Wednesday, December 26, 2007

TOXIC WALTZ Preview, The Patriots & Thoughts on 2007

NECW is presenting its final event of 2007 this coming Friday night at the Armory in Quincy, MA. THE TOXIC WALTZ is one of our "signature events" - an event unique to NECW that is one of the high points of the year.

Before I even get to the WALTZ, we made a decision about a month ago to change the date of this event. It was supposed to be Saturday night, December 29th, but seeing that the New England Patriots could be deciding a potential undefeated season, we moved the show to the prior night. Hell, I want to stay home and watch that! So yes Virginia, you can enjoy NECW and the New England Patriots too.

If you're in the Boston area, or drivably close, THE TOXIC WALTZ is an event you want to go out of your way for. THE TOXIC WALTZ is a tradition dating back to 1998 in Mayhem Wrestling. It is one of the most unique concept matches I have ever heard of - a 10 man gauntlet match, with a unique twist and a very important reward. Nine men are selected. Two men begin and the loser of each fall chooses the winner's next opponent. The final loser can chose anyone in or out of NECW to face the last contestant, and the winner gets a shot at the NECW Triple Crown Championship in February at GENESIS 7. The loser of each fall picking the winner's opponent means anyone could face anyone - friend may be forced to battle friend. It's a one-of-a-kind bout where anything can happen.

The participants already signed for THE TOXIC WALTZ include: Former Triple Crown Champion, D.C. Dillinger, 2006-2007 IRON 8 Champion, “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards, “The Golden Greek” Alex Arion, Michael Sain, “The Human Nightmare” Evan Siks, Antonio “The Promise” Thomas, “The Talent” T. J. Richter, Scott Osbourne and Matt Spectro. The 10th man can be anyone in or out of NECW. This is an interesting field full of former titleholders, any and all of whom are still threats to the Triple Crown in NECW. This is one where anyone can end up on top and the winner will dictate the course of NECW for months to come.

We also have the huge rematch between NECW Triple Crown Champion, "Straight Edge" Brian Fury and Big Rick Fuller. Last month, Fuller won the match via count out, when Fury was distracted by Antonio Thomas. This time, no one will be allowed at ringside - not Fuller's manager, Brian Cairo, not Antonio Thomas, or anyone else, as I have stipulated that if anyone interferes in the match, they are gone from NECW. Last month, Fury gave Fuller an amazing fight and showed that he could more than hold his own against the big man. Fuller has a size, power and experience advantage that makes the champion the underdog in what will be an epic rematch.

NECW Television Champion, Brandon Locke defends his title against top contender, Handsome Johnny. The Handsome One is one of the top talents in the area and he is an asset to any locker room. He'll be a title holder in NECW in the future if he wants it bad enough. That being said, Brandon Locke has taken off like a rocket in NECW this year and rockets are hard to catch.

World Women's Wrestling Champion, Lexxus puts the gold on the line against newcomer, Sammi Lane, making her debut in Quincy. It will be interesting to see what Sammi Lane brings to the women's division. Lexxus has really blossomed into a strong and effective champion and her best days are in front of her.

Plus D.C. Dillinger says he and Alex Arion will confront each other face to face at THE TOXIC WALTZ. This past week on NECW TV, you saw Dillinger put Frankie Arion on the shelf permanently in NECW. Alex Arion is not going to let that pass without collecting some serious retribution.

In addition, there will be a tag team title qualifying match pitting the team of Dave Cole and Scott Osbourne against the duo of Chase Del Monte and "The Rocket" Fred Curry. These four are all great competitors. Cole was one half of the Canadian Superstars and held the tag belts for a year. That's all that needs to be said about his credentials. Scott Osbourne is going to be a very big deal in this business if he keeps moving forward like he has been. Del Monte is a great talent, who has yet to land in a position where he can really show off his potential. "The Rocket" Fred Curry is a guy who has so much potential and just needs a shot of confidence and the focus to pull his game together enough to where he can make an impact. This will be a very interesting bout to watch.

We have another tradition in NECW and that's our annual calendar. We always give then away at the last show of the year as a gift to our fans for their support. We do our very best to earn your patronage each and every time we open the doors.

2007 was an extraordinary year for us. I really believe that this incarnation of NECW is the best roster we have ever had. We have had some incredible matches, some compelling feuds and it has worked because we often drew more than other shows in the area with so-called "big names."

Please join us Friday night for what is going to be a really terrific night of wrestling. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Wishes, Bravo Kofi, TOXIC WALTZ

Is it me, or did this holiday season seem to be upon us too fast? What used to be a happy, spirited time of year just seems like a rush and a blur these days. That's probably a comment on our over-worked society more than anything else.

In any case, I hope you have a great holiday season and that at least one good wish of yours comes true.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nice to see Kofi Kingston getting called up to ECW with a push. Kofi worked for NECW a bit in 2006 before getting signed to a WWE developmental contract.

Kofi is a great guy, a first class individual and a terrific talent. You'll see him do great things because he had the right blend of undeniable charisma, quality athletics and the open minded respectful attitude that comes along with being a great student of the game.

I am looking forward to following what I think is going to be a stellar career for a very gifted and deserving man.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lots of things in the works for 2008 that I can't talk about yet, but I am looking forward to a great new year.

Before we get there though, NECW has its final event of 2007, THE TOXIC WALTZ, on Friday night, December 28 at the National Guard Armory in Quincy, MA.

THE TOXIC WALTZ is something that was originally developed in Mayhem Wrestling, was carried over into PWF Northeast and now into NECW. It's one of the most original concept matches I've ever heard of and something I am so proud to have as part of the promotion.

The idea is pretty simple. It's a 10 man gauntlet match, where the loser of each fall picks the winner's next opponent. Lots of interesting possibilities come out of this and that's what makes it such a brilliant concept.

This is one you don't want to miss. Check it out at

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Book Review: Bret Hart: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling

"To me there is something bordering on beautiful about a brotherhood of big tough men who pretended to hurt one another for a living instead of actually
doing it"
- Bret Hart

"Bret Hart: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling" is a powerful, roller coaster of a book - a journey through hard times, triumph, tragedy and survival. Bret Hart's is a life like few others have ever lived.

The book is based on an audio diary that Bret kept through his entire career starting in his early twenties. The pictures and details aren't always pretty, but they never fail to fascinate. Even at 553 pages, I found it hard to put the book down.

The Bret Hart revealed in this book is a diamond with many facets and unashamed to hide it's flaws. On one hand, you have the wrestling hero - a loyal, dilligent and often brilliant artist of the squared circle. Then you have the troubled husband finding solace in the temptaions of the road, the loving father, the prodigal son at odds with his siblings and the man trying to stay on track while personal tragedy and professional disappointment take their shots at him.

One of the things that comes through in the book is that the greatest love of Bret Hart's life was wrestling. There are those in the business who have criticized him for taking himself and the business too seriously. The book confirms my opinion that most people who are in it today don't take it seriously enough. Bret's book is a look at how pro wrestling has changed and not in too many ways for the better. Bret's example of hard work, loyalty and doing what's right for the business are qualities that both wrestlers and people in any field of endeavor would be well served to emulate.

If you are in the wrestling business or a student of it, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Even if you are not a wrestling fan, Bret Hart's incredible life is a literary adventure well worth taking.

I am still stunned over how well done this book is. Bret wraps his life up perfectly for us and I found much of it very moving. When I was finished with the book, I wanted to shake his hand, thank him and just chat about what I'd read.

As a wrestling promoter, it saddens me that we don't have Bret Hart in our business anymore. He has so much to give with his knowledge and as a personal influence, that it strikes me as so unfortunate that Bret couldn't make himself a presence in wrestling, even if it were strictly behind the scenes. Bret talks in his book about playing a wrestling hero, but in so many ways, he became a very real one and is even moreso in my eyes after reading this great book.

Toys for Tots Signing, Killer Kowalski & more

It was a fun day today for a good cause at West Real Estate in Wilmington, MA, as we participated in an autograph signing to benefit Toys for Tots.

Our Chris Sullivan did a great job putting this together with Frank and Karen West who have been doing these signings for the past several years.

This was a really well attended event that featured the legendary Walter "Killer" Kowalski, and in a rare show of babyface compassion, D.C. Dillinger and Sean Gorman actually signed autographs. If you ever been around NECW shows, you know that Dillinger and Gorman signing autographs is about as common as Haley's Comet making a pass.

A ton of toys were donated and I had fun chatting with some of the folks who come by. We even had a couple of guys from PA who were up in the area and donated a whole box of new unwrapped toys.

Frank had a pretty impressive collection of vintage programs and memorabilia on hand. One woman who came by named Ann had a really impressive autograph book with a ton of autographs from the top stars of the 50's. She talked about going to some of the tapings of the original "Bedlam from Boston" TV show in the late 1950's that aired on WBZ-TV.

It was really nice to see Walter Kowalski and his wife Theresa, whom I hadn't seen in a quite a while.

On the ride home, I thought to myself about how much Walter has done in the wrestling business - not just when he was active, but afterwards as well. Kowalski was always generous with his time and stories and not many men who who achieved so much in their field of endeavor are like that. He could have very well kept his knowledge to himself. Instead, he's touched the lives of hundreds of men and women who have become a part of pro wrestling and unselfishly shared his greatness with all of them, myself included.

The man is a true treasure.

We will be back at West Real Estate, 386 Main Street in Wilmington, MA, next Sunday, November 25 from 12 noon to 2 PM.

For a small fee of $5 or a new unwrapped toy you will receive a signed photo of all the stars at the signing. There will be refreshments, a DVD of different NECW matches going, and a special raffle with some great prizes and all money going to Toys for Tots.

