Week in Wrestling: Big Show’s plans for Wrestlemania and retirement

Wednesday March 15th, 2017

SI.com’s Week in Wrestling is published every Wednesday and provides beneath the surface coverage of the business of pro wrestling. This edition includes The Big Show discussing his feud with Shaquille O’Neal; Christopher Daniels explains the significance of winning the Ring of Honor world championship; the Nitro Files with Eric Bischoff; Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake sharing memories of the late “Outlaw” Ron Bass; and Five Questions with independent wrestling sensation Joey Janela.

The Big Show on Kenny Omega, Shaq, & the Jetsons

Courtesy of WWE

The Big Show is one of the longest-tenured active stars in professional wrestling. He debuted in WCW in 1995 as part of the Dungeon of Doom faction, and became the youngest man to win the WCW world title at the age of 23. Billed as The Giant, Big Show was a two-time WCW world champion before jumping to WWE in 1999 during the “Monday Night Wars” between WWE and WCW. Show announced to SI.com that he does not plan on further competing once his current contract expires in February of 2018, and also shared his plans for his future in animated cartoons.

The Big Show has bridged the gap by wrestling every major star in wrestling over the past twenty years. One man he has yet to lock up with is New Japan’s Kenny Omega, though Big Show did want to extend his gratitude to Omega.

Omega posted some complimentary comments after the Big Show main-evented Raw against Braun Strowman, and Big Show appreciated the kind words.

“Thank you, Kenny,” said Show. “That was a very cool comment about the chain wrestling, and I really appreciate it.”

Big Show often jokes that he has three moves—a headbutt, a chop, and a chokeslam—but he has quietly evolved as a wrestler over the past twenty years. Nevertheless, his size often calls for a certain caliber of match.

“The toughest problem for us as giants is finding someone that we can work with and wrestle,” said Big Show. “We all know wristlocks and hammerlocks and headlock takeovers and hip tosses—we learned all that in training school just like everybody else, because you need to learn it in order to give it. But, at the same time, as far as your character goes, it’s very hard to find someone to do that with where it makes sense. I could go out there and do headlock takeovers with Neville or Rich Swann and they could do it with me, but it doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t fit with how my character is portrayed.

“With Braun, we got a unique opportunity to showcase the fact that, yes, big guys can wrestle. I did it years ago with Kane in one of our first matches. We were two bigger guys of equal caliber, so it was easier to show that.”

Big Show, who is 45-year-old Paul Wight, had planned on wrestling in a high-profile match with Shaquille O’Neal at WrestleMania 33.

“Shaq can even have Kobe Bryant for back up,” said Big Show. “If Shaq gets Kobe, I’ll get Charles Barkley—and Charles Barkley will beat them both up.”

Big Show was officially announced on Raw this Monday as part of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, effectively ending any speculation that Show will be wrestling Shaq.

“I want to do this match,” said Big Show. “It certainly isn’t on me. I’m serious and dedicated. Whether Shaq has other obligations or business, that’s on him. As far as I know, we’re still trying to make Princess Shaq happy so we can move forward with the match at WrestleMania. I have a lot of respect for Shaq. He’s one of the greatest NBA centers of all time. But here’s the thing, and I say this with all humility, I’m one of the greatest big men ever in the WWE.

“I’m giving Shaq the opportunity to showcase himself at our biggest event of the year. He is an entertainer and he is an attraction, and he is a heck of an athlete. But he’s hemming and hawing saying it’s somebody else’s fault. If you want to do this, come do this. This is something where Shaq saw how great of shape I was in, and he decided to back out. That’s a personal thing on Shaq.”

Extra Mustard
Big Show says out-of-shape Shaq to blame for cancellation of Wrestlemania match

Big Show also has an exciting opportunity in the world of animation, as he stars in Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s newest WWE release, The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania.

