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Masters of Pain Caps Off Great Weekend at IWA East Coast

It’s been twenty months since I took a road trip to see professional wrestling, and IWA East Coast broke the Covid-enforced moratorium with a bang this past weekend. The promotion hosted three shows from Friday through Saturday, and the entire weekend was a blast.

IWA East Coast hosted their festivities at Skateland, a roller rink set up inside an old elementary school just southeast of downtown Charleston, West Virginia. The decor along the two story walls surrounding the rink included playful graffiti, billiards tables and accessories, and high up in one corner, a life-size replica of Michael Myers, complete with butcher’s knife.

“To me, this building represents all of West Virginia,” said one local on Saturday afternoon. “You have all this fun stuff, and then, a little bit of creepiness.”

Made sense to me. Earlier that day I made the obligatory one hour trek to Point Pleasant to see the Mothman Museum and statue. Yes, it’s absolutely worth the extra time and your $4.50 admission. (You will spend more in the shop. Trust me!)

Back to the wrestling. The action began Friday night when eight men took part in the Zero G Crown Tournament, including Kincaid, Facade, Gary Jay, Aaron Williams, and Jake Crist. The first round match up between Crist and Williams alone made the trip worthwhile for me, but the entire evening was full of great action.

Third generation wrestler Malcolm Monroe III came into the building as an unknown, but by the end of the evening, everyone was chanting “Three! Three! Three!” Host Mad Man Pondo hyped the kid up in his first major event outside his home state of Michigan. Odds are he’s going to be doing a lot more traveling in the near future.

Fans dumped plenty of hate on Jake Crist, who heeled it up all night long as he sailed through the brackets. At one point the crowd split with a “Let’s go Jake Crist / Dave is better chant.” The former Impact star proved he deserves to still be on someone’s roster, and he took home a giant trophy to add to his resume.

Saturday afternoon, the ladies of Girl Fight took center stage. Fans were treated to two great opening matches featuring Girl Fight regulars Charlie Kruel, Mickie Knuckles, Nikki Victory, and Big Mama.  A lesser known competitor named Shayla Hyde put the Girl Fight fans on notice when she hit a 619 on the Black Widow Harley Fairfax. The crowd popped big, and Shayla scored a huge upset.

Another new face who impressed was young Judi-Rae Hendrix from Lexington, Kentucky. I met Judi on Friday night, when she picked up a copy of Tracy Smothers’ book and told me she was training with Bobby Blaze. Having not met her before, I was surprised to see Hendrix in the main event slot with newly crowned Girl Fight champion Billie Starkz. Hendrix quickly showed she belonged, going toe to toe with Starkz and earning a “This is awesome” chant after hitting the champ with a Canadian Destroyer.

Starkz got the win, but fans definitely took note of Hendrix and her tenacity. This is another young lady to watch in the coming years!

Saturday evening was the Masters of Pain deathmatch tournament, featuring eight of the best deathmatch artists in the world: Shlak, Shane Mercer, John Wayne Murdoch, Akira, Jimmy Lloyd, G Raver, Alex Colon, and Nolan Edwards. To be honest I am not a deathmatch guy, but I have endless respect for the men and women who do these types of matches. I also firmly believe that some of the deathmatch specialists are among the very best wrestlers in the world, period.

I’ve often said you could take John Wayne Murdoch, put him in a time machine, and drop him in Memphis or Mid-South during their hey day. A number of the guys competing with him Saturday night would do equally well in that sci-fi scenario.

The show was fun and frenetic from start to finish, but the match that had everyone buzzing in the building and online was the second round clash between Shane Mercer and Akira. Why Mercer is not signed to a major company is beyond me. His combination of power and athleticism are unmatched on the indies. Mercer and Akira dueled it out in a shower of glass shards and fluorescent lights with big flips and power moves throughout. Akira outlasted Mercer, and afterwards, Mercer took a moment on the mic to honor the student who had just bested one of his teachers.

