Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Thoughts & Wishes

It's time to bring the best out in our nature and wish each other happy holidays and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

2008 was not the easiest of years and with a faltering economy and uncertainty in the lives of most Americans, the season comes with a dark cloud over many whose jobs and ways of life may be in jeapordized by conditions they have no control over.

This holiday season, I wish you the happiness of being here to enjoy the season, the blessing of loved ones to share it with and the gift of good health to continue this wonderful journey we call life.
I look forward to a great 2009 and look forward to sharing it with you.
Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

R.I.P. Steve Bradley, POWER OF LOVE Thoughts & More

There is not much I can add about the tragic death of Steve Bradley. There are things that happen in life that are not fair and this was one of them. I thought we had a nice tribute to him on The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show two weeks ago. I hope people will remember the positives that Steve brought to this world and our business and not the downsides.

I got a rather annoying message from an "anonymous" individual who felt that such a tribute coming from me was "pathetic." Any heat Steve Bradley and I ever had was squashed years ago. In fact, one of the last conversations I had with him was after the rather ugly split with a former booker. Steve called me to say how sorry he was that it had happened, how this individual was wrong and that he planned his little escapde deliberately and for quite some time. Steve also told me that I shouldn't give up on the business and that it needed me. I appreciated that phone call on a lot of levels and his words meant a lot to me at the time.

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Saturday night's NECW POWER OF LOVE event at the Billerica Memorial High School was a very gratifying night, being a benefit for Toys for Tots.

While the crowd numbers were a disappointment, those who were there were vocal and enthusiastic. The action more than held up its end of the bargain with some real standout matches. Complete results are up at

I am looking forward to making this an annual event. With a little more lead time next year and perhaps moving the show earlier to avoid the crunch of the holiday season, we should get significantly better numbers.

Even still, Saturday night's event managed to fill 4 huge bins full of toys for needy kids and I'm especially proud to say that the NECW stars and staff pitched in big time, not just by their work on Saturday night, but by bringing so many unsolicited donations of toys that the NECW crew filled one whole bin by themselves.

I believe that it's important for our company to involve itself in worthy community causes. It is the responsibility of every athlete and entertainer to display the positive personal traits of doing good deeds and charitable acts. What a blessing it is to have a roster full of young talent that so eagerly took the chance to do something so worthy.

The staff at the high school and the United States Marine Corps Reservers who run the Toys for Tots program were great to work with and all enjoyed their first taste of NECW action up close. Some new fans were made Saturday night, and I would be remiss not to thank our many Quincy regulars who made the drive to Billerica to support this event.

Thank you all and happy holidays!

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The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show, that I host every Friday on Boston's 1510 The Zone, is taking a bit of a holiday break. We will be returning on a new day and time - Wednesday afternoons from 5 to 6 PM EST - starting January 7th. The show has been such a great experience for me and I look forward to bringing you more great guests and more great talk on pro wrestling in the new year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend DOUBLE INTENSITY Preview

I am really excited for this weekend's DOUBLE INTENSITY events. Years back, Thanksgiving night used to be one of the biggest nights of the year for pro wrestling. Many of the great territories had special Thanksgiving night shows, and especially in cities that didn't have a lot of major league sports in those days, they always drew well.

So here in NECW, we are experimenting with something that I would like to see become an annual tradition - the Thanksgiving weekend 2 night spectacular - NECW and World Women's Wrestling back to back on consecutive days.

Saturday night's NECW show should be a hot one with a six man tag on top, the tag team championship gauntlet match, a WWW title match, a mixed tag and much more. Sunday's WWW event, with Malia Hosaka challening the winner of Saturday night's championship match between Ariel and Taeler Hendrix should be an excellent bout. I look forward to welcoming Malia back to our company as she is a great asset to any company fortunate enough to employ her services. The WWW shows have been known for being fun and unpredictable, and if you haven't experienced one, make sure you get down to Quincy this weekend.

Another important aspect of this weekend's events is the price. You can buy a 2 night VIP front row ticket that includes a free WWW T-shirt for just $35. If you're just interested in general admission, we have a 2 night package for just $22. That's $22 for both shows. I do not anticipate our company raising ticket prices in the next year, as we extremely conscious of being affordable to families with children, which makes up the bulk of our business.

I hope to see you in Quincy this weekend.

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If you haven't checked out the 4th anniversary episode of NECW TV, it's available by clicking here. I thought it was a great episode with a mix of old clips and good build up to this weekend's shows.

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This Friday on The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show, it's a special on women's wrestling in honor of the return of World Women's Wrestling to live action. We'll have the current WWW Champion, "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel in the studio, joined by Dave Prazak of Shimmer who will be on the phone. Joe Materazzo co-hosts this week and Mike Johnson of will have all the top stories of the week.

We'll also have another 3 question Trivia Challenge. Be the first to answer all 3 questions correctly and you'll win a big prize package from JR's Family BBQ and WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, plus DOUBLE INTENSITY Tickets and the NECW or WWW DVD of your choice.

Join us Friday from 6 to 7 PM EST on Boston's 1510 The Zone or

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thoughts on Lexxus, Pro Wrestling & The Economy, NECW - The Best NE Promotion? and NECW TV Celebrates 4 Years

As my schedule lightens up this week, I finally have a chance to catch up on things like this blog.

The big news from Friday's Mouthpiece Wrestling Show, which you can listen to if you missed it by clicking here, is that NECW/WWW star Lexxus will be changing her ring name due to a threatened legal action by Toyota Motor Corporation. Toyota consider the ring name "Lexxus" an infringemment of their Lexus automobile brand. I'll be posting the story here on this blog for you to read, but collectively, NECW and the wrestler currently known as Lexxus, have to just take this situation in stride. As I said in the story we released, this is actually more of a compliment to us than anything else.

Oh, and just one of the reasons NECW is the top promotion in New England is that no other local company received such a letter from Toyota's law firm. That alone should tell you how a multi-national conglomerate views things from the outside. More on this later in this post.

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Two weeks ago on The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show, we scratched the surface of a discussion of pro wrestling and how the current economy will affect it. We've already seen roster cuts at WWE after a recent stoockholder's report citing a 37% decrease in revenue for the company. I have heard of numerous promotions around the country citing major drops in business.

So exactly how bad is it going to get for pro wrestling? Is there a silver lining to the dark cloud that is our nation's current economic condition?

During the Great Depression, pro wrestling more than held its own for the most part. Historically, during down times, sports and entertainment tend to suffer the least.

Today, however, the world has changed. Where local pro sports franchises used to thrive off the average fan and a family trade in decades past, today pro sports tickets are largely consumed by corporate and well-to-do clients. The average working person tends to be frozen out of that end of the marketplace.

Pro wrestling was always at the lower end of the spectrum of pro sports and entertainment ticket prices. However, with today's high arena costs, even WWE and TNA are charging relatively high prices for house show tickets.

Also, society has changed. Today, more families see both parents holding jobs. People are busier. Entertainment options are far more plentiful, and many of those options, like DVD movies, cable TV and the Internet, are consumed at home.

In short, people are far more selective about their entertainment choices than they ever were before, simply because there is so much more to choose from. Boston, in particular, has far more entertainment and leisure options than most cities.

Do I think pro wrestling is going to be hurt by the current economy? To some extent, yes. We have seen a big drop in PPV buys for WWE, and that may well be because there are too many PPV's and fans are just picking and choosing the ones they will go out of their way to spend money on. The same thing applies to house shows. TNA did record business when they brought a PPV event to the Tsongas Arnea in Lowell, MA. But a regular house show a few months later, died at the gate.

A company like NECW operates on a different philosophy. Regular, low priced events, with quality content and good continuity have kept our business relatively strong. I see the future of independent wrestling as one with future potential for solid operators like NECW. I don't think the rash of newcomers to promoting in this area have any chance at all to succeed. They just aren't going to be able to do a better job than anyone currently in the area using the same talent pool.

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A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an article recently in a leading wrestling publication which shall remain nameless that claimed that a certain CT based promoter was the best promotion on the independent scene based on the fact that he bases his shows around big names and generally draws big crowds.

To say that this individual is the best independent promoter in the country is buying Fool's Gold. Don't get me wrong. This guy is great at what he does. I give him props for running that particular business model successfully.

But dig a little deeper and put what he does in perspective. He draws houses based on name talents that were built by major promotions. Most of his shows are fundraisers and the local sponsor is responsible for selling the tickets. In very few instances does he run a town regularly. His shows have no storyline content. You are paying to see the stars and the local guys are just filler. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with this, and the man does an excellent job doing what he does.

But it's not a wrestling promotion. It's just putting on shows. If you took the stars away, he'd be done.

On the other hand, NECW has never used big names to draw. The company runs consistently with top notch show production, is storyline based, produces weekly TV and draws respectably month after month after month. No company in this area gets local talent over to where they are legitimate draws than NECW.

Are we perfect? No. There are downsides to our way of doing business. But if you look at what NECW produces and the effect it has clearly had on the local scene, it's hard not to give us props as the true leader in the area. But hey, that's just my opinion!

