Tagged in: kerry awful

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.

 

A Little Praise for Kicking Out at Two

Every week I share what’s happening on the Kick Out at Two Podcast. Just to be clear, this is not a post about the podcast. This is about a book I highlighted recently when I interviewed contributing author and Dropkick Depression founder, Terra Caraway.

Kicking Out at Two is a short book, only forty pages worth of text, but it packs more punch than any 300+ page wrestling biography you’ve ever read. Eight independent wrestlers share their personal stories in this book. Each one has had a different journey. Each one struggles to this day with depression.

Some of the authors have been in treatment for years. Others are still struggling to get their feet under them. Each story is raw, uncensored, and real. It’s a brave feat for people whose job is to put on a front in the wrestling ring, but the authors have held nothing back.

Even if you have never personally suffered from any form of depression, I’d urge you to read this book. Depression is more common than you realize, and odds are more than a few people you know are suffering from it.

Kicking Out at Two was written to show people going through depression that they are not alone. It was written to encourage those suffering and to urge them to open up about their own stories.

The book accomplishes one thing more: even if you’re not one of those struggling with depression, it will open your eyes to just how devastating depression can be. It will give you more empathy for those suffering from depression, putting you in the shoes of those who struggle with it day by day. It makes their pain real.

Kudos to Terra Caraway, Billy Avery, Aria Blake, Mickie Knuckles, Jeff Cannonball, Kerry Awful, Angelus Layne, and P.T. Player for sharing their stories. This is as important a wrestling book as any biography you’ll ever read with a message that has to be heard.

Whatever you are going through, you are not alone!

Buy Kickout Out at Two now on Amazon.com, and please share this with someone you love.

Kicking Out at Two Takes the Fight Beyond the Ring

Kicking Out at Two is not the most high profile wrestling book to be released in the last year, but it might be the most important.

Kicking Out at Two is a collaboration between eight wrestlers and compiled by Terra Callaway. It’s a book full of biographical stories with a common theme. All of the authors are professional wrestlers who battle depression on a daily basis.

“I wanted to provide something to people where they could see all different aspects and stories of depression in one place,” says Callaway, who also started the online resource Dropkick Depression. “Sure, some people know about my depression from one place and then may know about someone else from another place, but with it so scattered out, sometimes it’s hard to get a view of everything at once. I also wanted something people could physically see and feel in their hands. Somehow it makes it all feel a bit more real than just reading on the internet, you know?”

In addition to Terra, Kicking Out at Two features personal stories from fellow grapplers Billy Avery, Jeff Cannonball, Mickie Knuckles, Kerry Awful, Aria Blake, Angelus Layne, and P.T. Player. Callaway said she had no trouble finding men and women to speak out about their experience.

“Once I posted on the page that I was looking for people who wanted to share their stories, I got quite a few responses. Some weren’t as ready as others just yet to share so they’ve elected to do another book once it comes time for a second one. There are different stages in depression and some just need a little more time than others. I was incredibly proud of everyone who talked to me about it, even if they ended up not contributing, because it still shows they know they CAN talk about it if they want it. It shows they know they aren’t alone.”

Calloway hopes that readers will find stories they can relate to, stories that will help them realize they are not alone in their struggle. “Everyone has their own individual story and struggle, but we’re all in it together. Everything in this book is never before seen or told. So it’s definitely a different view of each individual that contributed.”

The response to the book has been incredibly positive. Readers have reached out through the Dropkick Depression Facebook to share their gratitude to the authors and thank them for speaking out. “It’s inspiring to see so many people band together for a common cause and it be so well loved. I’m incredibly happy with the reception so far.”

Kicking Out at Two is a must-read for any fan who has struggled with depression or has a loved one going through it. It’s a powerful statement to people with a real need. Said Callaway, “The whole goal of the book was to show those who suffer with depression or have sucidial thoughts that they aren’t alone and that there is always someone out there going through similar circumstances. If it helps one person speak out, ask for help, or take the steps to get help, then it was all worth it.”

You can order Kicking Out at Two in paperback or on Kindle.

Best of 2016 with The Carnies

There may not be a hotter faction heading into 2017 than The Carnies. Kerry Awful and Nick Iggy, the tag team formerly known as Team IOU, took the bold and brave step to embrace who they truly believe they are and change their name. It hasn’t hurt their stock one bit; if anything, it’s given them the momentum to take 2017 by storm.

The Carnies are poised to go to war with some of the best of the best this year. Folks like me are already coming up with dream matches. Carnies vs. Indy Card Mafia. Carnies vs. OI4K. These are old school-minded rasslers who live the heel life at every opportunity, making kids cry and eliciting genuine hatred from the fans. They’re exactly the kind of wrestler the independent scene needs to continue the modern indy revolution.

