Aaron Williams is one of the wrestlers who made me an independent wrestling fan. That’s one reason why he’s one of the featured stars on the cover of Eat Sleep Wrestle. He’s racked up a number of credits on the resume since I started following him. He’s been a solo champion and a tag champion for numerous promotions. He’s been a competitor in CZW’s Best of the Best. He’s been a main event performer since I first met him in 2014. And he’s currently the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion.
Last night Williams added another accolade to his career. He is your 2017 Ted Petty Invitational Winner.
Congratulations to the Baddest Man Alive. Wishing you even more success in 2017 and beyond.
Back in January, I set an unusual goal for myself. I decided I want to learn Japanese.
It happened because I decided to pick up New Japan for a month just to see Wrestle Kingdom. I had trouble navigating the mixed language site, and I ended up watching the show with the Japanese commentary instead of English. I loved it, and I was intrigued. So I decided to pick up Japanese.
Just a month or two before watching Wrestle Kingdom I heard Kevin Owens tell the story of how he learned English by watching Monday Night Raw. I wondered if it was possible for an American fan to do the same watching New Japan.
Four months later, Duolingo released their Japanese language module. I’ve been working at it ever since, and in July, I re-subscribed to new Japan World. Is it working? Well, no. Not yet. I’m still very much a beginner, but I’m determined. I’m also loving New Japan way more than WWE right now. As a matter of fact I’m planning to drop the WWE Network this fall and go exclusively with New Japan.
I’ll repeat that in case you missed it. I am unplugging WWE this fall in favor of New Japan.
Fans, if you are sick of what you’re seeing on TV, there are options. Vote with your remote. Vote with your subscriber dollars. Pick up New Japan World, or CHIKARATOPIA, or CZW, or High Spots. Or drop ’em all and get the free Rasslin’ channel on Roku.
The WWE doesn’t listen to your complaints on Facebook and message boards. As long as you keep on paying your $9.99 a month, they could care less what you say on Twitter, Reddit, or any other website.
You know what they do care about? People hitting the unsubscribe button. That’s how you get their attention.
Right now, the best wrestling is not at the biggest company. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. If you are tired of being disappointed, stop setting yourself up for disappointment. Cancel the Network. Find something new. Find something you love and support that. Stop supporting the stuff that’s letting you down.
I don’t like to editorialize about the WWE, and I don’t like to go negative in this space. That said, after hearing the air get sucked out of the building at the end of the Money in the Bank match, it’s time we face some inconvenient truths.
Inconvenient Truth #1: The WWE doesn’t want to push your favorite indy stars. Over the last several years they WWE has snatched up a dream roster of independent wrestling stars, but it’s becoming clear none of these signees are ever going to be “the guy.” Styles, Owens, and Rollins have done well carrying the top belts for long periods of time, but when push comes to shove, the WWE will always favor their own.
Inconvenient Truth #2: The WWE wants the next top guy(s) to be their guys. Never mind that independent wrestlers bring not only an established fan base but experience and ring saavy to the table. The WWE still believes it can manufacture stars from scratch at its Performance Center and push them over the independents. Get used to seeing Sami Zayn staring up in frustration at the latest home grown wrestler on top of the Money in the Bank ladder. This is your new reality in the WWE.
So why does the WWE continue to mine the independents?
Inconvenient Truth #3: The WWE is spending money on independent wrestlers to bleed the indies dry of their top stars. It’s not about enhancing the roster. It’s about hurting the competition by taking away their marquee stars and using those highly paid signees to put over their chosen elect.
So what does all this mean?
Inconvenient Truth #4: Any independent star who has a WWE contract needs to consider more than just the money. That’s a hard, hard thing to do when you’re looking at going from $25 a night to the top of the business, but is the WWE really going to give you your dream shot? The roster is overcrowded. Guys who were on top all around the world are forced to job to pre-fabbed stars. Dalton Castle, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks have made the right call, staying where they are instead of taking the money for a one way ticket to obscurity. (Remember how excited we all were when Anderson and Gallows got signed?)