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This coming week, probably Tuesday, will see the posting of the 4th anniversary edition of NECW TV. Four years and nearly 150 episodes of television distributed worldwide via the Internet is a pretty impressive achievement.

NECW TV was a true pioneering effort. The first long form wrestling show produced specifically for the Internet, it currently gets between 23,000 and 30,000 views per week worldwide.

The shows have matured to where it is a consistently solid product and the best showcase possible for our talent. It's a real source of pride for us and it has been a real priviledge to be able to have shared so many great matches and moments with fans all over the world. We are very grateful for your support of this great experiment we call NECW TV.

One day, people will look back at what we did and realize how far ahead of its time it was. NECW TV was here before YouTube and iTunes.

Thanks for watching... and listening... and reading!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Random Thoughts & Considered Opinions

It's been quite a while between blogs, as my other work in the trade show industry has kept me super busy this month. Lots of early starts and long days, but the worst is over and I am looking forward to getting caught up with life.

There's a lot of territory to cover, so let's dig in:

I thought this year's TOXIC WALTZ was the best one of the three that have been presented under the post-merger NECW banner. "The Golden Greek" Alex Arion took home a controversial victory in the TOXIC WALTZ match, which is in my not-so-humble opinion, one of the most unique events in pro wrestling and a real asset to NECW.

The talent depth in the promotion is currently outstanding. Max Bauer is doing a fine job as NECW Triple Crown Champion. Ditto for Handsome Johnny as Television Champion. PRIDE's current domination of the tag team division is a reminder that great tag team wrestling is alive and well in NECW. The champs had a great match at the TOXIC WALTZ with NY's Team Zero.

The TOXIC WALTZ DVD will be worth getting for the commentary of myself and Joe Matterazzo, particularly where it involves the antics of one Pat "The Brat" Piper. Let's just say we found out what a Scotsman wears under his kilt and the commentary was a challenge from that point on.

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The DOUBLE INTENSITY Thanksgiving Weekend Spectacular is something not to be missed. We have a great card of NECW action in store on Saturday night, November 29 at the Armory in Quincy, and the return of World Women's Wrestling the following afternoon in the same venue with a special 5 PM bell time.

Triple W comes to Quincy for the first time ever and I am excited to see that product presented with the full NECW level of production. The Triple W shows always drew a loyal following and I am really looking forward to seeing both the fans and the stars. I have missed Triple W and I can assure you that we are going to have a great event on Sunday, November 30.

We have 2 great combo packages for the weekend shows which you can only get online at and We have a VIP package, which included front row tickets for BOTH shows, plus a free WWW T-shirt for $35 and a 2 night general admission combo for just $22.

Given the current state of our nation's economy, now more than ever, NECW is conscious of giving our fans the greatest value possible for your dollar. We pride ourselves on being affordable family entertainment. I do not foresee any price increases on our part in the near future.

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Some time ago I wrote about these one-off "funzie-onezie" promotions that seem to be cropping up in the area.

The most recent of these - and I won't dignify which one by revealing its name - is a particularly sad story. The "promoter" is actually a long time fan of NECW who is, as he put it, "living his dream."

The reason it is a sad story is that this individual has no idea that he is dead before he starts. He does not know that the talent are laughing at him behind his back. He does not fully understand the scope of what he's getting into, and when he finally does, he will understand that he was totally naive with his plans, a ton of money will be lost and he will wake up from that "dream" with a very different view of things.

There are no shortcuts in pro wrestling. It is a highly skilled profession. It amazes me that someone would be so dumb as to think you can just walk off the street with no experience in the business of pro wrestling and be a successful promoter. Can you walk into hospital without a single days worth of medical school and perform surgery? I don't care how long you've been a fan. That is no substitute from actually working in this business and paying your dues.

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I am pleased to be involved a couple of very important charity projects in the months to come:

Saturday, December 13, NECW & WWW will present a benefit event with 100% of the proceeds going to the Toys for Tots program, which is run by the United States Marine Corps. The show will take place at the Billerica High School with a 7 PM bell time, and we'll have more info next week on this.

Monday, January 19, which is Martin Luther King Day, we will be supporting former WWE star Christopher Nowinski and his Sports Legacy Institute at the Lowell Devils hockey game at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell. Game time is 2 PM. Your admission gets you a free autographed picture or photo op with Chris. I will be there along with some of the NECW crew signing autographs as well. We'll have more details on the NECW web site this coming week.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Thoughts On PWI's Female 50

Pro Wrestling Illustrated's latest newsstand issue features a first time ever listing of the 50 top female wrestlers. A companion to the magazine's annual PWI 500 featuring the top 500 wrestlers in the industry, it's an interesting list that merits some discussion.

NECW has never actively participated in the PWI 500, more due to the amount of work involved in compiling photos, bios, etc. in the format the magazine wants. I am also not a big believer in the importance of the list. In a perfect world, we would have the staffing to do more outreach to a newsstand magazine like PWI, but in balancing all we do with our company, it's just not possible.

I also think PWI should do a better job of developing coverage of the major independent companies, but that's another story for another post.

The PWI Female 50 is an interesting list because it contains a number of stars who have worked for NECW and World Women's Wrestling and a few whose careers were significantly impacted by our company. It's also a list that gives equal weight to women on the independent circuit, as well as those who work for the national promotions. Here in the list in total:

1. Awesome Kong 2. Beth Phoenix 3. Gail Kim 4. Mickie James 5. MsChif 6. Sarah Del Ray 7. Roxxi Laveaux 8. Melina 9. Michelle McCool 10. Candice Michelle 11. Mercedes Martinez 12. Victoria 13. Taylor Wilde 14. ODB 15. Daizee Haze 16. Angelina Love 17. Jacqueline 18. April Hunter 19. Natalya 20. Sumie Sakai 21. Allison Danger 22. Traci Brooks 23. Velvet Sky 24. Sarah Stock 25. Moose Knuckles 26. Katie Lea Burchill 27. Cherry 28. Cheerleader Melissa (a.k.a. Raisha Saeed) 29. Maria Kanellis 30. Amber O’Neal 31. Lexie Fyfe 32. Kelly Kelly 33. Cindy Rogers 34. Jillian Hall 35. Malia Hosaka 36. Christie Ricci 37. Becky Bayless 38. Alere Little Feather 39. Layla El 40. Kelly Couture 41. Jaime D (a.k.a. Sirelda) 42. Christy Hemme 43. Milena Roucka 44. Annie Social 45. Lufisto 46. Rhaka Khan 47. Danyah 48. Jennifer Blake 49. Daffney 50. Portia Perez

Beth Phoenix comes in at number 2. Beth had a few appearances with NECW before she hit it big, and even then was impressive and a pleasure to work with. She carried former TNA & ECW star Trinity to a very good match in what was Trinity's first singles match. That took place in NECW and is available on the NECW Home Video release GATEWAY TO GREATNESS. Beth worked extremely hard to get her spot and deserves every bit of the success she's achieved.

Roxxi Laveaux, the former Nikki Roxx, came in at number 7 - a high ranking and ahead of some some pretty notable names. I can't say it's not deserved in this case. The former NECW Women's Champion and World Women's Wrestling Champion proved to be a potent attraction when given the right portrayal, a good push and the opportunity to shine. How far she goes on the national stage depends on how well she can play the politics.

Mercedes Martinez came in at #11, ahead of former WWE Women's Champion, Victoria among others. The PWI bio correctly states that Mercedes got her first break in NECW, and for quite some time, she was the most popular attraction on the roster (much to the chagrin of the booker at the time). Martinez started with NECW in its first year. From the moment she went through the curtain at Good Time Emporium that first time, it was obvious she was something special. The challenge was getting her good opponents and keeping her in a place where she could show off her abilities effectively.

Mercedes suffered in NECW from a clash with the booker at the time. This individual hated women's wrestling and would always run down Martinez behind her back. I would try and bring the two together, but sometimes that's just not possible. I would end up booking the women's matches myself most times, as I know they were effective and often bright spots on the cards. A funny story about this period is that one time we had the legendary Les Thatcher in to one of our shows. He was here because the booker, who also had and still has a wrestling school, brought him in for a seminar that weekend. Thatcher sees the show, which had a pretty fair amount of the booker's students on the card, and who does he tell me is the best worker in the promotion? You guessed it. Mercedes Martinez.

Martinez branched out from NECW/WWW, in large part because of her work in our company and my recommendations to other promoters. I have not seen her recent work, but my take on her is that she is a super talent who needs to evolve. The best and most successful workers try to adapt to the marketplace and improve on their look and their style. The minute you start thinking that you don't need to learn anything new or reassess your look, you will be left behind. Martinez should be in TNA and I hope she gets a shot there.

April Hunter had a couple of brief runs in NECW in the early years of the company. I can't say that we are the best of friends or that we send each other Christmas cards. April Hunter is a unique case in pro wrestling. She broke in as an NWO girl in WCW, saw an opportunity for a career in pro wrestling and then trained to actually work in the ring. She came up here to Killer Kowalski's School in 2000, I believe. She worked hard at it, and did perhaps the best job of self-marketing any independent worker has ever done.