On Sunday, November 25 it will be Antonio "The Promise" Thomas, "Mad Dog" Matt Storm, "The Human Nightmare" Evan Siks and Brian Cairo signing autographs. Please come out and see us and do something great for children who would have no toys this holiday otherwise.

For more information go to (West Real Estate's website)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tony Rumble, More on Moolah, Jericho's Book

It was 8 years ago this week - November 13, 1999 - that "The Boston Bad Boy" Tony Rumble dies of a massive heart attack at the age of 43.

If you were part of the wrestling scene in this area at that time, you know how much of an impact Tony Rumble and his NWA New England promotion had around here. His passing left a void that will never be filled.

Rumble was a unique character. He made his fame as a wrestler, announcer and producer for Mario Savoldi's ICW in the 80's and early 90's. While, by his own admission, he was not a great wrestler, he was one of the great personalities and a talented booker and TV producer. He was able to take a crew of the good, the bad and the goofy and turn them into an entertaining product. He was also a streetwise promoter who built a solid sold show business second to none. His friendships with guys he worked with in ICW, who went on to become major stars, helped elevate the local business and opened doors for many local talents who went on to work for WCW and the then WWF. He would be as proud of guys he knew who made it, as if he made it himself.

More than any of that, Tony Rumble was a very close friend in a business where few real friends are made. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him and wonder what he would think of what our business has become. I would not be surprised to hear him say in that inimitable way of his, "Wow Goldberg, what a bunch of half-wits."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dave Meltzer had a great obituary on The Fabulous Moolah, along with a history of women's wrestling in U.S. in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter last week.
Moolah is not a member of of the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame and in Dave's article he goes into the pros and cons of her career and what works against her for Hall of Fame consideration.
One of Dave's issues is that Moolah was never really a money draw and seldom a main event attraction.
I think you have to see the bigger picture with Moolah. She came around at a time when women's wrestling was simply a special attraction used to spice up cards, much like the midgets and specialty acts like Haystacks Calhoun or Andre The Giant. The women generally weren't booked as consistent acts with programs and angles and that was how the promoters of the day did business. Moolah just provided them with an attraction, keeping herself as the top female star. Had the promoters of the era shown interest in making women consistent pushed characters, there would be more validity to that argument.
I would say that Moolah herself was a solid mid-card attraction. Anytime she appeared on a card and the promoter could bill a World Title match, it added something special to the hype for that particular show. I know as a young fan in the late 60's and 70's, I always had my interest piqued anytime Moolah was on the bill.
Moolah survived and thrived in a mans world and she should be recognized for having kept women's wrestling in business for decades. I have my doubts that women's wrestling would have fared much better without her booking the girls. In that era, most likely someone else would have come along and did the same thing.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I've been busy with a number of non-wrestling projects these past few weeks and have been getting a fair amount of reading in.
Chris Jericho's book, "A Lion's Tale," is a laugh-out-loud fun read. Jericho is a great writer and storyteller who takes you through his career up to his WWF debut.
Anyone who was worked in the business will appreciate Jericho's story all the more. In fact, younger wrestlers who are just starting out should be required to read it.
Even if you don't like wrestling, it's a great book about one man's journey through a strange and often bizarre world to realize a boyhood dream.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Remembering The Fabulous Moolah

Lillian Ellison, better known to you as The Fabulous Moolah, was one of a kind.

I have been very fortunate to have met and befriended many of the legends of wrestling that I watched growing up. It was a special honor to be able to say that Moolah was a friend.

In the 90's, I started going out to Las Vegas every year for Moolah's LIWA (Ladies International Wrestling Association) conventions. The LIWA was essentially a lady wrestler's reunion, with a banquet and awards and an all girl's show featuring many of the older girls. They were some of the best times I've ever had around wrestling, and Moolah was the ever-gracious hostess.

She loved wrestling more than anything apart from family, and if you loved wrestling and respected the girls, she loved you too and treated you like an extended family member.

She inspired me to promote women's wrestling and I will always be grateful for her insight into the business as well as her friendship.

I will follow this up with more historical insight at another time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fury Announced for ECWA's Super 8 Tournament

NECW Triple Crown Champion, "Straight Edge" Brian Fury was announced as one of the competitors in this year's Super 8 Tournament, presented by the East Coast Wrestling Association and taking place on Saturday night, November 10 in Newark, Delaware.

This is the 11th annual Super 8 Tournament, which has become the premiere event of the independent wrestling world.

ECWA, which has been in business since 1967 under promoter Jim Kettner, is the longest running independent company in America. I am not ashamed to tell you that ECWA has been a big influence on me as a promoter. Jim Kettner is a first class gentleman and a true credit to the sport of professional wrestling.

There are a lot of wrestlers based here in New England who are extremely underrated outside of our area, and for years, Brian Fury has been one of them. I am thrilled for Brian and am glad he's getting such a richly deserved recognition.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Book Review: Brody by Larry Matysik & Barbara Goodish

People may complain about the current era of pro wrestling in terms of the product being put out by WWE, TNA and others, but this era is noteworthy for a new value placed on the history of pro wrestling. This era, having been launched by the success of the A&E special The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling, and by Mick Foley's first best selling book, has produced a rash of wrestling books and some unique looks into the people and events that have shaped this industry we call professional wrestling.

Brody, by Larry Matysik and Barbara Goodish, is the story of the late, great Bruiser Brody (real name Frank Goodish). Brody, who murdered in a dressing room in Puerto Rico in 1988, was one of the top stars in the history of the mat game - a fiercely independent bear of a man, who was highly intelligent both in and out of the ring, as well as being a great friend, father and husband.

Brody is a fascinating and compelling book on many levels. The book chapters are written alternately by Matysik (the protege of the late NWA founder and St. Louis promoter, Sam Munchnik) and Barbara Goodish (Frank's widow). A balance is struck between Bruiser Brody and he what he meant to pro wrestling and Frank Goodish and who the man was behind the character of Bruiser Brody. The result of this choice is a book that is as informative and thought provoking as it is tragic and compelling.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is the discussion of the what the wrestling world was going through in the mid to late 1980's and the total upheaval of the pro wrestling business as Vince McMahon began his national expansion of the then WWF, and the world that was then called "independent wrestling."

Bruiser Body was an icon and an idol for many who were in the wrestling business during his sadly curtailed career. I remember my dear friend, the late "Boston Bad Boy" Tony Rumble speaking in reverential tones about Brody and what a great friend he was and what a great credit to the business he was.

Brody, who made his greatest impact as a star in Japan, was not really a part of the great national TV era of the 80's. The book speculates on what might have happened had Brody lived longer. It is a shame that younger fans who did not live in the territory era, did not get the chance to experience Bruiser Brody and understand his impact first hand, and another reason that this book is such a treasure.

Brody is one of the greatest wrestling biographies ever - brilliantly written, emotionally charged and a fitting tribute to a pivotal figure in the annals of professional wrestling.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Book Review: Pain And Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling

"Pain and Passion" is the perfect title for Calgary Herald reporter Heath McCoy's chonicle of the history of Stampede Wrestling and the legendary Hart family. Those few words sum up the experience of the professional wrestling business - the ups and downs, the triumphs and tragedies.

The book plays out like a sweeping epic, from the bitter childhood and hard life of patriarch Stu Hart to the rise and fall of Stampede as a full time territory to the numerous Hart family tragedies to the resurrection of Stampede as a small independent company and the next generation of Hart kids up to and including the Chris Benoit tragedy.

One could argue about which old time territory was the greatest, but there is no denying that Stampede was one of the most influential operations in the history of pro wrestling. The talent that came through Stampede over the years is staggering. This is a fair and balanced "warts and all" type of story. The author's skill as a journalist is also balanced by his obvious fondness for the glory days of the territory.

In the introduction, McCoy says that "the game has lost something special,' a statement that I wholeheartedly agree with and one that applies to all professional sports today. In "Pain and Passion," McCoy deftly captures and conveys that "something special" that made Stampede and the territory era one those of us that grew up in it remember with reverance.

The saga of the Hart family itself is fascinating reading. Even if you were not a wrestling fan, it would be hard not to be intrigued by the Harts and all the personalities within the family.

If you are a true student of the wrestling business, I can't recommend a book more strongly than this one.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Post BIRTHDAY BASH 7 Notes, Best of 2006 DVD

I am 48 hours removed from BIRTHDAY BASH 7 and have still not come down from the experience yet.

Saturday night's anniversary event may well have been the greatest card in company history.

It had the big show atmosphere, the crowd anticipation and great talent that elevated themselves and great matches to boot. NECW put its best foot forward Saturday night and if you were there and I didn't get to say it to you directly, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

In the locker room before the show, I told everyone that in the last 18 months the company has become what I believe independent pro wrestling can and should be. NECW is on a march to fully realize its potential. We aren't all the way there yet, but anyone who was there Saturday night could see it in the ring and feel it in the air.

As a promoter, I get the most satifaction from seeing people live their dream. I believe if you can make someone's dream come true or at least give them the boost they need to reach it, then you have done something special and eventually that comes back to you.

I also get a great amount of satisfaction from seeing the fans enjoy themselves and get in to the matches. We are blessed with a lot of great fans and there were people at the show Saturday night that have been following NECW since the beginning. I can't even express what a priviledge that is, and one I never take for granted.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Our new Best of 2006 DVD is now available online, along with the new WWW DVD, Pick Your Poison.

Best of 2006 really moved off the table Saturday night. I am very proud of this release and highly recommend this 2 disc DVD, as it is a tremendous representation of NECW & World Women's Wrestling.

