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Primus Primer: Jimmy Rave

This is the third in a series of stories about the upcoming PWF: The Primus show in Jeffersonville on September 9. Today, special guest writer Righteous Jesse chimes in on one of the big favorites, Jimmy Rave. Jesse is the co-host of the Kick Out at Two Podcast. He has worked commentary for Jimmy Rave’s home promotion, Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment, and he has good reason to believe the PWF title will be headed to Georgia. 

We’ve all got our picks. Who will win the new PWF championship? We all know why some of these men could be victorious. But here’s a look at why they won’t be.

Jimmy Rave is the smartest wrestler in the game. Instead of being one step ahead, he’s always several steps ahead. He’s familiar with “run jimmy run” chants. They do not phase him. Jimmy knows that he can use the 10 count to his full advantage and even extend the count by rolling in and out of the ring again. It’s the little things like that.

Rave is a world traveled wrestling superstar who has held several championships throughout his career. This will be another one added to the resume. He’s seen it all. He’s done it all. He has the strategy, and on September 9th at The Primus, Jimmy Rave will be the new PWF champion.

For more information on PWF: The Primus, visit the official Facebook event page

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast with Righteous Jesse and the Wilkman every Friday on iTunes and Soundcloud

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Primus Primer: Hy Zaya

Over the next two weeks, Eat Sleep Wrestle will be spotlighting the competitors for Pro Wrestling Freedom’s upcoming show, The Primus. We begin today with Local fan favorite, Hy Zaya. 

There may not be a more independent wrestler in the country than Hy Zaya. At the end of 2015, Hy Zaya and his travel partner Shane Mercer had build a mini-territory for themselves, with three strong promotions booking them weekly. By the end of January, all three promotions were shut down.

Hy Zaya didn’t quit. He branched out. He made new contacts, connected to new promoters, and committed himself to learning a few new things, not the least of which is television.

Hy Zaya has become a break out star on the newly revamped OVW. He’s working heel in a few places after 18 solid years as a babyface. He’s imparting his own wisdom on the students at OVW, and he is still learning everything he can.

“One of the strangest things was learning not to post about the show after TV tapings,” he said. “I have to wait until Saturday to see how the show airs before I can say anything. The cool thing, though, is that on Saturday mornings, my Ninja Babies can wake up and see me on TV!”

In spite of his success at OVW, Hy Zaya considers himself a true free agent, freer than he’s ever been in the business. With no home promotion to tie him down, he’s able to go and work any place he wants. Everywhere he’s been, he’s left the fans begging for more.

Hy Zaya is one of twelve men vying for the new PWF championship at Pro Wrestling Freedom: Primus on Friday, September 9 in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He’s a strong favorite, given that PWF is in his backyard, but he knows he has his work cut out for him with his first round opponent, Jimmy Rave.

“I’m going to be watching a lot of Jimmy Rave video the next two weeks,” he says.

For event and ticket information, visit the PWF: The Primus page on Facebook.

Hy Zaya’s story can also be found in the book Eat Sleep Wrestle, available in paperback and on Kindle and Smashwords.

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Pro Wrestling Freedom Delivers

13095793_1069991786412707_6899430250700239435_nPro Wrestling Freedom is new name in the Louisville/ Southern Indiana indy wrestling scene. As crowded as the local market is with wrestling promotions, you’d think there wouldn’t be room for one more, but PWF offers a product unique and exciting enough to set it apart. No one promotion can deliver with every wrestling fan, and from the looks of things tonight, PWF is finding its share.

PWF is anchored by a strong group of Louisville area stars headed by Hy Zaya and his road partner, “The Iron Demon” Shane Mercer. But like the now dormant D1W, PWF also draws some of the top stars from other regions. Murder One and Chip Day were up from Atlanta for tonight’s show, and Rockstar Pro’s current champ Aaron Williams was in from Ohio. The result is a mix of new and familiar faces, all of whom left everything they had in the ring.

