Prodigy Pro: Southern Indiana’s New Promotion is Packing Them Out The Door

There’s a new trend in wrestling promotions. More and more wrestling podcasters are trying their hands at running their own company. Righteous Jesse from the Kick Out at Two Podcast has had great success in Nashville with Southern Underground Pro, and now Southern Indiana’s Back Row Hecklers are having a very successful go at promoting as well.

Prodigy Pro is just three shows old, but they’re already outgrowing the space at the Arena in Jeffersonville. Due to some family commitments, I arrived at the show an hour late Friday night, and there was not a seat to be had. To say it was worth standing most of the show would be an understatement. I saw a half dozen of the ten matches on the card that night, and just about everyone of them was worth the price of admission alone.

Ace Austin and Gary Jay were first in the ring after the first intermission. The Stiff Robo Ginger and current Pro Wrestling Freedom champion Gary Jay is well known to indy lovers as a stand out performer, but Ace Austin, just two years into his budding wrestling career, more than held his own against the veteran. Jay got the victory, and fans got a thrilling match.

A fatal five way followed Jay and Austin featuring Ace Perry, Sage Cainan, Kaden Sade, Trey Miguel, and Zachary Wentz. I heard one fan near me say, “Spot Fest!” when the five competitors were announced, and that’s largely what we got. The action was fast and frantic, and everyone had their stand out moments. Miguel and Wentz, two of Dayton, Ohio’s finest, are big time stars on the rise, and I tweeted just after the match that they will be household names in very short order. Miguel already has a solid foot in the door with some big time promotions, and Wentz can’t be far behind.

After a singles match between fan favorite Mikey McFinnegan and Teddy King came a hard-hitting Texas Tornado match between the Rejects (John Wayne Murdock and Reed Bentley) and the Night Ryderz (Alex Colon and Dustin Rayz). The Rejects and the Night Ryderz are two highly underrated tag teams, and they put on a brutal brawl inside and outside the ring. Following a victory by the Night Ryderz, a match was set for the January show: a TLC match for the Game Changer Tag Team Championships held by the Night  Ryderz.

A second intermission gave fans a chance to catch their breath after the tag team battle, then it was back into action with Shane Strickland and Louisville favorite, Hy Zaya. This match started slow but built slowly into an absolute war between two very fast and hard-hitting competitors. Hy Zaya won after a suplex that looked ugly from the seats, and both Stickland and Hy Zaya were checked out by PPW staff and some of the other wrestlers, but both men were able to stand and walk out on their own power. It was clear that Hy Zaya and Strickland wanted to set the bar as high as possible for the main event to follow. They gave the fans a match to remember, and it’s likely their feud is only beginning.

The main event pitted New Japan star “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin against rising Midwestern heavyweight Daniel Eads. Eads has been a favorite of mine since I first saw him at D1W a few years ago. He’s a big, strong wrestler who has “the look” a certain major promotion likes to see in its big men, and the Superman resemblance is hard to miss in the “Man of Tomorrow.” At 250 pounds, Eads was a formidable foe for the 265 pound Elgin, showing off his power and his athleticism in a terrific fight. Eads also enjoyed the advantage of having savvy manager Josh Ashcroft at ringside, and Elgin often found himself facing two men at once. Elgin was not to be out-done of course, and both men put on feats of strength that left the fans cheering. In the end the veteran won the battle, but the challenger proved he can hang with one of the best in the world.

Prodigy Pro put on an impressive evening of entertainment. They seem to have found a good balance of established stars facing younger stars, and the promoters (who are big fans themselves) are booking dream matches that indy fans will truly enjoy. Word has it they take good care of the boys in the locker room, and that’s only going to make it easier for them to book bigger and better matches in the future. Their next show will be January 26th at the Flea Market in Memphis, Indiana – a larger space they’re sure to pack out as easily as they have the Arena. This is a promotion to watch and enjoy in 2018.

Can’t Spell WWE without I-N-D-Y

Dear WWE and NXT Fans:

I’d like to introduce you to a few people.

This is Aaron Williams, “The Baddest Man Alive.” Aaron had a great weekend because he just won the Pro Wrestling Blitz Heavyweight Champion.

