Crazy Dave’s Bar Schedule

Posted by Florida Underground Wrestling News and Information on August 3, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article


To sign up for any of our events, please call the bar at: (727) 531-5518. We are always looking for pool players for our leagues. Also, we need players for our upcoming Dart League and local bands who would be interested in playing live at Crazy Dave’s.



Tables open for practice at 7 PM. Competition starts at 8 PM. $5 to play. 6 teams of 3 people, with all skill levels welcome. Ball in hand rules, playing 3 games each night. All money goes back to the players, even the last place team. The league lasts 15 weeks, culminating in a big party at the end of the season, with free food and a double-elimination pool tournament.

Competition starts at 6:30 PM. $5 to play, and all money goes back to the bowlers. And don’t forget out drink special — buy 3 drinks, get 1 free — limit 1 per person please.

Starting August 3, 2011, beer pong tournaments. For more information, please call the bar at: (727) 531-5518.

Coming soon — new Wednesday Night Pool League OR Wednesday Tournament Night. Interested parties, please call the bar at: (727) 531-5518 or email us at

See “Mondays” listing above for full information.

Join us on Fridays, 9 PM – Midnight, for live music from Jill, singing everything from oldies to modern hits and more.

Be the star of the show. Come on down, and bring your friends, every Saturday night, 8 PM – Close.

Plus Happy Hour prices from open to close.

To sign up for any of our events, please call the bar at: (727) 531-5518. We are always looking for pool players, as well as players for our new Dart League and local bands interested in playing live at Crazy Dave’s.

Detailed Results & Pictures from ACW Queen of Queens Tournament

Posted by Kari on June 28, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

Anarchy Championship Wrestling (ACW) has been a well-growing wrestling promotion that the viewers from not only in the state of Texas, but in the entire world. Fans come from all over the U.S. to see what they get their money’s worth in the first place, good, intense, pure wrestling from the Anarchist. One show in particular is what got fans attach to ACW more than any other show – The American Joshis Queen of Queens Tournament. ACW has had big successes over the course of their existence, including dream matches that people cannot get elsewhere, and mostly the MOST VIOLENT matches a fan would seek their teeth into. But the biggest success (to me and everybody else) that makes ACW for what is a strong promotion in the United States – THEIR WOMEN.

ACW is one of the promotions that is mostly male-dominated, to have a strong, pound for pound women’s division, a division that is 100% contradictory to what you see on TV now a days. These girls aren’t look upon as women wrestlers; they are looked upon as WRESTLERS. In other words, they are treated as equals to the males in the ring, and willing to get in the ring with the best of the men. The division started in 2007 with two individuals, Rachel Summerlyn and Mickie Knuckles. Both women known for their Deathmatches; they go through thumbtacks and broken glass to see who the better woman is. Summerlyn then moved on from Knuckles, and feuded with other wrestlers like Andy Dalton (and her brutal Deathmatch with him in 2008, which I recommend watching) and Daffney. To fast forward to today, other women have stepped up to contribute to the American Joshi era in ACW: Jessica James/Lady Poison, Athena, Amanda Fox, Lillie Mae, and others. Even big names in women’s wrestling help contribute to this division as well: Sara Del Rey, Daizee Haze, MsChif, Portia Perez, Serena Deeb, etc. And for one night of every year, ACW grants the girls a one-night tournament to not only show who the best woman of thee night is, but to honor the sport that is of women’s wrestling in the Queen of Queens Tournament. And this year’s Queen of Queens is no different from the past Queen of Queens.

The 3rd Annual American Joshi Queen of Queens kicked off with ACW ring announcer Barry Stewart calling out the 8 participants in this years Queen of Queens – Rachel Summerlyn, Amanda Fox, Lillie Mae, Mia Yim, Athena, Christina Von Eerie, Serena Deeb (who came face to face with Amanda Fox), and last years (2010) Queen of Queens winner Portia Perez. Portia’s entrance was delayed until she appeared in street clothes and a wrench, and Super Electro with her. Perez has now evolved into a creepier, vindictive, gloomy, and possessed individual than ever before. No more Canadian Ninja in ACW. As the Joshis line up for a photo op, Portia immediately struck Lillie Mae in the nose with that wrench she carried, which stated a brief brawl with the Joshis until Anarchists (ACW wrestlers) separated Perez from the girls. After things all got settled, everybody left the ring, except Portia Perez and Mia Yim, which triggered the start of 2011 Queen of Queens Tournament.

1. 1st Round Match – Mia Yim vs. Portia Perez

Winner via submission with Crossface – Portia Perez. A decent opening match. Mia Yim looks stunning in person. She impressed in her Texas debut. Just wish she did more in this match. Yim almost got the win with a guillotine submission. But as soon as Yim attempted a high risk move off the top rope, Perez structed her in the stomach with the wrench, with triggered Perez for her Crossface for the win, and advance to the semi-finals, eliminating the Blaisian Barbie (BTW Diva-Dirt, did you forget to tell Mia that ACW is a No Barbie Zone? Just saying…I digress.)

2. 1st Round Match – ACW Tag Team Champion Rachel Summerlyn vs. Christina Von Eerie

Winner via Gory Bomb – Rachel Summerlyn. A brutal back and forth match between these two, mostly taken to the floor outside the ring. Things got technical in the beginning (along with Chirstina’s “OI!” chants), then things got brutal. Moments in the match include when Von Eerie poured beer on Summerlyn, and also Von Eerie and Summerlyn brought chairs, sat down and had a strike out with each other. Christina is very over with the crowd, and fits the ACW mold very well.

The next match was suppose to be Athena vs. Lillie Mae, but due to the wrench strike in the nose Portia Perez gave Lillie at the top of the show, see was pulled from the tournament. (Damn you, Portia Perez). Athena came out for her match (sporting new orange gear, and a new “Team Athena” T-Shirt), then ACW founder Darin Childs came out to let the Wrestling Goddess know that Athena will then face Angel Blue in the first round match.

3. 1st Round Match – “The Wrestling Goddess” Athena vs. Angel Blue

Winner via Top Rope Double Knees – Athena. This match was pretty much one-sided, in favor of Athena. Angel Blue had an OK showing, but not enough to put away the Goddess of Wrestling. Athena’s athleticism…need I say more?

Next up is the most hyped up match in the tournament:

4. 1st Round Match – “Five-Star” Amanda Fox vs. Serena Deeb

Amanda wasted no time making a statement in the Joshi Division, by pinning Serena in the 6 Joshi Scramble at the December show last year. Since then Fox declared herself to be Serena Deeb’s worst nightmare. Let’s see if the 19-year-old an pull it the second time, or will Serena take Fox to school in wrestling.

Beginning of the match Amanda spat on Serena, which triggered a chase off. Then Highroller Hayze showed up to defend Fox. Things got extremely technical when the girls got back in.

Winner via roll-up – Amanda Fox. I can sum this match up in five words – MATCH OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE! Words can’t describe who awesome this match is. The stuff this 19-year-old can do is mind boggling, that you got to see it to believe it. Fox took a vicious spear from Serena on the turnbuckle steel corner from the top ring apron. All I can say is Amanda Fox solidified herself as a “ONE TO WATCH”.

After the match, Serena cut a promo, stating that though Amanda got the win, she made a huge mistake messing with her, and that she will be back to ACW, and make Amanda Fox’s night for the worse.

The tournament takes a break for now, which leads to Barry introducing someone he is happy to see again – DAFFNEY!!

Fans popped big for her, as I did as well. Daff got on the mic stating that it is good to be home. But had a huge problem with a certain someone that has recently been disrespecting the women of the Joshi division. That person was JT Lamotta. She asked for Lamotta to get down to the ring and confront her. Lamotta comes down to the ring, has some verbal words for Daffney and the other Joshis he faced, but Daffney isn’t scared of him and found one person that can take him on – ACW American Joshi Champion Lady Poison! OOOHHHH, IT’S ON NOW!!!!

5. Non-Tournament Match – ACW American Joshi Champion Lady Poison vs. “The Mind of Wrestling” JT Lamotta

Winner via Poison Kiss – Lady Poison. After the match, Poison and Daffney hugged and left the ring. JT is a fool for messing with the Joshis. Great match between the two. Lady Poison is one creepy individual.

Next up is the semi-finals of the Queen of Queens Tournament.

6. Semi-Final Match – Rachel Summerlyn vs. Portia Perez

Winner via submission with the Texas Cloverleaf – Rachel Summerlyn. The match was very psychological. Both girls came out, with no smile for Summerlyn, and these two went back and forth. Very slow and methodical these two where. Two shocking moments in this match – 1.) Rachel busting out a springboard moonsault, and my jaw dropped. Though she missed, it looked beautiful. Perez landed two Superkicks to Summerlyn, but Rachel kicked out. Now for number 2.) As Portia went for the wrench, Super Electro came in and posted his foot on the wrench, only to then unmask himself to be ROBERT EVANS! Fans popped big for his special appereance. For those who don’t know the ACW storyline, Evans and Perez were once in love, but Perez broke his heart but Superkicking him. So in retribution, the Excellence of Excellence return and planted Portia with a Tombstone Styles Clash. After he left, Rachel hits Best of Both Worlds (her fisherman neckbreaker), followed by her Texas Cloverleaf for the submission win and her first shot at the finals of the tournament. Thus dethroning Perez from retaining her title as Queen of Queens. “F*** YOU, PORTIA!!” chants came once Perez left.