I read the she retired from wrestling earlier this year due to accumulated injuries (she'll still work as a manager), and I felt bad when I read that. My take on April is that she rushed into the ring before really knowing how to work and more importantly how to protect herself. She had a tremendously marketable look and she got herself booked worldwide, which is no small feat. However, if she had learned to master other aspects of the game, such as promos and psychology, she could have lasted longer and perhaps had more success.

Sumie Sakai clocked in at #20 and I was surprised to see her on the list, let alone in that position. This is not due to her ability, but due to the fact that I haven't seen her in many match results this past year. I believe she is living in the Atlanta area now. I took Sumie under my wing when she first arrived in the U.S. She had her first match in America in NECW against Mercedes Martinez and she was actually the inspiration for World Women's Wrestling. Her arrival in the area and how she was promoted here upon that arrival had a profound effect on me and on the promotion. She hasn't been back to the area in quite awhile and she is missed.

Cindy Rogers ranked 33rd. Cindy is a great worker, but another case of someone who has not evolved. In the right situation and with the right presentation, she'd be a draw.

Malia Hosaka is way underrated at #35. She may be the best female wrestler on the continent. A consummate pro who can go with anyone, Malia should not only be on national television, but she should be schooling girls on what pro wrestling is all about. She is a terrific person to boot.

Alere Little Feather at #38 has been plagued by injuries lately, but she can be effective when booked properly and with an opponent who can bring the best out of her.

Portia Perez rounds out the list at #50 and I have a ton of respect for this great young talent. She has shown the ambition to travel anywhere to get more experience as a wrestler and that means a lot to me as a promoter. There is no substitute for desire and Portia has it in spades.

The fact that the PWI Female 50 exists is due in large part to the efforts of one Dave Prazak, promoter of SHIMMER. His promotion of women's wrestling was the precursor to, and most likely the inspiration for, TNA's women's division and if you look at their roster, it is no coincidence that so many have worked for his promotion.

There are some serious omissions from the PWI list, which is why I don't put much stock in it. The fact that "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel and Lexxus are absent from the list, hurts its credibility with me.

Still it's nice to see women's wrestling getting its due as something other than a fetish interest. And for those of you who have continued to ask about when our own World Women's Wrestling will return, we hope to have an answer for you within the next few weeks.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Jim Ross: Class Act

We had Jim Ross on The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show today (Well technically yesterday, as it's past midnight) and it was great visit with one of the true class acts in a business that is notorious for not having a big supply of such. You can listen to the show at this link.

One of the things we touched on during the interview is that this is a guy who has had more than his share of challenging days at the office so to speak. Between suffering with Bell's Palsy and the strong personalities and egos that go with territory in pro wrestling, Ross never failed to hold his head up and deliver his best - a best which was consistently better than anyone elses.

Whenever I felt overwhelmed or under appreciated in or out of wrestling, I thought about Jim Ross and how his passion for his profession and his desire to be the best overcame any obstacle he faced - physical or otherwise.

There is a huge lesson there for anyone in any walk of life. But particularly for you young wrestlers and those who aspire to be part of the business is some way, the lesson is that it doesn't matter what the role is or what you think of the circumstances, persevere and commit yourself to being the best you can be.

Thank you Jim Ross, a true main event human being!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Saturday night's AUTUMN UNLEASHED event at the Armory in Quincy was a great outing for NECW. We had a terrific crowd on hand to witness one of our best cards of the year.

There is a full report online now at, but here are a few of my notes:

We had three stars visiting from Australia in Ryan Eagles, Madison Eagles and Jessie McKay. All three made a tremendous showing for themselves and you'll be seeing their matches in upcoming episodes of NECW TV.

The triple threat tag team title match was excellent. The champions, PRIDE, showed why they are one of the most durable teams in New England wrestling history. In fact, Freitas and Nunes are textbook examples of how a good tag team can create a value for themselves that is greater than the sum of their parts. They are a great centerpiece to the tag team division, which is heating up big time with Team Nightmare and The Crown Jewels doing some tremendous work.

Pat's Pit was an eventful segment that ended up with Sean Gorman losing an impromptu "Loser Leaves NECW" match to Pat Piper. Gorman is gone for no less than 90 days, which made the Quincy fans happy. I would not count on Gorman being gone for good however. The wily "Manager of Champions" is sure to use his "time off" to plan and scheme his way back into the thick of things in NECW.

I have been really enjoying the feud between NECW Television Champion, Handsome Johnny and former titleholder, "The Real Deal" Brandon Locke. Their matches have been outstanding and it will be almost sad to see one eventually prevail over the other. Handsome & Locke write what could be the final chapter of their epic at THE TOXIC WALTZ on November 1 in a rematch with no time limit.

Makoto is becoming a great attraction for NECW. The masked man from the Orient adds a little exotic flavor with both his ring attire and his action-oriented style.

The women's tag match was very well executed and the fans really responded to this one. (They responded to everything really. Just a great crowd.)

The main event was a memorable one to say the least. The Alex Arion turn came out of nowhere and the hush that came over the crowd was amazing when Arion struck Max Bauer with the Triple Crown title belt the first time.

I really enjoyed coming out at intermission and meeting our fans. It gives me a chance to thank people personally for their support of our promotion. I have always been a big believer in "the personal touch." In this day and age, people have almost unlimited choices for their entertainment. I am always honored and grateful that they chose our event on that night, and it is never lost on me that their patronage is not a given or a guarantee.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

R.I.P. Norman Whitfield

I just saw that one of the greatest songwriters and record producers of all time, Norman Whitfield, passed away yesterday at the age of 67.

Norman Whitfield was a big part of the Motown juggernaut of the 60's and 70's. Whitfield wrote and produced some of Motown's biggest hits, including "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "Just My Imagination," "Ball of Confusion," "War," and others. He also won a Grammy for his score of the 1976 film "Car Wash."

Back in 1982, I created and produced a musical revue that was a salute to Motown called "Dancin' In The Street!" The show was a smash hit in Boston at the old Next Move Theater and ran here for a total of 70 weeks. The show also ran at the historic Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. The success of that show was a testament to the enduring legacy of "The Motown Sound" and the singers, songwriters and producers who truly delivered "The Sound of Young America."

Thanks to Norman Whitfield and the other members of the great Motown family, it is a sound that will live forever as the true American songbook.

My condolences to the family and friends of the great Norman Whitfield.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Not-So-Random Thoughts

We will have open phone lines on this week's Mouthpiece Wrestling Show this Friday at 6 PM Eastern on 1510 The Zone in Boston.

It's a somewhat abreviated show this week, as we will have to cut away at 6:45 for a Harvard Football pre-game show. This will be the only week we will have to do this, so we want to open up the phone lines to as many of you as possible. I will be giving away some prizes tomorrow too, so tune in if you can or listen live online if you are outside the Greater Boston area.

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To answer Josh Ray's comment from my last post (Josh's comments in italics):

I hope you aren't suggesting that I am a know-it-all, haha. If I was one then I would have already attempted to put on a show instead of treading softly and (GASP!) building relationships and reasearching.

Josh, I am not suggesting you are a know-it-all. I am suggesting that if you haven't worked in the business on any level than you have no idea of the scope of what you're trying to do.

I have no desire to be a full time promoter. I'd like to help those that are already out there (specially the wrestlers) promote themselves.

I am not technically a full-time promoter, but I can tell you that I spend upwards of 50 hours a week on all things NECW, along with other employment and a radio show.

Also, wrestlers should not promote themselves. Ideally, that's what promoters do. I say ideally, because most promoters, at least on the independent level, do not really build talent. They just put on shows.

You're right that wrestlers should try harder to help the promotion they work for be more successful, but many of them probably feel that they do enough for $50 (or less). That's just two cents from a guy that "takes a different approach".

One thing I have learned in my years of being involved in wrestling is that it is a small world and reputations can build or deteriorate quickly. Independent wrestling is not a business, generally speaking, where much money is made, if any is made at all. Independent shows are where talent gain experience and build a reputation. The size of the pay day is irrelevant. When you walk in any dressing room, you should be prepared to do your best and leave a good impression. People who make a positive impression with both their work and their attitude are generally the ones who get booked and become sought after.

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It has been a challenging week for me personally.

I was diagnosed last week with Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, it is reversible and I have already made some significant lifestyle changes in order to reach that goal.

It was also a wake up call and put some perspective on what is most important in life. So please take care of yourselves and keep your head where it ought to be.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not-So-Random Thoughts

It's been a while since my last post, so it's catch up time.

The passing of Walter "Killer" Kowalski is truly the end of an era in New England wrestling. Apart from what Walter meant to wrestling as a worldwide star and one of the greatest ring villains ever, his legacy as a trainer in New England is carried on by the many companies in the area who use talent touched by his hand. The independent scene in New England would be a vastly different thing had there been no Killer Kowlaksi Institute of Professional Wrestling. There would certainly have been no NECW without it.

While my business dealings with Walter were not always what I would have hoped they would be, he was someone I loved, admired and respected.

The last time I saw him was at an autograph session we did in Wilmington to benefit Toys for Tots. I hugged him when I saw him and was glad I made that gesture. His friendship and kindness will never be forgotten and every time we ring the bell at an NECW event, I will be reminded that he was the foundation for what it has become.

