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Posts Tagged ‘Destination America’

Ring of Honor Debuts Tonight on Destination America

Posted by flairwhoooooo on June 2, 2015

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DirecTV 286 (HD/SD)
Dish Network 194 (HD/SD)

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One on One with “The Voice of Minnesota Wrestling” Ring Announcer Mick Karch

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 13, 2015

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It is a pleasure today to be joined with “The Voice of Minnesota wrestling” Mick Karch for this edition of Missouri Wrestling Revival’s One on One. MWR fans will have a special oppurtunity to get to meet Karch in East Carondelet, Illinois on May 16th during the SICW “Bruiser Brody Memorial” event that will also include the afternoon “Meet and Greet” with several Wrestling Legends including Brody’s lovely widow Barbara Goodish, former American Wrestling Association (AWA)Champion Stan Hansen, Wrestling at the Chase announcer Larry Matysik, Wrestling superstar “Cowboy” Bob Orton, the first ever WWE (Then known as the WWF) female ring announcer Mike McGuirk starting at 3:30pm that will conclude with a memorable night of action featuring the stars of SICW.

Please note: All photos courtesy of Mick Karch.

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With Terry Taylor and Missy Hyatt, my broadcast colleagues in the American Wrestling Federation Warriors of Wrestling.

Brian: Mick, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us at MWR today.

Mick: Brian, it’s my pleasure. You do a terrific job.

Brian: Today’s wrestling fans have many opportunities to discover wrestling through the WWE on the USA Network, TNA on Destination America, Ring of Honor on Sinclair as well as various outlets on the internet including Youtube and promotions own websites. Yet, as a man that started his career in the 70’s, I have to ask what was your first exposure to the sport as a fan and who was it that created that spark for the love of pro wrestling?

Mick: I did behind the scenes print publicity for the AWA from 1973-1986. In 1987, I was hired on as their ring announcer and occasional color guy for their ESPN tapings at the Showboat in Las Vegas. It is so ironic to have eventually worked for them, because my hero as a child was Verne Gagne. I was flipping through the TV channels at the age of nine, and I saw big Tiny Mills, a 6’3″, 275 pound lumberjack, pushing around the TV announcer, Marty O’Neill. Marty was all of about 5’6″. Tiny was ranting and raving about wanting a match with Verne Gagne.

I saw my first live event May 17, 1960, in Minneapolis, and Verne was in the main event, teaming with football and wrestling star Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb to face Mills and Stan “Krusher” Kowalski. I was hooked on wrestling for life.

Brian: You entered the business during a time that it was hard to break in due to the laws of Kayfabe being enforced. At what point did you realize that the matches were predetermined and how were the doors open for you to be included among the circle of people that were involved in the sport?

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Mick: Like any kid from that era, I refused to listen to my parents and siblings, who told me that wrestling wasn’t on the “up-and-up.” Of course, I refused to believe it—for a while. As time went on, I began to pick out certain things that didn’t seem quite right. When I ventured down to the Dyckman Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, which housed the Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club (AWA) a few years later and saw Reggie Parks and Moose Cholak standing by the elevators, laughing and joking, the light bulb went off. Parks and Cholak were in the midst of a “feud” at the time. Now it all made sense.

You are so correct that this was the “kayfabe” era, and the wrestling business was protected to the hilt. No one was automatically allowed even remotely close to the inner circle. I literally hung around the TV tapings and the arena matches for years before I was semi-trusted. That is certainly a far cry from today’s scenario, when it seems just about anyone can finagle their way into a locker room or back stage.

Brian: Before we go any further with the AWA we have to mention the great Verne Gagne. Last month on April 27th , Gagne passed away at the age of 89, but his contribution to the sport of wrestling as a Champion, promoter and trainer defined an era of wrestling that continues to this day. What were your memories of Verne Gagne and out of those three different aspects of wrestling do you feel was his biggest accomplishment?

