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Covid-Con: The Virtual Wrestling Convention!

It started out with a Facebook message.

“What if we put on an author fair on Facebook for wrestling writers?” I asked Kenny Casanova.

What started innocently 15 days ago has blown up into a full weekend of wrestling talk. Wrestling Bookmarks Covid-Con is the first every virtual wrestling convention. All weekend long you can hear stories and do Q&A with wrestling authors, wrestlers, and other wrestling personalities on Facebook.

And it’s all 100% FREE!

The guest list includes Diamond Dallas Page, Hurricane Helms, Sunny the California Girl from GLOW, Dutch Mantell, ODB, Sid Vicious, Mad Man Pondo, Koko B. Ware, Kenny “Starmaker” Bolin, Justin Credible, Sabu, Joel Gertner, Typhoon, Gangrel, Mr. Hughes, Referee Danny Davis, Cowboy Scott Casey, and Duke The Dumpster Droese.

Authors scheduled to appear include Bill Apter, Greg Oliver, Mark James, Dan Murphy, Pat LaPrade, Bertrand Hebert, RD Reynolds, Brennon Martin, and of course… Kenny Casanova and John Cosper.

You can’t leave the house anyway, so grab some snacks, log on, and join us next weekend.

Click here to join the Wrestling Bookmarks Covid-Con Facebook Page.

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What About the Refs?

Everyone knows that thousands of wrestlers are sitting in isolation while the country rides out the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about the refs? They’re sitting at home. They’re bored stiff. And yes, they’re missing their hot dogs and handshakes too.

Here’s a short film I created with Sean Patrick O’Brien, Aaron Grider, and AJ Kissinger, three of the hardest working refs in the Midwest who can’t wait to get back at it.

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Wrestle Tea with Mr. Darius Carter

Two days ago, I wrote about Wrestle Tea because I wanted people to see Sam Leterna in action. I am doing so again today because you need to see her first guest.

Mr. Darius Carter is one of the most successful, arrogant, and self-assured wrestlers in the business. His stated goal, as mentioned in this interview, is to be on TV. I have no doubt he will be there sooner rather than later. This man is a throwback in the same vein as MJF. He’s an old school heel killing it in the modern era.

And yes, he’s better than all of you, and he knows it.

Please click play below to watch this interview, and give Sam a subscribe on YouTube if you like what you see!

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In This Corner: AKIRA

First off, let’s get this straight. If you spell it with lowercase letters, you’re spelling it wrong.

“It’s AKIRA not Akira,” explains AKIRA, a truly gifted young shooter who stole the show at Girl Fight’s Pick Your Poison event in Southern Indiana last November. “One looks cool, the other looks like you forgot my last name.”

Although he lives just a stone’s throw away from the Jeffersonville, Indiana Arena, many local fans have never seen AKIRA in action before Girl Fight. Yet AKIRA is a hard-working, extreme grappler who has traveled all over the US and Mexico and bears the battle scars to prove it. He’s also one of a growing number of young wrestlers who continues to study the once lost art of shoot fighting.

“I started off with Blake Reed of New Wave Pro,” he explains. “Then I went to train with Katsuyori Shibata for a week and really found a base for my style. I then followed that up by training with Jay Grooms, who was a student of the late Great Billy Robinson. So you can generally trace bits and pieces of my background to Robinson, and by a stretttchhhh Inoki and Gotch.

If the names Billy Robinson, Karl Gotch, or (heaven forbid!) Antonio Inoki are unfamiliar, you should look them up. Robinson was a legitimate shooter, one of those “dangerous” grapplers old wrestlers speak about with the same respect as Haku and Dr. D David Schultz. In other words, he’s a man you didn’t play cute with in the ring unless you really wanted to get hurt. Antonio Inoki, of course, is one of the great legends of Japan and the founder of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Karl Gotch was his mentor and Billy’s, a truly dangerous man and the one guy Muhammed Ali would not go near when he was in Japan to face Inoki.

