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Posts Tagged ‘Fox Sports’

The Ringside Edition December 2016 – December 2016 – By Brian Thompson

Posted by flairwhoooooo on December 27, 2016

nwl

Sometimes no matter how long you have been doing something, you always find your way back to your initial beginnings. My personal pro wrestling journey started around 1998 or 1999, creating my own wrestling website (anyone remember Angelfire URLs?) and covering independent wrestling in the southeast Missouri part of the country. Think of it as a poor man’s version of Missouri Wrestling Revival, which has obviously taken things to a totally different level. Long story short, I reached out to Brian Kelley about returning to my pro wrestling columnist days and those humble beginnings nearly two decades later. Wow. Just typing two decades later makes me realize I am not getting any younger!

For the debut of this column, I want to broach a subject that is on the minds of most people involved in the wrestling community in the Midwest – the National Wrasslin League (NWL). Regardless of what anyone might think, they are creating a buzz and a buzz is what you want when trying to establish a new venture.

I think Michael Elgin penned a great viewpoint on Twitter recently about NWL. I encourage you to seek that out if you haven’t already seen it. Now onto my thoughts.

First, I think management of the organization needs to be commended. Promoting pro wrestling is a huge risk at any level you try it. Trust me. This is coming from experience from being involved in different ventures since I first began my career in 2000 as a ring announcer for Gateway Championship Wrestling in St. Louis. Almost 17 years later, I feel I have learned a lot – as much from failures as from successes. When a person takes his or her own money and puts in on the line, whether you believe in the concept or possibilities, the person at least deserves some respect.

Contracts are being offered to talent. They are getting the chance to develop new gimmicks or characters. I have no direct idea of what these contracts entail, but I know many of the athletes and competitors who will be a part of the NWL venture on both sides – St. Louis and Kansas City. I hope to see the organization succeed if for no other reason than to support the dreams and goals of these talents.

Will the regional concept work? I’ve often told people that if I had significant finances to make a “real run” that a regional concept is the way I would go. I’d hope to build up a company that could get a stronghold in whatever part of the country it existed in. Think regional concept with a national footprint. With all the streaming media and online options today, a company can truly put its product out beyond its touring borders in ways never possible before. And as far as actual TV, I’d try to work a deal with maybe a Fox Sports affiliate. I saw Pro Wrestling Ohio with a show on a regional sports network there called Sports Time Ohio several years back. With my Dish Network package, I even got their show. I always thought that was a very good marketing strategy.

I think in trying to make a big splash, the regional footprint is a smart way to go. Time will only tell if this idea, concept and venture works. I hope it does for several reasons. First and foremost is the previously mentioned talents that will be earning a more regular income from wrestling. That is a goal for most of us in the wrestling business in one way or another.

Second, the more successful this is there is the strong possibility of a trickledown effect. For the talents who will be able to work other shows, they would become more valuable for themselves in terms of talent fees as well as more marketable to the promoters who use them. A win-win for everyone.

Will this be easy? Not at all. But guess what? No business is “easy.” If they were we’d all own our own business. It takes time. It takes investment. It takes patience.

As far as management, I think the ones who I understand are involved with NWL bring a mixture of skillsets to the table. Chris Gough obviously has been a part of the biggest wrestling/sports entertainment company in the world and has seen how they operate. He’s also had success with his own independent promotion in the Kansas City Metro. I believe Pierre Abernathy is involved in the St. Louis arm of things. He’s had experience running shows in that metro which only helps the cause. And I’m actually excited to see what Scott Bowden brings to the table. I was a fan of his work during the Memphis days with the United States Wrestling Association (USWA). Being a part of the last surviving territory system can only have helped his knowledge of how to promote and support a wrestling venture. He was on live television for years and saw how that worked. And not live to tape, we can edit later, I mean LIVE as in WMC TV-5 in Memphis with no re-takes.

As we enter 2017, I saw good luck to NWL and good luck to all independent promotions around the area. I hope for a most prosperous year for everyone.

(Brian Thompson is a pro wrestling promoter, manager, announcer and talent agent. He has been involved in pro wrestling since 2000. He may be reached at brianpaulthompson@gmail.com)

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2010 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Mike Chapman

Posted by flairwhoooooo on January 1, 2011

History should
be studied
because it
is essential to
individuals and
to society, and
because it
harbors beauty.

Pro Wrestling fans are passionate about their love of the drama and action inside the squared circle. In a sport where the desire for us, the fans to know more about our heroes and villains more than ever, we are very fortunate to have websites, shoot interviews, movies and documentaries to fall back on.

Growing up I dreamed of a Hall of Fame for the stars that I saw in publications such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Wrestling needed a Hall of Fame just as baseball has Cooperstown New York and the NFL Canton Ohio. Sure, many magazines had a Hall of Fame on paper but I wanted more. I wanted to see the championship belts, photos and posters from past shows.

