The Secret of Their Success

There are few independent tag teams on the same level as the Carnies. Over the last few years Nick Iggy and Kerry Awful have evolved from the boy and his dog gimmick to the dark and devilish act that has fans everywhere taking notice. Iggy is a master on the microphone, a born heat magnet who frightens children and infuriates their parents, and the pair can brawl with anyone from the Hooligans to the Bomb Shelter to the Baka Gaijin.

One needs only to see what happened after their match Friday night at Pro Wrestling Freedom to understand why the Carnies have not only become one of the best duos in. As soon as the match after theirs began, Iggy snuck out of the locker room, around the arena to the gimmick tables, and took a seat beside Brutal Bob Evans. Bob is the “Obi Wan Kenobi” of indy wrestlers, and while the show continued, Iggy sat for ten minutes and listened as Bob broke down their match.

The Carnies are the Carnies because they never stop improving. As talented as they are, it’s their humility and desire to keep on learning that fuels their continued ascension. They are a link in a chain that goes back decades, learning from Brutal Bob as he learned from those who came before him. What’s more, the Carnies are already mentoring guys younger than themselves, offering rides and wisdom to guys who are willing to show up and make the drives.

You are never too “good” to learn from others. Whatever field you are in, whatever your dream, seek out those who are more experienced, and learn everything you can from them. Then pass on what you have learned to those who come after you. That’s how everyone gets better. That’s how everyone succeeds.

Indy Wrestling Show “Lacking” Compared to WWE

It had been a while since I attended a WWE show. At least a year. In that time I’ve attended a number of independent shows around town, extolling their virtues and hailing them as a better alternative to the corporate machine that is World Wrestling Entertainment. After attending Friday night’s Pro Wrestling Freedom show at the Jeffersonville Arena just a few weeks after seeing Smackdown Live, I can’t believe how blind I was. The WWE offers so much that independent wrestling shows just can’t deliver, there’s simply no comparison.

First of all most independents don’t offer you the chance to pay for admission by credit card. Pro Wrestling Freedom is one of many cash only promotions in town. If you want to get in, you have to go to the bank and get $15 cash from the machine for a general admission seat. It was so much easier and more convenient to go online and use my credit card to pay the $35 (plus $30 Ticketmaster fees) to get my upper arena seat for WWE.

Second, the independent show does not have a large staff of arena workers to sell $35 T-shirts and posters pre-signed by a select WWE Superstar. Do you know what they have instead? Actual wrestlers working the tables, selling their own woefully underpriced $20 T-shirts, along with wristbands, mugs, posters, photos, and even (in the case of The Bomb Shelter) energy drinks. Wrestlers like Tyler Matrix and Brutal Bob Evans were also signing autographs in person and even taking photos with their fans, all because the Arena and/or the promoter was too cheap to hire event staff.

That’s another thing you won’t find at an independent show. There’s no separation between “us” and “them.” At WWE Smackdown, the wrestlers (other than The Miz) hardly acknowledged anyone in the audience, and those who did only made eye contact with the front row. They did their business for the cameras and went back up the ramp, not to be seen again.

At Pro Wrestling Freedom it was pure pandemonium at times. Not only were wrestlers yelling at fans and fans at wrestlers, the action spilled out into the fans on several occasions. A stern announcer would occasionally get on the microphone and warn fans, “If the action is coming your way, grab your stuff and move!” sending fans scrambling around the Arena in search of safety.

This brings me to another thing missing from Pro Wrestling Freedom. There were no fans on their phones. There was no online chatter about the matches. More telling, there was no second guessing of promoter Jimmy Feltcher’s booking choices, wondering why this guy gets pushed over that guy and lamenting how much better things used to be. Instead of being good smart marks, who viewed everything they saw with a eye of a theater critic, they actually engaged with the wrestlers and the show as if it were a legitimate sporting competition.

Honestly, didn’t anyone in attendance Friday night know that everything that happened was pre-planned in the back? Did any of them realize that this was not real? It was just… entertainment?

All kidding aside, Pro Wrestling Freedom was entertainment. I can say the same for IWA Mid-South, for OVW, for Grindhouse, for Paradigm Pro Wrestling, and all the independent promotions in the Louisville area and beyond. Yes, these shows are “lacking” in the ways mentioned above, and to be honest, they are better for it.

Wrestling is alive and well. The more indy shows I attend, the more I appreciate the hard work of the men and women keeping it alive. It’s much more fun to go to a show where you’ll never hear a “Roman sucks” chant and where the wrestlers play to the crowd and not the viewers at home. And oh yes, it is a LOT cheaper to buy a ticket and support a wrestler directly by buying a shirt, a wristband, or even in my case, a mug. (Thank you for the stickers too, Nick Iggy!)

