Best of 2016 with Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams calls himself the Baddest Man Alive, and he backs it up every night in the ring. He had a banner year in 2016 that saw him expand into new territories and even make an extra appearance on TNA. He has a shot at the IWA Mid-South Championship this week in Clarksville Indiana, and with the new vacancies atop the indy ranks (thanks to continued signings by the WWE), he’s one to watch in 2017. Here’s Aaron’s pick for one of his favorite matches in 2016:

“One thing I wanted for sure in 2016 (among a lot. But this one I got) was a match with Sami Callihan. Sami is a world class competitor, and he is truly one of the best in the world. Testing myself against him was something I needed just for me, I think. Sami and I have grown in the business together and although our careers have taken different paths. I’ve always believed I could hang with not only him but the best wrestlers in the world. This match was special to me. Even more so after Sami spoke after the match. The match may have gone different then how I wanted, but I proved something to myself that I hope people will see in the coming year. I’m far from done killing it, and the #PlanetWilliamsTakeover has just begun!”

OVW Celebrates 900 Episodes

ovw_logoTuesday night, the WWE will mark the 900th episode of Smackdown. Wednesday, Ohio Valley Wrestling will equal that mark with their 900th episode – the first ever broadcast in HD.

OVW has come a long way. Founded by Danny Davis as the Nightmare Wrestling Academy in Jeffersonville, OVW broke into the national wrestling consciousness when they were made the official training school for the WWE. When the fabled first class of OVW made its way to the main roster, wrestlers across the country began flocking to Louisville, knowing that OVW represented their best chance to make it to the big time.

The WWE banners are long gone, and the brief stint with TNA is now ancient history as well. Yet OVW today is as strong as ever, with a new generation taking the reigns in the ring as well as backstage.

It’s one thing for a multi-million dollar promotion to make it to 900 shows. It’s quite another for an independent promotion to reach the same milestone. It’s a tribute to the talent of the teachers, the quality of the program’s graduates, and the devotion of the OVW fans.

Congratulations goes to Danny Davis, Rip Rogers, Gilbert Corsey, Adam Revolver, Dean Hill, and everyone at OVW keeping the proud tradition alive. OVW is still one of the best places to learn your craft from master teachers. Their commitment to new technology is a signal that this small town promotion has hundreds more television programs in its future.

Primus Primer: The Baddest Man Alive

14051698_1143659579045927_8665944391328206031_nLast week word broke that Crazy Mary Dobson, the cover girl on Eat Sleep Wrestle, has signed with the WWE. She might not be the only wrestler from that book cover headed to a major promotion.

Eagle-eyed fans, especially those from Ohio, may have recognized a certain security team member on TNA recently. Aaron Williams, the Baddest Man Alive, not only got some TV time, he got a dark match at the recently revamped promotion and left a good impression with the new management.

“Things at Impact went well,” he says. “Got a lot of good feed back! Everyone I met was very polite and I expect be go back in the future.”

After his injury hiatus in 2015, Williams has been on a tear. He won the Rockstar Pro Championship for the third time. He’s faced several dream opponents, including Sami Calihan, Raymond Rowe, Ricky Shane Page, Al Snow, and Ken Anderson. And he is especially proud to now be a full-fledged member of the Midwest’s most dangerous faction: Ohio is 4 Killers.

Williams is facing Jason “The Gift” Kincaid in the first round of the Primus tournament, and Williams can’t wait to step in the ring with the Ring of Honor star. “I do pretty well in tournaments, and I thrive in that kind of thing. I also don’t really feel like I’ve shown the fans of Pro Wrestling Freedom what I’m capable of, but winning the PWF championship will take care of that for me. As far as Jason Kincaid goes I’m very excited to go one on one with him! It’s kinda a ‘gift’ from PWF to me cause once I beat him in my mind I’ve already won this tournament. Kincaid is as good as it gets once I beat him it’s smooth sailing.”

Will OI4K claim another title? Find out on September 9 in Jeffersonville when Pro Wrestling Freedom presents The Primus.

For ticket and event information, visit the event page on Facebook.

Read more about Aaron Williams, fellow Primus competitor Hy Zaya, and Crazy Mary Dobson in Eat Sleep Wrestle by John Cosper.

While You Were Complaining…

While you were complaining about Sasha Banks losing her title so soon, Marc Hauss was standing up for the women’s wrestling revolution in the indies.