All this to say, AKIRA knows his legacy, and his legacy is men who could hurt people.

That’s not to say AKIRA doesn’t know how to work a wrestling match. He’s trained with a number of big name and “outlaw” style grapplers too, including the Rejects. AKIRA can work with anyone, but he knows how to protect himself. In days gone by, when men like Dr. D first trained with men like Herb Welch, they were taught how to shoot so they could protect themselves in the ring. It’s a skill many wrestlers who were trained in a Performance Center never even touch, but it’s one AKIRA values highly. “You can’t trust everyone,” he adds. “I’d rather be able to have some sort of semblance of control in a fight.”

It’s easy to see AKIRA’s heroes in his wrestling style. As a kid, he idolized men like Brett Hart, RVD, Hayavusa, Tajiri, and the Rock. ”When I got back into wrestling around 18, it was Suzuki, Nakamura, Shibata, Sakuraba, Styles. I would even add Lesnar to that list. Kasai and Gage inspired me to try deathmatches.”

As a writer of wrestling history, I love guys like AKIRA, who appreciate the stories of the men and women who came before him. AKIRA sees value in learning about the past, as a fan and as a wrestler. “History teaches respect. It shows the good of wrestling and the bad of if as well. History teaches acknowledgement of those that came before you.”

He’s got an ambitious wish list of wrestlers he hopes to share the ring with one day, including Katsuyori Shibata,  DBS, Jr., Minoru Suzuki, Simon Grimm, Chris Dickinson, Josh Barnett, Tom Lawlor, Hiromu Takahashi, Nakamura, Ibushi, Takeda, Kasai, Daniel Makabe, and Tony Deppen (again).

AKIRA’s had many rivals in the ring, but if there’s one wrestler you could call his nemesis, it’s Charlie Kruel. Fans of Ms. Kruel have long enjoyed listening to AKIRA heckle the psycho killer from the back of the room during her matches, and I just had to ask AKIRA, why do you hate the girl so much.

AKIRA just hangs his head and sighs. “I live with her. Like…that’s all that needs to be said. And she doesn’t take Kota the Deathmatch Doge out.” Nuff said.

AKIRA’s love of deathmatches is well-known, and fans who visit his social media feeds will see plenty of blood and scars. That said, AKIRA, is far from being “just a bleeder.” He can work any style you throw at him and put on as entertaining a match as you’ll see on the independents. “I can legitimately wrestle, but that doesn’t mean I can’t slug it out with the best of them. I have a love for scifi anime and film, and my music tastes cover a weird spectrum.”

AKIRA’s goal is the same as many young wrestlers: “To make a living on my own terms and be looked upon in a heralded light at the end of the day for my contributions,” he says. “To be a King…you know? At the end of the day, I just want to fight for you all.”

If you want to check out AKIRA (again, all caps!) you can find him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @theakiraway. And be sure to visit his Teespring shop: Akira’s Corner.

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Paradigm Pro Is Still Here!

PPW: So Far Gone

Jordan Rose summed up the mood in the Sellersburg American Legion Post on Friday night for all the fans in attendance at Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s January event. After losing their building just a few weeks before, thanks to a suspicious phone call placed to the nearby city of Clarksville, the powers that be at PPW were able to find a new home quickly. Not only were all the previously booked wrestlers in attendance, PPW likely drew a few extra fans thanks to the cash bar at the back of the room. In a spirit of defiance and pride, Rose directed his gaze at the steadi-cam perched on the announcer’s table and sent a message to the man or woman who not only evicted PPW from Malice Manor but managed to get Girl Fight’s most recent offering canceled:

“WE’RE STILL HERE!!!”

The recent incident is not the first one of its kind. Not in wrestling, not in Kentuckiana, certainly not in recent memory. It was just a few years ago that two more phone calls successfully shutting down IWA Mid-South at Jammerz Rollerdome while unsuccessfully attempting to close the Arena in Jeffersonville. The so-called snitch was identified as a rival promoter who has since vanished from the area, along with his promoter. The identify of this recent caller remains anonymous, and in all fairness, it could just as easily be a local do-gooder rather than a promoter will ill intent. Nevertheless, it’s worth sharing a thought I’ve spoken only privately up until now.

