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Posts Tagged ‘T.S. Aggressor’

“World League Wrestling original Matt Murphy remembers 10 years of WLW”

Posted by flairwhoooooo on September 23, 2009

{Missouri Wrestling Revival would like to thank World League Wrestling original Matt Murphy for taking the time to reminisce on the early days of WLW to honor their 10 years of greatness. MWR is proud to announce that Matt Murphy will have his own feature article on the site every Monday starting next week. }

With World League Wrestling’s 10th anniversary event just a couple weeks away, I’m sure I’m not the only old-timer whose mind keeps wandering back to the beginning a decade ago.

In July 1999, the Harley Race Wrestling Academy began holding tryouts and classes at Lewis Boxing Gym. It was a small space crammed in along a line of old brick buildings in a bad neighborhood in Springfield, Mo. There was no air conditioning and it reeked of weed, the severity dependent upon which Lewis brother was in the office. The boxing ring was manufactured in the depths of hell and sent to Springfield to punish me for my future transgressions.

There were six of us then: I was the first full-time student; Trevor Rhodes (Murdoch) came a week later along with his brother, independent veteran Johnny D; and the trainers were Derek Stone, Griz, and referee Skippy Johnson. We lived together in a small two-bedroom house and trained between six and eight hours every day.

Meanwhile, Harley and Dave Marquez built World League Wrestling from the ashes of World Legion Wrestling, a promotion I watched on syndicated television that had featured Sid Vicious, Big Sky (Tyler Mane, who played Sabertooth in X-Men, Michael Myers in the new Halloween, and the oil driller who beat up the lead character and then caught fire in Joe Dirt), “Atomic Dogg” Steve Sharp, Luminous Warrior, and the champ, “Sheik” Derek Stone.

After Marquez and the trainers traveled to Lake of the Ozarks to meet with Harley, Derek announced that the school was moving to Eldon. “Where?” I asked, still half-asleep on the couch.

Eldon, for those who’ve never been there, is not much different from every other small town in Missouri: a little backward at times, a little boring at times, but really not a bad place to live. Its population is between 4,000 and 5,000 and rent is cheap enough.

We were local celebrities when we first moved to Eldon, making personal appearances and doing radio and newspaper interviews regularly. And we were all with Harley Race, so if a half-dozen gorillas walking into a restaurant didn’t get their attention then Harley’s presence did.

I’ll never forget the first World League Wrestling event, held during a middle-school assembly Sept. 24, 1999 in Caledonia, Mo. Griz and I squared off in the main event and, due to ring announcer Steve Murphy’s claim that I was a “19-year-old rookie sensation making his professional wrestling debut” (I was 20 and I’d had three matches for East Coast promotions prior to training with Harley, so it was just a small fib), the crowd loved me. The three-match afternoon event was held during school hours with hopes that the kids would go home and beg their parents to bring them back for the full evening show. It was a flop: we had a crowd of about 60 that night.

We had some solid guys back then. Derek Stone was one of the best workers who never had a contract with a national promotion. Griz and “Tiger” Treach Phillips, Jr. were two solid veterans and great assets to their young opponents like me and Trevor. We really didn’t have a weak link on the card. We had other veterans like Johnny Jett, the Drill Instructor, Nasty Bill, Blade Boudreaux, Lance Jade (that’s not a typo, and Jade also had a contract with WWE for a year or two), Malia Hosaka, Brandy Alexander, T.S. Aggressor, Mr. Destiny, Johnny D, and Luminous Warrior.

I always wanted to do two things with my life: become a professional wrestler and make a positive impact on others. Within seven months of our first show, we were wrestling every weekend, usually doing two or three fundraising events. I was living my dream as a professional wrestler and I was part of a group that helped countless non-profit organizations raise funds to make the world a better place. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked for more, but I did.

Like every wrestler, I dreamed of becoming a WWE Superstar. I didn’t make it because I made stupid choices and didn’t earn it. I spent too much time dreaming and not enough time working. But when Trevor Murdoch, who I grew up in the business beside, called me to tell me he signed with WWE, I felt the same inexplainable feeling of pride that I imagined when I used to sit around dreaming about getting a contract with WWE myself. When his first vignette aired on Monday Night Raw, I was thrilled. I sat on the edge of my seat during his debut match. While my dream, as I envisioned it, never came to fruition, I got to go along for the ride while one of the best friends I’ve ever known lived out our dream. That was all the satisfaction I needed.

Times have certainly changed in the past 10 years. WLW talent, other promotions, and crowds have come and gone. Trevor and I were two boys in a locker room full of men, both living our dreams. Now, we’re two old-timers, sitting on the porch talking marriage and fatherhood and barbecue grills. Still, the olden days seem to find their way into most of our conversations.

In the earlier years, there seemed to be more children in the crowd. Many of the kids who were my biggest fans a decade ago have become adults. Some of them still remember me and others seem to have forgotten me. Some still smile when they see me and others seem to resent me. I’d guess it’s because I was somebody they saw as larger-than-life—as a star—when they were kids and now they feel duped when they see me grocery-shopping with my family.

The last time we performed at the Eldon High School gymnasium was one of our greatest events. It was in late-April 2000, with WCW stars Meng and Disco Inferno as the special guests. Disco Inferno pinned me that night in a singles match and then my team beat his in an eight-man tag match later that night. In the main event, Meng lost the WLW Heavyweight Championship to Trevor (with an assist from me). It was our first great event and still one of the best WLW events ever. It’s appropriate that WLW will celebrate its 10th anniversary by returning to the gym. I wish I had the desire, if not physical ability, to get back into the ring one last time for the anniversary event, but I’m proud the worker I became and I wouldn’t dream of getting into the ring at a level below that.

Since my in-ring career ended, I’ve worked with WLW off-and-on in various roles. While I’ve had my ups and downs with WLW, they will always be family.

Congratulations, World League Wrestling, on ten years of bringing exciting, family-friendly entertainment to Small Town, Missouri for good causes. Thank you for giving dreamers a place to learn and practice their chosen trade as they pursue stardom.

Matt Murphy

—————————————————————————————————————–

You will not want to miss the opportunity to support 10 years anniversary on October 3rd. Along with the current Superstars of WLW, fans will be able to meet former greats Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Akio Saito, Bob Geigel, Betty Nicoli, Bill Kersten, Mike George, Roger Kirby and of course the greatest of them all Harley Race.

Show at
ELDON HIGH SCHOOL GYM
101 S PINE ST ELDON MO 65026

Ticket Outlets
WLW HEADQUARTERS
EAGER BEAVER
ELDON CITY HALL
SWEAT GYM

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