Watch the trailer by clicking here. Check out the match list and order online by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Last Sunday's World Women's Wrestling event was a terrific event in front of another full house at Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA. Congratulations to Lexxus who defeated Tanya Lee, along with Jana and Natalia to become the 3rd World Women's Wrestling Champion in a bout that quite simply has to be seen to be believed. Ths was one of the most intense title matches we've presented and one of the wildest bouts in the history of the company. I see Lexxus as someone who will really rise to the occasion in the role of champion and I look forward to seeing her defend the title.

Jana suffered a mild concussion in that title match and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. She was able to go home the same night and will be fine with a couple of weeks rest. Jana is a true bright spot in World Women's Wrestling and someone who has a lot to give to our business.

Luscious Latasha made her debut Sunday night, so the Soul Sistahs (Jana & Latasha) are united now in WWW. Lastasha was impressive in her bout with former NECW Women's Champ, Violet Flame and will be another "impact player" in the promotion.

Some thoughts on Tanya Lee, whose 10 month reign as champion was halted this past Sunday. It's possible that she could recapture that title, as she does have a rematch scheduled for this coming Saturday at BIRTHDAY BASH 7. However, Tanya deserves props for her perfomance as WWW Champion. She has had some terrific matches and is still young enough to grow even more as a wrestler, should she apply herself to that end. She has looks, talent, athletic ability and is only scratching the surface of her capabilities.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

NECW Home Video has two new DVD's that are done and coming out on the market shortly.

World Women's Wrestling's PICK YOUR POISON was a great night of action from February 25, 2007. The main event of Tanya Lee vs. Nikki Roxx is worth the price of the DVD alone.

NECW's Best of 2006 is a long-awaited release that will be available at BIRTHDAY BASH 7 this weekend and online the following week. This is a special 2 disc set of the best matches of the past year. There are 12 full length bouts on the two discs, and roughly 7 hours of great matches. Three of those bouts are World Women's Wrestling matches. This is really a great representation of what NECW and WWW are all about and I am really excited about this release.

We hope to be stepping up our DVD releases and we have a couple more titles in the works that should be available in the next 60 days.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This Saturday night is BIRTHDAY BASH 7: CAGED FURY, the 7th anniversary of New England Championship Wrestling.

The story of NECW is a story of making positives out of negatives and trying to make our company and our business better as we go along. Our seven years of continuous operation, innovative concepts, like NECW TV, great cards and great local stars speaks for itself.

This could not be done without the staff, the wrestlers and the fans. I am also blessed with great partners who have embraced my vision of what wrestling in New England can and should be and have worked hard with me side-by-side to make that vision a reality.

Saturday night is about the triumph of local stars and local promotion. I promise you an unforgettable night of action that the true fan will not want to miss. I look forward to seeing you there on Saturday night and will look forward to thanking as many of you as posible in person for your support.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

NECW TV Celebrates 100 Episodes

This week, NECW celebrates the 100th episode of our original Internet television broadcast, NECW TV.

It's an interesting show this week, featuring classic clips from past shows, current bouts and promos as we lead up to World Women's Wrestling this Sunday in Somerville, MA and the 7th anniversary of NECW, BIRTHDAY BASH 7: CAGED FURY at the National Guard Armory in Quincy, MA on Saturday night, August 18th.

I have a lot of pride in NECW TV (no pun intended, referring to the tag team of the same name) because it was a true innovation at the time in a business where innovations are few and far between.

NECW TV began in November 2004 as an attempt to create an alternate means to distribute a TV product for New England Championship Wrestling. Our other choice at the time was cable access, which has to be placed town by town and requires a lot of bicycling tapes or discs around. By going directly on line, we gave our Internet audience another way to follow our promotion and our fans attending our live events a way to stay engaged with NECW bteween shows. It also gave our talent the valuable experience of performing for television, as well as giving the booking structure and focus.

As soon as we started posting episodes, imitators started popping up. There are now dozens of independent companies that distribute shows on line, giving them an economical means to give voice to their product. Wrestling fans worldwide have been given an alternative to WWE and TNA. While it is not a substitute for conventional TV, it is a real means of getting significant exposure.

When I first posed the idea to my crew at the time, there were people who looked at me like I was nuts. "Who's going to watch wrestling on a computer?," they asked. NECW TV is currently seen by anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 viewers per week from over 60 countries.

Behind this 100 episode effort is a very dedicated crew. I thank my partners Matt West and Kyle White, along with talent coordinator George Carroll, local promoter Paul Richard, plus Bryan, Mike, Jonathan and entire NECW and WWW roster for keeping this vision alive and helping it grow into the great representation of our business it has become.

Make sure you check out the shows at!

Thanks for watching!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Catching Up: Notes On Recent Shows, WWW This Sunday & More

It's been busy times here and we've got some catching up to do.

The June 30th NECW show in Quincy was another great house and another great night of action. It was especially good to see Fergal Devitt back in NECW - at least for one night - as he faced West Perth, Australia's Mikey Nichols in a first round NWA World Title Tournament match. This was a great bout with Fergal, the adopted home town hero, getting the "w."

Fergal, who spent a few months with us about a year and a half back, has become a rarity in the business - a foreign wrestling living and working full-time in Japan. "Prince" Fergal Devitt is a top young star with New Japan Pro Wrestling and is a name you will be hearing much more about in the years to come. Mikey Nicholls proved himself to be a great young star as well and another one who is a future superstar. If you were there on June 30th, you saw two of the wrestling world's best kept secrets in action.

The July 20th NECW show in Quincy was a tremendous event as well. The big news coming out of that card was "Straight Edge" Brian Fury finally getting the #1 contender's spot and facing D.C. Dillinger for the Triple Crown at BIRTHDAY BASH 7, Saturday night, August 18th inside a steel cage.

Fury has really come on strong since coming back from when Dillinger injured him in December. He's wrestled some of his best matches since that time as well, including his performance in the IRON 8 and last Friday epic battle with "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards. Does that mean Fury is a lock to defeat Dillinger in the cage? I'm not so sure.

In spite of all of his underhanded tactics and the those of the Dynasty, D.C. Dillinger has become a great wrestler in the past year. In my opinion, Dillinger hasn't had a bad match since becoming champion. The cage is indeed a weapon and with that added factor, it could be the champion with the advantage, though I think this one may be too close to call. One thing is certain. These guys are going to go out and give it 1000% at BIRTHDAY BASH 7, and you'd be wise not to miss it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Speaking of things you shouldn't miss, World Women's Wrestling returns this coming Sunday, August 12 at Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA. It's a 7 PM bell time and it should be a wild night of action.

One of the great feuds this year has been Tanya Lee and Lexxus. This should be a barn burner of a bout as these two have really stepped it up in recent battles.

If you haven't seen World Women's Wrestling, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Simply put, WWW is the most unique pro wrestling promotion in America. Yeah, I know Shimmer gets all the "indy buzz," but WWW is something different. Not a collection of matches, but a real women's pro wrestling promotion.

I hope to see you there.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Later this week, and I'll have a separate post dedicated to it, we will be uploading the 100th episode of NECW TV.

In the TV world, that's quite a milestone. We will have some classic clips on the show, as well as current matches and promos leading up to WWW and BIRTHDAY BASH 7. It will be a must-see episode, so look for it later this week.

Thoughts On Wrestling History, A&E Special & Book Review: National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling

The history of pro wrestling is a subject that is near and dear to me for a lot of reasons. Pro wrestling was never a business that relished its past as much as it should have. As a result, many important facts, figures, personalities, footage and stories that shaped this uniquely American creation called professional wrestling have vanished into the mists of time.

In 1996, I was contacted by a producer from a company called Actuality Productions. They were working on a TV special for the A&E Network which they described as a 2 hour history of professional wrestling and they were looking for people to assist them on this project. I asked the producer, Bob Ziel and his boss Chris Mortenson, how they viewed the project, what they knew about pro wrestling and what their notions about it were. Ziel said that he had very little knowledge of pro wrestling and had no preconceived ideas about it. Chris Mortenson said that he wanted to do the subject justice and not simply make fun of it. For me, that was the right answer, and I provided them with names, phone numbers, sources of footage, photos and advice. I even convinced a few people that they needed to participate.

After all, here was a TV network that was going to devote two prime time hours to the history of pro wrestling, what better opportunity would the legends have to tell their story.

I was unexpectedly asked by the producers to appear on camera in the role of "wrestling historian" to provide some commentary to fill some gaps in the special.

The end result was a program called "The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling" and when it first aired it was the highest rated program in the history of the A&E Network. I believe it is their largest selling home video of all time.

While the special was criticized by many for being inaccurate and leaving out many key figures, I thought that it was well produced and a decent thumbnail sketch of how we got from what pro wrestling was to what it is. No one is going to get a history of 100 years of anything 100 percent right in two television hours.

"The Unreal Story" did make an invaluable contribution to the business of pro wrestling. It made millions of people aware that pro wrestling did indeed have a history. It proved that people were just as interested in the past as they were in the present. And an imperfect history often breeds other attempts. "The Unreal Story" spawned the interest in more TV specials and documentaries, books by former greats and the marketing of older footage into videos, DVD's and the creation of WWE's 24/7 Video On Demand service.

A&E still shows 'The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling" from time to time. I am very proud of that special for what it was, and just as proud for what it inspired.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I just finished reading "National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling" by Tim Hornbaker, published by ECW Press.

If you are an aficionado of wrestling history or someone who is interested in the subject, this book is an essential volume in your library of wrestling literature.

It tells the story of the National Wrestling Alliance, formed in 1948 by a group of promoters who were being frozen out of booking key talent by the wrestling syndicates and cartels of the day. The NWA sought to be a fair governing organization that not only shared talent with its members and friends, but sanctioned a single set of World Champions and built a positive image for the sport.

