#SelfMandibleClaw: Aidan Blackhart’s Journey to The Gathering

Several months back I did a feature on Aidan Blackhart. If you’ve seen a guy coming to the ring with a Shakeweight, you know the guy I’m talking about. Blackhart had a dream at that time to wrestle at Bloodymania at the Gathering of the Juggalos, one of the most unique of all wrestling events hosted by the Insane Clown Posse. This summer, he checked that goal off his list. Blackhart (pictured below with Shane Mercer and Hy Zaya) offers his first hand account of his first ever trip exclusively for Eat Sleep Wrestle readers. 

14159095_533776366818186_2095518016_nIn 2015 I set a goal for myself. Wrestle at the Gathering of the Juggalos. Not only has wrestling been a huge part of my life, but so has music. The Gathering has been hyped up to me from many friends since it first started. So why not enjoy both my passions in one weekend. Not only were all my expectations met, they were blown out of the water.

First day i arrived around 7am from driving all night. We caught some rest before the first try out show. Waking up with about 30 mins to spare, my eyes had a feast of wonders to see as I made my way to the “Kayfabe” campground where the JCW stage was held. Got signed up and looked around at what appeared to be a LOT of backyarders and non wrestlers. Knowing they had little to no experience gave me room to shine.

First day we cut a promo, then had a match. I was paired with a juggalo named “karnage”. Stepped in the ring and he turned into a deer staring into headlights. Very fit headlights with a 10lb shakewieght coming at you. I busted him open with it while the ref was turned, then locked in “The Aidan Lock” and got the win.

After the first try out, Hy Zaya, Shane Mercer, and myself went on a search for food. Walking up to a gyro hut this guy was whacked out on god knows what, trying to make himself throw up. Shoving his whole hand into his mouth and reach into his stomach literally. Looked like he was giving himself the mandible claw. After that I knew it was gonna be a fun time. now when we someone that has too much on their plate, we tell them to do a self mandible claw.

Day two was similar, doing try out’s with the survivors of the first day. I still knew this was mine to conquer. Taking turns doing chops and other wrestling moves, while showing I had what it takes. After we went over everything, we were told to report back by 9pm for the Bloodymania Battle Royal.

I was so exhausted from wrestling, concerts, walking in the sun, barely eating, and excitement, i had to stretch out and catch a nap before the show. Woke up with about 10 mins to spare, groggy and stumbling from laying on the ground. Once the music hit my adrenaline went on over drive, made it to the final 3 and even hit someone with a G–damninator then eliminated him.

After the match I asked a friend if I could use their lawn chair to get comfy, then fell asleep through the rest of the show. Even though I missed a lot of great matches, I was there. Goals can be met no matter what you want to achieve. Nothing can top the feeling of doing something you thought would never happen, with great friends.

Follow Aidan Blackhart on Facebook and on Twitter

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.

Aiden Blackhart: The Second Strongest Man Alive

11258747_10202966528522690_119951354_oIt’s not easy being the second strongest man alive. All Aiden Blackhart wants to do is inspire fat, lazy wrestling fans to follow his fitness program and get in shape like he is. And what thanks does he get? Boos, chops to the chest, and in a recent match against DJ Hyde – chair shots from small children.

The fans love to hate Aiden Blackhart, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Lebanon, Kentucky native fell in love with wrestling when he was just a kid. In middle school he and some friends began wrestling in the backyard on the trampoline. There was never a signature moment when Blackhart decided to become a wrestler. His friend, WWE Tough Enough hopeful Shane Mercer, introduced him to a promoter who told him all he needed was a license and he could try the real thing.

“Getting licensed wasn’t as easy as he made it sound,” Blackhard laughs, “But I got one.”

Blackhart admits he had a lot to learn coming in. “I didn’t understand things like respect for the veterans and shaking hands in the back. I just went out and wrestled. I copied a lot of guys’ moves in the ring, and they took exception to it.”

