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

Will Ron Mathis be Deleted??

I used to be a fan of Gary Damron.  Right now… I’m not so sure.

Damron is the boss at ASW, a phenomenal promotion running out of West Virginia featuring some of the best stars in independent wrestling. One of the ASW regulars is Ron Mathis, whom I featured in Eat Sleep Wrestle. Ron was one of the four men in the match I credit with helping me fall in love with independent wrestling. No one eats, sleeps, breathes, and lives professional wrestling with as much gusto as Ron. Humble and friendly outside the ring, he is a killing machine inside, a high impact, show-stealing performer who was always a must-see when he worked for D1W here in my hometown.

Ron is currently a tag team champion at ASW along with his partner, Rocky Rage. Ron has never backed down from any challenger, anywhere. But Damron has done a terrible, terrible thing to these rising young stars.

He’s booked them against the Broken Hardys.

When I found out that Ron and Rocky were not only facing the potential loss of their belts but DELETION, I contacted Gary and asked him what in the world he was thinking. “Well I had Matt Hardy booked from the beginning, and now the Hardy’s are wanting to prove that they are the best tag team in all time history and space. Matt called and asked if Jeff could come along. They want to challenge whomever the ASW Tag Team Champions were.

Booking the Hardy Boyz together on an independent show is a tempting lure for any promoter, and it is the opportunity of a lifetime for Ron Mathis and Rocky Rage. Not only are they facing a legendary tag team in Matt and Jeff Hardy, the match will be filmed for broadcast on Impact Wrestling!

Even so… Is it worth the chance that Ron Mathis and Rocky Rage will be DELETED?

“The Hardy’s will have a lot to prove in Madison,” said Damron. “Rocky Rage and Ron Mathis are our top two wrestlers, and the fans in Madison really get behind them. Rocky and Ron are definitely not someone The Broken Hardy’s are gonna have a easy night with. They will surely have a fight on their hands if they want to prove they are the top tag team in ASW.”

Damron talks a good line, but I’m sure I’m not the only fan afraid for the future of Ron Mathis or Rocky Rage.

Fans in the region can see Ron Mathis and Rocky Rage put their titles on the line against the Broken Hardys Friday night, January 27, at the Madison Civic Center in Madison, WV.

Tickets for the event are only $12. As I said in my Friday post, you can buy a ticket and a couple souvenirs at this show for LESS than you can get a cheap seat at a WWE show. This is the perfect opportunity to give independent wrestling a chance!

For more information visit the event page on Facebook.

Kyle Maverick: Rockstar on the Rise

Dayton, Ohio has one of the hottest independent wrestling scenes today. The crew at Rockstar Pro Wrestling run six or seven shows a month, and just as iron sharpens iron, the talented workers at Rockstar keep making one another better.

Kyle Maverick is a main stay at Rockstar Pro, a deep roster that includes DJ Hyde, Sami Callihan, Ron Mathis, Aaron Williams, and the Crist brothers. Billed from Lexington, Kentucky, Maverick grew up idolizing Bret Hart, Koko B. Ware, Jushin Lyger, Randy Savage, and Lance Storm. He began his professional wrestling training with Chris Hero. He later trained with DJ Hyde, Drew Gulak, and Sami Callihan at the CZW Dojo and currently works out with Dave Crist at Rockstar Pro. Maverick was also a successful MMA fighter with a 9-2 record and holds a black belt in Kyokushin Karate.

Maverick counts Sami Callihan, Davey Richards, ACH, Tracy Smothers, Matt Tremont, Dave and Jake Crist as some of his favorite opponents. He’s also proud of the fact that he was once hit by Al Snow with Head. His reputation in the ring has opened many doors for him, but its his character outside the ring that stands out most to one of his bosses.

“Kyle Maverick and I are brothers,” says Rick Brady, who runs D1W in Southern Indiana. “We rode many hours on the road together, and he is one of the few people I trust in this business. He worked his ass off to get D1W on it’s feet. He helped me make a lot of connections to a ton of talent and I am grateful to him for that.”

Maverick only has one title belt win to his credit, the Rockstar Pro Luchacore championship, but it’s only a matter of time before this talented singles and tag competitor adds to that list. “I think the sky is the limit, as long as he continues to work hard and listen to them Ohio guys. They seem to know what they are doing. I love him and wish nothing but the best for him.”

Indy wrestling cans can find Kyle on Facebook, on Twitter @thekylemaverick and on Instagram @thekylemaverick.

Just got back from a Girl Fight

If you are in the Midwest and you haven’t seen a Girl Fight show, you’re missing out.

Tonight’s show at The Arena in Jeff played to a packed crowd of 165 plus. It was standing room only in the back, and the crowd got their money’s worth and more.

The Jeff show featured 19 wrestlers from across the US and Canada, and the ladies brought it. Crazy Mary Dobson and Cheerleader Melissa put on an intense, stellar match while Taeler Hendrix and Truth Martini earned the ire of the crowd with a delightful heel performance in the main event.

