The “Strange” Tale of New Origins Wrestling

John Strange didn’t choose wrestling. Wrestling chose him. At age 15 he found himself at an independent wrestling show that looked nothing like the wrestling he knew from TV. It was bad. Really bad. It was so bad, he turned to the person next to him and said, “I could do better than that.” A gentleman seated behind him leaned forward and said, “Prove it.”

John’s challenger turned out to be a wrestling promoter who had his own training school. So at age 15, John Strange began his journey into the world of professional wrestling.

One of the promoters John worked for in the early days was a Earl Kelly, who started running shows in Kentucky during the late 90s. Strange met Earl’s daughter Alicia, and the two got married.

Kelly packed up and left Kentucky in the early 2000s for Florida. He returned a few years later and tried to pick things back up where he left off, but things didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. Kelly closed shop, and when he did, the Stranges bought his ring.

“We just thought it would be fun to have a ring in the backyard,” John Strange recalls. “But then fans started showing up at our door. They begged us to run shows. They wanted us to start a promotion. One fan even tried to hand us $1000 cash to go toward applying for a license.”

Once again, wrestling was calling. John and Alicia decided that they would give it a go, and New Origins Wrestling was born.

John and Alicia opened the promotion in Alicia’s name, and the second generation promoter proved to be a natural for the business side of wrestling. “She does all the promoting and handles all the business side. She learned well from her father.”

New Origins prides itself on being one of the most fan-friendly promotions running today. “When you see us on television, you’ll notice we don’t play to the camera. Our focus is always on the fans. We want to give them the best show possible because they’re the ones paying money to see us.”

New Origins is also very in tune with what the fans are saying, and Alicia Strange is always ready to listen. “I think being a female promoter is an advantage for her,” says John. “Fans aren’t as intimidated by her as they might be a male promoter. They have no trouble going up to her, saying hello, or making suggestions.”

New Origins also prides itself on giving back to the community, using their shows as fundraisers for Toys 4 Tots, local fire departments, and other worthy causes.

New Origins has a regular cast of local stars on its roster, including the Soviet Stud, Stevie P, Chris Noble, and the 4 Real Rejects Izzy 4 Real and Devon Blake, but they love to feature the best talent possible, not only in the region but the nation. John Morrison, Davey Richards, and Mad Man Pondo are just a few names who have made their way to NOW to be part of the action.

New Origins runs monthly shows in Irvine, Kentucky and is currently taping new episodes for broadcast on the TEN Network for Roku. You can also follow them on their Facebook page.

This week on Kick Out at Two

koatNo Men November is over, but the Kick Out at Two Podcast rolls on. This week, the gang catches up with a certain tag team from Jollyville. Individually they call themselves Nasty Russ and T Money, but together they are… well, let’s just say it’s not a WWE PG Era friendly moniker.

Righteous Jesse tells me that these two had a personal connection with a couple members of the KOAT crew. Should make for a fun listen, as always.

The Kick Out at Two Podcast is available on iTunes and Soundcloud, and as always, it’s free. If you’re new to the show, go back and check out some of the amazing interviews you’ve missed. Kelly Klein and Rachael Ellering are two recent must-hear guests, and I strongly recommend giving Mr. Grim the Hitman for Hire a listen as well.

A Leadership Lesson from the Wrestling World

I’m not going to name names because it’s not important. You can fill in the blanks on your own, or go read Bluegrass Brawlers. I’d rather you look beyond the names, though to learn something about leadership.

A certain independent promotion was offered the chance to become the training ground for a national wrestling promoter. The opportunity had a huge upside for the tiny promotion: more money, more prestige, better talent, and big names. Soon the tiny wrestling promotion was filled with new students, all of them under contract to the bigger promotion. These new stars became an integral part of the weekly touring, television tapings, and storylines, and the little independent promotion flourished.

But there was a problem in the relationship between the big promotion and the little. Before long, a man at the corporate office began calling the man in charge at the little promotion and saying, “We need Wrestlers A, B, and C on the road this weekend!” The man at the little promotion would tell him, “Wrestler A is our champion, and B and C are in the main event of a show we’ve been promoting this weekend!” The man in the corporate office said, “I don’t care! These are OUR wrestlers, not yours, and we need them!”

You see, the man at the big corporate office hundreds of miles away never kept up with the action at the little promotion. He didn’t watch the show. He didn’t know who was a heel and who was a babyface. And you know what? He didn’t care. The man at the corporate office only cared about his own problems, and he didn’t care if solving his problems made trouble for the little promotion.

I’ve come to see that a lot of organizations end up like these to wrestling companies. Leaders and directors and bosses become so distanced from the action, they forget what it’s like to interact with customers and employees at ground level. They see their spreadsheets and flowcharts. They don’t see how their decisions impact lower managers, or employees. Or customers.

