They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. They also say that the sequel is never as good as the original. Today I hope I can prove that first statement to be true. As for the second one? Well, let’s just keep our fingers crossed that this 2nd instalment of Duckman’s Declaration of Independence is more Terminator 2 and less Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance. Really Nick Cage? Really? Really? Hey remember that guy Miz? Whatever happened to him?

**last reference to WWE…maybe, probably not. Sorry.**

Before we get going here I feel like I owe you guys an explanation. For those of you who have joined the site since February feel free to skip the next few paragraphs. Unless you’re looking for a bit of background on who I am and where I’ve been. It’s been a while since my first column here at Wrestling Rambles (24th February to be precise). It’s actually been a while since I wrote much of anything. Or watched much wrestling. Or really did anything other than sit at home feeling ill, sorry for myself and downright shitty. It’s been a tough time over at the pond for young Duckman recently.

A head-busting cocktail of ill health ( a return of depression I thought I’d beaten), the dreaded ‘personal issues,’ along with just a general malaise about all the things I usually enjoy, had left me pretty disheartened with life in general. It’s a sorry state of affairs when you get no enjoyment from anything in life. I know – boo fucking hoo. Poor me. I mean it’s not like I live in the 3rd world and have real things to deal with like, “will I be able to drink clean water this week?” After living with depression and anxiety for the past six years, I’ve learned that comparisons like that are the symptoms of depression. It’s all about putting a negative spin on things.

For those of you who haven’t depression (and you should be very thankful you haven’t) here’s how things usually work: the depressed mind thinks, “those people don’t have any water and I’m sitting here feeling depressed. What’s wrong with me? I’m such a waste of space.” While the non depressed mind thinks, “those guys don’t have any water and they get on with life, so should I. And while I’m at it I’ll donate a few quid to help them out.” Seems really simple when it’s broken down like that. Except it’s never really that simple. When you’re in the dark grip of depression or in the midst of a gasping for air panic attack brought on by anxiety, it’s difficult to get that to the front of your mind and not act upon the depressive feelings you’re having.

Thankfully after a few months of working things out in my own time I feel very much back to my old self. I know I’ll have to fight this battle for the rest of my life but thankfully I’m finding more and more ways of dealing with this shit. The dark clouds have lifted. The passion for life in general has returned. I’m enjoying wrestling again. So for the time being all is good and Duckman is back! Yay! So get ready for more half baked comedy, Simpsons references and all the usual crap I crowbar into my work to make it seem more than just the crazed diary of a cat strangler who REALLY likes wrestling.

**I can confirm no cats were strangled in the writing of this column…yet.**

Anyway, you didn’t come here to read about my illness or how much I enjoy strangling cats. If you did, dude you are on the wrong site because this is Wrestling Rambles! I may tend to take the second part of the site name slightly too literally but I know the main reason you’re here, I’m here and everyone else is here namely – wrestling! In my case, independent wrestling (hence the title of the column). So let’s get back on track with some of the main headlines from the world of indy wrestling.

Duckman’s Headline News:

*cue dramatic Fox news style music mixed in with epilepsy inducing graphics and an impending sense of doom*

Current ROH Tag Team Champion Kenny King leaves company and appears on TNA Impact and TNA PPV.

Holy fuck balls! This is like the Monday Night Wars all over again. Expect it’s not happening on a Monday. And no one is watching. Ok, that last line was a bit below the belt. A few people are watching. For those of you who don’t know ROH were left red faced this week when one half of their current Tag Team Champions, ‘The Pretty Boy Pit-bull’ Kenny King, rejected an extension to his contract with ROH and became what King and TNA classed as a ‘free agent.’

A week or so later, with no prior warning to ROH, he ended up appearing on TNA Impact (wearing his All Night Express trunks – how’s that for a message to ROH management), won his match, cut a decent promo and ended up in a match to decide the new TNA X-Division Champion on their most recent PPV. King appears to have been picked up by TNA with the express intention of pushing him to the top of the X-Division and as someone who has admired his work I can’t fault TNA for making an aggressive move to grab him for their painfully thin X-Division roster.

Now frankly I’m all for wrestlers getting out of the independent scene and finding the fame and fortune that they got into this business for in the first place. No one was happier than me to see CM Punk as WWE Champion. Daniel Bryan’s last six months in WWE have been phenomenal because now everyone sees just how damn good he is at every aspect of the business. Samoa Joe’s initial run in TNA put that man on a national stage and showed everyone why ROH fans had worshipped his sweaty kick pads for so long.

But, just like breaking up with a girl, there’s ways and means to go about leaving an independent company. Kenny King’s actions over the past few days do feel a bit like he got his mate to dump ROH by text for him. And then spelt their name wrong in the text. HOR or something.

