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Saturday, January 2, 2100

More About Me

Since the, "About Me" section of this blog is limited to a specific amount of characters, I decided to write a post that discusses more about what I have done in the pro-wrestling industry, beginning with when I first started in it and leading up to now.

Technically, I started back in the 1990's, contributing to, "Pro Wrestling Illustrated" and then, "Pro Wrestling Torch". In 1997, I contributed to The Official Website of the NWO. That same year, I briefly published my own newsletter, "The Wrestling Express".

In 1998, I taught myself how to design websites, and served as a consultant for various independent promotions. That next year, I worked as a website designer/maintainer for Dylan Summers (Necro Butcher) who was running the Texas-based Power Pro Wrestling Federation, and later was involved with Texas Outlaw Promotions.

During the period of 2000-2002, I was involved in many different projects at once. I was working as a website designer/publicist for talent, contributing to WCW.com, writing columns for independent promotions and the website of former WCW star The Stro, and writing for a variety of pro-wrestling media sites (including WrestlingObserver.com and PWTorch.com). In 2003, I began running my own website, World Wrestling Optimum, which consisted of news, articles, and interviews.

In 2004, I sent my resume to Linda McMahon, expressing interest in working for WWE. It was forwarded to Human Resources, and they contacted me that same day. I hadn't specified a particular position of interest in my resume, since I wasn't sure as to what ways WWE would feel that I could be utilized by them. I was asked if I was interested in an on-the-road or in office writing position. At that point in time, an in office position was what I was interested in, but an on-the-road position was what they wanted to fill. In the end, it was for the best. As a writer, I want to contribute to a promotion in a way that makes it better. However, I have learned in time that WWE has a specific vision that it wants their writers to carry out, and it's a vision that I disagree with more often than not.

Later that year, I started working for the Michigan-based Ultimate Championship Wrestling as a publicist/columnist. They were an affiliate of AWA Wrestling Superstars Live, and I soon became the publicist/columnist of the main governing body of AWA Wrestling Superstars Live as well. During my time working for UCW, I played a major role in bringing in new talent, due to over the years my having had come into contact with many talents being underused and going unnoticed in the industry.

In 2005, I started doing a column for 3PW. With DVDs sold nationwide, they had the potential to become much bigger than they already were at the time, and were very open to my ideas. I pushed for many changes behind-the-scenes. I had encouraged management to improve the production quality of their DVDs, which led to them dealing with a different production company. 3PW management had planned on waiting for it's fan base to increase before getting TV for 3PW. I explained how getting TV for 3PW is what would increase it's fan base, and I was then given the green light to find networks that were interested. Two networks were very interested, and I encouraged 3PW management to meet with them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the owner of the company instead opted to shut 3PW down, due to losing interest. Working for 3PW put me in connection with the UK-based 1PW, who I worked as a columnist for.

After 3PW shut down, I began working as a publicist for independent promotions, including CHIKARA. I also worked as a columnist for CZW. Interestingly though, it was 2006 at this point yet I'm still most recognized for the work that I had done for 3PW and AWA/UCW.

In 2007 I started working as a columnist for XCW, a promotion that was seen nationally on MAVTV, had a national DVD deal, and also had PPV events. Working for a promotion of national status was my biggest achievement at that point, and two years later I reached a bigger achievement- Big Japan Pro-Wrestling. Along with working for them as a columnist and an Administrator for their Facebook page, I helped bring Big Japan Pro Wrestling together with Combat Zone Wrestling to form a working relationship after a previous working relationship between the two promotions had fallen apart. This new working relationship has led to Big Japan Pro Wrestling having their first event in the United States.

