Matt Riddle on Kick Out At Two!

If you’ve been listening the last couple of weeks, you’ve heard a lot about this week’s guest on Kick Out at Two.

Matt Riddle was a high school wrestler and a student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who first made a name for himself on UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter. He became a star in UFC with a 9-3 record and went on to fight for Bellator and Titan FC before surprising everyone when he began training to become a professional wrestler.

Riddle has taken the independent wrestling scene by storm in the last two years. He is currently signed with Evolve, and he’s already had one serious look from the WWE. You can learn more about this exciting rising star by downloading the Kick Out at Two Podcast now on iTunes or Soundcloud.

The Miz Is That Awesome

Last night my Facebook feed blew up with people proclaiming the Miz’s promo on Talking Smack as the promo of his life. I beg to differ. As great as last night was (and I defy to you tell me it wasnt great), the promo of his life took place a few years ago. There was no musical introduction. He didn’t come down the ramp. He walked around the side of the ramp into the arena, shooting about the road he took to get to the WWE and fulfill his dream.

I don’t recall anything specific he said that night, but I recall how it made me feel. It was the first time I truly believed in the Miz.

The Miz has worked for everything he has been given. His reality TV show fame did not translate to a free pass at OVW; Danny Davis and Rip Rogers would never allow it. He learned from old school guys how to make it in the business, and he learned his lessons well.

The Miz also seized the moment every chance he had. Roni Jonah tells a story about a time she was supposed to work a program as Seth Skyfire’s girlfriend at OVW. Paul Heyman was disappointed with the kiss Seth laid on Roni during a TV taping, and he let his feelings be known to the locker room. “You expect me to believe she’s your girlfriend with a kiss like that?”

The Miz spoke up: “She could be my girlfriend.” Within a few weeks, Roni left Seth on OVW TV for the Miz.

As opportunistic as he can be, the Miz also knows how to put people over when it’s his turn. Did you hear him on Talk is Jericho with Damien Mizdow? At first listen, it sounded like the Miz was there to put himself over Mizdow. Listen again; the Miz puts his tag partner over huge, and then quietly steps away. It was masterful.

Crazy Mary Dobson also experienced the generous side of the Miz in her first appearance on Raw. According to her, the Miz did everything he could to give her as much face time as possible, telling here where to stand so the camera would pick her up.

Crazy Mary’s story runs counter to the general perception most fans have of the Miz: he’s a big mouth hack, a talentless loser, an opportunist who is only out for himself. People who see the Miz that way are seeing exactly what the Miz wants them to see. They don’t see a guy who grew up loving wrestling playing a character on TV because they can’t distinguish the real man from his character.

In an age when kayfabe is supposedly dead and buried, the Miz has done the impossible. He has made himself a true heel in the eyes of the fans. He’s not getting booed because the fans understand that he’s playing a heel and that’s the story being told. He’s not being booed because he’s the heel people “love to hate.” He’s being booed because people truly hate the Miz.

The Miz is a rare talent that could easily has worked in a long-gone era. He’s the kind of guy who makes the fans forget they’re watching a show and boo from the bottom of their hearts. He’s a true student of the game who learned his lessons well, and he’s only getting better.

I don’t expect my thoughts to persuade many Miz haters to see him differently, and that’s okay. The Miz wouldn’t want you turning into a fan of his anyway. The more you hate the Miz, the more you’ll demand – and pay – to see him get his butt kicked

That, friends, is what makes the Miz AWESOME.

New Stores on Pro Wrestling Tees!

Piggybacking on yesterday’s blog about supporting indy wrestling, here are some NEW pages on Pro Wrestling Tees from wrestlers profiled right here:

“The Real Elite Athlete” Mike Orlando

Eric Emanon/ Indy Card Mafia

“The Project” Thomas Brewington (also ICM)

“The Baddest Man Alive” Aaron Williams

And one more for good measure:

Mad Man Pondo

Please support these guys by buying their merch AND going to their shows. If they’re not working anywhere near you, you can find Aaron Williams on Rockstar Pro Network and the other guys on High Spots.

While You Were Complaining…

While you were complaining about Sasha Banks losing her title so soon, Marc Hauss was standing up for the women’s wrestling revolution in the indies.

While you were complaining that your favorite guys never get pushed because “politics,” a your other favorite guys – Aron Rex/Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, and The Big Guy/Ryback – began their takeover of the indies.

While you were complaining about about the promotion that you routinely pay $9.99 a month to watch, CZW, High Spots, CHIKARA, Rockstar Pro, and others have tried to offer you alternatives – some for less, some for free!

While you were complaining about an ugly title belt, Matt Hardy was busy blowing up the Internet by deleting his own brother.

And lest we forget, you could have been enjoying an independent show where a ticket and a T-shirt costs less than an upper level ticket you complained about buying for the so-called “only” promotion left.

It almost makes you wonder: do the people who complain incessantly about title belts and ticket prices more in love with wrestling or whining?

If you answered wrestling, prove it. Stop complaining and take action. Put your money where your mouth is.

