Wednesday, February 28, 2007
(Credit photos to Mike Lano)
Before I start my blog I just wanted to give a shout out to 1995 APW BOOT CAMP graduate, "The Gigolo" Steve Rizzono. Steve has not been doing well and was going to have a surgery. I will start a thread so anyone that knew or met Steve can post their good wishes. Steve wanted to be a part of this business in the worst way and did some things that weren't good choices in XPW and put his body on the line in many of his matches. He is paying the price today with lots of health problems and I just wanted to say hey Steve, I hope you are feeling better after your surgery and I will call soon. Steve always looked the part of a pro wrestler and in the picture above, he is posing with some mutual acquaintances, Bruce Hart who I haven't seen since 2005 when he made an appearance at one of our training classes when he was in town for our trial and TNA play-by-play man, Mike Tenay. GET WELL GIGOLO!
You think David Meltzer from the famous Wrestling Observer is the only person that can have a "Here and There" column?
The Godfather of All Pro Wrestling is entitled to a little Here and there as well and there is lots to blog about... Notice the 3 dots after a subject, damn right - stole it from David Meltzer as well...
Where do I start?... For those on the Internet that have been showing concern for my sugars and fat, I wanted to report, my sugars are sky high and I don't look fat anymore because my fat is starting to droop but the women in my life still think I have a "Tight Frog butt"... Funny how some people root for my sugars to get out of control so I can die. Deadrich says I am like a cat and I have 9 lives... I haven't forgotten the message board post on those idiots but for now, let me give everyone that reads this blog some inside info and I'll post about the IDIOTS later on...
1. J. J. Perez and Kafu are booked in Florida in March 2007. I don't understand how the promotion flys in the midget Perez and decides not to bring the Godfather in. Afterall, I'd like to go to DisneyWorld, Universal and the Bahamas before a certain party finds all my money in Switzerland which I have been hiding since 2001. Time to call Doug Anderson and sell him another percentage of APW so I can fly my way into Florida.
2. Did anyone see our Valentine angel, Melissa Anderson flying over San Francisco with my last blog? Wasn't that great? Is there anything that girl can't do?
3. Kafu had another impressive performance for NWA PRO in Las Vegas this past Sunday evening. I also understand that a 4-way tag-team affair that opened the show was hotter than some of the poker machines at the Orleans. Congratulations to all of them including EGO. Okay, J. J. Perez was impressive but what the heck was he doing teaming up with Puma? I told you Perez isn't all there!
4. No truth to the rumor that Kafu was walking around the casino with his leopard trunks swinging a chain at 2 am yelling HURT, HURT, HURT and a security officer asked him to stop so he started shouting, HUNGRY, HUNGRY, HUNGRY. My sources tell me he wasn't swinging a chain and what he was swinging was not silver but gold. And I thought Killer Kahli was the only one that swung a gold one. Speaking of Kafu, he was over like usual and get this, the fans in Vegas cheer for him. The rumors some people will start just to bury an APW wrestler that is having some success. Heck, at least Kafu had clothes on, Roddy Piper did it at a Fresno Holiday Inn years ago with Bob Orton Jr., with no clothes on and it took tranquilizer guns to stop them. All it took to stop Kafu was a scantly dressed girl chanting, "Cigarettes, Cigars".
3. Another rumor I have to squash immediately is that Tito Aquino and Nate Rulez have changed careers and were seen at the Raw tapings in Fresno conducting business as security guards. Can you imagine where people get this stuff. As if a security firm would hire Tito Aquino with his height. Next thing you know, I'll read on some message board that J. J. Perez is now a security guard.
4. There have been talks of expanding APW to the state of New Jersey. We'll keep you posted on those talks.
5. I read somewhere that APW's own Derek Sanders is getting married soon and a female ordained minister will be perfoming the ceremony. Ayyyyyyy!
6. I just found out from a family member (yes I do have some family that still loves me) that I am related to Michael Porter. Once he finds out he is related to me, I am sure he'll post it on his myspace site and people who hate him that continue to stalk him will report it on the "IDIOT BOARD". Do those people have a life? When I go read that crap, does this mean I don't have a life either?
7. Gym Wars is coming up Saturday 3/10/07 and don't forget to bring your canned food and toys. I wish we could do more for the community as far as donating food and toys for the needy.
8. The APW BOOT CAMP is offering a Tax Season special. Go check it out on the front page of the website and in the upper right hand corner. They should have it up in the next day or so. You can get a discount while not putting down a deposit till your tax refund arrives.
9. The ChickFight 5 DVD is now in stock and for those that want to purchase one, make sure you visit www.ChickFight.tv It is one hot video and I don't say that just because I assist Melissa and Mr. Deadrich on the commentary.
10. Don't forget to patronize www.onestopwrestleshop.com for all your merchandise needs!
11. What was with all the hoopla when Tim Hardaway stated he would not want a gay person in his locker room. Pro Wrestling never had that kind of drama and there were always plenty of gays in a pro wrestling locker room although I know when I was dressing for an appearance with Kafu lately, referee Tom Castor kept staring at my boxers.
12. Sad note is the Warriors season might be done. Too bad... Here is one for the message boards. Knowing full well that there is very little money on the Indy circuit, MPT signed a special deal with APW. I must take him to a basketball game when there is one played the Friday before Gym Wars or Sunday after a Gym Wars. So, I need to sit with this wierdo who brings no money, expects me to foot the entire bill and then the guy tries to pick up chicks by saying he is the "APW Internet Champion". When the girls bite for this phony baloney, he tells him his name MPT and to come see him wrestle at APW. Last game he attended, some girl screamed for security and was screaming, "Sexual harassment". When security arrived, they asked MPT for his name and he told them Scotty Aboot. First thing that guy has ever done that impressed me. He actually has a little heel in him.