Kerry Awful asked me to share this match from their 2016 campaign at AWE vs. the Kraken, aka Chip Day and Murder One. Watch, enjoy, and start making your list of dream tag matches now.

Why every wrestler should Hang with Bob

The independent wrestling scene is not what it once was. Only a handful of guys are making top money, and most are working shoot jobs just to get by.

Brutal Bob Evans has been a part of that scene for a long time. He knows what it takes to make it. He also knows you don’t have to be in the “$100 Grand” club to do it full-time and support your family.

There are many wrestlers training other wrestlers how to work in the ring, but Brutal Bob wants to train them how to work outside the ring. He wants wrestlers to know how to not only make money, but spend it wisely. Simply put, you can’t live like Ric Flair, spending your entire paycheck on wine, women, and food. You have to be smart about your money and take care of your family.

“When wrestling isn’t viable anymore, your significant other will be there for you,” Bob wrote on Facebook last week. “So, protect home. To do this, you must make wrestling a viable option financially. Not immediately, because that’s not realistic. But as soon as you can, practice the business of wrestling.
Again, I’m a firm believer that wrestling can be an art and a business.

“You don’t have to make $1 million either. Think about the stress reduction when you come home with grocery money for the week. When you come home with a car payment. When you come home with half the rent money. This is a very reasonable and realistic goal. A few tweaks and your deep in the business of wrestling.

“If we want to have our head in the clouds, we also have to have our feet on the ground.”

Bob’s training class teaches wrestlers how to be smart about money. He gives common sense advice on everything from travel expenses to self-promotion. With some careful planning and a lot of discipline, wrestlers can leave their shoot jobs behind, pursue their dreams full-time, and take care of their families.

Students of Bob’s workshops are already seeing results, even a few weeks in. In fact it was a testimonial from Kerry Awful of Team IOU on Facebook that bought the workshop to my attention.

“After the weekend I’ve continued to follow his posts and apply the things that I feel work for us. We’ve branded more tshirts, cut costs where we could, and did the drives with a little bit different view point on saving money. This last weekend between merch, work, and after expenses — it was pretty damn cool to see we’ve made more money to invest back into ourselfs and our brand that aren’t coming out of pocket but are its own self sustained thing.

“I don’t think I would have felt the same way or understood this a few months back.”

There’s a reason guys like Lord Leslie Carlton and Baron Leone retired as millionaires. They saved more than they earned. They shared rides and hotel rooms. They traveled with a loaf of bread and a pack of bologna. They invested what they earned so they could retire in style.

Brutal Bob’s workshop is a must for any aspiring professional wrestler today. Regardless of how high you may rise in today’s wrestling scene, Bob’s class will teach you how to make the most of those tiny pay offs so that you AND your family will come out ahead.

As Bob says, “Protect home. Do business. Be business.”

For information on Bob’s workshops, follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. If you dream of being a full-time wrestler, this is a workshop that can change your career and your life. You need to Hang with Bob!

Team IOU Hates You!

Team IOU does not look like a tag team. They don’t have matching tights. They don’t wear color-coordinated outfits. They don’t wear identical face paint or strap on identical spiky shoulder pads. Nick Iggy and Kerry Awful aren’t brothers, nor were they born in the same state. Nevertheless, the odd couple from Tennessee has found a chemistry that has made them one of the most sought after and hated tag teams in the indies.

Nick Iggy was born in New Jersey but spent most of his life growing up in wrestling-crazed Middle Tennessee. “Growing up with two older brothers, I always watched wrestling, so for as long as I can remember I always wanted to become a professional wrestler. It was while watching The Hardy Boys – Leap of Faith VHS with my best friend, Cas Lush, that I stopped just ‘wanting’ to become a professional wrestler and started telling myself that ‘I’m going to be’ a professional wrestler.”

Nick’s partner Kerry Awful turned to wrestling as an escape at an early age. “I was extremely sick as a child. In and out of the hospital constantly. While most people were out and about with friends, I was at home with breathing machines and professional wrestling. My earliest memories are of old USWA shows and syndicated WWE shows. I remember hiding a towel under the crack of my door as a child so my parents wouldn’t know I stayed up late to watch the entire first episode of RAW. Wrestling’s been there for me from illness as a child, to my parents divorce, to adulthood. I cherish it so much.”

Like Iggy, Awful still remembers the moment he decided to become a wrestler. “It was the first time I saw Owen Hart and Koko B Ware on a Saturday morning show with my baby sitter. The outfits, the energy, the crowd. All of it was just like being a real life super hero. I was hooked.”