7. Semi-Final Match – “Five Star” Amanda Fox vs. “The Wrestling Goddess” Athena

Winner via Submission – Athena. Another great match from two up and comers in the world of wrestling. Athena stated that “THIS IS MY HOUSE!!”, and me having my mark out moment responded “TEAM ATHENA, B****ES!!” Fox kick out of Athena’s top rope double knees (which put away Angel Blue in the first round). She also attempted the top rope stunner, but Fox saw it coming and counter it into a vicious German Suplex. The Goddess got Fox in this very creative submission, trapping both arms of Fox and hosting her leg on the back of Amanda’s head, tapped out Fox, and move on to the finals to face her number one hussie, Rachel Summerlyn. (Could someone get me a dictioNERD? What does hussie mean?) She then waved her brand new T-Shirt claiming “Team Athena” all the way.

Fast-forwarding two incredible men’s matches (one of which involves my homeboy “Showtime” Scott Summers spearing a chick from the Takeover), we get to the Finals of the American Joshi Queen of Queens Tournament between rivals Rachel Summerlyn and Athena. This is the rematch from their EPIC 10,000 Thumbtacks Match from Guilty By Association 5 (I recommend people to comp that DVD at Also for those who didn’t know, Athena cost Rachel her match with JT Lamotta at the last show. So this is redemption for Mrs. Summerlyn. Time to see who takes the title of 2011 ACW Queen of Queens.

8. Final Round Match – Rachel Summerlyn vs. Athena

The crowd was split between these two, and you can tell the beef these two got for each other. This match was a straight-up fight. Athena and Rachel pulled no punches against each other. Athena hit a flurry of roundhouse kicks on Summerlyn (about 10 of them). Rachel busted 2 Gory Bombs on the Goddess in the ring. After the two exchanged submissions, they took it to the floor, ACW JOSHI STYLE! Athena busted a headscissors, with Rachel’s head hitting the hard carpet. Rachel then grab a stick to stab Athena, but Athena block it and said “Girl you crazy!”. Athena fought Rachel off and grabbed a chair and attempt a DDT on the chair, but Summerlyn countered to the Best of Both Worlds on the chair. After seconds of recuperation, the head back to the ring for some back and forth, then busted a devastating Super Brainbuster from the top rope. Both ladies giving it their all. Athena then throws Rachel out of the ring, but then Rachel fights back, and from out of nowhere, another Gory Bomb on the hard carpet floor! Rachel rolls backwards and applies the Texas Cloverleaf, and forces the Goddess to give it up.

Winner via submission, and the 2011 ACW American Joshi Queen of Queens – Rachel Summerlyn!

After the match, Jessica James came out and hugged all over Rachel in celebration, as Ms.ACW has accomplished her goal and became the 2011 ACW Queen of Queens Champion. Rachel had an emotional promo after the match (I almost shed a tear, myself), pretty much thanking everybody for her support, Jessica for being an EGG-celent tag partner, Daffney for being a good mentor, and to all the ACW fans who supported her from day one. With this moment, and a hug from Rachel Summerlyn, the 2011 American Joshi Queen of Queens is a rap.

Final Thoughts: Just like the previous two tournaments, this year’s was no different. This will go down as one of my favorite shows of the year. Just the storyline, the wrestling, the excitement, and the emotion only are why people need to not only check this DVD out, but to come to Texas to check out this amazing art of the sport in Anarchy Championship Wrestling. Believe me, there are people that came from another state and/or country just to see this one show, and it’s an honor for ACW to get some international support. Yes, there where no Sara Del Rey, Daizee Haze, MsChif at this years show, but ACW proves that you don’t have to rely on big names to get a product over. This year’s tourney was all about the younger girls, and man, did they represent tonight. Every participant showed out what they are capable of (except for Lillie Mae, who didn’t get to compete. Blame Portia for that.) Angel Blue was an acceptable replacement to bow down for the Goddess. Mia Yim was no slore at this show. Christina Von Eerie’s uniqueness will get her places, and she feels right at home at ACW. Serena is incredible! Such a sweet, humble person in real life, but when she wrestles, she wrestles like the best. I told this to her that since leaving WWE, she has had one of the best careers in wrestling. I was an horror seeing Daffney again. She’s in my prayers for that things will go well with her law suit. Portia’s character, as mentioned earlier, has evolved into a more cunning, creepy, spiteful, vindictive individual. And that’s what’s missing in a heel, now a days. But karma bit Portia in the ass and, as R-Truth says it, she got got by Robert Evans. Lady Poison made the Joshis, and Daffney, proud but shutting up JT Lamotta.

And lastly, my MVPs for the tournament. First off, Athena…Athena…Athena…two words – “Team Athena!”…and I thank you. But all seriousness, Athena continues to dominate wherever she goes. She took out some men at the last show, made great impressions at SHIMMER and WSU, and now solidifies herself as one of the top up-and-coming stars to date. Next is Amanda Fox. My god, this girl can go! She’s under 2 years in the business and she’s 19 years old, and she delivered the best match of that entire show, with Serena. Amanda is, to me and others, the female Bryan Danielson, because she’s a great technician in the ring and her appeal is Danielson inspired, as well. She, this year, is what Athena had last year, as far as being unknown to the fans and once buying the Queen of Queens DVD, people start taking more notice of talent. Athena hanged with a top tier MsChif last year, and this year Amanda hanged with top tier Serena Deeb. Now people will take notice of “Five Star” Amanda Fox. And finally, this year’s Queen of Queens, Rachel Summerlyn. Out of all the Joshis in ACW, no one has grown more then the first lady of ACW, herself. To debut in deathmatches, to wrestle the first women’s match in ACW, to taking such harsh criticism in first SHIMMER impression, Rachel has grown into one of the most fun, caring, and rough-n-tough women in the art of wrestling. Despite all the punishment she goes through, she still lives happy a la Hiroyo Matsumoto. This was her third Queen of Queens Tournament, and after 3 attempts, she’s finally claim her throne. Her emotional speech at the end was just amazing, and it showed that it was a hard road for Mrs. Summerlyn to get that trophy, as she is in the best shape of her life, and more agile than before. Her charisma, personality, stamina, and toughness will get her far in the business. And for that, I congratulate my fellow Texan Rachel Summerlyn on becoming the 2011 ACW American Joshi Queen of Queens! You deserve it, girl.

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CvC Play-in 2.0: Who Is the Greatest Japanese Wrestler of All Time?

Posted by Joe Wrestling on June 27, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

When people think of pro wrestling, what generally comes to mind is flashy tights, steel chairs and over the top characters, but that is far from all wrestling is.

Wrestling is a world wide passion for millions of people, maybe even billions. Almost every developed country features pro wrestling either on TV or live in person. One country that has stood out over the decades as a place for high quality wrestling is Japan.

Japan has not only churned out some of the world’s best pro wrestlers but has also served as a training ground for many other stars from different countries to hone their skills.

Guys like Daniel Bryan, Evan Bourne, Bret Hart, Ric Flair and Chris Jericho have spent significant time in Japan. Former WWE star MVP is currently defending his Intercontinental Championsip in Japan and has said on numerous occasions that he loves it.

The land of the rising sun has certainly helped the world of pro wrestling by providing some amazing talents, but which wrestler stand out as the greatest?

While this topic may be debated among many, there is only one name that stands out to yours truly, Antonio Inoki.

Born Kanji Inoki, he later changed his name to Antonio in an homage to Antonio Rocca, a legend in his own right.

I could sit here and list all of Inoki’s accomplishments to prove why I believe why he is the best Japanese Wrestler of all time, but when push comes to shove, he didn’t hold as many titles as some others so his records alone will not support this argument.

I will instead focus on the things that made him great both in and out of the ring.

Inoki was first and foremost an athlete. He competed in Track and Field events while in high school and even went on to win his High School Championship in Shot put.

After moving to Brazil in his teen years he went on to win the All Brazilian Championships in both Shot put and Discus Throw.

Upon his return to Japan in 1960 he joined the Japan Wrestling Association with his mentor Rikidōzan.  Over the next 11 years Inoki competed with several Japanese promotions including Tokyo Pro Wrestling in the late ’60s.

Inoki’s father was a politician before passing, and like his father before him, Inoki had a need to be recognized as the best.

During his time in JWA he faced off against then WWF Champion Bruno Sammartino in a tag team match. Sammartino has stated that during the match Inoki tried to “shoot” on him, meaning he applied a real submission hold trying to show dominance over the WWF Champion.