While you were complaining that your favorite guys never get pushed because “politics,” a your other favorite guys – Aron Rex/Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, and The Big Guy/Ryback – began their takeover of the indies.

While you were complaining about about the promotion that you routinely pay $9.99 a month to watch, CZW, High Spots, CHIKARA, Rockstar Pro, and others have tried to offer you alternatives – some for less, some for free!

While you were complaining about an ugly title belt, Matt Hardy was busy blowing up the Internet by deleting his own brother.

And lest we forget, you could have been enjoying an independent show where a ticket and a T-shirt costs less than an upper level ticket you complained about buying for the so-called “only” promotion left.

It almost makes you wonder: do the people who complain incessantly about title belts and ticket prices more in love with wrestling or whining?

If you answered wrestling, prove it. Stop complaining and take action. Put your money where your mouth is.

I’m not telling you to cancel your $9.99 subscription. As good as NXT and the CWC have been, you’d be a fool to back out now. But I am telling you to go see a local show, or subscribe to a second network, or look around Youtube and discover what’s out there to watch for free. If even a fraction of the whiners would invest just a few dollars a month in independent wrestling, we might really change the landscape of pro wrestling today.

Support what you love. Stop complaining about what you hate. Prove that you’re a fan and not just a whiner. Let’s pour some fuel on the fire if this indy revolution.

Can One Man Make a Difference to a Promotion?

I’ve never watched TNA.

I’ve never watched a single episode or pay-per-view. Matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve even watched a full match on TNA. Even on the Internet.

I didn’t watch when Jeff Jarrett was the top guy. I didn’t watch when they got Kurt Angle. I didn’t tune in for A.J. Styles or Samoa Joe.

Even after the recent buzz surrounding Matt Hardy and his Final Deletion (which I would like to see but have yet to watch), I wasn’t interested.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Aron Rex makes me want to watch TNA.

Whether he was Damien Sandow, or Damien Mizdow, or Davy Crockett, he was can’t-miss, must-see every time he showed up on WWE television. He’s a rare force who connects with the audience no matter what stupid gimmick he’s handed. He’s the super-rare performer who can make my wife look up and laugh when he’s on TV.

Aron Rex makes me want to watch TNA. That’s the difference one man – the right man – can make. Let’s hope the famously bad powers that be at TNA don’t botch this one up!

Two Guests on this week’s Kick Out At Two Podcast

Righteous Jesse, Wilkman, and Britt are getting ready for next weekend’s Scenic City Invitational in Chattanooga, and this week’s episode will get you ready with two featured guests.

Ace Rockwell is a 6′ native of North Carolina. The 13 year veteran is a regular for Empire Wrestling but has traveled all over the country.

Jimmy Rave is the current GWC Champion with Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment. Trained by Murder One, Rave has worked for TNA and Ring of Honor and is currently signed with Global Force. He’s a favorite of the KOAT crew, and both he and Rockwell are entered in the 16-man Scenic City tournament August 5-6.

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud, then click over to Facebook to learn more about the Scenic City Invitational.

Big show this week on Kick Out at Two

Freedom Pro Wrestling has a big show coming up, and listeners to the Kick Out at Two Podcast are reaping all the benefits!

This week on Kick Out at Two, you get not one but TWO huge names: TNA’s James Storm and ECW legend, the Blue Meanie!

This special episode is being released a day early, and if you’re in the Nashville area, you can see both of these stars and more Saturday night at Freedom Pro Wrestling.

Scroll down to see James Storm win the TNA Championship and behold the top ten moves of the Blue Meanie, then head on over to iTunes or Soundcloud and download Kick Out at Two!

A new day for Kentucky wrestling?

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin surprised the wrestling world yesterday when he announced the creation of a new governing body dedicated to expanding fight sports in the Commonwealth. The Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority (KBWA) will oversee boxing, wrestling, MMA, and other full-contact sports. The new website for the KBWA states the group’s purpose as follows:

“Our mission is to encourage the growth of professional boxing and wrestling in the Commonwealth, while protecting participants and spectators of the sports. We strive to improve the sports by thoughtful, reasonable and fair regulation and monitoring.”

Early reaction to the announcement was largely positive. One of the stated goals of the KBWA is to attract major wrestling events – i.e. WWE – back to Kentucky. WWE has not held a Raw taping in Louisville since 2010, and the last WWE pay-per-view held in Louisville was Judgement Day in 2000.

