Big Zo’s Big Impact

Some people like deathmatches.

Some people like the WWE.

Some people like flips and dives.

Some of my favorite wrestlers are guys like Big Zo, who are more concerned with making an impact outside the ring than inside. Click Here to see what this amazing young OVW star is doing to make a difference in the lives of kids.

 

 

A Tale of Two Photos

In 1950 Louisville wrestling promoter Francis McDonogh signed an agreement with WHAS TV to broadcast live professional wrestling in Louisville from the Columbia Gym on Fourth Street. McDonogh had been offered television a few years earlier, but he was reluctant to sign on fearing (as many promoters did) that television would cut into the live audience.

TV did not hurt the live crowds in Louisville any more than it had elsewhere in the country. Not only did TV bring more fans to the live events, wrestling proved to be the catalyst for many in the Louisville area to purchase their first television.

The two photos below were taken when McDonogh signed the deal with WHAS TV. The first photo appeared in the February 12, 1950 edition of the Courier-Journal when the TV deal was announced.

The photo below came from the personal collection of Dr. Gary McDonogh, Francis’s son. Same location, same faces. A fun “behind the scenes” look at this solemn and seminal moment in Louisville sports history.

WHAS carried live wrestling from the Columbia Gym sponsored by Fehr’s Beer for an hour every Tuesday night for more than three years, ending the run in the fall of 1953. Sadly no tape exists of this show because WHAS did not tape anything until just a few years later.

Read the full story of the Allen Athletic Club and the WHAS TV run in Louisville’s Greatest Show, now in print on Amazon.com.

Ophidian the Cobra on Kick Out at Two

I’m not a fan of snakes. My kids love to drag me through the snake house at the zoo because they know how much they make me squirm. But I will make a exception for Ophidian the Cobra.

A few years ago, I used a photo of Ophidian in the book Eat Sleep Wrestle, thanks to wrestling photographer Ichiban Drunk. When CHIKARA came to town, I gave him a copy. He was a very nice guy and very appreciative. He was also a blast to watch in the ring.

Get to know one of the most famous “faces” to ever come out of CHIKARA on this week’s edition of the Kick Out at Two Podcast, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud.

Christmas for Kool-Aid Drinkers

For IWA Mid-South fans, this is the biggest weekend of the year. It’s bigger than birthdays, weddings, even Christmas. It’s the high flying, anything can happen blood fest known as the King of the Deathmatch.

This year’s event has sixteen competitors vying for the title including the reigning Prince of the Deathmatch Nick Depp, John Wayne Murdoch, Reed Bentley, Aidan Blackhart, Ludark Shaitan, Masada, Bryant Woods, Brad Cash, Mance Warner, Rickey Shane Page, Dale Patricks, Marcus Crane, Eric Ryan, Devon Moore, G Raver, and Jeff King. Round one has already been announced, with four tantalizing match stipulations advertised:

Home Run Derby Light Tube Fence

The Great American BBQ Deathmatch

Fans Bring the Weapons

Log Cabins of Glass/Four Corner of Pain.

The violence takes place at the Flea Market off I-65 N, exit 16, in Memphis, Indiana. Bell time is 6:35 PM Saturday night, May 20. Front Row tickets are $30. General admission is $25. Tickets can be purchased via PayPal when you email BestMistyEver@gmail.com. Tell Misty I sent you.

 

Tell Me Again Why Women’s Wrestling Is No Good?

Women’s wrestling matches in the WWE were once called popcorn matches. It’s the match you got up and left to get popcorn and a drink or use the bathroom so you wouldn’t miss the next match. In all fairness, women’s wrestling in the WWE was, for a long time, not that great. It was exhibition, not wrestling, and thankfully, that era is over.

That said, the WWE is far behind the rest of the wrestling world when it comes to women’s wrestling. Women are in the main event more often than men. Women wrestle toe to toe with the men in many places. And some women, like Mickie Knuckles and Randi West, are consistently stealing the whole show wherever they go.

The clips below are from a PWF show two weeks ago. The ladies are currently “suspended” from the promotion due to what happens in the video below. Apparently, they picked the wrong car to mess with. It takes me back to one of the first indie shows I ever attended, when I saw Heidi Lovelace (Ruby Riot) and Jordynne Grace destroy each other in the parking lot during a “Falls Count Anywhere in Clark County” match at IWA Mid-South.

The clip does contain some language. Give it a look, and tell me you’d get up and go to the bathroom when these two ladies take the ring. I dare you.

Flips and Dives

Randy Orton is a 13 time world champion. He is one of the must under-appreciated workers of his time. He is also the owner of one of the best and most loved finishing maneuvers in wrestling history. Period.

Randy Orton is employed by the world’s largest wrestling promotion. They have millions of fans the world over, and yes, they put more butts in the seats than the guys in my area who work a 100 seat arena.

That doesn’t make one better than the other. They are different.

I used to be a WWE only fan. Then I discovered independent wrestling. I haven’t traded one for the other, but I get a completely different experience at an indy show with 100 people than I do at a WWE show.