Sammartino powered out of the hold, beat Inoki bloody and threw him out of the ring. These claims have never been confirmed or denied by Inoki, but this kind of thing happened far more often back then, so it would not surprise me if it was true.

After being fired for trying to take over JWA Inoki founded the New Japan Pro Wrestling promotion in 1971. His first match in the promotion was against his real life friend and legend Karl Gotch. Gotch later trained Inoki and several other wrestlers to incorporate martial arts moves along with wrestling.

NJPW held events that would see MMA fights on the same card as wrestling matches, and these events were seen as a precursor for todays MMA events, despite the fact that almost all of the MMA bouts were worked or planned in advance.

In 1978, Vince McMahon created the WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship, and awarded it to Inoki as part of the two brands union.  The belt was mainly used in Japan to further expand the WWF brand into the world wide market.

Inoki held onto the belt after the WWF and NJPW severed their ties in 1985, and he eventually lost the title to Shota Chochishvili after having held the belt an incredible 11 years. He gained the title back a month later and eventually changed the name of the belt to the Greatest 18 Championship.  This title would be retired by The Great Muta in 1992.

In 1976, Antonio Inoki made a monumental move for his promotion by getting Muhammed Ali to compete in a Boxer vs MMA match in Japan.

Inoki had promised the match would be a work, but Ali and his managers were afraid that Inoki would turn the match into a shoot in an attempt to look like the top fighter in the world. To avoid this, several rules were put in place that limited what moves could be performed.

The bout ended in a 3-3 draw, with Ali leaving the event without a press conference or interview. It was said that Ali suffered a couple leg injuries as a result of Inoki kicking him several times during the match.

Later on that same year Inoki would go on to defeat WWF Champion Bob Backlund for the title in an unprecedented move. The title had never changed hands off American soil at that point.

After a rematch was declared a no contest, Inoki vacated the belt, leaving the WWF with no champion. Backlund regained the title on Dec. 12 in a Texas Death Match with Bobby Duncum. Inoki’s reign has never been officially recognized by WWF due to him refusing to keep the title.

Another one of Inoki’s standout moments from his amazing career was his attendance record setting event in Pyongyang, North Korea. The North Korean Government and ther Japanese government came to an agreement and held a two-day event in the May Day Stadium.

The two-day event drew 150,000 and 190,000 fans respectively. The second day would showcase the one and only match between Ric Flair and Antonio Inoki. Inoki came out on top and both men have stated that this match was one of the top highlights of their career.

After retiring in 1998 Inoki was inducted into the WCW hall of fame in 1995, the NJPW equivelant to their hall of fame in 2007 and the WWE hall of fame in 2010.  Inoki made history by being the first Japanese born wrestler to make it into the WWF’s hall.

Inoki has also had an impact in the entertainment industry as well. He appeared as himself in a cameo for the 1979 movie Bad News Bears Go To Japan where he was looking for Ali for a rematch in the story. He has also appeared in the Manga and Anime series Tiger Mask, being the only person to defeat Tiger Mask in the series.

Inoki has been called one of the greatest of all time by many people before, but I would make the argument that he is definitely the greatest Japanese wrestler of all time.

I encourage anyone to go and read more about Inoki because he led an interesting life to say the least.

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Mecca Pro Wrestling announces their hottest event yet

Posted by Joe Wrestling on June 26, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

Cornwall – Jun. 26, 2011 – Mecca Pro Wrestling has announced “their hottest event to date.” The event, entitled “Scorched”, will take place on Saturday, July 9th at The Navy Club (30 6th Street East) in Cornwall.

This action-packed card will feature MPW’s biggest main event match yet, with every Championship belt on the line. Tag Team Champions V:I:P (“The Rage” Randy Berry MTH) will defend against current reigning and defending MPW Champion FireStorm and a mystery partner of his choosing. This match will be a great opportunity for all parties involved. The first team to score either a pinfall or submission will walk out of the match with all the gold.

Some of the other high end matches on the bill includes a triple threat match between three of the most exciting and best pound for pound wrestlers in the promotion. Jae Rukin vs. Xplicit vs. Zack Storm. Also, The Hartbreakers (Mike Hart Joey Valentyne) take on the team of “Tyrant” Eric Dawson Eric Mastrocola, newcomer Ray Markable goes one on one with Shocker, plus many more matches.

Tickets for this event are $10 per person or $35 for a Family Four Pack and can be purchased at The Navy Club, Poppy’s Pawns Plus (224 Pitt) or by calling 613-936-1551. Bell time is scheduled for 7:30 pm.

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Bob Mould on His New Memoir, Falling Out With Hüsker Dü, and Pro Wrestling

Posted by Joe Wrestling on June 25, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

Bob Mould on His New Memoir, Falling Out With Hsker D, and Pro Wrestling

Photo: Steven Dewall/Redferns

The front man for the eighties’ Minneapolis-based hardcore band Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould made meaningful, noisy music out of a very punk spirit of “despair meets resignation.” The band ended in 1987, and Mould went on to have more success with Sugar in the early nineties, and remains on the festival circuit today. More recently he’s also become a D.J. who throws an itinerant party called Blowoff that appeals to unabashedly manly gay men — bears. He’s just released a memoir, called See a Little Light, which he wrote with journalist Michael Azerrad (Little, Brown Co., $24.99). In addition to being a detailed document of punk going mainstream, the book is an unsparing self-examination. Carl Swanson spoke with Mould for a New York Magazine feature, but here is the largely unedited transcript of their wide-ranging conversation.

You’ve always been so protective of your privacy. And yet you’re here writing about your ex-boyfriends, drug use, being molested, your parents — everything.
It’s a liberating feeling.

It is?
I think so, yeah.

You even go back and explain how you think what happened to you in life was reflected in your music. A lot of musicians won’t do that.
Yeah. Songs are sort of ethereal. You can sit down and try to write a song, and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not, and a lot of times the inspiration hits you when you least expect it, and you’re not really sure, in the moment, what provokes it. It’s sort of a strange concept. But going back, you can sort of see what the meanings were, what the situations were. A lot of them are composites; it’s not always, “this is what happened from when I woke up at breakfast to when I left the house in a huff.” It’s not that simple. Copper Blue is a very optimistic record. You know, things were good in my personal life; professionally, I had sort of taken the reins back from a confusing situation with Virgin and outside management. So that was sort of empowering, which I guess is happy.

You also have this sort of diary, a journal of where you are artistically and what you were feeling at that time. Was that helpful in writing the book? Did you go back and listen to the whole catalogue?
No, I know the songs pretty well [laughs]. I was loath to get into specific meanings of songs. They pressed really hard for me to do that.

Michael Azerrad or the publisher, Little, Brown?
Both Brown and Azerrad. He was just like, “You can’t write a book and not deconstruct some of the songs.” But I was loath to do it because why should my literal meaning of a song — why describe it to people? It takes away. When people hear songs, it’s a visceral moment. When you hear things like that, they resonate, and get into your molecular structure, and become part of who you are, and make you think different ways. For me to go back, several years later, and tell somebody, “This song was about firing my whole team because we lost a kickball” — you know? To them, that’s their wedding song, and it’s like, all of sudden… I think the greater picture is showing people what my life was like at the time, because that’s more the overall feeling of who I am and what I do and whether those things intersect. I mean, I’m pretty self aware. There are spots in the book that speak to one of my idiosyncrasies: worrying myself to death with what people must think.

It’s like you feel a certain sense of responsibility to the fans.
Well I’m a huge fan of music, and I know what it means to people, and I know what it means to me, and I project what music means to me onto others, through my own work, and I come up with these scenarios, like when Hüsker Dü went from SST to Warner Bros., and I was so worried about what people would think about it. I write this incredibly abrasive song that has to be the opening, so people don’t get the wrong idea that we lead with a pop song. Writing a whole apology letter to rock and roll, that speaks so clearly to my …

Yeah. It’s a terrible idiosyncrasy, hard to get rid of. And you know that comes from — well, it’s all set up in the book. I’m not sure where everyone gets their hyper-vigilance. To me it’s very clear.

You mean with your family being so abusive?
That just seemed like the norm. And I knew nothing different. I saw it in other families around me, and that just what it was: Men drink and have frustrations and take it out on their spouses and that’s just how the world works. And you learn that, and when I got to 25, I got to cut off. It’s a battle. That’s what life is about. It’s a battle to try to get to the next place, and leave behind the parts that don’t work.

There’s a great sense of that self-knowledge in the book. You don’t have that mooning over your past career. You could be that person. It’s good that you’re not.
I’m very quick to toot my own horn; I’m also equally as quick to recognize unrealized projects, or things that didn’t go as well as I thought they would. If you don’t get wrapped up in your own bullshit, you can see where you sort of slipped, and why you slipped.

