Kyle Maverick: Rockstar on the Rise

Dayton, Ohio has one of the hottest independent wrestling scenes today. The crew at Rockstar Pro Wrestling run six or seven shows a month, and just as iron sharpens iron, the talented workers at Rockstar keep making one another better.

Kyle Maverick is a main stay at Rockstar Pro, a deep roster that includes DJ Hyde, Sami Callihan, Ron Mathis, Aaron Williams, and the Crist brothers. Billed from Lexington, Kentucky, Maverick grew up idolizing Bret Hart, Koko B. Ware, Jushin Lyger, Randy Savage, and Lance Storm. He began his professional wrestling training with Chris Hero. He later trained with DJ Hyde, Drew Gulak, and Sami Callihan at the CZW Dojo and currently works out with Dave Crist at Rockstar Pro. Maverick was also a successful MMA fighter with a 9-2 record and holds a black belt in Kyokushin Karate.

Maverick counts Sami Callihan, Davey Richards, ACH, Tracy Smothers, Matt Tremont, Dave and Jake Crist as some of his favorite opponents. He’s also proud of the fact that he was once hit by Al Snow with Head. His reputation in the ring has opened many doors for him, but its his character outside the ring that stands out most to one of his bosses.

“Kyle Maverick and I are brothers,” says Rick Brady, who runs D1W in Southern Indiana. “We rode many hours on the road together, and he is one of the few people I trust in this business. He worked his ass off to get D1W on it’s feet. He helped me make a lot of connections to a ton of talent and I am grateful to him for that.”

Maverick only has one title belt win to his credit, the Rockstar Pro Luchacore championship, but it’s only a matter of time before this talented singles and tag competitor adds to that list. “I think the sky is the limit, as long as he continues to work hard and listen to them Ohio guys. They seem to know what they are doing. I love him and wish nothing but the best for him.”

Indy wrestling cans can find Kyle on Facebook, on Twitter @thekylemaverick and on Instagram @thekylemaverick.

Another Reason to Cut the Cable

Two years ago I made a deal with my wife. We could finally cut the cable cord, and I would get the WWE Network. I haven’t seen Raw live since, but I haven’t regretted the move for a minute.

Now the indie wrestling scene is catching up and giving you more reasons to cut the cable. I recently discovered CZW has a Roku channel, and coming soon, Rockstar Pro will have one as well. Rockstar Pro is a big favorite of mine with one of the most talented regular rosters in the Midwest. Their shows air weekly on Youtube with monthly iPPV shows as well. Details are still forthcoming, but mark my word, CZW and Rockstar Pro are both worth the monthly price of admission.

The Rockstar Pro network will officially kick off Christmas Day, just in time to give your indie wrestling loving sweetheart a little something special.

Jake Crist Says Goodbye

Earlier this week in my post about Sami Callihan, I made the comment there were dozens of others like Sami working hard on the independent circuit keeping indy wrestling alive. Friday night, one of those hard workers steps into the ring with Sami Callihan for one last match in front of the Rockstar Pro Wrestling crowd in Dayton, Ohio.

Jake Crist is one of the reasons I fell in love with indy wrestling. He’s a twelve year veteran who has traveled the world, working for Heartland Wrestling Association, Juggalo Championshop Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Big Japan Pro Wrestling, and many more. He and his brother Dave collected tag team championship belts at numerous promotions as the Irish Airborne and Ohio Is For Killers. Most recently, he paired with Aaron Williams to form the team Baddest Killers Alive and won the Rockstar Pro tag team championship.

Jake and his wife, former women’s wrestler Neveah, just welcomed their second child, and Jake has decided it’s time to hang up the boots. He has a few more bookings later this month, but Friday will be a very special night in Dayton.

Jake has been a fan favorite and an inspirational leader to many of the younger wrestlers in locker rooms across the Midwest. He will be missed, but his impact in the ring will be felt for a long time.

If you want to see Jake at his very best, I strongly recommend getting the CZW 16th Anniversary Show. The Crist brothers defended their tag team titles that night against the Young Bucks in one of the very best matches I have seen all year.

Thank you, Jake, for everything. Best of luck in the future, and enjoy your time with your family.

Black Friday Part 4 – More deals for wrestling fans

A few more Black Friday shopping tips for wrestling fans:

Ring of Honor is offering 20% off your order and has released a new 2 DVD set featuring Samoa Joe. A new Kingdom T-shirt is available as well.

CHIKARA Pro Wrestling is offering $4 off all VOD events. Most T-shirts are discounted for Black Friday, and if you order three T-shirts this weekend you get a mystery T-shirt for free!

High Spots is offering 25% off most items in their store and 40% off most DVDs. This is a great place to check out promotions like Evolve, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, CZW, Dragon Gate USA, and IWA Mid-South.