“It’s a project that was brought to me by Michael Luisi, who is the head of WWE Studios,” said Big Show. “I’d told him I wanted to do some animation, and I thought I was maybe going to get a small part. Instead, he brought me the lead Jetsons cartoon, which is really amazing. It’s an iconic cartoon, and I was a big fan of the Jetsons as a kid growing up, and this is a cool story with The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania.

“I basically get frozen in a blizzard, get found by George Jetson, and then get thawed out in the future. I’m adjusting to life in the future, almost as a fish out of water, with moving sidewalks and robot maids, and I lose my mind when I find out the wrestling in the future is all done by robots. They’re very polite, and there are no longer any superstars with blood, sweat, and tears. I end up freaking out, stealing the controls, and building my own Destructo-bot.”

“I end up taking over Orbit City,” Show continued. “George Jetson is going to get in trouble for all this, so he ends up going back in time, recruiting some superstars from my time—Seth Rollins, The Uso’s, Alicia Fox, Dolph Ziggler, and Sheamus, who was the world champion at the time—to come back to the future and stop the maniacal, evil Big Show who has turned Orbit City into the Big Show City. It’s a pretty cool concept, there are some good moral stories in there, and it’s funny. Seth Rollins is absolutely hysterical, and Dolph does a really good job with it, too.”

Big Show has bridged the generational gap and has either witnessed or offers first-hand experience of every major event in the wrestling business for the past two decades. He was asked his opinion of the decision to headline WrestleMania 33 with Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar instead of two of the full-time talents who are on the road working year-round.

“WrestleMania is one of those events where you want to put the most different, most extravagant, most exotic show you can out there,” said Big Show. “That’s what separates WrestleMania from every other pay per view. Also, I got a spot to headline WrestleMania after I’d been off for a year in 2007 when I had the opportunity to work with Floyd Mayweather. For me to knock the guys who aren’t on the road all the time and come in and main event a WrestleMania would be a tad bit hypocritical.”

Big Show explained that since WrestleMania is touted as “The Showcase of Immortals,” the card should be handled differently from any other show.

“Bill Goldberg is fresh,” said Big Show. “People haven’t seen him in a while. People still react to him, and he still brings something to the table. He’s fighting one heck of an opponent in Brock Lesnar. That match is going to be a pretty big deal. Brock Lesnar is a guy who doesn’t do a lot of live events, doesn’t do a lot of house shows, but every time he steps in the ring, it has a big fight feel. That’s what you want in a big draw.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing that you’re not on TV all the time. Sometimes, it makes you more of an attraction and helps you draw. That’s no disrespect to the guys who work on the road all the time. We all know those guys are the horses. They’re doing the live events, they’re doing the tours, and I’m out there with them. On one hand, yes, it should go to the guys who work all the time. But on the other hand, you’ve got to give the fans the best you can give them. Sometimes, that’s guys you don’t see all the time or even a surprise. Look at what makes every Royal Rumble so exciting—it’s the surprise entries. What superstar re-signed with the company? Is it RVD? Who is coming in for a big pop?”

Courtesy of WWE

As for the future, Big Show revealed that he will no longer be wrestling after his contract expires in February of 2018.

“No last matches, no fanfare, just ride off into the sunset and disappear,” said Big Show. “That’s more my style. I’ll find something else to do that is inspiring—and let these new kids take the business and the reigns and let them build the future. I wish them all luck. Everything changes. We’ve got a great group of talent that deserves the spotlight.

“I may work in some sort of ambassador capacity for WWE. I’m going to try to pursue a course with this Jetsons cartoon. I’ve pestered Seth Green, who is like the cartoon king, to get me some more cartoons. I’ll try to do some more films, and that’s my transition. I’ve had a great career and I’m really thankful for everyone I’ve worked with, but everything comes to an end.”

News of the Week

Courtesy of Ring of Honor

Christopher Daniels fulfilled his wrestling destiny and won the Ring of Honor world championship this past Friday in Las Vegas at ROH’s 15th Anniversary show.

