Not the blog, but the book, chronicling the stories of people like Mad Man Pondo, Aaron Williams, Tyson Dux, Marc Hauss, Eric Emanon, Mickie Knuckles, and Crazy Mary Dobson?
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If you’ve been following the Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE network, you saw the outstanding match last week between Zach Sabre, Jr., and Canada’s Tyson Dux. Dux was one of the featured wrestlers in my 2014 book, Eat Sleep Wrestle. Dux is no stranger to the WWE, and he was once hours away from signing with the WWE when an injury took his dream away.
Dux is now 38, and Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan kept telling viewers that this was his “last chance” to fulfill his dream. Zach Sabre, Jr., may have picked up the win, but Dux proved he is far from done with this business.
” I’m very proud of that match,” says Dux, who is quick to dismiss any talk about last chances. “I have lots of fuel left in my tank.”
When Dux heard about the Cruiserweight Challenge, he immediately reached out to an old acquaintance, William Regal. Dux was once a regular enhancement talent for the WWE, and he was hopeful they had not forgotten him. “[Regal] got back to me saying send my stuff immediately. The rest played out the way it did.”
Dux says being back with the WWE was like coming home, and the WWE did their best to make the international roster feel welcome. “All 32 of us were treated like stars. Absolutely no complaints.”
Dux has high hopes for the future, and he’s hopeful that future includes a return to Orlando. “My goal is NXT, to be a part of the roster, and after a few years, transition into coaching. Only time will tell.”
Fans can see more of Dux on the independent scene. Dux can be found @tysondux on Instagram and Twitter, and he keeps both pages regularly updated with his schedule.
And if you haven’t seen it already, be sure to catch his bout with Zach Sabre, Jr., on the WWE Network.
Tyson Dux may not hold the record for the most matches on WWE television without a contract, but he’s way up there. Dux was such a regular face in the WWE locker room at one time, Stephanie McMahon thought he was already in their developmental system. Dux kept asking for a deal, and McMahon finally agreed to meet with him and John Laurinitis one night after Raw. That night, before the meeting could take place, Dux blew out his knee in a match against Mark Jindrak.
“Dean Malenko helped me to the back,” he said. “I was leaning against some production crates, waiting to see the trainer, when Johnny Ace came up and put his arm around me. ‘Tough break, kid,’ he said. I knew then I wasn’t getting signed.”
It’s been years since Tyson Dux saw his WWE dream vanish in one night, but this summer, the WWE Universe will get a chance to see him showcase his talents in the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Challenge.
It was my privilege to interview Tyson for my second wrestling book, and I’m excited to watch him take part in this historic tournament. You can read his story and many other indy wrestling tales in Eat Sleep Wrestle, only $9.99 in paperback and $2.99 on Kindle.
More importantly, be watching for Tyson and 31 other competitors this summer in the Cruiserweight Challenge.
Let’s get one thing straight, WWE marks: Solomon Crowe did not leave NXT. Sami Callihan went home.
I don’t know Sami personally, nor do I know the details of his leaving NXT. I can however assure you that NXT’s loss is the independent scene’s gain.
Sami brings name value to the indy shows he will wrestle in the near future thanks to his recent run with NXT, and that’s great. But for every guy like Sami who gets a shot at the WWE Performance Center, there are dozens putting their bodies on the line in warehouses and gymnasiums and arenas who keep being overlooked.
I don’t say that to demean Sami or anything he has accomplished. That’s a testament to the strength of the current indy wrestling scene.
Not every promotion is equal, but there are more than enough good promotions and good wrestlers out there that you can find one near you that will give you far more bang for your buck than a WWE live event.
If you enjoyed Sami in NXT, go support him when he comes to your town. Be on the look out for other hard working guys like Tim Donst (who beat cancer this year) and Chris Hero (who wrestled over 3 house straight for charity). Check out the Indy Card Mafia, Aaron Williams, Tyson Dux, Mitchell Huff, Marc Hauss, Dash Sullivan, and Daniel Eads.
If you’re a fan of the NXT ladies, annoyed that Sasha Banks has hardly set foot in a ring since her call up, you’re really in luck. The indy women’s scene is booming. Leva Bates, aka Blue Pants, is out there, but she’s only the tip of the iceberg. Mary Elizabeth Monroe, Tessa Blanchard, Havok, LuFisto, Crazy Mary Dobson, and Heidi Lovelace are just a handful of the women who are a threat to steal the show any time they are booked.
It’s almost December. It’s dark outside before 6 pm, and it’s too cold to be outside. This is a great month to go out and see some live wrestling. Support the indy stars by buying a ticket. Get a DVD or a T-shirt for someone on you Christmas list, and buy direct from one of the wrestlers. That way you’re putting some Christmas money in their pocket as well.
Sami Callihan’s best days are not behind him. The indy scene is the future, and the men and women of the indies need our support.
Many 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.