Independent wrestling is more interactive. The wrestlers can hear you and will always respond. They are not curtailed by the needs of a TV schedule or protocol set in the back.

At most shows, the independent wrestlers have a lot more freedom to move out and into the crowd as well. You don’t doze off staring at a jumbotron on the other side of the arena; if you’re not paying attention, you could end up collateral damage.

Independent wrestling also gives you more bang for your buck. I’ve said it many times, you can walk out of an indy show with a ticket and two T-shirts for less than the price of a cheap seat at a WWE show. Yes, independent wrestling can be a mixed bag, but with a little research you can find out who’s hot, who’s not, and who is can’t miss.

And contrary to popular belief, you will even find some workers who know how to slow down, work a body part, and tell a story.

The WWE gives fans an experience no independent can reproduce. It is a spectacle on a scale the old territories never dreamed of presenting. The independents offer an experience the WWE can’t and won’t give their fans. It is a throwback to what made wrestling great in the first place.

With all due respect to those who have never experienced the indies, there’s something for everyone in pro wrestling, and for those who have discovered the joy of flips and dives in a 150 seat Armory, there’s nothing in the world that compares. Not even the WWE.

It’s not better; it’s different. And that’s okay.

Something GRIM is coming!

The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim has been making an impact everywhere he goes. Once the Northeast’s best kept secret, Mr. Grim has been making his way deeper into the US and Canada in the first four months of 2017. On Friday, June 9, Mr. Grim will make his first appearance ever in Indiana and his debut for Pro Wrestling Freedom in Jeffersonville!

Mr. Grim is the man who caught the eye of the Kick Out at Two gang during their first trip to New York. There were much bigger, more established names on the card the night they met Mr. Grim, but the young grappler made such an impact, Righteous Jesse and the gang shocked the promoter when they told him, “We want Grim!”

Mr. Grim is a dual threat: a big, strong style brawler who can also fly. He carries a briefcase to the ring that contains something ominous for his opponent. When the bell sounds and his opponent lies prone on the mat, Mr. Grim opens the case and pulls out a body bag. The victim gets zipped in the bag and carried out by the Hitman for Hire.

Mr. Grim is a consummate student of the game, always watching other wrestlers and learning from everyone he meets. “I spent eleven days in Canada with Chase Owens, ACH, the Beer City Brawler, and Tony Kozina,” he told me in a recent phone interview. “Those guys taught me a lot about ring psychology, selling, self-promotion.”

Mr. Grim has had some high profile battles recently with Lucha Underground star A.R. Fox and Joey Janela. “It was a clash in styles, working with Janela, but it really worked out great. He and A.R Fox are my two favorite matches to date.”

Mr. Grim has two title belts in his possession. He won the Nova Promotions Apex Championship in November and the GXW TV Championship in December. The rising star has already seen his June 9 opponent in person, but this will be a first time ever encounter when Mr. Grim faces off with PWF veteran Menace.

“We were in a battle royal once. I saw some of his stuff. I’ve seen a lot more since, watching film on the Internet. I’ll be more than ready for him.”

Mr. Grim is all over the Internet and social media, a fact that saved him some trouble during a recent police stop. As told on the Kick Out at Two Podcast, Grim was pulled over on suspicion of aiding and abetting a crime he had nothing to do with. The police stop might have ended after they checked his ID and registration, but the police asked him to open the trunk, where they discovered the briefcase and body bag.

“The police had their hands on their guns, asking me what this was all about. ‘Do you have a phone?’ I said. ‘Go to Google, type in Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim.'”

It was a tense few minutes, watching the cops looking at the smart phone, but Mr. Grim was finally able to relax when he heard one cop exclaim, “Holy s— he just put that guy in a body bag!”

Grim added two more fans to his Facebook page that day, and he invites you to join them. The best place to find him is on Facebook, but he is also on Twitter and Pro Wrestling Tees. Or just go to Google and type in The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim.

Mark you calendar for June 9. Mr. Grim is coming to PWF.

Manscout Jake Manning on Kick Out at Two

This week, the “cool kids” of the Kick Out at Two Podcast welcome Mascot Jake Manning to the show. Manning is a seasoned veteran in the indy wrestling ranks from Preston, Iowa and the current reining PWX Champion. Jake and Righteous Jesse talk about everything from wrestling to being a stand up comic to why Jake considers the KOAT crowd to be “the cool kids table.”

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast every Friday on iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud!

Pondo Revives 102 Year Old Tradition

On May 7, 1915, the night before the Kentucky Derby, wrestling promoter George Beuchel presented a show at Jefferson County Armory in which the World Champion Charley Cutler defended his title against Louisville favorite Yussif Hussane. For decades after, the Derby Eve fight show was a tradition for fight fans. The wrestling and boxing promoters competed heavily (and some would say underhandedly) for the coveted Friday night spot in the Armory.

On Friday night, May 5, Mad Man Pondo put on a Girl Fight Show at Derby Expo 5 for a Girl Fight Show. The ladies put on a stellar show, as always, and as you can see for yourself, they drew a standing room only crowd.

Could this be the revival of a classic Derby Eve tradition? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Congratulations, ladies. Here’s to many more!