Daniels defeated Adam Cole in just over 21-minutes after delivering three straight of his signature Best Moonsault Ever maneuvers.

“Adam is the first three-time world champion, and he’s never been handed the belt,” said Daniels. “He earned those championships, and he’s worked for and earned everything he’s had. In the end, he just never had that hunger like I had that hunger for this championship. That drive and fire inside of me was the edge I had in our match.”

The Ring of Honor forefathers—Daniel Bryan, Low Ki, and Daniels, who were all in the main event of the first-ever ROH show in 2002—have now all had a chance to wear the world title, though Daniels’ achievement was fourteen years in the making.

“I’m happy to shed the title of ‘The Best Who Never Held It,’” said Daniels. “The way I’m perceived now is forever changed. I’d resigned myself to the idea that I might not get it, and I said I’d be OK with that. Success is gauged by my ability to feed my family and provide, but just to have this title in my hands, I realized I would have been lying to myself—I wouldn’t have been OK if I didn’t win it.”

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3_Y1HluT3A]

Later in the evening, as Daniels laid awake in bed with the echoes of the cheers and congratulations ringing in his head, he realized that attempting to sleep was a wasted pursuit.

“I went to bed at one in the morning and woke up at three,” said Daniels. “I just sat in bed and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I ended up going downstairs in the hotel and finding a blackjack table with our referee, Todd Sinclair, who at that point was up $5,000. I played an hour of blackjack, broke dead even, but I still couldn’t go back to sleep.”

There was also a parallel between Daniels’ title win that connected with the coronation of Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 30. The WWE creative plan was never to give Bryan the belt at ‘Mania, or even have him headline the show, but he was thrust into that spot after CM Punk abruptly left the company and crowd cheers were too robust to tune out. Daniels won the world title from Cole, who had dropped the belt to Kyle O’Reilly at Final Battle in December. All signs pointed to a prolonged run as champ for O’Reilly, but there were disputes over his contract and he left the company after losing the belt back to Cole.

Daniels was asked if there was any connective tissue between the ways he and Bryan both captured the world title.

“Possibly,” noted Daniels. “I think a lot of seeds were planted, inadvertently, at ‘Ladder War’ in September. There was a reaction from the last promo I cut before ‘Ladder War’, and then what I did in ‘Ladder War’. People respond to hard work, and just speaking my mind and my heart touched a nerve in people. Seeing what I did, and what I was willing to do, in ‘Ladder War’, again, touched that nerve. People gained a newer level of respect for me, and all those circumstances—Kyle O’Reilly losing the championship in Japan, and the opportunity that arose—showed that wrestling is a strange beast and things happen out of the control of all of us. All of a sudden, you have these opportunities that three months or six months before, you never envisioned.”

There were shades of Diamond Dallas Page turning on the NWO in 1997 when Frankie Kazarian double-crossed the Bullet Club to help Daniels win the Ring of Honor title from Cole and put a rare dent in the vaunted Club.

“I feel real fortunate that we came up with the game plan,” said Daniels. “It’s hard, in 2017, to catch folks unaware. I feel like we did a really good job of it, and I credit that to all the guys involved and the crew behind the scenes laying stuff out in a manner that was creative and keeping the twists and turns under the hat until the right time.”

Courtesy of Ring of Honor

Daniels is now the face of Ring of Honor, and he has his hands full with upcoming title shots to Jay Lethal, Frankie Kazarian, and Matt Taven, as well as a date on April 1 at Supercard of Honor XI in Lakeland, Fla., against Dalton Castle.

“That’s a daunting task, as Dalton is at the forefront of the hot, young stars of Ring of Honor,” said Daniels. “But I’m thankful to be in this position because of the Ring of Honor fan base. They’re the reason why we’ve built our reputation as the best wrestling in the world.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for people supporting me and letting me know that they appreciate what I’m doing. I’m going to pay people back for that by giving you the best I can. That’s the contract between the wrestler and the fans, and I will continue to show up one-hundred percent invested and give the absolute best I’ve got.”

