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ON HEELS: Zicky Dice, Silas Mason, Dominik Mysterio

Pollo Del Mar & Thrillbilly Silas Mason pose

ON HEELS: Zicky Dice, Silas Mason, Dominik Mysterio


SOMETIMES IT’S BEST to recognize you’re fighting a losing battle. Zicky Dice should have remembered this when our paths crossed recently in Connecticut.

On Sept. 22, Best Trivia Ever collected a mixture of today’s brightest talent and legends like Scott Steiner and Scotty 2 Hotty for SLAM 2, an unforgettable night of pro wrestling action in Milford. Seeking revenge for his humiliation at a SLAM event a year prior, Dice had the temerity to direct his anger toward me to begin the show.

The IMPACT Wrestling star’s callous and unwanted disruption turned me from the night’s emcee into an impromptu “general manager” and matchmaker of sorts. The grave error of threatening me if “appropriate opposition” was not offered did not end well for “The Outlandish One.”

Dice fell into a trap far too many do: underestimating the cunning and calculated “Manager Of Champions.” He also failed to recognize just how far my connections extend in the wrestling world.

Some 90 minutes later, when he returned to the ring to menace and intimidate, it was my turn to surprise. You should have seen Zicky’s expression when the music hit and Eddie Kingston came through that crowd!

Fresh from devastating Sammy Guevara the night prior during an AEW Rampage taping, Kingston was all-too-ready to avenge that disqualification loss. Though I find no joy in siding with fans, I, like everyone in attendance, rejoiced as Eddie thoroughly trounced the former National Wrestling Alliance Television champion.

Yet again, Dice’s big mouth was temporarily silenced—thanks to my new buddy Eddie. Now that is “Outlandish”!


Being forced to acknowledge one of the all-time great fan favorites galls me to no end. However, when Ricky Steamboat is right, he’s right—and the National Wrestling Alliance’s new “Steamboat Proclamation” is very, very right!

Returning for Season 10 of NWA Powerrr, the former World’s heavyweight champion immediately convinced NWA owner and president William Patrick Corgan to expand title opportunities for everyone in the company. That resulted in, among other things, a single elimination tournament to determine the #1contender to The Great Cyon’s National heavyweight title.

Pollo Del Mar & Thrillbilly Silas Mason pose
Pollo Del Mar poses with “The Thrillbilly” Silas Mason / Photo by Daniel Moore/Hardway Photo and NWA

The Hall-of-Famer Steamboat hand-selected 12 competitors of varying NWA tenure to compete for a title shot at the November 12 Hard Times 3 pay-per-view in New Orleans. With gentle persuasion, “The Thrillbilly” Silas Mason joined the likes of Jax Dane, “Magic” Jake Dumas, and more!

To the shock of apparently all except me, Silas “upset” former National champion Anthony Mayweather in the opening round. We then went on to face that demon-worshipping Judais in the semi-finals. I ran interference as that devilish garden gnome Father James Mitchell tried some shenanigans, allowing Silas to take “The High Priest Of Punishment” on a Thrill Ride he could not survive!

Soon, “The Thrillbilly” will face Chris Adonis and relative NWA newcomer Dak Draper in three-way finale. Adonis is a two-time National champion and Draper is a former Ring of Honor Top Prospects Tournament winner. However, neither has faced someone like Silas Mason—and certainly not with “The Lovely” Pollo Del Mar at his side.

Stay tuned to NWA’s weekly programming—NWA Powerrr every Tuesday on FiteTV and NWA USA Saturdays on YouTube—to catch this must-see match-up. Silas Mason’s ready to take the entire NWA on a Thrill Ride straight into New Orleans!


Poor Rey Mysterio! The man simply cant control his family.

First, daughter Aaliyah seemingly strayed amidst his ongoing feud with Seth Rollins. Now, son Dominik has stabbed him in the back to join The Judgment Day.

Sure, becoming the first father/son team to hold WWE tag gold was cute, but did Rey expect that to satisfy Dom forever? How long could Daddy reasonably expect Dom to ride his coattails, treating him like a child when all he wanted was to his own man? Little Dom finally stepped from his father’s shadow—and all it took was Rhea Ripley’s encouragement.

