Category Archives: Independent Wrestling

The Baddest TPI Winner Alive

Aaron Williams is one of the wrestlers who made me an independent wrestling fan. That’s one reason why he’s one of the featured stars on the cover of Eat Sleep Wrestle. He’s racked up a number of credits on the resume since I started following him. He’s been a solo champion and a tag champion for numerous promotions. He’s been a competitor in CZW’s Best of the Best. He’s been a main event performer since I first met him in 2014. And he’s currently the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion.

Last night Williams added another accolade to his career. He is your 2017 Ted Petty Invitational Winner.

Congratulations to the Baddest Man Alive. Wishing you even more success in 2017 and beyond.

Coming Together for Matt Cappotelli

Wrestlers give so much of themselves for the business the love and the fans who follow them. In less than two weeks, OVW fans will have a chance to give back to one of the greatest stars in the promotion’s history.

If you don’t know Matt Cappotelli’s story, it’s both inspiring and heart-breaking. Matt was on the verge of realizing his dream and becoming a WWE Superstar when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He fought the disease and beat it, but earlier this year, cancer returned for a re-match.

OVW is hosting a benefit show on Saturday, September 23, to help Matt pay his medical expenses as he fights cancer a second time. A number of current and former OVW stars will be on hand that night not to collect a pay check, but to support their friend as all proceeds will go to Matt’s medical fund. Jim Cornette has already announced he will be there, signing anything you bring for any donation you want to give. More announcements are on the way.

Indy wrestling isn’t about sports entertainment. It’s about family. If you’re in the area, please be at the Davis Arena Saturday night, September 23. This is a show you can’t miss.

Who Will Stand With Baron Corbin?

I’ve met a number of wrestling promoters over the last few years. You know what they have in common? Limited resources. The promoters I know are not millionaires. Most of them have jobs outside wrestling to pay the bills for themselves and  (in many cases) the promotions they run. They aren’t doctors either, and they don’t all have the means to have even an off duty paramedic standing by if something goes wrong.

The wrestlers who work for these promoters understand this. They understand the risk they take every time they step in the ring, no matter where they are or who is running the show. Everyone understands that bruises, strains, broken bones, torn ligaments, infections, and yes, concussions can and will happen. They don’t hold the promoter liable because they take responsibility for their own actions.

This is their love. This is their passion. They do it in spite of the risks for the love of the business.

That said, if a promoter is a billionaire, if that promoter has unlimited resources, if they have the means to put on multiple live broadcasts every week, if they have their own TV network, if they have millions of subscribers paying for that network and shelling out billions more on T-shirts and videos and other swag… that promoter has an obligation to the men and women they employ to provide the best healthcare and the best information about health and wellness to the people they employ.

If the story now out about Baron Corbin being “punished” for calling out a so-called expert on concussions for not speaking the truth, it’s another black mark on the biggest promotion in the business. The WWE treats wrestlers as independent contractors. They do this to avoid having to provide health insurance for the wrestlers. Translation: when you see the WWE live or on TV, you are watching non-employees risk their bodies, their brains, and their well being in order to make millions for a corporation that will not pay their medical bills if they get hurt.

Baron Corbin has every right to call BS when he hears it. The wrestlers and fans should call BS as well. WWE is not a side venture run by a man or woman who puts on shows weekly or monthly in addition to working their 40 hour a week job. This is what they do. This is how they make money, hand over fist. For once in his wrestling career, Baron Corbin is the babyface, but it looks like Corbin could become another casualty, another name swept under the rug for defying the corporate line.

Independent promoters don’t have the means to provide the best of medical care. Independent wrestlers know and accept the risks they take working for said promoters. There’s no excuse for a company the size of WWE to withhold the best of care and the best of information from the men and women whose sacrifices make their profits possible.

Who’s going to stand with Baron Corbin, inside the WWE, or out? Better get off your butts quick. We’ve seen what happens when you defy the company line.

Indy Podcast Round Up – September 4

I’m a little late this week, but couldn’t skip. This was a great week for local regional independent wrestling podcasts, and if you’re even curious about what’s going on with indy wrestlers, you need to check these shows out.

First this week: Talkin’ the Business has one of the best promoters and the greatest minds in wrestling today as their guest. The man who saved CZW and also runs the very popular women’s promotion WSU D.J. Hyde shares his story about his history with CZW and where he sees the promotion going in the future. Having recently watched a little of CZW on the Highspots Network, I can tell you CZW is head and shoulders above the rest in production values, and they’re poised to continue growing in the near future.

