Discover more from Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI Weekly for November 13, 2023
Damage CTRL, Steve McMichael, Leon Slater, And More
THE NUMBER 13 is said to be unlucky. But, as a certain divisive wrestler was once fond of saying, “Luck is for losers.” And so, superstitions cast aside, we’re soldiering on with this edition of the Weekly. If you’d like to inject a bit of randomness into your day, why not go ahead and order one of our popular mystery vintage magazine packs?
FACTION OF THE WEEK
In the span of six days in November, Damage CTRL went from being merely one of several factions in WWE to being the one that firmly grabbed the spotlight and put it on themselves.
Things began at Crown Jewel when Kairi Sane returned to WWE and helped Iyo Sky to victory over Bianca Belair in their Women’s championship bout. While Sky and Sane have been familiar with one another since their days in Stardom, the assist from Sane appeared to surprise Damage CTRL’s de facto leader, Bayley.
Five nights later on Smackdown, Bayley appeared to put whatever reservations she had about Sane aside as the two teamed up alongside Sky to face the triumvirate of Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Asuka—all of whom had their own personal agendas against Damage CTRL. As surprising as Sane’s return at Crown Jewel had been, another shocking moment was in store.
With shades of Bash at the Beach 1996—when Hulk Hogan revealed himself to be secretly aligned with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash—Smackdown ended with the stunning visual of Asuka turning on her teammates and joining Damage CTRL.
From a trio to a quintet in less than a week, Damage CTRL not only increased its numbers but its collective power. With the additions of Sane and Asuka, the group is that much more dangerous. Friday night’s women’s division is on notice.
Football season is well and truly underway. And regardless of whether your team seems poised to make a Super Bowl run or tank for that first pick in the draft next year, it’s always worth remembering that the gridiron and grappling games have long been kindred sporting spirits.
Long before current NFL tight end George Kittle was professing his love for wrestling, we saw Chicago Bears legend Steve McMichael doing so. Unlike Kittle (so far, at least) “Mongo” took his love of the ring one step further by transitioning into wrestling commentary before stepping between the ropes full-time.
Though he may not have had the most storied of careers in wrestling, McMichael boasted a larger-than-life personality that was a perfect fit for WCW at the time. Today, McMichael is bravely battling ALS, but is determined to live long enough to see himself enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame, should he be selected. We hope that dream comes true for him.
In this classic promo from 1997, “Mongo” takes aim at fellow football great, Kevin Greene, as part of their rivalry in WCW.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Nineteen-year-old Leon Slater has been turning heads in the U.K. for some time now, as anyone who has seen his battles in RevPro, PROGRESS, and elsewhere can attest. With a skillset and a ring presence that belies his youth, Slater has drawn more than a few comparisons to a young AJ Styles.
Perhaps it is only fitting, then, that after an impressive tryout on IMPACT Wrestling’s recent U.K. tour, the promotion offered Slater a full-time contract. With IMPACT’s rebrand to TNA Wrestling coming in January, might the promotion have found its next “Phenomenal One”?
“He’s as athletic as anyone I’ve ever seen.” Scott D’Amore told PWI. “He reminded me of the first time I saw an AJ Styles or an Amazing Red. He’s doing things athletically that you just don’t think are possible. He’s also much more mature than his age. And, as we go into a new era of TNA, he’s someone who has a chance to truly revolutionize the industry.”
FROM THE VAULT
The above photo, taken for PWI by Joe Zanolle, captures future WWE Unified tag team champions El Generico & Kevin Steen, preparing to do battle with The Briscoes at Ring of Honor. Matches between these two auspicious duos would soon become the stuff of ROH legend.
NEW PODCAST EPISODE
Subscribe to the PWI Weekly newsletter (free or premium version) to support our work