It’s a very pragmatic perspective. What did you listen to growing up?
I had such a rich knowledge of music, and it was those jukebox singles — I still have half of them. When in doubt, I could just put something on and it’ll put me back on track. If you can get all the jukebox singles from the sixties and have them as your foundation for music, it’s pretty damn strong. The melodies and range, and harmonies — the idea of singing along with records and being able to harmonize. I’ve taken that over the course of my career of being able to harmonize really well with people on the spot, just improvising. Melody’s important. It’s good to have a song that people whistle as they walk down the street. It resonates.

The Hüsker Dü song “Everything Falls Apart” always pops into my head.
It was really one of the early songs of that sort of despair-meets-resignation, with a really catchy melody.

And the voice down low in the mix.
It makes the music seem louder!

Have you stopped burying the words?
It depends on the song. Now that I’m older, the music isn’t quite as frenetic as it used to be, and I want the stories to be more out front. Also, as I’ve gotten more comfortable with my voice. You know, I never really liked my voice, so it’s nice to bury it a little as well. But now that I have a little more control over the words and I’m more comfortable with my actual voice, I push it up a little more. It depends on the actual song. If I want the message to be clear, then the vocals will go pretty far up. If it’s punk rock, then the vocals will go back. That’s the aesthetic.

How did you and Azerrad work on this book together?
We’d Skype. We had the voice on, no video, and the chat window open. We’d just copy parts back and forth. I’d have a manuscript, a couple of other windows open. I’d have, like, four windows open, and I’d just copy and paste. I’d be able to have mine, then put his revisions, and then revise. He was telling me, when he’s worked on books before and he’s the editor, a lot of times, people will write side-by-side towards the end, in the editing process.

What else did he push you on?
The personal stuff. Sometimes I would mention a story and he would connect the dots, and just suggest that I take a harder look about what I just said, and suggest I spend some time with it.

It’s a very literal, as-it-happened type of feeling.
I’m trying to tell the story in the moment. I think it’s the story at the end of the Hüsker run when I was in England, and [former Hüsker bassist] Greg Norton shows up with this contract, and he was probably very benign and just showed up, but I was so out of my mind, so the perception was that he was this crazy person who had worked with this lawyer to extract a bunch of money from me. To me, it was like this AHH. I’m just trying to show people how out of my head I was. It’s not flattering to me. [Laughs]

It’s not. It’s very self-critical. You don’t always tell people how you’re feeling.
To me, sort of how it worked with Hüsker Dü, it was such a natural fit, for the most part, ‘til the end. There was nothing that needed to be said; we just went about our business, and I thought, “So that’s how we do with musicians.” With sugar, I got very specific about how I wanted things to do, and it was successful. I got beat up a little being for being a control freak.

You stopped drinking at 25, you write to avoid becoming your abusive alcoholic father. Was it also your being a control freak?
In a business that encouraged bad behavior— and it worked to the benefit of the record companies to keep the artists in that state of mind; they don’t want anybody stopping and thinking about things — it’s like suspended adolescence that goes on indefinitely, until all of a sudden you don’t have a career and you’re thrust into the adult world with no skill set. It’s frightening, and a lot of people get depressed and kill themselves. Did you see The Wrestler? A great movie that tied it all together. It resonated with me on a lot of different levels. The main character was sort of over-the-hill and lost his way and didn’t have anything else he could do. And there’s one part in the movie where’s working at the deli counter in a Safeway and he got so frustrated and people would come up and say, “Weren’t you that guy?” And he wanted attention just like the wrestlers do, he just stuck his hand in the meat grinder and started bleeding. He cannot even cope with the fact that he is not a celebrity anymore, but in a moment of panic or doubt he reverts back to mutilating himself, because that’s what he did his whole life.

Speaking of which, I loved the part where you go to work for WCW professional wrestling.
I tried to write a book inside a book. When you get all the way to it, it’s just one or two little mentions, and then you hit that part and it’s like “rockstar gay and all” and then just boom, I reset and start talking about when I was a kid again and this other life that was really important to me and nobody really asked me about before.

When you think about it, pro-wrestling is pretty gay, isn’t it?
It’s homoerotic. And I think they know it, and they don’t want to acknowledge it too much.

They’re tapping into something that is an outlet for a lot of men. Which isn’t to say all men are gay.
Up until about five years ago, they catered to all sectors. They tried to get teenage kids, because they’re looking for superheroes, really impressionable, looking for good versus evil. But now, in the last five years, pro-wrestling exposed that it was choreographed, just a show. So now you’ve got Ultimate Fighting Champion, where the old wrestling fans from 18 to 55 went to that, because it’s the same thing, but it’s real.

That’s homoerotic. It’s just not as silly. It’s upsetting, but it’s more real.
Guys just push themselves to the limits every day of their lives. It’s a crazy world. I couldn’t believe I got the call to come in and help.

Were you coming to relate to the crowd? Were you coming it to that perspective?
I was just so overwhelmed of sitting in the War Room, with these guys I grew up watching on TV, and shaping this product that five million people watch every week. I came in with the utmost respect for the business, a knowledge of the business — as a fan, I understood the mechanics of it. With 20 years of travel, I was able to keep up with the pace. A lot of people can’t. They saw that right away, and they were, “You can run with us, you can run fast, let’s go!” I also brought good grammar, good punctuation, good handwriting.

In terms of the story stuff you brought —
A lot of it was trying to keep continuity. They brought in a couple writers from New York who were ADD, who were so scattered that they couldn’t remember what they’d done from week to week. We’d write the stories on Wednesday and Thursday at the meetings, and I would say, “We did this two weeks ago.” Or there would be things that were sort of homophobic or racist, and I would say, “Do you really want to have the Mexican guy hit the Japanese guy over the head with a tequila bottle?” And somebody would be like, “Are you calling me a racist?” And I’d say, “No, but the idea is a little funny.” I became the naysayer with a certain group, and with another group, they were counting on me to be the naysayer. It was a little crazy.

When I went to see professional wrestling once at Madison Square Garden, all the stories and characters and back stories — it seemed like a form of soap opera for men.
It’s like Shakespeare, the 16 stories. You stole my wife, you stole my belt, you ruined my car, you ruined my life. You have to position people in a certain way and if you’re gonna tell the story over a long course of time, you have to somehow screw this guy until the very end, when good finally triumphs. You have to drag people through that story, and pace it. And that is becoming a lost art form. It’s become now these guys who do a 14-minute soliloquy to set up all these stories, and they think they’re Hollywood guys. It’s not like some of the eccentric characters who go out there and improvise off of three bullet points, which is what it should be. There should never be someone writing lines for guys to go out and say. That’s not the essence of it. It was a crazy time. I was fortunate to have my time there and see how it worked and make some big decision and got caught up in a lot of politics and walked away.

Did your steroids use end when you left?
I was still doing stuff — some OTC stuff, to keep you strong and big. Not like Annadrol, that’s sort of a hardcore steroid. I wasn’t using a lot. I can’t do them any more. My testosterone levels are too high naturally. Last time I asked a doctor about the possibility, and he said there’s absolutely no way. There’s breast cancer in your family history, your testosterone levels are already too high. You cannot do them. I was like, “Ok.”

You seem like a solidly built guy.
The last five pounds would be nice to lose, but I can’t shake it.

But you seem like to actually eat.
Food is important. I eat six times a day. I eat all day. I work out every day. I don’t do cardio or any of that, I just go and lift. The steroids are a big part of the gay culture, that’s for sure. A lot of the drugs I put into my system eventually put into my system became part of the gay culture; like speed became this Big Gay Drug. It sort of came out of the SoCal gym culture, and then became part of the gay, body-specific ideal.

You seem almost invisible to gay culture.
The beauty of invisibility is that you gain a much wider palette for observation. If nobody’s looking at you, you can look at everything. Then there are times where you’re the focal point, so there are all these different perspectives that I sort of walked through. With sexuality and identification — in the book I explain my ignorance of gay culture. I’m an uncomfortable spokesperson because I blurt, and I’m not always politically correct. And the gay community, more so than other communities, are very quick to reparse your thoughts, and if a couple words come out askew, they will tear you apart, so I don’t step up much. Also, I didn’t embrace the more flamboyant side of gay culture — the effeminate, the drag, the transgender — since I didn’t identify or understand it, when I would see the conservative media in the 80s covering ACT UP, who were doing all the heavy lifting. I just didn’t appreciate it at the time. They weren’t lifting for me, they were lifting for people with AIDS, and I just didn’t get it. That is one of my two enormous laments about my sexuality. The other is, if I’d be out in ‘86, what things would be like.

And yet, in 1994, you came out in Spin, but that didn’t go well. You seem to have regretted it.
I didn’t feel like it was contextualized. I was like, “For hanging out all that time, you took that one and ran with it.” Now I laugh about it. I mean, it was good for business, it made for a memorable moment.

Are you worried about how your estranged Hüsker Dü bandmates will feel about the book? You’re not always easy on Grant Hart, the drummer.
No. Nothing I can do about that. I think I was pretty fair.

