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Faces to Watch the Second Half of 2017

2017 has been an amazing year in independent wrestling. Half way through the year, Billy Corgan has assumed control of the NWA, Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force has overtaken Impact, and NJPW has begun its conquest of America.

It’s been a spectacular year at all levels of independent wrestling. Here are a few names and faces you need to be watching as we enter the second half of the year.

NICK DEPP

Nick Depp began the year by winning The Prince of the Deathmatches – and promptly found himself on the sidelines nursing an injury. The temporary set back hasn’t slowed him down  a bit. “The Sports Entertainer” is expanding his territory and gaining new ground not only due to his in-ring work, but his skills on the mic. Depp cuts an amazing promo as a face but especially as a heel. His mouth is going to take him far.

ALEX DANIELS

“The Real Ben Affleck” is the talk of the independent wrestling podcasts, and with good reason. Take away the Ben Affleck gimmick, he is one of the brightest and most talented workers in the Midwest. One observer told me privately he thinks Daniels will be in Ring of Honor in just a few years. The Ohio native is expanding his territory as well, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets his big break.

MICKIE KNUCKLES

Mickie is no rookie. She’s been around for 17 years, breaking ground the WWE’s women are only now beginning to tread. Mickie has caught fire in 2017. She headlined a spectacular main event in Ft. Wayne covered in my blog back in April for Girl Fight. She and Randi West stirred controversy in Southern Indiana with a brutal falls count anywhere match. To top it all off, she just won the OVW Women’s Championship. This is Mickie’s year, and no one can stop her.

AMAZING MARIA

A Canadian transplant working out of Louisville, Kentucky, Amazing Maria is one of the most under-rated women in the women’s scene. Her skills in the ring are solid, and her character work as a heel improve with every outing. Whether she’s on her own, paired with Samantha Heights, or partnered with Horrorshow manager Jason Saint, Amazing Maria is a stand out on every show.

OI4K

I’ve been a fan of the Crist brothers, Dave and Jake, ever since they yanked the tag titles away from Aaron Williams and Ron Mathis at D1W a few years ago. Not only have they become regulars at IWA Mid-South, they’re making appearances for PWG in Los Angeles. Dave Crist has had an exceptional year, despite some injuries, having won the IWA Mid-South Championship and CZW’s Best of the Best 2017. A fellow wrestler told me he doesn’t think they’ll be exclusive to the Midwest for long. I couldn’t agree more.

INDY CARD MAFIA

The tag team of Thomas Brewington and Eric Emanon is starting to make deep inroads in the South and the Midwest. They put the southern territories on notice a few weeks ago when they invaded Atlanta’s AWE and shocked everyone by earning a victory over the red hot Carnies (another must see tag team, I might add). “Do we have your attention now?” Emanon asked on Facebook. Yes, sir, you do.

THE HITMAN FOR HIRE MR. GRIM

Mr. Grim is something special. His combination of speed, power, and high-flying make him a must-see attraction, but that’s not the reason you want to see this man live. You want to know what’s in the briefcase. You want to see what happens when the Hitman for Hire claims a victim. Grim is coming, and he’s headed your way sooner than you think.

KONGO KONG

Kong has already made the leap from indy darling to TV star, and his star’s about to get brighter. Kongo Kong was one of Jeff Jarrett’s early signees for Global Force Wrestling. Now, with GFW taking over and Jarrett firmly in control, there is no stopping the big man.

Please note: This is by no means a comprehensive list of the up and coming rising stars in independent wrestling. If you have a favorite you want to add to this list, please comment below. Let’s let the casual wrestling fans of the world know why they need to tune in to independent wrestling.

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Small Child Costs Mr. Grim Debut Match!

The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim was defeated, flat on his back in the middle of the Jeffersonville ArenA. As the theme music for the victorious Menace faded out, PWF fans jeered him with boos and insults.

“You lost!”

“You suck, Mr. Grim!”

Grim, a 260 pound 6′ powerhouse, took the criticism in stride. He ignored the harsh words as he slid out of the ring and rose to his feet, proud even in defeat. Taking a few seconds to get his bearings, he spotted the one person in the building he held responsible for his loss and made his way to the barrier wall in front of her. She was young, maybe eight years old. And she was responsible.

“This is your fault!!” he screamed at her, shouting in a tone that silenced the fans. “You did this! You’re responsible!”