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Former AWA World Champ Verne Gagne by the Artist of Champions Rob Schamberger

Mick: As it relates to Verne Gagne, I don’t think his impact and imprint on the business can be overstated. His influence was monumental, going back to the mid-1950’s when he was really the first national “babyface” wrestler on the old Dumont Network. Televised pro wrestling was an absolute mainstay back then, and Verne was its original big star. As the years went on, his star shone brighter and brighter. He was the epitome of a champion: good looks, tremendous conditioning, smart, articulate, and always the ultimate professional. As a promoter, he had a keen eye for talent and he ruled with an iron fist. Verne was first and foremost a WRESTLER, and you damn well better know how to wrestle if you worked for him. The AWA had its share of off the wall characters, too, but nothing like the circus “sports entertainment” that the WWF/WWE foisted on the world.

As a trainer, there were none better than Verne. Look at the roster of guys he turned out: Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Sgt. Slaughter, Greg Gagne, Jim Brunzell, Scott Irwin, Bob Backlund, Khosrow Vaziri, on and on. Amazing.

Brian: The AWA was filled with several larger than life characters throughout the years that thrilled fans with exciting action in the ring and memorable interviews that drew huge crowds night after night. Men such as a Nick Bockwinkel , Mad Dog Vachon, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Dick the Bruiser, Larry Hennig and Baron Von Raschke just to name a few. Who were your favorites to work with personally and can you share a story with the MWR fans of one of those stars?

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With Nick Bockwnkel, 1982.

Mick: My favorite wrestlers over the years tend to be the “heels.” My all time favorite, bar none, is Nick Bockwinkel. I honestly believe that he was the standard bearer for the wrestling business in the 1970’s and early 80’s. I was also a huge fan of the late Dr. Bill Miller, Dick (Dr.X/Destroyer) Beyer, Stan “Krusher” Kowalski, and Bobby Heenan. The stories about these guys could fill a book, but I’ll share one kind of bizarre and scary one.

Dr. Bill Miller wrestled in the AWA under a mask as “The Mysterious Mr. M.” He won the AWA title from Verne in January 1962. In August of that same year, Verne won the title back in Minneapolis. The end of the match saw Verne twist the mask so Miller couldn’t see, then he dropkicked and pinned him. The stipulation was if Miller lost, he would unmask, which he did right after the match. On his way back to the locker room, a crazed fan leaned over the railing of the balcony and viciously hit Miller over the head with a 2 x 6 board with a 1/8″ steel spike on the end. A nearly unconscious Miller was assisted back to the locker room.

Some 12 years later, Miller returned for a short stint in the AWA and I spoke with him at the TV tapings. We discussed the incident, which Miller said he remembered like it was yesterday. He explained that when he went back to the locker room and was regaining his senses, he could actually put his pinky finger into the top of his head a feel his brain! Miller was a veterinarian and he knew how serious it was. He showed me the scars which were still clearly visible. The perpetrator, by the way, was never caught.

“The World’s Most Scientific Wrestler” Wilbur Snyder teams with “The Man With The Cast Iron Stomach” Pepper Gomez, to go against the feared master of the heart punch Ox Baker and Dr. Big Bill Miller. This is the first of a two fall battle.

Editors note: SICW fans were fortunate enough to meet OX Baker in 2014 at the East Carondelet Community Center , before he passed away months later.

Brian: Here at Missouri Wrestling Revival, we work with many ring announcers throughout the MWR coverage area. What would be your advice to someone that is looking to become the best ring announcer that they can be?

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With AWA/WWF announcer Ken Resnick, 2015

Mick: To aspiring ring announcers, here’s a few tips. Take a deep breath and relax. The audience will pick up on it right away if you are nervous. Do your homework. Make sure you are clear on all the weights, hometowns, and match stipulations. Most importantly, don’t be too overbearing. Deliver your intro forcefully and clearly, but don’t try to be flamboyant and outshine the wrestlers. Remember, it’s about them, not you.

Brian: On December 29th, 1985 Stan Hansen defeated Rick Martel to become the AWA World Champion? Hansen was also a Mega Star in Japan with his good friend and partner Bruiser Brody who is set to be honored next week at SICW with the Bruiser Brody memorial event in East Carondelet Illinois. As a fan that Grew up in the 80’s, Hansen’s version of the clothesline, the Lariat was a feared move that every wrestling fan “knew” had broken WWWF Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino’s neck in the 70’s. I don’t remember a match that involved Hansen that the commentator put over the fact that he could win the match with the lariat if he was able to land the move. Who and what were some of your favorite finishers to call during a match while you did color commentary?