The biggest surprise of the night had to be the weapons match between Heather Owens and Samantha Heights. It felt like a mismatch to me at first; I’ve seen Samantha Heights on a number of occasions, and while she’s always been a big talker, she didn’t strike me as the hardcore type. Heights proved she belongs by taking an end-over-end stunner from Heather Owens. She’s come a long way in the past few years, and from the crowd reaction, tonight felt like a star-making moment for her.

Mad Man Pondo took to the ring at intermission to announce the April 12 show will be a first ever in Louisville inter-gender show, Gender Wars, and the card for that show could not be more stellar:

Randi West vs. John Wayne Murdoch

Samantha Heights vs. Ron Mathis

Thunderkitty vs. Tracy Smothers

Crazy Mary Dobson vs. Aaron Williams

Heidi Lovelace vs. Shane Mercer

And your main event…

Mad Man Pondo vs. Jessica Havok – falls count anywhere.

Inter-gender wrestling isn’t for everyone. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan. But Pondo’s put together a promising, entertaining card featuring a number of my personal favorites. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next show is even more crowded than tonight.

Bravo, Pondo, and bravo, ladies.

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Destination One Returns

12308014_10156216901625109_6379182395869070200_oBy all accounts, The Rick’s had a rough year. He was forced to temporarily change the name of his promotion. Financial troubles forced him to go on hiatus. Then he and his family lost everything when their home was flooded.

But all is not lost for The Rick. His friends came together to do a benefit show, and his beloved Duke Blue Devils won the national title. The Rick knows he’s been blessed, and this Christmas, he’s bringing the gang back to do a little giving themselves.

Destination One Wrestling returns from hiatus Friday night at The Arena in Jeffersonville. D1W was known for bringing a fast paced show featuring some of the best indie stars from across the country, and this weekend will be no different.

D1W Champion Ron Mathis, who has spent the year collecting title belts, will be in action defending his title against Cassius Cutcher.

The Madness of Trip returns from New York to take on Rockstar Pro’s Kyle Maverick.

Trip’s partners in mayhem, Eric Emanon and Thomas Brewington of the Indy Card Mafia will be in triple threat tag team action against the Hoosier Daddies and Detroit Versus Everybody.

D1W favorite Lennox Norris faces Mitch Johnson, one of the hottest heels you’ll ever hear on the mic.

More matches still to be announced!

Christmas is only a few weeks away, so The Rick made Friday’s show a Toys for Tots benefit. Bring a toy to donate, and take $5 off the price of admission. Simple as that. It’s a great way to do some good and enjoy a night of terrific wrestling this Friday night.

KDW now streaming on Roku

Indie wrestling fans, you now have three local promotions producing television shows.

Kentuckiana Diehard Wrestling has made several big moves in recent weeks. KDW moved their weekly show from the Flea Market in Memphis, Indiana to the Arena in downtown Jeffersonville. Now, KDW is available to watch not only on Youtube, but the Indie Wrestling Channel on Roku. KDW features a seasoned group of veterans, many of whom will be familiar to long time OVW fans, as well as up and comers like Austin Bradley, who was featured in Eat Sleep Wrestle.

New Albany’s own UWA is already available on the Roku channel as well as Youtube. And lest we forget, Ohio Valley Wrestling holds the distinction of being the longest running weekly wrestling program in the country outside of Monday Night Raw.

D1W fans will also be interested to know that Rockstar Pro is available on the Indie Wrestling Channel, featuring Aaron Williams, Ron Mathis, Kyle Maverick, and the Crist brothers. You can also watch central Indiana promotion Emerge on the Roku channel.

And unlike the WWE Network and other major wrestling channels, the Indie Wrestling Channel is completely free. You can’t ask for an easier way to support indie wrestling.

Why you should read Eat Sleep Wrestle

esw coverMany wrestling fans are enjoying the indy invasion that has quietly taken over the WWE. They reveled in the triumphs of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. They’re loving the incredible matches put on by Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, and Luke Harper, just to name a few. “Finally,” they say, “Finally, the indies are taking over the WWE.”

Let’s be honest: most of those fans, even the most ardent, were not watching the indies when CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Kevin Steen, Tyler Black, Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Brodie Lee were working the warehouses, the high school gyms, and the roller rinks that have become today’s indy wrestling arenas. Most of those fans would be hard pressed to even match the WWE names with the indie names.

That’s a shame, because even with so much talent in the WWE, there’s still more where it came from in the indies. There are names people know or have heard of like Colt Cabana, Chris Hero, and Adam Cole. There are veterans like Sabu, Tracy Smothers, Apollo, LuFisto, and Mad Man Pondo. And there are plenty more they need to hear: Jamin Olivencia, Aaron Williams, Crazy Mary Dobson, the Lovely Lylah, Ron Mathis, Marc Hauss, Eric Emanon, Hy Zaya, and Tyson Dux.

Eat Sleep Wrestle is an introduction to today’s indie wrestling world. It’s a look at the lives of those who truly eat, sleep, and breathe the business. From those just starting out to those working multiple jobs to those who live from show to show, it’s the story of the men and women keeping indie wrestling alive.