A good leader never forgets where he or she came from. They welcome the opportunity to be reminded of their roots. They take the time to look up from their computer screen, to go back to the beginning, to listen to the people doing the work.

Just a few thoughts for anyone who aspires to be a truly great leader.

Eat Like a Wrestler: Lodgerdoodles

If you never had the pleasure of seeing The Lovely Lylah, aka the Powerhouse Princess, in action, I feel sorry for you. Not only did you miss a powerhouse talent in the ring, you also missed out on the amazing sweet treats this talented lady often sold at her gimmick table. From cake pops to cupcakes to cookies, Lylah makes something to suit every sweet tooth, and today, she was kind enough to share one of her favorite recipes with us.

Lodgerdoodles are a variant on snickerdoodles and a favorite treat of a certain NXT signee formerly known as Crazy Mary Dobson. Lylah made these all the time for Crazy Mary when they were both working out of Louisville, and this recipe was actually a Christmas gift for all of Lylah’s friends a few years ago. I’ve got one in my house who likes snickerdoodles as well, so you better believe I’ll be giving this one a shot myself.

INGREDIENTS:

1 box of white cake mix

2 eggs

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1TBS Cinnamon

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside for the last step.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, and oil until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into one inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.

Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet covered in parchment or aluminum foil so they won’t stick.

Cook at 350° until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Sad to say a series of car accidents and resulting health issues have forced Lylah into retirement from the ring. She’s a great lady who had some tough breaks, and I wish her nothing but the best!

The End of IWA Mid-South?

15219367_10211256468433234_1316175058918177984_nWrestling has not been this hot in Louisville in decades.

While OVW rides a wave of enthusiasm fueled by their increasingly talented roster and their 900th TV taping, turmoil has erupted across the river.

Two years ago when I released Bluegrass Brawlers, I highlighted two Indiana promotions that, at the time, were running regular shows: the venerable IWA Mid-South, and Destination One Wrestling. Running monthly under former Ian Rotten student Rick Brady, D1W brought in some terrific talent including OI4K, Crazy Mary Dobson, the Indy Card Mafia, and Tracy Smothers. A series of unfortunate events forced D1W to go on permanent hiatus in 2015, and the promotion hasn’t been seen since.

That changed the night of the 20th anniversary show for IWA Mid-South, when Tracy Smothers faced IWA-MS Champion JJ Garrett with the title on the line. Smothers was on the ropes against the younger champ, but just when it seemed like Garrett had the match won, the lights went out and a man wearing a mask appeared on the apron. Garrett grabbed the guy and removed the mask to reveal “The Rick” Rick Brady!  The Rick’s sudden appearance gave Smothers the distraction he needed to hit Garrett with his stick and pin him. Once out of the ring, Tracy announced that the IWA title will now be known as the D1W title.

Over the next few weeks, The Rick promised that D1W was taking over and baited Ian Rotten into putting 50% of his company up vs. the chance to finally get his hands on The Rick for 5 minutes alone. Rotten took the bait and a six-man dog collar match was booked to settle the matter. Rotten selected Nick Depp, John Wayne Murdoch and JC Rotten to represent team IWA while  The Rick chose Mitch Ryder, Legendary Larry D and Derek Neal to represent team D1W.

The six men brawled all over the building on Thanksgiving night. During the closing minutes JC Rotten went down and grabbed his knee in pain. He fought his way back into the ring and was caught by Mitch Ryder and put into a figure four leglock. He immediately tapped. JC’s valet Tori entered the ring to check JC and was grabbed by Larry D. The fans were horrified, fearing for Tori’s safety, when Larry grabbed the girl in a huge hug! JC popped to his feet, revealing his knee injury to be a lie. He wasn’t hurt and he had just betrayed his father. The IWA locker room emptied out, but the D1W contingent beat them down in the ring.

Ian Rotten himself came off to chase away the D1W crew, but it was too late. The Rick now owns half of IWA Mid-South, and Ian and The Rick are now 50/50 partners.

I realize some of you Smarks reading this are rolling your eyes right now. “It’s all a work! You know Ian would never put up ownership in IWA!” That attitude is everything that is wrong with the IWC. Folks, this is old school. This is what packed gyms and arenas for decades before the WWE conquered the wrestling world, and guess what? It still works!

Right now, D1W/IWA Mid-South is as hot as they’ve ever been. They’re running twice a week on Thursdays in Clarksville, Indiana at Jammerz Rollerdrome and Saturdays in Memphis, Indiana at the Flea Market. Their fans are energized, and so too are the D1W fans who have missed their favorite promotion. The Rick is steamrolling IWA fans left and right on Facebook, and Tracy Smothers is proving (as he has over and over) that he’s one of the most underrated heels of any generation.

Will D1W take over, or will Ian save his beloved IWA Mid-South? Whatever happens next, the real winners are the fans enjoying a true old-fashioned blood feud!