Mick: My favorite finishing maneuvers to call play by play on? Wow, that’s a tough one. I would say Bruiser Brody’s boot to the face and flying knee drop, Greg Gagne’s sleeper hold, Jerry Blackwell’s big splash, and Mad Dog Vachon’s piledriver rank right up there. It’s sad how the business has changed and the finishers I’ve mentioned are just another move in the matches these days, and usually the opponents kick out at least once.

Brian: Fans of today can relive the AWA through the WWE DVD release WWE: The Spectacular Legacy of the American Wrestling Association. Was this a worthy look of the AWA, and what would you have liked to have seen showcased more or less on the DVD?

Mick: I thought the AWA DVD was pretty decent, especially when you consider it was a WWE release. Watching some of the old footage is particularly great to an old school fan like me. If there is anything I had a problem with it would be how much emphasis was placed on the erosion of the promotion. I guess that’s to be expected, but the AWA had 50 years of greatness before the wheels fell off the bus.

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At Cauliflower Alley Club with Sir Oliver Humperdink.

Brian: Recently you and I had the pleasure of spending time in Las Vegas at the 50th Anniversary of the Cauliflower Alley Club. The event was filled with memories and moments that will last a lifetime including what I felt was one of the most entertaining acceptance speech’s of All-time when one of my heroes, Harley Race presented Hennig  the “Iron” Mike Mazurki Award. The two, along with Hennigs’ wife Irene could easily take their show on the road as they delivered laughs and good times that exhibit what the CAC is all about. This is a multi-part question, how long have you been a member of the CAC, what have been your highlights of attending the reunion and why should a wrestling fan join a club that we feel so passionate about?

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Mick: I have been attending the CAC reunions since 2000. There is no way to describe the feeling you get rubbing elbows with the legends of the business. I have met so many amazing people. Since I started going there, I have seen the likes of Steve Austin, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Antonio Inoki, Pat Patterson, the Vachons, Hard Boiled Haggerty, Tex McKenzie, Kurt Angle, Sputnik Monroe, Larry Hennig, Harley Race, Lou Thesz, Bobby Heenan, The Crusher, Jim Cornette, JJ Dillon, Nick Bockwinkel, Terry Funk, The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Judy Grable, Stan Hansen, Tim Woods and Johnny Walker (“Mr. Wrestling” 1 & 2), Ox Baker, Superstar Graham, Jimmy Valiant, on and on and on. Hundreds of superstars. I would tell anyone who is truly passionate about the wrestling business, you NEED to attend at least once. You owe it to yourself. I would also say, don’t wait. Many of the people I just mentioned have passed away. You just never know.

Brian: As we prepare for an exciting weekend built around the memories of Bruiser Brody at the show of the year for SICW, what were your memories of Bruiser Brody?

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With Bruiser Brody, 1987

Mick: My memories of Bruiser Brody. God, so many. I was a fan of his long before I ever saw him wrestle in person. Watching him on various syndicated wrestling programs and reading about him in the magazines, I always looked forward to seeing him. When he first arrived in the AWA area, it was incredible. His aura, his mystique, his sheer presence. I don’t know if I have ever seen a feud to match the one he had with Jerry Blackwell. In 1986, I had the tremendous honor of doing two television interviews with him at a show in Winnipeg, Canada. Bruiser main evented against the guy I know many fans in this area are very familiar with, “Bulldog” Bob Brown. Their match was a war and spilled out into the crowd. Even though I had been announcing for a couple years at that point, Brody was my first “big time” interview, and needless to say I was initially scared to death. But he spoke with me beforehand, laid down a few guidelines, and the promos went perfectly. When he thanked me for a job well done, I felt as if I had truly arrived as an announcer in the wrestling business. I will never forget that.

Brian: Since AWA has closed doors you have stayed active in the world of pro wrestling. Please tell the fans what you have been up?