Of course it’s easy for the guys who are being paid well to stay put, but what about the guys struggling to make it?
Here comes the most inconvenient truth of all.
Inconvenient Truth #5: Fans who are sick of it need to seriously consider where they spend their money. If you keep paying for a product you hate and refuse to spend a dime on ROH, NJPW, High Spots, CHIKARA, CZW, or any number of alternatives. Am I suggesting you cancel your Network subscription? Not necessarily. I am saying you should stop spending all that fat cash on T-shirts and Pops and Booty-O’s Cereal and spend a little more on a wrestling product you can care about!
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: one ticket to a WWE show costs the same amount as six tickets to an independent show; or two tickets and two T-shirts; or a six month subscription to the alternative wrestling network of your choice. The money you spend there goes into the pockets of real men and women who need and appreciate it far more than a faceless corporation that long ago decided it knows better than you what you want to see.
Inconvenient Truth #6: The WWE is not about to change its ways any time soon. Indy stars will continue to take the WWE money, and Inconvenient Truths 1-3 will continue to play out.
Knowing this to be true, you have a choice. You can continue watching a product you hate and griping about it online, or you can make a choice to spend your time and hard-earned money on a wrestling show you do love.
Life’s too short to spend on these Internet rants. I’m going to find something I enjoy.
Kick off your weekend with the podcast that shines the light on the stars of tomorrow, Kick Out at Two. This weekend Righteous Jesse, the Wilkman, and Bonnaroo Brittany welcome Tony Deppen to the show for a discussion about the hardcore scene, CZW, and more.
Kick Out at Two gives you the chance to get to know rising stars and veterans with great stories. You won’t just hear how they got into the business and who they’ve wrestled. You’ll learn everything from their favorite bands to their favorite donuts.
Download the Kick Out at Two podcast every Friday on iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. And be sure to check out the March 31 episode to get the full scoop on Southern Underground Pro Wrestling’s debut show on March 23.
I have a lot of friends headed to Orlando this week, and not to see Wrestlemania. My friends are heading to Florida to do what they love most. They are going to wrestle.
Wrestlemania is the biggest wrestling event of the year. It’s become a weekend long celebration of all things WWE including Axxess, NXT, the Hall of Fame, and Raw on Monday. But that’s not even half the wrestling that will take place in Orlando this year. Wrestlers from all over the world will be plying their trade around town in multiple wrestling events.
The list below is by no means complete, but it will give you a good start to jamming as much wrestling action into the weekend as possible.
Much thanks to JB Cool and David Puente for helping me compile this list. If I’ve missed anything, please email me and I’ll be glad to add it.
Few Survive – 3/30/17 (8pm-10pm)
1. Johnny Knockout vs. Sweet Johnny Velvet
2. Johann Ramzes vs. Jaxen Blade vs. J. Spade
2. Ace Mayham vs. Soco Socorro
4. MDK vs. Anthony Jannanzo
5. Outlaw Matt Lancie vs. Deimos
6. The Hardhitta’s vs. The Guadalupe Brothers
7. Caleb Konley vs. Reggie Rhythm
FEW Florida Legends – 3/31/17 (12pm-2pm)
1. Shane Mercer vs. Hy Zaya
2. Amazing Maria vs. Alyssa Skyy
3. Judge Jack Kelley vs Dave Johnson
4. B. Psi Phi vs. Tokyo Monster Kahagas
5. Mikey McNeely vs. Zach Sommer vs. Eric Wayne
6. Apolo vs. Deimos
FEW Flares – 3/31/17 (3pm-5pm)
1. Santana Garrett vs. Aerial Monroe
2. Faye Jackson vs. Mila Naniki