Deanna Purrazzo on Kick Out at Two

No Men November concludes this week on the Kick Out at Two Podcast. This week it’s Deonna Purrazzo sharing her stories about life in the ring and on the road. Deanna is a regular with Women of Honor, Shimmer, and Queens of Combat among others and has also been seen on NXT.

Deonna will be on the card this weekend at WrestleCade, doing battle with fellow No Men November guests Veda Scott, Kelly Klein, Rachael Ellering, and one of my regional favorites: Samantha Heights. Fans who stick around the area through Sunday night can also catch her and more at one of the best all female promotions going: Queens of Combat.

Kick Out at Two can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud. Follow them on Twitter @KOATPodcast

Thanksgiving Night Wrestling Anyone?

Thanksgiving used to be one of the biggest nights of the year for the WWE. That’s the night they used to hold the Survivor Series Pay-Per-View. The WWE may have done away with Thanksgiving night show, but for fans in the Louisville area, you can still catch some non-stop action thanks to IWA Mid-South.

IWA-MS has a killer card lined up this week for your post-turkey entertainment, starting with the legendary Chris Hero facing the IWA-Mid South (or is it the D1W?) champion Tracy Smothers.

Rachael Ellering will also be in town Thursday night facing Randi West.

Other matches on the card include:

 

Ian Rotten vs. “The Chairman” Joey Owens;

The Rejects (John Wayne Murdoch and Nick Depp) and JC Rotten VS “Marvelous” Mitch Ryder, “Legendary” Larry D and “the Real Deal” Derek Neal in a Triple Dog Collar Six Man Tag;

A Lone Survivor match featuring Team Cole Radrick (Cole Radrick, Andrew Hunter, Brother Reed, Tripp Cassidy plus one more member) VS Team Johnathan Wolf (Johnathan Wolf, “Category 5” Corey Storm, Mickey Muscles, Aidan Blackhart plus one more member);

“Hybrid Monster” Zodiak vs. “The Mouth of the Mid South” Mance Warner;

Malcolm Monroe III vs. Travis Titan

Bell time is 7:30 at Jammerz Rollerdrome in Clarksville, Indiana.

For more information, visit the event page on Facebook!

Goldberg wins!

I know it doesn’t make any sense. I know it’s completely wrong and shouldn’t have happened.

I don’t care.

More specifically – the Dad in me doesn’t care.

I know Goldberg got a ton of money to do that match, but I also can tell that was never his motivation for coming back. He did it for his son. He did it so his son could see what his Dad did in his heyday.

They could have booked this in a way that “makes sense.” They could have evened the score between the two and kept building up Lesnar. They could have made Goldberg do the honors in front of his kid. Instead, they let Goldberg show his son exactly how he became one of the biggest stars in the industry.

I know they have now completely messed up the Monster Lesnar angle. I just don’t care. I am so happy they let Goldberg have that moment with his kid.

The mark in me will deal with it. The Dad in me couldn’t be happier.

Kick Out at Two with Rachael Ellering

rachael_ellering_-_cionohlweaeycp4Die hard old school wrestling fans know the name Ellering. Paul Ellering is the Hall of Fame manager of one of the most devastating tag teams of all time, the Road Warriors. Current fans may know him as the mastermind behind NXT’s most devastating new force, the tag team known as Authors of Pain. He’s a legend in the business, and whenever he shows up, destruction follows.

But since this is No Men November on the Kick Out at Two Podcast, this week’s episode is not about Paul Ellering. It’s about Paul’s daughter, the second generation superstar making a name for herself in the independents, Rachael Ellering.

Rachael is an exciting young performer who is making her mark all across the country. She’ll be in the Louisville area this Thursday (Thanksgiving Night!) with IWA Mid-South, at NOVA Wrestling in Virginia on Friday, and WrestleCade this coming weekend.

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast, and find out why Rachael calls herself the One in One in a Million!

A New Belt for the Ladies

A great promotion needs a champion to lead it. This Friday, Girl Fight will give this belt to the winner of their first ever championship tournament.

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Mad Man Pondo is the mad genius behind Girl Fight. For the last couple of years, he’s been bringing the best of the best together to show the world that anything boys can do, girls can do better. Santana Garrett, Leva Bates, LuFisto, Crazy Mary Dobson, Samantha Heights, Randi West, Mickie Knuckles, Cheerleader Melissa, and Tessa Blanchard are just a few of the amazing stars to appear on cards across the Midwest. Rebel, Su Yung, Khloe Belle Smothers, Slady Wilson, Amazing Maria, and more are scheduled for Friday’s big event.

Friday marks not only the crowning of a champion, but the first ever Girl Fight show in Kentucky. For more information on Friday’s show, visit the event page on Facebook.

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