If you are running 5000 fans a week, you have a territory to defend.

If you are running under 200 a week, as all the local promotions on both sides of the river are, you do not have a territory. You have NOTHING to defend.

Run your shows, and let everyone else be.

Be thankful for the loyal fans you have, and remember – even out of those 200, at least half are patronizing the other guys too.

With all that said, let’s go to the show and talk a couple of highlights:

First, let’s talk about the Lost Boys. I’m thrilled to see Hoodfoot has connected with Adam Slade and what appears to be a great faction. If you get the chance to see (or book) this group, do it. Adam Slade, Bradley Prescott IV, Hoodfoot, and the rest are hungry, talented, and most of all – fun. These guys are fueled by a love of wrestling and entertaining. Great to see so many of them on the show.

I finally got to see Warhorse Friday night, and wow, that was a fun match with the aforementioned Bradley Prescott IV. I love this guy’s look, too. His promo photos remind me of Zartan. He’s got a great gimmick, and he really connects with the fans. I’ll go see him any day.

It was great seeing Reed Bentley again, but I have to admit, I’m questioning these stories he told me when we first met. Reed tells me he trained in an actual ring, but he spends so little time wrestling inside a ring, I don’t know if I believe him. Joking aside, it was fun seeing him in a singles match again. Much as I love him with John Wayne Murdoch (who I will get to) and their all-out wars as the Rejects, it’s nice to see both those guys show what they can do as singles.

Billie Starkz is a superstar in the making. The girl connects with the fans like another young lady I first saw wrestling locally back in 2014 who just made her third appearance in the Royal Rumble. She’s already where Crazy Mary was skill wise at that time, and she’s five years younger than Mary was at that time. Enjoy her while she’s young, fans. She won’t be in this area for very long once she hits 18.

Calvin Tankman is a monster. He is big, strong, agile, and OVER with the fans. Not sure why he is “unsigned” but that’s a status I would expect changes before the end of this year. 

The PPW title match went on second to last, which is what happens when you have John Wayne Murdoch scheduled in a street fight. The Duke of Hardcore can do no wrong in the eyes of fans around these parts, and everyone was thrilled to see the doors, steel chairs, and other implements of destruction set out for the main event. It’s almost a foregone conclusion in these moments that JWM is always going to win this type of match, and you could feel the shockwave ripple through the crowd when the referee counted three and raised the hand of…. Nolan Edwards? Yes!! It was Edwards who defeated John Wayne Murdoch in his own specialty match. Edwards has scored several huge wins as of late across the region against top stars, not the least of which was Kongo Kong, and now he has a huge statement win at PPW. PPW has already proven to be a launch pad for young stars, introducing fans to guys like Corey Storm and Ace Austin. Nolan Edwards is poised to have a breakout year in 2020. 

Oh, and speaking of break out stars, PPW fans better enjoy every chance they get to see Dominic Garrini up close. The bare-footed shooter has an invitation to the eight man tournament that kicks off the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame festivities this July in Waterloo, Iowa. Other competitors include Colt Cabana, Mad Man Fulton, Mr. Anderson, Gary Jay, and the man Garrini most wants to get his hands on – Ken Shamrock. This is a high profile tournament and an incredible opportunity for Garrini.

PPW will return to Sellersburg on March 27 for their next Heavy Hitters event. Fans who want to check out this outstanding and (so far) unkillable promotion can follow them on Facebook for more information.

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Jams and Slams – A Night of Pro Wrestling and Roller Derby

I haven’t been blogging in a long, long time.

It’s been a busy few months.

But, I’m going to be giving this another go, starting with this great event out of Baldwin, Missouri coming up Saturday night!