Kick Out at Two has a must-hear show as well, a live recorded interview with 80 crazed wrestling fans at the Scenic City Invitational talking to Kerry and Nick of the Carnies. It’s a bit chaotic in points because it was the middle of the night and everyone had been drinking, but there’s some great stories as well as Kerry Awful’s pearls of wisdom for aspiring wrestlers and dreamers.

Finally, don’t skip on Dave Dynasty’s last two shows either. The Monday August 28 program featured Dick the Bruiser, Jr., talking about his start as the Golden Lion, his baseball career, and working for his father-in-law, the late, great Dick the Bruiser.

Download the Dave Dynasty Show, the Kick Out at Two Podcast, and Talkin’ the Business on iTunes or wherever you download or steal your podcasts.

Final note for indy fans: if you’re within driving distance, DO NOT miss Friday night’s Pro Wrestling Freedom event in Jeffersonville. The main event alone is worth not only the price of admission but the cost of a tank of gas. The Hooligans, the Hierarchy (Adrian Armour and Murder One), and the Carnies in a triple threat, falls count anywhere, no disqualification brawl for the PWF tag belts. This is not going to be a wrestling match. It will be a brawl. Be ready to grab your stuff and move, because it’s guaranteed to spill not only out of the ring, but well into the heart of Clark County, Indiana.

Marcus Everett: The Guy from “That Gif”

If you haven’t seen “the gif,” you obviously haven’t been on social media much in the last two weeks.

Much like the very first time Joey Ryan’s now infamous penis spot hit the Internet, the guy jumping off a girder and overshooting the other guy lying prone on a table set the Internet on fire. Many thought he as crazy. Most thought it was funny. Some thought he was a disgrace. At least a handful wanted to be sure the guy was okay.

I’m happy to report that the Guy in the Gif is okay. But unlike Joey Ryan, he won’t be turning his famous Internet spot into a career-defining move.

“I suppose I could do the spot everywhere I go,” he said. “But that’s probably not a good idea.”

The man responsible for the most-watched video clip of August is Marcus Everett, a young aspiring wrestler from Toledo, Ohio. Everett is only two years in the business, but he’s a life-long fan. “Goldberg was my favorite when I was little,” he recalls. “I can’t remember a single match he was in. But I remember him. he was like a super hero.”

Everett’s favorite wrestler of all time is the man who hooked him for good back in 2002, Shawn Michaels. “The night Triple H hit him twice with a sledgehammer, I was hooked. I wanted to know if he was okay. I had to watch Raw the next week. And then the next. And then the next. Weeks became years. Then thirteen years later, I stepped into a ring and began to train.”

Training started in Toledo at Northwest Ohio Wrestling, and Everett trained with some terrific mentors including Big Bear Benjamin Boone, Crimson, and Dave Crist. “I carry their names on my shoulders every time I step in the ring. it’s a heavy responsibility. I should also add, not a one of them would condone what I did in that video!”

Marcus Everett has worked for a number of Midwest promotions, but it was IWA Mid-South in Memphis, Indiana that the famous missed spot took place. “I was in a feud with Cole Radrick. Cole and I had had some brutal matches. This was the end of our feud, and what we thought at the time would be the last show in that building. We wanted to go out big.”

Radrick and Everett were booked in a Loser Leaves town TLC (Tables Ladders and Chairs) match. If you watch the gif, you’ll see that Everett is standing on a second tier girder. He had previously done a leap off the lower girder during and earlier match, and on that night, he wanted to do something extra special.

“It was my idea,” he says, “And my hubris. I take full responsibility, and the outcome was absolutely deserved.”

Everett made it very clear that no one put him up to the big spot. It was his idea, an idea Radrick tried and failed to talk him out of. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even clear it with promoter Ian Rotten – a decision he also regrets.

“It might have been a better idea to do that spot in a scramble match rather than a one on one match,” he says. “It would have been an even better idea not to do it at all!”

Prior to the spot you’ve seen online, Everett hit Radrick with a ladder and knocked him onto the table. Everett then began to climb not to the first girder, but the second girder.

“I got up on the girder and shimmied out to take position right in front of the table. It was only then that I looked down and realized that the table was a little further out than it should have been. Ideally, the table would be close enough, I could just lean forward Michael Jackson-style and fall through the table, but I knew I was going to have to give myself a little momentum.

“Unfortunately, with all the adrenaline I had in my system, a little turned into a lot. I didn’t realize just how bad I messed up until I hit the concrete.

“As soon as I landed, I gave myself a mental pat down and deduced that I was okay. I got up off the ground and turned to Cole and the ref, who were both looking at me in disbelief. The ref pointed and said, ‘Brother, I can see your bone!’

“I’ve heard people say that when drunks get into car accidents, the reason they survive is because they’re so loose. That has to be the only reason I wasn’t in pain. I should have been, but I was os in the moment, I didn’t feel a thing. The ref wanted to stop the match, but I said, “No, man, get me some duct tape. Let’s finish this!”

