Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekend Words: Super Bowl Thoughts, Fairplay, NECW TV, T.J. Richter, Another Funzie Onezie & more

Super Bowl weekend is here, and while I am not what you would call a big football fan, one can't help but get caught up in the hoopla. Of course, here in New England, a Pats-less Super Bowl means a lot less local media buzz than otherwise. As for a prediction, I like Cinderella stories and the Cardinals are the closest thing to it this year.

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If you missed Wednesday's Mouthpiece Wrestling Show with reality TV star and former TNA star, Jonny Fairplay, I urge you to give that a listen, as it was one of our best shows. Fairplay, who was once Roddy Piper's personal assistant, brings a whole lot of insight to this interview.

Before this aired, I heard from a lot of people how they didn't like him and what a poor choice for a guest. Well, I guess we're leaving bootprints on a lot of backsides, because this was really good.

You can check it out in the Mouthpiece Wrestling archive, as well as any of our previous shows, by clicking here.

By the way, according to today's stats, The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show now boasts over 15,000 podcast subscribers. That would be in addition to those listening on the radio station live or on the live stream. Those numbers are pretty impressive to me.

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Also impressive is this week's NECW TV. It features a great fatal four way match featuring "The Talent" T.J. Richter, "The Natural" Scott Osbourne, "The Heat" Kris Pyro and Makoto. While these types of matches can often turn into train wrecks, this was a great action-packed bout with some interesting developments after the bell.

In addition, there is some great footage of the benefit event we were part of with the Lowell Devils hockey team, including a chat with former WWE star, Christopher Nowinski, whose Sports Legacy Group received a portion of the proceeds. Chris is an eloquent speaker and a compelling advocate for concussion research.
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"The Talent" T.J. Richter is often derided by fans, and perhaps deservedly so, as he is (as Jim Ross would say) a true antagonist. Recently, I read a message board post from a local low level promoter, who dumped on Richter, claiming he wasn't properly trained, etc. While I take this with a grain of salt, as the source is a wannabe competitor who can't draw in the same league as NECW, even with "big names," I want to go on record as saying that the nickname "The Talent" indeed apt in this case. You may not care for his personality, and much of that is by design, but I have never seen Richter have a bad match and he has been a key contributor to NECW and prior to that, PWF.

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In one of my previous blogs, I spoke in depth about "funzie-onezies" - individuals with no experience in the business of pro wrestling who decide to become promoters, because they have deluded themselves into thinking that just because you watch wrestling, are a big fan, and read the Internet or subscribe to the Observer or Torch, that you can rent a ring, a building, get a bunch of guys together and be a wrestling promoter.

Well, I guess you CAN do that, but it never works. Apologies if I sound like a broken record, but this is a highly skilled profession, and if you truly respect pro wrestling, you will endeavor to start from the bottom and pay your dues, and in the process learn exactly what it is you are trying to do. I have seen so many of these individuals with good intentions lose large sums of money and damage the business they purport to love, simply because they found out the hard way that you can buy people's services, you can rent equipment and you can call yourself a wrestling promoter, but experience, expertise and respect have to be earned.

To the fledgling "promoter," who actually wrote to me for advice, let me answer you publicly right here: You are in over your head and you should have walked away after your first cancellation. You don't have the background or experience to do this the right way. Save yourself the pain, blues and agony you are certain to endure otherwise. You say this is your dream. Dreams are for sleeping. Wake up and get a clue.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Late Night Musings

It's almost 2:30 am, still wound up from a meeting of the NECW ownership. I wish I could tell you all about that, but what happens in North Providence, stays in North Providence.

I'm sorry I missed the Royal Rumble on PPV Sunday, as I was here at home working on segments for the next edition of NECW TV, which should be up on line within the next day or so. The Rumble was always one of my favorite WWE events, and the reports I read made it sound like this was a pretty darn good one. Hopefully, someone I know taped it for my later consumption.

I'm looking forward to Jonny Fairplay appearing on The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show this Wednesday. He's a pretty interesting character with a lot to say on the subject of pro wrestling.

Last week's show with Mickey Grant was a way too short hour, and I will be setting a return visit with the former World Class TV director soon. Check out his great documentary on the life of Gentleman Chris Adams at This is one of the best wrestling documentaries out there and I highly recommend it. You can watch it online for an $8 fee, or buy the DVD.

NECW's next event is a big one in GENESIS 8. This is one worth going out of your way to see, with a big double main event, featuring Bauer and Arion for the Triple Crown and a huge tag title match with PRIDE defending against ECW Originals, The Blue Meanie and Mikey Whipwreck, who will be making his final New England appearance before hanging up his boots for good. That alone is a newsworthy event and worth going out of your way to see. I will write more on that subject at a later date. Head on over to and grab tickets now as we expect a great crowd on hand for this one.