In October 2009 I assisted publicity & promotions company MGM Management with the HULKAMANIA- Let the Battle Begin tour by distributing their press release to pro-wrestling news sites that are popular with Australian fans, and conducting an interview with Solofa Fatu Jr. (better known as, "Rikishi"). Also, in 2012 I wrote a number of columns for Women Superstars Uncensored.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

WWE vs. DirecTV, and How the Pro-Wrestling Industry Can Benefit

In a recent article published by the Los Angeles Times, the possibility was raised that DirecTV may be dropping WWE PPVs in light of the upcoming WWE Network. While it's true that the PPV audience for WWE's events have been declining and the WWE Network will further lower buy rates to some extent, by cutting ties with WWE, DirecTV would be hurting themselves despite whether or not they would be attempting to hurt WWE. The WWE Network is inevitable- it is going to arrive in February no matter what DirecTV decides to do in regards to their current relationship with WWE. The more avenues that a product (in this case, WWE PPVs) has available, the more opportunities that it has to sell; but apparently WWE is confident that their new network is worth the risk of potentially losing DirecTV as an avenue for their PPVs. Meanwhile, not only would cutting ties with WWE make DirecTV look bad in the eyes of WWE fans, but they would also be leaving PPV money on the table- instead of getting less WWE PPV buys due to the WWE Network, they wouldn't be getting any WWE PPV buys at all.

However, while cutting ties with WWE would be a loss for DirecTV, it would open a new opportunity for many promotions in the wrestling industry that are currently not seen on national television. When TNA began running shows in 2002, they didn't have a TV deal yet- it's almost impossible for a promotion to get a TV deal while it's an unknown commodity without a product to show (unless it involves a booker with an impressive track record). TNA presented weekly PPVs, which served as an alternative for their product to be seen nationally. Also, many Japan-based promotions (including BJW, DDT, and JWP) gained national exposure in the United States via the Japanese Hardcore Wrestling PPV series that was presented from 2001-2005 (and was also produced on DVD).

If WWE truly does exit the DirecTV PPV landscape and leaves time blocks in their absence, it will be the perfect moment for a promotion without a TV presence in the United States to come onto the PPV scene and increase their exposure. While both WWE and TNA have their fan bases, many of those fans are open to being exposed to promotions that they are not very familiar with. Which means that depending on how things turn out between WWE and DirecTV, 2014 may be the year when at least one promotion takes a big step forward in the industry.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The People Who Impressed Me The Most This Year

As 2013 draws to a close, I wanted to post a blog spotlighting those in the pro-wrestling industry who impressed me the most this year. You are welcome to contribute your own list in the comments section of this post, since I'm sure that everyone has their own individual opinions regarding this topic.

DAISUKE SEKIMOTO: Daisuke Sekimoto is best known for the work that he has been producing for over a decade in BJW. Sekimoto has been very successful there- the BJW Heavyweight Championship, BJW Tag Team Championship, and BJW World Strong Heavyweight Championship all being on his resume. However, Sekimoto also did very well outside of BJW this year, winning the wXw (a German-based promotion) World Triangle League tournament. His success in Japan and appeal outside of it makes it clear that Sekimoto can take his career in any direction that he chooses- although Sekimoto can continue to focus his career in Japan (where his physical ring style would probably be most appreciated), WWE and TNA are not strangers to looking at international talent.





ERIC BISCHOFF: All creative minds have their own individual styles, and everyone has their own individual tastes. I personally enjoyed Eric Bischoff's run in TNA as a participant in the company's creative direction. TNA always had a talented in-ring roster, but for many years I felt that the company didn't make the best possible use of that talent. I enjoyed many of the storylines, angles, and match-ups during his time there, including this year. My favorite storyline was, "Aces and Eights". It was exciting and entertaining, it made the talents involved more interesting, and it gave new faces in TNA (D.O.C., Ivelisse Velez, Knux, and Wes Brisco) a platform to show what they could do. The Aces and Eights was often compared to the NWO, and I too saw the similarities. This was a positive for me, because the NWO storyline was another favorite of mine.



HULK HOGAN: During Hulk Hogan's 30+-year career in the pro-wrestling industry, he has been the top name of every major company that he has worked for, he has been an actor, a musician, and has even started his own businesses. Most people would say that Hogan has done it all. However, this is not true, because he continues to explore and involve himself in new areas of the business world. This year it was Hostamania, Hogan's own web hosting service. It's anyone's guess what new endeavor he will explore in 2014.