Even the people you don’t like, you say, “This is what’s good about this person.” There’s nothing particularly score settling.
I worked out a lot of the anger before the copy edit. When I got to the bottom of it, I think I’m at a pretty even spot with it. Grant’s story was “I quit the band, Bob’s a tyrant, fuck this whole thing, I was held back.” And I was reading that and I was thinking, “That’s not my story.” But I will wait, and I will focus on my music, and I will let this go. But it continued, and it continued, and it continued. And I was just surprised: Why am I all of a sudden a dartboard? I never publicly made my thoughts known about how the band wrapped up. It’s not my story to tell, so it was sort of frustrating that people would always come to me with pieces of information, ways to bury Grant. It should be so clear in the book what the deal is. For eight years of my life, that was my life. That’s all I cared about. I had a partner, and that was important too, but it always took the backseat to the band, and I was trying everything I could to make that work for everybody. If somebody’s going to call me a prick, it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If that’s the person you want, that’s the person you’ll get. You may be one of the only three people that feels that way about me, but if that’s the person you want, I will be that way for you. But Hüsker Dü was third on the list of things to worry about. The two things that weighed most heavily were my family and my long relationship with Kevin. I lost months of sleep over those two. With Kevin, it was very clear. I was very insecure in the relationship, there were things missing in the relationship that he needed.

Well, you did have several fairly long relationships.
My first relationship with Mike Covington was giddy. We were both in our twenties and it just blew up, and that was fine. With Kevin there was an incredible investment, on all sides. When it started to weave together professionally, then we became embedded in it. We were joined at the hip.

He probably thought he had to do that to be a part of your life…
He was able, as well. It wasn’t like he was a traditional partner in the wings questioning the manager. He was right in their taking my thoughts and setting them properly. Walking away from Kevin, the reason why it was civil, is because I clearly still have a lot of feelings for him. The temptation to try to barter and hold on longer — I couldn’t even look back. [Laughs] The temptations always there to try to fix it again.

You seem to have a pretty good circle of friends today.
Yeah, we just hang out, we’re just regular guys, and we all just love music and good food. That’s what ties us together. It’s pretty amazing.

What about your family? Are your parents still alive?
Yeah. They live in central Florida. I got them settled in down there. They’ve been there for 15 years. They’re getting up there in age. Still alive, still together. That’s their life. That’s their dynamic, not mine. They’ve always been incredibly supportive, incredibly proud of my work. My mom is one of my biggest fans, and I think my dad is, too. Not only did he give me all that turmoil, but he gave me music. And now I see those fit together.

Do you think you are like him?
Yeah. We’re all like our parents in some way. A combination of both parents, sometimes more than the other. I’ve spoke to my dad about his father, and he told me things that happened in his life with his parents; different things that hit him, that spun around and they’re the same when they hit me. And you can’t put blame, and say, “I hate my parents for what they did.” No, they’re your parents. You love your parents and you take what you get, and you learn from them and you learn to let go of the parts that aren’t valid for you.

You said you were going to start going to the Catholic Church in D.C.
Yeah, I went back to church.

I couldn’t tell that much about your actual religious upbringing from the book, other thing whether or not you should go to parochial school.
I went on Wednesdays. It was an exchange program with the public school.

My religious background was semi-fundamentalist / protestant. Jesus was not on the cross. There was no blood.
There’s a lot of blood in the Catholic Church. It’s the principal. There’s community and giving and caring and the structure of these rules and guidelines, but the image is someone who suffered greatly. And when you get that as a child, that’s part of what you know and what you learn and you study it. You go to CCD and you get this fourth name and all these things—they give you the name and hit you on the head and you’re gone, and then you’re on your own with it, left with all that stuff you learn. And the abusive privilege that the Catholic Church is famous for, that violation of trust — that’s a complicated reveal. With religion, I get all that stuff in me, and in a moment of uncertainty, I go back and reexamine it and spend a number of years in the church trying to find a place to connect. I love it, it’s like the set list — it doesn’t change. You go in, they give you this, they give you that, they get to the sermon. It’s this ritual you learn, and it’s natural, and it’s comfortable. And again, those three levels of the church, and why I’ve stepped back from it again, is because the top level is so nonsensical and nonhuman right now. They haven’t accepted the fact that they’ve lost control of imagery. For centuries, they were the curators of art and culture and progress. They controlled that you had to go to them to see those images and hear those stories, and they then lost control of that over the last 100 years to Hollywood and now the Internet. They haven’t adapted with modern times. The previous pope, yes, because he was so of the people, but the new one is so [smacks his hands] he’s just trying to protect these archaic ideas and protect what’s left of the riches.

And the way they handled the abuse — and you have your own story…
I brought that in at the moment of discovery, as opposed to the beginning which would have made me a victim for the whole book. The thing of the church is that, on the top, you have the people who are trying to protect the real estate, and in the middle you have the people who actually have to maintain it on a day-to-day basis, and built a constituency to support it, and then underneath, you have the believers, who go there because they care and they’re wonderful people. And the fact that society now beats up people on the bottom because of the abuse at the top — it’s frustrating to me, as a cafeteria catholic.

You had the description early on about forcing people to understand something … your attitude to being onstage has changed.
We were provocative. It wasn’t scorched earth as much as really trying to stay away from the more dogmatic parts of our movement, trying to stay away from the blind politics and moving more towards the personal. So many people jumped in on that “fuck the government, fuck Reagan” — and rightfully so — but as we moved beyond that rudimentary anarchistic idea, the bigger story becomes what do you do in your community, what do you do in your relationships, what do you do in your life?

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Chikara’s Mike Quackenbush

Posted by Joe Wrestling on June 24, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

To the general public, Vince McMahon’s WWE is professional wrestling, and professional wrestling is the demented love child of NASCAR and Days Of Our Lives. Both assumptions are wrong, though. There is something silly about would-be juggernauts wearing next to nothing and dishing out choreographed offense to each other, but couldn’t the same be said for so many other things?

Based out of Philadelphia, independent wrestling federation Chikara is the anti-WWE. Chikara doesn’t hide from the surface-level goofiness—rather, the federation embraces it while retaining a fast-paced artfulness that sweeps the floor with the competition. Naysayers can see for themselves, though, when Chikara takes over the Logan Square Auditorium June 24. Before that, though, The A.V. Club asked founder and frequent grappler Mike Quackenbush why Chikara is wrestling for skeptics.

The A.V. Club: What was your inspiration in creating Chikara?

Mike Quackenbush: To irritate wrestling traditionalists that still think we’re still hustling marks for a buck at a carnival. To make pro wrestling more like the live-action comic book I always thought it was, and less like a commercial for GNC supplements. Also, to ensure I’d have the best stories at my high school reunion.

AVC: What drew you to wrestling in the first place?

MQ: I liked the acrobatic daredevils like Jushin Liger, the 1-2-3 Kid, and Tiger Mask. I liked that they brought something artful and elegant to a type of athletic pursuit that seemed overrun with oafs and muscle-bound clods. That was very attractive to me. Certainly, the fact that every authority figure I had in my formative years told me that there was simply no way someone like me could access or succeed in professional wrestling drove me to that inevitable, slightly tragic way of life. I’m one of those.

AVC: A lot of people associate professional wrestling with the WWE. With that company rebranding itself as an entertainment entity rather than wrestling, do you consider Chikara wrestling, entertainment, or is there no line between the two?

MQ: The WWE is, when you get right down to it, that self-loathing closeted homosexual friend we all have. Come out, already, will you? We all know. We’ve known for a long time. We all still like “Livin’ la Vida Loca.” The WWE can rebrand themselves over and over, pay marketing execs piles of filthy money to give them a facelift, and yet every person that has ever heard those three initials in that order knows it is professional wrestling. Paper-thin rhetoric is just that. If you asked Vince McMahon what KFC serves, I wonder what he would say?

AVC: What does Chikara do that might appeal to non-wrestling fans?

MQ: We are probably as far-removed from your expectations of pro wrestling as you can get without leaving the genre altogether. Our characters, our storytelling, right down to the physical style and mechanics you’ll see in the ring, are unlike anything you’ve seen in wrestling before. And we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Pro wrestling should be fun, first and foremost, and that’s what comes through when you see us in action.

AVC: What are some things that make Chikara different?

MQ: The arcs and characters based more in mythology, or science fiction, or fantasy, those stick out immediately. An artifact of paranormal properties, like the Eye Of Tyr, which has found its way in and out of our ongoing narrative, is a perfect example of that. How does that artifact connect to characters based in Greek or Norse mythology? Does its value to a Swiss aristocrat differ from the way a practitioner of black magic perceives it? Dabbling in these other genres is what sets us apart.

AVC: What’s so different about Chikara’s physical style?

MQ: The style itself is a hybrid of Mexican, British, Japanese, and American wrestling. It is a bit more acrobatic and a bit more elegant than what you might see on a cable show. It favors smaller, more agile athletes, of which there are quite a few on our roster.