Kerry began his training with one of the men he grew up watching, Dirty Dutch Mantell. “I was blessed to learn from a legend like him, and to have grown up watching him and be taught by him was so surreal. I was mentored by Tasha Simone, former three time NWA woman’s world champ and a person who is like a mother to me. Even though we don’t talk often anymore, I would be amiss to not mention Mike Promo — who is an urban legend by this point. I would also be amiss to not mention all the help Wolfie D gave both Nick and I.”

Nick began his training with Reno Riggins and Drew Haskins at the Stadium Inn in Nashville before also falling under the tutelage of Tasha Simone and Wolfie D. “We’ve also had a lot of good people help us and teach us new things over the years.”

Neither Nick or Kerry began their careers in the tag team ranks, and both have had some memorable matches as singles. “We were actually feuding with one another at a promotion in Nashville called USWO run by the legendary Tony Falk. We were finishing up there to go to NWA SAW in Millersville, TN. Our first night there they put us together as a team. We thought it was just gonna be a one off since we considered ourselves singles wrestlers. Our first night teaming, we won the NWA Southern Tag Team Titles by defeating Tim Renesto and Jeremiah Plunkett. We had good chemestry feuding against each other, but found out we had better chemistry teaming, so we decided to start teaming everywhere.”

“There is a long drawn out story of how we became the boy and his dog and an even longer one of how we evolved into the carnies,” says Awful. “It boils down to we were two friends, who wrestled completely different styles, that were destined to adventure this world with a mission statement to be the best tag team we could be, and represent the state of Tennessee to our fullest potential.”

Team IOU has forged a name for themselves as a tag team by staying true to who they are. “We embrace who and what we are: Southern wrestlers who use a smash mouth style to get a point across. We grew up liking so much different stuff from each other that we were able to kind of mesh it into our own thing. I’m proud to say we ‘found ourselves’ and keep trying to push it in new and creative ways.”

Iggy and Awful’s unique partnership has brought them much success, earning them matches against current teams like the Hooligans and legends like the Rock N Roll Express. They’ve traveled all over the Eastern United States, working as regulars for Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment in Atlanta, GA; Pro Wrestling Freedom in Jeffersonville, IN; Saint Louis Anarchy in Alton, IL; New South in Hartselle, AL; and NWA New South Championship Wrestling in Franklin, KY. Their debut for Tier 1 Wrestling in Brooklyn, NY is scheduled for summer, and they plan to announce even more debuts soon.

Team IOU’s initial title win against Renesto and Plunkett was only the beginning of their gold rush. Says Iggy, “As a team, we’ve held the Proving Ground Pro Tag Team Championship, won the 2015 Full Impact Pro Six Man Showcase along with Jake Dirden, and are the current NWA Southern Tag Team Champions. I’ve also held the NWA Mid American Championship, USWO Music City Championship, ATL Tag Team Championship along with Mike Revick, ATL Junior Heavyweight Championship, All Star Wrestling Tag Team Championship with Damien Payne and All Star Wrestling TV Championship.”

Team IOU has a way of making fans sit up and take notice. There’s no ignoring them, in or out of the ring, and they love to push buttons. Sitting a few feet away from their gimmick table at a recent show in Jeffersonville, Indiana, I head Iggy shut down a young fan with a rapid fire put down: “You’re a kid! You don’t know anything! Your mother hates you!”

It was that moment that made me a fan, and it’s that attitude that will take Team IOU as far as they want to go. “The ultimate goal for me has always been the WWE,” says Iggy, “But I’d love to be able to work for ROH and NJPW. Honestly, if I’m able to make a living off of this, I’d be happy.”

“Nick and I have similar mind sets,” adds Awful. “I want to be involved in wrestling some way. Whether it’s in front in the ring or behind the scenes. My dream when I started was to go over seas. Will it happen? Hopefully one day. I would like to just make an impact on the sport. Change the views people have of Southern wrestling. Make more memories and continue to be happy.”

If they’re not wrestling at a promotion near you this summer, you can check out Team IOU on Smart Mark Video, the WWN Wrestling Network, and their YouTube page.

T-shirts are available on Pro Wrestling Tees.

You can follow Nick on Twitter @IggyNJ210 and follow the team @TeamIOU.

Promoters are welcome to email them at BookTeamIOU@gmail.com.

Kick Out At Two – Your new favorite podcast

I met some cool new friends over the weekend and found a new favorite podcast.

Kick Out at Two is a “traveling wrestling podcast” highlighting indy wrestling of all stripes. Based out of central Tennessee, the podcast team of Jesse, Wilks, and Brittany spend their weekends traveling far and wide to watch their favorites while discovering new ones.