KANE: For the past 18 years, Glenn Jacobs has been one of the best performers in WWE. No matter what gimmick the company has given him, Jacobs worked it to the best of his ability. "Kane" has been his most entertaining gimmick, and it has been his most successful one. This year, the character has been taken in a new direction, as Kane has gone from being a monster of destruction to being an executive. On paper, it sounds like a bad idea, and I personally wouldn't have changed Kane's character. And yet, Kane is making it work. With his new corporate image, Kane's character has changed extensively, to the point that, "Mr. Jacobs" would be a more appropriate name for him than, "Kane". But it has been shown that behind the currently calm demeanor of Kane, the monster still lurks within (and hopefully it will be seen sooner than later).



MARK HENRY: Mark Henry was absent from WWE-TV three times this year: In January due to recovery from surgery, during the end of spring due to injuries, and when he took time off during most of the fall. Yet every time that Henry returned, he made a dominant impact, to the point that it was easy to forget that Henry had been inactive. And his retirement angle was in my opinion one of the biggest swerves of the year- Henry had put so much emotion into his promo that many were convinced that Henry truly was retiring, which led to their being shocked by the swerve.





NATALYA: I feel that Natalya has been underutilized for quite some time in WWE. She is the only total package who they have in their female division, yet Natalya is often pushed aside so that other female talents in the company can be in the spotlight. What surprised me often is that it never seems to bother her. While many members of the pro-wrestling industry use social media to vent career frustrations, or become sluggish in the ring due to unhappiness, Natalya always gives 100% and never appears to be unhappy with her position in the company. However, WWE's new reality series, "Total Divas" revealed that Natalya is no stranger to being frustrated while being in WWE. One example was when she was told that she wasn't booked for a WrestleMania match. With all of the obstacles that Natalya faces in WWE, she never lets her frustrations show through her conduct as a WWE talent. Instead Natalya remains professional, gives the fans what they expect, and gives the company what they want. All of this shows how valuable she is to WWE and the industry as a whole.



THE UNDERTAKER: Even though The Undertaker is at an age where most other wrestlers would have hung up the boots by now because they could no longer go in the ring, he continues to give excellent performances. After having only one match in 2012 and working one house show in March, The Undertaker wrestled CM Punk at WrestleMania without any ring rust, giving what in my opinion was the best match of 2013.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What You Might Not Know about Hulk Hogan's Hostamania

As anyone who watches pro-wrestling knows, there are two main aspects of the business. One is the sizzle: Gimmicks and promos presented to gain interest. The other is the steak: The in-ring skills and the ability to work a crowd during a match. Hulk Hogan has taken that "sizzle" aspect of the pro-wrestling business and applied it to his newest business venture- a web hosting service named, "Hostamania". Surely, most of you have already heard about it. There is a commercial for it online featuring a voice-over with Hogan cutting a promo in the same style of his promos that have sold out arenas all over the world.



And being the consummate showman, Hulk Hogan is also in an online commercial for Hostamania that drew viewers and comments from around the globe, hitting YouTube like a "wrecking ball".



What many people may not know is that behind the "sizzle" of the promos and showmanship presented to draw attention to the Hostamania service, there is a lot "steak", and it comes in the form of the people who are working with Hulk Hogan to provide his web hosting service. The, "Hulk Hogan" brand is one of the most valuable brands in the world, and Hogan knows that- he doesn't associate his brand with just anyone. Hogan only associates his brand with reputable talents.

Working with Hulk Hogan on Hostamania is Tech Assets, Inc; a company that has been involved with the web hosting industry for over 15 years. Among the brands that they have worked with are Jumpline (their first web hosting brand), Christian Web Host, DomainRegi, OpenSourceHost, SendUser, ServFarm, WebIntellects, WPZilla, and the widely acclaimed APS Panel. Tech Assets Inc. currently provides web hosting solutions to over 150,000 business & personal websites.