AVC: A lot of your posters and bout titles come from comic books. Do you think there is a correlation between those fan bases?

MQ: There must be. I am evidence to that fact. I grew up on Marvel Team-Up and Justice League International more than on WWF Prime Time Wrestling. There is an obvious and natural crossover there: men and women in colorful costumes, clearly delineated between good and evil, performing superhuman feats of agility and strength. There are so many thematic similarities. Pro wrestling only became a real option when I found out that superheroics didn’t come with dental coverage.

AVC: For those who just see wrestling as half-naked men pretending to beat each other up, what aren’t they seeing? Why should wrestling be taken as seriously as other scripted types of art, like theater for example?

MQ: I’ve often said that wrestling is art; but for now, it seems consigned to remaining low art. It’s a male soap opera. We’ve got to earn our place at the grown-up table.

AVC: How will wrestling earn its way to the “grown-ups’ table”?

MQ: Groups that play on the international stage will have to do more than just appeal to the lowest common denominator. One of the things I relish about Chikara is the freedom to experiment with storytelling concepts and characters that are not the norm in the wrestling genre. But we’re like starving artists compared to the hulking titans of corporate sports-entertainment.

AVC: How important is Web 2.0 stuff, like YouTube, in keeping fans up to date with current storylines?

MQ: For Chikara, very important. There’s something new happening in our never-ending narrative basically every single day. Daily web content is the lifeblood of what we do. A company like ours could not have existed 20 years ago. Experimental, niche groups like ours only flourish because of the Internet.

AVC: How has the Internet helped Chikara?

MQ: A company like ours could never afford advertising campaigns, given the cost of promoting on radio, television, or in newspapers. No one would ever hear about us. We’d have folded within 90 days of launch. The Internet gives us a free forum to let people know about us, while cultivating a sense of community with our fans. Under an older model, we would have failed almost instantly.

AVC: Do you think you have to be knowledgeable about current storylines to enjoy the show? Will audiences still get it?

MQ: Sure they do. When you distill it to its core elements, it’s still good vs. evil. Anyone, anywhere on the planet, can easily relate to the basic overtures. The more attention you pay, the more rewarding it is for you as a viewer though. The continuity is really key for our longtime viewers. You can dig deep into those layers, or just take it at face value.

AVC: One of the most popular Internet shows for wrestling fans is Botchamania, which compiles various wrestling bloopers and blunders. Is the ability to post and have easy access to mistakes hurtful to the business? Or is it a motivator that will bring about better performances?

MQ: I think it’s important to learn to laugh at yourself in this line of work. It’s healthy, too. Mistakes are going to happen in live performance; that’s just the nature of the beast. Why not have a chuckle about it, instead of agonizing or self-criticizing over it? We don’t have the luxury of locking ourselves in a studio and masterminding every movement you see.

AVC: Will Chikara ever have a presence on television?

MQ: If only in cameos on Cops, yes. See that dude in a ratty T-shirt back there gawking? Yeah, that’s us.

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Al Snow Talks TNA, Wrestling’s Popularity, More

Posted by Joe Wrestling on June 23, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

This week, Pro Wrestling Illustrated contributing writer Brady Hicks, plus DJ and Anthony Sarlo, are joined IN THE ROOM by a very special guest: former WWE and ECW star AL SNOW! Take it all in as the former WWE star (and current TNA agent) plugs his upcoming Mondo Wrestling A Go Go show at the Danny Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky, 6/24 and 6/25. Plus, check out Al’s thoughts on WWE and TNA renaming their product, what wrestling needs to be big once again, and how the developmental system could be and should be fixed. A must listen for fans of any wrestling promotion! Check it out at

For a direct link to the show click here.

How TNA is Positioned For the Future:
I can tell you this … I have been impressed with just how hard everybody seems to work there. It’s just impressive. From the talent down, everybody really busts their hump and really puts in the time and the effort and the passion when it comes to those TV shows and pay-per-views … Sitting in those meetings, nobody ever says “Let’s just do this.” Everything is agonized over. Every single person works really hard, I couldn’t single one out.

On WWE and Impact Wrestling’s Recent Name Changes:
WWE taking it out? I don’t care. They can call it whatever they want. They can call it farming. At the end of the day, it’s professional wrestling. That’s what they’re selling. Tell me one completely brand new thing that is now fake that is different or unique from TNA, from Mexico, from All Japan Pro Wrestling, from New Japan Pro Wrestling, wherever.

The Difference Between Setting Up Independent Shows and Doing Similar Work for TNA:
How is [anything] different than TNA? Not really. Different perspectives or ideas, different talent, and that’s a BIG thing … Wrestling as a whole is and should always be entertainment. The reclassification that it’s no longer wrestling and that it’s entertainment is really just an attempt to say they reinvented the wheel and made something different. But I was there for 13, 14 years … and when the pyro stops, the music ended, and the bell rings, I’m really curious about what is done different in the one place than in the other.

Why Wrestling Has Become Less Popular:
Everybody has played other sports growing up. You connect to it. That’s why hockey has got a bigger following in Canada, more people have played it. That’s why soccer is more popular in the rest of the world, everybody has played it. That’s why it’s going to continue to grow in the US, more kids play it. That’s why more men like sports than women. What happens with wrestling is that people are attracted to the characters and to the personalities. The only thing that has changed between 1911 and 2011 is that the crowd has gotten more sophisticated.

On His Mondo Wrestling A Go Go Show:
It’s an adult circus, that’s the best way to describe it. It’s a combination of burlesque, aerial acts, circus acts, fire dancers … drag queens, drag KINGS – the lesbian equivalent of women that dress up as men – …, got a guy who has a fire whip … very intriguing, and then wrestling matches, the way I can best describe it is very old-ECW-like where the referees are just there to count the fall.

All that, plus Al Snow compares wrestling to the UFC, his thoughts on Tough Enough (and compared to The Ultimate Fighter), Brock Lesnar, the future of Impact Wrestling as it continues to grow, and recreating territories.

Also on the site: Brady’s thoughts on Austin Aries on Impact, and Ratboy’s undefeated prediction streak continues with WWE Capitol Punishment. Weekly Show Schedule:

Monday – Wrasslin’ Roundup with The Wrestling Press’ Matt Roberts
Tuesday – IN THE ROOM
Wednesday – Minding The Business with “Dr. Wrestling” Rich Jones
Thursday – VOC Wrestling Nation (formerly 1Wrestling Radio)
Friday – What’s Wrong With Wrestling with Harry Barnett
Saturday – Completely Damaged TV
Saturday – Saturday Night Akbaz with Mr. Akbaz
Sunday – WrestleDope Radio LIVE
Sunday – Carny Knowledge with Matt “Doink” Borne

Thanks for supporting the IN THE ROOM podcast on To leave a message for the show, you can e-mail us at or call (206) 337-1031. And while you’re at the site, be sure to check out great interviews with AJ Styles (8/9/10), Kurt Angle (10/8/10), Sunny (3/21/11), Don West (12/13/10), Serena Deeb (11/8/10), Madison Rayne (6/8/10), and Kevin Thorn (10/25/10).

Brady Hicks has been writing about wrestling for more than 15 years, for Web sites, newspapers, and magazines. He is a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and is also the host of his acclaimed weekly podcast – IN THE ROOM.


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Al Gore slams Obama for Failing to Take on “the Merchants of Poison,” Compares …

Posted by Joe Wrestling on June 22, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

Steve Austin, Shane McMahonOur Nobel prize-winning former vice president has a must-read 7000-word essay in Rolling Stone, “Climate of Denial: Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?”

Gore discusses climate science and  the link to recent record-smashing extreme weather events, of course.  And he makes clear the stakes are too high to become disillusioned by our flawed political system, “What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we know it.”

What I will focus on here are his blistering critique of Obama, his even tougher take on the media, and the “five basic ways” individuals can make a difference.  Let’s start with the president:

President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change. After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority. Senate advocates — including one Republican — felt abandoned when the president made concessions to oil and coal companies without asking for anything in return. He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States….

During the final years of the Bush-Cheney administration, the rest of the world was waiting for a new president who would aggressively tackle the climate crisis — and when it became clear that there would be no real change from the Bush era, the agenda at Copenhagen changed from “How do we complete this historic breakthrough?” to “How can we paper over this embarrassing disappointment?”

… Yet without presidential leadership that focuses intensely on making the public aware of the reality we face, nothing will change. The real power of any president, as Richard Neustadt wrote, is “the power to persuade.” Yet President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis. He has simply not made the case for action. He has not defended the science against the ongoing, withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community — including our own National Academy — to bring the reality of the science before the public.

No argument here (see The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 2).  Gore continues:

Here is the core of it: we are destroying the climate balance that is essential to the survival of our civilization. This is not a distant or abstract threat; it is happening now. The United States is the only nation that can rally a global effort to save our future. And the president is the only person who can rally the United States…

The truth is this: What we are doing is functionally insane. If we do not change this pattern, we will condemn our children and all future generations to struggle with ecological curses for several millennia to come.

