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Support Your Local “Ninjas”

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“Not throwing any shade at all. I know its probably a main stream thing…but it does kinda sting a little seeing ppl on your FB that know you wrestle & never came to see you bust ass, go to WWE Live. Not knocking ppl enjoying what they like or want, ( I like it too lol) but I guess it just puts it in perspective to appreciate those that do come to support your hard work. Love my Hood Ninja Clan!‪#‎NinjaWithAttitude” – Hy Zaya, current (though disputed) Coliseum Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.

When was the last time you went to a WWE show? How much did you spend?

Saturday night a friend and I went to see the WWE. Between the two of us, tickets cost $74. My friend also bought a shirt that costs $30.

Earlier this month I went to an indy show I enjoyed just as much as WWE. My ticket was $5, and the Blu-Ray I bought cost $15. I could easily have bought a T-shirt at the same price as the Blu-Ray.

If you need me to do the math for you: 2 WWE Tickets + 1 WWE T-shirt = 5 Indy tickets and 5 souvenirs.

You no longer have the excuse that all indy wrestling is “garbage” and the WWE is the only “good” wrestling out there. The main event at WWE Saturday night featured two guys who, five years ago, were indy superstars. Most of the men and women you can’t wait to see down at NXT are from the indies as well. Many of the so-called enhancement talents you see on NXT like Sarah (Crazy Mary) Dobson, Santana Garrett, and “Blue Pants” are headliners in the indies. I can also name a dozen “Rosebuds” and a certain ringside EMT who will give you your money’s worth on the indy circuit.

Yes, it’s still buyer beware when but comes to the indies, but a smart buyer can invest in some great wrestling if he or she really wants to find it.

It’s been too long since I’ve seen my neighborhood Ninja. I plan to end that drought soon. Respect your local indies, and show them some love.

#aticketandashirt

 

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The Ted Petty Invitational Returns

The rumors you’ve heard are true.

Yes, IWA Mid-South is hardcore.

Yes, the fans live for blood and gore.

Yes, they were so violent back in the 90s, they were kicked out of Kentucky.

But if you think IWA Mid-South is all blood and guts, think again.

This Friday, IWA Mid-South is resurrecting the “other” tournament it is famous for, the Ted Petty Invitational. The tournament began in 2000 as a showcase for the best technical wrestlers in the world, and in 2002, it was named in memory of Ted Petty.

If you’ve never heard of Ted Petty or the tournament that bears his name, here’s a look at the participants from the 2002 edition.

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Pictured in this photo: Christopher Daniels, Jimmy Rave, Matt Stryker, Colt Cabana, Spyder Nate Webb, “Sick” Nick Mondo, M-Dogg 20 (Matt Cross), AJ Styles, Ace Steel, Chris Hero, BJ Whitmer, Tarek the Great and CM Punk.

Not pictured: “All That” Matt Murphy, “Kamikaze” Ken Anderson & Super Dragon.

Other past participants include Nova, Mike Quackenbush, Jerry Lynn, Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt, Nigel McGuinness, Samoa Joe, Matt Sydal, Hallowicked, Kevin Owens, Delirious, Davey Richards, Ricochet, Low Ki, Tracy Smothers, and Sami Callihan.

Not enough name dropping for you? How about Sara Del Ray (the woman behind NXT’s Four Horsewomen), Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, and Daniel Bryan?

Yes, IWA is hardcore, but it is much, much more than that.

Some of the IWA Mid-South faithful say this year may prove to be the best tournament ever. With names like Kongo Kong, Chris Hero, Reed Bentley, Hy Zaya, Shane Mercer, and Masada on the card, they may be right.

The action kicks off Friday night at the Colgate Gym in Clarksville, Indiana. Click here to go to the event page for ticket information. 

You’re welcome.

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A Ninja Sighting on Raw

Last night I posted a comment from IWA Mid-South Champion Shane Mercer on the blog. Eagle-eyed WWE fans spotted the man himself at ringside during Raw last night:

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The same fans who recognized Shane also spotted one of his chief rivals (and real life travel partner) inside the ring.