The evening came to a grand finale when Akira and Nolan Edwards entered a ring filled with fan-made weapons to fight for the Masters of Pain trophy. The boys made use of everything from a door covered in barbed wire to a preschool baseball bat covered in glass Christmas ornaments. That said, it was the garbage can full of light tubes that stole the show. The boys began trading head shots, one after another, faster and faster, as if determined not to leave a single bulb unbroken. The flurry of popping glass had the fans on their feet, stomping and screaming for more. The night ultimately belonged to Akira, who bested his close friend and brother Nolan Edwards to win the tournament.

IWA East Coast plans to bring back Masters of Pain next year. If they do it up like these did this year, I highly recommend fans making the trip. The hospitality is warm and friendly. The local flavor is fun. And as I already mentioned, the Mothman is only an hour away… although Mad Man Pondo swears he heard the creature in his hotel room Friday night.

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Girl Fight: Billie Starkz vs. ELLA!

I can’t believe I’m a week late posting this. I’ve been waiting a long time to see Ella back in the ring. Not only is Ella back, she’s fighting Billie Starkz!

Ella was the only woman never to be pinned in Girl Fight before her hiatus. Can she keep the streak alive against Billie Starkz?

Girl Fight is presenting empty arena matches every week for its wrestling-starved fans for free. All they ask is, if you can, to send a few bucks to the ladies. Here’s where to send a little thank you to Ella and Billie:

Ella:
Venmo: @Elizabeth-Johnson-348

Billie:
Venmo: @Billie-Starkz
CashApp: $BillieStarkz
PayPal: BigStarkzBrand@gmail.com

And don’t forget, Ella also has a novel available on Amazon!

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Have Some Tea with Sam Leterna

I met Sam Leterna for the first time a while back on one of Mad Man Pondo’s Girl Fight shows. From the moment she walked through the curtain, you could tell there was something different, something new and yet old. Over the last month, I’ve discovered what it is that sets her apart. Sam Leterna is a lady who knows her wrestling history.

As much as some older fans and historians lament the way the business has changed, there are some wrestlers who not only study the past, but keep it alive in the way they do business. Sam was one of the first people to start sharing my social media posts about Black Panther Jim Mitchell in February, so when I had the chance to interview her, I asked what she loved about wrestling history and why she felt it was so important to study the past.

“Everything!” she exclaims. “I feel that anyone actively involved in the industry has to go back at least as far as the 70s and see how different territories operated. There was a simplicity of execution that was so effective back in those days, and I often find myself searching for that ‘lost art’ in today’s product. Too, a big part of wrestling is respect and etiquette i.e. the ever-present hand shake. If you don’t know who someone is because you started watching wrestling in 2002 and have never delved beyond the modern product you are bound to offend someone somewhere down the line. That’s something that is easily avoidable if you actually read about and watch the product from yester year.”

Sam Leterna has steeped herself in the traditions of the past, so much so that even her ring name has roots that run decades deep. “While I was in Calgary training with Lance Storm, I read “Sisterhood of the Squared Circle” back to back in search of character inspiration. At the time I was looking to change my ring name. I stumbled upon a wrestler named Clara Mortensen who called herself ‘the Eternal Woman.’ I loved the moniker so much that I dubbed myself ‘Leterna’ which translated from Spanish means ‘the eternal one.’ It is my homage to the women who made it possible for me to be a part of this business today, their legacies being eternal in my heart.”

You can see a lot of her heroes in the way she performs and the way she draws heart. “I love the Von Erichs, Freddie Blassie, Nick Bockwinkel, Gino Hernandez, Susan Sexton, and Roddy Piper. I’m a sucker for a good heel!”

Leterna first became a fan back in 2002 after stumbling upon wrestling by accident. “My first ever dose of wrestling was the King of the Ring 2002, the year Brock Lesnar was crowned king. At the time, my mom had one of the illegal splice cable boxes and it just so happened that the PPV channel was available. I accidentally tuned in and never looked back!”