Predictably, the media has jumped on Gore’s criticism of Obama.

ABC News Politics has run the AP story with its headline, “Gore Faults Obama on Global Warming.”  The lede:  “Former Vice President Al Gore is going where few environmentalists — and fellow Democrats — have gone before: criticizing President Barack Obama’s record on global warming.”

Memo to ABC News and the AP:  Obama has been widely criticized by environmentalists.

But what is particularly absurd about this story is that it never mentions that Gore launches an even more blistering and detailed attack on the media!  In fact, that’s how Gore’s essay begins — by comparing the mainstream media today to the referees of professional wrestling (!!):

The first time I remember hearing the question “is it real?” was when I went as a young boy to see a traveling show put on by “professional wrestlers” one summer evening in the gym of the Forks River Elementary School in Elmwood, Tennessee.

The evidence that it was real was palpable: “They’re really hurting each other! That’s real blood! Look a’there! They can’t fake that!” On the other hand, there was clearly a script (or in today’s language, a “narrative”), with good guys to cheer and bad guys to boo.

But the most unusual and in some ways most interesting character in these dramas was the referee: Whenever the bad guy committed a gross and obvious violation of the “rules” — such as they were — like using a metal folding chair to smack the good guy in the head, the referee always seemed to be preoccupied with one of the cornermen, or looking the other way. Yet whenever the good guy — after absorbing more abuse and unfairness than any reasonable person could tolerate — committed the slightest infraction, the referee was all over him. The answer to the question “Is it real?” seemed connected to the question of whether the referee was somehow confused about his role: Was he too an entertainer?

That is pretty much the role now being played by most of the news media in refereeing the current wrestling match over whether global warming is “real,” and whether it has any connection to the constant dumping of 90 million tons of heat-trapping emissions into the Earth’s thin shell of atmosphere every 24 hours.

Admittedly, the contest over global warming is a challenge for the referee because it’s a tag-team match, a real free-for-all. In one corner of the ring are Science and Reason. In the other corner: Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues.

The referee — in this analogy, the news media — seems confused about whether he is in the news business or the entertainment business. Is he responsible for ensuring a fair match? Or is he part of the show, selling tickets and building the audience? The referee certainly seems distracted: by Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, the latest reality show — the list of serial obsessions is too long to enumerate here.


Funny how the AP missed that part right up front in the piece.  But that’s not even the half of it.  Gore continues:

But whatever the cause, the referee appears not to notice that the Polluters and Ideologues are trampling all over the “rules” of democratic discourse. They are financing pseudoscientists whose job is to manufacture doubt about what is true and what is false; buying elected officials wholesale with bribes that the politicians themselves have made “legal” and can now be made in secret; spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on misleading advertisements in the mass media; hiring four anti-climate lobbyists for every member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. (Question: Would Michael Jordan have been a star if he was covered by four defensive players every step he took on the basketball court?)

This script, of course, is not entirely new: A half-century ago, when Science and Reason established the linkage between cigarettes and lung diseases, the tobacco industry hired actors, dressed them up as doctors, and paid them to look into television cameras and tell people that the linkage revealed in the Surgeon General’s Report was not real at all. The show went on for decades, with more Americans killed each year by cigarettes than all of the U.S. soldiers killed in all of World War II.

This time, the scientific consensus is even stronger. It has been endorsed by every National Academy of science of every major country on the planet, every major professional scientific society related to the study of global warming and 98 percent of climate scientists throughout the world. In the latest and most authoritative study by 3,000 of the very best scientific experts in the world, the evidence was judged “unequivocal.”

But wait! The good guys transgressed the rules of decorum, as evidenced in their private e-mails that were stolen and put on the Internet. The referee is all over it: Penalty! Go to your corner! And in their 3,000-page report, the scientists made some mistakes! Another penalty!

And if more of the audience is left confused about whether the climate crisis is real? Well, the show must go on. After all, it’s entertainment. There are tickets to be sold, eyeballs to glue to the screen.

Double ouch.

It  will be fascinating to see if the entire media simply chooses to ignore this devastating critique and focus just on Gore’s comments on Obama, which will, ironically enough, make Gore’s point that the media is interested only in the drama, not the substance.

I would add that the media doesn’t just mis-report the climate story, it under-reports the story of the century — see Silence of the Lambs: Media herd’s coverage of climate change “fell off the map” in 2010.

And Gore continues his evisceration of the media later in the piece:

Continuing on our current course would be suicidal for global civilization. But the key question is: How do we drive home that fact in a democratic society when questions of truth have been converted into questions of power? When the distinction between what is true and what is false is being attacked relentlessly, and when the referee in the contest between truth and falsehood has become an entertainer selling tickets to a phony wrestling match?

He then has a long discussion of how the media played into Bush’s hands in the run-up to the Iraq war, and then goes back to climate:

These vulnerabilities, rooted in our human nature, are being manipulated by the tag-team of Polluters and Ideologues who are trying to deceive us. And the referee — the news media — is once again distracted. As with the invasion of Iraq, some are hyperactive cheerleaders for the deception, while others are intimidated into complicity, timidity and silence by the astonishing vitriol heaped upon those who dare to present the best evidence in a professional manner. Just as TV networks who beat the drums of war prior to the Iraq invasion were rewarded with higher ratings, networks now seem reluctant to present the truth about the link between carbon pollution and global warming out of fear that conservative viewers will change the channel — and fear that they will receive a torrent of flame e-mails from deniers.

Triple ouch.

And this entire critique of the media occurs before Gore even mentions Obama.   From my perspective, as I’ve said many times, the anti-science crowd and their disinformation campaign and associated think tanks, pundits, and right-wing media deserve about 60% of the blame for our inaction.  The media, perhaps 30%.  The “Think Small” centrists and lukewarmers who also helped shrink the political space in the debate deserve 5%.

So ‘only’ 5% of blame goes to Obama and his team (along with Senate Democrats, scientists, environmentalists, and progressives).

But of course, from a historical perspective — and, I suspect from the perspective of most progressives — there are two huge differences between Obama versus the disinformers, media, and centrist/lukewarmers.  Obama is the President of the United States, a person who can single-handedly determine the agenda and the national debate.  Second, those other people don’t know any better.

So it is perfectly reasonable to focus on Obama — but the media deserves far more blame, a point Gore is clearly making by opening the piece with his critique of the media and offering a far lengthier critique of them than Obama.

Finally, as always, Gore does offer positive suggestions:

All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality. We ignored reality in the marketplace and nearly destroyed the world economic system. We are likewise ignoring reality in the environment, and the consequences could be several orders of magnitude worse. Determining what is real can be a challenge in our culture, but in order to make wise choices in the presence of such grave risks, we must use common sense and the rule of reason in coming to an agreement on what is true.

So how can we make it happen? How can we as individuals make a difference? In five basic ways:

First, become a committed advocate for solving the crisis. You can start with something simple: Speak up whenever the subject of climate arises. When a friend or acquaintance expresses doubt that the crisis is real, or that it’s some sort of hoax, don’t let the opportunity pass to put down your personal marker. The civil rights revolution may have been driven by activists who put their lives on the line, but it was partly won by average Americans who began to challenge racist comments in everyday conversations.

Second, deepen your commitment by making consumer choices that reduce energy use and reduce your impact on the environment. The demand by individuals for change in the marketplace has already led many businesses to take truly significant steps to reduce their global-warming pollution. Some of the corporate changes are more symbolic than real — “green-washing,” as it’s called — but a surprising amount of real progress is taking place. Walmart, to pick one example, is moving aggressively to cut its carbon footprint by 20 million metric tons, in part by pressuring its suppliers to cut down on wasteful packaging and use lower-carbon transportation alternatives. Reward those companies that are providing leadership.

Third, join an organization committed to action on this issue. The Alliance for Climate Protection (, which I chair, has grassroots action plans for the summer and fall that spell out lots of ways to fight effectively for the policy changes we need. We can also enable you to host a slide show in your community on solutions to the climate crisis — presented by one of the 4,000 volunteers we have trained. Invite your friends and neighbors to come and then enlist them to join the cause.

Fourth, contact your local newspapers and television stations when they put out claptrap on climate — and let them know you’re fed up with their stubborn and cowardly resistance to reporting the facts of this issue. One of the main reasons they are so wimpy and irresponsible about global warming is that they’re frightened of the reaction they get from the deniers when they report the science objectively. So let them know that deniers are not the only ones in town with game. Stay on them! Don’t let up! It’s true that some media outlets are getting instructions from their owners on this issue, and that others are influenced by big advertisers, but many of them are surprisingly responsive to a genuine outpouring of opinion from their viewers and readers. It is way past time for the ref to do his job.

