Last December I was selling books at a local show during intermission. A shadowy, hooded figure approached the table and quietly asked to buy a few books. I looked up and recognized him as Eric Emanon, the man who had just been in the ring, inciting the anger of the locals and drawing heat with his tag team partner, Xavier Fate.
Eric is one of many wrestlers profiled in Eat Sleep Wrestle, a book that’s become a time capsule about the world of independent wrestling. Since it’s printing, all of the featured wrestlers have faced different challenges and found new opportunities. For Emanon, opportunity came in the form of a tag team known as the Indy Card Mafia.
Emanon’s partner is Xavier Fate, a 25 year old thrilled to be living his dream as a professional wrestler. Fate trained at Chikara Wrestle Factory, and he credits wrestling with saving his life.
“I was struggling with depression, a battle I still have, and came across an open tryout at the Wrestle Factory, a seminar hosted by Claudio Castagnoli (now WWE’s Cesaro). Even though I wasn’t selected to win a scholarship, it made me realize how much I loved professional wrestling. I scraped whatever money I had and went south to Philly.”
It was during a show in Buffalo, New York that Emanon and Fate discovered they had a lot in common. “We started talking and realized we had a lot in common with our goals and what we wanted to do with our lives and careers,” says Emanon. “Next thing you know, we got the opportunity to team up and we’ve been kicking people’s heads off ever since!”
“We Came As Bromans, before we were the Indy Card Mafia,” says Fate. “I’m actually really glad that never panned out.”
Emanon calls Fate his best friend, and that friendship has translated into a strong partnership in the ring. Indy Card Mafia can match any style in the ring. They fan fly through the air and they can work the mat. They try their hardest to avoid tag team cliches, and they are always improvising, trying to find new ways to electrify the crowd with their team work.
Both Fate and Emanon are in-demand as singles wrestlers, but the two know they have something special as a tag team. They are good friends, and they both have similar goals: to travel the world together, and to make a splash one day in the WWE.
“I want to work for the biggest wrestling promotion in the world, with some of the top talent in the world, on the biggest stage of them all,” says Emanon. “If that’s NOT your goal, why do you lace up your boots every weekend?”
Indy Card Mafia is certainly on the rise. They captured their first title, the OSPW Tag Team Championship, in August. Just last week they topped the Indy Power Rankings after being unranked the previous week.
Regardless how far up the ladder they go, both Fate and Emanon hope to make it together. “The Indy Card Mafia isn’t just a brand; it’s family. It’s something Eric and I have built. Something Eric and I have grown. It’s our baby, and we want to make sure that it grows in the best possible way. The only direction we’re looking is up.”