***

Mick Foley delivered his finest moment as Raw GM this past Monday.

Foley’s attempt at firing Stephanie McMahon led to a compelling verbal confrontation with Triple H. Foley is a far different speaker now than he was during his days as Cactus Jack or Mankind, but he has been transcendent on the microphone throughout his entire career, and he was able to succeed on Monday in a major way by building sympathy for Seth Rollins.

Rollins received genuine admiration from the crowd when he attacked Triple H, which is the first time he has generated those feelings since his return last May. Foley continues to enhance talent, and Rollins is a key cog for WWE—he should be a main event star for the next five years, but he was in desperate need of some momentum.

The next GM of Raw has big shoes to fill.

In other news…

• Shawn Michaels returned to Raw on Monday. The “Heartbreak Kid” did his best to give a rub to Roman Reigns, but Michaels received boos from the crowd in Detroit when he stated that he was on Roman’s side. The inevitable Reigns heel turn has to be coming, especially considering the current creative plan is for Reigns to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

• Shane McMahon’s certainly adds excitement to the WWE product, but it is perplexing that the company is eschewing a chance to build a new star here in a match at WrestleMania with AJ Styles. The answer as to why McMahon is in this role is answered, as always, if you follow the money toward an exorbitant WrestleMania pay day.

Jim Ross was asked his opinion on whether the Hardys should return to WWE.

“Matt and Jeff have built a great business for themselves,” said Ross. “They need to be careful. They know what’s out there, they know what’s available. They need an understanding with Vince on how they’re going to be used, and they’ve got to have that meeting in-person to converse with Vince. It can be done, I’ve seen it happen. Now, WWE is not going to blow-up their model to sign anybody, not even Matt and Jeff.

“If they’re looking at their legacy and brand, that tenure in WWE to make their brand hot is a really fascinating opportunity. This is their best option. Monitor their dates, use them as commodities. The WWE tag team division needs a shot in the arm, so I think WWE is their best bet. They would significantly help either Raw or Smackdown.”

• An interesting way to follow the intensifying battle between the Hardys and Impact Wrestling is through the Twitter page of Reby Hardy, who is the wife of Matt Hardy. Impact’s new management, including Jeff Jarrett, were not fans of the Hardys’ “Broken Universe,” yet still do not want the Hardys to use the “Broken” gimmick without compensation in return. The Hardys, rightfully so, are livid, and Reby took to Twitter last week to express her frustration. The battle over the “Broken” gimmick is particularly compelling because it would be a devastating blow to Matt and Jeff Hardy to lose the gimmick after building considerable interest in it.

• The Young Bucks, once again, stole the show at a Ring of Honor pay per view this past weekend. Originally scheduled as a “Las Vegas Street Fight” title defense against the extremely underrated Roppongi Vice, the match was thrown into disarray when the Hardys won the ROH tag titles the week prior in Manhattan. The tag team match then became a three-way street fight, and it did not disappoint. The Hardys and Bucks are now scheduled for a ladder match at their dream encounter during WrestleMania weekend, which will surpass, by far, any other tag match during WrestleMania 33.

• Daniel Bryan always kicks The Miz into high gear. Bryan and Miz went back-and-forth last week on Talking Smack, and engaging with The Miz in a word of words is akin to invading Russia in the winter. Clearly, for The Miz, his gift with the spoken word is in his genes, and this WWE-produced video brilliantly captured the personality of The Miz and his parents:

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5xCjLHhLUU​]

Colt Cabana provided an incredible soundtrack with his color commentary during Ring of Honor’s 15th Anniversary pay per view. Cabana, who is a talented wrestler and a tremendous host of the Art of Wrestling podcast, added humor, insight, and meaning to the pay per view:

“For me, I just called it like I saw it,” said Cabana. “Years of podcasting have definitely helped me become a better communicator, but it’s not hard when it’s something you know. Ian Riccaboni told me he was impressed with the homework I did and I laughed to myself knowing I didn’t do any homework. I’ve lived it.”