3. Kaci Lennox vs. Alyssa Sky vs. Raegan Fire vs. Machiko
4. Rainbow Bright (Luscious Latasha & Gabby Gilbert) vs. The Dollhouse (Marti Belle & Rebel)
5. Lindsay Snow vs. MJ Jenkins vs. Holidead
6. Lea Nox (w/ Abudadein) vs. Britt Baker
FEW Super Party – 3/31/17 (7pm-9pm)
1. Scorpio Sky vs. 2 Cold Scorpio
2. Johann Ramzes vs. Chuckles
3. Alex Chamberlain vs. Sinn Bodhi
4.”Pope” Elijah Burke vs. Sweet Johnny Velvet
5. The Headbangers vs. Cryme Tyme
6. Gangrel vs. Moose Ojinnaka
7. JB Cool vs. Mr. 450 vs. Reggie Rhythm
FEW Lucha Show – 4/1/17 (3pm-5pm)
1. Hijo de Octagon vs. El Conejo Urbano
2. Apolo & El Diablo Rojo vs. The Guadalupe Brothers
3. Ludark vs. Lindsay Snow
4. Scorpio Sky vs. Mr. 450
5. Willie Mack vs. Bestia 666 vs. Rey Horus
6. Mariachi Loco vs. Ricardo Rodriguez
7. Ramses Silver King & Hijo de Mascara Sagrada vs. Hijo de Dr. Wagner & Gronda
FEW Mega Show (ft Micro Championship Wrestling) – 4/1/17 (7pm-9pm)
1. Mini Shiek IRAQ vs. Lieutenant Dan USA
2. King Samoa vs. Cowboy Kidd Quick MCW Championship Match
3. Huggy Cub vs. The Tiny Terror Blixx
4. Midget Rumble
5. Aaron Solow vs. Ricky Starks vs. Facade
6. Lea Nox vs. MJ Jenkins
7. Cryme Tyme & Huggy Cub vs. The Headbangers & Hornswoggle
Righteous Jesse told me they have Shlak on the Kick Out at Two Podcast this week. I hadn’t heard the name before, so I looked him up. Here, in his own words from his Twitter profile, is Shlak:
“I R SHLAK. pro wrestling crash test dummy, I tattooer at black vulture, I in eat the turnbuckle, crack house, n other bands.”
And here is another quote I found on his feed:
“Guns don’t kill people. SHLAK kills people.”
Kick Out at Two is a must-subscribe for die hard indy fans because they bring you guys like Shlak all the time. Get to know the intense, ultra-violent deathmatch veteran on this week’s episode, then go back and see who you’ve missed. Let Jesse, the Wilkman, and Brittany be your gateway into the wild world of independent wrestling.
While you were complaining about about the promotion that you routinely pay $9.99 a month to watch, CZW, High Spots, CHIKARA, Rockstar Pro, and others have tried to offer you alternatives – some for less, some for free!
While you were complaining about an ugly title belt, Matt Hardy was busy blowing up the Internet by deleting his own brother.
And lest we forget, you could have been enjoying an independent show where a ticket and a T-shirt costs less than an upper level ticket you complained about buying for the so-called “only” promotion left.
It almost makes you wonder: do the people who complain incessantly about title belts and ticket prices more in love with wrestling or whining?
If you answered wrestling, prove it. Stop complaining and take action. Put your money where your mouth is.
I’m not telling you to cancel your $9.99 subscription. As good as NXT and the CWC have been, you’d be a fool to back out now. But I am telling you to go see a local show, or subscribe to a second network, or look around Youtube and discover what’s out there to watch for free. If even a fraction of the whiners would invest just a few dollars a month in independent wrestling, we might really change the landscape of pro wrestling today.
Support what you love. Stop complaining about what you hate. Prove that you’re a fan and not just a whiner. Let’s pour some fuel on the fire if this indy revolution.
Kick Out At Two Podcast returns this week with CZW’s Jeff Cannonball. The 29 year New Jersey native is a death match specialist. Let’s hope Righteous Jesse, the Wilkman, and Britt can get out of this one with no visible scars.
Give Jeff a look in the match below, then go to iTunes or Soundcloud to download the Kick Out at Two Podcast.
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.