Tagged in: independent

Wrestling from the Underground

The first rule of Southern Underground Pro is… don’t call them SUP GRAPS.

Southern Underground Pro is a new wrestling promotion in Nashville. They’re not out to replace anyone else running in the area; they want to fill a void for fans and wrestlers. In a city with a proud wrestling tradition, their goal is to bring the very best in today’s independent wrestling to the Music City.

Southern Underground’s first show features a loaded card stacked with twelve hungry young wrestlers from all across the country: Curt Stallion, Kevin Ku, Nick Iggy, Kerry Awful, Dominic Garrini, Alex Daniels, Dr. Dan, Frankie Flynn, Chris Crunk Jaden Newman, AJ Gray and Brett Ison. All twelve men will be in singles action to start the show with the winners facing off in two triple threat matches. The winners in those two matches will go on to fight for the honor of becoming the first Bonestorm Champion!

The tournament format will give each individual wrestler a chance to shine on their own, and as the tournament progresses, the opportunity for some unique match ups will unfold. Imagine seeing Nick Iggy going one on one with his Carnies tag team partner Kerry Awful.

If successful, S.U.P. plans to run bi-monthly shows and feature even more of today’s stop independent stars. Fans can expect to see women’s matches and tag matches at upcoming shows, and S.U.P. is looking for a more family-friendly venue for future events.

Southern Underground Pro’s Battle for Bonestorm will take place on Sunday night, April 23 at The Cobra, 2511 Gallatin Ave in Nashville. For ticket and event information, go to the S.U.P. event page on Facebook.

 

Grindhouse Academy: Rudy Switchblade

This is part two of a series of stories about The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and the new Grindhouse Academy wrestling school.

When 2 Tuff Tony opened the doors of The Arena on Spring Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana, one of the things he wanted most was to start a school for aspiring wrestlers. Tony is a seasoned veteran himself and knew he had a lot to teach, but he wanted a partner who could give students the things he could not. He wanted someone trained in a variety of wrestling styles, someone with in-ring experience and knowledge that would really challenge the students. Tony found all that in Rudy Switchblade.

Louisville area wrestling enthusiasts will remember Rudy from his run with OVW as well as appearances for other promoters and promotions in the area. What fans may not know is that Rudy is a twenty year veteran who began training and wrestling all the way back in 1997.

Rudy spent 10 years in the business before he came to OVW. He started his training at the School of Hard Knocks with Bill Anderson, Jesse Hernandez, and Chris Daniels. “They were pretty much the ‘it’ school at the time in Southern California, and I started with a group of guys who are all pretty famous now.”

Rudy moved on to UPW, then the Southern California developmental territory for the WWE, where he worked with future OVW and WWE stars John Cena and Rico Costantino. He spent two years in the New Japan dojo, and a few more years with Ring of Honor before coming to Louisville to train under Danny Davis, Rip Rogers, and Al Snow.

Rudy Switchblade is a student of wrestling well-versed in many styles and techniques. His is a very different path than the one his partner followed, but Rudy and Tony have become good friends as well as partners over the last six months.

Rudy and Tony are now training a half dozen students at Grindhouse Academy. Through trial and error, they’ve established a regular class schedule that seems to work best with the odd shoot job schedules of their students. It’s an open door type of setting, where students of all levels are welcome to come and go, and it’s ridiculously affordable: it’s only $10 an hour.

Wrestling purists are bound to raise an eyebrow and even a few objections to such a low price. Most training schools cost thousands of dollars and require large, up-front, non-refundable deposits. Those schools do their best to weed out the less serious students on day one, keeping the money and sending them packing. It’s an old school mentality that you won’t find at Grindhouse.

“Don’t get me wrong. We’re looking for serious students,” say Switchblade. “The difference is, we’re not here just to take you money. Tony and I are not getting rich off this. We’re doing this because we love it.”

Grindhouse is a place for those who can’t afford the big name schools. It’s a place to come and get your feet wet without getting your butt kicked. It’s a great place to see what wrestling is really all about without blowing your life’s savings on day one and having you love of the business battered by a hundred knife-edge chops.

Grindhouse Academy currently meets 3-4 times a week at the Arena. Schedule and times vary, but you can get more information on the school and the Arena by contacting 2 Tuff Tony on Facebook.

The Evolution of Aidan Blackhart

When I first saw Aidan Blackhart, he was a one joke heel who came to the ring with a Shakeweight. Don’t get me wrong, Aidan was great at what he did. The Shakeweight gimmick, the Body by Blackhart routine was hilarious and got him over as a heel, but after this past weekend, it’s clear the young wrestler is evolving in some amazing ways.

Yesterday, I told you the story of Nick Depp, the winner of Saturday’s Prince of the Deathmatches tournament. Today I’m revisiting an old friend who came up short in his second try at Prince of the Deathmatches. Aidan may not have claimed the crown Saturday night, but he’s proving his desire and passion to become something more than a one joke heel.

