Thursday, May 21, 2009

This Year's IRON 8: A Can't Miss Night of Professional Wrestling

On Saturday night, May 30th, NECW will present the 6th Annual IRON 8 Championship, an event that has a lot of personal meaning for me. The event takes place in the hallowed halls of the Armory in Quincy, and I fully expect that this year's IRON 8 will be a landmark event for New England Championship Wrestling.

The IRON 8 has become a defining event for NECW - a signature of the company. That's because it is that rare occurance in professional wrestling - an original twist on an overused idea.

Years ago, Jim Kettner's East Coast Wrestling Association in Delaware created an event called the Super 8. It was an 8 man elimination tournament featuring the best talent on the independent circuit. It became the Super Bowl of independent wrestling - the one event everyone in the industry, at least on this level, looked up to as a "state of the art" event. In fact, the Super 8 was such a success that the 8 man elimination tournament became somewhat of an independent wrestling cliche.

In 2003, I was looking for something that would become the "Super 8" of NECW - an event that was unique to the promotion and to the wrestling scene here in New England. That year, in August, on NECW's 3rd Anniversary, NECW booker and former WWE announcer, Kevin Kelly, came up with a rather unique main event. It was Maverick Wild, then the NECW Heavyweight Champion, defending the title in a 4 way, 45 minute Iron Man match against, not one, but the three top contenders for his title - "Brutal" Bob Evans, "The Golden Greek" Alex Arion and Antonio "The Promise" Thomas. The match was an all time classic in NECW history and such a compelling athletic display, that the bell immediately went off in my head, that this kind of match could be the culmination of a tournament and exactly the kind of signature event I had been searching for. Thus, the IRON 8 was born.

The first two years of the tournament saw the IRON 8 held as a two consecutive night event. While the first year had a tremendous field, including British stars, Doug Williams (currently in TNA) and Paul Tyrrell (a terrific worker from England, who gets nowhere near the pub he should), the two night format spread the audience out and took away from the effectiveness of the event.

In 2006, after the merger of NECW & PWF, the IRON 8 became a one night event and really came into it's own. The audiences have grown steadily for the IRON 8, to where last year's tournament was the most successful in the series.

The IRON 8 is described as "the ultimate test of skill, stamina and strategy." It consists of an opening round where the 8 competitors face off in a series of single matches. The winners earn the right to proceed to the second round, which is the IRON 8 final - a 4 way, 45 minute iron man match with the man scoring the most pinfalls or submissions in 45 minutes becoming that year's IRON 8 Champion. To win, you have to have the ability to wrestle for an hour over the two matches. It is presented more like an athletic event and, in fact, the IRON 8 is the true showcase of how great the talent is in New England. While not all competitors are local each year, this year, everyone is either currently local or has had local ties, such as Kenny Doane, who grew up in Worcester before siging with WWE. Kenny was also a former 2 time PWF Tag Team Champion as well.

This year, the winner will receive the trophy from the legendary 8 time former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, WWE & WCW Hall of Famer, Harley Race. Race is a true iron man of pro wrestling. One of the game's greatest athletes in his prime, Race wrestled 60 minute matches against the best talent in the world on a nightly basis, so who would understand the challenge of the IRON 8 better than Harley Race?

Kenny Doane, Antonio Thomas, Slyck Wagner Brown, "The Heat" Kris Pyro, "The Real Deal" Brandon Locke, Maverick Wild, "The Natural" Scott Osbourne and Davey Loomis are this year's entrants. Athletically, this is one of the best fields ever in an IRON 8. It will be a night that futher establishes the fact that New England talent does not have to take a back seat to any other part of the country. It is also a tribute to the business that Harley Race did so proud - the business of professional wrestling, not sports entertainment.

We also have an additonal feature match on the card - a special mixed tag team grudge match, pitting NECW Triple Crown Champion, "The Enforcer" Max Bauer and Alexxis Nevaeh against "The Golden Greek" Alex Arion and Mistress Belmont, with Sean Gorman in their corner. Each one of these individuals is a great talent. Max Bauer has become the most popular champion in the history of the promotion, a title once held by his arch nemesis and opponent in this match, Alex Arion. Alexxis Nevaeh and Mistress Belmont have both blossomed as talents since coming into the NECW/World Women's Wrestling fold. These are two teams with some deep personal issues between them. Add manager, Sean Gorman to the mix and the question becomes not whether this situation is going to explode, but how fast and how big.

Whenever we do anything here in NECW, I always ask myself one question: "Honestly, would you buy a ticket to see this?" If I can't answer yes, something is very wrong. Not only is the answer yes in this case, but if I were just a fan, I would be the first in line to get a ticket to the IRON 8 this year.

We are blessed with a fantastic crew of athletes, ring crew and creative staff who have poured their hearts into this event on Saturday night, May 30th. Let's face it, pro wrestling is not exactly what you'd call an honored or respected profession in the minds of the general public. The IRON 8 is one night where everyone involved undeniable earns respect.

If you are at all accessible to the area, please join us for this extraordinary event. We have a live radio broadcast that will be taking place prior to the IRON 8 event from 4 to 6 PM on WWZN, 1510 The Zone, as a special 2 hour edition of The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show, so you'll want to be there early to meet Harley Race and to see a truly great night of professional wrestling.

For tickets and information, visit Thank you for reading this. Thank you for your support. I look forward to seeing you there.

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