• Although March Madness is currently the rage in the United States, the 2017 New Japan Cup tournament is also in full force—and the tourney already saw its first major upset, as Kenny Omega was bounced in the opening round in a fantastic match with Tomohiro Ishii. The winner of the New Japan Cup receives a shot at the world title, which Tetsuya Naito capitalized on last year to defeat Kazuchika Okada and win the IWGP championship. While many expected Omega to win it all in 2017, the storyline from Wrestle Kingdom—when Omega devastated his opponent but could not deliver his famed One-Winged Angel finisher—also came into play against Ishii. Watching Omega’s evolution from pure villain to tweener has been a fascinating process.

New Japan World is airing a free match every Monday with English commentary from Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero, and this week’s viewing is a classic encounter between Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto in the finals of last year’s New Japan Cup.

“This was a crucial match for both Goto and Naito,” said Kelly. “A win gave each man what they wanted… a shot at Okada and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Goto has shown a great ability to put tremendous disappointment behind him while Naito always appears as if nothing bothers or phases him.”

Kelly and Romero return to Japan for a live call of the 2017 New Japan Cup finals on March 20, and Kelly reflected back upon how much significance this match between Goto and Naito held over the next ten months.

“This match was the catalyst for two of the bigger stories within NJPW in 2016 with Goto joining CHAOS and Naito winning the title from Okada at Invasion Attack,” said Kelly. “It’s an entertaining bout with plenty of Los Ingobernables de Japon involvement.”

You can watch the match here. 

• Coming attractions: SI.com’s feature with Paul “Triple H” Levesque will run on Monday, March 27.

The Nitro Files: WCW Did Not Recruit Shawn Michaels

Courtesy of WWE

The Nitro Files with Eric Bischoff will delve into a moment from WCW’s Monday Nitro era. Bischoff—who was the president of WCW during the company’s most successful years—also hosts his weekly “Bischoff on Wrestling” podcast with 120 Sports’ Nick Hausman, and plans on proving every week in the Nitro Files that the truth is out there.

While Eric Bischoff was the president of WCW, he never had any direct contact with Vince McMahon.

Yes, there was plenty of litigation between McMahon and WCW, but the closest they ever came to actually meeting, face to face, happened in Las Vegas.

“The closest we ever got to a direct connection was at a NAPTE Television Conference in Las Vegas,” shared Bischoff. “Somebody on our team, and I’m not going to name names at this stage in my career, knew the hotel resort where Vince was staying. This person was able to get on the phone and change his reservation. When Vince checked in, the room wasn’t available. That’s the closest we came to communication, and that was just a rib.”

Bischoff has never admitted to McMahon that he was behind the prank.

“I’ve never even acknowledged it until this interview,” said Bischoff.

Shawn Michaels was another talent that Bischoff never recruited. The “Heartbreak Kid” will be on the Bischoff on Wrestling podcast that drops tonight at 6 p.m. ET. Bischoff confirmed that Michaels was never going to WCW.

“Never,” repeated Bischoff. “I’m anxious to hear Shawn’s take on all of this. I’ve heard the urban narrative for 20-some odd years now about how I was aggressively trying to acquire WWE talent. None of it is true. The talent that became available—whether it was Gene Okerlund or Bobby Heenan or Scott Hall or Kevin Nash, or anybody else that was, quote-unquote, a WWE guy—they came to me. Whether they came to a third party like ‘Diamond’ Dallas Page or Hulk Hogan, those people came to me. I never went to them. It’s a completely false narrative that was established 20 years ago when the WWE was trying to justify how they were getting their asses kicked.”

The relationship between Bischoff and Michaels dates back to their days in AWA, which will also be discussed on Bischoff’s podcast.

“Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, the Midnight Rockers, were a tag team main event in one of the very first shows I ever promoted for Verne Gagne in the AWA,” said Bischoff. “While I knew Shawn, I certainly didn’t ever have a strong relationship with him. “It will be interesting to hear Shawn tell that side of the story.”

Struttin’ and Cuttin’ with Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake

Courtesy of WWE

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake shared memories of working with the late “Outlaw” Ron Bass, as well as the history behind their feud.

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was saddened to learn of the death of “The Outlaw” Ron Bass, who passed away last week at the age of 68.

“Ron was a real good guy,” said Beefcake. “I met him in 1977 in Tennessee, and one of my first matches there was against him on TV. Ron was always a real nice guy, one of the boys, and a professional.”

Beefcake and Bass teamed up for a memorable old-school storyline between a force of evil battling a force of good. Bass lacerated Beefcake’s head with his spurs, named Bart and Bret, on an episode of Superstars of Wrestling, which caused Beefcake to miss his heavily promoted match for the Intercontinental championship against the Honky Tonk Man at SummerSlam 1988.

“I got my head lacerated, and that whole angle with Ron Bass happened because of the Ultimate Warrior,” explained Beefcake. “The Ultimate Warrior threw a tantrum and made Vince McMahon change that whole SummerSlam pay per view. I was supposed to beat Honky Tonk Man and win the Intercontinental belt. That was set up for six months coming – then, at the last minute, they had to change it. At the end of the day, I was pissed.

“They came up with this story between me and Ron Bass, which worked out pretty good. I got my revenge in Tampa and shaved his head on Saturday Night’s Main Event. I wasn’t really happy about not getting the belt, but I did my best to turn a negative into a positive. It was always a pleasure to work with Ron Bass.”

Beefcake is working on an autobiography that should be out by this summer. People can find the yet-to-be-named book on www.BrutusBeefcake.com.

Known outside the ring as 59-year-old Edward Leslie, Beefcake also earned the nickname “The Barber” and shared the story of how that transformation occurred.

“It happened after WrestleMania III,” said Beefcake. “Roddy Piper had a hair match with Adrian Adonis, and I shaved Adrian’s head at the end of the match. Since I’d helped Roddy win the match, he handed me the shears to shave Adrian’s hair. I had no idea that any of this barber crap was going to happen. I wasn’t really happy about it. I’d just spent three years making Brutus Beefcake red hot, so why would I want to change it? And why would I want to be a barber? That was another negative that ended up turning into a huge positive.”

Exclusive Lucha Underground clip

Lucha Underground, which is available on iTunes, is on its mid-season break for Season 3, but as of today, Seasons 1 and 2 have been added to Netflix.

Something to Wrestle with Conrad Thompson

Courtesy of Conrad Thompson

Conrad Thompson and Bruce Prichard return to the MLW airwaves this Friday at noon for the “Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard” podcast discussing the legendary “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

“I’m excited to talk about Roddy Piper for a few reasons,” said Thompson. “Roddy had a close, personal relationship with Bruce. They remained really good friends through Roddy’s death. They were actually planning to do some shows together, like a two-man comedy tour. We’ll discuss a lot of fun stories away from the ring that will cover Roddy Piper the man, as well what happened on-screen, but we’ll really focus on the man behind the character.”

With WrestleMania 33 on the horizon, Thompson was asked to break down and analyze his top five matches in WrestleMania history. Thompson listed his favorite match of all-time as theWrestleMania 13 encounter between Bret “The Hitman” Hart and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

“My absolute favorite WrestleMania match ever is the match between Stone Cold and Bret Hart,” said Thompson. “I saw a pay per view with my daughter last April in the same arena at the old Rosemont Horizon, and I remember looking up and seeing the wood ceiling. Being in the same arena, even 19 years later, was awesome. I wore the tape out on that one. It was the best double-turn ever.”

