Posts Tagged ‘ WWF ’

The Ballance Sheet #5 : Grappling In The Granite City

bbLast Saturday, I had the privilege of being part of a terrific show in Aberdeen, Scotland, and wrestling in front of the biggest crowd I’ve ever worked in front of; an astounding 1,103 people packed out the Beach Ballroom, and were loud and lively all evening long, celebrating the fifth anniversary of Wrestlezone.

I’ve done shows in front of big audiences before, but this one felt that little bit more special. Knowing the Wrestlezone crew as I have for the past four years- and the hard work they put into growing their promotion- I was delighted to witness the fruits of their labour for myself, up close and personal, and the phenomenal success of their big night.  Continue reading

The Shamrock Clan-Irish By Name, How About Nature?

Two brothers, both legends of the Octagon and the squared circle in their own right, yet neither related by blood.

Kenneth Kilpatrick and Frank Juarez both had similar upbringings. Ken came from a broken family and was often left to fend for himself without the supervision or guidance of his parents. He was eventually abandoned by his parents and placed in a foster home at 10 years old. From the age of 12, Frank was placed in various foster homes, group homes, and crisis centres. He also had a few run-ins with law enforcement.

When it seemed that there was little hope left for both they would eventually find a saviour in the form of Bob Shamrock. Shamrock was a guiding light in the lives of the future mixed martial arts legends, and welcomed both Ken and Frank into his “Shamrock Boys Home” in Susanville, California, a haven for delinquent youth.

His influence on everyone he encountered was said to be lasting none more so on the duo of Ken and Frank, both of whom he adopted and both who would change their surname as a mark of respect to their new father. The Shamrock Boys Home was a place for rehabilitating those who hadn’t had the kindest of upbringings and sport was seeing as a great outlet to nurture and develop these children. It was here in the backyard of a Susanville home that the fortunes of MMA and to an extent the World Wrestling Federation would be forever changed.

The Irishness of the trio is something that has always been questionable. It is widely held that Ken does hold Irish ancestry, owing both to his birth to the Kilpatrick family and indeed his adoption by Bob. The Kilpatrick family are believed to have been descendents of Scottish born Irish settlers. Meanwhile Bob’s family does in fact possess Irish heritage according to sources in Susanville but this cannot be traced.

Both Ken and Frank would embark upon their careers in Japan with Ken, the eldest of the duo, training his brother in submission fighting.

Ken would return home to America after a brief stint in Japan and immediately linked up with the newly formed Ultimate Fighting Championship. It was a match made in heaven as Ken would go on to become one of the greatest ever MMA fighters thanks in large part to his rivalry with the famed Royce Gracie, the innovator of modern day MMA. Indeed the duo would become the first ever inductees into the UFC Hall of Fame. With a record of 23 wins, 5 draws and 2 defeats Ken upped sticks in 1997 for pastures new which would come in the form of the WWF.

Shamrocks two year tenure in the WWF would prove to be fruitful yet demanding, winning the Intercontinental Championship and the Tag Team Championship with The Big Boss Man. Shamrock also won the prestigious King Of The Ring tournament much to the shock of the wrestling world. He would return to MMA but a later venture into Total Non Stop Action Wrestling (TNA) would see him win the NW World Heavyweight Championship, thus making him the first champion in the organizations history. Ken’s return to MMA was somewhat blighted by injuries he picked up in the WWF and many argue he has never been the same since. He did however go on to feud with Tito Ortiz, a rivalry many regard as one of the greatest ever seen.

Ken’s career eventually petered out with many calling for his retirement, while not officially retired he hasn’t fought competitively in some time. The World’s Most Dangerous Man as he was widely known is no longer regarded as the physical and combative specimen he once was.

Frank’s early career was somewhat determined by his brothers. Ken left Pancrase (Japan) over a dispute with management  and Frank would soon follow, being sacked in retaliation. Frank returned home and would eventually link up with the UFC, capturing the Middleweight championship in the process. He too would go on to feud with Ortiz and though regarded as the underdog in the fight he managed to come out on top, getting some retribution for his brother, although he had left his brothers famed Lion’s Den stable beforehand. After an industrious and eventful MMA career Frank knew his time was up and downed his ring gear in June 2010.

While Frank’s MMA legacy was over, a new legacy was just beginning in the Shamrock family as both of Ken’s sons Ryan and Sean made their debuts in the Octagon.

Ken and Frank Shamrock have an estranged relationship; Ken has claimed that Frank mistreated their foster father Bob, while Frank claims that the real reason for the fallout with Ken is due to his feeling that Ken was trying to keep Frank’s career down. Frank asserts that he and Ken have never been close and that his attempts to mend their relationship were rejected by Ken.

Bob Shamrock passed away two years ago at the age of 68. His death has done nothing to resolve the issues between his adopted sons.