If the speed of Hostamania's own website is an indicator of the speed of a customer's website, Hostamania is very competitive in the speed department. I went to Webpagetest and compared the website speed of Hostamania to Godaddy. While WebPageTest gave Godaddy.com a PageSpeed score of 91/100, Hostamania.com edged them out with a PageSpeed score of 92/100.

Also, Hostamania is partners with cPanel, with cPanel being its web hosting management platform- many of the top hosting providers use cPanel for this purpose. The physical infrastructure of Hostamania features very familiar names- its servers are from Dell, its networking equipment is from Cisco, and its backups are done by R1Soft.

The people who would benefit the most from choosing Hostamania as their web hosting service are those who run a small business and is looking for a quality service at a competitively low cost. So if you fall in that category, check out Hostamania.com. If Hulk Hogan is willing to put his brand of approval (a brand that's worth millions) on a product, that's all the proof that you really need that it's quality.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The World Heavyweight Title (WWE): Disrespected and Undervalued

On the November 25 edition of "RAW", Triple H announced that a WWE and World Heavyweight Title match will take place at the WWE TLC PPV. Both belts will be hung above the ring and John Cena and Randy Orton will face in each other in a, "Tables, Ladders and Chairs", match. One of three things will happen: Either Randy Orton or John Cena will win both titles and unify them, they will both grab a belt therefore delaying a unification of the titles, or the match will end in a controversial fashion leading to both titles being vacated. No matter what happens at WWE TLC, it is inevitable that the World Heavyweight Title/Big Gold Belt is going to be phased out in the very near future.

Which will be a travesty. Make no mistake- from a financial standpoint, the WWE Title is the most valuable title in the pro-wrestling industry. Being WWE Champion gives a talent the distinction of being the face of the biggest drawing pro-wrestling company in the world. However, to phase out the World Heavyweight Title would be a injustice to one of the most prestigious titles in pro-wrestling history- arguably even more prestigious than the WWE Title.

For starters, let's look at the lineage of the World Heavyweight Title, which started in 1905 (then known as the World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship), making it the oldest title in the pro-wrestling industry. The industry was very different during this period. While today the pro-wrestling industry focuses mainly on giving fans the best shows possible, during that time it was focused mainly on in-ring competition. And for that reason, George Hackenschmidt became the first holder of the World Heavyweight Title. Whether or not he had the ability to work a crowd was irrelevant, because during that era, the wrestling skills of the talents in the ring were all that mattered. Hackenschmidt was the first pure wrestler to become a world champion, and he is a former champion who is a part of the World Heavyweight Championship lineage, and not the WWE Title's.

Following George Hackenschmidt in the lineage of the World Heavyweight Championship is Frank Gotch, a talent who revolutionized the pro-wrestling industry in the 1900's and 1910's, just as Hulk Hogan did in the 1980's and 1990's. Both the WWE and World Heavyweight Title lineages have the distinction of Hulk Hogan being a part of them, but only the World Heavyweight Title lineage has the distinction of Frank Gotch being a part of it.

In 1949, Lou Thesz was given the NWA World Heavyweight Title, and then merged the World Heavyweight Wrestling Wrestling Title into it (which he won in 1952). The NWA World Heavyweight Title is the only title that was ultimately defended in WWE, WCW, TNA, and ECW. Also it has the distinction of having legends who are a part of it's legacy and not the WWE title's legacy: Dory Funk Jr., Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Kerry Von Erich, Ricky Steamboat, and Terry Funk.

In 1991, the NWA World Heavyweight Title began to be referred to as the WCW World Heavyweight Title in WCW. In 1992, Ron Simmons became WCW World Heavyweight Champion. He is currently a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, which makes Simmons another legend who is a part of the World Heavyweight Title's lineage, but not the WWE Title's.