“This was the second year I did Prince,” says Blackhart. “Last year I faced Zodiak in a barbwire bats and boards match. This year I am trying to step up and make a name for myself in wrestling. Not just in deathmatches but all around.”

I had to ask Aidan why in the world someone would compete in an event like this multiple times when they knew they likely would not come out the winner. Here, his passion really comes through.

“I entered Prince this year to test myself and prove I can do way better. This year was insane with log cabins of glass. That moment I threw Derek Direction through one with a superplex, my adrenaline hit an all time high. Being cut to shreds and covered in blood made me feel alive, gave me new life. A baptism in blood if you will. My faith in myself is renewed. I am saved.”

Aidan has lofty goals for the year ahead. He’s got his sights set on winning a heavyweight championship and advancing to the finals in a deathmatch tournament. “I also want to be on the main card of Bloodymania, and face Masada.”

Aidan Blackhart is proving he will do whatever it takes to rise in the independent wrestling ranks. He’s a face to watch in a promotion that has launched the careers of many former unknowns.

Aidan can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nick Depp is Prince of the Deathmatch!

Saturday night, Nick Depp made a statement at IWA Mid-South. Before a packed, standing room only crowd in Memphis, Indiana, the young wrestler staked his place in the legendary promotion’s history by becoming the 2017 Prince of the Deathmatch.

Depp’s coronation is the result of a lot of hard work and a dream he began pursuing back in 2011. The Livermore, Kentucky native started training with the Waddell brothers in WWA.

“My first job in the wrestling business was as the ring announcer. I was horrible.” Depp’s inability to get anyone’s name right was embarrassing, but the promoters turned it into his first angle, when wrestlers came after him for the messing up their names.

Depp spent six months tagging with his friend Nick Willis as the Flight Club, winning the WWA Tag Team Championships. From there, he went on to Southern Wrestling Entertainment, where he furthered his training with veteran Cash Flo. “Cash taught me the art of selling and advanced psychology.”

In 2014 he left SWE and headed for IWA Mid-South. Depp caught the eye of Nick Maniwa and Reed Bentley, who spoke up for him and got him a shot at IWA-MS’s tryout show against Juan Hado and Alex Rudolph. The match earned Depp a roster spot and the chance to train with Ian Rotten.

“Ian completed my training,” says Depp. “It’s mind blowing how much you can learn from him. And the gift never stops giving.”

Depp competed in two previous deathmatch tournaments prior to Saturdays win: The 2015 POTDM tournament and the Kings of the Colosseum Deathmatch tournament. He’s especially proud of a 2016 Tai Pei Deathmatch he had against former IWA Mid-South Champion John Wayne Murdoch. “Axel Rotten did commentary for that match. Ian sat beside him and they watched, which I thought was pretty sick because this was their match. That moment can never happen again, and I’m so proud to be able to say that happened. Plus I beat Murdoch, and that year he went on to win King of the Deathmatch.”

I asked Depp what his goal was for 2017, now that he is deathmatch royalty. His answer was simple. “Always looking to improve, and also looking to be the best I can be.” With an attitude like that, Depp is likely to make an even greater impact on the business in the future.

Nick Depp can be booked at fakenickdepp@google.com

World Premiere Set for HEEL KICK!

A while back, I posted a story about an independent film from Canada called HEEL KICK! Promising to do to pro wrestling what Spinal Tap did for heavy metal, the producer started a crowdfunding campaign to clear the last few financial hurdles and release the film.

The campaign was enough of a success that the world premiere is now set. HEEL KICK! will be first screened in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada at The Garneau Theatre on March 18 (4PM) and 21st (7PM).

The film will then move west to Vancouver, British Columbia for two dates at The Rio Theatre: April 4th (9PM) and 8th (12PM).

The producer is looking for cities to host the US premiere as well. Fans are encouraged to follow HEEL KICK! on Twitter @HEELKICKmovie and let them know where you’d like to see the movie.

A Dangerous Book in the Wrong Hands!

Fans of Tier 1, and wrestling fans everywhere, I am sorry.

I have done a terrible thing.

After hearing Mr. Darius Carter, the current Tier 1 Wresting Champion on the Kick Out at Two Podcast, I got in touch with him to tell him how much I enjoyed the interview and admired his appreciation for wrestling history. I shared with him the books I had written, and I offered to send him a few if he wanted to have a look. Mr. Carter thanked me for the offer and asked for a copy of a biography, Lord Carlton.

Mr. Carter seemed like such a nice man, and he was so gracious to me on email. I had no idea Mr. Carter was one of the most dastardly villains on the East Coast. Now, with the biography of one of the most hated and reviled villains of the 1950s in his possession, I fear I might have only made things worse.

Lord Carlton was a monster. Sure, he dressed nice and conducted himself with the grace of a gentleman, but he as nasty as they came. Like Mr. Carter, Carlton was not a “sports entertainer, nor was he the kind of guy who “wanted to get his spots in.” He believed in winning at any cost, and there was no low too low for him to stoop.

