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The Gagne 500!

Jun
26

By Joe Gagne

I remember buying the very first PWI 500 back in 1991 (when Hulk Hogan was #1 and they comically left the Undertaker off the list completely). Basically, they took 500 wrestlers (the vast majority of whom were from the U.S. – David Sammartino finished 1 slot ahead of Mitsuharu Misawa, and Jumbo Tsuruta was 1 spot behind the Yellow Dog, but he did just beat Tim Horner), and ranked them in a kayfabe manner over who was the best. I think I appreciated the scope of it more than anything – I knew all the WWF and WCW wrestlers, and some indy wrestlers I knew of mostly from reading PWI, but the fact 500 wrestlers existed, and someone took the time to rank them and write bios fascinated me. Even when I stopped reading the Apter mags not long after I always tried to track down the PWI 500. It still gets published to this day, and costs about $86 dollars on the newsstands.

There have been fan attempts, most notably the Death Valley Driver 500. I had always thought about doing a list like that, but didn’t think I watched enough wrestling to make a comprehensive list. Remember, back in the day, to see a show from Japan you had to trade tapes or pay $10, if not more. Now, with the likes of Youtube, Daily Motion, Sendspace, MP4’s, and other means, almost any show that happens anywhere can be viewed in about a week, if not live. So given all that…I still don’t watch enough wrestling to make a comprehensive 500. But I can come pretty close.

My approach here was basically to ask: “Who do I most want to see in a match right now?” I’d rather see #9 wrestle more than #10, #5 more than #4, and #1 is the guy I most want to see overall.

Some caveats:

A) This is based on in-ring performance only.
B) I tended to take a “best case scenario” for each wrestler. Tomoaki Honma is a guy who knocks it out of the park when given a high profile singles or tag match, if you only watched him in lower card tag matches where he doesn’t get a chance to shine, you may think his ranking is nuts.
C) There’s obviously a discrepancy in amount of footage for each wrestler. I can see John Cena wrestle 100 times a year easily; for some indie guys it can be tough to track down anything. I tried to watch at least a handful of matches for everyone on the list.
D) No women or mini’s. While there are plenty of both who would deserve being added to an overall 500, I just don’t follow either at the level where I’d be comfortable adding them.
E) Smaller Indies are going to suffer in terms of representation, and that goes for the entire world, not just the U.S. Through the Network and TV, there’s plenty of WWE to watch, lucha is easy to find online, and even not counting iPPV’s on Ustream, a lot of Japanese stuff is available. Indies can get expensive (unless you’re a dirty thief), and I mainly focus on the larger groups. There are also only so many hours in the day to watch wrestling, and indie wrestling is likely the one to get cut. I know there’s a bunch of guys in Europe who should make the cut, but I lack the time and funds to properly rate them. Such is life.
F) I would count tag teams as separate wrestlers, in order to pad the list, and also it’s just fun to think about which teammate is better. In true PWI 500 fashion, tag teams members are usually only a few slots apart.
G) As far as who was included, if I think a person currently injured or on hiatus will wrestle soon, I included them. That’s why CM Punk is here, as I can’t imagine him never wrestling again. I’m also assuming Daniel Bryan comes back close to 100%. The Undertaker is not here, since I get the sense he’s done, and he may only wrestle one more match if he does come back. Evan Bourne is here and fairly high, which may be weird, since he hasn’t wrestled since Obama’s first term, but what can I say? I’m excited to see him wrestle again. Jado may have retired as I type this, but I left him on.
H) Personal biases weigh heavily. Yuji Nagata is likely too high. Don’t care. Kane is probably too low, but I don’t ever want to see him wrestle again so there you go.
I) If I see guys live a lot that also probably affects the rankings.
J) “Just repeat to yourself, it’s just a list, I should really just relax.”

So there you go. Big thanks to The Cubs Fan, Dylan Hales, Alan4L, and Mike Falcone for suggestions, feedback, and finding the embarrassing amount of duplicates in the original list. I had a lot of fun putting this together, but I doubt it’ll be a yearly thing. I could narrow it down to the top 200, which is more manageable, but not nearly as much fun. Anyway, I did it, here it is, enjoy.

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JUSTIN SHAPIRSHOW EPISODE 9 – Dean Dogless

Jun
25

Dog bites man? That’s not news. Man bites dog? That’s one of the darkest, most secluded scandals in the history of Titan Sports. James Kalyn, the point man of the Dean Malenko Eats Dogs exposé of the early 2000s, opens up for the first time ever to revisit the controversy that may have ended Dean Malenko’s career as an active wrestler. James recounts the genesis of his investigation and lays out the facts of the case. He also reveals the adversity he faced at the time for speaking out and the surprising lengths to which some went to silence the inquiry. Then, for the first time in 13 years, the Malenko cold case is reopened to delve into brand new findings unearthed over the last decade Malenko has spent out of the public eye in a management position. It’s the biggest James-Dean cover-up since the 1955 car “accident.” A show so check it out.