At the age of 14, Leterna attended her first live show, the 2008 Royal Rumble at Madison Square Garden. It was there she realized she wanted to be a professional wrestler herself. “The energy when the show went live was emotionally overwhelming and it filled me with this sense of belonging I had never felt towards anything else.”

In 2016 Sam began training with the legendary Johnny Rodz at World of Unpredictable Wrestling in Brooklyn, New York. A year later she made the trek to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to train with Lance Storm at world renowned Storm Wrestling Academy. “It was the single best experience of my life to date. Training five days a week five hours a day really helped me up my game athletically and also have a more fundamental understanding of how to put a match together.”

Sam is a showstopper in the ring, a superb athlete and a despicable heel, but in 2020 she’s pursuing a new venture outside the ring. It’s called Wrestle Tea, and it’s Sam’s way of giving back and supporting others in the wrestling community.

Wrestle Tea is a video content channel for wrestlers by wrestlers,” she says. “I want this to be a platform for wrestlers to get out there and creatively express themselves through different segments along with interview content.”

Sam envisions Wrestle Tea as a place where emerging talent can get over with the fans. “Talent on all echelons of the wrestling totem pole are welcome as everyone has something to contribute that fans can bite their teeth into.”

Sam already has some amazing guests on film including one of my favorite heels, Mr. Darius Carter. And while everyone is welcome, Sam does have a list of dream guests. “I’d love to have Randy Orton, Jordan Devlin, Orange Cassidy, MJF, Lita, and Beth Phoenix. Also a huge fan of NXT UK wrestler Jinny’s work and would love to have her on the show. Kevin Von Erich would also be a dream interview for me as I love everything WCCW.”

One would think Sam would attract more guests with coffee than tea, but that’s just not her cup of… okay, I won’t go there. Nevertheless, Sam has her reasons for choosing tea. “Tea, has two meanings. Of course we all know what the herbal beverage tea is. However, many people use the word ‘tea’ in reference to getting a scoop or a bit of juicy gossip. Thus, Wrestle Tea!”

And just out of curiosity, how does Sam like her tea? “My go to is matcha green tea! As long as it isn’t too cold outside, I serve my Matcha over ice with a bit of coconut milk and honey. Matcha has caffeine for a good mid-day boost but doesn’t cause you to crash later on like coffee because it is rich in antioxidants.”

Sam’s got a love for the business, past and present, that is infectious, and Wrestle Tea promises to be a great opportunity for her and her guests. Wrestle Tea launches March 20th on Youtube. You can subscribe to the Wrestle Tea Youtube channel to catch the show. And be sure to follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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Prodigy Pro: Southern Indiana’s New Promotion is Packing Them Out The Door

There’s a new trend in wrestling promotions. More and more wrestling podcasters are trying their hands at running their own company. Righteous Jesse from the Kick Out at Two Podcast has had great success in Nashville with Southern Underground Pro, and now Southern Indiana’s Back Row Hecklers are having a very successful go at promoting as well.

Prodigy Pro is just three shows old, but they’re already outgrowing the space at the Arena in Jeffersonville. Due to some family commitments, I arrived at the show an hour late Friday night, and there was not a seat to be had. To say it was worth standing most of the show would be an understatement. I saw a half dozen of the ten matches on the card that night, and just about everyone of them was worth the price of admission alone.

Ace Austin and Gary Jay were first in the ring after the first intermission. The Stiff Robo Ginger and current Pro Wrestling Freedom champion Gary Jay is well known to indy lovers as a stand out performer, but Ace Austin, just two years into his budding wrestling career, more than held his own against the veteran. Jay got the victory, and fans got a thrilling match.

