, and dancing with a random woman. The set ended with their breakthrough hit Santa Monica.

I had a fun time and for a few hours I feel very young and wonderful again. The next day I go back to reality and watch the world die. Yeah.

Enjoy the video footage I shot. Yeah.