And finally, WWEShop is offering discounts up to 75% off on merchandise, plus 25% off your entire order and free shipping on all orders over $15.

Return of the Baddest Man Alive

I took a friend of mine to his first indy show back in December. After the intermission, the song “Baddest Man Alive” began to play. My friend snorted, “Baddest Man Alive! Is this guy really the baddest man alive?”

Considering what he’s been through the last year, yeah, he just might be.

Aaron Williams is one of the most athletic and exciting wrestlers in the Midwest. The Cincinnati native was one of the featured wrestlers on the cover of Eat Sleep Wrestle. He is a regular at Rockstar Pro in Dayton and recently participated in CZW’s Best of the Best 14, one of the premiere tournaments for rising indy stars. But from October, 2014 until April of this year, he was working injured.

“I was attempting to execute a moonsault off the top rope,” recalls Williams. “My target moved, but not quite far enough. I ended up hyper extending my knee. I couldn’t hear it due to the noise from the crowd. But I was later told it sounded like a gun went off when it happened.”

Despite the seriousness of the injury, Williams continued to work another seven months before having surgery. Wrestling isn’t a second job for Williams; he’s one of the few proudly doing it full time, which made taking time off very difficult.

“Surprisingly I experienced a lot of emotional ups and downs during my down time. Didn’t expect it but it was a rough time that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”

Williams took advantage of the time as best as he could. “I learned more then I can say really. Months of sitting and watching match after match, promo after promo you kinda can’t help but learn something.”

So can fans expect any changes from Williams when he returns? “I think it’s safe to say that I have changed. I think people will see a new me to some extent. Some of it may surprise people but at the end of the day I still be the Baddest Man Alive.”

Williams’ return will be a welcome one for the fans, if not his opponents. He’s rested, restless, and ready to resume his career. “My biggest goal is to do everything I can to get past this set back. I feel like I was on the rise before I couldn’t put off the surgery anymore. Now I have to get the road under me and back to moving forward again.”

Welcome back, brother.

https://youtu.be/Ygikpp9Ra6s

The “Legendary” Larry Mercer

Every year students from across the country head to the Tish School for Fine Arts at New York University in hopes of making the leap from the college stage to the Broadway stage. For Ring of Honor’s Larry Mercer, NYU led him to a completely different kind of stage. Larry grew up watching wrestling, but it was while he was at NYU that he realized it was not Broadway, but professional wrestling calling his name.

“It was the Attitude Era,” he says, “Stone Cold, Mankind. I was drawn to that kind of acting. I didn’t want to be a wrestler, but I wanted to do something in wrestling.”

Larry learned about a wrestling school in his hometown of Baltimore from a commercial that aired during Monday Night Raw, Maryland Championship Wrestling’s Bonebreakers Training Center. He went to the school and met trainers Corporal Punishment and Mark “The Shark” Shrader.

“I started out as sort of an intern. I did administrative work. I helped to get fliers out for the show. Whatever I could do to help out while learning the business. I had to pay, but they only charged me the rate they gave to students who want to be refs.”

The opportunity to use his dramatic talents came when the ring announcer for MCW quit. As often happens in wrestling, he was in the right place at the right time. That’s when Larry Legend was born.

If you have never had the privilege of hearing Larry Legend in the ring, go to Youtube and look him up. Larry is not your typical indy wrestling ring announcer. He does his job with flair, physically and vocally. He dresses for the occasion with impeccable style, setting the stage just as the wrestlers do with his appearance. His dramatic training is evident in his mic, and he brings a big fight feel to every single match.

“I wanted the crowd to feel like it was a big fight,” he says, “but I also wanted the wrestlers to get that feeling as well.”

As Larry Legend, Larry worked for a number of independents along the East Coast including Combat Zone Wrestling, Dragongate USA, Evolve, Pro Wrestling Syndicate, Jersey All Pro, Jersey Championship Wrestling, Impact Championship Wrestling, Beautiful Ladies of Wresting, Valkyrie Pro Wrestling, and Fighting Spirit Wrestling. He has also worked numerous events for kickboxing, boxing, and MMA fighting groups.

Larry recently did what he calls his farewell show as Larry Legend, the CZW 16th Anniversary Show. “That was a very special show for me,” he says. “It was in the building where I did my first CZW show. CZW got kicked out of that building, and it was their first show back.”

One of the highlights of that event was the Tag Team Championship Match between The Young Bucks and Ohio is 4 Killers, Jake and Dave Crist. “I was with CZW when Jake and Dave first came in, so it was cool to be a part of that for them. I was also excited to get to announce for the Young Bucks.”

Although Larry admits you never say never in the wrestling business, for now Larry Legend is retired. Larry Mercer, however, is just beginning to make a name for himself with Ring of Honor. The booming, dramatic in-ring announcer may be gone, but the young man who bypassed the New York stage to work in dim-lit arenas remains as passionate about the business as ever.