A fatal five way followed Jay and Austin featuring Ace Perry, Sage Cainan, Kaden Sade, Trey Miguel, and Zachary Wentz. I heard one fan near me say, “Spot Fest!” when the five competitors were announced, and that’s largely what we got. The action was fast and frantic, and everyone had their stand out moments. Miguel and Wentz, two of Dayton, Ohio’s finest, are big time stars on the rise, and I tweeted just after the match that they will be household names in very short order. Miguel already has a solid foot in the door with some big time promotions, and Wentz can’t be far behind.

After a singles match between fan favorite Mikey McFinnegan and Teddy King came a hard-hitting Texas Tornado match between the Rejects (John Wayne Murdock and Reed Bentley) and the Night Ryderz (Alex Colon and Dustin Rayz). The Rejects and the Night Ryderz are two highly underrated tag teams, and they put on a brutal brawl inside and outside the ring. Following a victory by the Night Ryderz, a match was set for the January show: a TLC match for the Game Changer Tag Team Championships held by the Night  Ryderz.

A second intermission gave fans a chance to catch their breath after the tag team battle, then it was back into action with Shane Strickland and Louisville favorite, Hy Zaya. This match started slow but built slowly into an absolute war between two very fast and hard-hitting competitors. Hy Zaya won after a suplex that looked ugly from the seats, and both Stickland and Hy Zaya were checked out by PPW staff and some of the other wrestlers, but both men were able to stand and walk out on their own power. It was clear that Hy Zaya and Strickland wanted to set the bar as high as possible for the main event to follow. They gave the fans a match to remember, and it’s likely their feud is only beginning.

The main event pitted New Japan star “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin against rising Midwestern heavyweight Daniel Eads. Eads has been a favorite of mine since I first saw him at D1W a few years ago. He’s a big, strong wrestler who has “the look” a certain major promotion likes to see in its big men, and the Superman resemblance is hard to miss in the “Man of Tomorrow.” At 250 pounds, Eads was a formidable foe for the 265 pound Elgin, showing off his power and his athleticism in a terrific fight. Eads also enjoyed the advantage of having savvy manager Josh Ashcroft at ringside, and Elgin often found himself facing two men at once. Elgin was not to be out-done of course, and both men put on feats of strength that left the fans cheering. In the end the veteran won the battle, but the challenger proved he can hang with one of the best in the world.

Prodigy Pro put on an impressive evening of entertainment. They seem to have found a good balance of established stars facing younger stars, and the promoters (who are big fans themselves) are booking dream matches that indy fans will truly enjoy. Word has it they take good care of the boys in the locker room, and that’s only going to make it easier for them to book bigger and better matches in the future. Their next show will be January 26th at the Flea Market in Memphis, Indiana – a larger space they’re sure to pack out as easily as they have the Arena. This is a promotion to watch and enjoy in 2018.

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Season’s Beatings: Christmas Wishes from the Golden Age of Wrestling!

While combing through the many programs in the Jim Mitchell collection, I came across a 1947 Christmas edition of Pacific Athletic News (PAN) that featured Christmas greetings from more than four dozen wrestlers, promoters, and other wrestling personalities. These photos and the accompanying messages were so fun, I decided to compile them into a book.

Season’s Beatings is a photos book bearing holiday wishes from some of Southern California’s biggest stars. Photos in the book include Gorgeous George, Ed “Strangler” Lewis, “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell, Sandor Szabo, Enrique Torres, the Duseks, Karl and Wee Willie Davis, Bobby Bruns, Danny McShain, Mike Mazurki, Ed Don George, Hans Schnabel, Jan Blears, Yvon Robert, Morris Siegel, Angelo Savoldi, and Bronko Nagurski.

Season’s Beatings is a perfect gift for a wrestling fan or yourself. It’s guaranteed to become a yuletide tradition. If someone on your list prefers head locks and body slams to visions of sugar plums, order your copy today on Amazon, only $9.99.

