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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.

 

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Mad Man Pondo: Author?

The cat is out of the bag. Mad Man Pondo is writing a book.

After years of being badgered by friends and fans alike, Pondo has agreed to put his incredible story into writing. It will be my honor to help him do just that.

This won’t be an ordinary autobiography, however. First of all, it’s Mad Man Pondo’s autobiography. It’s going to be filled with blood, violence, and some of the wildest tales ever spun by any professional wrestler.

Second, Pondo won’t be the only one telling the story. This story will also be told by the people who know and love the Mad Man.

Pondo is inviting all wrestlers, referees, promoters, fans, and friends who have a story to share to contribute them to this book. If you have a tale to share, please connect with my via email or on Facebook, and let me know your Pondo memories.

If you just can’t wait for the book, you can pick up a copy of Eat Sleep Wrestle while you wait. The book covers more than a dozen independent wrestlers, old and young, and a number of Mad Man Pondo stories. It’s worth the cover price just to read Austin Bradley’s epic tale, “One Night In Tennessee With Mad Man Pondo.”

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The Heroic Choice of John Wayne Murdoch

The last time I saw John Wayne Murdoch, he was falling backwards through a table on the shoulders of Shane Mercer from the top turnbuckle. Murdoch is as hardcore as they get. There’s no bump, no height, no foreign object that scares him. But of all the brave things John Wayne Murdoch has done in the ring, none compare to what he did last week.

Just a few days after the great Daniel Bryan announced his retirement due to concussions, Murdoch announced his departure from the same business. It may not be retirement for Murdoch just yet, but it will at least be an extended absence. Like Bryan, Murdoch is suffering from severe post-concussion symptoms. It scared him enough to go to the doctor, and the doctor’s diagnosis convinced him he needs a break from the business he loves dearly.

John Wayne Murdoch does not have an “angel” like Bryan has in Vince McMahon. There’s no billionaire promoter paying him not to wrestle. He has made this impossible choice on his own, and he deserves all the credit in the world for doing so.

As much as we know about the human body, especially the brain, there’s no bravery in fighting through head injuries. No matter how high your tolerance for pain may be, it’s not worth it to continue destroying something that can never recover from the damage caused by concussions. There are plenty of ways to stay involved in pro wrestling that no one should continue working past such a dangerous point of no return.

If you see John Wayne Murdoch at a show or on social media, thank him for all he has given to the business, then honor him by sharing his story with someone else. No one wants to see a promising wrestling career cut short, but we need more men like Daniel Bryan and John Wayne Murdoch to show the world that there are some things more important than stepping into the ring.

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IWA Mid-South: A remarkable anniversary

 

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It’s not easy to run an independent promotion in the WWE era. Most promotions only last a few months at best, struggling to draw an audience and attract talent the fans want to see. Very few have been able to sustain any long term success. Louisville, Kentucky is truly unique because not one but two such promotions have thrived and survived since the mid 1990s.

Much has already been written about Ohio Valley Wrestling, the brainchild of Danny Davis that became (for a time) the developmental center for the WWE. But when Danny Davis was opening his doors at the Quadrangle in Jeffersonville, Ian Rotten was already building a cult-like following at IWA Mid-South.

In 1996 former ECW star Ian Rotten brought the hardcore style to Louisville, filling a void left in the hearts of fans when Memphis closed its doors. IWA Mid-South has always been known for violence and bloodshed, but over time, the promotion also developed a reputation for showcasing some of the brightest young stars in the business. The list of talent who worked for Ian reads like a Who’s Who of today’s indy and hardcore scene, as well as the current WWE roster. Even the current champion, Seth Rollins, once worked for IWA Mid-South.

When Ian ran into trouble with the Kentucky Athletic Commission, he had to move across the river to Indiana.  Changing buildings or cities is usually enough to put an end to a wrestling promotion, but the IWA Mid-South fans followed their favorite show across the river. IWA Mid-South has been in at least six different buildings since the printing of Bluegrass Brawlers, and no matter where they go, the fans followed.

