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Your New SHINE Champion – LuFisto!

I got home from NXT in Louisville last night to see this pleasant surprise on my Facebook feed:

LuFisto has been called a lot of things in her career. When she first started training, she was told she was too small. Later, she was told she was too “big.” When she applied for the last round of WWE Tough Enough, it was implied that she was too “experienced.”

LuFisto is a warrior who has survived injuries, disappointments, and heartaches. She felt like giving up so many times, but so far, she’s refused to quit. Yesterday she traveled to Florida for a show. As she put it, she is “going back home with a heavier bag.”

LuFisto is one of the wrestlers who made me fall in love not with women’s wrestling but independent wrestling. She’s a hard-hitting showstopper, and a must-see any time she’s in town. She is gracious with fans and fellow wrestlers alike. She is a class act who was willing to give a budding wrestling writer one of his first interviews. For that, I will always be grateful and always be a fan.

Congratulations, LuFisto, you earned it!

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The Return of Jerry Jarrett

When Vince McMahon was facing legal troubles in the 90s and needed a steady hand to help out at WWF, he turned to long time Memphis promoter Jerry Jarrett to keep the ship on course. Perhaps Vince should have turned to Jerry when he decided to reboot Tough Enough because Jerry’s new wrestling promotion is taking Tough Enough to a whole new level – and it just might work!

Like many veterans of professional wrestling, Jarrett believes the old days and the old territories did a better job grooming new stars than the WWE’s Developmental Center ever will. Having seen what is happening in today’s independent scene, Jarrett saw an opportunity to recapture that magic, creating a new wrestling show designed to identify and elevate the superstars of tomorrow now toiling in the indies.

Jarrett’s program will start where the action is, in the warehouses, high school gyms, and other buildings that house today’s indy wrestling promos. It’s a far cry from the days of the Mid-South Colisseum and Louisville Gardens, but it’s where hundreds of young men and women are working hard every day to make their wrestling dream come true.

The show will take viewers into these venues to discover the talent right under their noses. Then, the best of the best will be invited to show what they can do on a larger scale, as Jarrett brings them together in a larger venue and shines a brighter spotlight on potential superstars.

This is not a WWE fabricated program. This is a new vision for the future from one of the most innovative minds in wrestling’s past. Instead of cherry picking and pushing stars on us. Jarrett intends to bring us along on a search and share with us what he finds.

Right now, Jarrett is scouting locations for the first half of the season. This is when he needs to hear from promoters who have talent to show off and a building to show them in. If you’re interested in hosting for Jarrett’s new program, take some photos of the inside and the outside of your facility and send them to Jerry’s email: jerry-jarrett@comcast.net. Yes, it’s okay to use your phone to take the pictures, and please include the address and your contact info.

Please note, Jarrett is not searching for talent at this time; that will come later. He also respectfully asks fans NOT to use this email address for fan mail.

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Why you will cheer for Mike Hayes

One of the unspoken rules in the wrestling business is that you can’t break in using someone else’s name, no matter who you are. Case in point: when young Steve Williams showed up in the Memphis locker room, Dutch Mantel forced him to become Steve Austin because there was already a “Dr. Death” Steve Williams in the business.

Mike Hayes made the list of 40 finalists for WWE Tough Enough 2015. He shares his name with the leader of Badstreet USA, Freebird Michael “P.S.” Hayes. But Mike Hayes from Louisville more than earned the right to wear his own name proudly with the service and sacrifice he offered his country.

Eli Keel of Insider Louisville did a terrific write up on Michael two years back. Click here to read Michael’s inspiring story. Then come back and watch the video.

No matter how far he goes in this competition, you won’t see anyone tougher than Mike Hayes.

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Last minute entry is more than Tough Enough

maryelizabethmonroeImagine a woman with the classic, “Diva” look that Vince McMahon prefers who not only knows how to do wrestling holds and moves, but fully understands the psychology of working a match, reading the crowd, and doing things the way they used to. If you can’t imagine all that, you haven’t seen Mary Elizabeth Monroe.

Monroe trains with the legendary Les Thatcher in Cincinnati. Her wrestling pedigree shows in the ring. It was an honor to feature her a few weeks back prior to her Girl Fight debut, and I’m thrilled to see she’s decided to go after Tough Enough. Give her video a look, and please pass it on!

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Victoria Anne – Is she Tough Enough?

I’ve never met Victoria Anne or seen her in action, but after spotting her video on the Tough Enough website, I can’t wait to do so. Many of the videos on the website are pretty average and dull, but Victoria has a passion and charisma that catches your eye. If she has half as much talent as she does passion, she will do well in this business. She’s currently training with fellow Tough Enough hopeful Mitchell Huff and JCW champion 2 Tuff Tony. Victoria Anne is one to watch for, and even if she doesn’t catch the WWE’s eye this time around, I have a feeling she will be turning heads very soon.

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Mitchell Huff has more views than you

chosen one moYes, jabroni, Mitchell Huff has more views than you. As a matter of fact at last count, he’s crushing you.