I find it really interesting how Vince McMahon has done a complete 180 degree turn on the movie "The Wrestler." All reports were that McMahon hated the film and didn't even want it advertised on WWE programming. But ever since Mickey Rourke won the Golden Globe for Best Actor and received an Oscar nomination, WWE is not only on the Wrestler bandwagon, but Mickey Rourke is now appearing at WrestleMania. Speaking of which, if you haven't seen the movie, do so. It is a great, great film.

Enough for now, I'll have more soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Devils Made Us Do It!

Some of the stars of NECW, specifically Max Bauer, Handsome Johnny and Sammi Lane, joined me and Joe Matterazzo, Matt and Kyle Storm and J.P. Griffin at the Lowell Devils game vs. the Springfield Falcons at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA this past Monday for an autograph session during the game.

A portion of the proceeds of Monday's game went to former WWE star, Christopher Nowinski's Sports Legacy Group, which promotes research and education on the sports concussion crisis. Chris, who was forced to retire from pro wrestling due to post-concussion syndrome, has become the leading voice for change in all sports regarding the issue of concussions and head injuries. I have a lot of personal admiration for Chris, who is championing a very important cause. If you love wrestling, or any other sport, and you love and respect the athletes who participate, you should be supporting the Sports Legacy Institute. Check out for more information.

The Devils organization really welcomed us, as well as the Tsongas Arena staff. We had a lot of autograph traffic during the game and it was great to meet all the fans in Lowell.

I am proud to say that the NECW talent, most of whom had never done a "meet and greet" event quite like this, all represented the promotion and themselves perfectly. This was a unique opportunity for these young stars to experience the concept of being more than just a local wrestler, but a local sports figure as well.

Mike Harold of the Lowell Devils contacted me months back about participating and helping to promote the event. Mike is a first-class guy and there was not a moment's hesitation on our part in terms of getting involved. I applaud the Devils as a sports franshise for standing behind this great cause and it was an honor to be associated with all the great people involved, including the Devils mascot, The Devil Dawg. The Devils, who are an AHL team, are a great take in for a hockey fan and an affordable experience for families. Check out for more info on the Devils and to purchase tickets. We look forward to working with the Devils again in the future.

You will see footage from last Monday's event on the next NECW TV, and that will be a must-see episode.

Friday, January 02, 2009

"The Wrestler" Thoughts

I finally had the chance to see "The Wrestler" this week. I really have to separate my feelings about the movie into two distinct categories: How I liked it as a movie and how I liked it as someone in the wrestling business.

As a movie, and ultimately that's how it should be judged, it is a brilliant film, well written, well directed, perfectly detailed and brilliantly performed, particularly by Mickey Rourke. In fact, if Rourke does not win the Oscar for Best Actor, everyone in the wrestling community should serve up a beating to the Academy voters.

The parallells between Rourke's Randy "The Ram" Robinson's character and Cassidy, the stripper he is attracted to, are interesting and compelling. Both are "workers" in different ways. And while Randy copes better with the love he gets from wrestling and being Randy The Ram, Cassidy walks the fine line of peforming to seek the approval of her audience, while looking to retreat to the "real world" outside the strip club.

Both professions have a profound effect on their participants. And while I could give you a dissertation on how and why, I will spare you the psycho-babble and leave it by saying that there is real truth in that aspect of the movie.

Mickey Rourke truly becomes "one of the boys." It is a performance that simply surpasses brilliant. He is everything that underside of 80's pro wrestling is about. It is no wonder that Roddy Piper cried after seeing the film. I saw a lot of old friends in that performance myself who are no longer here to share this with.

"The Wrestler" is an absolute must-see movie and a brilliant piece of film making.

That said, my reaction as a wrestling promoter was a bit different.

There is a great big bundle of truth in much of what "The Wrestler" portrays as the world of independent wrestling. As someone who tries hard to elevate the independent wrestling promotion to the level of being a family-friendly, mainstream acceptable endeavor, I cringed at the thought that people might think all independent wrestling is like this.

I questioned the inclusion of certain things in the movie. For instance, and Mick Foley pointed this out as well, you would never see someone openly peddling drugs in a locker room. Outside, maybe. In a car, maybe. But in the locker room, where everyone is around and eyes and ears pry? Never.

I also found fault with the hardcore stuff. If you've been around wrestling long enough, especially 80's veterans, the vast majority want to do less in a match and not more. It would have been more realistic if Randy had to be talked into the match, maybe demanding more pay, then suffering the heart attack as a consequence.

I can forgive those things as plot devices and chalk them up to dramatic license. But geez, I watched and said to myself, this isn't going to make our jobs promoting wrestling any easier. I can understand why Vince McMahon hated it for that reason.

It almost made me want to do a movie called 'The Promoter."

Myself, Matt West and Kellan Thomas all of NECW were listed in the credits of the movie, along with many others in the wrestling community that helped the producers with the film. My good friend, Evan Ginzburg has been involved with this project for 6 years and to see him get an Associate Producer credit and to see how well the movie turned out made me feel good for him and everyone else involved.

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It is 2009, and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New year. 2008 was a tough one for a lot of people, and I am hoping 2009 is a brighter one for all.