The good folks at Dynamo Pro Wrestling are presenting a night of both pro wrestling and roller derby, two sports that are not only a total blast but have always shared a common bond. Matter of fact, I have it on good authority that the great Bobby “The Brain” Heenan loved roller derby girls.

Anyway, I’ll let the promoter speak for himself on this one. If I was close by, I’d be there. It’s going to be one heck of a show! And hey… Hayley Shadows is on the card! That’s always a great thing!

Dynamo Pro Presents Jams & Slams

“Jams and Slams” – A Landmark Event for Dynamo Pro Wrestling & Arch Rival Roller Derby

It seems apropos that the respective worlds of professional wrestling and roller derby would cross paths in today’s landscape of sports promotion. Historically fixtures in pop culture and the evolution of broadcast television, the two sports are often joined at the hip (or perhaps better defined, a hip toss and hip check) for their own brand of mayhem that is enjoyed by multi-generational audiences. Dynamo Pro Wrestling and Arch Rival Roller Derby will join forces for “JAMS & SLAMS”. This event will take place on Saturday, February 1st at Midwest Sport Hockey, located within Queeny Park in Ballwin, Missouri.
This co-promoted event marks the first-time that both sports are presented locally under the same roof. “We’re excited to be a part of this event,” said Dynamo Pro Wrestling owner Jim Yount. “Pro wrestling and roller derby are a great match together that will appeal to fans of both sports.”
The featured attraction of the evening finds Dynamo Pro Wrestling women’s champion, the “Empress of Evil” Rahne Victoria, defending her title against “The Barbie Killer” Hayley Shadows. Both fought each other in a grueling match in St. Louis at “New Year’s Brawl”. Victoria, who has held the title since its inception in August 2018, made the challenger tap out after several near-falls. “Hayley’s a very worthy opponent,” Victoria has respectfully said of her adversary. “However, I’m always ready to show her, and everyone else, why I am the Dynamo Pro Wrestling women’s champion and why I will remain champion.”
In the co-main event, a “Bragging Rights” contest between a pair of title holders will take place as Dynamo Pro Wrestling heavyweight champion “Lights Out” Adrian Surge meets Dynamo Pro Wrestling D-1 champion Camaro Jackson. Although neither title is on the line, both men have their pride and reputation at stake. The pair faced each other on May 16th, 2019 as Camaro challenged Surge, who had regained his championship the month prior, but was unsuccessful. As Surge has continued his title reign, Camaro continued training hard and focusing on gaining another opportunity at a Dynamo Pro Wrestling championship. At “Thanksgiving SLAM!” on November 30th, 2019, Camaro Jackson was able to acquire his first championship in Dynamo Pro Wrestling, by winning the Dynamo Pro Wrestling D-1 championship. At “New Year’s Brawl”, Camaro Jackson silenced a great deal of his critics by defeating “The Yoga Monster” Mike Sydal in his first defense of his championship.
Prior to this important match-up, both champions have been focused and respectful of their opponent. Camaro Jackson spoke quite highly of Surge. “Adrian Surge is a man of class and integrity. He has the respect of the locker room and of his peers as well.” Jackson’s tone of voice changed as he continued. “Unfortunately, this isn’t about shaking hands and kissing babies. It’s about showing who is “the man”…who is the champion of champions in Dynamo Pro Wrestling. Surge may be a two-time champion, but I’m a champion with a chip on my shoulder. This Saturday, I plan of putting “Mr. Lights Out” in his place…and that’s behind me at #2”. Surge made a similar statement about his challenger.  “Camaro has been impressive in his fairly short tenure in Dynamo Pro. But, I’m the reigning two-time Dynamo Pro Wrestling heavyweight champion for a reason. I will be Camaro’s first real trial in Dynamo Pro. I will walk out the better champion at “Jams and Slams”. One thing is for certain at “Jams and Slams”. This match will easily one of the most important matches in Dynamo Pro Wrestling history.