Finally, and above all, don’t give up on the political system. Even though it is rigged by special interests, it is not so far gone that candidates and elected officials don’t have to pay attention to persistent, engaged and committed individuals. President Franklin Roosevelt once told civil rights leaders who were pressing him for change that he agreed with them about the need for greater equality for black Americans. Then, as the story goes, he added with a wry smile, “Now go out and make me do it.”

On that final point, Gore urges the people become single-issue voters, which I could not agree more with:

To make our elected leaders take action to solve the climate crisis, we must forcefully communicate the following message: “I care a lot about global warming; I am paying very careful attention to the way you vote and what you say about it; if you are on the wrong side, I am not only going to vote against you, I will work hard to defeat you — regardless of party. If you are on the right side, I will work hard to elect you.”

Why do you think President Obama and Congress changed their game on “don’t ask, don’t tell?” It happened because enough Americans delivered exactly that tough message to candidates who wanted their votes. When enough people care passionately enough to drive that message home on the climate crisis, politicians will look at their hole cards, and enough of them will change their game to make all the difference we need.

This is not naive; trust me on this. It may take more individual voters to beat the Polluters and Ideologues now than it once did — when special-interest money was less dominant. But when enough people speak this way to candidates, and convince them that they are dead serious about it, change will happen — both in Congress and in the White House. As the great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass once observed, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.”

What is now at risk in the climate debate is nothing less than our ability to communicate with one another according to a protocol that binds all participants to seek reason and evaluate facts honestly. The ability to perceive reality is a prerequisite for self-governance. Wishful thinking and denial lead to dead ends. When it works, the democratic process helps clear the way toward reality, by exposing false argumentation to the best available evidence. That is why the Constitution affords such unique protection to freedom of the press and of speech.

The climate crisis, in reality, is a struggle for the soul of America. It is about whether or not we are still capable — given the ill health of our democracy and the current dominance of wealth over reason — of perceiving important and complex realities clearly enough to promote and protect the sustainable well-being of the many. What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we know it.

Hear!  Hear!



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Al Snow Talks TNA Wrestling’s Future, Wrestling’s Popularity, WWE

Posted by Joe Wrestling on under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

Former WWE ECW star and current TNA Wrestling agent was recently interviewed by Brady Hick, DJ, and Anthony Sarlo of Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s In the Room. Below are a few highlights of the interview:

How TNA is Positioned For the Future: I can tell you this … I have been impressed with just how hard everybody seems to work there. It’s just impressive. From the talent down, everybody really busts their hump and really puts in the time and the effort and the passion when it comes to those TV shows and pay-per-views … Sitting in those meetings, nobody ever says “Let’s just do this.” Everything is agonized over. Every single person works really hard, I couldn’t single one out.

On WWE and Impact Wrestling’s Recent Name Changes: WWE taking it out? I don’t care. They can call it whatever they want. They can call it farming. At the end of the day, it’s professional wrestling. That’s what they’re selling. Tell me one completely brand new thing that is now fake that is different or unique from TNA, from Mexico, from All Japan Pro Wrestling, from New Japan Pro Wrestling, wherever.

The Difference Between Setting Up Independent Shows and Doing Similar Work for TNA: How is [anything] different than TNA? Not really. Different perspectives or ideas, different talent, and that’s a BIG thing … Wrestling as a whole is and should always be entertainment. The reclassification that it’s no longer wrestling and that it’s entertainment is really just an attempt to say they reinvented the wheel and made something different. But I was there for 13, 14 years … and when the pyro stops, the music ended, and the bell rings, I’m really curious about what is done different in the one place than in the other.

Why Wrestling Has Become Less Popular: Everybody has played other sports growing up. You connect to it. That’s why hockey has got a bigger following in Canada, more people have played it. That’s why soccer is more popular in the rest of the world, everybody has played it. That’s why it’s going to continue to grow in the US, more kids play it. That’s why more men like sports than women. What happens with wrestling is that people are attracted to the characters and to the personalities. The only thing that has changed between 1911 and 2011 is that the crowd has gotten more sophisticated.

On His Mondo Wrestling A Go Go Show: It’s an adult circus, that’s the best way to describe it. It’s a combination of burlesque, aerial acts, circus acts, fire dancers … drag queens, drag KINGS – the lesbian equivalent of women that dress up as men – …, got a guy who has a fire whip … very intriguing, and then wrestling matches, the way I can best describe it is very old-ECW-like where the referees are just there to count the fall.

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Vickie Guerrero relishes her role as top WWE heel

Posted by Joe Wrestling on June 18, 2011 under FUW News | Comments are off for this article

Vickie Guerrero uses words such as “quiet” and “homebody” to describe herself. She spends a good portion of her time at home in El Paso, Texas working in her scrapbook studio and hanging out with her 16-year-old daughter.

However, the mere sight of this quiet homebody at Verizon Center Sunday night and 1st Mariner Arena Monday night is guaranteed to send thousands of spectators into a raucous frenzy of jeers.

And she’ll be loving every second of it.

Guerrero, who performs as one of the vilest — and unlikeliest — villains in WWE, will be among the pro wrestling stars appearing Sunday at the Capitol Punishment pay-per-view in Washington and Monday at the Monday Night Raw broadcast in Baltimore.

“I’ll be there to cause more trouble to get the Washington and Baltimore fans upset with me,” she said last week in a phone interview.

Guerrero, 43, is not a wrestler. Playing the roles of an authority figure and a manager of wrestlers on WWE programs, she delivers verbal beat-downs rather than physical ones.

Whether it’s her sneer, her sometimes screechy voice or her duplicitous actions, Guerrero definitely has a talent for getting under the skin of WWE fans.

Taunting the crowd over the microphone is a challenge for her, however, as it is often impossible to hear what she’s saying over the booing that is reverberating throughout the arena.

That’s obviously a good problem to have if you’re a heel (a bad guy or bad girl in wrestling vernacular). The heated reaction that Guerrero receives has actually led to two simple words becoming one of the most recognizable catch phrases in WWE.

As soon as the crowd starts shouting her down, Guerrero will scream, “Excuse me!” That, of course, only gets the crowd riled up even more. “I said, excuse me!” she’ll respond, her grating voice even more full of contempt.

Go to any live WWE event and there’s bound to be some fans holding up signs that say “excuse me” in some form.

“That was just a fluke,” Guerrero says. “I think I probably forgot my lines one night and just kept saying ‘excuse me’ to remember what I had to say next, and the fans just got louder. I tried it a couple more times and we thought, let’s stay with it and see where it goes. Now I sign all my autographs with ‘excuse me.’”

Nick Nemeth, who wrestles under the name Dolph Ziggler and is paired with Guerrero on screen, marvels at how much WWE fans love to hate her.

“I don’t know how anyone can bring such boos and for so long as her just by walking through the curtain,” he said. “It’s tremendous being out there with her.”

Guerrero married into a famous wrestling family — she is the widow of former WWE star Eddie Guerrero, who died in 2005 at 38 due to arteriosclerotic heart disease — but says she never had a desire to be a performer in the industry until WWE approached her with the idea six years ago.

“I was always happy with being at home, taking care of the kids and being there for Eddie,” she said.

She agreed to make a series of cameo appearances in WWE during one of Eddie’s story lines. She played herself, as she tried to convince her husband to renounce his villainous ways.

About six months after Eddie’s death, WWE brought her back to participate in a story line with her nephew, Chavo Guerrero. She ended up with a WWE contract, and it wasn’t long before her character went from prim and proper to cunning and callous.

“Oh, I was ready for it,” she says of her character’s transformation. “I think it goes back to watching Eddie do promos [wrestling monologues] in the living room and in the bathroom for 15 years. The louder I can get the fans and the angrier they are at me, the more it fuels the fire in me to just push them to the edge even more. It’s a high.”

Even though she performs in WWE under her real name, she is quick to point out that Vickie Guerrero the character and Vickie Guerrero the real person are completely different.

“When I get to meet fans in person, I like to show them the person I am outside the ring,” she said. “And outside of it, I’m just a quiet, normal person. I’ve gotten to know a lot of fans on a personal basis, and it’s really nice to have a conversation with them and see how they’re doing when they come to the airports or I bump into them outside the arena.”

That’s not to say that Guerrero doesn’t also experience some uncomfortable moments when she gets recognized.

“It is uncomfortable when people are yelling at me to go home or saying ‘excuse me’ really loud at the airport and everyone’s looking at me,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t know how to explain it to 20 people there watching me, going, ‘What are they talking about?’”

Not only does Guerrero have to deal with taunts from fans, but her character also gets an earful of biting remarks from WWE protagonists.

A lot of the insults directed at Guerrero over the years have been about her weight. Despite sporting a rather svelte figure these days after losing more than 50 pounds during the past year, the jokes about her being overweight have continued on WWE programs.

It just comes with the territory if you’re a heel, Guerrero says.

“The jokes have helped grow my character to what it is,” she said. “I just kind of roll with it and leave it behind me when I leave the arena. Again, there’s the character and then there’s the real person. You can’t take what’s going on at work personally.”

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