Mark Bland’s Credentials:
Is he ready to face “The Future”?
by Josh Ray
Note: Come to High Voltage last show before their big anniversary show to see if Mark Bland makes his presence known. The show is August 15, 2009 in Granite City, IL at the Rivers Edge Reception Center (1635 W. 1st Street).
There is a feud on the horizon that seems more like a “Road to Wrestlemania” story than a Midwest independent pro wrestling attraction. It was a simple but brash challenge laid out by a St. Louis area radio show host that opens this story, but it is sure to end with a bang when Mark Bland and “The Future” Donovan Ruddick meet one on one in a High Voltage Wrestling ring, possibly as soon as the end of summer.
Many St. Louis wrestling fans on the Internet have proclaimed this to be nothing more than a publicity stunt, but after some research I’ve found that there is more to the story than meets the eye. It all started in 2008 when Absolute Wrestling Radio became a reality on St. Louis radio when it was added to 1380 AM’s lineup. Mark Bland had been away from pro wrestling for all intents and purposes for years, but part of his show would focus on the local indy wrestling scene.
He looked at the talent and, in his mind, saw something lacking. Sure, he kept up with Missouri Wrestling Revival and used it as a tool to stay informed, but he believed that the current crop of wrestlers, outside of Dingo (whom he interviewed on his show) had no future. There were no Randy Ortons. No Evan Bournes. He didn’t feel like there was much to talk about in the area that was indy wrestling related. He’d already interviewed the top guy in the past, Gary Jackson, who is actually the current reigning MMWA-SICW Heavyweight Champion. He’d also interviewed the man he considered the future, Dingo. He had pushed local pro wrestling about as far as it could be pushed.
I remember sitting down with Bland in the summer of last year… almost one year ago to the day.
“Mark, what about Jeremy Wyatt, KC Karrington, Mark Sterling, Donovan Ruddick, Brandon Espinosa, Shane Rich, Steven Davis, Devin Carter, Steve Anthony, and Steve Fender?” I asked.
“I don’t see any of them making any real effort to get to that next level, Josh,” he replied.
Absolute Wrestling Radio’s show “taken over” by HVW promoter “TNT” Keny G.
While he and I will agree to disagree, the fact still remains that the MWR coverage area and the greater Midwest has more than its fair share of talent… many of which could be on national television in the near future. Mark must have sensed it, too. Over the course of the next few months every conversation we had about local pro wrestling centered on two men: “The Rebel” Jeremy Wyatt and “The Future” Donovan Ruddick. Bland quickly became fixated on Ruddick, however, when I mentioned his dominance over his opponents. Call it nervousness or jealousy if you want, but I believe Bland’s interest in Ruddick was competitive in nature. It lit a fire in him and focused him like nothing else.
Recently, Bland began calling out champions within a two hundred mile radius of St. Louis, but there is no doubt in my mind who he wanted in the ring. My suspicions were confirmed when he actually called High Voltage Wrestling owner “TNT” Keny G live on the Absolute Wrestling Radio show and called out Ruddick, who is the HVW Heavyweight Champion. Keny G accepted, and now the questions are coming in by the truckload… all of them asking the same questions:
1) What are Mark Bland’s credentials?
2) Does he really feel he can beat Ruddick?
3) Is this just a publicity stunt?
Most wrestling fans in the area know Ruddick hovers around two hundred eighty pounds and stands nearly six feet, nine inches, but might not know that his challenger Mark Bland is every bit as large as he is! He is, in fact, a former pro wrestler for South Broadway, and while he constantly claims Randy Orton in his hype machine, in truth Orton trained in MMWA-SICW (South Broadway) briefly while also training with his father. Orton wrestled in MMWA-SICW for one month before moving to Ohio Valley Wrestling where he received the majority of his training for work in the WWE. It seems that his credentials as a pro wrestler are legitimate, but that he has hyped the training of Randy Orton in an effort to make himself seem larger and more important. The truth is that Bland doesn’t need Randy Orton in the equation… he’s legitimately tough and can wrestle!
He is also intelligent. Bland has been promoting music through concerts and a record label for years, not to mention his growing success with Absolute Wrestling Radio. Men with business sense should never be underestimated. These men pick up victories in ways that their opponents never expect. Bland possesses size, smarts, and definitely enough confidence… he truly believes that he has Ruddick’s number. He started wrestling 12 years ago, and has a distinct experience advantage over “The Future”, working with Ron Powers, Gary Jackson, and Keith Smith over his career.
Mark Bland exacts some measure of revenge on “TNT” Keny G for invading Absolute Wrestling Radio the week before.
While Bland is no pushover in the ring, it is important to note that Donovan Ruddick is known as “The Future” for a reason. This man is arguably the most dominant big man in the St. Louis area and has been that way for some time. Regardless of the outcome of this upcoming match, one thing is for sure:
St. Louis wrestling fans are in for a brawl!