It would be hard to pick a standout match from tonight’s show, but the battle between Shane Mercer and Timmy Lou Retton would be a good place to start. Mercer is a beast in the ring, a powerhouse of strength who never disappoints. Retton’s red, white, and blue gimmick is deceptive; while he looks like a comedy act, he truly is a dynamic and gifted athlete who can not only match Mercer with the power moves but surprise you with his tumbling and gymnastic skills.

Aaron Williams and Chip Day didn’t disappoint in the semi wind-up. Their match turned out to be more comedy than I’m used to seeing from Williams, but were well-matched in personality and talent. “I have until five!” became a catchphrase for the fans as well as the grapplers before the night was over.

Jason Saint’s Horrorshow stable made its presence known during the show in a few entertaining matches. Saint is a maniacal presence at ringside who can anger you while also making you laugh. Nick Depp and Team IOU were well matched with the heel manager. Depp was entertaining in his match with the legendary Mickie Knuckles, and Nick Iggy of Team IOU is a heat magnet with his non-stop banter.

The main event was a first time ever confrontation between Hy Zaya and Murder One. A far from some of the more technical wrestling matches on the card, this turned into a brawl. Hy Zaya and Murder One lived up to their top billing with a violent melee that ended in a double count out, setting up a prolonged after show struggle and the main event for next month’s card.

PWF is running in The Arena in Jeffersonville. The next show is June 3, and all the details will soon be posted to their Facebook page. A street fight rematch between Hy Zaya and Murder One is already booked, and it looks like Chip Day and Shane Mercer will be a go as well.

Indy wrestling is alive and well. Buy a ticket, buy a T-shirt from a wrestler, and support the men and women keeping the tradition alive.

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The Blackanese Assassin!

One of the stars coming to Jeffersonville for PWF on Friday night is the masked man called Menace. It was my privilege to interview Menace a while back for the book Eat Sleep Wrestle, and fans who come out to the Arena Saturday are in for a real treat.

Menace grew up watching Mid-Atlantic, NWA, WWF, and Georgia Championship Wrestling. From an early age he dreamed of becoming a wrestler himself, and during career day in high school, he listed his top two choices as “wrestler” and “Kindergarten teacher.” One could argue the skill set for either of those careers are somewhat interchangeable, but no one really took him seriously about the wrestling career.

Menace proved everyone wrong. he began training with Rick Connors in Knoxville, Tennessee after a friend of his girlfriend connected him. Connors didn’t have a ring, so Menace got his early education on the lawn in Connors’s backyard.

Menace has come a long way since those early days working for CZW, HWA, NWA Wildside, NWA Smoky Mountain, NWA Rocky Top, Ego Pro Wrestling, Coliseum Championship Wrestling, and more. He’s been in the ring with Jimmy Valiant, Dr. Tom Pritchard, Tracy Smothers, Vick the Bruiser, Jimmy Golden, Kid Cash, Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels, Rob Conway, “The Franchise” Shane Douglas, and Ricky Morton.

Menace is a high flier. He has a background in Kempo Ju-Jitsu and a great love for Japanese wrestling. Fans who have never seen him are in for a real treat.

Menace will appear with PWF Friday Night at The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana. You can follow him on Facebook.

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PWF Comes to Jeffersonville April 8!

12952768_10153893671035339_2100030830_oThe Arena has been a hit since the day 2 Tuff Tony opened the doors on the Jeffersonville wrestling venue. Friday night, a pair of seasoned promoters bring their act to town as Pro Wrestling Freedom presents a stellar card of indy wrestling action.

Founded in 2012 in Corbin, Kentucky, PWF has made its name by booking the best young talent possible. “In the beginning, we brought in a few names at first such as Vader and Dutch Mantell,” says co-promoter Jimmy Feltcher. “However what we discovered along the way is the fans were paying to see the Independent talent, not being entertained by the past.

The Kentucky version of PWF folded in 2013, but Feltcher and his partner John Norris (Father Fear) decided to bring it back in early 2016. True to their roots, PWF is bringing in a loaded card featuring Hy Zaya, Shane Mercer, Roscoe Eat Lisa, Menace, Gary Jay, Cash Flo, and Team IOU.