By the 1950's, the NWA became the preeminent authority in pro wrestling. It boasted roughly 40 member promoters worldwide at its peak. In becoming the powerhouse conglomerate it turned into, the NWA promoters employed some of the same tactics it was formed to combat, such as blacklisting of wrestlers who took sides against member promoters. It also used questionable tactics to stifle competition against its members.

These practices brought complaints, which eventually brought the attention of the Federal government to the NWA, and a 1956 investigation into anti-trust violations. The case was settled by the promoters signing a "consent decree," which acknowledged past unfair practices and promised not to engage in them past that point.

Tim Hornbaker's book chronicles this period well and the book is a treasure trove of information on the key figures of the era, many of whom would be totally unfamiliar to today's fan.

Just reading about the roles of men like Sam Munchnik, Pinkie George and the true father of pro wrestling, Joseph "Toots" Mondt, make this book a must-read.

The 372 page volume, while generously packed with information, is not without its flaws.

The book suffers, in my opinion, from being too ambitious. While trying to cover every aspect of the NWA from its formation to its decline to it's current incarnation, some of the information is glossed over or not given the proper depth or context.

For example, when discussing the current incarnation of the NWA, Horbaker does not explain the difference between the territories of old, which were full time offices, and the independent promoters who banded under the NWA banner under the late Dennis Coralluzzo, who were all small, part time operators.

Some of the book's subjects cry out for volumes of their own. Toots Mondt and Pinkie George are just two of the figures that I wanted to know more about. Ditto Vince McMahon Sr. This I don't consider a flaw, but the real triumph of Hornbaker's book. It gives you a lot of food for thought, but leaves you wanting more.

In spite of its shortcomings, "National Wrestling Alliance" is an important book I would recommend as being absolutely worth your time.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Steroids On The Indy Scene

Bix replied to my last post and wrote:

"On this level of the business, the monies made don't support a drug-fueled lifestyle."Then explain the physiques of much of the ROH roster, which includes a wrestler whose gimmick is that he is on steroids.There are also plenty of roided up guys in indies much smaller than ROH. It's disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

Bix, I am not suggesting that no one on the indys takes steroids. My point was that the money one makes as an independent wrestler isn't so great that you could support a significant drug habit on it. As long as the national companies put a premium on the bodybuilder physique, and endorse cosmetics over talent, people who want those spots badly enough will turn to whatever aids them in reaching that goal. Are you suggesting that ROH encourages steroid use? I highly doubt that.

I can't say for certain what other promotions do, but I can say what NECW does. We push people based on working ability, not based on physique.

The most important thing that we can do as a wrestling promotion is to continue to operate with that standard and have success with it. Meaningful change comes when you lead by example.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Weekend Notes & Even More Benoit Fallout

I want to thank all the great fans who showed up to support NECW this past Saturday night in Quincy. This was just a great night of action and you should kick yourself if you missed it, because this one was something special. I will address the card in another post.

To be honest with you, I was scared of what Saturday might bring. Our company had put up six straight sell outs in Quincy the months previous to this past weekend's event. We skipped a month due to National Guard activity that made the venue unavailable to us for the month of May. We had a tremendous event on paper going in.

The Benoit tragedy changed everything.

As much as I tried to rationalize the situation as it pertained to NECW, I was still scared. Ours is a business where when scandal hits it's like a truck driving at high speed through a great big puddle of condemnation. It's not about whether or not you will get wet, but how wet you're going to get and how fast you can get dry again. My hope was that after close to 7 years of presenting professional wrestling, our fans would see past the Benoit tragedy and know that we have yet to let them down. Thankfully, my faith in our fans was not misplaced.

The Benoit situation has started an outcry for stricter regulation both from inside and outside the industry. There is a hysteria that has begun to swirl around this issue because a heinous crime was perpetrated in this latest tragedy. Sad to say, if there were no murder and just "another dead wrestler," no one would be talking about this. But in the news business the credo is, "If it bleeds, it leads." And underneath the blood shed in this latest tragedy, there is that long string of fatalities in our business in recent years. It's easy for the press to pick up the steroid flag and fly it high. And while the Benoit situation goes much, much deeper than steroids, the sordid history of death in recent years is now becoming a media battle cry for some greater level of scrutiny in pro wrestling.

Let me say here that "wrestling" is not the villain. There is a drug culture that has grown around WWE's version of wrestling due to the "success" of the bodybuilder look. The demand by WWE for chiseled physiques on a challenging road schedule is what has to change. The view of what a "wrestler" looks like is what has to change.

In NECW, and many dozens of independent companies throughout the country, the prerequisite for getting a spot is talent and ability over cosmetic appeal. We want guys in shape, but not looking like they are ready to explode. Our job has been to build our business to where that mentality and approach becomes a viable business strategy and it is starting to happen.

It is inevitable that our company will be painted with the same stained brush as those who attack what they think "wrestling" is. It isn't fair.

My friend, Zach Arnold, wrote a very interesting piece for CBS Sportsline that you can read by clicking here. I was quoted in the article and am rather upset about it, because I covered a lot more territory that put those quote in greater perspective.

I said that most independent companies would cease to exist if they had to pay for drug testing. On this level of the business, the monies made don't support a drug-fueled lifestyle. I would suggest that in WWE, you could do all the testing you want but you can't test people and regulate how they live their lives.

What it does not say is that our company was specifically meant to present pro wrestling in a way that gets away from the image of impossibly built behemoths. In fact, if anything, wrestling has shrunk since the 80's. Very few big bodybuilder types are signing up at local wrestling schools. Most of the guys who come through the ranks these days are smaller in size.

We cannot and do not test our athletes for steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. Do some of our guys take them? I couldn't tell you. It certainly isn't apparent from the looks of them. On our level, it's not necessary. The shows are drawing because they are well booked with capable athletes telling compelling stories. Wrestling works without that type of "jacked up is better" mindset.

Let's not confuse "wrestling" with WWE. Not all of wrestling is WWE. Not every promoter has the same mindset. In fact, many of our fans, particularly families with children, express to me that they come to our shows specifically because they love wrestling, but don't like the WWE's presentation of it.

If there is any answer to the long string of premature deaths in pro wrestling, it's to create a true alternative to the drug fueled culture that WWE represents. We need companies that can be financially viable by going back to the old school philosophies of doing business. Just because it's not being done on a national stage right now, doesn't mean it couldn't work. That approach, however must start from a local level and be built upward. Few people have the patience to do that. I have spent the past 7 years building my business that way and we are slowly coming to a place where that is happening. We are still years away, but I am more convinced than ever that it will happen.

I am also convinced that pro wrestling will survive and thrive. My hope is that WWE will make significant changes, including philosophical ones, that make this business, and more importantly the perception of this business, a healthier one for those who are in it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Benoit Notes and GLOBAL IMPACT This Saturday Night in Quincy, MA

Thanks for all the positive responses I've received on the Benoit tragedy. As news reports reveal more details on this situation, the darker and more heartbreaking it becomes. I watched Vince McMahon's statement that was played at the start of the ECW TV show last night and I have to say he was right on target. I applaud the WWE for their public handling of this terrible ordeal.

I made a decision yesterday not to do any sort of ten bell salute or acknowledgement at Saturday night's NECW event. As much as all of us are deeply moved by this senseless loss, I see no need to call more attention to something that has been so exposed in the media. The most important thing we can do as a company is to move on and present our fans with another great event in Quincy.

New England Championship Wrestling has a very special night of wrestling in store this Saturday night, June 30th at the National Guard Armory, 1000 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA with a 7:00 PM bell time. It's an international extravaganza called GLOBAL IMPACT.

The main event is one of the most intriguing match ups ever presented by NECW. The NECW Triple Crown Champion, D.C. Dillinger defends the title against giant-like Big Rick Fuller. Fuller was the man who cost "The Human Nightmare" Evan Siks the championship last February, when he turned on his former friend and that interference gave Dillinger the opportunity to score the pinfall on Siks and claim the Triple Crown. Fuller is now calling in his marker and will face Dillinger one-on-one for the gold.

The new NECW Television Champion, "The Real Deal" Brandon Locke was set to battle 2007 IRON 8 Champion, "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards in his first title defense. However, Locke is out of action with a severe virus and Edwards has issued an open challenge for Saturday night's event. Who will step up and challenge the 2007 IRON 8 Champion and NECW Tag Team Champion?

In another first round match in the NWA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament, Ireland's Fergal Devitt makes a triumphant return to New England Championship Wrestling. Devitt has risen to become one of the world's top competitors since NECW fans saw him some 18 months ago in our ring. The former NWA British Commonwealth Champion faces the pride of West Perth, Australia in Mikey Nicholls. Nicholls, who is the top star for NWA Australia, has also appeared for New Japan and has trained at the Inoki Dojo in California. This is a rare opportunity to see two of the world's best head-to-head as they try to win the legendary "ten pounds of gold."

In other bouts, Big Max Bauer takes on "Straight Edge" Brian Fury as Fury continues his campaign to win a title shot against D.C. Dillinger. Bauer has been known to accept bribes from Sean Gorman to run interference on Brian Fury to keep him from getting to D.C. Dillinger. Can Fury chop down the big man?

"The Golden Greek" Alex Arion continues his battle against the faction known as DNA as he faces "Sensational" Scott Reed with T.J. Richter and Max Bauer in his corner. This is a heated feud and Alex Arion has held his own against DNA.