I’ve just dropped the price on the book to $9.99. Kindle readers can get it for $3.99. If you’re enjoying what you see on WWE but have never bothered to check out what’s happening on the indie scene near you, this is the kick in the pants you need. Not only that, it’s the kick in the pants every dreamer needs. These stories will do more than make you a fan. They will inspire you to pursue your own dreams.

Get Eat Sleep Wrestle now on Amazon.com!

Eat Sleep Wrestle on sale for Kindle!

esw coverIf you missed it this past week, Jeff Jarrett finally began dropping names. He’s starting to build the roster for the long awaited debut of Global Force Wrestling, and he’s assembled a promising list of talent. Legends like Scott Hall, Hacksaw Jim Duggin, and my friend Jim Cornette; former WWE stars like Doc Gallows (Festus), PJ Black (Justin Gabriel), and Cliff Compton (Domino); and hot rising stars like the Young Bucks and guy featured on the cover of Eat Sleep Wrestle, Jamin Olivencia.

OVW fans have known for years that Jamin was a star. Now that he’s part of Global Force, I know we’re all hoping that he gets the national and international recognition he deserves.

In honor of Jamin’s selection, Eat Sleep Wrestle will be on sale for Kindle only this week for the price of $2.99. That’s $11 off the retail cover price for the paperback.

Eat Sleep Wrestle profiles Olivencia, Crazy Mary Dobson, Mad Man Pondo, Aaron Williams, Ron Mathis, Zodiak, Hy Zaya, LuFisto, The Lovely Lylah, DJ Hyde, and other stars of the independent wrestling circuit. It’s a great introduction to the world of wrestling beyond the WWE and a chance to get to know some rising stars before they really make it big.

The price is only good through Memorial Day weekend. Download it now, and please share with your friends. If you’re already an indy fan, or if you’re just curious what the indies are like, you’re going to love this book.

LUDUS: The Generation After Next Begins Here

If you want to see the next generation of WWE Superstars, watch NXT. If you want to see the next NXT stars, you have to go to the indies. And if you want to see the next generation of indie stars, Rockstar Pro wants you to come check out LUDUS.

Rockstar Pro has arguably the best roster in the Midwest and one of the best in the country. I’ve seen a number of their top stars in action at D1W/PDW in New Albany: Ron Mathis, Aaron Williams, Dave Crist, Kyle Maverick, Jerrod Harris, Alex Colon, DJ Hyde, Samantha Heights. The names may be new to you, but once you’ve seen them, they are can’t miss stars who consistently put on the match of the night wherever they perform.

Established in 2009, Rockstar Pro offers weekly television and monthly pay-per-views. They also offer an outstanding training program that has given rise to a Ludus – a new series of events geared towards showcasing the aspiring Rockstar wrestlers of tomorrow.

Ludus, according to Rockstar Pro’s website, “is an ancient Roman term for a school to train gladiators for combat. At Rockstar Pro’s Ludus, up & coming young talent will get a chance to prove themselves to the Rockstar Nation! YOU, the Rockstar Nation, will decide their fate! All new faces who want a shot at becoming a Rockstar must enter the Ludus!”

The next Ludus show is this Friday night in Dayton and features an outstanding line up of young talent mixed with some of Rockstar Pro’s best including Ace Perry, Lennox Norris, Kyle Maverick, and Samantha Heights. For details on Ludus, Rockstar Pro television and pay-per-view, and their training program, visit their website, www.rockstarprowrestling.com

Eat Sleep Wrestle – Four months later

cropped-esw-cover.jpgWhen I was writing Eat Sleep Wrestle, I knew I was creating a time capsule. What’s written in the pages of that book is a moment of time, now past, depicting the lives of a number of modern day independent wrestlers. No sooner was the book released, the lives and careers of the men and women profiled inside began to change. Since Eat Sleep Wrestle was printed:

Evolution Pro Wrestling closed its doors.

Destination One Wrestling changed its name to Premiere Destination Wrestling.

Jamin Olivencia left OVW.

Michael Hayes left OVW and seems to have retired.

Marc Hauss was laid up after surgery. (Get well, sir!)

Colt Cabana blew up the internet and got sued along with his pal CM Punk.

LuFisto’s Yoda-like wisdom on hardcore wrestling went viral.

Madman Pondo and Crazy Mary Dobson became the Juggalo Championship Wrestling tag team champions, the first intergender champions in the promotion’s history.

Ron Mathis managed to accumulate four title belts at once.

Mitchell Huff became Cage Mitchell.

Crazy Mary Dobson got a speaking role on Raw. “You are chips!”

Mad Man Pondo finally appeared on Raw as a Rosebud. Arriba!

Crazy Mary, Lylah Lodge, and Cage Mitchell also appeared as Rosebuds. Crazy Mary’s become a regular, in fact.

At least four wrestlers – Crazy Mary, Lylah, Aaron Williams, and LuFisto – applied for the next season of WWE’s Tough Enough.

The Crist brothers co-headlined CZW’s anniversary show with the Young Bucks.

CHIKARA crowned Heidi Lovelace winner of the Young Lions Cup, the first woman to achieve that honor.

If you’re scratching your head wondering who these people are, grab a copy of Eat Sleep Wrestle to get up to speed. Then get out to an independent wrestling show to see what you’re missing.