The child didn’t know what to say. Shamed by the confrontation (and her own undeniable guilt), she hid in her mother’s side, crying.

“Look at me!” Grim shouted. “You did this! You’re the reason I lost!”

Now the fans were vocal again, defending an indefensible young woman who had just spoiled the Maryland-based indy star’s PWF debut. The boos were more intense now than they had been during the actual fight with fans taking the side of the guilty party rather than the wronged wrestler.

A well-meaning but horribly misguided face-painted wrestler named Joe Kerr came out to ringside to defend the little girl who was now in tears. It was a mistake he would regret. Unable to lay a hand on the one who had cost him dearly, Grim took his frustrations out Joe Kerr. After flattening Joe Kerr like a pancake, Grim reached for his metal briefcase and stunned the fans with what was inside.

“Is that a body bag?” said a woman near me.

It was indeed. Grim opened and spread the bag out beside Joe Kerr, still unconscious in the center of the ring. He rolled the young man onto the black plastic and sealed him inside with a zipper. A shower of fresh boos poured over Grim as he slid the loaded body bag off the ring apron and carried Joe Kerr to the back.

It wasn’t the grand debut Grim anticipated in his first Kentuckiana appearance, but as Grim made it clear, it wasn’t his fault. I’m sure the scolded young woman is filled with regret today for whatever she did to cost The Hitman for Hire his bout with Menace, and she’ll think twice about doing whatever the heck it was she did again!

I certainly hope PWF management will take steps to prevent any fan costing Mr. Grim a match again. As harsh as they were with Mickie Knuckles and Randi West after last month’s show, they need to do something! Otherwise it might be a fan leaving the ArenA in a body bag the next time Mr. Grim comes around.

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Is Menace Ready for Mr. Grim?

Pro Wrestling Freedom fans (and readers of Eat Sleep Wrestle) are well acquainted with the high flying masked wrestler Menace. The Tennessee star has made an impact at PWF shows over the last year, and he’s a favorite wherever he goes. I’ve known Menace online for a few years now, and I myself am looking forward to finally seeing him in person Friday night.

That said, I’m concerned I may not get the chance. Menace is up against one of the top rising stars in the business, The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim. Mr. Grim is a rare talent who combines a power game with high flying. Very few of his opponents leave the ring on their own power. Most disappear to the back in a body bag.

I asked Menace if he was ready for this week’s challenge, and he certainly sounds confident.

“This is a first time meeting between the two of us. I’ve studied video of Mr. Grim, and I think we were matched well for this fight. How hungry is he?? Menace is always hungry when stepping into a ring. Some may even say starving. Menace wrestles with a purpose. Mr. Grim and PWF will see come Friday night.”

Louisville area fans can get their first look at Mr. Grim when he faces Menace Friday night at the ArenA in Jeffersonville. This is a show not to be missed.

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Something GRIM is coming!

The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim has been making an impact everywhere he goes. Once the Northeast’s best kept secret, Mr. Grim has been making his way deeper into the US and Canada in the first four months of 2017. On Friday, June 9, Mr. Grim will make his first appearance ever in Indiana and his debut for Pro Wrestling Freedom in Jeffersonville!

Mr. Grim is the man who caught the eye of the Kick Out at Two gang during their first trip to New York. There were much bigger, more established names on the card the night they met Mr. Grim, but the young grappler made such an impact, Righteous Jesse and the gang shocked the promoter when they told him, “We want Grim!”

Mr. Grim is a dual threat: a big, strong style brawler who can also fly. He carries a briefcase to the ring that contains something ominous for his opponent. When the bell sounds and his opponent lies prone on the mat, Mr. Grim opens the case and pulls out a body bag. The victim gets zipped in the bag and carried out by the Hitman for Hire.

Mr. Grim is a consummate student of the game, always watching other wrestlers and learning from everyone he meets. “I spent eleven days in Canada with Chase Owens, ACH, the Beer City Brawler, and Tony Kozina,” he told me in a recent phone interview. “Those guys taught me a lot about ring psychology, selling, self-promotion.”

Mr. Grim has had some high profile battles recently with Lucha Underground star A.R. Fox and Joey Janela. “It was a clash in styles, working with Janela, but it really worked out great. He and A.R Fox are my two favorite matches to date.”

Mr. Grim has two title belts in his possession. He won the Nova Promotions Apex Championship in November and the GXW TV Championship in December. The rising star has already seen his June 9 opponent in person, but this will be a first time ever encounter when Mr. Grim faces off with PWF veteran Menace.

