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RISE: It All Begins Here

A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting the first class of students to go through the Grindhouse Pro Wrestling Academy at The ArenA in Jeffersonville. This Saturday, the initial class invites you to come see their pro wrestling debut as Grindhouse Pro Wrestling Academy presents… RISE!

Trainers 2 Tuff Tony and Rudy Switchblade have poured their decades of knowledge and experience into the first class at Grindhouse. Now fans can get their first glimpse of the Buffet Brothers when they take on the Armada. They’ll also see Freddie Hudson vs. Toney Gunn, and a student versus trainer match when ZDP – Zach Dayton Pittman faces Rudy Switchblade himself!

Will this be the start of something new? Could the next ROH, NJPW, or WWE superstar be on the card Saturday? The students at Grindhouse are eager to convince you that anything is possible.

Show information is available on Facebook. For tickets, contact one of the students. Better hurry. They’ve hit the streets hard, and seats are going fast.

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Evolution Pro Wrestling Returns

Three years ago when I released Bluegrass Brawlers, Evolution Pro Wrestling was one of the first independent promotions to welcome me and allow me to promote my book at their show. Not only did they set me up with a table, they put me right next to Ricky Morton, who put me and the book over to everyone who came to visit him.

Three years later, it’s my pleasure to share the exciting news. Evolution is back!

Evolution Pro was one of the most exciting shows in town during their day, and if the card for their return show is any indication, it’s going to be just as exciting in 2017. Three stellar matches top the card, including a 3-way battle between young stars Corey Storm, Ace Perry, and Mickie Midas; a women’s battle between Brooke Valentine and the always devious Amazing Maria; and a stellar main event featuring Dale Patricks and long-time Louisville favorite, Jamin Olivencia in a first time ever match up!

Other announced matches include Casey Reeves vs Deonta Davis; Amazing Pooky vs Van Martigan; Matt Atreya vs Jay Matthews; and a three way tag bout pitting Nathen Edwards & Aaron Von Baron vs TJ Flexx & Ram Jam vs Lennox Norris & Omega.

Promoter Christian Skyfire used to say, “You never know who will show up at Evolution,” and he’s vowed that motto will ring true when they return to action at the ArenA in Jeffersonville. For show information, visit the official Facebook page.

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Pondo for President?

My local wrestling community is a house divided.

Some are fans of Kentuckiana Diehard Wrestling. They have had their issues lately, namely losing their booker and some of the veteran talent, but their fans remain fiercely loyal.

Some are fans of Underground Wrestling Alliance. They’ve had some issues as well, including a big blow up with their TV producer, but their talent and their fans remain steadfastly loyal.

There’s also the Furious Wrestling Society. They haven’t had any issues that I know of, but like the others, they have a galvanized fan base that loves what they do.

And then there’s IWA Mid-South. Ian Rotten just lost his building – again – because someone tried to shut him down – again. Folks, you’re never going to shut Ian down. He’s too stubborn, and he loves the business too much. He’s been kicked out of more buildings than the people trying to shut him down have worked. He will rise again, and his Kool-Aid drinking followers will be there.

Almost none of the above mentioned folks get along, especially in the consequence free realm of cyberspace. And yet for one night, members of all four promotions and their fans came together under one roof to see Girl Fight. They came. They supported the ladies. They coexisted, and no one got into a fight.

Mad Man Pondo is the man behind Girl Fight and the unlikely broker of one night of peace in Southern Indiana wrestling. If Pondo can bring peace to warring factions on a small scale, perhaps he could do the same for our country. Hillary, Donald, Bernie, Ted… no matter who your candidate is, they are only going to divide us further.

We need change.

We need unity.

Pondo for President, anyone?

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IWA Mid-South: A remarkable anniversary

 

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It’s not easy to run an independent promotion in the WWE era. Most promotions only last a few months at best, struggling to draw an audience and attract talent the fans want to see. Very few have been able to sustain any long term success. Louisville, Kentucky is truly unique because not one but two such promotions have thrived and survived since the mid 1990s.

Much has already been written about Ohio Valley Wrestling, the brainchild of Danny Davis that became (for a time) the developmental center for the WWE. But when Danny Davis was opening his doors at the Quadrangle in Jeffersonville, Ian Rotten was already building a cult-like following at IWA Mid-South.