As the nephew of a legend himself, surely Rey knows the pressures of following an icon’s footsteps. To ever be seen as more than “Rey Mysterio’s son,” Dominik needs to establish himself individually … and could never do that under his father’s thumb.

Now Dominik shows dastardly depth and determination at the sides of Finn Balor, Damian Priest, and Ripley. He’s turned the page, and his back, on the past to forge his own legacy. And it’s clear fans like it no more than Rey does.

A recent Raw audience in California nearly booed Dominik and company of San Jose. Still, the smile on Dom’s face said it all. For perhaps the first time in his young career, he’s eliciting a crowd response entirely his own—and that’s presumably all he ever wanted.

No judgment here, Dom!

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“I HAVE A LOT OF YEARS LEFT”—Shelton Benjamin 2.0

“I HAVE A LOT OF YEARS LEFT”—Shelton Benjamin 2.0


SHELTON BENJAMIN MAY be considered a veteran, but it’s hard for the WWE superstar to wrap his head around the label. “I feel like I got here yesterday,” the accomplished athlete said during a press junket Royal Rumble weekend.

It’s a surreal feeling for someone who has spent 22 years in the pro wrestling ring after breaking out as an amateur in college at the University of Minnesota. The Golden Gopher even had a hand in honing the skills of one Brock Lesnar.

“When I think back, it was just yesterday I was doing dark matches against Justin Credible and William Regal. Many matches later I’m helping guys like Apollo [Crews] and Cedric [Alexander],” he said. “I’m looking at these talents who are doing things … I thought I was cool back then, but then I see guys like Ricochet doing things I wouldn’t even think of.  It’s a good feeling to know I’ve lasted this long. Originally, when I got into pro wrestling, my thinking was, This will be something good to try for two or three years and then move on to something else … I’m still here.”

Shelton Benjamin tries to anticipate the unconventional high-flying offense of Ricochet. Once the innovative newcomer, Benjamin takes pride in working against and alongside the younger generations of competitors. ©2020 WWE, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Benjamin returned to WWE almost six years ago, paired with Chad Gable. From there, a mutual friendship and love for the industry gave way to the Hurt Business. Bobby Lashley, MVP, Alexander, and Benjamin all wore gold and dominated Monday nights.

“When it ended, we were all not happy,” Benjamin added. “We were broken up about it. We thought this was the greatest thing about our career,”

When asked if we’ll ever see a true 2.0 version of The Hurt Business, Benjamin was somewhat noncommittal, but he remains open to the possibility of a spinoff. He and Alexander are keeping remnants of the name alive still teaming together. With “The Almighty” and MVP doing their own thing, the former world tag team champ does have a few ideas for potential recruits.

“The Gold Standard” addresses fans and opponents with the WWE United States title belt draped across his lap. (PHOTO BY GEORGE NAPOLITANO)

“Apollo would definitely be in consideration. Giant Omos. That would be a huge win, pun intended,” he said. “Believe it or not, we have toyed around (with) having a female member of The Hurt Business. Number one on our list is Trinity [Naomi]. ‘The Bloodline’ might have an unfair advantage in that [recruiting] department. She is definitely on our shortlist.”

Another who expressed interest in signing up with the group early on was Mia Yim. Although she has since been released from WWE and is preparing for her next chapter, her friendship with Shelton Benjamin remains strong—although you may not think that watching them banter and taunt each other on social media.

“She is like my best friend. She is like my little sister,” Benjamin clarified. “I met her back in 2011, I believe, at an independent show. She was wrestling Mickie James. We just struck up a friendship from there. I ran into her from Japan. Over the years, we just developed this big brother-little sister banter. We are pretty vicious with each other. It’s all in fun. It’s one hundred percent fun. There are times when I want to hundred percent roast her and ask ‘Are you okay if I said this,’ because we are friends and I don’t want to cross any lines.

“I have huge respect for her and her talent. So, anyone paying attention to us on social media, it’s all for fun. We will bark back at people who are disrespectful. This is how we entertain each other and, hopefully, you are getting entertainment out of it too.”

Benjamin poses backstage at a Ring of Honor event with former tag partner Charlie Haas. He says he’d be open to teaming with Haas again in the future, adding that he sees him not just as a friend, but as a brother. PHOTO BY STU SAKS

If The Hurt Business doesn’t pan out, longtime fans could still one day enjoy a “World’s Greatest Tag Team” reunion with Benjamin teaming with Charlie Haas. His former tag team championship partner recently returned to the ring at IMPACT and is building a run on the independent circuit. Benjamin is happy to see it.