Mick: During the time frame that the AWA was shutting down, I left there and became host of a four-hour wrestling block in the Twin Cities called “Saturday Night at Ringside.” Joe Pedicino and Paul Heyman were instrumental in getting me the job. Besides carrying NWA Worldwide, World Class, Pro Wrestling This Week, and Windy City Wrestling, I incorporated localized tie-ins for independent wrestling shows, brought in both local and national wrestlers, created angles and storylines, did trivia contests, answered viewer questions, and had fans appear as a “Ringsider of the Week.” In fact, the famous lady wrestler “ODB” was a “Ringsider” on my program at the age of 8 !!

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On the set of “Saturday Night at Ringside,” with Stan Kowalski, Baron Von Raschke, Larry Hennig, Al DeRusha, Wally Karbo and Mad Dog Vachon (1990.)

I have worked for the American Wrestling Federation “Warriors of Wrestling” under the direction of Sgt. Slaughter and Tito Santana; I have done television for literally dozens of independent promotions in the United States, Canada, and Australia. For the past 17 years, I have been lead booker and TV host for Ed Hellier’s Steel Domain Wrestling, based out of Minnesota.

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Hosting Steel Domain’s “Championship Wrestling from the Twin Cities” program with promoter Ed Hellier, 2015.

In the early days, SDW had future world champions C.M. Punk, Adam Pearce, Colt Cabana, Ken Anderson, Shawn Daivari, and Austin Aries on the roster AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Brian: Mick, thank you so much for taking the time with Missouri Wrestling Revival and we look forward to seeing you at SICW’s Bruiser Brody memorial event that starts with the 3:30 Q and A. Do you have anything that you would like to mention as we end this interview and prepare for such an exciting weekend?

Mick: I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to you for the opportunity to share part of my story, and to Herb Simmons and Larry Matysik for inviting this old AWA guy to such a wonderful event!!

hss

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MWR Fan Spotlight: Randy and Brendan Phillips

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 9, 2015

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Brendan and Randy Phillips are all smiles at SICW.

 

MWR Owner and Editor Brian Kelley: For many father and sons a night of pro wrestling is a wonderful way for them to spend time some quality time with each other while taking that rollercoaster of exciting night of wrestling action that will be memories for them for years to come. Today, I am joined with Randy Phillips and his son Brendan: . Guy, I would like to thank you for joining us at Missouri Wrestling Revival.com

Randy: Thanks for having us Brian!

Brian: Randy, let’s start off with you my friend. Where did you grow up and what were your first introduction to pro wrestling and who were you a big fan of?

Randy: I grew up in Homestead, Florida. It’s about 1 hour south of Miami. Born and raised until the age of 21. My first recollection of wrestling was Wrestlemania 2 with Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy in the big blue steel cage. I can remember sitting on the living room floor just amazed at how big Bundy was and how cool it was that Hulk could move around for such a big guy around the ring. Obviously in the early to mid 80’s, most kids gravitated towards Hulk Hogan. He was my guy to cheer for. I can remember having the tear away Hulk shirt that my mom watched me tear away and cringed cause that meant she had to buy another one lol. I had the old WWF ring and one Christmas got all of the wrestlers LJN produced. I can recall like it was yesterday waiting in anticipation for Wrestlemania V and the Mega Powers exploding. My cousin and I used to be the Mega Powers (he was Randy Savage and I was Hulk and his sister was Miss Elizabeth).

Brian: Did your dad and you make any wrestling events and what were some of your memories that you recall?

Randy: Dad was really into wrestling for as long as I can remember. He grew up with Championship Wrestling from Florida with Dusty Rhodes and the Briscoes and of course, the big dog back then, the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance). I remember like it was yesterday when Dad took me to my first ever live show, Royal Rumble 1991 at the Miami Arena in Miami.
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Of course, Hulk Hogan was my pick to win the Rumble and The Ultimate Warrior was gaining speed to succeed him as the man as he was the WWF champion. I remember my dad screaming at me because Randy Savage was racing down during the Warrior vs  Sgt Slaughter title match and he hit Warrior with the scepter. The crowd went crazy and we had a new champion. Dad said Hulk had to win the Rumble so he could take the title off of Slaughter at Wrestlemania VII. From then on, Dad had to order the WWF pay per views so we could watch them all. Mom was a big 4 Horsemen fan, especially Tully and Arn. She always threw up four fingers and told me that this is the symbol of excellence. If the WWF or WCW was in town, we went, house show, tv or ppv. I can recall going to Spec’s (CD store) and meeting The Rock and D’Lo Brown for autographs when The Rock’s autobiography came out. When my wife and I were dating, we heard on a radio station that Hulk Hogan would be in Key Largo to help promote the new gym owned by Kevin Sullivan. We drove 30 minutes to meet him.