While the possibility of attracting a major WWE show is exciting, many are wondering what impact this new commission will have on independent wrestling. It’s no secret that Kentucky is one of the most restrictive states in the nation when it comes to regulating wrestling. Kentucky is one of the few states that governs wrestling as a legitimate sport, and the red tape involved with promoting and wrestling in Kentucky is staggering.

“The hardest challenge in getting licensed in Kentucky isn’t finding a venue,” says Rick Brady, owner of D1W. “It was putting up a $5000 bond to throw a show. Since I had insurance, I was never sure why was the bond necessary. Second, I had to fill out an application and wait for them to decide to even give me a hearing to get a license. Third, I had to go to the hearing, and even if I posted the $5000 bond, I was still not guaranteed they would approve me for a license.”

The Kentucky Athletic Commission is notoriously stingy about handing out licenses to promoters. Brady contends that the Commission will not allow two promotions to run in the same territory, much like the old days of the NWA, and no one is allowed to move in and compete with the licensed promoters.

Kentucky regulations are equally cumbersome for the wrestlers, and anyone who wants to work in the business. Anyone who steps on the other side of the barrier wall from the fans – wrestlers, managers, valets, ring announcers, time keepers, and more – is required to have a license, and everyone who has a license is required to pass a physical and be subject to random drug testing.

“There’s nothing random about the drug testing,” says Brady. “[The Athletic Commission] intrude in the locker room and disrupt the show by having guys randomly pee tested. There are no restrictions on this. They can test you 2 or 3 times a week, and they are very biased on who they select. One wrestler, who I will not name, refuses to wrestle in Kentucky because of the harassment he was receiving from the Athletic Commission. After being suspended in 2013, he cleaned up his life and was drug free to my knowledge. When he returned to Kentucky in 2015, he went through the application process and was granted a license. Then at every show he wrestled, he was forced to take a drug test. After doing this five weeks in a row, and passing every time, he never returned to Kentucky.”

If you’re curious why WWE, TNA, and other promotions generally give Kentucky a pass, it’s because these regulations and more (including one that states a match must stop immediately if there’s any blood) apply to every wrestling show in Kentucky.

“I think Louisville and Lexington are gonna push for relaxed rules on wrestling to get bigger events,” says PWF’s Jimmy Feltcher. “At the end of the day, money talks, and so will it be in this case.”

The new KBWA will likely cut away some of the red tape in order to incentivize the WWE to bring a major event to Louisville or Lexington, but the question remains: will the independent wrestlers and promoters see any relief? Wrestlers I’ve spoken to are largely optimistic, but the promoters remain skeptical.

“I’m curious to see committee treats the little guys because it seems like a play to bring WWE back to the city,” says UWA’s Eddie Allen. “WWE and TNA both left OVW as a development area. Plus Louisville Gardens becomes instantly attractive to a bigger fish group of people if red tape on events is cleared.”

“If Bevin wants to change it, change it,” says Brady. “Gut the current commission and let the new guys have a fresh opportunity to revitalize wrestling.”

It’s worth noting that the promoters I spoke with all run or have run promotions in Southern Indiana, immediately across the river from Louisville. At the present time, there are more than half a dozen promotions running in the Louisville area north of the river, including PWF, UWA, KDW, and one time Kentucky promotion IWA Mid-South. Odds are one or more of these groups would happily move South into Kentucky. We might even see wrestling return to the Gardens, if the stars align for the right investor and the right promoter.

It all depends on how the KBWA does it’s job. At the very least we may soon see some major WWE events come to town, bringing the money and visitors the governor hopes to attract. At best the KBWA has the opportunity to bring Kentucky into the 21st century, positioning wrestlers in the Commonwealth to join the independent wrestling revolution already sweeping the country.

Wrestlers Unite for Good

Donovan Dijak of Ring of Honor has started something good, and it seems to be catching on.

Dijak began using GoFundMe.com to create fundraisers for charity, asking fans and friends to team with him and do some good. It was such a success, TNA’s Michael Bennett and NXT’s Tommaso Ciampa have jumped on board to help.

This month, Wrestler’s Unite has chosen the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan as their charitable cause. As stated on their GoFundMe page, “The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan is located in the heart of Flint, MI and has established the Flint Response Fund, which is designated to procuring and distributing bottled water to the residents of Flint.”

The new campaign is only a day old and has already reached nearly 20% of their goal, and all net ends will be going to the Food Bank. If you would like to help, please go to the Wrester’s Unite for Flint, MI page and donate now!