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The Jim Cornette Experience

If you’re a fan of wrestling history, be sure to catch today’s episode of the Jim Cornette Experience. I’m on the show today talking about a few of my favorite things: The Allen Athletic Club, Elvira Snodgrass, and The Black Panther Jim Mitchell.

If you’ve already listened to today’s show, you can follow the links below to read more about the books and stories I’ve been working on.

The Black Panther Jim Mitchell

Elvira Snodgrass Part 1 and Part 2

Bluegrass Brawlers: The Story of Professional Wrestling in Louisville

Louisville’s Greatest Show: The Story of the Allen Athletic Club

Herb Welch’s How to Become a Champion

“Dr. D” David Schultz (autobiography coming soon!)

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Letters to the Black Panther

If you heard the Jim Cornette Experience released on Thursday, November 2, you heard him make mention of two letters he picked up from me: one from Morris Siegel and one from Sam Muchnick. Both letters are posted below for those who want to take a peek.

Mitchell was on the tail end of his amazing career. He was ready to step away but hoping to help launch the career of his protege Ricky Waldo. Waldo never took off like he hoped, most likely due to the fact that everyone wanted to book someone else in his place: Bobo Brazil.

There are still a few letters like this available, along with wrestling boots, licenses from across the US and Canada, and a number of photos and programs, mostly from the West Coast. The pipe collection is also for sale. If you’re interested in any of these items, please email me!

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The Lost Pipe Collection of the Black Panther

In 2003 a man named Dave Marciniak was eating out with his girlfriend when he heard a woman mention a home for sale in an historic district in Toledo. Marciniak had been flipping houses for a few decades, and on a whim, he gave the home a look. He paid $11,000 for the house after only seeing the outside, and he went to work.

As fate would have it, the house turned out to be the residence of long-lost wrestling legend, “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell. Mitchell had passed away in the 90s, and his widow had only recently passed, leaving the home vacant. Marciniak was not a wrestling fan, but he knew the personal items he found might be worth something. He began saving everything he could, including wrestling boots, letters, licenses, personal photos, souvenirs, programs, suitcases… and the Black Panther’s legendary pipe collection.

Mitchell was an avid tobacco enthusiast, and he collected smoking pipes everywhere he went – from the US to Canada to Japan to Australia to Europe. His fans and friends sent him pipes as well, and in 1962, his collection was appraised at $25,000.

Marciniak has put the collection up for sale to the right bidder. Some photos are posted below. If you’re interested, please contact me (John Cosper) at this website, and I’ll put you in touch!

This is a remarkable collection rife with history. Our hope is to preserve the entire collection and send it some place where it can be treasured and enjoyed by others.

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Who Will Stand With Baron Corbin?

I’ve met a number of wrestling promoters over the last few years. You know what they have in common? Limited resources. The promoters I know are not millionaires. Most of them have jobs outside wrestling to pay the bills for themselves and  (in many cases) the promotions they run. They aren’t doctors either, and they don’t all have the means to have even an off duty paramedic standing by if something goes wrong.

The wrestlers who work for these promoters understand this. They understand the risk they take every time they step in the ring, no matter where they are or who is running the show. Everyone understands that bruises, strains, broken bones, torn ligaments, infections, and yes, concussions can and will happen. They don’t hold the promoter liable because they take responsibility for their own actions.

This is their love. This is their passion. They do it in spite of the risks for the love of the business.

That said, if a promoter is a billionaire, if that promoter has unlimited resources, if they have the means to put on multiple live broadcasts every week, if they have their own TV network, if they have millions of subscribers paying for that network and shelling out billions more on T-shirts and videos and other swag… that promoter has an obligation to the men and women they employ to provide the best healthcare and the best information about health and wellness to the people they employ.