On September 5, we did a great tribute to Walter on my radio show. You can listen to that broadcast, which featured Dory Funk, Jr., Frankie "Kaz" Kazarian from TNA, "Strangler" Steve King and "The Extreme Enforcer" Paul Richard by clicking here.
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I got some interesting feedback to my last post about fledgling "promoters."

I love it when someone with no experience in the wrestling business says, "But I have a different approach." That is usually code for "I am a know-it-all and don't want to pay my dues. I will just pay someone who has already paid them for me."

By the way, if you insist on taking the plunge, I am available as a consultant for a reasonable fee. Just joking there. My fee is actually unreasonable.

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Several months ago, Dory Funk Jr. wrote in one of his online columns that the job of a professional wrestler is to draw money for the promotion he or she works for.

I wish more young talent would take that statement to heart.

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This Saturday night, NECW has an extraordinary event lined up for the National Guard Armory in Quincy, MA. In addition to our regular crew, we will have 3 young stars from Australia who will be making their debut in NECW.

Madison and Jessie McKay will be opposite sides in a special World Women's Wrestling International Tag Team Challenge Match. Madison, is no stranger to this country as she used to work for Heartland Wrestling in Ohio a while back. This will be her first US appearance in 3 years as she teams with "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel, the World Women's Wrestling Champion, against former champion Lexxus and Jessie McKay, who makes her American debut in this match.

Aussie star, Ryan Eagles will take on our own self-proclaimed "Future Superstar" Ryan Matthews in another international challenge match. I believe this is Eagles' American debut as well.

NECW has had a history of giving opportunities to overseas talent. Among the international stars NECW has introduced or showcased over the years are Britain's Doug Williams, Jonny Storm, Jody Fleisch and Paul Tyrrell, Ireland's Fergal Devitt (now Prince Devitt in New Japan), as well as Japanese star, Sumie Sakai. You never know who you will be seeing in NECW today that will be making a global impact tomorrow.

For more details on Saturday's event and to get tickets, visit

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Attack of the Funzie-Onezies

You see them more and more of late. "Promoters" running shows who have never run anything before. They book the talent established promoters in the area use. They bring in "big names" if they have the budget. They tell you they are going to "revolutionize the area" or "change the industry."

And every one of them meets the same fate. One and done.

I don't understand how people think they can walk into pro wrestling and be a promoter, never having done it before and never having been around the business before. Do these people honestly think that because they watch wrestling every week and read the inside scoops on the Internet or subscribe to the Wrestling Observer that they are qualified to promote wrestling?

Years ago, I used to produce plays. I had a few successes too. But when trying to raise money for these projects, I would continually run across people who had never been in the business, but wanted to tell you who to cast, what to change, how to write. etc. Before I started producing, I worked as a press agent for different producers and theaters. I saw many a well meaning person lose huge money because they wanted to call shots they had no business calling.

Like these amateur wrestling promoters, these people were doomed from the start. All manner of leeches attached themselves to these folks, in hopes of a run in the spotlight and an inflated paycheck.

In wrestling, I call these people "funzie-onezies." They are not in the business to make money. They are in it to be happy. They are in it to convince themselves they have a talent that doesn't exist. They don't want to work with established promoters, because they think they know what it takes or they know better.

What they all end up learning is the pro wrestling, like any other business, is a highly skilled profession. If you have never been around it before and don't know what you're doing, you are certainly going to lose money and lots of it.

Another by-product of these "funzie-onezies" is that often unwittingly damage the very business they purport to love so much. They over pay talent or don't pay them at all, leave buildings in disrepair, and allow things to happen on shows that either kill that building as a venue for wrestling or sour fans on independent wrestling altogether. I have seen promoters run shows so badly that the town they ran in actually banned wrestling from ever coming back.

When I started promoting wrestling, I had been around indie shows for over 10 years (working at them and not just attending them), and I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I did about putting on wrestling then as I do now.

So when you see one these "funzie onezies" - shows that pop up from an organization you never heard of before, don't bother. 99 times out of 100 they are dead before they start.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Killer Kowalski Memorial Fund

A fund has been established to help pay the medical expenses and other needs of Walter "Killer" Kowalski. The fund has been established by Walter's wife Theresa.

You can send donations in any amount to:

The Walter "Killer" Kowalski Memorial Fund
Citizens Bank
876 Main Street
Malden, MA 02148

At this writing, Walter is still clinging to life. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Radio Dreams

"The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show" just had it's 4th episode this past Friday with special guest Chris Cruise on 1510 The Zone, and it was one of those shows that was just too short. We could have gone on for at least a couple more hours, and that is a sign that what we are doing is working.

We've gotten a ton of positive feedback from listeners and the station staff, for which I am very grateful.

From a personal standpoint, it's been an absolute blast. While I am new to hosting talk radio and still getting used to it, when I was a teenager, I would have given anything to have been a DJ on a Boston station. Needless to say, I matured from that career path, although there are those who would argue that promoting professional wrestling does not exactly fit their definition of mature. Nonetheless, it is incredibly ironic that 34 years later, my radio dreams came true, thanks to pro wrestling.

I am especially looking forward to next Friday's (August 8) show, as it will mark the return of my broadcast partner, Sean Gorman, after his several week battle with Lyme Disease, and special guest from TNA Wrestling, Jeremy Borash, who is someone I hold in very high regard.

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to listen, as well as all the station's staff, especially General Manager, Anthony Pepe. Please tune in this coming Friday at 5 PM Eastern.

If it's not convenient to listen live, you can now subscribe to the show as a podcast on iTunes, Podcast Alley and other podcast sites. We've had over 1,300 subscribers so far and I can't thank you all enough for your support.

Monday, July 28, 2008

World Women's Wrestling Update

I have been getting a lot of e-mails and questions about what is happening with World Women's Wrestling now that it's home, Good Time Emporium, is no longer in business.

World Women's Wrestling will return late this fall, most likely at the National Guard Armory in Quincy. This will be an interesting experiement to see how WWW works in a more arena-like atmosphere.

I do expect that Good Time Emporium will reopen in Brockton, but that is a lengthy process.

According to the Quincy Patriot Ledger newspaper, Good Times received zoning approval for the new venue they are trying to open in Brockton.

There are two more steps in the process before it's a done deal. They have to get a City Council ordinance revision to lift the cap of 35 automatic amusements to accommodate Good Time’s request for 300 machines, and a liquor license hearing before the License Commission where they will ask for a 2 a.m. weekend closing time.

The Zoning Board approval is a major step, so hopefully they will be able to make it happen. According to the paper, Dan Hayes is buying the building, which was an old warehouse, for $14 million and it will take millions more to renovate it.

If all goes well and swiftly, it will most likely be the end of the year or early next year before a new facility would come on line.

Obviously, we hope that it does and that we will be able to run that new facility with WWW and possibly NECW on a regular basis.

Killer Kowalski Health Update

Today's Boston Herald features an article by columnist Joe Fitzgerald about the health of our friend, the legendary Hall of Famer, Walter "Killer" Kowalski. You can read Joe's article by clicking here.

There are few larger than life legends who exceed your expectations in real life. Walter Kowalski is one of the few.

The legendary villian of the ring, whose exploits are forever stamped into our memories as fans of pro wrestling, is in a very different kind of battle right now. As the Herald article states, Kowalski's knees are gone, and corrective surgery, such as a knee replacement, is a high risk procedure due to his age and physical condition. This once vibrant man is now bed ridden and relegated to a nursing home.

Anyone who ever met this gentle giant with a heart of gold, will tell you how such a fate is so undeserved. Please keep Walter and his lovely wife Theresa in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show Debuts!

Earlier this afternoon, our Mouthpiece Wrestling Show made it's debut on WWZN, Boston's 1510 The Zone.

Sean Gorman and I were fourtunate enough to have two great guests to kick things off - Mike Johnson of and the legendary Jim Cornette.

We also had a lot of support from fans who called in - even former NECW/PWF star Ebony Blade.

Thanks to everyone for their support. If you didn't get to hear the show, you can find the mp3 file by clicking here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Good Times Come To An End... For Now

Tonight was the last night of operation for Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA after 17 years. The building is being redeveloped for an Ikea store. The owner threw a big party for customers, vendors, former employees and friends tonight. It was a night full of memories and emotions, as we said good bye to one of the most unique venues in the country, if not the world.

Good Time Emporium was over 150,000 square feet of almost every kind of entertainment from batting cages to bumpers cars, arcade games to basketball and bowling, plus laser tag and an indoor go kart track. Not mention, 80 regulation sized pool tables, over 70 big screens for sports and all the wrestling and MMA pay per views. Plus, 3 big bars, a nightclub and a large birthday party area. Good Time Emporium was the largest indoor entertainment complex in New England. Nothing else came close.

Good Time Emporium, of course, was the scene of so many great NECW events, as well as World Women's Wrestling. Our company would not have taken hold had it not been for the home that Good Time Emporium provided for us. Had there been no Good Times, there would have been no NECW.

In fact, had there been no Good Times, the entire landscape of wrestling in New England would be different.