It's understandable that WWE takes pride in their title and wants it to be the only world title represented in their company (even though it will be called the Unified Title, in reality it will only be the WWE Title, since the World Heavyweight Title will be merged into it). However, the World Heavyweight Title has importance and a relevant legacy behind it- the title should be respected and not discarded as if it doesn't have any value.

Friday, November 15, 2013

TNA Star Robbie E Interview

Robbie E is currently employed by TNA and is the co-holder of the TNA World Tag-Team Title. You can see Robbie E and the rest of the stars of TNA on TNA IMPACT WRESTLING programming worldwide!

Q: How long have you been involved in the business?

A: I have been pro wrestling for 13 yrs now..started training at 16 …had my first pro match at 17 and am now 30 yrs old bro...

Q: Why did you enter the pro-wrestling industry?

A: To be a star!!!!….To make money…to be on TV bro…travel, fame….and I loved wrestling since I was 4 yrs old…boom!

Q: Where did you receive your training to become a pro-wrestler?

A: I trained at a school in North Jersey…IWF…had a lot of help from Pat Kenny (Simon Diamond) …Darren Young also came out of the school..and a lot of other great guys…the school has closed down now…

Q: What do you like the most about being in the business?

A: National television weekly is super cool…and having my own tshirts, trading cards, action figures is always a plus…I also love working out at diff gyms all around the world...

Q: How much attention do you pay to the pro-wrestling media and Internet pro-wrestling fans?

A: Honestly the Internet is 1 percent of the real wrestling fans out there…all I do Internet-wise is tweet…I'm super obsessed with Twitter bro…and all social media...

Q: Which persona appeals to you the most: Face, Heel, or Tweener?

A: I will always be Robbie E …sometimes I'll get booed…sometimes cheered…but I'll always be Robbie E ...

Q: Which do you feel has been your best match so far?

A: Matches that stand out to me have been all 3 of my title wins…beating Jay Lethal for the X Division title…beating Eric Young for the TV Title..and most recently beating James Storm and Gunner along with Jessie Godderz for the Tag Team titles…bro!









Q: Which has been your favorite match so far?

A: See the previous answer….it all blends in….the proof is in the pudding…winning gold always stands out..

Q: Whom would you like to wrestle, who you have not yet done so?

A: I really wanna get in the ring with Sting…he is the one guy in TNA I don't think I have ever gotten to go at it with bro..watched him as a kid and would be a huge honor…to beat him..

Q: Your current run in TNA is actually not the first one- you worked for them a few times from 2003-2004. How much has TNA changed since you worked for them back then?

A: Back then all I really did was some, "Xplosion" matches which was their syndicated show at the time…since then obviously the production is way bigger…we are on a national television station…and the viewership has increased to a different level then weekly PPVs..

Q: When you returned to TNA, you made your debut with "Cookie" (Becky Bayless). What was it like working with her, and do you think that more could have been done with the Robbie E/Cookie duo?

A: We both were perfect for the part…Cookie is a one of a kind…I'm sure she is being Cookie somewhere right now..as for me…I'm destined and always was to be a star….I'm not going anywhere..

Q: Do you prefer wrestling in singles, or teaming with Jessie Godderz as a part of the, "BroMans" tag-team?

A: Right now I'm as happy as can be teaming with my number one bro Jessie…we are both at the top of our game and Jessie has really come a long way…bro mans rule!!!!

Q: On a daily basis, there has been much speculation online regarding the current status of TNA, looking at everything from financially to managerially. From your perspective as an employee, what is the current status of TNA?

A: The current status of TNA is awesome….why wouldn't be?…We have the best roster in the world…the hottest chicks..the coolest bosses…it's a dream job…WE ARE THE STRONGEST WE HAVE EVER BEEN...

Q: What do you think TNA needs to do to reach another level in terms of popularity?

A: As every day that goes by TNA is getting bigger and bigger….new fans are made every second…new projects branching us out are worked on daily...