Will Mr. Carter adopt some of Lord Carlton’s dirty deeds as his own? Will he follow Carlton’s lead by traveling to the far east to pick up a sinister Swami to assist him in his conquests? Whatever happens, I take full responsibility.

If you want to see Darius Carter, he’s currently taking the Tier 1 title around the United States on a rampage of destruction. If you want to know more about Lord Carlton and see where Mr. Carter may be headed, you can read about him only in the pages of Lord Carlton: Wrestler, Artist, My Father.

Kick Out at Two Parties with Joey Ryan

It’s not easy to make a name for yourself in independent wrestling. Most casual fans who only catch the occasional episode of Raw would be hard-pressed to name even three independent wrestlers. But you’d have to be living under a rock not to know who Joey Ryan is. Even if the name escapes you, it should only take a little prompting to remember some of the buzz-worthy moments this international star has produced.

The Kick Out at Two Podcast is kicking of 2017 in style with wrestling’s biggest party animal. Download their show every week on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Stitcher to learn more about the top starts in independent wrestling.

Make a resolution this year to go beyond Raw and see what’s really happening in the world of professional wrestling.

Best of 2016 with Marc Hauss

Marc Hauss and I partnered up this past year to produce a six part series called Hauss Show, a sketch comedy show about the life of a professional wrestler. The show is available to watch on Marc’s YouTube channel, and we have ten more already in the works for 2017.

I asked Marc to pick a favorite match from 2017. Here’s what he had to say about the video posted below.

“This was for the IWF heavyweight championship where I finally got my one on one match with Sean Carr. I was awarded the championship after Sean was a no show to  multiple shows. This was the match to show who really was the champ.”

I’m excited to continue working with Marc in 2017, and very excited to see what else he accomplishes in the ring. Happy New Year!

A Lesson from Wrestling: Never Forget Your Roots

There’s a major star for the WWE, a main event level former world champion, who still gets tickets for at least one promoter who helped him back in the day. He did not work for this promoter very long, but the wrestler has never forgotten the hand up the promoter gave him. He’s not the only one on the main roster who does this, and the local promoter is not the only one receiving a never-ending stream of love and appreciation for what he once did for a star on the rise.

Professional wrestlers do not forget where they came from. They honor their roots every chance they get. They show their gratitude to the men and women who mentored them in words and deeds. They pay it forward as much as they can to other students who came from the same place. They pay homage to the fans, the promoters, the fellow wrestlers, the refs, everyone who helped them along the way.

I used to dabble in the independent film scene. Like the independent wrestling scene, it’s a world filled with dreamers who hope to make it to the big time. The same gratitude that is extended by professional wrestlers toward their past does not always happen in the world of film. The wise ones do, like the former students of Lloyd Kaufman and Roger Corman, but I’ve seen others not only turn their backs on the actors, producers, and directors who once supported them, but actively try to suppress films they now deem as beneath them.

Everyone starts somewhere. Whatever profession you’re in, you started some place. We all have bad matches, bad films, things we know weren’t our best. But suppressing the work of others to satisfy your ego is ungrateful and wrong.

When he was at the height of his run in the WWE, a fan asked CM Punk where he thought Wrestlemania should be. He replied, “The warehouse in Charlestown, Indiana,” the building where he once wrestled Chris Hero for 93 minutes in front of a hardcore-hungry local crowd. That is paying respect. That is remembering who you are and where you came from.

I don’t care what opportunity lies ahead in your career. There’s no excuse for stepping on the people who were there for you before your “big break.” Remember the people who believed in you when no one else did. Remember those who were there to help you, to give you a role when no one else would, to give you an opportunity to do what you wanted to do. Be grateful. Be humble. And be willing to pass it on.

Eat Like a Wrestler: Lodgerdoodles

If you never had the pleasure of seeing The Lovely Lylah, aka the Powerhouse Princess, in action, I feel sorry for you. Not only did you miss a powerhouse talent in the ring, you also missed out on the amazing sweet treats this talented lady often sold at her gimmick table. From cake pops to cupcakes to cookies, Lylah makes something to suit every sweet tooth, and today, she was kind enough to share one of her favorite recipes with us.

Lodgerdoodles are a variant on snickerdoodles and a favorite treat of a certain NXT signee formerly known as Crazy Mary Dobson. Lylah made these all the time for Crazy Mary when they were both working out of Louisville, and this recipe was actually a Christmas gift for all of Lylah’s friends a few years ago. I’ve got one in my house who likes snickerdoodles as well, so you better believe I’ll be giving this one a shot myself.

INGREDIENTS:

1 box of white cake mix

2 eggs

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1TBS Cinnamon

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside for the last step.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, and oil until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into one inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.

Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet covered in parchment or aluminum foil so they won’t stick.

Cook at 350° until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Sad to say a series of car accidents and resulting health issues have forced Lylah into retirement from the ring. She’s a great lady who had some tough breaks, and I wish her nothing but the best!

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