The first promoter to run wrestling at Good Times was Rocky Raymond. While Raymond didn't last long, the late "Boston Bad Boy" Tony Rumble ran the building consistently for the 5 or so years until his death in 1999, first under the Century Wrestling Alliance banner, then as NWA New England.

I have some great memories of those years, but more importantly, it was the Good Times shows that were the first real consistently run independent promotion in the area and a chance for local talent to work consistently. The company which was backed by a pretty darn good cable access show, had spotty results as a draw at Good Times, but nonetheless brought fans some great action and introduced some great talent to the area.

One of my favorite memories of NWA New England and Good Times was the time we had then NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Naoya Ogawa scheduled to appear. I had the foresight to make up posters with Ogawa's picture and distribute them to some of the Japanese grocery stores in the area. Ogawa was a silver medalist in judo in Japan and a national hero, prior to embarking on a career in pro wrestling. Ogawa's plane was late that day and he didn't actually make the show. We had about 40 Japanese fans in attendance who came specifically to see Ogawa. We asked them to wait and when he arrived, he graciously signed autographs for everyone and posed for pictures.

Also in attendance that day was boxer, "Hurricane" Peter McNeely, famous for being destroyed by then heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson. We did a photo op in the dressing room for the Japanese press, where McNeely challenges Ogawa with yours truly in the middle trying to0 break it up between them. The photo of that ran in almost every major newspaper in Japan.

My most precious memories of Good Times will always be the NECW shows and the talent we introduced to the area. Guys who never had a chance to be anything more than filler on a New England wrestling card before got the chance to shine. Young talent from England, Canada and Japan made a mark in this area thanks to NECW at Good Times. Two future WWE World Champions appeared for us at Good Times before they became famous - John Cena and Beth Phoenix. Good Times was the house that made the career of Nikki Roxx, now Roxxi in TNA. British champion, Doug Williams, now signed to TNA, appeared for us many times at Good Time Emporium after making his debut in America with NECW on our 2nd show in Wethersfield, CT. I will always be proud of how we launched World Women's Wrestling at Good Times and changed how women's wrestling was viewed in the area.

I don't know of any wrestling company anywhere that got as much publicity as NECW & WWW did at Good Times. We even had a front page of the Boston Herald a few years back. No company in this area ever made a mark at a building, like we did at Good Times. So many stars, so many shows, so many memories.

Tonight, as I walked around the building, I felt like I was losing a dear friend. I shook hands with many of the fans who came regularly for our events and was touched at the thanks I received from many for all the entertainment we brought them.

Many of the staff from years back came by to say goodbye as well, and there were lots of handshakes and hugs from those who helped us so much over the years.

I thanked owner Dan Hayes and gave him a copy of our Gateway To Greatness DVD, which had the Cena match, Beth Phoenix and more from Good Times. Dan told me that the thing he felt saddest about was his employees, many of whom had been with him for most of the 17 years of its existence.

The good news is that they are close to closing a deal to reopen in a larger facility in Brockton, so "The Good Times" may roll again soon.

As I drove away and looked at the lighted sign in front in my rear view mirror, it sunk in that this was the end of an era that made a big difference to a lot of people, myself included. Thanks for the Good Times.

Postscript: Two weeks ago myself and videographer Bryan Nadeau shot extensive footage inside Good Times for a forthcoming DVD tribute to this unforgettable venue. Look for that to be released this fall.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Fuller Achievement

One of the most gratifying things in this end of the wrestling business is seeing the talent you've worked with and provided a stage for reach a higher plateau in our profession.

The people who really succeed in wrestling are the ones that have that unmistakable passion and drive to be very good at what they do. You see that hold true in all walks of life, but wrestling, especially on the independent level, is something else again. The commitment one must make is extraordinary. To commit to the training, to the constant effort to improve and market oneself and to physically put yourself on the line in hopes that one day you will make it in a business that has few top level opportunities is something I find most compelling. The guys who make that effort inspire me to make the effort that I make - to build a wrestling promotion that that strives to showcase extraordinary talent in an extraordinary way.

In July, NECW will be missing three of its top stars, all of whom are working overseas.

"Die Hard" Eddie Edwards is currently in the United Kingdom and will also be appearing elsewhere in Europe. Antonio "The Promise" Thomas will be making his debut with All Japan Pro Wrestling, and will, in fact, be staying for two tours. And lastly, Big Rick Fuller will be leaving next week for his first tour with New Japan Pro Wrestling and tagging with Giant Bernard, better known to U.S. fans as the former Prince Albert or A-Train.

We in NECW are extremely proud of all three men, each of whom is richly deserving of the opportunity they are getting.

However, I am especially happy for Rick Fuller who is getting an extraordinary opportunity at this stage of his career. I first met Rick years back when he worked for the late "Boston Bad Boy" Tony Rumble, who introduced him to Kevin Sullivan, then booker of World Championship Wrestling. Fuller's WCW run was not as impactful as it should have been. Fuller should have been a main event level guy on a national basis years ago.

Locally, Fuller has done some great work in NECW. He's in terrific shape - the best shape I've ever seen him in. He has been a true asset to our company, both in and out of the ring. But I will always have a soft spot for Rick over an incident that took place in 1998 when Tony Rumble was alive and we were running NWA New England.

One of the high points of our run with NWA New England was when our company had the NWA World Tag Team Titles, being held by The Brotherhood, consisting of Knuckles Nelson and Eric Sbraccia, managed by Tony Rumble. The NWA wanted to bicycle the titles around to different member promotions, but Rumble and I had begun to make some real noise in the business with the titles.

We did a one night title change with the late, great Public Enemy. I convinced Wally Yamaguchi through his brother Shun to book The Brotherhood on a couple of independent tours to Japan - the first time the NWA Tag Team Champions defended there in many years. The NWA Tag Team Champions were all over the major wrestling magazines, thanks to Rumble's friendships with then magazine mavens Bill Apter and George Napolitano.

The NWA, however, had made commitments to the NWA promoter in Texas, Ken Taylor, to put the titles on a very good team there called Team Extreme. A deal was made where The Brotherhood would go to Dallas and appear on a big show Taylor was promoting in the Bronco Bowl, which is a bowling alley and entertainment complex with a 2,000 seat theater. I even went along on the trip at my own expense and did color commentary on the Dallas promotion's TV show for the World Tag Team Championship Match.

But there was a problem along the way. Eric Sbraccia, who was one half of the tag team champions, decided he wasn't going to Texas. Sbraccia had just gotten back from Japan and claimed that his job would have been in jeopardy and that he would "rather stay home and swim in my pool."

The NWA was having issues with The Brotherhood holding on to the belts and the appearance in Texas was a mandatory title defense. If the champions no-showed, Rumble would have been on the hook for a $5,000 penalty.

Rumble made the call to Rick Fuller, who was still working for WCW at the time. Fuller agreed to step in to replace Sbraccia at the last minute.

The next hurdle happened at the airport in Boston. The plane ticket purchased for Sbraccia bared his name, not Fuller's. Rumble managed to pull off something you could never pull off today. He told the gate agent that the travel agent made a mistake and put the ticket under Fuller's "stage name." The agent bought the story and Fuller was on the plane.

So that one night in Dallas, Rick Fuller was one half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions and saved Rumble and myself and NWA New England from what could have turned into a major problem.

Should Fuller and Giant Bernard win the IWGP Tag Team Titles at some point, me and "The Boston Bad Boy" will be smiling extra wide.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goldberg & Gorman On Radio: "The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show" Premieres July 11 on Boston's 1510 The Zone

Here is a press release we just sent out the other day:


WWZN, Boston’s Sport’s Station, 1510 The Zone announces a new program focusing on the world of professional wrestling. “The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show,” a compliment to the station’s successful “Mouthpiece Boxing Show,” premieres on Friday, July 11 at 5 PM.

The show will be hosted by New England Championship Wrestling promoter, Sheldon Goldberg and the notorious “Manager of Champions” Sean Gorman. Goldberg is also a noted wrestling historian and has appeared on A&E, ESPN and MSNBC.

In making the announcement, WWZN General Manager, Anthony Pepe said, “Our station has been a leader in broadcasting niche sports programming and we are looking at “The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show” to be a great compliment to that effort. New England Championship Wrestling has a substantial local following and Sheldon Goldberg and Sean Gorman offer keen insights into the world of pro wrestling because they are real insiders in that industry.”

The show will focus on all the happenings in WWE, TNA and ECW, as well as international and independent promotions, including New England Championship Wrestling. Guests will range from current national stars and industry figures to legends of the mat game to the stars that are making a name for themselves here in New England.

Sheldon Goldberg says, “Most importantly, “The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show” is going to be fun. We’re going to get into some interesting discussion, take listener phone calls and do a lot of contests and giveaways. We’re looking to make an impact on Boston radio and have a great time doing it.”