Q: When working for TNA, you perform in front of large crowds. You also wrestle for independent promotions, which have smaller crowds. Which size crowd do you prefer wrestling in front of?

A: Honestly I love professional wrestling which is why I still do independent shows…love seeing new guys up and coming and helping them out…plus it's always fun to be able to get up a close and personal with fans...

Q: You have expressed interest in wrestling in Japan. What is it about the Japanese style of wrestling that appeals to you?

A: Honestly I just want the experience as I know the fans are really diff there…I think they would take to Robbie E really well...

Q: You write an Impact Wrestling blog for Spike.com. When you retire from the ring years from now, do you think blogging will be something that you will be doing more of?

A: Perhaps..but even after I retire I plan on staying actively involved in wrestling whether it be on camera or behind the scenes….

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: Gym, tan…movies…and hang out with my amazing gf...

Q: What is your long-term goal in the business?

A: I have won every title in TNA except for the World Title…I plan on being a Grand Slam Champ bro!!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mission: Mil Mascaras Makes his Return to the Big Screen

A four-time World champion and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, Mil Mascaras is one of the most successful stars in lucha libre. He also has an established film career, having had starred in a multitude of luchador films. In 2014, Mascaras will add another film to his resume, as he stars in "Mission", a lucha libre/sci-film that will be produced and directed by C.M. Landrus.

The screenwriter of, "Mission" is Jeffrey Uhlmann, a filmaker who was also the screenwriter of the 2007 film, "Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy, which was the first Mascaras film to be produced in English, and is considered to be the best lucha libre film to date. "Mission" Producer/Director C.M. Landrus was involved with this film as well, working as a PA on the set.

The story of, "Mission" is that Mil Mascaras and the Professor, searching through the jungle for a meteorite, discover a village that has been ravaged by attacks. The remaining missionaries of the village lead them to an alien spaceship landing site, and it is up to Mascaras to uncover the dark truth behind the alien visit and save the human race from continuing attacks. Sharing the screen with Mascaras will be Naomi Grossman (in the role of "Nyah", an evil alien), the LA Weekly Theatre Award nominee who is best known for her work as, "Pepper" in the FX horror series, "American Horror Story: Asylum".

Currently, C.M. Landrus is running a Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for, "Mission". And she is not alone in this campaign. Naomi Grossman, lucha libre stars Los Chivos (Kayam & Enigma de Oro) and Cassandro el Exotico, wrestling promotions (Empire Wrestling Federation and Alternative Wrestling Show), members of the sci-fi media, and fans in Mexico, Japan, Columbia, France, Germany, and Taiwan have all been helping to spread the word to gain funding for the film. In return for contributing to the project, the campaign offers many perks, ranging from a shout out on the, "Mission" Facebook page, to the opportunity to be an Excecutive Producer of the film.

Everything else is already in place. Mil Mascaras has been cast, the script has been completed, and the location has been decided upon. In an attempt to create a film that is very similar to a graphic novel, "Mission" is very unlike a "Hollywood style" film, instead using natural settings (in Puerto Rico), tangible props, and using a minimal amount of computer graphics.

To stay up-to-date regarding, "Mission" and its progress, visit the film's official Facebook page, FilmBreak page, and follow their official Twitter page (@MissionMovie). I feel that, "Mission" is a film that has something for everyone. Lucha libre fans will be able to once again see Mil Mascaras bring his performing and wrestling talents to the big screen, sci-fi fans will enjoy the aliens aspect combined with mystery, and movie fans will enjoy the acting ability of Naomi Grossman that made her an, "American Horror Story" favorite. Taking all of that into consideration along with the fact that Producer/Director C.M. Landrus is very passionate about this project, I think, "Mission" has the potential to be the most successful Mil Mascaras film yet. However, "Mission" will not come to be unless it has the funding that it needs. So if you're a lucha libre/sci-fi/movie fan who wants to take part in creating a new addition to the Mil Mascaras legacy, your mission is to go to Indiegogo and contribute to the, "Mission" campaign.