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 the host of his renowned wrestling radio program, IN THE ROOM.
IN THE ROOM is LIVE Tuesday nights on WEXP Philadelphia and thebradyhicks.com, at 9:30 PM EST. Call the show at (609) 755-5ITR.
Special thanks to co-hosts Derrick McDonald, Ray Bogusz, Anthony Sarlo, and Kathie Fitz for all of their dedication and hard work! Also thank you to all of those who take the time to listen and/or call in!
Also thanks to former stars of the show such as DJ and Kevin McElvaney, who - although choosing to no longer be part of what we do - will always hold an important part of ITR's legacy.
As most of you know, PWBTS.com, the flagship site of this column, focuses on coverage and promotion of independent wrestling. As someone who happily shills independent wrestling promotions whenever possible, one of the things that pisses me off is the way independent promotions seems to have no sense about the basic sorts of things that they need to do to promote their product.
Instead, some promoters seem to think that the way to draw is to hold grudges against any independent promotion operating in their area. They’ll take shots at these competitors online or in print. They’ll tell their talent: if you work for [insert name of competitor], I won’t book you on my shows. They’ll hold multi-promotion tournaments, and not invite the largest one in their area…who just happens to be said competitor. They’ll deliberately run shows against even charity-themed promotions, try calling local police to disrupt their shows…and all sorts of fun things like that.
A few weeks back, I did a review on “Animal” , the biography of George “The Animal” Steele. Steele will appear this Tuesday evening on Alan Wojcik’s Kayfabe Wrestling Radio to talk about the book, available in hardcover and for Kindle and Nook (via Barnes and Noble’s website)
Dean and I recorded an audio recap for Saturday’s WrestleCon and WWE Axxess events!
SATURDAY, APRIL 6 , 2013
We’re LIVE from WrestleCon. If you’re there make sure to stop by the New Moon table along the far wall. It’s gonna be a blast. And check back using the Spreaker tab below for LIVE updates from the show!!!
Up next was Axxess … props to WWE for putting together such a fantastic event each and every year. The look of delight on the fans’ faces as they get to interact with WWE’s top stars makes it all worthwhile.
Dean and I recorded an IN THE ROOM – HIAC Talk Radio joint broadcast … err, rather, I sat in for about 10 minutes of a joint show and then Dean did the heavy lifting while I went to go check out SHIMMER. The show is posted at the bottom of this entry.
FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 2013
Tonight we (Dean Dixon and I) rolled in to WrestleMania weekend in Secaucus, New Jersey. WrestleCon, AXXESS, WrestleMania, and so … much more that I don’t even know how to begin to contain my excitement! Tonight I had the pleasure of checking out CZW at the Expo
Center, and it was great. It was also great to see a lot of my good old friends. So much to talk about, I don’t know when I’ll have time. Check back here periodically as I update this blog with live coverage.
Also be on the lookout for live audio updates on this site from me and Dean … and tune back in here Saturday at 1:30/12:30 CT for a special, co-branded HIAC Talk Radio / IN THE ROOM show LIVE from WrestleCon, beneath this entry. IN THE ROOM’s own Derrick McDonald and Anthony Sarlo will be stopping by too … so who knows what will happen?!
And check back for live audio and possibly video updates as they are available as well.
And for those looking to meet up, here is where I’m headed and when:
9-4 WrestleCon @ the New Moon Rising Wrestling table
4-10 WWE Axxess
8-10:30 Dragon Gate USA
12-2 $5 Wrestling
9-2 WrestleCon @ New Moon Rising Wrestling table
Everyone knows the first weekend in April is Wrestlemania weekend, and about all the events associated with it. But at least some of you don’t know about the mega-convention/wrestling orgy called WrestleCon, planned for Friday, April 5- Sunday, April 7…just prior to WrestleMania.
Highspots and WWNLive are the event’s co-promoters, which will take place at the Meadowlands Expo Center on 355 Plaza Drive in Secaucus, NJ. The event convention will feature major wrestling guests, vendors, six shows of LIVE wrestling and more. It’s saef to say that the event will be the biggest weekend in indy wrestling history. The Meadowlands Expo Center is only 3 miles from the site of Wrestlemania, five miles from Manhattan and minutes from the Newark Airport. It is easily accessible to those in New Jersey (and elsewhere) from the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Expressway, and is accessible by a wide variety of means of New York/New Jersey transit, including PATH, and NJ Transit.
ECW, originally known as Eastern Championship Wrestling, ran its first show on Tuesday, February 25, 1992 at the Philadelphia’s Original Sports Bar in center city Philadelphia in front of over 100 people. The first match in ECW history was a 20-minute broadway between wrestlers Jimmy Jannetty and Stevie Richards.
Much like ECW, the Philadelphia Original Sports Bar doesn’t exist any more…the site of the Sports Bar is now occupied by a Ross: Dress for Less discount store. Neither does the other site for early Eastern Championship Wrestling shows, the Chestnut Cabaret.
It’s been said the best defense is a good offense. Nowhere was this proven more true than than in Stamford, CT this past week.
Vince McMahon had a bigtime disaster on his hands. He’d just give a semi-main event match to Jack Swagger as the result of his win at Elimination Chamber. He’s set to face Alberto Del Rio for the WWE “World” Championship at Wrestlemania 29 in New Jersey in April.
Well, just after appearing at last Tuesday’s Smackdown taping in Gulfport, MS, Swagger was arrested for speeding, misdemeanor marijuana possession and DUI. He just worked the WWE Smackdown taping in nearby Biloxi, and was pulled over by the local police. Swagger’s was searched and marijuana was found. Swagger’s car was towed away. He was released from police custody.