Former NECW Triple Crown champion, "The Human Nightmare" Evan Siks takes on Handsome Johnny. Siks is still looking to resolve his issues with Rick Fuller and The Handsome One, who is a force to be reckoned with, could be the spoiler who send Siks' gameplan off course.

In a special 6 man tag team grudge match, 2D Edge and Triplelicious collide with The Canadian Superstars and Scott Osbourne. Is Osbourne finally taking on Brian Cairo as his manager? Cairo has been courting the up and comer for months now. This is one to watch.

All this, plus a World Women's Wrestling feature match pitting WWW Champion Tanya Lee with manager Sean Gorman in her corner against Lexxus in a non-title match. In order to counteract the antics of Sean Gorman, Lexxus has received permission to have former WWW Champion, Nikki Roxx in her corner as her manager for the evening.

Advance tickets are available at all FYE & Strawberries locations, K.C.'s Sports Cards, 3 Temple Street in Quincy Center and online at

I hope you will join us to enjoy a great evening of professional wrestling.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Making Sense of the Senseless

I have been sitting at my desk today trying to wrap my head around the Benoit family tragedy. No one can make sense out of this senseless turn of events, and yet we all have a need for answers at a time like this.

I don't have a personal connection to Chris Benoit. We met once, briefly, backstage at a WCW event in Boston. We didn't even speak long enough to form any mutual personal impressions. Like most of you, I knew Chris Benoit by reputation - and what a sterling reputation it was until the past 24 hours.

A shower of facts and innuendo have cascaded over TV, radio and the Internet about exactly what happened. Fans are shocked. The industry is reeling.

One thing is certain to me. Anyone who blames WWE or the wrestling business in general is flat out wrong. While Vince McMahon may be guilty of bad taste and poor timing, he is innocent of anything else in this matter. Some media outlets are citing steroids and the condition known as "roid rage" as a possible cause of this tragedy and are trying to implicate the business of pro wrestling in the process. This is just the media's thirst for easy answers in a time and place and circumstance that is anything but easy.

Wrestling has always been a brotherhood with complex contradictions. When tragedy befalls one of our number, we are saddened, stunned and grieving. But the show must go on, because this is our life. And if that sounds callous or unfeeling, you are someone who has never made the sacrifice required to be a part of this thing we call professional wrestling. Those who have understand completely.

The best thing we can do to honor the memory of Chris Benoit, the wrestler and for his contributions to our business, and the brothers and sisters in wrestling that he left behind, is to let the show go on. As for Chris Benoit the man, that is someone that apparently we didn't know. God will judge him now. I pray for him, his wife and innocent child, and his family and friends.

Friday, June 22, 2007

McMahon Death Angle & Effects on Indy Wrestling

The one question I've been asked more than any other in recent days is my opinion on the McMahon death angle currently going on in WWE and what effect, if any, it will have on independent wrestling.

Ever since I started promoting wrestling, I've tried to make it a point not to publicly criticize other companies. I am going to make an exception here, because this is one time that a very important line has been crossed by WWE.

What makes pro wrestling unique is that while we present a form of entertainment with a dash of fiction, our participants are real to our fans. Many work under their real names and their in ring personas are simply exaggerations of their own personalities. What makes wrestling really work is creating the credible combination of action and emotion that makes you care enough to buy a ticket and keep coming back to watch.

The staged death of Vince McMahon is a story with no payoff. It has played with the very real emotions of its most loyal fans and they have been made to feel like fools for it. It is not good business for the company and its shareholders.

Does this effect the independent wrestling scene? Everything WWE does has some effect. For the average person, WWE is pro wrestling. Everything else that calls itself that will always be compared to it. This is certainly not going to bring our business more respect. In fact, it makes the job of a company like ours more difficult, because we have to live down the negative stigma that this kind of bad taste creates.

The silver lining to this cloud is that perhaps this underscores the idea that choice is good and if you live wrestling, but hate WWE's version of it, seek out the alternatives - whether it be TNA, ROH, NECW or something else. Wrestling does not begin and end with WWE.

Friday, June 15, 2007

RIP Sherri Martel, Special Return Tomorrow in Danvers

I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Sherri Martel this morning. Sherri was one of the greatest female wrestlers of the modern era. She was a woman who rose to the top in what was very much a man's world. It's nice to know that she lived to experience the honor of being inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame this year, because she truly deserved that distinction.

As a women who was both a great wrestler and a great manager, she is in an elite club of stars who excelled at both.

We actually tried reaching out to Sherri a few months ago about coming up to appear in WWW, but did not connect. I think Sherri would be pleased that our company, along with Shimmer, is making a real effort to open up the business for talented women.

I met Sherri on a number of occasions and she was always charming and fun to be around. We took a picture together at a Cauliflower Alley Club Banquet in Burbank, CA back in 1997 and had a chance to talk some walking from the banquet hall to the hotel itself. I will always remember that conversation because I saw in her a real good hearted person - someone you would admire for who they were and not what they did.

My deepest sympathies go out to her family and children and her many friends.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In all the press and hype for tomorrow night's NECW event in Danvers, I neglected to mention that it also marks the one night return of one of the most important figures in NECW history.

Former WCW referee, Scott Dickinson, who actually helped me found NECW and was the promotion's first booker, will be donning the zebra stripes tomorrow night. Scott has been living in California and it will be nice to have him in the house tomorrow night.

I hope to see you there.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Gary Cassidy, Weekend Thoughts, NESN, Memo to Chris Collins

I had coffee yesterday with Gary Cassidy, who comes to us from Ireland for this year's IRON 8 Championship.

We had our first look at Gary this past Sunday at the HOT DOG SAFARI, as he managed to score a fall on "The Talent" T.J. Richter, which is no small feat. Gary made quite a positive impression on us both in and out of the ring.

Gary wrote to me earlier in the year letting me know that he was planning this trip and that he was interested in being booked. He was trained by the great Irish star, Fergal Devitt, who makes his return to NECW later this month. Fergal gave Gary his seal of approval and we booked him for this year's IRON 8.

This is Cassidy's first visit to America. His life as a wrestler in Ireland isn't an easy one. He is 5 hours away from the place he trains at. In his area, he works once or twice a month. It is purely his own effort and desire that gets him booked outside of his home area.

Few companies would take a chance on someone like Gary Cassidy, but NECW has always had an open door for talent from overseas. It's the same door the Doug Williams, Sumie Sakai and others have walked through and shined. My theory has always been that the Gary Cassidy's of
our business bring a different kind of appreciation to the locker room, as well as a different style and set of experiences. It helps the roster to grow by seeing that there is wrestling beyond our area. It is also one more thing that makes NECW stand out from other area promotions.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tomorrow night is the IRON 8 and the excitement is building. There has been and will be a lot of mainstream newspaper mentions of Saturday night's show and Sunday's World Women's Wrestling event, which is very gratifying on a lot of levels.

Both the IRON 8 and World Women's Wrestling are great examples of how New England Championship Wrestling is the true innovator of independent wrestling. If you are in the area and a wrestling fan, you owe it to yourself to give us a try.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We'll be having a film crew from New England Sports Network (NESN) at tomorrow night's show filming scenes for the reality show SOX APPEAL. Antonio "The Promise" Thomas is the crew's subject and we look forward to seeing both Antonio and the NESN crew!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I ran into Chis Collins from New England Cable News this morning. I had been on Chris' show years back before I started NECW and have been trying to get him to an event for the longest time. Chris is a good guy and one of the area's brightest sportscasters and it's nice to see him thriving in a market as tough as Boston. (Memo to Chris: NECW and WWW are a hell of a story. Hint, hint.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

See you all tomorrow night and Sunday night !

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hot Dog Safari Notes and IRON 8 Preview

Yesterday was one of those days that makes all the hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.

NECW & World Women's Wrestling were part of a day long charity event called The Hot Dog Safari, which took place at the Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, MA. This event, which benefits The Joey Fund (to battle Cystic Fibrosis), raised over $500,000, which was then matched by one of the track owners. So, in excess of $1,000,000 was generated for a very worthy cause yesterday!

Our gratitude goes out to the people responsible for this wonderful event: Eddie Andelman, the O'Donnell family, Anthony Pepe, Jo Ellen Coen, Bill McColgan and many, many others. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of this extraordinary event. We will always be in your corner whenever you need us.

The stars of NECW and WWW really stepped us yesterday. Everyone gave 110% and a few went way beyond the call of duty. Congratulations to Handsome Johnny who won the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and to Nikki Roxx who actually came in second! Both took a dietary hit for the team and it is appreciated beyond words.

Most importantly, we are grateful to all the fans who came out to support this great cause and enjoyed tons of free food and drink and great NECW and WWW action. A lot of our regulars were in attendance and I was thrilled to make a lot of new friends who will hopefully become fans.

The weather may not have been the best, but that did not deter anyone. Thank you all!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This coming Saturday night is the 4th annual IRON 8 Championship. It takes place at the National Guard Armory, 98 Montauk Road in Brockton, MA with a 7 PM bell time.

The IRON 8 is one of my favorite NECW events of the year. It is a unique twist on the 8 man tournament that has sort of become a cliche after ECWA's Super 8 started the trend. What's different about the IRON 8 is the structure of the tournament. 8 men are chosen and paired into 4 one on one match ups. The winners then go on to face each other later that night in 4 way, 45 minute iron man match, with the wrestler scoring the most pinfalls or submissions declared the winner and that year's IRON 8 champion.

The IRON 8 is a real athletic test. You have be able to go for an hour and be able to out think and out maneuver your opponents in the finals. The final is guaranteed to be a classic match up just by the nature of what it is. Add a skilled field of contestants and you have something very special.