WWZN, 1510 The Zone’s “Mouthpiece Wrestling Show” will air every Friday afternoon from 5 to 6 PM beginning July 11. The station is streamed live on the Internet at

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Needless to say, I am very excited over this extraordinary opportunity. What could be more fun than getting to talk about a subject I am so passionate about with a large potential audience? The show is going to cover everything in pro wrestling, but will also be a platform for us to introduce a whole new audience to our great New England Championship Wrestling promotion.
The choice of Sean Gorman as co-host was a no-brainer. Gorman is as talented as many of the great wrestling managers of days gone by. While Gorman is normally my number one antagonist in NECW, he is also a charismatic, intelligent individual and a real student of the game. It should be an interesting combination and please spare me the Monsoon-Heenan comparisons.
Make sure you listen in on Friday, July 11 at 5 PM Eastern time!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Response to Comment

Anonymous writes:

I agree with you to a degree. I've promoted shows in the past, present, and future. Don't you think that bringing in "Name" talent sometimes works as long as you do the right thing with that talent? If you pay $1000 for someone to come in and they sell approximately $2000 extra in tickets, isn't it a wise investment? No one in TNA is going to bury your talent unless you let them. Now, in my opinion, no one in TNA except for Angle, Booker, or Christian Cage is really going to draw big numbers but as a "once in while" thing couldn't you promote your champion facing Samoa Joe in a "World Title Match" similar to the old days of Brisco, Funk, or Race? I mean, the local guy could really get the rub if he has a knock-down drag out 15 or 20 minute match with The World Champion and loses. You could even do a DQ. I think you can make it work, but I see your point as well.

Anonymous (great name by the way), there are many ways to promote wrestling. The old "big name main event, local boys as filler" method worked well for decades. It stopped working in the mid-90's when WWE stopped third party bookings of their talent and WCW was on fire and their talent was unavailable. ECW talent showed up on limited independent dates, but they were a rarity. That formula, in certain situations, may well be valid.

The key sentence in your response was, "Don't you think that bringing in "Name" talent sometimes works as long as you do the right thing with that talent?" The truth is most promoters don't. Most of the time their view is "the stars draw the crowds," so doesn't it stand to reason that you set yourself up for not being able to draw without those stars?

There are many exceptions and variables. If you are in an area that is starved for live wrestling, the "big names" formula may be the way to go and you may not care about building up local talent.

There is a certain promoter out there, whose name I will not mention, that has been called "the most successful independent promoter in the country." His shows are dominated by name talent. That is the whole selling point. And right now he's doing great with that business model, because that name talent is available to him. But if you took those names away, I would bet you he wouldn't draw 100 people.

The point I made in the original post is that you are walking a slippery slope if you are 100% dependent on names that are contracted elsewhere. There have been instances when TNA has pulled talent off independent dates if they needed them for TV or a PPV. How would you like to be the promoter who has rented a venue, sold tickets, advertised TNA talent, only to be told "Sorry we need those guys elsewhere?" Do you think TNA is going to reimburse you for the ad money and building deposit you just lost, or the posters you just printed or the time you just wasted? As the late Gorilla Monsoon would have put it, "Highly unlikely."

You also say, "If you pay $1000 for someone to come in and they sell approximately $2000 extra in tickets, isn't it a wise investment?" The answer is that depends. If you are looking to make a quick $1,000 maybe. But if you intend to run regularly, you are now at the mercy of talent not contracted to you, that may be booked elsewhere when you need them, or booked against you by another promoter in the same area.

Another consideration is what type of operation you run. If you want to sell a DVD of your show that could be distributed to retail stores, TNA won't let you use their talent on the DVD. If you do TV, you won't be able to have those names appear. And at that point, there goes your upside. If you just run live shows, there's no problem, it may be worth the risk. But there IS a risk.

Friday, June 06, 2008

NWA 60th/Ric Flair Controversy & The Lesson It Teaches

As you may have read on any of the major wrestling news sites, the National Wrestling Alliance is putting on a big 60th Anniversary event at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, GA on this Saturday June 7th.

Part of the event is scheduled to include an NWA Hall of Fame induction ceremony that was announced as including WWE Hall of Famer, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. The controversy arose when WWE decided to pull Ric Flair from appearing at the event and from doing any personal appearances for any other NWA promoters, which NWA promoter, David Marquez had contracted with Flair to arrange.

Paul Heyman, in his weekly Sun newspaper column, which you can find by clicking here, discusses the matter in detail and lambasts the NWA and specifically it's Executive Director, Bob Trobich, for announcing Flair without written confirmation from WWE.

As most people know, I am friends with both David Marquez and NWA Executive Director, Bob Trobich. NECW is not a member of the NWA, though we have worked with them on occasion. I was very involved in the NWA when the "Boston Bad Boy" Tony Rumble was alive and promoting under the NWA New England banner. One of my closest friends is former NWA president, Howard Brody, who is no longer involved in the NWA and hasn't been for several years.

While I am not privvy to all the inside details, to defend my friends, Marquez and Trobich, I would have to believe they had a deal, based as I understand it, on dealings with Flair's agent. Obviously, WWE, to whom Flair is undisputedly contracted, decided to veto the arrangement.

As Paul Heyman, so smartly put it, "This industry is driven by an investment of time and money, and the allotment of minutes given to someone on whose performance and marketability that first investment is made."

The NWA situation is a more blatant example of a danger many independent promoters expose themseleves to.

There is a trend in the wrestling marketplace currently that is seeing a lot of promoters basing their cards around talent that are contracted to TNA. TNA freely allows these so-called "third party bookings" where their contracted talent are allowed to be booked on any independent show. TNA books these talents through their office.

On the other hand, TNA is booking more and more house shows under their own umbrella. It doesn't take a genius to see where this is leading. The day is going to come, and my guess is that it will be sooner rather than later, that TNA will decide that it's not in their best interest to have their talent performing for anyone other than them. After all, had this policy been in effect, TNA's top star, Kurt Angle, who was injured on an independent date in Korea to the point where there is a dark cloud hanging over the man's career, would be a more certain option for the company he is contracted to. How many serious injuries on a third party dates will it take before TNA says, "Gee, maybe this isn't such a good idea?"

You can't build a business around talent that are contracted elsewhere. The NWA just found this out the hard way.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

IRON 8 & Hot Dog Safari Notes

I am still recovering from this past weekend's events - the 5th annual IRON 8 Championship on Saturday night and the Hot Dog Safari on Sunday. It was a phenomally successful weekend for us and my most sincere thanks to everyone who came out and joined us.

Saturday night's IRON 8 was quite an event and something that our company is very proud of. Everyone involved in the IRON 8 gave an extraordinary effort and are to be congratulated on making a good accounting for themselves.

"The Golden Greek" Alex Arion proved to be the true iron man of the night by winning the IRON 8 tournament. "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards came very close to "three-peating" but narrowly missed when Arion scored the go-ahead fall with just 15 seconds left in the final 4 way match. The fans were solidly behind "The Golden Greek" and it was great to see Alex Arion take home that trophy.

Alex Arion has come a long way since breaking in to wrestling in 1998. First trained by Al Snow, I go back with Alex when he was a rookie in the old Century Wrestling Alliance and later NWA New England. In my not-so-humble opinion, Alex really came into his own when he won the NECW Heavyweight Championship from "Brutal" Bob Evans in March 2002. Alex has always been able to capture the emotions of the fans through good basics and psychology. All he needed was the right spotlight and when he got it, he delivered. Prior to NECW coming on to the scene at that time, no one really pushed local guys. Arion was the first real success of anyone in that role locally and paved the way for everyone who came after him.

I thought the first round match between Arion and Kahagas was a fantastic, hard-hitting match. Kahagas really impressed me this weekend both in the ring and out. There is a guy who could really make an impact in this area, should he ever think about relocating.

I had not seen Julio Dinero since the Tony Rumble days and he was a great addition to our tournament. Julio is a polished pro and one of the most underrated talents in pro wrestling.

Gran Akuma was also a fantastic addition to the IRON 8. Another guy who is just as impressive outside the ring as he is in it, Akuma is a real blue chip talent and someone who has the potential to be a big time player in our business.

I do not own a crystal ball and cannot predict the future with absolute certainty, but if Scott Osbourne does not become a big star in this business somewhere down the road, I will be shocked.

On the other hand, one does not need a crystal ball or lay claim to any sort of future predicting ability to know that "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards is one of the greatest talents in wrestling. Yes, he came up short in this year's IRON 8, but again, Eddie Edwards is someone who is destined for greatness. Edwards is leaving for a European tour soon, which will be a great experience for him and will only serve to add to his already impressive resume.

Speaking of people going overseas, congratulations to Big Rick Fuller who will be going over for New Japan Pro Wrestling this summer. Antonio Thomas will be heading for All Japan later this summer as well.

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Sunday's Hot Dog Safari was a great day for everyone associated with it, especially The Joey Fund, which is the beneficiary of the gate proceeds. The event drew over 25,000 fans, which the Hot Dog Safari website claims was the biggest crowd ever.

NECW and World Women's Wrestling presented a nearly 5 hour long combined show which included a 16 man tournament to crown a new NECW Television Champion. The ring area was packed with fans all day long. We've received quite a few e-mails from people who attended, praising our company and looking forward to seeing us in our regular settings.