One night, veteran Nick Noble took to the ring after seeing Blackhart use his finishing kick and gave Blackhart a kick of his own. Noble challenged him to a match the following week. “I was scared to death he was going to shoot on me, but it was the easiest match I’d had. He talked me through the whole thing. He taught me a lot. Later that night, he sat me down and explained to me the importance of respect in this business. I owe him a lot.”

Blackhart’s title as the Second Strongest Man in the World came after taking a break in 2013. “I was this bald guy who was kind of a brawler, like Steve Austin, but I didn’t really have a gimmick. I was working for Destination One Wrestling in New Albany, Indiana, when promoter Ron Aslam suggested I do a fitness gimmick, Body by Aiden. I liked it, but I changed it to Body by Blackhart.”

Blackhart has wrestled with a number of talented veterans like DJ Hyde, Tracy Smothers, and Mad Man Pondo. “I was scared to death of Pondo because of all the hardcore stuff he used to do, but when he got me in the test of strength, it was the lightest I’d ever experienced. He was great to work with.”

Another veteran Blackhart worked with was the late J.C. Bailey. Blackhart’s proudest moment was working the first annual J.C. Bailey Memorial Tournament. “I was in a Fatal 4-Way Ladder Match for the Tri-State Title. At the end of the match, I went off a ladder through two tables set up on the floor. Bailey was a big hero of mine, and it meant a lot to me to be a part of that night.

Blackhart recently decided to move to Louisville, and he’s hoping to continue expanding his bookings in independent wrestling. His biggest goal for 2015: to earn a tryout with Juggalo Championship Wrestling. You can catch him and his trusty Shake Weight at shows around Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio and on television with UWA in Louisville.

Photo courtesy of Michael Herm Photography.

Meet Crazy Mary Dobson

1797971_699268903502709_2186941647616043393_nWe are two days from Girl Fight at the ArenA in Jeffersonville, and today’s introduction features the hometown girl who has taken the wrestling world by storm.

Some kids get into wrestling because of their Dad. Crazy Mary Dobson got into wrestling because of her Grandma.

Growing up, Crazy Mary was surrounded by boys, so she mostly did what the boys did: play video games and wrestle. She started watching wrestling on TV with her grandmother and in 2011, she went to her first Juggalo Championship Wrestling show. That’s where she saw Mad Man Pondo for the first time.

Shortly after the JCW, Mary decided that wrestling was for her. She reached out to Pondo on MySpace and asked him how she could get her start. “He told me that Mickie Knuckles could train me, if I could get to Charlestown, Indiana. I wrote him back and told him, ‘I live in Charlestown, Indiana!’”

Mary has since traveled the world, wrestling and training any place that would have her. She’s been to Japan, England, and Germany. She’s been in barbed wire death matches and mixed gender tag matches. She’s even attracted the attention of the WWE, where she’s been a Rosebud, Miz’s makeup girl, Kane’s boss, and most recently… Becky Lynch’s opponent on NXT, Sarah Dobson.

Crazy Mary is a high flier, an energetic performer who loves getting dropped on her head as much as she loves leaping from the top rope. “Lufisto told me she loved me because I like getting dropped on my head as much as she does!”

She has a pin fall victory over Amazing Kong, and she’s the co-owner of the JCW Tag Team Championship with Mad Man Pondo. At Girl Fight, she goes head to head with the daughter of a legend: Tessa Blanchard.

If you’re in the Louisville area, this is a can’t miss opportunity.

Nothing’s for sure in the world of wrestling, but Crazy Mary may very well be on her way to the top of the industry. We’ve been spoiled rotten in this area the last few years, watching her grow and mature into one of the must see attractions in independent wrestling. This could be your last chance to be able to say, “I saw her before she became a legend!”

You can follow Crazy Mary on Twitter @crazymarydobson. You can also read more of her story in Eat Sleep Wrestle.

Keep your eyes open; you’ll likely see her on WWE television again very soon.

(Photo credit: Ichiban Drunk.)