These are my pals Eric Emanon and Thomas Brewington. They had a great weekend as well. They are now the New Phoenix Gemini Tag Team Champions.

And this is the King of Dayton and proud member of Ohio Is 4 Killers, Dave Crist. Dave had a great weekend too. He pinned John Wayne Murdoch clean to become the new IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion.

Why am I telling you about these gentlemen? Because I want you to know them. I want you to follow them. I want you to support them.

As a WWE fan, I know you are aware just how many independent wrestlers have become part of the world’s largest wrestling promotion. A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Cesaro all had stellar careers in the indies before making it to NXT and WWE. If you’re also following NXT, then you’re already following the rise of Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Cassius Ohno (aka Chris Hero), Ruby Riot (aka Heidi Lovelace) and the other indy “darlings” the WWE has snatched up recently.

I want you to know that the independent wrestling promotions that Gargano, Ciampa, Hero, Lovelace, and the others left behind are not dying off like the old territories the WWF killed in the 1980s. They are thriving. They are growing not only in popularity, but in quality. I want you to know this because I want you to become a fan.

Yes, it is true, the independent scene is full of green wrestlers, spot monkeys, and guys who only care about getting their s*** in, but there are many men and women and tag teams still working the independents who could easily fill any spot on the NXT or WWE roster right now.

Independent wrestling is growing. There are more promotions in more places than there have been in a generation. Your local promotion(s) may run monthly or weekly, which means you can see live wrestling far more often than you are now with the WWE.

True, the crowds and venues are smaller in the indies, but that also means tickets are more affordable, and your access to the wrestlers is greater. You’re closer to the action and at a much better price, and the heels can actually hear you when you call them names.

And here’s the best part: you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to meet your favorite stars. The T-shirts at the gimmick tables are half of what you’ll pay at a WWE show. Everyone is happy to shake your hand and take a selfie – except maybe Mr. Darius Carter.

I’m not telling you to give up the WWE. I enjoy the Network and NXT as much as any fan. But make no mistake: the WWE and NXT would not be what they are without the INDY scene that has come to be. I’m offering you the chance to see more live wrestling. I’m asking you to give guys like Aaron, Dave, Eric, and Thomas a chance. I want you to get out there and discover other guys like Matt Riddle, Ron Mathis, The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim, Desmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz, Gary Jay, Chip Day, Murder One, Timmy Lou Retton, Matt Cross, Michael Elgin, Menace, Facade, Jake Crist, Sami Callahan, and Jimmy Rave. I want you to discover the other ladies who fueled the “women’s revolution,” like Kelly Klein, LuFisto, Su Yung, Samantha Heights, Leva Bates (remember Blue Pants?), Mickie Knuckles, Rachel Ellering, Taeler Hendrix, Candice LeRae, Veda Scott, Mia Yim, Allisin Kay, Jessicka Havok, and Jordynne Grace. I want you to discover the amazing tag teams packing houses across the country including the Hooligans, Viking War Party, War Machine, OI4K, and the Carnies. You can even find comedy wrestlers, guys like Colt Cabana, Space Monkey, and the notorious party animal, Joey Ryan.

There’s never been a better time to get into independent wrestling than now. Search a few of these names on YouTube. Find and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Then find a promotion running in your area. I’m not asking you to trade one for the other. Just get out and support the superstars of tomorrow, today. They will not let you down.

Sincerely,

A converted, die-hard indy wrestling fan

The Stars of Glory Pro on Kick Out at Two

This week’s edition of the Kick Out at Two Podcast features not one but three guests. Kobe Durst, Ethan Page, and “Big Mike” Michael Elgin are in the house in a special Glory Pro Wrestling-themed episode.

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast every week on iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud.

Enjoy Every Moment

My friend Jason Saint loves to take photos. As a fan, he took photos with every wrestling personality he met. Now that he’s behind the curtain working as a manager, he still takes photos with everyone.

Some wrestlers think it’s too much of a “mark” thing to do, taking photos with guys in the locker room, especially the legends and veterans. Others (wisely I think) realize that those photos are memories worth taking.

No one is promised tomorrow, and no one is promised that when you part ways with someone, you will indeed see them again “down the road.”

