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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?

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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Kill Owens Kill!

Indy wrestling fans have been telling WWE fans for years they were missing out. Last night, Indy fans were able to rise up and say, “See?? I told you so!”

Owens is only the latest to crash the WWE party. Bryan, Rollins, Ambrose, Harper, Zayn, Cesaro, Balor, Itami, Bayley, Emma, Neville. These are not pre-fabbed stars made by the WWE machine. All of these rising stars got to the WWE after years of busting their butts on the Indy circuit.

There’s more great wrestling to discover, possibly right down the street from your house. That’s why I wrote Eat Sleep Wrestle. That’s why you need to get out and see an Indy show.

Head over to Smart Mark Video to get a sample now. Look up CZW/WSU, PWG, OVW, IWA Mid-South, CHIKARA, Rockstar Pro, CWAI, Empire, Shimmer, AIW, or take a look at what Jeff Jarrett’s putting together at GFW.

If I left out your favorite promotion, please please enter it in the comments below.

A revolution is coming.

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A Different Wrestling Bunny

Over the last year, a number of wrestlers have put on a bunny suit for the WWE. Justin Gabriel is one. Sammy Zayn is another. Even CZW owner DJ Hyde played the bunny. Twice.

Ian Rotten has never worn a bunny suit to the ring, but he played bunny in real life this Easter. The baskets you see in the photo were put together by the King of Hardcore and a few of his wrestling family for some kids at a Louisville homeless shelter.

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Whatever you’ve heard about Ian Rotten, give credit where it’s due. The man has a big heart beneath all the scars.

Due to some unfortunate circumstances, Ian’s IWA Mid-South promotion is once again on hiatus, but there’s little to no chance Ian’s booked his last show. He’ll be back, and his crew and his fans will be there when it happens.

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Thank you Mickie!

Of all the people I interviewed for Eat Sleep Wrestle, few were as candid and as funny as Mickie Knuckles. She was never destined for the WWE. She was a hardcore wrestler who wasn’t afraid to step in the ring with any man – not even Ian Rotten.

Mickie announced her retirement from the ring this week. Wishing her all the best as she begins the next phase of her life and looks forward to welcoming another child.

Here’s a little something for those who were never lucky enough to see her live. It’s a No Rope Barbed Wire match with Lufisto, so please, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Enjoy.

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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.

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Catch up with Drake Younger

WWE published a great interview with Drake Wuertz on their website. Fans of IWA Mid-South, CZW, and PWG will remember Wuertz as Drake Younger, an outstanding indy wrestler with a brutal hardcore past. Wuertz signed with WWE in early 2014 and turned up on NXT in the unlikely role of a referee. While his indy fans may still be a bit disappointed, it’s clear Wuertz is happy and enjoying his role. He’s also doing a great job.

Click here to read about Drake on WWE.com

 

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Upset about the Rumble?

esw coverFirst of all… let’s not get so upset we overlook the good.

We got a terrific title match, arguably the best triple threat of all time. And they made a legitimate main event star last night. His name is Seth Rollins.

That said, many people are beyond disgruntled today, and many have gone so far as to cancel their WWE Network subscriptions.

For those who have, and for those who haven’t but are still angry about the Rumble, maybe you should give independent wrestling a try?

Eat Sleep Wrestle is a great place to start exploring wrestling beyond the WWE. After I released Bluegrass Brawlers, I went out to some indy shows to sell the book. I had the opportunity to meet some of the Midwest’s finest indy talent, and I saw some amazing matches. I was so inspired by them, I had to tell their story.

These are not superstars. These are wrestlers. The people profiled in Eat Sleep Wrestle are passionate, driven people who work as hard or harder than anyone you’ll see on Monday Night (tonight excepted, of course).

Eat Sleep Wrestle will introduce you to people like Mad Man Pondo, Chris Hero, Crazy Mary Dobson, Aaron Williams, Ron Mathis, Hy Zaya, Jamin Olivencia, Zodiak, Mickie Knuckles, Cherry Bomb, and Reed Bentley. It will make you realize there is wrestling beyond the WWE, and it will inspire you to follow your own dreams.

Yes, this is a shameless plug, but Raw isn’t live tonight, and you can get it on Kindle or Nook, why not give Eat Sleep Wrestle a try?