The match opened with a babyface Hart and villain Austin, but thanks to the skill of the two men executing in the ring, finished with reversed roles as Hart went onto to become the company’s top heel while Austin brought WWE to unforeseen heights as its top star. The match served as the trigger that ignited WWE’s “Attitude Era.”

“Ken Shamrock also made his debut as the special guest referee, and this was at a time when WCW was just destroying them,” said Thompson. “All the plans were out the window because this was supposed to be Bret versus Shawn Michaels, and now you’re having a submission match with a guy who doesn’t even have a submission hold in ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. Yet they found a way to make it entertaining, brawling around the building and through the crowd, and still finished with a submission. It’s a testament to the commitment of excellence of Steve Austin and Bret Hart. It’s a great story, a great match, and the blood really added to the story. Austin never quit, his body quit on him, and what a great way to make him a badass babyface.”

Five Questions with… Joey Janela

Courtesy of Chris Grasso

Joey Janela is bringing spring break to Orlando. Joey Janela’s “Spring Break” is live from the Orlando Events Center at midnight on Thursday, March 30. Janela, the 27-year-old popular indie wrestler, is showing off his brand of wrestling—with a card that includes Matt Riddle, Dan Severn, and Marty Jannetty—live on FloSlam to kick off WrestleMania weekend.

SI.com: Who is the “Bad Boy” Joey Janela?

Janela: The Bad Boy is a mix of things. He could be a downright 80’s flick slime-ball or an action hero. I don’t know, I leave it to the people to decide how they perceive me, but what you get is a result of 11 years of hard work. I’m only getting started.

SI.com: You are facing off against Marty Jannetty. How did the match come together? And will there be a barber-glass shop window anywhere near ringside?

Janela: I’ve had run-ins with Marty before outside the ring. I started a joke “Go Fund” me that picked up some viral steam in 2016 as a fundraiser to work against Marty in my backyard during a BBQ – who knew, six months later, I’d be wrestling him at a self-titled show-experiment—Joey Janela’s Spring Break—on the grandest weekend of them all? Marty is Marty, and people are still talking about him in 2017. The real question is, does Marty have one more match in him?

SI.com: The Spring Break card also features Matt Riddle, Dan “The Beast” Severn, Earl Hebner, Dink the Clown, Impact Wrestling’s Braxton Sutter and Allie, and even Glacier from WCW. What do you have in store for people watching?

Janela: A bit of the best nostalgia you’ve ever seen, a bit of the craziest spots you’ve ever seen, a bit of the best wrestling you’ve ever seen, and a bit of the best surprises you’ve ever seen. I want social media to explode.

Wrestling has changed a lot, so can we do something completely in the opposite direction of the normal? Absolutely. I want to make this a yearly tradition. Game Changer Wrestling has given me the platform, and they are really different from everything right now, they are on the way up even if they are too much of a crazy product for some, this partnership for WWN More than Mania just works.

SI.com: You compete all over the country, including for Beyond Wrestling. This Sunday’s show, Seven Years of Bad Luck, has you and Penelope Ford—together known as Janelope—facing off against Danny “Mafia” Maff and Steve “Monsta” Mack of Da Hit Squad. How do you plan to walk away victorious in a match against such ferocious opponents?

Janela: Sorry to say this, but Da Hit Squad is old. I will just have Penelope blow them up with her speed until they are huffing and puffing and they have to join the oxygen club. It’s that easy. I’ve wrestled them both before, Penelope is in a new element but she will steal the show as well as steal the audience’s heart.

SI.com: What is the match you are most looking forward to watching at WrestleMania 33?

Janela: I haven’t really been paying attention. I’m too caught up in my own world at the moment! I guess anything with AJ Styles or John Cena, but they don’t have Glacier or Dink on their show. The best WrestleMania moments are going to happen at Joey Janela’s Spring Break.

Tweet of the Week

RIP, Dennis Stamp.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gOJkXsBFE8]

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.

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