“There will be something for everyone,” promises Feltcher. “Hard hitting violence, high flying, and everything in between. When you come to a PWF show, Our goal is take you from your reality and into ours.”

Children are welcome, and PWF strives to create a family-friendly atmosphere, but Feltcher cautions fans to use their discretion. “Remember, these are grown men, who are beating the hell out of each. Tempers flare, and sometimes the vocabulary can be less than desirable.”

General admission seats are $10. First row is already sold out. Doors open at 7 PM Friday, and bell time is at 8 PM. For more information, visit the event website on Facebook.

Hy Zaya and Menace are all featured in the book Eat Sleep Wrestle by John Cosper, available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon.

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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.

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Rasslin’ lives at KDW

12227188_929057513815398_5586358663676153198_nThere’s something very unique about the way Kentuckiana Diehard Wrestling does their business. There’s nothing new about their brand of wrestling at all, but what they do is so old school, it’s a refreshing change for fans who have grown weary of “sports entertainment.”

KDW is a promotion run by men who grew up on rasslin’. Booker Vito Andretti grew up watching Memphis wrestling at Louisville Gardens in the late 70s, and he was trained by Danny Davis and Rip Rogers at OVW. “Many of the guys here were at OVW before WWE got there,” he says. “We came up with Dinsmore, Conway, Damaja, and (Doug) Basham. When Jim (Cornette) came in, he would make tapes of old matches with 5 pages of notes and hand them out to the WWE guys. They’d sniff at them and throw them in the trash, but we snatched them up and learned from them.”

The old school approach to wrestling means you won’t see young guys working hard to get all their spots into a match with reckless abandon. You’ll see Chris Alexander on the ring apron doing his best Robert Gibson impression, hyping up the crowd and pleading with the ref to stop the cheating while as his tag partner Dynamite Derrick takes a Ricky Morton-like beating in the ring. You’ll see Ravishing Rick Roberts go to work on Simon Sezz’s arm, taking advantage of an injury to weaken his opponent and beat him into submission. These are men who know how to structure a match, know how to engage the crowd, and know how to tell a story with their action. They have cowardly heels, prancing heels, and monster heels. They have scheming managers and fearless midgets. KDW is such a throwback, they even have a Moondog.

Many of the veterans at KDW are faces that old OVW fans will recognize. They were at OVW at the same time as Cena, Lesnar, and Orton. They still live by the lessons taught to them at OVW, and they are determined to pass them on to the next generation. Andretti teaches his proteges to go slower and work smarter, to pay attention to an audience, and to take care of their bodies. It’s wisdom he received from Danny Davis and Rip Rogers, wisdom they received from the generation before them.

KDW opened their doors in April of 2014. They started appropriately enough at the flea market in Memphis, Indiana before moving to the Arena in Jeffersonville this fall. They’ve been taping TV for months and are already on Roku’s Indie Wrestling Channel. Andretti recruited several former OVW students for their television production experience as well as their wrestling acumen, hoping to refine a show that is very much a work in progress. They just announced a permanent television announce team this week, and they have plans for more expansion in 2016.

KDW runs weekly in Jeffersonville at the Arena. Bell time is 5 pm, and tickets are only five dollars. You can also find them on the Indie Wrestling Channel, available free on Roku. If you’ve avoided indy wrestling, thinking it’s nothing but spot monkeys and young guys with no clue how to put a match together, KDW is a promotion that will not disappoint. It’s a veteran roster determined to keep the tradition of the past alive, now and in the future.

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CHIKARA Pro is off the hook

I read a lot about CHIKARA while I was writing Eat Sleep Wrestle. I watched a number of matches from past shows online. I even interviewed their fearless leader, Mike Quackenbush. Tonight I learned that you don’t really know CHIKARA until you see them live, and when you do, you will become a true believer.

Unlike most major independent promotions, CHIKARA is not a star-driven show. Fans who are tuned in to the indie scene will recognize some names and faces, but it’s the promotion itself that is the draw. CHIKARA bills itself as the super lucha fun party, and they deliver on fun from beginning to end.