Pro Wrestling Freedom lacked nothing that the fans at the Arena were missing save one thing. Air conditioning. Let’s hope 2 Tuff Tony wasn’t working the crowd when he promised the “guy” is coming Monday.

Warning: Thomas Brewington Can’t Be Trusted

Thomas Brewington is a hero to many outside the wrestling ring. As a spokesperson for Dropkick Depression, he has been open and honest about his personal struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. His honesty and candor have helped those who struggle with depression see they are not alone, and his efforts have helped others to better understand what life is like for people who battle depression on a daily basis.

Thomas Brewington is a real hero – outside the ring. Inside the ring, he’s a real jerk, and he’s one of the wrestlers reinventing kayfabe.

Kayfabe, as it once existed, is indeed gone, but it is far from dead. It is evolving into something new. As previously discussed on this blog, Mr. Darius Carter is inventing it in his own way by refusing to give shoot interviews or sell T-shirts. And as much as Sami Callihan stunned the world when he smashed Eddie Edwards in the eye with a baseball bat, he stunned fans and colleagues even more when he refused to apologize for it, owning it on the best episode of Talk Is Jericho I’ve heard all year.

Which brings me to Brewington. A fan who attended a show not too long ago shared this note on Facebook:

To which Brewington gleefully replied:

“It was me.”

As word spread and fans and friends began to voice their reactions on Facebook, Brewington took things even further, posting countless spoilers on his personal page revealing the endings to everything from “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” to Wrestlemania III to “John Tucker Must Die.” He also left fans with this warning:

Kayfabe is not dead. It’s evolving, and even in 2018, a great heel can make even the smartest of marks hate their freaking guts.

Where Will You Be Friday Night?

Louisville wrestling fans are in a quandary. In the wake of Tuesday night’s WWE Smackdown Live show, they must decide which independent show to attend on Friday evening.

The action starts at 6 pm at Waterfront Park, where OVW will present their third annual Run for the Ropes outdoor wrestling program. This will be the first Derby wrestling show under new owner Al Snow, who has already caught my attention by bringing back Mitchell Huff. OVW never disappoints, and fans on the waterfront can catch the action for the price of a Derby Pin.

Sixteen miles to the North, another promotion with 20+ years in the rear view mirror is going live on Powerbomb.TV at 6:45 pm. Faced with two other shows on the same night, Ian Rotten and IWA Mid-South are pulling out all the stops, bringing back “The Baddest Man Alive” Aaron Williams to face Nick Gage while the newly crowned tag champs the Gymnasty Boys vs. the Impact tag team champs, OVE.

Perhaps its fitting that on a night when OVW and IWA Mid-South go head to head, the upstarts at Prodigy Pro Wrestling (soon to be changing names) offer a main event pitting an OVW original against and IWA Mid-South original. After months of simmering tensions, Flash Flanigan will finally step into the ring with Hy Zaya for what should be a phenomenal main event. Bell time is 8 pm for this event, giving fans a chance to make their way across the bridge after the OVW show to catch most (if not all) of the action at the Jeffersonville Arena.

Who will win the matches? Who will win the war for butts in the seats? The real winner Friday will be the Louisville wrestling fans who get out and take advantage of any of these three amazing wrestling cards.

Support indy wrestling. Buy a ticket. Bring a friend. Buy merch. This is a truly great time to be a fan!

The Best of Past and Present at Heroes and Legends X

Jayson Maples has something special going in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Heroes and Legends is a twice a year fan fest and wrestling show that combines the past and present seamlessly, and my second trip to this event proved to be just as memorable as the first.

The tenth edition of Heroes and Legends took place Saturday at the beautiful Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, beginning with a fan fest at noon. Early arrivals had the opportunity to meet my good friend Dr. D David Schultz as well as Greg The Hammer Valentine, Madusa, Bob Orton, Mean Gene Okerland, Slick, Tatanka, Koko B. Ware, and Tito Santana. Mixed in with these legends and some great vendors and artists (including the super talented Erik Hodson, who designed one of my science fiction book covers were some of today’s hottest independent stars like Jimmy Jacobs, Sugar Dunkerton, oVe, Sami Callahan, Veda Scott, Jessicka Havoc, Sawyer Fulton and Kongo Kong.

At 6:30 the lights dimmed and it was time for some wrestling action. This year’s show was a much longer card than the Spring 2017 edition, and every match delivered. Regular readers will know I am a sucker for heels who get into it with the kids, and #TheDraw Sami Callihan made my night when he went after two little boys in the front row. Callihan looked like Tommy Lasorda going after an umpire after a bad third strike call, screaming red faced at the boys and pretending to kick dirt on their shoes.