All the alleged offenses were misdeameanors. The worst case legal scenario would have Swagger fined $1,925 in fines, and lose his driver’s license for 90 days. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 12. After the arrest WWE issued a statement, saying “Mr. Swagger is responsible for his own personal actions”.
Only 24 hours before, Swagger, now working an anti-immigrant Tea Party type gimmick, did a promo with Dutch Mantell, who was appearing as “Zeb Colter”, whose new gimmick is a angry who is anti-immigration former Vietnam veteran. Many see it ias a knock-off of the RJ Brewer character from Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors, a character which has gotten maninstream press attention far in excess of what his promotion has done.
This coming Saturday features a day of independent wrestling…termed “National Pro Wrestling Day with a two show lineup, one show at 1:00 pm and the finale at 7:00 pm at Derby Ink Gardens, at 802 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA on the northern edge of center city Philadelphia.
The shows have talent from a number of independent prompotions throughout the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area and elsewhere on the east coast. ranging from CHIKARA Pro Wrestling and various spinoff names they run shows under (Wrestling is Art, Wrestling is Fun, Wrestling is Heart, Wrestling is Awesome), and from promotions as far away as Cleveland’s Absolute Intense Wrestling, the Carolinas based CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, and Chicago’s Resistance Pro Wrestling. The matches bring a lot of talent Philadelphia area fans haven’t seen before, as well as some old favorites.
Happy New Year! It’s a holiday so instead of writing an introduction that anchors the column, let’s just jump straight to…
It’s still a few months until WrestleMania, so I’m sure I’ll have to address this again somewhere, but stop with the “Steve Austin might wrestle again” rumor mongering. Steve Austin isn’t returning as a wrestler and you’re beyond braindead if you think otherwise.
The man’s neck is one encounter with MacGyver away from being held together with nothing but silly string and toothpicks. That wasn’t a worked promo when he talked about his neck problems on WWE.com in 2003. Those problems are real; he risks paralysis—or death—if he takes any ill-worked bump to the head, neck, spine, etcetera, etcetera. Yes, he could choose to come back anyway. I could choose to self-immolate.
The notion that the angle with CM Punk would be an exception because Punk is a safe worker is equally ludicrous. Was there some sort of Safe-Worker-Shortage in 2003 which I’m not aware of? Ultimately, when you stir up this particular muck, all you’re doing is playing Fantasy Booker. For everyone’s sake, stop it.
I give Chikara and Mike Quackenbush a lot of flack. Part of it stems from my own choice to invest my time more in Mexican and Japanese promotions, leaving me with a lack of an emotional investment in Chikara’s product. Part of it is that I think Quackenbush’s entire business model is a little dated and silly. Part of it is that I think their fanbase has some really unrealistic perspectives. What I can’t deny is that they have a really dedicated fanbase and a product that’s enjoyable, if you decide that’s how your wrestling investment is best spent.
Ultimately though, they’re confined to the Internet, which is a really mediocre place to lock yourself in. You sort of have to wonder what might happen if they’d just think a little bigger…
My Indie darling—AAPW out of Carbondale, IL—essentially no longer exists. I’m supposed to write a DVD review for a friend of mine who is involved with its descendent—and I will—but there’s a point to be made first.
There’s all sorts of quasi-legal mumbojumbo and infighting going on which doesn’t directly involve me, or you for that matter. What’s important here is this: Just about everyone who made AAPW worth going on YouTube to watch has jumped ship to a new entity called Pro Wrestling Collision. I’m sure the product will be great.
What’s sad is that all too often, Independent promotions fold, or change names, or shift direction, or lose focus, or completely revamp their identity. I know the Collision guys tried to keep the AAPW name, because they recognize the importance in consistency too. Independent promotions often offer up a perfectly fine product, but without consistency on the circuit, how can people be expected to emotionally invest?
CMLL has the next major show for the lucha promotions, Fantasticamania in January, but I’m an AAA man, and that means I’m already looking forward to Rey de Reyes in March. The event is Mexico’s answer to King of the Ring and it just about always manages to deliver a great show.
AAA has shown a lot of progress in the last year, including putting their world title around El Texano Jr. earlier in December, so picking a Rey de Reyes Tournament winner is a total shot in the dark right now. For me, the most interesting build will be anything involving L.A. Park and his AAA Latin-American Championship. He’s held it for over a year now and a major event like Rey de Reyes would definitely be the kind of place someone of his caliber would show up to defend.
It’ll certainly beat the hell out of any Undertaker build.
Speaking of Undertaker, he can bring us full circle here. Does anybody really miss him? For the first time in…ever really, I’m totally ambivalent to Undertaker showing up for WrestleMania. Going back the last four or five years, the roster needed his presence on the card because there was so little happening. This year, you could make a great Mania card without even mentioning Undertaker’s name in passing. Yes, you’d like to see him get some kind of retirement angle down the line, but for my money, if he never laced-up again, he’d have had a fine ending to a career long overdue for pasture.
December is by far the least important month in wrestling. Ironically, this means a column can’t get written until the Tuesday after a pay-per-view. We wouldn’t want to miss someone else’s slightly less irrelevant weekly show. Onward. Instead of a full, regular column. Let’s Take Five.
1. WWE isn’t PG Anymore
A lot happened on Raw last night. In fact, enough happened that Derrick, Brady, and I probably could do a full show just on that material.