I’m not telling you to cancel your $9.99 subscription. As good as NXT and the CWC have been, you’d be a fool to back out now. But I am telling you to go see a local show, or subscribe to a second network, or look around Youtube and discover what’s out there to watch for free. If even a fraction of the whiners would invest just a few dollars a month in independent wrestling, we might really change the landscape of pro wrestling today.

Support what you love. Stop complaining about what you hate. Prove that you’re a fan and not just a whiner. Let’s pour some fuel on the fire if this indy revolution.

Crazy Mary Dobson Signs with WWE

cropped-esw-cover.jpgTwo years ago I wrote and published a book called Eat Sleep Wrestle about today’s independent wrestling scene. A twenty year old woman named Crazy Mary Dobson appeared front and center on the cover, and her story was one of many told in the book.

Today, Crazy Mary Dobson starts a new chapter in her career. She has signed with the WWE.

Crazy Mary has already appeared on WWE television numerous times. She was a Rosebud, a makeup artist to the Miz, and Kane’s boss at a concession stand in Indianapolis. She also had several matches as Sarah Dobson on NXT television including Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, and Bayley. Her star has risen considerably since the release of Eat Sleep Wrestle while working for Revolution Pro Wrestling, Shimmer, Girl Fight, and Ring of Honor. She’s earned every opportunity she’s been given, and I know she will make the fans who have supported her proud!

Congratulations to one of the toughest, hardest working wrestlers in the business. The women’s wrestling revolution is about to get a little more psycho!

Two for one on Kick out at Two!

This week, the Kick Out at Two Podcast brings you two guests from their recent trip to the Scenic City Invitational: Tank and John Skylar.

If you’re not listening to Kick Out at Two every week, you’re missing your best chance to plug into the growing independent scene. There’s change in the wind in pro wrestling, and that change is not coming from the top. Kick Out at Two is traveling all over the country – including upcoming stops in Cleveland and St. Louis – to introduce you to the finest indy wrestling has to offer.

Download Kick Out at Two every Friday on iTunes and Soundcloud!

Elvis Comes to Louisville

Today is the 39th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s passing. It’s fitting to mark his passing here on a wrestling blog with an eye to Louisville because I just learned the story of how Elvis came to do his first public concert in Louisville.

In 1955 Elvis came to Louisville to play a private corporate function. There was little fanfare for the King of Rock n Roll that year, but when he returned a year later, the whole world knew who Elvis was.

Elvis was booked at the Armory (the future Louisville Gardens) for two shows on November 25, 1956. Tickets cost only $2.50 for this monumental show, and numerous shops around town were giving tickets away as an incentive for buying just about anything.

Of course Elvis’s impending arrival was not without some concern and controversy. Concerned about the city’s youth, the Armory box office did its best to make sure no minors bought tickets without an adult companion, and the Chief of Police assured the public that Elvis’s famous hip gyrations would not be tolerated.

Elvis was an absolute smash, and the Courier-Journal ran a front page story on the show the following day. The only thing missing from the story was the name of the man responsible for the show. Frances Mcdonogh, owner of the Allen Athletic Club wrestling promotion, was a personal friend of Col. Parker, and that connection allowed him to promote the biggest concert to date in Louisville.

How to Become a Legend

ASW is running a show tonight in Madison, WV. It’s a star-studded event featuring the Rock N Roll Express and “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart.

Hart is a legend by anyone’s definition. He’s one of the greatest managers of all time and a Hall of Famer. That makes what he did the other day so remarkable.

Jimmy Hart called promoter Gary Damron a few days before the show and asked what time he needed to be there – to help set up the ring! “Not that we are gonna allow that to happen,” said Damron on his Facebook page, “but just to show what a true heart for the business he has and also to say if he feels he can help setup a ring than anyone should!”

Legends lead by example. Legends never forget where they came from. Legends are never too big to help set up the ring.

Whatever your passion or pursuit in life, take a lesson from a legend. Be humble, remember your roots, and never be too “important” to help set up the ring.

Can One Man Make a Difference to a Promotion?

I’ve never watched TNA.

I’ve never watched a single episode or pay-per-view. Matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve even watched a full match on TNA. Even on the Internet.

I didn’t watch when Jeff Jarrett was the top guy. I didn’t watch when they got Kurt Angle. I didn’t tune in for A.J. Styles or Samoa Joe.

Even after the recent buzz surrounding Matt Hardy and his Final Deletion (which I would like to see but have yet to watch), I wasn’t interested.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Aron Rex makes me want to watch TNA.

Whether he was Damien Sandow, or Damien Mizdow, or Davy Crockett, he was can’t-miss, must-see every time he showed up on WWE television. He’s a rare force who connects with the audience no matter what stupid gimmick he’s handed. He’s the super-rare performer who can make my wife look up and laugh when he’s on TV.

Aron Rex makes me want to watch TNA. That’s the difference one man – the right man – can make. Let’s hope the famously bad powers that be at TNA don’t botch this one up!

Kick Out at Two with Kyle Matthews

This week the Kick Out at Two Podcast presents Georgia-based wrestler Kyle Matthews. Matthews is a 5’7″ cruiserweight with eleven years experience in the indies. He’s a mainstay in the Southeast but has also appeared in CHIKARA and Ring of Honor.

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud, and be sure to follow them on Twitter!

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