Brian: In today’s mainstream wrestling (WWE,TNA,ROH) who are your favorite wrestlers?

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Brendan: WWE – John Cena is my favorite! I also like Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Roman Reigns & Lucha Dragons. ROH – Moose, Michael Elgin and ACH

Randy: WWE – Triple H is my all time favorite. I also love to watch Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt & Dolph Ziggler. TNA – Before they moved to Destination America, I was a big fan of Bobby Roode, Austin Aries & Taryn Terrel. Since they moved to Destination Amaerica, I do not watch them anymore and only catch the spoiler tapings to stay in touch. ROH – Moose, ACH & The Addiction. ROH is broadcast locally and I started watching them heavily since the wrestlers also come to High Risk Wrestling.

Brian: Prior to making it to a MWR coverage promotion, did you and Brendan attend any of the mainstream events and do you have any fond memories of meeting any of the stars or some of the matches.

Randy: Since Brendan is only 6 years old, we haven’t been able to attend any events as the cost is so high and I don’t want to take him and sit in the nosebleeds where he’ll possibly lose interest. He likes to be up close and that’s just not feasible at this time.

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Memories that will last a lifetime with be Brendan and his father spending time so close to the action of wrestling at an Indy event.

 

Brian: What was your first local promotion that you attended and how did you hear about it?

Randy: The first local promotion I attended was SICW to meet Ted Dibiase. I liked his page on facebook and heard he would be there. I then looked up SICW on Facebook and we then attended. Brendan’s first show was High Risk Wrestling and we heard about them through Facebook as well and I liked their page. The Belleville fairgrounds in only 20 minutes from us so I took him to see if he would enjoy it.

Brian: Thankfully, the shows were good enough for you to return. What and who did you enjoy from that event ?

Brendan: SICW – Ricky Cruz & the Midgets. HRW – Moose, Michael Elgin, ACH, Uhaa Nation, Chuck Taylor, reDRagon, & Mike Outlaw

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Ricky Cruz and Herb Simmons have been two men that have worked to bring back fans like Randy and Brendan to events that have featured some of the biggest moments in the Midwest.

Randy: From SICW, I liked Ricky Cruz straight away as he had a great flamboyance to him even though he was a “bad guy”.

We hope to have the opportunity to meet him and get a picture at a future show. Honestly, the legends were bringing me to the SICW shows and then we started to enjoy the wrestling. Brendan always asks me who the good guy and bad guys are so he knows how to cheer for them. He has been to enough shows now to know who these guys are and he wants whoever Travis Cook brings out to lose, lol. As for HRW, Frank (the promoter) and I conversed before and during the show and he was kind enough to bring out their champion, ACH for a photo op and the Magic Man Jack Sinn to show him a few magic tricks.

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Brendan loved having his photo with the exciting Ring of Honor and High Risk Wrestling Superstar ACH.

 

The sheer size of Moose instantly caught Brendan’s eyes as well. We have since purchased their DVD’s and watch them from time to time. We also got to meet Bobby Eaton at the first HRW show we went to in October and Brendan asked me who that was? I said, that’s Beautiful Bobby. Brendan went up to him and said, your Beautiful Bobby? Bobby said, I don’t know about Beautiful, but yeah, I’m Bobby Eaton! Lol. I loved it. We got autographs from him and pictures.

Brian: Since that time you have made your way to a few other events. What other promotions have you checked out and what show was your favorite and why?

Randy: We have seen SICW and HRW so far. I don’t like to travel too far for an event, so these promotions are local for us. My favorite show was High Risk Wrestling, Makes a Great Stocking Stuffer as we got to see reDragon, Michael Elgin and ACH. Those guys tear it up no matter how many people are there as long as we cheer loud and I can’t find anyone more pumped to see them than Brendan and I. As for personal appeal, I truly enjoyed meeting the One Man Gang as he was just so genuine to Brendan and couldn’t believe that a 5 year old, at the time, came just to see him.