Finish they did. The match ended with Everett taking a piledriver off the top rope onto a table. “It was the same table I overshot coming off the wall. The table still didn’t break!”

The fans at IWA Mid-South were extremely generous with their applause after the match. Even though Everett was the heel in the feud with Radrick, the fans were cheering and chanting his name.

“It was a great moment. I turned to the fans, lifted my hands… and gave them all the finger. One girl in the crowd screamed, ‘Stop being a heel! I want to like you!'”

Everett thought that when the spot came out on video, he would see some sort of response from the fans. Then one day, just a few weeks ago, his phone blew up. He was shocked to see that everyone was watching the gif, not just once, but over and over and over. Even Jim Cornette weighed in on the controversial spot.

“I can’t stop watching this–what was the idiot on the table’s plan for survival had that gone right?”

Everett responded, “True story: When I smacked the concrete, 3 things went through my head. My family, Maffew, and Jim Cornette.”

Cornette replied, “At least your head was in the right place!”

Everett would dispute that claim. In hindsight he regrets the spot for many reasons. He knows he’s lucky he didn’t get seriously injured, but he also feels bad for possibly encouraging others to do something so dangerous. “That’s not the kind of wrestler I want to be.”

Everett has heard every reaction you can imagine, from “What were you thinking?” to “That was awesome!” to “Just don’t die, kids.” (Credit to Hurricane Helms.) He’s grateful for the attention, but he made it clear that his focus from now on will be working smarter. “Head locks and arm drags,” he says.

Everett’s loss in the Loser Leaves Town match came at a good time for him and his family. His sister is battling multiple sclerosis, and his mother is undergoing surgery this week. Family comes first for Everett, and he’s grateful to have the time off to be where he’s needed. “I’ll be working NOW, XICW, LPW, and other promotions close by for a while. But once Mom is back on her feet, it’s back to business. I have a lot of states and a lot of countries on my list to cross off.”

There are some who have questioned Everett’s ability to work safely in the ring, even before “The Gif,” and in the wake of this past weekend’s Sexy Star incident at Triplemania, a lot of wrestler and promoters have a heightened awareness about safety. I asked Everett to tell me what kind of wrestler promoters will be booking when they call him in the months and year ahead.

“They’re going to get a high flyer with a big heart,” he says. “I’m not about the high spots any more. I want to tell stories. I want to make people feel something. One thing I hear a lot from fans all the time is, ‘You’re too short.’ Yeah, I am small, but if I can rise up and fulfill my dream and beat a man bigger than me, I know I can inspire others to do the same. I’m the little guy who overcomes the odds and comes out on top!

“I can also solve Rubik’s Cubes.”

I believe in second chances, and I can only speak for myself and my brief interaction with him. Marcus Everett comes across as a sharp kid with a bright future. He’s made some mistakes, and he has taken his lumps for those mistakes, but his positive attitude and sense of humor are infectious. He’s far from done with this business, and eager to become famous for something other than the world’s most painful gif!

If you want to follow Marcus Everett, you can find him on Twitter @EverlastingMBD

Indy Wrestling Podcast Round Up 8/25/17

Here’s what’s happening in some of the best independent wrestling podcasts this week (and last week, since I dropped the ball last weekend).

The Dave Dynasty Show featured the Van Zandt Brothers, native Hoosiers and long time veterans of the Midwest wrestling scene.

On Talkin’ the Business this week, KC and Dave review the Summerslam 2017 pay-per-view and bring you the story of up and coming wrestler Logan James.

The Kick Out at Two Podcast presents their “tired and hung over” episode featuring the very popular bad boy, Joey Janela, who recently debuted for Righteous Jesse’s Southern Underground Pro promotion.

While you’re downloading that episode, go back a week and download their interview with the legendary Tracy Smothers. Tracy is a true legend, a mentor to many young stars of today, and a wrestler who fears no man or bear. That’s right, I said bear.

Download The Dave Dynasty Show, Talkin’ the Business, and Kick Out at Two wherever you find or steal your podcasts!

Indy Podcast Round Up for August 12

Here’s what’s happening on my favorite indy wrestling podcasts this week:

Dave Dynasty welcomes Izzy Slapawitz to his podcast on Monday, August 14. Dave is hard at work on a new YouTube compilation series featuring a number of matches from various promotions in the Midwest. Should be exciting.

The story collectors at Talkin’ the Business have the Ace of Spades Ace Austin on the show. They promise an inspirational story of knowing what you want from an early age and stopping at nothing to get it.

