Reunited: Bill Apter Interviews Dr. D David Schultz

It’s been a couple of decades since Bill Apter last interviewed Dr. D David Schultz. Last Thursday the two were reunited on Apter’s live video podcast. You can watch the replay below.

Dr. D will be back on Thursday night May 18 at 7 pm eastern time for part two with Bill Apter.

Autographed copies of Dr. D’s book are still available as well. $30 with free shipping in the US. Email johncosper@yahoo.com to order.

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.

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.

Dr. D Returns to the East Coast

It’s official – “Dr. D” David Schultz will be returning to his old stomping grounds in June. You can meet Dr. D in person at Legends of the Ring in Monroe, New Jersey on Saturday, June 9!

Autographs and photo ops are now on sale. Don’t miss your chance for this very rare convention appearance.

Go to the Legends of the Ring website for more information.

One For The Road

Since so many wrestling fans will be hitting the road tomorrow for New Orleans, Wrestlecon, and Wrestlemania, I thought I would compile a quick list for fans who need some podcasts for the road. Here are some recent appearances Dr. D David Schultz and I have made for your listening enjoyment:

John Cosper on the Ever Sick Podcast

John Cosper on The Tim Shelton Podcast

Dr. D on The 605 Podcast (Episodes 84 and 85)

Dr. D on The Steve Austin Show

Dr. D on The Jim Cornette Experience

Dr. D on Rasslin’ Memories

Dr. D and John Cosper on Hart Beat Radio

Dr. D on the Two Man Power Trip

If that’s not enough Dr. D for you, there’s one more on the way Thursday. Mike Johnson will be releasing an interview with the Doctor on PW Insider, just in time for Wrestlemania!

 

I Guess They Do Remember Dr. D

Dr. D David Schultz’s biography has been available a little over a month. In that time we have shipped autographed copies to: Denmark, The Netherlands, Austria, Canada, and The United Kingdom.

It’s a thrill to see that fans the world over still remember the Doctor. It’s even greater to see new fans discovering a man the WWE tried to bury, even after he defended the business at the request of Vince McMahon.

Dr. D will be meeting the fans in person April 21 at Heroes and Legends X in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and May 19 at the Bruiser Brody Memorial in East Carondelet, Illinois. He will also be appearing on a few more podcasts in the near future, including one every true wrestling fan will want to hear.

Thank you, fans, for welcoming Dr. D back!

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.

Who’s Chasing Who?

Remember when WCW was chasing WWF?

Remember when WCW went in and signed away all the WWF’s top stars?

Remember when they tried to run WWF by recycling the same feuds and angles the WWF had already run?

Have you noticed how many former stars from New Japan, TNA, Ring of Honor, and other indies are in WWE/NXT lately?

Did you know that New Japan already did Styles vs. Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom?

Did you see the dismal remake of Final Deletion on Raw this week?

Who’s chasing who?

In the Twilight of His Career, Cena Needs Bolin

It’s finally happening. Cena vs. Undertaker. Legend vs. Legend. GOAT vs. GOAT. Wrestlemania 34 will give us one of the most anticipated match ups in either man’s career, a match that will inevitably split the crowd into “Let’s go, Cena!” vs. “Undertaker!” chants.

Sounds kind of dull, doesn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong. I want to see Cena vs. Undertaker. I just don’t want to see a babyface Cena vs. babyface Taker. We’re already getting that with A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in what’s sure to be the match of the night, and you know the crowd is going to split for Reigns vs Lesnar as well. Do we really need another marquee match up between two “gray” superstars?

I saw a commentary online this week that said the Undertaker should go old school, come back as the Biker Taker for this last ride. I’ll do you one better. We need Cena to go full heel. We need him to go back to his OVW roots, to become the heel he never got to be in the WWE. And just to make sure the smarks don’t latch on to this new heel Cena as their new hero, we need an insurance policy in his corner to make sure the fans know who the bad guy is.

John Cena needs the Starmaker.

Kenny “Starmaker” Bolin, the man who guided John Cena and nearly five dozen men and women from Louisville to the WWE, is the key to making Cena vs. Taker a match for the ages. Give him two weeks of cutting promos alongside his former protégé and legions of little boys with tears in their eyes will be burning their “Never Give Up” wristbands, T-shirts, and ball caps (thus guaranteeing Cena a nice, fat payday down the road on merchandise sales when he turns back babyface, I might add!).

Now let’s be clear. Heel or no heel, Cena does not need a mouthpiece. In fact Heel Cena in his OVW days was arguably more exciting, more electric than Big Match John has ever been. The problem is that while Heel Cena would lose the current “Let’s go, Cena!” fans, he’d turn those low pitched, “Cena sucks!” chants into cheers. He needs a lightning rod, a genuine heat magnet that could turn every man, woman, and child in the building against him.

Kenny Bolin once tried to donate a coupon to a strip club to WHAS Crusade for Children so the needy kids could get a lap dance. Kenny Bolin would tip the scales with the fans, setting the stage for a good versus evil unseen at Wrestlemania in decades. he would turn the “Face That Runs the Place” into a disgrace.

I know it’s just fantasy booking. The Starmaker is busy overseeing his growing media empire, and I don’t know at this point if even the McMahons have the money to lure him out of retirement. But what match would you rather see? “Let’s go, Cena!” vs. “Undertaker!” or Dead Man, Inc. vs. Bolin Services?

E? Not For Me

I broke down last night.

After a month away from the “E” I renewed my subscription to watch the Elimination Chamber. The ladies absolutely killed it in the opener, but the rest of the show… gotta be honest. Other than Ronda Rousey tossing Triple H through a table, I just lost interest.

I’m not down on anyone who enjoyed last night, but the E is just not doing it for me these days. It’s frustrating because I use a Roku box, and WWE is so much easier to watch than my preferred network with Roku… but it’s just not for me.

There are some incredible wrestlers in WWE, some of the best stars produced in the indies. Styles, Balor, Owens, Zayn, Rollins, Nakamura, Anderson, and Gallows. There are some home grown stars I like too. Strowman is a big time star in the making. And say what you want about the Miz, but he gets old school heat. I truly believe could have been a star in an older era.

The women in WWE have never been better and they often steal the show. NXT is consistently great. But I get more great moments from indy-bred talent by actually watching the indies.

I’ll be watching Wrestlemania with the rest of the world come April 8, but after that… I’ll be sticking with New Japan. I keep tweeting and begging for that Roku app, but until then, it’s worth the hassle it takes to watch what I enjoy most. And when NHL season is over, I’ll probably add High Spots for a few months too.

You have a choice. If you don’t like what you see, find a new network. I’ve definitely found mine, thank you.