“We were in a battle royal once. I saw some of his stuff. I’ve seen a lot more since, watching film on the Internet. I’ll be more than ready for him.”

Mr. Grim is all over the Internet and social media, a fact that saved him some trouble during a recent police stop. As told on the Kick Out at Two Podcast, Grim was pulled over on suspicion of aiding and abetting a crime he had nothing to do with. The police stop might have ended after they checked his ID and registration, but the police asked him to open the trunk, where they discovered the briefcase and body bag.

“The police had their hands on their guns, asking me what this was all about. ‘Do you have a phone?’ I said. ‘Go to Google, type in Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim.'”

It was a tense few minutes, watching the cops looking at the smart phone, but Mr. Grim was finally able to relax when he heard one cop exclaim, “Holy s— he just put that guy in a body bag!”

Grim added two more fans to his Facebook page that day, and he invites you to join them. The best place to find him is on Facebook, but he is also on Twitter and Pro Wrestling Tees. Or just go to Google and type in The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim.

Mark you calendar for June 9. Mr. Grim is coming to PWF.

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You have to hear this story

The hosts of Kick Out at Two have a real fondness for Mr. Grim. You will, too, when you hear the story that he shares on this week’s podcast. It is, as they say on the show, the kind of story that can only happen to a wrestler.

Hear Mr. Grim early in the show, and stay for the interview with Joey Ryan.

 

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This week on Kick Out at Two

koatNo Men November is over, but the Kick Out at Two Podcast rolls on. This week, the gang catches up with a certain tag team from Jollyville. Individually they call themselves Nasty Russ and T Money, but together they are… well, let’s just say it’s not a WWE PG Era friendly moniker.

Righteous Jesse tells me that these two had a personal connection with a couple members of the KOAT crew. Should make for a fun listen, as always.

The Kick Out at Two Podcast is available on iTunes and Soundcloud, and as always, it’s free. If you’re new to the show, go back and check out some of the amazing interviews you’ve missed. Kelly Klein and Rachael Ellering are two recent must-hear guests, and I strongly recommend giving Mr. Grim the Hitman for Hire a listen as well.

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Kick Out at Two Episode 50

For nearly a year, the Kick Out at Two Podcast has traveled the US looking for the best independent wrestling. This week marks a milestone, their 50th episode, and they’ve dedicated this week’s show to doing questions and answers from their fans.

The Kick Out at Two Podcast is dedicated to covering independent wrestling, and over the last year, they’ve traveled as far north as New York, as far south as Florida, and as far west as Nebraska from their home base in Tennessee. They’ve also interviewed legends like Jimmy Rave and Chris Hero and up and comers like Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim and Cold Stone Tim Boston. They’re always happy to hear about new talent, new promotions, and new shows, and they are true supporters of today’s indy scene.

I had the privilege of hanging out with Jesse and Brittany last Friday night at PWF: The Primus in Jeffersonville. In addition to seeing a great show, I got to introduce them to Mad Man Pondo and take them out for donuts at a 24/7 shop we have called Jeff’s Bakery. It was great to catch up with them, and I can’t wait to meet up with them again down the road.

Congrats on 50 episodes, gang. Here’s to many more!

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast every Friday on iTunes or Soundcloud.

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A closer look at the Hitman for Hire

If you haven’t heard the Kick Out at Two interview with Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim, you missed a great one.

If you have heard the interview but haven’t seen him in action, you’re not getting the full picture.

This guy is worth a closer look. Please give the video below a watch, and then if you haven’t heard the interview, head to Soundcloud or iTunes and download it now.

Like I said last week, you’ll be able to say, “I remember the first time I heard of the Hitman for Hire!”

 

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Kick Out at Two Meets Mr. Grim

13613436_591763100997500_8907251465232439054_oThis may be one of those podcasts you’ll long remember as the time you first encountered your favorite new wrestler.

During their visit to Tier 1 Wrestling in New York, Righteous Jesse, Wilkman, and Britt discovered Mr. Grim. If you’re a KOAT subscriber, you heard them rave about him on the way home last week. This week, you get to meet the man himself.

This week’s episode also includes a brief visit with Ed from the Scenic City Invitational.

Download Kick Out at Two on iTunes or Soundcloud, then be sure to give the Hitman for Hire: Mr. Grim a like on Facebook.