In 1996 former ECW star Ian Rotten brought the hardcore style to Louisville, filling a void left in the hearts of fans when Memphis closed its doors. IWA Mid-South has always been known for violence and bloodshed, but over time, the promotion also developed a reputation for showcasing some of the brightest young stars in the business. The list of talent who worked for Ian reads like a Who’s Who of today’s indy and hardcore scene, as well as the current WWE roster. Even the current champion, Seth Rollins, once worked for IWA Mid-South.

When Ian ran into trouble with the Kentucky Athletic Commission, he had to move across the river to Indiana.  Changing buildings or cities is usually enough to put an end to a wrestling promotion, but the IWA Mid-South fans followed their favorite show across the river. IWA Mid-South has been in at least six different buildings since the printing of Bluegrass Brawlers, and no matter where they go, the fans followed.

I asked a few members of the IWA Mid-South family, what is it that makes IWA Mid-South so special? How in the world is a promotion that has faced so much adversity about to celebrate its 19th anniversary? Here, in their own words, are your answers.

Vic Filpot, Indy Power Rankings: Building a cult like following and having a boss that believes in his product as much as his fans do.

Aidan Blackhart, Wrestler: IWA is going strong in my opinion due to the hard work put out by its talent alongside a family mentality shared both in the locker room and the fans themselves.

Misty Duncan, Ticket Sales: I believe it has been around so long because of the mind of Ian Rotten. His eye for talent and ability to create his own stars is second to none. Over the years he has put together a lot of matches that no one else would ever have the eye to book. Let’s not forget that the revolving door of stars that this company has seen on it’s regular roster is incredible, and the friends Ian has made over the years has allowed him to bring in a lot of names that other Indies, especially in this area, just don’t have the power to do.

Shane Mercer, current IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion: Passion. If you come to a IWA show regardless if there is 10 ppl or 500. You always know the talent there puts it all on the line to be the best. One of those vibes that’s different you get than most locker rooms. Makes you wanna push that much harder.

If any word sums up the IWA Mid-South “universe,” it is the word passion. Ian Rotten is a passionate leader with an outstanding eye for talent and an instinct for giving the fans what they want. The fans of IWA Mid-South are passionate about wrestling and rabid about their favorite promotion. It doesn’t matter if it’s indoors, outdoors, down the street or hours away, they will be there to see their favorite show. That passion fuels the wrestlers who put their bodies on the line every night for their leader and their fans. They are all at IWA Mid-South in hopes that they too might one day follow in the footsteps of Seth Rollins, Chris Hero, and CM Punk.

Congratulations to Ian Rotten and the IWA Mid-South faithful as you celebrate 19 years of keeping independent wrestling alive.

Click here for details on the 19th anniversary show.

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Where the wrestlers ate

I had lunch at Clarksville Seafood today, and I’m telling you, it was the best fish I’ve ever eaten. I’ve only had the fish one other time, the first time I ate their back in 2013. Since then I’ve become a big fan of the clams and the oysters. Today I was in a fish mood, and it did not disappoint.

Why am I telling you this on a wrestling blog? Because this restaurant has history. Back in the 1970s and 80s, this is where the wrestlers ate. The stars of Memphis wrestling loved Clarksville Seafood, and many of them made it a Wednesday ritual. They worked Louisville Tuesday night, and they ate Clarksville Seafood for Wednesday lunch before driving to Evansville.

Jim Cornette still eats there. So does Kenny Bolin. It’s the only reason either of those Kentucky residents will cross the river into Indiana.

Clarksville Seafood is a Southern Indiana institution. It opened as the Cape Codder nearly 40 years ago. If you walk in the front door, you’ll see the original menu in a frame – just above a framed copy of the book cover for Bluegrass Brawlers. Yes, the restaurant is mentioned in the book. It’s one of the few landmarks from Louisville’s wrestling past you can still visit.

The decor hasn’t changed since the Cape Codder first opened, and yes, everything is deep fried – even the veggies recently added to the menu (the first additions since the place opened in the early 70s). If you like seafood, it’s worth a visit, and if you’re really lucky, you might just run into a legend.