If the story now out about Baron Corbin being “punished” for calling out a so-called expert on concussions for not speaking the truth, it’s another black mark on the biggest promotion in the business. The WWE treats wrestlers as independent contractors. They do this to avoid having to provide health insurance for the wrestlers. Translation: when you see the WWE live or on TV, you are watching non-employees risk their bodies, their brains, and their well being in order to make millions for a corporation that will not pay their medical bills if they get hurt.

Baron Corbin has every right to call BS when he hears it. The wrestlers and fans should call BS as well. WWE is not a side venture run by a man or woman who puts on shows weekly or monthly in addition to working their 40 hour a week job. This is what they do. This is how they make money, hand over fist. For once in his wrestling career, Baron Corbin is the babyface, but it looks like Corbin could become another casualty, another name swept under the rug for defying the corporate line.

Independent promoters don’t have the means to provide the best of medical care. Independent wrestlers know and accept the risks they take working for said promoters. There’s no excuse for a company the size of WWE to withhold the best of care and the best of information from the men and women whose sacrifices make their profits possible.

Who’s going to stand with Baron Corbin, inside the WWE, or out? Better get off your butts quick. We’ve seen what happens when you defy the company line.

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Marcus Everett: The Guy from “That Gif”

If you haven’t seen “the gif,” you obviously haven’t been on social media much in the last two weeks.

Much like the very first time Joey Ryan’s now infamous penis spot hit the Internet, the guy jumping off a girder and overshooting the other guy lying prone on a table set the Internet on fire. Many thought he as crazy. Most thought it was funny. Some thought he was a disgrace. At least a handful wanted to be sure the guy was okay.

I’m happy to report that the Guy in the Gif is okay. But unlike Joey Ryan, he won’t be turning his famous Internet spot into a career-defining move.

“I suppose I could do the spot everywhere I go,” he said. “But that’s probably not a good idea.”

The man responsible for the most-watched video clip of August is Marcus Everett, a young aspiring wrestler from Toledo, Ohio. Everett is only two years in the business, but he’s a life-long fan. “Goldberg was my favorite when I was little,” he recalls. “I can’t remember a single match he was in. But I remember him. he was like a super hero.”

Everett’s favorite wrestler of all time is the man who hooked him for good back in 2002, Shawn Michaels. “The night Triple H hit him twice with a sledgehammer, I was hooked. I wanted to know if he was okay. I had to watch Raw the next week. And then the next. And then the next. Weeks became years. Then thirteen years later, I stepped into a ring and began to train.”

Training started in Toledo at Northwest Ohio Wrestling, and Everett trained with some terrific mentors including Big Bear Benjamin Boone, Crimson, and Dave Crist. “I carry their names on my shoulders every time I step in the ring. it’s a heavy responsibility. I should also add, not a one of them would condone what I did in that video!”

Marcus Everett has worked for a number of Midwest promotions, but it was IWA Mid-South in Memphis, Indiana that the famous missed spot took place. “I was in a feud with Cole Radrick. Cole and I had had some brutal matches. This was the end of our feud, and what we thought at the time would be the last show in that building. We wanted to go out big.”

Radrick and Everett were booked in a Loser Leaves town TLC (Tables Ladders and Chairs) match. If you watch the gif, you’ll see that Everett is standing on a second tier girder. He had previously done a leap off the lower girder during and earlier match, and on that night, he wanted to do something extra special.

“It was my idea,” he says, “And my hubris. I take full responsibility, and the outcome was absolutely deserved.”

Everett made it very clear that no one put him up to the big spot. It was his idea, an idea Radrick tried and failed to talk him out of. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even clear it with promoter Ian Rotten – a decision he also regrets.

“It might have been a better idea to do that spot in a scramble match rather than a one on one match,” he says. “It would have been an even better idea not to do it at all!”

Prior to the spot you’ve seen online, Everett hit Radrick with a ladder and knocked him onto the table. Everett then began to climb not to the first girder, but the second girder.

