I’ve made no secret to all of you the fact that I consider myself to be semi retired from the world of wrestling journalism. Every so often I will get an email asking me “why are you semi retired and not just retired?”. The reason is very simple. I know there are going to be times where I’m just going to want to write again. This of course is one of those times and I’m not going to lie to you; it’s not because of the CM Punk promo or the angle he is currently working. It’s not because of the recent activity of Ring of Honor following there acquisition by Sinclair Broadcasting. It’s not even because I’ve enjoyed Impact Wrestling the past couple of weeks (really I have). It’s all because of a little show put on by a group called Pro Slam World…. You’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings”.
So by now after eliminating all but 10 of you when I said I wasn’t going to talk TNA, WWE or ROH you’re probably wondering what the hell is Pro Slam World, well don’t worry because a week ago I didn’t know either. Pro Slam World is a student promotion affiliated with House of Glory. The HOG is a training school in Brooklyn that counts Amazing Red, Joel Maximo, Quiet Storm and Brian XL as trainers.
For those who are a bit unfamiliar a student show is one that is in some way, shape, form or fashion put on or sponsored in part by a wrestling school to get students ring time in front of a live crowd. Think of it as a series of final exams until students can establish a portfolio of work to get themselves booked elsewhere. Why am I telling you this? It’s my subtle way of saying 95 percent of what you see on a student show is greener than an African rain forest (so much for subtlety). You do not go to a student show expecting a tight show, you go to either support a friend or loved one or because you just truly love the art of professional wrestling and wish to see it in sort of it’s infancy stage. This is not to say you can’t see good solid wrestling on a student show either. Someone famous in the wrestling business once told me wrestling is physical theatre; my girlfriend is somewhat a fan of theatre and will occasionally go to college productions and find them to be just as amazing as a Broadway play. It can be the same with the occasional match at a student show.
So why did I go to this show? To tell you the truth I almost didn’t. I have a good friend that I work with by the name of Christopher Figeroa who for months has been telling me about a friend of his who is really striving hard to make it in professional wrestling. At first all I knew was the guy was making YouTube videos and knew Red, I never knew he was actually training. So when Chris insisted I watch one of the videos I really resisted. Let’s face it there are a million and one blowhards on YouTube who cut promos and say or do stupid things on video and think they are in the wrestling business. I didn’t really have the time, energy or the desire to see another. Still I would talk to Chris who while not a diehard fan of the industry was very much aware of what little involvement I have inside of it and he would talk about the stuff his friend was doing on YouTube. So I wound up caving in and watching a video and about 2 minutes in I turned it off and would go onto tell Chris the next day it was the worst thing I ever saw in my life. He would then inform me of the guy training with Red and I thought about how harsh my comments were and slightly retracted them since when you really stop and think about it; it does take a lot of guts to put yourself out there publicly in that manner. As a writer myself I am aware of the feeling of disappointment I get when my work isn’t received the way I would like it to be. So I pretty much at that point wished Larenz the best in his goals but cautioned Chris to be aware that a career in wrestling is very difficult.
After that me and Chris would talk every so often about UFC (which we are both fans of) and somehow the topic would always go back to wrestling and his friend Larenz Dean who may not have been John Cena but was doing his best to carve out a spot for himself in wrestling and was probably only months into his training. Finally it was mentioned to me last week that Chris was going to watch his friend perform and take his niece and my new buddy Kaylee to the show. Curious and feeling a bit less jaded towards wrestling perhaps due to the break I’ve had from journalistic activities I asked for more information on the show. Chris did me one better and got me a ticket.
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about seeing a student show after all I’ve covered Wrestlemania live the last 4 years and sort of have my standards too high at times for what I expect to see. So I decided to shelve my journalistic instincts for once and just visit a show as a fan and not feel pressed to dissect every little thing I saw.
In doing that I was able to have a good time. Believe it or not that show did about 100 to 125 people which is a good number for such a show. I’m sure many of those who attended were friends and family but it still lightened me up to see these people show up to be entertained. The wrestlers of PSW did their best and while there was no five star matches on the show I was enthused by the passion of these students who just standing outside watching them arrive were just so happy to be in the ring performing. It’s a passion that I don’t always see on T.V these days as it’s become more of a business at that level. Here it is a labor of love. It was great to sit in an audience of people who were not trying to stand put and make themselves the center of attention with stupid and unnecessary chants and just support wrestling and their loved ones. Everyone from the fans to the staff to the wrestlers seemed to be having an awesome time and it made me see that sometimes I myself take wrestling too seriously when it’s just supposed to be fun.
The journalist in me could sit here and talk about mismatched gimmicks; guys who may have been a bit out of shape and badly executed spots but the fan that was reawakened in me will sit here and tell you about Panda Man. Yes Panda Man, a gimmick so ridiculously goofy that I absolutely loved it and want to see Panda Man at an independent show near all of you. I will also tell you about Chris’s friend Larenz Dean. I’m not going to blow smoke up his ass and call him a great worker because at this stage of his development he is far from it. To his credit he doesn’t go out there and attempt moves he has no business of doing (nor does any of the other PSW talent I might add). He instead plays the role of the chicken shit heel that needs help and does really nothing. What I did notice and did enjoy about him and many others was he loves being out there. At the end of the night I couldn’t help but laugh at Kaylee who had received a flag from a talent earlier in the show and had also decided to buy a Pinkie Sanchez shirt and pose with him for a picture and declare this to be one of “the top 5 best days of her life” she wouldn’t quite give it number 1 but her uncle Chris was just happy to give her a day to rank up there. So while I normally take a bunch of pictures at shows in case anything newsworthy happens at this show I only took 2. One of Panda Man because I just found it hilarious and another of Chris and Kaylee because seeing them together enjoying wrestling made me see what really makes this business great sometimes. I’m going to print that picture here so that all of you can see what this business should be about: smiles and a good time.
So let me just thank Chris for having me at this show and Larenz Dean and the fine folks at PSW and HOG for making it all possible and encourage anyone who is interested to check out Larenz Dean’s YouTube videos maybe I had it all wrong and it’s the building blocks for the next big star in wrestling you decide (http://www.youtube.com/user/Locker76co ) and check out the PSW facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pswwrestling ) and House of Glory wrestling school website (http://www.houseofgloryonline.com/ ).
Of course I can’t let this column pass without giving you guys something to do how about ordering tonight’s Destination X PPV which looks like it could be the TNA PPV of the year? Of course you can always check out my interview that was done with Darragh O’Connor and Evan O’Brien for Wrestleview’s “International Desk” which can be downloaded for free right now on this very website and you can always hit me up at email@example.com. That’s it for this week, next time out I will try to do better, and until then I am out.