All of the talent and crew deserve praise for taking part in the event and working hard to put on a fantastic day's event. We had a lot of new faces at the Safari, some of whom are going to be great additions to the NECW roster down the road.

You'll be seeing some of the matches from the Safari over the next several weeks on NECW TV.

I want to take a moment to once again thank Eddie Andelman for his warmth and hospitality this past Sunday. It was also an honor and a pleasure to meet the legendary sportswriter, Frank DeFord, who is heavily involved in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

We were blessed to be a part of this truly one-of-a-kind event and look forward to next year.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Huge Weekend Coming Up, Thoughts on Chikara & What It Means To Make Your Own Tracks

Hope you are having a great Memorial Day weekend and that you have paused to keep our armed forces in your thoughts and prayers.

Before I get to talking about NECW's huge weekend next weekend featuring the 5th Annual IRON 8 Championship and the 19th Annual Hot Dog Safari, I want to share the experience I had this past Friday night at the venerable Framingham Civic League to see the Pennsylvania-based Chikara promotion, run by the current NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion, Mike Quackenbush.

There are lots of different ways to promote wrestling. Some base their events on booking big name talent. Some stick to local stars. Some run their live events off a school using primarily students. In my experience, I find that most wrestler led promotions ultimately fail because the wrestler loses perspective and books what they have around them rather than what is good and will actually draw.

Chikara was a breath of fresh air on a lot of levels.

The best way I can describe Chikara to you is that it is an Americanized lucha libra styled promotion that takes the pageantry and working framework of the Mexican style of lucha libre and adds some over the top character and smart humor. It's sort of like a Harlem Globetrotters of pro wrestling.

To accomplish something like this, you need to train students to be able to do the style. Mike Quackenbush is the trainer, promoter and working wrestler in his company - a pro wrestling auteur who has managed to create "the perfect storm" of style, talent and creativity.

Chikara is the student-based wrestling promotion that gets it right. These students are completely respectful and 100% behind the promotion. They deliver a product that is fresh, colorful and superbly entertaining from top to bottom. Mike Quackenbush has done something that takes a lot of vision and patience, as well as great intelligence and impeccable leadership. Chikara takes pro wrestling and adds numerous creative twists to where it almost surpasses the genre as art. In fact, they even had a match from Kajiu Big Battel, which is a company that puts on "wrestling cards" with actors dressed up as anime type monsters - a perfect fit in the tweaked world of Chikara. He also had some real veteran luchadores - Jorge "Skydae" Rivera and Pantera - who worked a classic lucha match and worked out with the students. They bring a credibility to the style that is part of what keeps Chikara from veering into parody.

Their business model functions a lot on DVD sales which are conducted through Smart Mark Video. This doesn't work for every independent, but the Chikara product is so unique, you can see why it would develop a following among independent DVD buyers.

While Chikara is not without its flaws (too many matches on the show for one), it's imperfections are minimized by good booking. I'm not sure Chikara is something that could succeed as a monthly type of promotion, but a series of bi-annual tours, like the analogy I made with the Harlem Globetrotters, would probably work like crazy.

Hats off to everyone involved with Chikara, and most especially Mike Quackenbush, who could very well be one of the most creative men on the independent scene in America.

Of course, the real lesson of Chikara is that being different is important. Quack could have easily followed every other independent company doing the same basic American pro wrestling approach and it would never have gotten out of their home in Pennsylvania. It is always easier to make your own tracks than to try and retrace the steps of others.

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Speaking of things that are unique, this coming Saturday night we have our 5th annual IRON 8 Championship Tournament at the Armory in Quincy, MA. This could very well be the best field we have ever presented for this annual classic, which is a real twist on the typical 8 man tournament you see many independent companies run across the country trying to emulate promoter Jim Kettner's ECWA Super 8 Tournament. The Super 8 is - as Jim Crockett Promotions used to say about Starrcade - "the granddaddy of them all."

One of the things I am most proud of with NECW is that we managed to develop this event over time to where it is a truly original athletic event. Eight men start, paired into 4 singles matches. The 4 winners then go on to face each other in a 4 way, 45 minute iron man match. Whoever scores the most pinfalls or submissions in the 45 minutes is the winner and that year's IRON 8 Champion. To compete in this event, you have to be able to wrestle for an hour against a high caliber of opponent. The final 4 way is guaranteed to be a match filled with great athletics and great drama.

This year's tournament features: "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards (who has won the last two tournaments), Gran Akuma from Chikara, "The Exotic" Kristian Frost, "The Real Deal" Brandon Locke, "The Golden Greek" Alex Arion, "The Natural" Scott Osbourne, former ECW & TNA star, Julio Dinero and from Florida, "The Japanese Nightmare" Kahagas.

In addition to the tournament, we have a special mixed tag team "Champion's Challenge" with NECW Triple Crown Champion, "The Mohawked Enforcer" Max Bauer teaming with "The Gorgeous Greek" Elektra Arion taking on the team of former Triple Crown Champion, Big Rick Fuller and World Women's Wrestling Champion, "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel.

New England did not have any kind of top flight annual independent event that local fans and others from outside the area could make into a high point of the year. The IRON 8 is our attempt to do that and in recent years, particularly since we turned into a one night event rather than something spread over two nights, it has gelled into a real jewel of our promotion.

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The following day, NECW heads to Suffolk Downs in Revere, MA - a horse racing track - which is the site of one of the most unique charitable events in the country - Eddie Andelman's 19th Annual Hot Dog Safari.

What is a "Hot Dog Safari" you ask? Eddie Andelman, who is a sports talk radio legend in Boston is noted for being one of the nation's great connoisseurs of hot dogs. 19 years ago, he created this event where he got a group of people together to search the area for the best hot dog. The proceeds from the event went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's The Joey Fund, which funds medical research seeking to cure this horrible disease. The event grew to where dozens of vendors supply a variety of hot dogs, sausages, ice cream sundaes and other treats. For a small admission price ($12 in advance, $15 at the gate, with kids under 6 free) you can eat as much as you like (no extra charge for the food) and the entire gate proceeds go to The Joey Fund.

The event draws tens of thousands each year, and for the past three years, New England Championship Wrestling has presented the featured entertainment at the event - a live professional wrestling card. Our matches are free as part of the event. The gates open at 9 am. Wrestling starts at 11 am and continues until somewhere between 3 pm and 4 pm, when the event closes.

This year, we will be presenting a 16 man tournament to crown a new NECW Television Champion, plus other bouts including the stars of World Women's Wrestling and the top stars of NECW, including Triple Crown Champion, Max Bauer.

We are absolutely thrilled and proud to be a part of this terrific one of a kind event for a very worthy cause. Last year, this event raised over $200,000 and I hope this year's beats that figure handily.

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My thanks to Eddie Andelman for having myself, Max Bauer and Elektra Arion on his Sports Huddle show on 96.9 WTKK FM last night to help promote the Hot Dog Safari.

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A quick note about upcoming DVD's: This Saturday night, we will be selling not one, but TWO new releases - NECW Best of 2007 (a deluxe 2 disc set) and Best of NECW TV 2007. I really enjoyed putting these together as they contain a treasure trove of great matches and mayhem. I am really proud of these DVD's and hope you pick them up at the IRON 8 on Saturday or online the following week.

Monday, May 05, 2008


World Women's Wrestling had another successful event yesterday with BELLE OF THE BRAWL at Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA. The full event report is up at

This was one of those events that was a challenge going in. Several talents cancelled out after confirming the date with us. We had two others that we had to worry about whether they would make the show for transportation reasons. Both did and everything came off fine.

My hat is off to all the girls of WWW who worked hard yesterday in front of a very appreciative crowd.

My MVP pick for yesterday's event is a two way tie. First is Della Morte for a successful singles match, a victory in the BELLE OF THE BRAWL match, and very nearly toppling "The Portuguese Princess" for the WWW Championship. Tied is Roxie Cotton for making the WWW event after working in Georgia the previous night and driving from there to make an afternoon card in Somerville, MA. If I ever decide to take up bank robbery, Roxie Cotton is my first choice to drive the get away car.

An honorable mention goes to the WWW Champion. I may not be approving of the in-ring attitude change of "The Portuguese Princess" Ariel, but boy, is she ever the consummate pro. There was an incident yesterday where a fan who perhaps enjoyed a little too much liquid happiness, got a little too close to the champion and got shoved back down on his backside for his trouble. The crowd roared its approval, but I developed an even deeper respect for the even-more-capable-than-I thought "Portuguese Princess."

There are quite a few rising stars on this WWW roster, who are going to get better and better the more chances they have to work. Sammi Lane, Elektra Arion and Taeler are all great additions who not only work hard on the ring, but are quite easy on the eyes.

The next WWW event will be the joint NECW-WWW card at Eddie Andelman's 19th annual HOT DOG SAFARI, Sunday, June 1 at Suffolk Downs. I expect a return to Good Time Emporium for WWW in August, but that won't be official for another few weeks.

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The new World Women's Wrestling DVD: 2nd Anniversary Spectacular was a big seller yesterday. We went through everything we brought along, and my thanks to everyone who bought a copy. You can order it online by clicking here.