“I got up on the girder and shimmied out to take position right in front of the table. It was only then that I looked down and realized that the table was a little further out than it should have been. Ideally, the table would be close enough, I could just lean forward Michael Jackson-style and fall through the table, but I knew I was going to have to give myself a little momentum.

“Unfortunately, with all the adrenaline I had in my system, a little turned into a lot. I didn’t realize just how bad I messed up until I hit the concrete.

“As soon as I landed, I gave myself a mental pat down and deduced that I was okay. I got up off the ground and turned to Cole and the ref, who were both looking at me in disbelief. The ref pointed and said, ‘Brother, I can see your bone!’

“I’ve heard people say that when drunks get into car accidents, the reason they survive is because they’re so loose. That has to be the only reason I wasn’t in pain. I should have been, but I was os in the moment, I didn’t feel a thing. The ref wanted to stop the match, but I said, “No, man, get me some duct tape. Let’s finish this!”

Finish they did. The match ended with Everett taking a piledriver off the top rope onto a table. “It was the same table I overshot coming off the wall. The table still didn’t break!”

The fans at IWA Mid-South were extremely generous with their applause after the match. Even though Everett was the heel in the feud with Radrick, the fans were cheering and chanting his name.

“It was a great moment. I turned to the fans, lifted my hands… and gave them all the finger. One girl in the crowd screamed, ‘Stop being a heel! I want to like you!'”

Everett thought that when the spot came out on video, he would see some sort of response from the fans. Then one day, just a few weeks ago, his phone blew up. He was shocked to see that everyone was watching the gif, not just once, but over and over and over. Even Jim Cornette weighed in on the controversial spot.

“I can’t stop watching this–what was the idiot on the table’s plan for survival had that gone right?”

Everett responded, “True story: When I smacked the concrete, 3 things went through my head. My family, Maffew, and Jim Cornette.”

Cornette replied, “At least your head was in the right place!”

Everett would dispute that claim. In hindsight he regrets the spot for many reasons. He knows he’s lucky he didn’t get seriously injured, but he also feels bad for possibly encouraging others to do something so dangerous. “That’s not the kind of wrestler I want to be.”

Everett has heard every reaction you can imagine, from “What were you thinking?” to “That was awesome!” to “Just don’t die, kids.” (Credit to Hurricane Helms.) He’s grateful for the attention, but he made it clear that his focus from now on will be working smarter. “Head locks and arm drags,” he says.

Everett’s loss in the Loser Leaves Town match came at a good time for him and his family. His sister is battling multiple sclerosis, and his mother is undergoing surgery this week. Family comes first for Everett, and he’s grateful to have the time off to be where he’s needed. “I’ll be working NOW, XICW, LPW, and other promotions close by for a while. But once Mom is back on her feet, it’s back to business. I have a lot of states and a lot of countries on my list to cross off.”

There are some who have questioned Everett’s ability to work safely in the ring, even before “The Gif,” and in the wake of this past weekend’s Sexy Star incident at Triplemania, a lot of wrestler and promoters have a heightened awareness about safety. I asked Everett to tell me what kind of wrestler promoters will be booking when they call him in the months and year ahead.

“They’re going to get a high flyer with a big heart,” he says. “I’m not about the high spots any more. I want to tell stories. I want to make people feel something. One thing I hear a lot from fans all the time is, ‘You’re too short.’ Yeah, I am small, but if I can rise up and fulfill my dream and beat a man bigger than me, I know I can inspire others to do the same. I’m the little guy who overcomes the odds and comes out on top!

“I can also solve Rubik’s Cubes.”

I believe in second chances, and I can only speak for myself and my brief interaction with him. Marcus Everett comes across as a sharp kid with a bright future. He’s made some mistakes, and he has taken his lumps for those mistakes, but his positive attitude and sense of humor are infectious. He’s far from done with this business, and eager to become famous for something other than the world’s most painful gif!

If you want to follow Marcus Everett, you can find him on Twitter @EverlastingMBD