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The man giving medical attention in this still from Raw is Hy Zaya, aka “The Hood Ninja.” He is a former IWA Mid-South and CCW World Heavyweight Champion with over a decade of experience in the ring. He’s a Louisville native and legitimately one of the toughest men in the wrestling business. By that I do not mean he is a shooter; I mean his idea of fun is to have someone drop him off at the edge of a forest and disappear for several days with only his knife by his side. In that regard he is probably the most dangerous man who was backstage at Raw last night!

Hy Zaya is a deep thinker and a deadly serious student of the world and professional wrestling. But he also has a huge heart. Ask him about his grandma, and he melts. She is his hero.

Hy Zaya’s story is one of many told in Eat Sleep Wrestle, and he’s one of the featured stars on the cover. He shared a number of very candid tales with me, of learning respect in the locker room, wrestling his hero Sabu, and yes… how his grandma influenced him to pray before every battle.

Click the book cover to get your copy of Eat Sleep Wrestle.

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Why you should read Eat Sleep Wrestle

esw coverMany wrestling fans are enjoying the indy invasion that has quietly taken over the WWE. They reveled in the triumphs of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. They’re loving the incredible matches put on by Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, and Luke Harper, just to name a few. “Finally,” they say, “Finally, the indies are taking over the WWE.”

Let’s be honest: most of those fans, even the most ardent, were not watching the indies when CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Kevin Steen, Tyler Black, Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Brodie Lee were working the warehouses, the high school gyms, and the roller rinks that have become today’s indy wrestling arenas. Most of those fans would be hard pressed to even match the WWE names with the indie names.

That’s a shame, because even with so much talent in the WWE, there’s still more where it came from in the indies. There are names people know or have heard of like Colt Cabana, Chris Hero, and Adam Cole. There are veterans like Sabu, Tracy Smothers, Apollo, LuFisto, and Mad Man Pondo. And there are plenty more they need to hear: Jamin Olivencia, Aaron Williams, Crazy Mary Dobson, the Lovely Lylah, Ron Mathis, Marc Hauss, Eric Emanon, Hy Zaya, and Tyson Dux.

Eat Sleep Wrestle is an introduction to today’s indie wrestling world. It’s a look at the lives of those who truly eat, sleep, and breathe the business. From those just starting out to those working multiple jobs to those who live from show to show, it’s the story of the men and women keeping indie wrestling alive.

I’ve just dropped the price on the book to $9.99. Kindle readers can get it for $3.99. If you’re enjoying what you see on WWE but have never bothered to check out what’s happening on the indie scene near you, this is the kick in the pants you need. Not only that, it’s the kick in the pants every dreamer needs. These stories will do more than make you a fan. They will inspire you to pursue your own dreams.

Get Eat Sleep Wrestle now on Amazon.com!

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Death is Coming

One of the highlights of Eat Sleep Wrestle is a chapter about deathmatches, a particularly brutal form of professional wrestling frequently involving barbed wire, fluorescent light tubes, and all manner of weapons. The chapter included descriptions of some of the most brutal and barbaric deathmatches ever attempted. Nearly all of them originated from one tournament: IWA Mid-South’s King of the Deathmatch.

Next weekend, Death returns to the place CM Punk once described as the ideal location for Wrestlemania. The first round matches and stipulations have already been announced, and it looks like this year’s event will only add to the tournament’s bloody legacy.

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The KOD tournament will also feature a title match between IWA-MS champ Hy Zaya and the Iron Demon, Shane Mercer. The two young stars have built a rivalry and a legacy worthy of following in the footsteps of IWA-MS legends past Chris Hero and CM Punk. Any match between these two is not to be missed.

The Weekend of Death also features the Queen of the Deathmatch Tournament. Originally created as a way to feature hardcore legend Mickie Knuckles, the ladies’ tournament has become a must-see event for deathmatch fans in its own right. IWA Mid-South has always been at the forefront of promoting women’s wrestling, and this weekend, eight women will vie for IWA Mid-South’s most prestigious women’s crown.

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For more information, visit the IWA Mid-South Facebook page. Tickets are selling fast!