To listen to this show, right click to download the mp3 file here. You can add the show to your music player of choice via it’s RSS feed: http://www.thecubsfan.com/cat/justin-shapirshow/feed/ . You can also find us on iTunes.

You can find Justin Shapiro (@jmshapyro) and James Kalyn (@jkalyn) on Twitter, Also, check out the new deanmalenkoatedogs tumblr.

Previous Episodes
8: 30 Talk
7: Royal Pains with Matt Feuerstein
6: Survivor Queries
5: The Biggest Parody of the Summer
4: New York Meets
3: Dwarf Tosser
2: State of the Union of People You Oughta Respect, Shane
1: Survivors Guilt

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LIST ‘EM AND LEARN EPISODE 2: A LOT OF SAND (The Top 10 TV Dramas from 2000-2014)

Jun
24

List ‘Em and Learn is back with a whole beach’s worth of sand. That is, it’s listing the top 10 television dramas from 2000-2014. Matt is joined by Washington D.C.-based standup comedian, Michael Foody to talk about all of the heroes, all of the antiheroes, the mystery, the drama, the laughter, the sadness, the wizards, the lizards, and the gizzards. Which one of the shows features gizzards? Um, how about all of them? Duh? IT’S A GRAND OLE TIME, SO CHECK IT OUT!

NOTE: SOME MINOR SPOILERS FOR BREAKING BAD AND MAD MEN, AND ONE MAJOR SPOILER IF YOU’VE NEVER SEEN THE FIRST SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES!

To listen to this show, right click to download. You can add the show to your music player of choice via it’s RSS feed: http://www.thecubsfan.com/cat/list-em-and-learn-2/feed/ You can also find the show on iTunes (soon.)

You can find Matt (@MayorMGF) and Michael Foody (@michaeljfoody)

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LIST ‘EM AND LEARN Episode 1: “Episode 1” (Part 2)

Jun
03

This exists only to get the RSS/iTunes feed to work right. Same links!

A brand new podcast has been born. That’s what happens when two podcasts mate. In this case, the mommy was Dr. Keith Presents, and the daddy was The Justin Shapirshow. DKP’s Alan4L and The Shapirshow’s Justin Shapiro join their Ne’er-do-well son, Matt Feuerstein, on his new podcast entitled “List ‘Em and Learn.” Every month it’s going to feature a new countdown on various topics, wrestling and otherwise. For this inaugural edition, these three kooks are counting down the top 20 United States-based wrestlers from 2002-2014, based entirely on their in-ring skills. You might say they’re going to list them wrestlers, and hopefully learn a few valuable life lessons along the way. It’s super long, because Alan and Matt each have their own lists, and Justin sends it all up by satirizing the very notion of putting art and artists into some sort of capitalistic competition. IT’S A TWO-PART MAGICAL FREAKIN’ ADVENTURE, SO CHECK IT OUT!!!!!

To listen to this show, right click to download part 1  and part 2. You can add the show to your music player of choice via it’s RSS feed: http://www.thecubsfan.com/cat/justin-shapirshow/feed/ . You can also find us on iTunes.

You can find Justin Shapiro (@jmshapyro), Matt (@MayorMGF) and @Alan4L on Twitter.

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LIST ‘EM AND LEARN Episode 1: “Episode 1” (Part 1)

Jun
03

A brand new podcast has been born. That’s what happens when two podcasts mate. In this case, the mommy was Dr. Keith Presents, and the daddy was The Justin Shapirshow. DKP’s Alan4L and The Shapirshow’s Justin Shapiro join their Ne’er-do-well son, Matt Feuerstein, on his new podcast entitled “List ‘Em and Learn.” Every month it’s going to feature a new countdown on various topics, wrestling and otherwise. For this inaugural edition, these three kooks are counting down the top 20 United States-based wrestlers from 2002-2014, based entirely on their in-ring skills. You might say they’re going to list them wrestlers, and hopefully learn a few valuable life lessons along the way. It’s super long, because Alan and Matt each have their own lists, and Justin sends it all up by satirizing the very notion of putting art and artists into some sort of capitalistic competition. IT’S A TWO-PART MAGICAL FREAKIN’ ADVENTURE, SO CHECK IT OUT!!!!!

To listen to this show, right click to download part 1  and part 2. You can add the show to your music player of choice via it’s RSS feed: http://www.thecubsfan.com/cat/justin-shapirshow/feed/ . You can also find us on iTunes.

You can find Justin Shapiro (@jmshapyro), Matt (@MayorMGF) and @Alan4L on Twitter.

 

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