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.