 

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New Champions with Louisville Roots

rybackThe man you see on the left here is former OVW star Silverback. Sunday night, he became the Intercontinental Champion for the first time. His photo is featured in Bluegrass Brawlers, but if you want to hear his full story, download Ryback’s appearance on the Chris Jericho podcast. It’s an inspiring tale of how he went from serving barbecue in Louisville to becoming a rising star. Ryback has come a long way with the fans as well, and it looks like his rise to the top is once again on track.

cropped-esw-cover.jpgRyback’s not the only Louisville talent to pick up new hardware Sunday. Hy Zaya, shown second from the left on the cover of Eat Sleep Wrestle, picked up the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Championship off the seemingly unstoppable Kongo Kong. Hy Zaya is now carrying two belts: one from IWA Mid-South, and one from CCW in Evansville. Well deserved honors for the Hood Ninja.

Finally, congratulations to former IWA Mid-South King of the Deathmatch contestant Jon Moxley, who left Corpus Christi carrying the WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt. Yes, even Dean Ambrose spent time in Louisville working for Ian Rotten back in the day. He may not have the belt in hand for long, considering another IWA Mid-South alum is still the legitimate champion, but it’s likely only a matter of time before it’s his free and clear.

Update: Per long time IWA Mid-South fan/ historian Nick Maniwa, Moxley did his work for IWA-MS in Illinois, not Louisville or Southern Indiana. Still, it’s a point of pride for the IWA-MS faithful that so many guys who worked in the long time indie promotion have made it to today’s WWE.

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Is Shane Goode Tough Enough?

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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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Eat Sleep Wrestle on sale for Kindle!

esw coverIf you missed it this past week, Jeff Jarrett finally began dropping names. He’s starting to build the roster for the long awaited debut of Global Force Wrestling, and he’s assembled a promising list of talent. Legends like Scott Hall, Hacksaw Jim Duggin, and my friend Jim Cornette; former WWE stars like Doc Gallows (Festus), PJ Black (Justin Gabriel), and Cliff Compton (Domino); and hot rising stars like the Young Bucks and guy featured on the cover of Eat Sleep Wrestle, Jamin Olivencia.

OVW fans have known for years that Jamin was a star. Now that he’s part of Global Force, I know we’re all hoping that he gets the national and international recognition he deserves.

In honor of Jamin’s selection, Eat Sleep Wrestle will be on sale for Kindle only this week for the price of $2.99. That’s $11 off the retail cover price for the paperback.

Eat Sleep Wrestle profiles Olivencia, Crazy Mary Dobson, Mad Man Pondo, Aaron Williams, Ron Mathis, Zodiak, Hy Zaya, LuFisto, The Lovely Lylah, DJ Hyde, and other stars of the independent wrestling circuit. It’s a great introduction to the world of wrestling beyond the WWE and a chance to get to know some rising stars before they really make it big.

The price is only good through Memorial Day weekend. Download it now, and please share with your friends. If you’re already an indy fan, or if you’re just curious what the indies are like, you’re going to love this book.

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See Them Before They Go

cropped-esw-cover.jpgTwo very talented, very dynamic indy wrestlers may be nearing the end of their careers soon. If you get a chance, you need to see them. Hy Zaya (second from the left on the book cover) has two matches this week. Thursday night he competes for IWA Mid-South in New Albany, Indiana, and Saturday he’s in a title vs. career match in Evansville for CCW. I haven’t talked to Hy Zaya in a while, and I don’t know how much of this is story vs. reality. Even if I did, where would the fun be if I spoiled it, right?

Hy Zaya is a charismatic and dynamic performer who has held his own against indy greats like Shane Mercer and legends like Sabu. If you’re in either area, don’t miss your chance to see him. It might be your last.

I also read that Jake Crist of OI4K (that’s Ohio Is for Killers) may be close to hanging it up. In Jake’s case it’s injuries that seem to be the threat rather than match stipulations. Jake has several dates on his schedule, including some for his hometown promotion Rockstar Pro in Dayton. Whether he’s flying solo or tagging with his brother Dave, his matches are show stealers, and if it’s really the end for Jake, it’s a sad day for indy wrestling.

Click the links above to check out Jake and Hy Zaya’s upcoming events.

And if you’re curious to know more about Rockstar Pro, click this link to read a nice little article about the Dayton promotion.