C.J. Shine and The Snitch are no strangers to one another. These two men have been rivals within Dynamo Pro Wrestling for over three years. A former Dynamo Pro Wrestling heavyweight champion, the charismatic C.J. Shine is one of the most popular wrestlers in Dynamo Pro Wrestling. The Snitch is one of the most diabolical wrestlers in Dynamo Pro Wrestling. Having argued for nearly two years that there is a championship conspiracy between himself and Dynamo Pro Wrestling management, The Snitch retained a lawyer and refused to compete in Dynamo Pro Wrestling until his professional demands were met. In a surprise return at “Thanksgiving Slam”, The Snitch hid in the crowd until his return. The Snitch, through his legal representation, has stated that he will hold championship gold in Dynamo Pro Wrestling by the end of 2020. These two men will continue their rivalry at “Jams and Slams”.
When Dynamo Pro Wrestling fans and wrestlers alike are asked about who they feel is the greatest champion in Dynamo Pro Wrestling history, many of them say the name Outtkast. Between his two tag team championship reigns and two D-1 championship reigns, Outtkast has held championship gold in Dynamo Pro Wrestling for nearly three years. Outtkast is a model competitor, leaving everything in the ring and always willing to take time out for his fans. At “Jams and Slams”, Outtkast will square off against one-half of the Arch City Mercenaries, Jimmi LaFleur. LaFleur is a wrestler that is not afraid to let his actions speak just as loudly as his words. The outspoken LaFleur spent time in 2019 under suspension from Dynamo Pro Wrestling due to his attacks on Ricky Rodriguez outside of his home and on a member of the Dynamo Pro Wrestling media department during a backstage interview. Even though he is considered extremely volatile by many within Dynamo Pro Wrestling, no one can question his in-ring ability. At “New Year’s Brawl”, Jimmi LaFleur saw his year-long reign as Dynamo Pro Wrestling tag team champions ended. LaFleur has stated that “2020 will simply be the Year of the Arch City Mercenaries. We will not slip into obscurity. We are faster, stronger, and angrier than we have ever been. At “Jams and Slams”, Outtkast needs to prepare for the punishment.”
In addition to a great night of Dynamo Pro Wrestling action, the Arch Rival Roller Derby will continue their regular season. At 6:30 P.M., the event launches with local roller derby action as the defending champions, the Smashinistas, will be facing five-time ARCH kingpins, the Stunt Devils. The Smashinistas are paced by Cloak N’ Drag-Her, Frowntown, Skeevie Nicks, Smash Money, WyldeSyde, Shady Hawkins and Skulpix. With a win at “Jams and Slams”, the Smashinistas (1-0) will guaranteed automatic placement in the Arch Rival Roller Derby championship final. The Smashinistas are at no loss for words prior to this contest. “As for those Devilish Stunts, we will not be bamboozled or baited by their tricks,” said Smashinista Drag-Her. “One of their leaders, I think it was Black Dyna-somthin’, told me to stay home on Saturday! Nope…not falling for it!”
Meanwhile, the Stunt Devils counter with a line-up that includes Sir Ian McKillin’, Slamgelina Jolie, Rhonda Lousy, Black Dynasmite, Shiv Tyler and Bette Davis Thighz. A victory will put the Stunt Devils into a tie in the standings. When asked for comment prior to this eagerly anticipated contest, Sir Ian McKillin stated, “We’re super-excited. We know going up against the defending champs is going to be tough, but we’re looking forward to it,” “On and off the track, the Stunts are ready to party and get weird.  We’re ready to do some battle on the track against our foes in the green and gold, but then we’re ready to kick back and enjoy some wrestling with them after!”
Adult tickets are available at the door for $15 each. Children ages 10 and under are free. They are several special ticket discounts available for this event as well. For ticket information, please check out the Arch Rival Roller Derby website at www.archrivalrollerderby.com. Come out and witness St. Louis professional sports history on Saturday, February 1st as Dynamo Pro Wrestling and Arch Rival Roller Derby present “Jams and Slams”!