The past mingled with the present during the show just as they did during the fan fest headlined by Tatanka taking on Kongo Kong in a tremendous main event. Tito Santana and Cowboy Bob Orton gave fans a thrill when they stepped in the ring with the Heroes and Legends tag champs, Legendary. Bob Orton shocked the crowd with an RKO out of nowhere that nearly blew the roof off the building.

Sugar Dunkerton promised a surprise guest manager for his match against Jimmy Jacobs the day before the event. After making his entrance, Sugar introduced WWF legend Slick as his manager for the evening. Reverend Slick has not lost a step in his years away from the ring and gave Sugar the backup he needed to defeat the Zombie Princess. Referee Max Recon even got into the action and did the “Zebra Trot” when Jimmy Jacobs refused to get into a dance contest with Sugar.

With his tenth show in the rear view mirror, Jayson Maples has turned his eyes to fall and the eleventh edition of Heroes and Legends. My sincere thanks to him for a great day of wrestling and nostalgia. Thanks as well  to all the fans who came to see Dr. D, and my sincere apologies again to those who did not make it in time before he had to leave.

Eat Sleep Wrestle at Heroes and Legends X

Attention Heroes and Legends fans:

Bring your spending money, because I’m bringing the whole catalog.

This is your chance to get Bluegrass Brawlers, Louisville’s Greatest Show, Eat Sleep Wrestle, Kenny Bolin’s book, Herb Welch’s book, and Seasons Beatings for only $10 each.

And oh yeah, Dr. D David Schultz will be with me, signing copies of his book for $30 each. Photo ops and 8 x 10 autographs will also be available.

Special bonus for the first four people who buy one of the $10 books: you will also get a copy of Lord Carlton’s book free. (We are clearing out the old edition in anticipation of releasing a new one this summer.)

See you in Fort Wayne.

Save the Tables

In a former life, before writing about wrestling, I made a lot of short films like this.

This one’s been in the works for a long time. Finally connected with an old partner in crime Ally Labar and made it a reality.

Who will stop the violence? Who will stop the needless destruction? Who will save the tables?

The Dan Gable Museum Announces the 2018 Hall of Fame Class

The George Tragos/ Lou Thesz Hall of fame at the Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo is an absolute treat for pro wrestling fans. If you’re ever passing through Iowa, it’s worth the detour. If you’re really into wrestling history, it’s worth making a special trip.

Every summer some of the biggest names of professional wrestling past and present make their way for the Hall of Fame weekend. The museum just announced the dates, schedule, and honorees for the 2018 Hall of Fame including Owen Hart, Dan Severn, and Bruiser Brody. this three day event includes an eight man wrestling tournament and plenty of meet and greet opportunities for all-access pass holders.

The Hall of Fame weekend is July 26-28. Passes are now on sale, and special hotel/pass rates are available. For more information go to the Dan Gable Museum’s website. And please let them know I sent you.

A Progressive Liberal in Mike Pence’s State

I don’t like to get political, and when I say that, I mean it. Ask my wife. It sort of drives her nuts how very little interest I have in politics.

Daniel Richards told the crowd at Prodigy Pro Wrestling he does not like to get political. The first words out of his mouth were, “I don’t like to get political…” But when Richards started in on the good people of Indiana, blaming them for Trump’s victory and of course Mike Pence, I got the sense he was being about as honest as, well, a politician.

Richards drove ten hours to the show Friday night at the ArenA in Jeffersonville, but it sure sounded to me like he regretted it. Standing tall at 6’5″ with a pair of kneepads decked with the red, white and blue donkey of the Democratic Party and a T-shirt adorned front to back with the image of his beloved Hillary Clinton, the “Progressive Liberal” railed on Trump, Pence, Hoosiers in general, and the NRA.

Perhaps then it was fitting that the bookers at Prodigy Pro Wrestling matched him against former OVW champion Tony Gunn. That’s GUNN with two N’s, who attempted to give away a T-shirt away before being jumped by the Progressive Liberal. Richards had the upper hand and went for an early pin, but when referee Max Recon only gave him a two count, Richards demanded a recount. Then another. Then another. Gunn kicked out at two every time, prompting a cry of “Collusion!” from Richards, who later accused the always in control ref of being a Russian.

Despite the early advantage, Richards could not put Gunn away. He could not draw any momentum from the crowd either, as his cries of “Feel the Bern!” and “Hillary!” were met with derisive chants of “Snowflake!” In the end, it was Gunn who took the victory away from the Progressive Liberal, forcing him to do his best impression of his beloved Hillary Clinton and walk away in defeat.