Jesse is a former wrestler himself, a kid who grew up loving it and still can’t get enough. His co-host Chris Wilks was a late-comer to pro wrestling, but once the bug bit, he went back and watched as much of the old stuff as he could. Brittany is the third member of the crew. Like Jesse, she’s a life-long fan whose love for the sport has been rekindled by the podcast.

Kick Out At Two began as a labor of love for the trio, according to Jesse. “We originally just wanted to talk wrestling into a microphone and put it on the Internet. Through friends like Kerry Awful [of Team IOU], we started getting guests and wrestlers actually started to reach out to us to be on the show.”

Jesse, Wilks, and Brittany found their niche as a traveling podcast, which is how the three ended up in Jeffersonville (ten minutes from me) Friday night. “We enjoy hitting the road and ‘making towns’ to get in person interviews with wrestlers that may or may not have a lot of eyes on them,” says Jesse. “We’ll talk to anyone. If we talk to a ‘big name’ one week the goal is to put a ‘lesser known name’ on shortly after that so if we gain new listeners they will learn about the independent talent we’re speaking with.”

The love these three have for wrestling really comes through in the podcast. They do a terrific job of letting wrestlers share their stories, and they’re equally generous highlighting wrestlers and fans who are giving back. One episode from this spring featured a 20 minute discussion of Wrestlethon, a wrestling video game fundraiser for a fantastic children’s charity.

What I love most about Kick Out At Two is their passion for indy wrestling. They love every shade and variation indy wrestling takes, and they, like me, would love nothing better than to see more of the WWE-only fans start supporting the indies.

“The goal is to help wrestling grow and make it better,” says Jesse. “To uplift as much talent as possible and give them a platform that they may not have had before. We live by the saying ‘the more wrestling, the better.’ So we put together sort of a ‘summer tour’ to cover more promotions.”

The summer tour dates are posted below, and if you’re at any of these shows, I encourage you to find these folks and say hello. Meantime, you have some podcasts to catch up on, so head on over to Soundcloud or iTunes and subscribe today. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Pro Wrestling Freedom Delivers

13095793_1069991786412707_6899430250700239435_nPro Wrestling Freedom is new name in the Louisville/ Southern Indiana indy wrestling scene. As crowded as the local market is with wrestling promotions, you’d think there wouldn’t be room for one more, but PWF offers a product unique and exciting enough to set it apart. No one promotion can deliver with every wrestling fan, and from the looks of things tonight, PWF is finding its share.

PWF is anchored by a strong group of Louisville area stars headed by Hy Zaya and his road partner, “The Iron Demon” Shane Mercer. But like the now dormant D1W, PWF also draws some of the top stars from other regions. Murder One and Chip Day were up from Atlanta for tonight’s show, and Rockstar Pro’s current champ Aaron Williams was in from Ohio. The result is a mix of new and familiar faces, all of whom left everything they had in the ring.

It would be hard to pick a standout match from tonight’s show, but the battle between Shane Mercer and Timmy Lou Retton would be a good place to start. Mercer is a beast in the ring, a powerhouse of strength who never disappoints. Retton’s red, white, and blue gimmick is deceptive; while he looks like a comedy act, he truly is a dynamic and gifted athlete who can not only match Mercer with the power moves but surprise you with his tumbling and gymnastic skills.

Aaron Williams and Chip Day didn’t disappoint in the semi wind-up. Their match turned out to be more comedy than I’m used to seeing from Williams, but were well-matched in personality and talent. “I have until five!” became a catchphrase for the fans as well as the grapplers before the night was over.

Jason Saint’s Horrorshow stable made its presence known during the show in a few entertaining matches. Saint is a maniacal presence at ringside who can anger you while also making you laugh. Nick Depp and Team IOU were well matched with the heel manager. Depp was entertaining in his match with the legendary Mickie Knuckles, and Nick Iggy of Team IOU is a heat magnet with his non-stop banter.

The main event was a first time ever confrontation between Hy Zaya and Murder One. A far from some of the more technical wrestling matches on the card, this turned into a brawl. Hy Zaya and Murder One lived up to their top billing with a violent melee that ended in a double count out, setting up a prolonged after show struggle and the main event for next month’s card.

PWF is running in The Arena in Jeffersonville. The next show is June 3, and all the details will soon be posted to their Facebook page. A street fight rematch between Hy Zaya and Murder One is already booked, and it looks like Chip Day and Shane Mercer will be a go as well.

Indy wrestling is alive and well. Buy a ticket, buy a T-shirt from a wrestler, and support the men and women keeping the tradition alive.