Mitchell Huff is an OVW-trained talent, taught by the likes of Danny Davis and Rip Rogers.

Huff is no rookie. He started training years ago. He took several years off from the business, and it’s a credit to his talent that as soon as he stepped back in, he became a sought after main event level player across the Midwest.

Huff is no beer bellied slouch either. Go see him in person. He’s ripped, and he’s worked hard to get there.

Mitchell’s also become an in-demand trainer here in Southern Indiana. I’m sure he’d welcome you into his class, if you were man enough to try. I’m sure you wouldn’t last.

Mitchell thought your video was funny. So did his friends. They know there’s a reason why Mitchell is called the Chosen One.

Hope you got a lot of hits riding on Mitchell’s coat tails. That’s all you wanted, I’m sure, because you definitely don’t belong in a ring with Mitchell Huff. He is the Chosen One, and you… well, you’re just trying to get famous off someone else’s hard work.

No, I will not repost your video here. But I will share Mitchell’s. He is Tough Enough.

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Are they Tough Enough?

I decided to compile a list of Tough Enough hopefuls who have worked the Louisville area for those who want to keep tabs and support them. In no particular order, here they are:

Shane Mercer

LuFisto

Mitchell Huff

Michael Hayes

Victoria Webb

Dylan Bostic

Lou Crank

Tim Donst is not a local, and only made his area debut last December, but I’ve been following his fight with cancer and have to include him here.

And even though he retired from the ring to pursue movies, I have to give a shout out to my old friend the Prophet – or is it the Shepherd – Ben Wood.

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Is Shane Goode Tough Enough?

December 11, 2014 BigAssXmasBash351

I attended my first real independent wrestling show in January of 2014. I was hooked from the opening match, and as fate would have it, the first man to enter that match is now one of the most viewed videos on WWE’s Tough Enough website. Shane Goode’s video has caught the eye of fans across the country and the WWE because of his intensity and ring presence. Midwestern fans who know him as “The Iron Demon” Shane Mercer have seen a star in him for a long time.

Goode was hooked from the age of two, when he saw Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior on a rented VHS tape. Years later, he did a search on Myspace and connected with Zodiak, a fellow Kentucky wrestler who invited him and a friend out to a barn where they held wrestling shows to learn some of the basics. “We did a lot of backyard high spot stuff and got a standing ovation, but it didn’t go over well with the boys. They told us we were killing the card.”

Goode credits Bull Pain and Todd Morton for teaching him psychology and how to properly work a match. “I almost got in a fight with Bull over going with the crowd and calling him old man. He hated it and threatened to beat my ass with a bat, but I didn’t back down. I think he understood I didn’t know any better. They took good care of me from there and took me under their wing.”

Goode is typically one of the main attractions on the card these days, but he remembers well how hard it was to break out of the lower card. “A lot of promoters don’t want to give you the chance, or they put you with someone green as Hell and want you to shine from it. One of the early matches that helped me was my debut at D1W against Simon Sezz. It was my first match in a unknown fed full of bigger names, and we tore it up. I got a ‘Please come back,’ chant and, ‘This is awesome.’ Goosebumps moment.”

Goode had similar goosebumps moment wrestling Jason Kincaid at Pro Wrestling Freedom. As a member of the IWA Mid-South roster, he points to matches against Michael Elgin and Hy Zaya as the ones that put him over with the fans. “Hy Zaya and I fought in a cage match that really helped me shift the tide with the fans. I was a heel at the time, and I garnered a lot of respect for the brutality we put on. Humbling and awesome experience with both men.”

So what does Goode hope the WWE sees when they look at his video? “I hope they see a talent that can be groomed, who is still hungry and willing to learn. I have the body strength associated with wrestlers much larger than me. I’ve always had a no nonsense approach in promos, but I can adapt to what’s needed. It would be interesting to expand out of my comfort zone on any level but especially WWE.”

Shane Goode has a great physique and the look of a rising star. He is quick and agile off the ropes, and his feats of strength reminds you of Cesaro. (The photo above shows Shane lifting John Wayne Murdock and Kongo Kong – more than 500 pounds – on his shoulders.) His matches never disappoint, and he leaves it all in ring every single night. What’s more, Goode is one of the good guys, a favorite with the fans as well as the locker room. I’ve never heard a cross word said about the man. The WWE would do well to give him a look, but even if they don’t, you can rest assured the Iron Demon will still be fighting and winning fans somewhere on the independent scene.

Click here to view Shane’s video and please share it!!!

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Can You See Her Now?

LuFisto’s one of my favorite wrestlers. Not female wrestlers, I mean wrestlers. She’s more than tough enough, and she has the titles and battle scars to prove it.

I’d love to see that happen, but I’m posting this for another reason. If you’re a wrestling fan, you need to see LuFisto. Watch her on YouTube. Watch her in Shimmer or WSU. And go see her live. She’s one of the best, and she’s a threat to steal the show on any card.

UPDATE: #GiveLuFistoAChance is trending on Twitter. Keep it going, LuFisto fans!!

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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.