Richards and Gunn were just one of many entertaining matches Friday night as Prodigy Pro drew their largest crowd yet for their sixth show. Other stand outs included John Wayne Murdoch vs. former CZW Champion Joe Gacy, Corey Storm and Dan O’Haire vs. Daniel Eads and Logan James, and Reed Bentley vs. Gary Jay.

A heavyweight showdown between Flash Flanigan and Big Zo ended in a disqualification when Flanigan went after Big Zo with a Kendo stick. Hy Zaya raced into the ring to make the save for Zo, and Doug Votaw finally agreed to grant Hy Zaya a match with Flanigan at the April 27 show to finally end their feud.

Prodigy Pro Wrestling is a must-see promotion if you are in the Louisville area, a stellar show that offers a variety of wrestling styles and unique match ups never before seen anywhere. Friday’s show was standing room only, and if history is any indication, the crowds are only going to get bigger. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Great Story of The Great Cheyenne

Every professional wrestler has a story to tell, and some of these stories are nothing short of inspiring. Whether they make it to the WWE or spend their career in the indies, every man and woman who laces up the boots has a story about overcoming obstacles in pursuit of their dream.

The Great Cheyenne has overcome more than most in her career. She was a single mother when she told her relatives she wanted to become a professional wrestler, and she found no support at all from her family.

“The people around me thought I was ridiculous, and it wasn’t something a single mom should be doing or engaging in. I was highly criticized, but I did my best to look past that because it was worth the criticism if I felt that happy doing it.”

The Great Cheyenne refused to give in to the criticism. A fan since she was a child, she felt perfectly at home when she finally made it into a ring. “Some of us women are tomboys, you never really feel like you fit in or like you can really belong because you’re not the typical girl. I wasn’t into dresses and girly stuff, but when I stepped in the ring, I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. The shoe fit so I wore it; in my case the boot sure did fit. I am not a small woman, so when I was in the ring it was like the ring fit me, the size of my head, my nose, my hands, and my rough nature.”

The Great Cheyenne began her training in Chicago, where she first broke into the independent scene. She later trained with the legendary Savoldi family on the East Coast and furthered her education with Hall of Fame stars like Bob Backlund and Kevin Von Erich. She developed a physical toughness only exceeded by her inner toughness, and for twenty years, she has battled to earn her spot in independent wrestling.

It has not been an easy road. Family has always come first for The Great Cheyenne, and she’s had to pass on many opportunities in order to do what was best for her children. She’s always followed her true north, steering clear of temptation and the shady side of professional wrestling while staying true to herself.

Having grown up a fan herself and breaking into the business as a single mom, children have always had a special place in The Great Cheyenne’s heart. So when the opportunity to write a book arose, it was a no-brainer who her target audience would be.

“Children are some of our greatest fans. With their innocence and with their intuition they know who is genuinely good and legit even when you are a great heel. Some of my best memories are of my fans that were little kids. I care a lot about their growth and well-being, as a single mother of two children and a daughter of a migrant mother who worked hard all the time and was tired, I am aware and conscious of the hard times some children are enduring out there feeling alone.

“I want to be a voice of hope for those little kids, for those dreamers and for those especially having hard times that they don’t even realize they can dream because their hardship doesn’t allow it. Many times our parents do not have time, are suffering depression, or just working hard, and right now with politicians coming down on dreamers, I want them to know someone is in support of their right to dream and their pursuit of happiness.”

The Great Cheyenne partnered with illustrator Jason Eaglespeaker to bring her vision to life. “I have known him for 7 years now. He did a comic strip for my character some years ago. We have been supporters of each other’s work for some years now. So I trusted him and I am a fan of his work. He has done excellent work as a grassroots indigenous Native American author, artist and community activist. I respect and believe in his work. Jason knew exactly what to say to me. I don’t believe in coincidences. I feel it was meant to be him that I worked with, his work and his messages for hope and success are solid, pure and good for our people.”

Both Eaglespeaker and The Great Cheyenne have high hopes for how the book will touch readers young and old. “We want to inspire them to live in their fight for self-preservation, truth, happiness and ultimately to follow your own North in a noisy sometimes unsupportive world. Be you and dream whatever dream makes your soul feel you are being your own you.”

The Great Cheyenne is now available on Amazon.com. If there’s a young reader in your life who is also a wrestling fan, I strong encourage you to pick this one up. Whatever their dreams may be, The Great Cheyenne’s story will be an encouragement and and inspiration to them.

The Great Cheyenne herself can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She is currently the Women’s Champion for RoadRubber Wrestling in Portland, Indiana and recently defeated, TNA’s Rebel. She will be back in Portland soon defending her title!