Brendan: My favorite show was HRW, What High Risk have you done for me lately?. My favorite match was Bolt Brady v.s. Mike Sydal

Brian: Out of the local wrestling stars who have you enjoyed the most and why?

Brendan: I like to watch Mike Sydal, Bolt Brady, Moose, & Chuck Taylor

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Michael Elgin is as dedicated as they come in the ring wrestling against the top stars around the world as well as out of it with his fans.

 

Randy: I enjoy watching Moose, ACH, Ricky Cruz, reDragon, Michael Elgin, Jonathan Gresham.

Brian: You have attended both SICW and High Risk Wrestling, and both have been willing to bring in legends of the sport including the likes of the One Man Gang, Ted Dibiase, Bobby Eaton and Nikolai Volkoff. Randy, you and I grew up with these stars, but prior to making your way to meet them, do the two of you check out old videos of these and Brendan, which one has been your favorites from your dads younger days to watch wrestle?

Randy: Before we go meet a legend, I look them up on the internet and show him pictures. If I have a DVD with them on it, I show Brendan as well.

Brian: I have been a fan of wrestling myself for all my life. During that time I have met some that I really loved, but when I met them in person I was disappointed, and on other occasions have met wrestlers that I became bigger fans of once I did meet them due to their actions to myself and other fans around me. Which one out of those legends has been your favorite to meet in person?

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The Phillips join the One Man Gang Army.

 

Brendan: One Man Gang was my favorite legend to meet. And I asked my dad to buy me a OMG t-shirt to wear. We also got a picture with him.

Randy: My favorite legend to meet so far has got to be the One Man Gang as we discussed earlier. We got to meet Ace Cowboy Bob Orton last week in East carondelet.

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When so many people have nice words to say about you, then it must be true. That is the case as we hear another testament to the kindness and down to earth of one of the greatest tag team wrestlers ever, Beautiful Bobby Eaton.

 

I also garnered a better appreciation after meeting Bobby Eaton as he is just so humble and acts like it’s a pleasure to meet you rather than it is to meet him. So classy.

Brian: You have also had the opportunity to meet the likes of Trevor Murdoch, Michael Elgin, ACH, redDragon and Moose. Out of these or any of the other Indy superstars or former WWE wrestlers you have seen wrestle at this level, whos matches have you enjoyed and why?

Brendan: My favorite match to watch was for the HRW High Risk title, ACH v.s. Ricochet.

Randy: reDragon has amazed me the most as they wrestle at such a high speed that you can’t help but get excited watching them. I get pumped up for Michael Elgin as I love the long standing vertical suplexes he does. He is also very humble and is easily approachable for pictures and just talking in general.

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Brian: If I was to start a promotion and I came to you and asked you what I should do to improve on what you have seen, what would it be?

Randy: I know everyone’s not perfect but I see little things like the wrestlers or referees not exactly knowing the rules of certain matches or promotions. For instance, at HRW last time, we had a three way match and the wrestlers had to tag in and out to always keep it one on one. Didn’t make sense to me as the same style match but a 5 way had all of them in the ring at once. Just consistency issues. HRW has no count outs, but one referee kept trying to count them out and we are screaming at the referee that there are no count outs in HRW.

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Brendan’s grandparents Maw Maw and Paw Paw.

 

Brian: What are your upcoming events you hope to attend and if someone was to ask you why they should purchase a ticket to a local wrestling event, what would you say?

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Getting photos and autographs with Volkolff at SICW.

Randy: HRW moved to Cahokia, IL. So we are pumped to see who Frank brings in next. SICW keeps bringing the legends that we have to go see and we are truly grateful for that.

Herb was also kind enough to surprise Brendan with letting him hold the SICW Classic title.

Brian: Randy and Brendan thank you so much for joining us today with this interview. I always enjoy seeing you guys at the events that we cover and I feel safe to say that I speak for all the promoters and wrestlers in the Midwest that we appreciate your support of pro wrestling by attending the events and we hope to see you in 2015 soon.

 

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