Speaking of DVD's, the next two titles that NECW Home Video will be releasing are: Best of NECW 2007 and Best of WWW 2007. Both will be double disc sets and both will be just loaded with great action that took place over the past year.

I continue to get great feedback on the BIRTHDAY BASH 7 and IRON 8 DVD's that we've recently released. We have been slowly ramping up the pace of DVD releases and have been gratified by all the positive response.

More later in the week!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

NECW Gets Bauer Power, New DVD's, WWW This Sunday, IRON 8 Coming & More

Finally getting some blog time here, as my 2 cents on many subjects is adding up to about enough change for a cup of coffee!
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"The Mowhawked Enforcer" Max Bauer captured the NECW Triple Crown Championship last Saturday night, April 26 in Quincy, MA going over former champ Big Rick Fuller and Antonio "The Promise" Thomas in a triple threat match for the championship. The crowds have really embraced Max as a fan favorite, since he parted ways with "The Talent" T.J. Richter and his DNA faction.

Last Saturday's SPRING BREAKDOWN was quite a memorable event for many reasons. Apart from the title change, there is the developing feud between NECW Tag Team Champions, Fred Curry and Chase Del Monte and PRIDE. PRIDE took out Curry in a pre-match, leaving Del Monte to face both Freitas & Nunes alone. Del Monte managed to garner a count out win, saving the titles, but you can bet this rivalry is just warming up. While I may not condone their tactics, it is good to see PRIDE back in the NECW fold and in the thick of things. PRIDE are one of the great teams in New England wrestling history and they have a lot of gas left in the tank. I would not rule out another run at the top for the boys from Fall River.

In the upset of the night - maybe even the year - Team Cairo's Scott Osbourne got a pinfall victory over former NECW Television Champion, Brandon Locke in a great match for both men, but a breakthrough match for Osbourne. Ever since Osbourne came onto the scene in NECW over a year ago, he has quietly made this company take notice. Osbourne is one of those guys who has taken advantage of the NECW atmosphere - a mix of top young talents and veteran hands who can really help you grow, if you open yourself up to the opportunity to do so. Osbourne's performance this past Saturday night earned him a spot in the 5th annual IRON 8 Championship. More on that later.

"The Exotic" Kristian Frost was back in NECW this past Saturday night, picking up a win over young Brandon Webb with the beautiful Taeler in his corner. While Frost may have been the victor in the match, Webb and Taeler got some revenge after Frost tried to get rough with Taeler.

Of course, even though I suspended him last month, D.C. Dillinger just couldn't stay away last Saturday night. Dillinger, who was about as welcome as a ham sandwich at a bar mitzvah, was sent packing in his skivvies by "The Golden Greek" Alex Arion. We saw a lot more of D.C. than any of us cared to, and it doesn't look like this situation is going away any time soon.

The Oriental masked man, Makoto, made an impressive debut in Quincy going over Rayan Matthews, who had his moments in the match. By the way, Makoto is a word in Japanese that means sincerity, honesty, fairness, straightforward, something that is very true and pure. You can tell by the masked man's style that he embodies these qualitites in what he brings to the ring.

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Two new DVD's from NECW Home Video are out now and I think you'll enjoy them.

BIRTHDAY BASH 7: CAGED FURY is NECW's 7th anniversary show topped by a great Triple Crown Title Match pitting D.C. Dillinger against "Straight Edge" Brian Fury in a steel cage. Lots of great matches. Lots of never-before-seen footage and extras. This may be the best "storytelling" DVD we've put out to date.

WORLD WOMEN'S WRESTLING: 2nd ANNIVERSARY SPECTACULAR is a special 2 disc set from the great event we had on March 9th. Lexxus vs. Ariel in a Title vs. Career bout and much more, including bonus Q & A footage from the luncheon held before the show that day.

Both DVD's on sale now at

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This Sunday, World Women's Wrestling returns to Good Time Emporium for BELLE OF THE BRAWL. 3 PM is the bell time. All details are up on

"The Portuguese Princess" Ariel defends the WWW Championship against the winner of the BELLE OF THE BRAWL Rumble match earlier in the day.

This is an opportunity for one of the WWW roster to step up and elevate herself. We have a number of new faces in WWW and I expect big things from many of them - Sammi Lane, Elektra Arion and Roxie Cotton come to mind immediately.

Something I have not brought up in previous blogs, but Good Time Emporium is scheduled to lose its lease, as the area is being redeveloped for more upscale usage. Exactly when the place will close is not known at this writing. Attempts are being made to find another location, but Good Times, which is a 150,000 square foot facility and the largest indoor entertainment complex in New England, is not an easy kind of place to move due to licensing issues, zoning issues and other concerns that vary from town to town.

NECW would not have taken off if it were not for Good Time Emporium. World Women's Wrestling could not have been launched anywhere else. In recent years, NECW has grown to where it's outgrown Good Times as a venue, thought WWW works fine there and has done well. The management has allowed multiple other "promotions" to run there, and that really doesn't do any of them any favors. WWW isn't affected because it's such a unique product, but the special nature of the venue has been lost somewhat in recent years. It will be a sad day when Good Times finally closes its doors. We hope to have at least one more event there after this Sunday.

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Saturday night, May 31, NECW will present the 5th Annual IRON 8 Championship Tournament in Quincy, MA.

The IRON 8 is a unique event that has become a calling card of sorts in NECW. It's one of the more original concepts in a business where very little is original. It's an 8 man tournament that starts as your typical single elimination tournament, but after a first round of four singles matches, the four winners face each other in a 4 way, 45 minute iron man match - most pins or submissions in 45 minutes wins, and the winner is that year's IRON 8 Champion. It's a grueling test and a real exciting night of professional wrestling at its best.

"Die Hard" Eddie Edwards has won the last two. He is joined by Brandon Locke, Scott Osbourne, Gran Akuma from Chikara and "The Japanese Nightmare" Kahagas. 3 spots remain to be announced.

What can I say? This is a huge night for NECW and, so far, a tremendous field of competitors. If you really want to get a feel for the IRON 8, get the great DVD we put out on last year's tournament at This is as good as anything you will see on the independent circuit.

I hope to see you there! More blog stuff soon.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Paul Heyman Doing The Hustle

Paul Heyman is indisputably one of the best booking minds and wrestling personalities of his generation. After the fall of the original ECW, Heyman took his considerable talents to the WWE where he went through a volatile few years butting heads with the McMahons and playing a key part in the revival of ECW. Heyman never seemed to be able to get the kind of creative control to have the kind of impact he might have wished for, and that relationship came to an unsurprising end.

Since then, Heyman has moved on to a project called "The Heyman Hustle" - a series of web based mini-shows produced under the auspices of the London-based Sun newspaper that feature Heyman hanging around New York interviewing all sorts of major and minor celebrities all examining whatever their particular "hustle" is. It's Paul Heyman's creative mind turned loose beyond a ring and set of ropes, and with that much personality power behind it, it's enormously engaging stuff.

Heyman is now a father of two and trying to move on to other dreams and aspirations outside of wrestling. Pro wrestling is touched on here and there in the series, but this is Paul Heyman proving that wrestling needs Heyman more than Heyman needs wrestling. I tip my hat to Paul, because his kind of ability deserves an outlet that is suitably rewarding.

There are all sorts of opinions about Paul Heyman. Most of them are something like "creative genius, but a lousy businessman."

I had some personal experience with Paul while he was running ECW. Through a chain of events that is well covered in Scott E. Williams' book, Hardcore History, in 1997 I ended up being the middle man between ECW and Michinoku Pro Wrestling, facilitating their appearance on the first ECW pay-per-view, Barely Legal. Even while being "hustled" by Heyman, I still liked the man immensely and liked and respected Tazz and Tommy Dreamer, along with the rest of the ECW crew. I was put in a position of being able to do something positive for people who were earnestly trying to overcome long odds and was glad I did.

The experience gave me a bit of an insight into Heyman. I disagree with anyone who says that Paul Heyman was a lousy businessman. Anyone who could have done what Paul did is one hell of a businessman. Paul's problem, ironically, was similar to the problems that plagued many of old time promoters he criticized.

For example, Paul would talk about Verne Gagne not being able to adapt to the times. In the world of territorial wrestling, Verne Gagne thrived. But when that world was altered by the expansion of the World Wrestling Federation and Vincent K. McMahon, Gagne couldn't adjust in order to compete. Ironically, the same thing happened to Paul Heyman.

When ECW was a touring East Coast promotion with syndicated TV, Paul Heyman could control his universe. But after Barely Legal, when pay per view entered the picture and suddenly this little fly-by-the-seat-of-its pants company had to deal with things big corporations and due diligence and a level of scrutiny and responsibility to something other than itself, then ECW's universe changed and Paul Heyman did not adapt to those changes and become a real corporation with a staff and management team that could efficiently handle its business.

A hustler can only hustle you if he controls the environment at hand. In my opinion, all Paul was guilty of was losing that control. Yes, a lot of people got hurt in that process, but most of them achieved something they could never have achieved without him.

So watch "The Heyman Hustle" and enjoy Paul Heyman - free to create and in control of his universe.

Best wishes Paul!