Finally, Kick Out at Two presents the first of their interviews recorded live at the 2017 Scenic City Invitaitonal in Chattanooga. First up is an early morning live Q&A with SCI competitor Corey Hollis.

Check out these podcasts on iTunes or wherever you happen to download or steal your podcasts every week, and get to know who’s who and what’s happening in independent wrestling!

I’m Learning Japanese

Back in January, I set an unusual goal for myself. I decided I want to learn Japanese.

It happened because I decided to pick up New Japan for a month just to see Wrestle Kingdom. I had trouble navigating the mixed language site, and I ended up watching the show with the Japanese commentary instead of English. I loved it, and I was intrigued. So I decided to pick up Japanese.

Just a month or two before watching Wrestle Kingdom I heard Kevin Owens tell the story of how he learned English by watching Monday Night Raw. I wondered if it was possible for an American fan to do the same watching New Japan.

Four months later, Duolingo released their Japanese language module. I’ve been working at it ever since, and in July, I re-subscribed to new Japan World. Is it working? Well, no. Not yet. I’m still very much a beginner, but I’m determined. I’m also loving New Japan way more than WWE right now. As a matter of fact I’m planning to drop the WWE Network this fall and go exclusively with New Japan.

I’ll repeat that in case you missed it. I am unplugging WWE this fall in favor of New Japan.

Fans, if you are sick of what you’re seeing on TV, there are options. Vote with your remote. Vote with your subscriber dollars. Pick up New Japan World, or CHIKARATOPIA, or CZW, or High Spots. Or drop ’em all and get the free Rasslin’ channel on Roku.

The WWE doesn’t listen to your complaints on Facebook and message boards. As long as you keep on paying your $9.99 a month, they could care less what you say on Twitter, Reddit, or any other website.

You know what they do care about? People hitting the unsubscribe button. That’s how you get their attention.

Right now, the best wrestling is not at the biggest company. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. If you are tired of being disappointed, stop setting yourself up for disappointment. Cancel the Network. Find something new. Find something you love and support that. Stop supporting the stuff that’s letting you down.

Indy Podcast Round-Up 8/5/17

Want to know what’s happening in independent wrestling, particularly in the Midwest and Southern states? Here are a few podcasts to get you started.

Kick Out at Two has been a friend of Eat Sleep Wrestle for a long time. This week, amid preparing to visit the Scenic City Invitational and hosting Southern Underground Pro Wrestling’s show on Sunday August 6, they took the time to interview Brutal Bob Evans. Bob is the Obi Wan Kenobi of today’s indy scene. He’s the guy giving everyone the tough, common sense talk that if they apply it will help them expand their brand and build their business as a pro wrestler.

Kentucky’s own KC and Dave on Talkin’ the Business pride themselves on bringing their listeners the best stories from the indy wrestling scene. They love shining the spotlight on guys and ladies most folks haven’t heard of (but soon will), and this week their guest is rising star Axton Ray. TTB and KOAT are both new every Friday on iTunes and wherever you download your podcasts.

The Dave Dynasty Show broadcasts out of south central Indiana every week on Mondays. This coming Monday Dave’s guest is one of the most influential trainers and veterans in the region, the great Al Snow! Dave’s show can also be found on iTunes and other fine podcast outlets.

Final note for this week’s indy round-up is not a podcast note but a TV programming note. If you’re not watching Impact wrestling, you will want to start this coming August 17. The best kept secret in the Midwest, the phenomenal tag team of Jake and Dave Crist, will make their debut on Impact as oVe: Ohio vs. Everything. Check out the teaser below.

Wrestlers Read Free!

Today’s post is a shameless plug, but it’s a shameless plug with heart!

I’ve made this offer in private to a few people I’ve come to know I the wrestling business, but now I’m making it public. Long before I was writing about wrestling, I was writing science fiction. Space opera, sci-fi comedy, nothing heady like Asimov but fun and adventurous like Flash Gordon meets Douglas Adams. I have several novels and a short story collection published in print and ebook formats.

If you’re in the wrestling business, and you enjoy reading this type of fiction, I’d like to hook you up for free.

If I have your attention, I invite you to take a look at my personal website, www.johncosper.com, and take a look at the books now available. If you see something you like, Email Me and I’ll be happy to send any and all books you want in PDF or ePub format.

Sounds great, man, but I don’t read ebooks. I like to hold a real book. 

I completely understand. If that’s the case, email me the title or titles you want and we will work something out.

Is it okay if I share the books you send me with other wrestling friends? 

Absolutely. Matter of fact as long as you’re sharing with people who are willing to say, “Hey, I read a great book and you should too,” you can share with anyone you like.

If you need something to read on your next road trip or long flight, please visit www.johncosper.com and Email Me to get your books.

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