This year's field is one of the strongest in the brief history of the tournament. "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards, last year's winner, is on his way back from Japan. Edwards is a tremendous, tremendous talent and if he can focus himself on the task at hand, could walk away with this year's trophy. "The Infamous" Bobby Fish, another strong contender, has shot up the ladder in NECW like a rocket and is one of my favorites to win it all. Jason Blade has all the tools, but his recent spate of injuries could hold him back. If Blade is healthy, he is a favorite. "Straight Edge" Brian Fury might be the man with the most desire to win, because a victory is a shortcut directly to a Triple Crown title match with D.C. Dillinger. Antonio "The Promise" Thomas was a finalist last year and, in my mind, the most underrated singles competitor in the field. "The Real Deal" Brandon Locke, fresh off a non-title pinfall victory over D.C. Dillinger this past Sunday, showed me that he is a real threat to win this year. If anyone is rapidly coming into his own in NECW, it's Locke. Handsome Johnny is the biggest competitor in the tournament and conditioning might be an issue, especially after winning Sunday's hot dog eating contest, but the Handsome One is a true talent and this will be a great showcase for him. Last, but not least, Gary Cassidy, representing NWA Ireland, made his American debut yesterday with an impressive win over "The Talent" T.J. Richter. Cassidy beating Richter is no small feat. Cassidy is young, but in great condition and very skilled and will be a great addition to the IRON 8.

More later in the week.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Catching Up: MIT, Mega Month, NWA & more!

I've had a crazy schedule this past couple of weeks so this is a catch up blog.

Monday, May 14, I had the honor of speaking to Sam Ford's MIT class on pro wrestling. I was accompanied by "Mad Dog" Matt Storm, "The Human Nightmare" Evan Siks and the lovely Jen, along with the never popular "Mouthpiece of the East" Sean Gorman.

We had a great time watching matches and talking about many of the business aspects of our business that are seldom discussed in a public forum. I was really impressed with the level of the questions, which is no surprise, considering we were at MIT. This class had also heard from Jim Ross and Mick Foley among others this semester. I remarked to Sam in an e-mail before the class date that these kids have most likely gotten a better education to the business than most people who are actually in it.

I want to public thank Sam Ford and his students for welcoming us and I hope it was half as much fun being there for them as it was for us.

Coming up in June is the biggest month in NECW history - a MEGA month - with 5 huge live events.

We kick it all off with Eddie Andelman's 18th annual Hot Dog Safari at the Suffolk Downs racetrack in Revere, MA. The Hot Dog Safari, for those of you who have never heard of it, is a benefit event for The Joey Fund, which battles Cystic Fibrosis. Andleman, a legendary sports radio talk host for decades in Boston, and a self-proclaimed expert on hot dogs, decided to put on a hot dog tasting event for charity. He got numerous companies to donate hot dogs, sausages, ice cream and other food, all available free along with entertainment and local sports and media celebrities. This day long event (gates open at 9:00 am and the event closes at 5:00 pm) will again feature a live combined event from NECW and World Women's Wrestling. I believe we will be offering a total of 16 matches throughout the day. The admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the gate and their are also VIP tickets on sale. Admission includes all the hot dogs, sausages and ice cream you can eat. You can visit for all the details.

We did this event last year and it was a phenomenal time. Everyone here at NECW is looking forward to being there and if you are at all close to the area, you should make plans to attend what is the hands down most unique charity promotion in America.

This year's Safari is being telecast live from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Comcast's CN8. We expect to be showing some of the great in-ring action live on that telecast.

The following Saturday, June 9th is the 4th annual IRON 8 Championship at the National Guard Armory in Brockton, MA. The IRON 8 is just a fantastic event - a true athletic experience that really defines our promotion as a sports entity. It consists of 8 great athletes who square off in an opening round of 4 singles matches. The 4 winners face each other later the same night in a 4 way 45 minute iron man match - with the man scoring the most pinfalls or submissions in 45 minutes the winner and 2007 IRON 8 Champion. Each man has to be able to last an hour and there is a great deal of strategy involved in winning the final. I am really proud of this event, because it is pro wrestling presented at its finest.

The next night, Sunday, June 10, World Women's Wrestling returns to action at Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA. Another great WWW event is on tap with Tanya Lee defending against Amber, plus Nikki Roxx vs. Alicia, Malia Hosaka, Lexxus and much more.

On Saturday night, June 16 we return to Danvers with a TV taping and a whole host of great matches, including the first one-on-one match up between "The Human Nightmare" Evan Siks and Big Rick Fuller. We will also be hosting an opening round match in a tournament to crown a new National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion as Claudio Castignoli faces off against Pepper Parks, who "Mad Dog" Matt Storm tells me is a great hand from the Midwest.

On Saturday, June 30, we make a triumphant return to Quincy looking for our 7th straight sell out at the Armory. The main event will be something to behold as NECW Triple Crown Champion, D.C. Dillinger squares off against Big Rick Fuller. Talk about a Clash of the Champions! Fuller cornered me and demanded a shot against Dillinger. Frankly, he didn't have to do much convincing, because he was certainly entitled by any means you can measure. This does not mean that I approve of what he did to Evan Siks, quite the contrary. But Fuller did make a poignant case, and he gets the nod on June 30. Also on the card, another NWA World Title Tournament bout - an international extravaganza - as Fergal Devitt, the great Irish star, now a standout for New Japan Pro Wrestling, returns to NECW to face Perth, Australia's, Mikey Nicholls, a great competitor from all accounts I've seen and heard.

A lot of people are asking me questions about the tournament. Is NECW now a part of the NWA? How did this all come about?

Well, NECW at this time has no plans to join the NWA. I was approached by NWA Pro Wrestling promoter, David Marquez about hosting these matches. I consider Dave a good friend and would be happy to oblige him in any case. NWA Executive Director, Bob Trobich is also a long time friend and someone I have a great deal of respect for.

They are trying to perpetuate the tradition of the NWA in a changed universe, much like how NECW is trying to redefine the concept of the regional territory for the market conditions of today. I felt that the best way that I could do for our business is to support their efforts and collaborate with them rather than be an island unto ourselves. There has always been an open door here in NECW - a door that is open to those with the talent, creativity and dedication that real success in wrestling requires. We have provided a stage for many great talents to display their abilities. This time we are providing a stage for the tradition of the NWA to be transformed into a window into the future of this industry.

Before I started promoting wrestling, I became known to many through my appearances on A&E and other wrestling TV specials as a historian of professional wrestling. To know and share the history of this great business is wonderful. To make history is even better. NECW has been a true innovator in our business. To truly innovate, you must understand and respect tradition. We look forward to hosting these two historic bouts.

Tickets for all the June events are on sale now.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Western MA This Weekend, MIT On Monday

Thanks to all the great fans in Danvers, MA who came out to our debut event there at the National Guard Armory. We look forward to seeing you all again next month.

This weekend we make an all too rare appearance in Western Massachusetts. We return to Indoor Action Sports in Greenfield and I hope all of you who are close to the area come out and see us. We have an interesting card planned with three title bouts on tap and what should be a great night of action in Greenfield.

I have a rare honor this coming Monday. I'm speaking to Sam Ford's class on pro wrestling at MIT. This is the same class that was visited by Jim Ross and Mick Foley in recent weeks. This lucky group has probably gotten a better eductaion on pro wrestling than most of the people who actually work in it. I just hope Sam told them which Goldberg was showing up.

We have a huge month in June with 5 events on the schedule, starting with the 18th annual Hot Dog Safari. If you are unfamiliar with this event, which benefits The Joey Fund/Cystic Fibrosis, it's something really special and a family event you don't want to miss. We will have a combined NECW and WWW event that day as part of the festivities and I hope to see you there. Visit for all the details and to order tickets.

Next week, we will be announcing the contestants in this year's IRON 8 Championship, taking place on Saturday night, June 9 in Brockton, MA. The IRON 8 is one of the premire events on the NECW calendar and a unique concept event. 8 stars square off in 4 singles matches, with the winners proceeding on to a 4 way 45 minute iron man match with the man who scores the most pinfalls or submissions declared the winner and 2007 IRON 8 Champion. The 4 way final is guaranteed to be a great battle and the talent pool in NECW is more than up to the task of putting on a state of the art display.

We have a lot of other stuff coming up in June that will get tongues wagging. Tickets for all the June events are on sale at and at all FYE and Strawberries.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Imus & A Lesson for Pro Wrestling

Unless you've been living in a cave or have been in a coma, you know that famed radio personality, Don Imus was fired by CBS yesterday for making disparaging, racially charged comments about the Rutgers University Women's Basketball team.

Imus referred to the women on the team as "nappy headed ho's," which sparked an outcry from many quarters, including the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson for Imus' dismissal. Major advertisers pulled their sponsorship from Imus's show and finally CBS President, Les Moonves, pulled the plug on Imus, an icon in the world of radio.

I don't believe that Imus was being especially mean or vindictive at heart. This was most likely an irresponsible and ill-considered attempt at humor. I do believe that CBS was right in cancelling Imus' show and removing him from the airwaves.

Many times in our society, humor of the racial kind, while seemingly harmless on the surface, is a softer way of perpetuating stereotypes and limiting people by categorizing them unfairly.

Pro wrestling has openly and blatantly done this for decades. And it's wrong.

I will never forget a car ride I had with a former WWE star who will remain nameless. He maintained that "blacks never draw," ignoring of course, Bobo Brazil, Ernie Ladd and numerous others, up to and including The Rock. The statement came from a man I have a great deal of respect for and who taught me a lot. But on that point, he was absolutely wrong.