In today’s wrestling business you get the impression that everyone, companies and wrestlers, have to be utterly ruthless. Especially those companies not called WWE and those wrestlers who don’t work for said WWE. Let’s be honest here, everyone working in wrestling wants to work for WWE and make the big bucks and become a star. Anyone who says they don’t are lying to you and to themselves. What’s the point of killing yourself on the indy scene for $50 a show (if you’re lucky) if you don’t have the express intention to get to the top of the profession and make a full time living from it? If you think this business is about fun or having great matches you’re deluded. It’s about making money. Plain and simple. Every decision taken by any wrestler or any promotion comes down to money.

Kenny King has a made a decision that comes down money. He can’t sit there all misty eyed wondering if he should stay in ROH because of some misguided loyalty to the promotion. The man is 30 years old. He isn’t getting any younger. He’s been in ROH for a number of years now and he’s honed his craft to the point where a much bigger company like TNA has acknowledged his skills and decided to make a play for him. Could he have handled things better? Certainly. For a start he could have given ROH some advanced notice so they could get the Tag Titles off him and his partner Rhett Titus. He could also have not worn his ROH trunks on Impact. That was like kicking ROH in the balls when he’s already knocked them down with a right hook. It was unnecessary.

For ROH’s part their press release on the situation (which you can find here – read like the ranting of a jilted teenage girl who had just received a misspelt text from her ex-boyfriend’s buddy telling her she was dumped. It also really helped to set a fire under the story and make it into something a lot bigger than it actually is.

Let’s be honest, Kenny King is a good worker, with a great look and charisma but he’s not going to be the difference between ROH staying or going out of business. He’s not going to be someone who is going to bring ROH to the much sought after but never fully explained, ‘next level.’ Yes it’s embarrassing for their Tag Champ to appear on another promotion’s TV but to be honest, ROH got themselves into this situation with their slightly naïve use of a ‘hand shake agreement.’ It’s not 1932 anymore. This isn’t Sam Muchnick in St Louis. Loyalty and handshakes don’t mean jack shit these days. Especially when money is involved and especially in wrestling.

Let’s all hope ROH learn from this and get their important talent locked down to proper contracts and more importantly – don’t put the frigging belts on anyone that doesn’t have a locked down proper contract! As for Kenny King? I wish the guy nothing but the best in TNA. He busted his ass in ROH and put on some great matches. If he feels this is the right move for his career then who the hell am I to say otherwise? I hope he does well in TNA, earns a lot of money and gets the chance to showcase his skills in the same ways that Daniels, Joe and Aries have. Just next time you’re going to dump a promotion Kenny, send some flowers first or at least tell them it’s you and not them.

*cue dramatic Fox news style music mixed in with epilepsy inducing graphics and an impending sense of doom*

ROH crowns NEW TV Champion in Adam Cole.

What’d you mean ‘spoiler alert?’ Look, when the company themselves put out the video of a Title change before it’s shown on TV, then the right to ‘spoiler alert’ is officially withdraw. That’s the rules of wrestling and if you don’t know them now then you never will.

It’s safe to say Adam Cole is currently the flavour of the month in ROH. The young man has been on a tremendous run in ROH and other independent promotions in the last year or so. He has a real connection with the ROH fans and that connection was most recently shown thanks to a screw up in his match with former partner Kyle O’Reilly on the last ROH IPPV, Best in the World.

During their hybrid match (fake MMA..kind of…it was an awesome match. Just, different.) O’Reilly went a little too real and booted Cole in the mouth, busting his lip open and apparently knocking his two front teeth out. Although the ‘teeth’ on the mat later proved to be chewing gum. That isn’t important. What is important is with that one errant kick suddenly Adam Cole was a bad ass in the eyes of the ROH fans. The man turned in one of the most intense and eye catching baby face performances in recent memory. His selling and his refusal to give up despite his mouth being in horrible shape was the catalyst for ROH to get behind him as a new chosen one. He’d been showing promise but after that match and that busted mouth ROH knew they had a star in the making.

The company were quick to act. Well, quicker to act than they did sorting out Kenny King’s contract. At the next set of TV tapings Adam Cole pinned TV Champ Roderick Strong in another great encounter and became the new ROH TV Champion. It’s pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain that ROH are getting behind Cole in a huge way. Expect him to gain more high profile wins in the coming weeks and months. Whether the push will translate into a feud for the World Title with Kevin Steen is up for debate. It’s probably a year to 18 months to early Cole to get to that level. But in a business that is crying out for new young stars, Adam Cole is rapidly climbing the mountain and looking to establish himself as the new face of ROH in 2012/2013. Hands off TNA!

*cue dramatic Fox news style music mixed in with epilepsy inducing graphics and an impending sense of doom*

WWE signs British wrestling sensation ‘The Man That Gravity Forgot’ PAC.

Wait a minute. WWE has signed an established international superstar? A man with one name? A man who has had incredible matches all across the world with a variety of opponents? Shit, Pac, does the name Mistico ring a bell? You might want to rethink that move and get your ass over to TNA. Hold on and I’ll get Kenny King to text you Bruce Pritchard’s number.

In all seriousness this is great news. It’s a major blow to Dragon Date where PAC has been one of their most consistently dazzling performers over the past few years. As God is my witness I have never seen a man who is so damn graceful, exciting and innovative as PAC. His performances in this year’s New Japan Best of the Super Junior tournament really do need to be seen to be believed.