The last two weeks have been a sobering reminder that the heroes of the past will not always be with us. Chavo, Sr., Nicole Bass, George “The Animal” Steele, and Ivan Koloff are just the latest to leave us forever. The road ends for everyone sooner or later. All the more reason to savor – and save – every moment we can.

Take some photos this weekend. Snap a photo with someone at their table. Take some in the locker room. Don’t be afraid to ask for those selfies. There’s no telling whether your paths will ever cross again.

Love and prayers to the families of Chavo, Nicole, George, and Ivan.

Michael Elgin on Kick Out at Two

koatFirst off… I know, I’ve been slacking. I posted once between the last KOAT podcast update and now. It’s a great article about New Origins Wrestling, if you haven’t seen it. But I haven’t posted anything else.

Truth be told, last weekend I met with a former WWF star who has an amazing story to tell. Won’t say more until it’s a signed deal, but it looks like I will be assisting with an amazing autobiography in 2017.

The gang at Kick Out at Two is never slacking, and this weekend, they are joined by Michael Elgin. Elgin is signed with New Japan and Ring of Honor and can be seen all over the indies. He’s one of the top names to know if you’re looking for something beyond WWE and proof that no matter how many names the WWE signs, the indies are only getting started in their revival.

You can download the Kick Out at Two Podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud!

Is Shane Goode Tough Enough?

December 11, 2014 BigAssXmasBash351

I attended my first real independent wrestling show in January of 2014. I was hooked from the opening match, and as fate would have it, the first man to enter that match is now one of the most viewed videos on WWE’s Tough Enough website. Shane Goode’s video has caught the eye of fans across the country and the WWE because of his intensity and ring presence. Midwestern fans who know him as “The Iron Demon” Shane Mercer have seen a star in him for a long time.

Goode was hooked from the age of two, when he saw Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior on a rented VHS tape. Years later, he did a search on Myspace and connected with Zodiak, a fellow Kentucky wrestler who invited him and a friend out to a barn where they held wrestling shows to learn some of the basics. “We did a lot of backyard high spot stuff and got a standing ovation, but it didn’t go over well with the boys. They told us we were killing the card.”

Goode credits Bull Pain and Todd Morton for teaching him psychology and how to properly work a match. “I almost got in a fight with Bull over going with the crowd and calling him old man. He hated it and threatened to beat my ass with a bat, but I didn’t back down. I think he understood I didn’t know any better. They took good care of me from there and took me under their wing.”

Goode is typically one of the main attractions on the card these days, but he remembers well how hard it was to break out of the lower card. “A lot of promoters don’t want to give you the chance, or they put you with someone green as Hell and want you to shine from it. One of the early matches that helped me was my debut at D1W against Simon Sezz. It was my first match in a unknown fed full of bigger names, and we tore it up. I got a ‘Please come back,’ chant and, ‘This is awesome.’ Goosebumps moment.”

Goode had similar goosebumps moment wrestling Jason Kincaid at Pro Wrestling Freedom. As a member of the IWA Mid-South roster, he points to matches against Michael Elgin and Hy Zaya as the ones that put him over with the fans. “Hy Zaya and I fought in a cage match that really helped me shift the tide with the fans. I was a heel at the time, and I garnered a lot of respect for the brutality we put on. Humbling and awesome experience with both men.”

So what does Goode hope the WWE sees when they look at his video? “I hope they see a talent that can be groomed, who is still hungry and willing to learn. I have the body strength associated with wrestlers much larger than me. I’ve always had a no nonsense approach in promos, but I can adapt to what’s needed. It would be interesting to expand out of my comfort zone on any level but especially WWE.”

Shane Goode has a great physique and the look of a rising star. He is quick and agile off the ropes, and his feats of strength reminds you of Cesaro. (The photo above shows Shane lifting John Wayne Murdock and Kongo Kong – more than 500 pounds – on his shoulders.) His matches never disappoint, and he leaves it all in ring every single night. What’s more, Goode is one of the good guys, a favorite with the fans as well as the locker room. I’ve never heard a cross word said about the man. The WWE would do well to give him a look, but even if they don’t, you can rest assured the Iron Demon will still be fighting and winning fans somewhere on the independent scene.

Click here to view Shane’s video and please share it!!!