I asked a few members of the IWA Mid-South family, what is it that makes IWA Mid-South so special? How in the world is a promotion that has faced so much adversity about to celebrate its 19th anniversary? Here, in their own words, are your answers.

Vic Filpot, Indy Power Rankings: Building a cult like following and having a boss that believes in his product as much as his fans do.

Aidan Blackhart, Wrestler: IWA is going strong in my opinion due to the hard work put out by its talent alongside a family mentality shared both in the locker room and the fans themselves.

Misty Duncan, Ticket Sales: I believe it has been around so long because of the mind of Ian Rotten. His eye for talent and ability to create his own stars is second to none. Over the years he has put together a lot of matches that no one else would ever have the eye to book. Let’s not forget that the revolving door of stars that this company has seen on it’s regular roster is incredible, and the friends Ian has made over the years has allowed him to bring in a lot of names that other Indies, especially in this area, just don’t have the power to do.

Shane Mercer, current IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion: Passion. If you come to a IWA show regardless if there is 10 ppl or 500. You always know the talent there puts it all on the line to be the best. One of those vibes that’s different you get than most locker rooms. Makes you wanna push that much harder.

If any word sums up the IWA Mid-South “universe,” it is the word passion. Ian Rotten is a passionate leader with an outstanding eye for talent and an instinct for giving the fans what they want. The fans of IWA Mid-South are passionate about wrestling and rabid about their favorite promotion. It doesn’t matter if it’s indoors, outdoors, down the street or hours away, they will be there to see their favorite show. That passion fuels the wrestlers who put their bodies on the line every night for their leader and their fans. They are all at IWA Mid-South in hopes that they too might one day follow in the footsteps of Seth Rollins, Chris Hero, and CM Punk.

Congratulations to Ian Rotten and the IWA Mid-South faithful as you celebrate 19 years of keeping independent wrestling alive.

Click here for details on the 19th anniversary show.

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Why are you doing that spot?

lufistoA few days ago a video went viral showing wrestler Chris Dickinson tossing female wrestler Kimber Lee around the ring like a rag doll. I’m not going to post it here; you can Google it if you haven’t seen it. While a close look at the video shows you that the moves were delivered in a safe manner to protect Lee, it is a brutal and violent video.

I was very happy to see LuFisto’s response to this video go viral as well. LuFisto didn’t judge, but as a long time veteran who has taken her share of violent, inter-gender bumps, she asks some very important questions that all indy wrestlers – male and female – need to ask themselves.

You can read LuFisto’s comments here, and if you are an aspiring wrestler, I strongly suggest you not only read them, but really think about what she has to say.

While I’m at it, let me add to the chorus of those responding to LuFisto’s lament about never making it to the WWE. LuFisto is everything that is right about today’s indy wrestling. She is a class act who loves her fans and never disappoints in the ring. She makes those she works with better, and no matter who’s on the card above or below her, she is always one of the most memorable matches of the night.

I’ve seen LuFisto live twice in the last year. She tore the house down against Crazy Mary Dobson and Lylah Lodge. There were at least five or six other matches on the cards both nights, but I’d be doing well to tell you who was in more than one or two of those other matches.

Success can be defined in many ways. Making it to the WWE is one definition, but can you really call it success when you go from stealing the show in the indies to being in an eight-diva tag match that lasts three minutes? The brawls LuFisto, Crazy Mary, and Lylah put on here in Southern Indiana over the last year were far better than any televised “Diva” match in the last five. (NXT excluded.)

When LuFisto hangs her boots up for the last time, no one who truly love pro wrestling will look at her career as a failure. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her in the ring and out, and it was my honor to feature her in Eat Sleep Wrestle. She’s created an incredible legacy for herself and despite all her self-doubts, pains, and frustrations, she’s showing no sign of giving up just yet. That’s a win for her and for everyone who enjoys real wrestling.

Shane Helms put it best when he responded to her earlier this week. “Someone find LuFisto and tell her that’s she’s absolutely wrong about one thing. She’s not a failure. She’s a f’n badass!” High praise, and well deserved.