Also, if any of you buy Power Slam magazine in the UK you need to check out this month’s issue – there’s about twenty (probably five but play along) photographs of PAC in action. In each one you look at them and think, “how in the hell did he get that high in the air without smashing his head on the moon?” Just an incredible collection of stunning shots of a man who has redefined what high flying wrestling is in 2012.

Without a shadow of doubt PAC is one of the best highflying wrestlers I’ve ever seen. Probably top three. Whether or not he’ll be able to translate the moves and skills he’s known for on the indy scene and in Japan to WWE is a whole other article. I just hope we get the chance to see him sooner rather than later. This is not a man who needs a year in FCW. If the WWE push machine gets behind him properly, expect this man to be dazzling on Smackdown or Raw and adding his name to the ever growing list of top independent talent now working for the Big E. Hopes are high!

*cue dramatic Fox news style music mixed in with epilepsy inducing graphics and an impending sense of doom*

Shane Douglas’ Extreme Rising promotion has 2nd and 3rd shows. World somehow does not end.

Maybe it’s just me but I’m sick to death of ECW. Actually, scratch that. I’m not sick of ECW. I’m sick of ECW reunion shows. I was sure a low point had been well and truly hit a while back. You guys all know the show I’m talking about. Hardcore Justice TNA called it. Remember? The show where they couldn’t even say the name ECW or even use the names of some of the wrestlers as they were owned by WWE. It consisted of fat, balding guys I kind of half remembered, stumbling about the ring and being as about as extreme as my Grandma doing knitting. It was horrible. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. It did. Thanks to Shane Douglas and a few crack addled ex ECW guys, the level of SUCK that TNA produced with that show was made to look like fucking Dreamslam 1 by the first Extreme Reunion show.

That show was about as well received as a turd in your morning cereal. Fans were outraged. ECW purists threw down their kendo sticks and took to the internet to voice their frustration. And no wonder. From Sabu being fucked out his mind on drugs and carted off to the hospital before the show; to the always good for a bit of car crash copy Justin Credible passed out in the back in ‘no fit state to perform’ before waking up and spending the rest of the show wandering around the building blank eyed and confused. Like a crack den dweller looking for a fresh piece of tin foil. To Raven booking just the shittest angle to ever be shat onto a shitty piece of shit during the show which ended with a disabled dude being caned by Sandman EC DUB EC DUB EC DUB. To Douglas’ own embarrassing performance in the main event. The whole thing was an absolute clusterfuck of such epic proportions that Douglas had to take to YouTube to apologise for the show and promise that improvements would be made.

Still no one got the message that perhaps it’s time to let this ECW thing die. It’s not in a fit state to perform. It’s fat. It’s balding. It’s better left alone. But like a phoenix from the ashes Extreme Reunion has been replaced with Extreme Rising and while their first two shows weren’t classics, improvements have been made. I’m still not convinced that this is the promotion indy wrestling needs in 2012. I thought CZW had the ultra violence market cornered. Plus the whole nostalgia thing just reeks of people who haven’t had an original idea in 15 years and every time they try to bring it back they cheapen the legacy of the very thing they’re paying tribute to.

Maybe in the coming weeks and months I’ll be proved wrong. I do hope Extreme Rising becomes a premier indy promotion. The more places guys can work and the more good promotions there are out there the better. I just hope that lessons have been learned and instead of relying on what worked in the past that Douglas and the others behind the promotion realise that what made ECW was not copying something from the past. It was about innovation. It was about being cutting edge. It was about presenting a product that you could not see anywhere else. Everyone can agree THAT is exactly the kind of promotion US wrestling needs today. I just doubt Extreme Rising will be that promotion.

**I know that technically wasn’t news, but it’s something I’ve needed to get off my chest for a while.**

And that’s the news in indy wrestling for this week. You stay classy San Diego.

Now this is usually the part of the show where I’d post a review of my top indy show I’ve watched recently. This week I haven’t watched anything apart from the final of New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors Tournament. I strongly urge you all to check this show out. Even if it’s just to see PAC in action before WWE cuts his hair off and his balls and tries to get him to work like Alex Riley or some other sports entertainment bot. Plus there’s more great highflying action in those three hours than is legal to consume. It’s plancha tastic and everyone loves a good plancha, right?

Well. That was fun. It’s damn nice to be back folks. Expect much more regular posts from me from now on. Plus you’ll see much more of me around Wrestling Rambles in general. If you’ve got anything you’d like me to cover indy wrestling wise in the future let me know via the comments section. If you’ve got any cats that need strangling then drop me a PM. That’ll do me for this week. Hope you guys have enjoyed this sequel and that it lived up to the first. Now all you’ve got to look forward to is the disappointing third. Don’t worry though, it’s full of Ewoks. Thousands of ‘em!

Oh and I’m back on Twitter – @MFXDuckman where you’ll find me going on about wrestling a bit like you’ve just read…only quicker.

Until next time…