That’s not to say this is not a serious wrestling promotion. CHIKARA’s roster is filled with talented high fliers and even a few brawlers. Blaster McMassive and Kentucky proud wrestler Chuck Taylor delivered a show stealing brawl right before the main event. But that’s not the reason Chikara continues to add to its fan base in its 15th season.

CHIKARA gives you colorful characters in masks like Dasher Hatfield, Ophidian the Cobra, and the Proletariat Boar of Moldova. CHIKARA gives you heels who toss foreign objects (in this case, a cucumber) to kids in the crowd and later try to get it back from that kid so they can cheat to win. CHIKARA gives you characters like Freshly Squeezed Orange Cassidy, who laid down to take a nap during the opening bout. CHIKARA gives you a tag match, Arik Cannon and Darin Corbin vs. Lucas Calhoun and Missile Assault Man, that ends with almost five minutes of slow motion wrestling. This particular match was so much fun, the fans responded with a drawn out, slow motion “This… Is… Awesome…” chant.

CHIKARA is very fan interactive. No insult from the crowd goes unanswered by the heels. Just remember to keep it clean. CHIKARA is PG and kid friendly, and rule number one is no bad language from the wrestlers or fans.

CHIKARA does occasionally feature inter-gender wrestling, which may not sit well with some fans. That said, they currently have Heidi Lovelace on the roster. Heidi is an OVW graduate with a stellar resume who not only excels at inter-gender matches but truly seems to enjoy mixing it up with the boys.

CHIKARA doesn’t travel extensively, and if you’re lucky enough that they pay a visit, the ticket prices may seem a bit high. My ticket tonight was double what I normally pay for local shows, but it was worth it.

This was the first time CHIKARA has ever visited the Louisville area. Given the reactions from the sell out crowd, I doubt it will be their last visit. Check out their website at www.chikarapro,com to see their schedule of upcoming events and watch video online. Thanks to 2 Tuff Tony and the gang at the Arena in Jeffersonville for bringing the best in independent wrestling to town.

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When all else fails, turn heel

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The fair is no easy place to work a wrestling show. You might draw a handful of devoted fans, but you’re also going to draw a number of passersby – including people who are only stopping to laugh and heckle you.

Such was the case a few weeks back in my hometown when UWA put on an outdoor show at the fair. The first couple of wrestlers out to the ring did their best to pump up the crowd but received little to no response. Add in the drunks sitting near me on the bleachers, and it was a really tough crowd.

Enter Dick Devlin.

Devlin is a UWA original, and until that night, he had been working as a babyface. But when the fair crowd cheered his opponent – also babyface – and gave him little response on his entrance, he decided to take what he was given and play the heel.

“It was a really weird night,” he said, “We had both been working as babyfaces, but the crowd didn’t know who either one of us was. They seemed to want me to play the heel, so I did.”

In playing the heel, Devlin did something no one on the card had managed to do before him. He got the handful of drunken hecklers to not only engage with the show, but cheer for him.

“I threw my opponent into the fence. They said, ‘Do it again!’ So I did.”

Devlin has since turned heel for UWA, a rising promotion based in Southern Indiana that tapes television once a month at The Production House in New Albany. Devlin fell into the role quite naturally, having played a heel most of his career, and he is enjoying life on the other side once again.

Devlin grew up a fan during the attitude era and decided to give pro wrestling a try after attending a few Destination One Wrestling shows in Indiana. It’s a part-time job for him, as he’s also a full-time student majoring in criminal justice, and while he isn’t sure wrestling will become a full-time vocation, he’s enjoying every second of it.

Devlin is also very proud to be a charter member of UWA, a group he describes as being like family. “The promoters are a father and son, and they really cultivated a family atmosphere. I’ve been in locker room where there’s fighting and drama, but we don’t have any of that. These guys are my brothers, and I love it.”

Devlin can be seen on UWA TV, both on Youtube and the free Indie Wrestling Channel on Roku. Click play on the video below and skip to minute 38 to see Devlin and friends in his favorite match to date: a TLC match filmed at The Arena in Jeffersonville.