“For fans, he disappeared, but I’ve known what Charlie has been going through. I’ve helped him deal with things and get through it,” he said. “Thankfully, he is back on the rise and making a lot of noise on the independent scene. I love the idea of reuniting with Charlie. He is one of my brothers. To see him back in shape and back at it, I think I would love it. I think the fans would love it, and it would be a lot of fun to see what a mature ‘World’s Greatest Tag Team’ would do versus the world.”

As for how the 46-year-old has maintained his youthful look and ability to compete at a high level, Benjamin jokes “about 20 years ago, I must have been bit by a vampire.” The tenured performer believes it really comes down to a tried-and-true healthy lifestyle.

“I don’t smoke, drink, other. I exercise regularly. I’m constantly competing with the people around me,” he said. “That helps me stay young. I’m still a big video game guy. Of course, you feel the bumps a little more. For the most part, I think my lifestyle alone keeps me healthy. I’ve had major injuries and always bounce back and still plan to. I still have a lot of years in this business.”


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FROM THE VAULT: Baba and Vince Open the Forbidden Door

Giant Baba, Vince McMahon, and Seiki Sakaguchi pose together for a photo

FROM THE VAULT: Baba and Vince Open the Forbidden Door (updated 11/19/21)

VINCE MCMAHON. GIANT Baba. Together in the same ring. The 2,350 FANS in attendance at Korakuen Hall on January 28, 1990, were in for a big surprise. As recently as the early-1980s, McMahon’s WWF had enjoyed a solid relationship with All Japan’s biggest competitor, New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Suffice to say, no one was expecting Vince McMahon and Giant Baba to show up on the final day of AJPW’s New Year Giant series.

But that’s exactly what happened. On a show that saw All Japan Pro Wrestling founder Giant Baba defeat American journeyman Rip Rogers in a singles bout—along with the swan song of The British Bulldogs—no less than Vincent Kennedy McMahon made his way to the ring to address the crowd.

Vince McMahon waves to the crowd at Korakuen Hall, January 1990
Vince McMahon waves to the crowd at Korakuen Hall as Giant Baba looks on.

The above photo, along with the forthcoming photos in this entry, was sent to the Pro Wrestling Illustrated offices by a Japanese freelance photographer who asked us not to name them. This person specifically cited the fact that McMahon appeared in the photographs as the reason for their anonymity. Regardless, the veteran photographer seemed excited to share the photos in question.

As one might guess, Vince wasn’t simply in town as a tourist, opting to take in a show at one of Japan’s most historic combat sports venues. He was there on business. McMahon took the microphone and announced to the crowd that the WWF would be teaming up with not just AJPW, but NJPW, as well. The three promotions would come together to present the WWF/AJPW/NJPW Wrestling Summit.

Giant Baba, Vince McMahon, and Seiki Sakaguchi pose together for a photo
From left to right: AJPW President Giant Baba, WWF President Vince McMahon, and NJPW President Seiji Sakaguchi pose together for a photo.

The event, which emanated from the Tokyo Dome on April 13, 1990, was attended by more than 53,000 people. Despite not being released officially in the U.S., it was voted Best Major Wrestling Show in that year’s Wrestling Observer Awards. With an undercard that included a bout between Bret Hart and Tiger Mask, the show featured Andre The Giant and Giant Baba teaming up to take on Demolition, and the main event pitting Hulk Hogan against Stan Hansen.

Vince McMahon shakes Giant Baba's hand
Backstage at Korakuen Hall, Vince McMahon shakes the hand of Giant Baba.

In 2021, promotions are increasingly working together for the greater good. From the contemporary IWGP Conception, which saw NJPW copromote with Ring of Honor and CMLL, to the current, extensive interplay between AEW, IMPACT, the NWA, and other companies, cooperation is arguably one of the most exciting things about today’s wrestling landscape. Given WWE’s history of partnering with promotions overseas—and, later, giving visibility to upstarts like ECW and EVOLVE—is it really so hard to imagine the industry leader doing so once again?