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Can One Man Make a Difference to a Promotion?

I’ve never watched TNA.

I’ve never watched a single episode or pay-per-view. Matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve even watched a full match on TNA. Even on the Internet.

I didn’t watch when Jeff Jarrett was the top guy. I didn’t watch when they got Kurt Angle. I didn’t tune in for A.J. Styles or Samoa Joe.

Even after the recent buzz surrounding Matt Hardy and his Final Deletion (which I would like to see but have yet to watch), I wasn’t interested.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Aron Rex makes me want to watch TNA.

Whether he was Damien Sandow, or Damien Mizdow, or Davy Crockett, he was can’t-miss, must-see every time he showed up on WWE television. He’s a rare force who connects with the audience no matter what stupid gimmick he’s handed. He’s the super-rare performer who can make my wife look up and laugh when he’s on TV.

Aron Rex makes me want to watch TNA. That’s the difference one man – the right man – can make. Let’s hope the famously bad powers that be at TNA don’t botch this one up!

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Dillinger is a Dangerous Man

12933098_1025587454178766_7331987619498914413_nI first saw the man known as Drew Dillinger when he was training with Mitchell Huff under the watchful eye of Apollo Garvin. He was a big guy, and he didn’t have a trim, athletic physique, but even at that early state, he was surprisingly athletic. As he worked a match with Huff, I could see an intensity in his eyes, a determination to prove to himself and all watching that he belonged in the ring.

Time has proven that impression true. Dillinger came into his own as a member of Southern Indiana’s UWA promotion, and after a brief injury hiatus, he is now back with NWA Supreme. Dillinger is no longer a young man with something to prove. He’s a monster, a quick, agile, powerful wrestler with a hard-hitting style.

Being in the ring was a life-long dream for Dillinger, going back to the second grade. “I wanted to be on the stage. I wanted to suplex people like Angle and Benoit did. I wanted to chokeslam people like Kane. I wanted to be a larger than life character that was feared so much I was respected for it like Undertaker.”

After training with Apollo, Dillinger continued his schooling by attending seminars with Rhyno, Jerry Lynn, Tracy Smothers, Bill Dundee, and Tito Santana. Over time, he began to adopt a ring persona as dark as his heroes, Kane and the Undertaker.

“Drew Dillinger is literally just me, with no filter and the volume and intensity cranked to 11. There have been small tweaks to my presentation and in ring style every now and then to try and stay fresh and always have something new to bring to the table, but when I step through those ropes, I get to drop all of my professional and social filters and behaviors, and, hell I’ll admit it, drop my insecurities, and just be my self and actually have some fun.”

Dillinger’s career was sidetracked for a few months by an injury, but he learned some hard lessons while waiting to return. “I learned the cold hard truth that the show must go on. The business doesn’t owe anyone anything, and it waits for no one. I watched people I considered close friends fade away slowly but surely because I was no longer in the locker room. But it is nice that most of them bring truth to the saying that close friends are always there even if you don’t talk regularly. We don’t reach out often, but we’re there for each other, and as real as it gets with each other to this day.”

Dillinger has had a number of favorite matches with big names as well as the close friends who have come up with him. “I think the matches I remember enjoying the most while in the ring would be, my match with Rob Conway, a match with Kevin Lee Davidson, my last man standing match with Waffle, a bull rope match out in Madison, Indiana, and last but far from least, my knock out only, loser leaves town match with Matt Atreya. We made a huge statement that night.”

Dillinger cites the Undertaker as his dream match, a dream he admits will never likely see the light of day given where Taker is in his career. For now, he’s got his sights set on making a name for himself so he can one day work at Full Sail University. “My dream is to lock horns with the best of the best in NXT. I want to get to the cutting edge of wrestling today, and from where I’m sitting, NXT looks like the main big goal. The next few years look really bright for me, and I’m going to conquer every obstacle thrown at me.”

Dillinger can be found wrestling for NWA Supreme in Madison, Indiana weekly, and he will soon be on the roster with another Southern Indiana institution: IWA Mid-South. You can follow him on his Facebook page to learn more and contact him for bookings.

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The Impeccable Keita Murray

12963468_10209152865241000_6206361431596577154_nAs the independent wrestling scene continues its resurgence, young men and women are finding more and more opportunities to test their mettle in the ring. Everyone of them dreams of breaking out as a national star, whether it be through the WWE and NXT or just their own perseverance. Recently, the Indy Card Mafia brought one such wrestler to my attention. He’s young, he’s hungry, and he’s shown he has the drive to become a star.

Keita Murray is a native of Brooklyn, New York. Like most wrestlers, he grew up a fan, following the exploits of The Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, and Matt Hardy. At an early age, he and his friends were creating their own wrestling rings and title belts and practicing for their future glory. “My friends and I would wrestle each other and act like different WWE Superstars. We would get cardboard boxes, crayons, aluminum foil and make belts out of them.”

Keita’s passion for the business galvanized when he met his tag partner, Kit Cassidy. “We met in high school and funny story, we didn’t like each other at first. Then we found out that we shared a common interest of wrestling. I was a senior in high school he was a junior, and ever since then we have been best friends.

After giving college a chance, Keita enrolled at Back Breaker’s Training Center in Scranton, PA. “It’s such a great school to learn from. You learn a lot and you have a lot of opportunities there.”

Kit enrolled at Back Breakers with his best friend, and the two graduated together. Their first official match was a one on one affair between the two, but they have since united as a tag team known as The Impeccables. They currently hold two tag titles for Phoenix Pro Wrestling and Pennsylvania Premier Wrestling, and Murray recently won the Spotlight Championship at The Sanctuary Stunt Studio.

Keita has only been in the business a few years, but he’s had a number of memorable matches. He cites the Cash Masters as favorite tag opponents, along with fellow Back Breaker wrestlers Dante Dio and Jacoby Riddick. His favorite singles opponents thus far include Stevie Shields, Marq Queen, and Kyle Brad, whom he faced at WOH Wrestling. “I want to say the Kyle Brad match was my best because I had about eleven matches under my belt at the time and it was my second time being heel. It just seemed like everything fell in place for that match, and that’s the match that elevated my confidence in the ring.”

Keita work mostly in Pennsylvania, doing appearances for GSW Wrestling in Moosic, PA; PPW Wrestling and The Sanctuary Stunt Studio in Hazleton, PA; T.R.U.E. Wrestling in Berwick, PA; Pheonix Pro Wrestling in Altoona, PA; and Back Breakers Training Center in Scranton. His success in those markets, coupled with connections made at various shows, have afforded him a chance to travel to illinois in May. In June, he’ll make his debut for Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, thanks to a partnership between GFW and Back Breakers. Like most young stars, he has aspirations of climbing even higher.

“In five to ten years. I either hope to be in WWE or NXT. If I don’t make it that far, I want to be one of those independent guys whom everyone knows not from WWE or TNA but because of my hard work. I would also love to have said by that time that I traveled different countries to wrestle. I really would love to go overseas and learn the different art forms of wrestling all over the world.”

You can follow Keita on Facebook or on Twitter.