CZW’s 16th Anniversary Show is available as a video download or on DVD. I strongly recommend watching it if you love independent wrestling, or if you’re just curious to give it a try. The tag match mentioned here is worth the price of admission alone, as The Young Bucks and OI4K are a stellar matchup. But if you’re like me, you’ll put off watching the match for just a moment or two so you can hear Larry Legend set the stage with one of the best big fight voices you’ll ever hear inside a ring.

Kill Owens Kill!

Indy wrestling fans have been telling WWE fans for years they were missing out. Last night, Indy fans were able to rise up and say, “See?? I told you so!”

Owens is only the latest to crash the WWE party. Bryan, Rollins, Ambrose, Harper, Zayn, Cesaro, Balor, Itami, Bayley, Emma, Neville. These are not pre-fabbed stars made by the WWE machine. All of these rising stars got to the WWE after years of busting their butts on the Indy circuit.

There’s more great wrestling to discover, possibly right down the street from your house. That’s why I wrote Eat Sleep Wrestle. That’s why you need to get out and see an Indy show.

Head over to Smart Mark Video to get a sample now. Look up CZW/WSU, PWG, OVW, IWA Mid-South, CHIKARA, Rockstar Pro, CWAI, Empire, Shimmer, AIW, or take a look at what Jeff Jarrett’s putting together at GFW.

If I left out your favorite promotion, please please enter it in the comments below.

A revolution is coming.

Eat Sleep Wrestle – Four months later

cropped-esw-cover.jpgWhen I was writing Eat Sleep Wrestle, I knew I was creating a time capsule. What’s written in the pages of that book is a moment of time, now past, depicting the lives of a number of modern day independent wrestlers. No sooner was the book released, the lives and careers of the men and women profiled inside began to change. Since Eat Sleep Wrestle was printed:

Evolution Pro Wrestling closed its doors.

Destination One Wrestling changed its name to Premiere Destination Wrestling.

Jamin Olivencia left OVW.

Michael Hayes left OVW and seems to have retired.

Marc Hauss was laid up after surgery. (Get well, sir!)

Colt Cabana blew up the internet and got sued along with his pal CM Punk.

LuFisto’s Yoda-like wisdom on hardcore wrestling went viral.

Madman Pondo and Crazy Mary Dobson became the Juggalo Championship Wrestling tag team champions, the first intergender champions in the promotion’s history.

Ron Mathis managed to accumulate four title belts at once.

Mitchell Huff became Cage Mitchell.

Crazy Mary Dobson got a speaking role on Raw. “You are chips!”

Mad Man Pondo finally appeared on Raw as a Rosebud. Arriba!

Crazy Mary, Lylah Lodge, and Cage Mitchell also appeared as Rosebuds. Crazy Mary’s become a regular, in fact.

At least four wrestlers – Crazy Mary, Lylah, Aaron Williams, and LuFisto – applied for the next season of WWE’s Tough Enough.

The Crist brothers co-headlined CZW’s anniversary show with the Young Bucks.

CHIKARA crowned Heidi Lovelace winner of the Young Lions Cup, the first woman to achieve that honor.

If you’re scratching your head wondering who these people are, grab a copy of Eat Sleep Wrestle to get up to speed. Then get out to an independent wrestling show to see what you’re missing.

 

CZW Anniversary Show Saturday night!

I cannot tell you how badly I want to see this.

Specifically, one match.

Jake and Dave Crist, aka Ohio Is 4 Killers (OI4K) are amazing. They are the best tag team you’ve never heard of. They are aerial daredevils and and incredibly creative performers. And oh yeah, those CZW tag belts? That’s not the only tag team gold they currently hold. Not even close.

As for the Young Bucks… well, if you’re not an indy fan, I can forgive you’re not having heard of them. They are the masters of the Super Kick. They are two guys, brothers, making a darn good living in professional wrestling with no help whatsoever from Stamford, CT, thank you.

This match will be worth the price of the iPPV alone.

No, this is not a paid endorsement. This is me telling you that if you want to see some really great tag team action, you need to watch this match.

Click on the poster or go to www.streamczw.com to pre-order the show. Or, if you’re lucky enough to be in the Philly area, get to the ECW arena Saturday night.

Catch up with Drake Younger

WWE published a great interview with Drake Wuertz on their website. Fans of IWA Mid-South, CZW, and PWG will remember Wuertz as Drake Younger, an outstanding indy wrestler with a brutal hardcore past. Wuertz signed with WWE in early 2014 and turned up on NXT in the unlikely role of a referee. While his indy fans may still be a bit disappointed, it’s clear Wuertz is happy and enjoying his role. He’s also doing a great job.

Click here to read about Drake on WWE.com