To be honest, coming from a boom time for pro wrestling in the 80’s with “Rock and Wrestling”, I still lived in a small town in the Midwest where there were still many that did not understand my love for wrestling. I thought that if a Hall of Fame was to exist I would have to make my way to New York or California to see such a wonderful museum.

Thankfully, we have one of the leading authorities on wrestling history in Mike Chapman living right here in the Midwest. Mike took his passion for amateur and pro wrestling and parlayed his talent to provide wrestling fans around the world a chance to gather to celebrate the accomplishments of our heroes.

Photobucket

Mike and Bev pose for a photo in the ring in the Pro Wing of the Museum. (Photo Courtesy of Mike Chapman’s website)

Now fans young and old can come together to look back and remember the stars of yesterday at the The Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo Iowa. Mike Chapman founded the museum in 1998. With several years of hard work he retired from the museum on October 31, 2009 to devote full time to his new magazine, Iowa History Journal, and to write books.

Mike has represented the Midwest and the wrestling world with class and honor by promoting the sport as a public speaker, an author of 21 books (14 about wrestling) and his work has appeared in dozens of national and regional magazines.

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In his books wrestling fans are able to take a trip back into time to look back at the incredible careers of Frank Gotch in “Frank Gotch: His Life and Legacy” and one of my personal favorite wrestlers and human beings Dan Hodge in “Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story”.
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Fans of today are well aware of the talents that the collegiate wrestling world has as many in wrestling such as Bill Miller, Jack Brisco, Bob Geigel Brock Lesnar, Ken Shamrock, Steve Williams, Bobby Lashley, LeRoy McGuirk and of course Kurt Angle . Each of these men have all become important wrestlers in the pro ring at one time or another.

If some of these names are people that you may not know, I urge you to check out the museum or look them up, each a champion in their own right.

Let’s look at just a small part of his resume.

Mike is the founder of W.I.N. Magazine, considered by many the nation’s top amateur wrestling publication; the WIN Memorabilia Show, which draws 8,000 fans each year to the NCAA Championships.  Mike has been important in the jumpstarting the “Dan Hodge Trophy,” which goes each year to the top college wrestler in the United States. It has been called “the Heisman Trophy of wrestling.”

Mike has earned the respect of many in the sport by being named in six Hall of Fames the AAU National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2002 he  received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cauliflower Alley Club (CAC), an organization of boxers, wrestlers and movie actors. In 2007 he received the Order of Merit for lifetime achievement from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the President’s Award from the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.

As a reporter, he has attended 38 NCAA wrestling tournaments, two Olympics and two World Championships. He has won numerous awards for journalism and writing. He has been named National Wrestling Writer of the Year five times, by four different amateur wrestling organizations.

He has met and interviewed such people as Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Robert Redford, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk from TV fame), Denny Miller (Tarzan actor and star of “Wagon Train”) and many other famous stars of movies and sports.

Mike has appeared on numerous TV shows –including the networks ESPN, A&E, Fox Sports, Iowa Public Television and Fox and Friends. He has been the guest on over 200 radio talk shows. He has produced three wrestling videos and has two screenplays in Hollywood, including “GOTCH: An American Hero.” The movie rights are owned by Empire Film Group and it is currently in pre-production.

As an athlete, he competed in wrestling, judo, sombo and bench press contests. He once bench pressed 440 pounds at a bodyweight of 205.

I first had the pleasure of meeting Mike Chapman in Newton Iowa, the original home of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum several years ago during an annual Hall of Fame. Several of my heroes from years past where in attendance in 2005 along with theInduction of Harley Race to the HOF.

Terry Funk, Verne Gagne and Larry Hennig were just a few that where there to sign autographs for the each and every one of the fans in attendance. Still one of the fondest memories that I had of that trip to Newton Iowa was how nice this guy that worked for the museum was towards Dubray and I. He spoke to us just like he had known us all of his life, telling stories of the displays and the posters on the wall.

We left that day in Newton with the perception that he just worked there and enjoyed what he done. I would later find out that that worker was none other than Mike Chapman, the founder of the museum, a man who had rubbed elbows former World Champions in Boxing and wrestling, Presidents of the United States, and some of the top Hollywood stars.

At Mike’s website this quote was stated

The mission of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum (DGIWIM) is to preserve, maintain and promote the long and illustrious heritage of mankind’s oldest sport in a manner which will benefit the sport, educate and entertain the public, and to inspire youth to dream big and work hard.

Mission accomplished Mike, this Lifetime Achievement Award is a thank you from the fans of the Midwest and around the world.

Editors Note: Please come back to MWR in the future for updates on the progress Mike latest project as he has been working with a committee in Humboldt, Iowa – the hometown of Frank Gtoch – to build an eight-foot statue of the world heavyweight champion (1908-1915) in the center of town.

If all goes as plan we hope to cover this historic occasion at Missouri Wrestling Revival
Please take the time to check out more information of Mike Chapman at his website here.

Fans of wrestling should check out the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum website here and make plans to see it live in 2011.

Brian Kelley
Missouri Wrestling Revival

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