I don't know how many old school wrestlers and old school wrestling devotees have told me that women's wrestling sucks and will never draw on its own. "It's just a little T&A break for Dad before the "real matches" come on," said one such individual. Our World Women's Wrestling promotion and Dave Prazak's SHIMMER promotion, are proof that the opposite is true.

I always had a special admiration for women in wrestling, because it's a tough world to enter. Before places like WWW and SHIMMER existed, women's matches were usually less than 10 minutes and presented purely as a special attraction. Seldom in the Northeast did you ever see an angle involving women wrestlers on their own. Elsewhere, it was a rarity.

While WWW and SHIMMER have a long way to go, the fact that women are finally having a forum for good credible matches and seizing the opportunity, is a major step forward for the entire business. It also underscores that talent, when treated as such without regard to gender in this case, or race, will rise to the occasion and deliver.

Unlike the portrayal of women in WWE, not all good wrestlers have to have bikini bodies. And not all male wrestlers have to be jacked up, looking like they stepped out of the pages of Muscle & Fitness.

I think a big reason why WWW has worked so well, and why NECW has also, is that we're more about credible talent that average people can relate to and then become engaged in their stories. Wrestling will always prize the element of the larger-than-life, whether in body type or character, but talent first and image second is what drives good professional wrestling.

Back to Imus. I don't think the public world of broadcasting (or the public world of pro wrestling to a lesser extent) should tolerate the perpetuation of racial discrimination or stereotypes and I applaud Les Moonves for both his decision and his statement denouncing the incident. High social standards are not exactly a hallmark of professional wrestling. But we are a business of the people - ALL the people - and to devalue anyone, in any way, due to their race, gender, sexual preference or nationality is both morally wrong and just bad business.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

WrestleMania 23 and WWE's Effect on The Indy's

I watched WrestleMania 23 at our stomping grounds - Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA this past Sunday night. One measure of the health of WWE is how many people go to Good Times to see a PPV event. The cover charge is $5 and a lot of area fans who don't want to pay the high cost of getting the PPV at home head to Somerville to catch these events.

Sunday's crowd was the largest I've seen in a very long time. You attribute that to a lot of factors, including this year's Donald Trump angle creating a lot of mainstream publicity.

As for the show itself, overall, I enjoyed it. When WWE puts on a WrestleMania, all the stops are pulled out and everyone has his working boots on. Was it the best Mania in terms of matches? No. But it was worth the time and money and, of course, the biggest wrestling event of the year on the planet is a must-see.

Without dissecting the card match by match, I'll offer a few impressions. First off, I found it interesting and alarming that so much of the card hinged on older talent. Undertaker, Michaels, Benoit are all on the downhill slope of their careers. Austin is done as an active wrestler. The ECW "Originals" are also guys who have more career behind them than in front of them.

Then there is John Cena. Ask me about John Cena and I will tell you he is a gentleman, conducts himself as a pro at all times, comes from a terrific family and works his ass off with as much passion and dedication as you will ever see. Yet, in spite of all that, he is booed unmercifully at times. One sign in the crown at Mania said "Cen-A Nuff." Man, how cold-blooded is that?

To me, what Cena lacks is that certain aura that the big stars have. Michaels made Cena look like a boy at times and I felt so badly for him. Michaels was terrific in the match and it was a hell of battle. Cena was good, but looked like he was intimidated by the skill and charisma of Michaels and the spot itself. It's a lot of pressure to be a top guy in WWE. Cena has the work ethic, but the question is can he develop that presence that the great ones all have in common.

Watching any WrestleMania also makes me think about the state of the business in general, specifically the independent business.

We are in an interesting time. I see PPV buy rates falling, probably due to over saturation and competition from MMA. I see live gates coming around for WWE in smaller venues. I don't see that one breakout guy that every talks about and tries to emulate.

Independents in New England seem to be seeing an upswing in business. In the case of NECW and WWW, I think much has to do with the vast improvement in the quality of the product, the marketing and the dedication of a staff that really wants the company to succeed. I also think that WWE not having that breakout guy makes people more interested in wrestling in general, as opposed to just what they see on TV. Wrestling will always be driven by stars, but right now people are being a lot more open about who and what a star is. Local heroes (and villians) is a far more viable concept now than it was a few years ago. We are getting more and more people who have never been to an independent show before and come away enjoying it and appreciating the experience. We are also getting more families with kids looking for an inexpensive night out.

I see a bright future ahead for our company and the business in general.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Weekend Thoughts on MARCH BADNESS & WWW's 1st Anniversary

Wow, what a weekend!

I can't thank all the fans enough who came out to NECW's MARCH BADNESS this past Saturday night and to WWW's 1st Anniversary Show this past Sunday.

There are two great joys in being a wrestling promoter. One is seeing people realize their potential. NECW and WWW both have great rosters. It's very gratifying to me when I see someone improve their abilities, show a new audience what they have to offer or just step up and do something good, because our company set the stage for them to do that.

The other is seeing fans get caught up in the action and really enjoy themselves. I especially love the families who come with young kids who are getting the chance to see great professional wrestling unlike they way they see it on TV. That up close and personal experience really is magic to children and it's a great thing to witness. I'm also pleased that we can present these events at prices that families can afford. Professional sports have steadily priced themselves out of the range of the average working family and I think that's sad. I've had many people comment to me specifically about how much they appreciate the fact that NECW is so affordable. It's so great to see mom's and dad's bringing their kids to the matches every month.

I am one of those promoters that enjoys talking to fans and interacting with the people. At this stage of NECW, I still have the ability to do that. I've always believed that if you own a business and your customer know that you really appreciate their business, they will keep coming back and support you.

We had a fantastic event Sunday afternoon prior to the WWW anniversary show. It was a "Meet & Eat" lunch with the stars - a chance for our most loyal fans to share a meal with us and ask questions, get photos taken, etc. Chris Norman and Amber did a great job hosting this event. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and to have the chance to give them a personal experience like that. You can bet that will not be the last event we do like that.

We had some great matches this weekend too! Everyone has been raving about the debut of "The Infamous" Bobby Fish as he and "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards battled to a time limit draw. This was just a phenomenal match and I congratulated both men afterward. Bobby Fish impressed me both in and out of the ring and he will be a tremendous addition to the NECW roster.

On the WWW side, I am thrilled to have Malia Hosaka in the promotion. While we had met before many years ago, I did not know her well, though I had always heard good things. Whatever I heard was an understatement. Her impromptu match with "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel was amazing. She is dedicated and professional and a real credit to the business.

I'm too tired to write more at the moment, but fans, friends, workers and staff thanks again for everything this past weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

R.I.P. Arnold Skaaland

I was very saddened to hear of the death of Arnold Skaaland today.

Arnold Skaaland was a key figure in the wrestling business for decades. While most fans knew him as prelim wrestler and the manager of Bruno and Backlund, in fact he was also a partner in the old Capital Wrestling corporation that was the parent company of the World Wide Wrestling Federation. The other partners were Vince McMahon Sr., Gorilla Monsoon and Phil Zacko, who promoted Philly and Baltimore.

He was the guy who deposited the gate receipts for Vince Sr. and Jr. for years - a position which demonstrated that he was one of the most trusted figures in the company. Anyone who ever worked a dark match will tell you that it was Arnie Skaaland who sat at a table behind his trademark Haliburton suitcase that was loaded with cash, checking his list and making the payoffs.

At WrestleMania 14, the late Tony Rumble and a group of us were cast as the Undertaker's Druids. It was an unforgettable experience, but for me, what was most fun was Tony Garea telling us to get in line to get paid. When I finally got to the front of the line, Arnie looked up at me and said, "What's your name son?" He peeled off the cash and put it in an envelope. I thanked him and he winked at me. I looked into that Haliburton and there had to be at least $75,000 to $100,000 in cash in it. I thought to myself, "Now I know why they call him 'The Golden Boy'."

I couldn't help but think after that, how many other guys that I respected and admired stood in that same line and what a priviledge it was to do so. I apologize if this goes over people's heads. It's a little hard to convey the significance of that experience to people whose frame of reference for wrestling is just watching it at home or in the stands. Guys like Arnold Skaaland, who most of today's fans wouldn't even know, was such an important figure in the business. He was one of the "keepers of the castle", another irreplaceble legend who will truly be missed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

WWW Proves The Pundits Wrong

"I am skeptical of the success of this promotion. History has shown that for a womens promotion to be successful, it needs to be a stand alone promotion so the owner can concentrate on that promotion alone." - Frank Pozen, January 22, 2006

I love proving people wrong. Especially people who have never actually spent 5 minutes in the wrestling business, who post on message boards and purport to be some sort of expert on some aspect of this industry. In the words of that great wrestling philosopher, Antoine Roy (pronounced RU-ah), "Poo poo on you!"

Frank was hardly alone when I made the announcement of spinning the women's division of NECW into World Women's Wrestling as its own promotion. A lot people thought I was out of my mind.

NECW had developed a great track record with women's wrestling. Mercedes Martinez, who was the first woman booked into NECW back in 2000, won her spot due to her extraordinary in ring talent. He booking, was in fact an accident. A no-show at an NECW event led to her getting a spot in match against a guy she had been training with. The minute Martinez stepped through the curtain that night, she had the audience won. The match was another story. She didn't win that, but she got a rematch the next month in Vermont and that match (which is featured on the DVD "Gateway to Greatness," click here to see a trailer and order) cemented her as star in our company and launched her career on the independent circuit.

