Posted on

Some Traditions Are Better Left Behind

There are many reasons to lament the changes that have happened in the wrestling business in the past few decades, but there are some things we should all be glad to see let go. In the wake of Axl Rotten’s death, former ECW star Nova went on Facebook to praise the current generation of wrestlers for letting the eschewing the old ways of the wrestling business in favor of video games and other, much safer vices. The movement from bar fights to Mario Cart has as much to do with the change in our journalistic culture as anything. TMZ is always lurking, especially if you’re a WWE star. But the truth is the video game tournaments hosted by Xavier Woods and the like are keeping wrestlers out of trouble and away from the dangers that continue to take a toll on the heroes of the past.

I enjoy the wild stories of Johnny Valentine, Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, and the Freebirds as much as anyone. But I am glad that so many of today’s stars have chosen to be a little wiser with their leisure and travel time. Hopefully the coming decades will give us more old wrestlers telling stories and fewer “gone too soon” headlines.

Posted on

Ian on Axl

Ian Rotten shared a great story about his blood brother Axl this morning on Facebook. Sharing it here for all who are feeling the loss today.

If you’ll bear with me, I’d like to tell you all a story about my friend.

Many people never got a chance to meet Brian Knighton, because he was ALWAYS Axl Rotten. Many people forget that Axl was in WCW for about 6 weeks and he was working a feud against a guy named PN News. Axl would call me every night and let me know how things went.

One night he had a TV match against one of the guys that trained him, Joey Maggs. Joey was pretty much enhancement talent. There was a mess up in the match and Axl felt Joey had done it on purpose because, after all, Joey had trained him, so when Axl called me that particular night (remember, this is back when you had to use a payphone, hotel phone, calling cards, etc.), the call came in quite late because he waited until he got back to his room to call me.

First thing out of his mouth is, “Man, I don’t know what the f— I am doing here.” I said, “Whoa, man, slow down… what happened?” He proceeded to tell me what had occurred and by this time he was so upset he was crying, telling me how he didn’t belong there and he just wanted to come home. I told him to calm down, that he belonged there, which he told me, “I’m just a fat kid from Baltimore who done f—ed up my one shot.”
I took a deep breath, and jokingly said, “Yes, you are fat, and yes, you are a kid from Baltimore, but you are Axl F—ing Rotten and you need to remember that.”

Many times I think my friend was just a scared kid from Baltimore, living out his dream. So many times when people met him, they got Axl F—ing Rotten, but the guy underneath that guy, was a special human being who gave us all his knowledge, never took a booking fee from me, taught me how to teach our game and reminded me that sometimes this business will humble you but in the end, it is what you make it.

The human being behind the persona was a genuine person. Because of him, THIS fat kid from Baltimore got to live his dream.

When they say the bad about you, I’ll always make sure they remember the good. Thanks for being a part of my life the last 25 years. Without you, there is no me. I genuinely feel like a part of me has died today. I hate that when I have a thought or idea I wont be able to pick up the phone and ask you what you think.

I will miss you my brother. 

Posted on

RIP Axl

Very sad to read about the passing of Axl Rotten. Axl was a beloved figure in the world of hardcore and extreme wrestling and one of the great legends of ECW. He was found dead today in a hotel room in Baltimore.

My prayers are with all of Axl’s friends and family, in and out of the ring, especially those nearby at IWA Mid-South who loved him dearly. Rest in Peace.

Posted on

Terry Garvin Wants to Rule the World!

One of the guys I enjoyed meeting while writing was Bluegrass Brawlers was Terry “Garvin” Simms. I first learned of Terry through my wife, an avid Reddit reader, who found an AMA (that’s ask me anything, for those of you like me who never go to Reddit) that he did one night. I got in touch with Terry through Facebook and then via phone. Simply put, he’s the most outstanding wrestling storyteller you’ve never heard of. He has a fascinating story of his own, and he has plenty to go around about the men he worked with. Still waiting for the right time and place to share one he shared with me about the Freebirds.

Thankfully for those like me who love good stories, Terry has joined the ranks of podcasters with his show World Domination with Terry “Garvin” Simms. It turns out Terry’s not only good sharing his stories but getting stories from some of wrestling’s biggest legends including Lance Russell, Handsome Jimmy Valiant, Doug Gilbert, Axl Rotten, Jeanie Clarke, Bull Pain, and Robert Fuller.

If you’re a fan of old time rasslin’, this is a fun, positive look back at the people and stories that made wrestling great without the usual lamentations about how the business “ain’t what it used to be.”

I’d like to send an extra special thank you to Terry’s recent guest Jimmy Valiant, who put Bluegrass Brawlers over not once, but twice on the show. I had the opportunity to meet Jimmy a few months back in Evansville and give him a copy of the book. I’m so glad he liked it and honored he’d give it such a great endorsement.