It also proved that women could be a viable attraction for us. A real turning point was the following May when I got a call from a friend of mine named Shun Yamaguchi, a photographer for the Japanese pro wrestling magazine, Weekly Gong. Shun, who lives locally and covers events in the U.S. for Gong, asked me if would help him book a young lady who was going to be living with him and his family for a few months. Her name was Sumie Sakai, and at the time, she worked for the Jd' Yoshimoto Ladies Pro Wrestling promotion in Japan. Sakai would be bringing a belt and the agreement was that we would co-sanction the title with Jd' and Sakai would win the belt here and take it back to Japan. I got them to agree to a two match program, where Mercedes would win the first match and the title and be defeated by Sakai in the return match. The first match took place the night Sakai had arrived in America for the first time. Though she barely spoke any English, Sakai did something very important that night. She cast a different light on women's pro wrestling as something that could be taken seriously and be effectively featured by an independent company.

Sakai fell in love with America and returned numerous times. She started working with other girls in the area and no doubt had a big impact on the local female talent pool. The number of good women wrestlers in the area was increasing and my interest in expanding our women's division increased with it.

At NECW's 4th Anniversary show, which was a two night event, we featured an 8 woman "Survivor style" elimination match each night. The matches were both well done and well received. At that point my mind was made up that it would enhance our company to take the next step and run an all women's show.

In June 2005, I promoted an NECW event called SUPERSLAM at Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA. SUPERSLAM was a rarity in these parts - a Sunday doubleheader event that featured our regular NECW crew in the afternoon and a first-ever all women's event in the evening. The women's show featured a tournament to crown a first ever NECW Women's Champion.

What I did not know until just days before the show, was that some of our crew at the time were unhappy that the girls were going on last. Some of the guys felt that it was a slap in the face, and that they should have been "the main event" of the day. In fact, that was the exact wrong thing to do. After all, if you are selling something that would be viewed as a novelty, you don't put the novelty on first, because then people see it and they leave. Not knowing what to expect, how embarrassing would it be for the girls to sell out first and then have half a house for the guys? NECW was still the horse drawing the wagon and putting the men on first protected them.

As it turned out, both shows did extremely well, with the women drawing what was our best house in months at higher ticket prices.

Sadly, the then booker decided that he was going to try and ruin it by giving the girls a hard time and deliberately doing things like screwing up the women's entrance music and a variety of other sophmoric stunts. None of it mattered. It drew, and done properly in the future it would continue to do so.

A second SUPERSLAM took place in September of that year, and again, business held up. We had much of the same gripes internally, and more of the same moronic behavior from the booker and his "boys."

After that, I knew that in order for our women's division to live up to its potential, it needed to be its own brand and have its own identity and lose anyone that couldn't deal with it.

After a spilt with the booker a few months later, I announced that we would take a few months off and be back in March with the premiere of World Women's Wrestling. We announced the day of the event that NECW had merged with PWF Mayhem. With management and booking now committed to it's success, World Women's Wrestling flourished from the start. The promotion has received unprecedented local publicity and done capacity or near capacity business at almost every outing.

The women, who finally had a stage that could really show off their skills, rose to the occasion. Nikki Roxx and Ariel, along with Tanya Lee and all the other workers, put on matches that often equalled or surpassed the men on some level. The World Women’s Wrestling product was something fresh and uinque. Nothing had ever been seen like it in this area, and it quickly found a loyal fan base. By November, we expanded the schedule into monthly shows and World Women’s Wrestling continues to grow and improve. While not a perfect product, World Women’s Wrestling has carved out a solid niche and proved that women can be the main attraction in pro wrestling and not just a special attraction.

March 25th will be a special day for us, as we celebrate the first anniversary of a company that changed the business in a positive way. If you are near the area, I hope you will make an effort to join us.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

GENESIS 6, WWW Pick Your Poison Notes

There is a whole lot of "buzz" going on in our area over this coming weekend's NECW & WWW events.

This coming Saturday night is the continuation of one of the great traditions in New England independent wrestling, GENESIS. GENESIS was PWF's big show of the year and an annual milestone that gave the promotion direction, focus and identity.

Last year's GENESIS was an especially memorable one for me, as on that night we announced the merger of NECW and PWF to the PWF locker room, prior to making a public announcement. I will never forget the looks on the faces in the room that night - happiness, befuddlement, curiousity and, in some cases even anger. The reactions were understandable. In our little corner of the industry, it's a business that is often much more about the emotional than the practical.

In fact, last year's GENESIS truly was a "genesis" - a creation of something new, evolved out of two companies that each had their own storied history. When we discussed the merger prior to it actually taking place, I felt it was important to combine and maintain the traditions of both promotions. As such , we have four "signature events" per year, GENESIS and Toxic Waltz from PWF and the IRON 8 Championship and BIRTHDAY BASH from NECW.

This year's GENESIS comes at a point where NECW has gathered the most momentum as a promotion than at any point in it's six and a half year history. Sellouts right and left. Talent at their most compelling. GENESIS 6 has the biggest advance sale of any event in NECW or PWF history. I promise you it will absolutely be a night to remember.

Speaking of memorable event, the follwing afternoon, World Women's Wrestling returns to Good Time Emporium for "Pick Your Poison." WWW Champion, Tanya Lee, Jana and Portia Perez draw their opponents names at random from Nikki Roxx, "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel and Lexxus. Any combination of possibilites there will be exciting to watch and it's another can't miss WWW event. Of course, Tanya Lee defends against Nikki Roxx at GENESIS the night before and I am sure that result will have a big impact on Sunday afternoon's event.

If you're at all close to the area, I hope you'll join us for a fantastic weekend of wrestling.

Friday, February 16, 2007

WSX Considered, R.I.P. Bob Luce, NECW Notes

It seems that everyone is talking about the new Wrestling Society X on MTV and some vigorous debate is going on about the show, especially in light of an episode being pulled this week by MTV's standards and practices department.

I watched the debut episode and some of the online content. Producer, Kevin Kleinrock of Big Vision Entertainment, who I've known for a number of years, told me that he thought they would be criticized by "old school fans," yet he was excited by what they were doing and called it "innovative" and way over the top, by MTV's request.

To put WSX in perspective you have to bear in mind that this is NOT a wrestling promotion. WSX is a TV show that hopes to become a wrestling promotion. It's a lot like the late 1960's TV show The Monkees, about a fictitious band, except they actually made records and ended up taking creative control of their music and becoming a real band.

The concept of pre-fab pro wrestling is not new. Paul Alperstein's ill-fated American Wrestling Federation actually taped its shows in front of an audience of paid extras who held signs made by the company and cheered and booed on cue. That failure had more to do with trying to establish the company through paid TV syndication, than whether it was good or not.

WSX is at the very least interesting. The talent is mostly young high flyers and the violent style is laced with a variety of stunts and explosions - kind of like Atsushi Onita and Tony Hawk had a love child and invited some cool bands. After I watched it, I was like, "Yeah this looks like an MTV parody of pro wrestling."

What hurts WSX most is the 30 minute format. There is no way you can draw interest in the matches, feuds and characters in a 30 minute TV format, which translates to about 18 or 19 minutes of action. WSX answers this with WSXtra, a supplemental Internet broadcast that gives you extra matches and features. WSXtra is actually the most innovative thing about WSX - it's attempt to draw fans to the net from conventional TV to flesh out their programming and make that an essential part of the WSX experience. The question is will their fans have the attention span to actually want to do that? There doesn't seem to be enough time to hook people in far enough to want to get in deeper by watching online. The WSXtra shows use an embedded player on the website, which is small in size and not conducive to viewing something like professional wrestling - especially the fast-paced, high flying variety.

Since MTV is a music network, here are some musical analogies about the WSX product. As in MTV itself, not every song is uptempo. Most of the best selling songs in music history are ballads, because they are ones that connect the most with the emotions of the audience. When you go to a concert, the best shows take the audience on a journey with different tempos and pacing. The same holds true with wrestling. Variety on a card makes it more interesting to watch than having every match be the same kind of thing.

Ultimately, WSX will be judged by TV standards and not wrestling standards and that is as it should be. If the ratings hold up, WSX has a chance to survive on the world's biggest TV network. I really don't see it becoming a touring proposition, because you could never recreate that atmosphere live. The fact that MTV has the desire to be involved with pro wrestling on any level is good for the business. It's an endorsement of the industry. It remains to be seen if the network will give the show enough time to find itself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Bob Luce was one of the great old time wrestling promoters. Based in Chicago in the 60's and 70's, he was associated with Verne Gagne, and I believe, Dick The Bruiser in Indianapolis as well. I first became acquainted with Luce watching a 4 volume VHS set that he put out in the mid-80's called the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Classics. Luce was a colorful individual, known for being a great local promoter - great with the local press and a larger than life TV host.

Luce was a relic from another era that we sadly won't see again. Guys like Bob Luce were simply irreplaceable. He passed away last week just one day before his 79th birthday after a long illness. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We are a little more than a week away from another huge NECW/WWW Double Impact Weekend. NECW's next live event, which is GENESIS 6 at the National Guard Armory in Quincy, MA, takes place Saturday night, February 24 at 7 PM. GENESIS was traditionally the biggest event of the year for PWF and we have continued that tradition post-merger. The GENESIS events were always viewed fondly by local fans as something special, and this year's version will be no exception. All titles will be defended, some big feuds will be coming to a head and it's one you don't want to miss.

GENESIS has already generated the biggest advance sale of any show we've done, so if you are looking for tickets, especially VIP tickets, I would act sooner rather than later.

Sunday afternoon, February 25, it's the return of World Women's Wrestling to Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA with a 3:00 PM bell time. It's topped by a very unique "Pick Your Poison" Triple Main Event, where WWW Champion, Tanya Lee, Jana and Portia Perez choose their opponents at random from the trio of Nikki Roxx, Ariel and Lexxus. All the participants have bad blood with each other and it should be a real throwdown in Somerville.

Check out and for tickets and information.