13. The Pro Camp sessions have been awesome during show day. The Beginners and Advanced Semi-Pro Camp guys attend as well and it is a learning experience for everyone. Olver John, MPT and J. J. Perez are the instructors at the camp. Anyone interested in attending the pro camp and working out, need to contact APW. It might even lead to an APW Booking and you can't learn from anyone any better as you can close any discussions on wrestling boards anywhere, the top 3 technical and fundamentally sound wrestlers in ALL of California are those 3. Throw in Kafu who has everything going for him when it comes to look and being able to work his gimmick, it wouldn't surprise me for those 3 to make some noise in the industry very soon.
14. Did I tell you we are talking about expanding APW to the state of New Jeresey or that I am related to Michael Porter? I think I am a 9th cousin.
15. I can never understand people, who are trained by the Internet, can think they know it all! Even when you are properly trained by a training school or a pro wrestling legend and groomed privately, you don't know it all. There are stuff these people won't ever learn and one of them is to be humble and respectful to those in the industry. They need to realize, they are not in the business and are looking in.
I have to go and jot down some more notes on my "IDIOT BLOG" that I will be posting very soon...
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
When I woke up today I started thinking - it is Valentines Day. I thought to myself, "Today is the day I post about IDIOTS who think they know everything - you know, the kind that post on message boards in Northern California (hint, hint). The more I thought about what I wanted to say, the more I thought I wasn't going to ruin my Valentines Day talking about IDIOTS! Tonight, I am off to see my true valentine, THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS who play the N.Y. KNICKS.
I did find time to visit www.clickwrestle.com and saw Chearleader Melissa. That broad is everywhere. She travels worldwide... She is the BEST FEMALE wrestler in the U.S., she does the SHIMMER SHOWS, she is all over clickwrestle. When I say she is all over Clickwrestle, I usually think in videos and great footage you can see but today, she was flying. She was not a tough broad today. She was a cute little angel flying in the air in San Francisco and hovering over the Black Pants, Inc. headquarters and you need to make sure you go see her.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to everyone, and yes, I do have a heart and I want to even wish the IDIOTS that post on message boards a HAPPY VALENTINES DAY as well and make sure you return to my blog to see my post about you idiots soon to come!
Monday, February 12, 2007
I want to first and foremost say a temporary good bye to our promoter friend from the U.K. who loved his trip to the U.S., loved APW, loved the famous APW GARAGE and is 100% behind ChickFight and possibly some other APW projects. I hope he had a safe voyage home and we look forward to meeting again here in the U.S. or the U.K.
Speaking of the famous APW GARAGE, it hasn't looked better and there is more improvement to come. The sound is tremendous, the video screen over the ring entrance archway is a great start to a revised entry way. I'd like to see some cosmetic changes done to that over the next couple of shows and knowing our production crew and Chris Kelsey and his staff, the way I do, it will get done along with a few more surprises.
Again, many thanks to the hard working people at Black Pants, Inc., Jason Deadrich, Chris Kelsey and their respective staffs. I don't want to leave anyone out so APW thanks the following: Shane Mai, who constantly busts his ass with ring entrances and many other aspects of what is delivered in the production. His assistant, Chris Cherolis. Many thanks go out to David Hurwich, Jim Brodbeck, David Hurwich and Dominick. Those guys kick ass!
The production values are the greatest because when you watch the monitor with the in-house switching and all the great camera angles live, the finished post-edited product has to be even better. Lots of hard work by the production crew and I have to tip my hats to them there is no INDY in California or probably the U.S., and that might even include ROH, with production values APW has at shows and especially the production values at Gym Wars. Fans don't know how good they got it and all for only 3 canned goods of food and an unopened toy. We should probably raise the prices soon and give even more than what we do to the needy and really help the community. Many wrestling fans don't realize the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at APW. Heck, there are many promotions (and I don't have to name them, you all know who they are) that CANNOT promote a show with these values. There are many that think anyone can promote and they are here today and gone tomorrow. The APW BOOT CAMP has been in business for 16 years since 1991 and the wrestling promotion for 12 years since 1995.
Now on to the matches. The show looked solid on paper because you had International talent coming in with wrestlers from Canada and Japan being in the lineup. At the same time, there was the element of the unknown because many fans were unfamiliar with these wrestlers. I'd like to hear the thoughts of the many fans that packed the garage this past Saturday 2/10, U want to hear your thoughts on the wrestling show, the production values and the look of the APW GARAGE.
MATCHES:There is a thin line with the opener. Balloon has the most disgusting look of any pro wrestler I have ever seen. People talk about Larry Blackwell but the guy is talented and very entertaining and was trained by people with credibility. The guy does a moonsault for crying out loud. At the same time, when you put him in the ring with Dino, that is another story. Dino does a gay gimmick. This Dino guy is very entertaining but there were some kids in the audience and that has always been a sore subject with some including myself. Part of me was entertained and the other part of me was thinking about those kids. Should parents be held accountable for bringing their children to pro wrestling matches or should promoters be held accountable if there are children in the audience to make sure the wrestling is PG? I am more interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic than any other topic discussed in this blog. Some like the match and others thought it was not appropriate. What did you think?
Ground and Pound over Kirsch and Sanders was a huge victory. I can see why Kirsch attacked Tito because this hot team seems to be popular with the fans and seems to be a threat to the tag title. Kirsch also had to feel he let down his partner in crime, Nate Rulez. Sanders doesn't seem to care about much of anything these days other than Payton and himself which is cool as he has a great look.
Old School over Shooter was a decent match and a part of me was hoping it would go longer. Jones and Old School seemed to have some chemistry. They are very close in background. Old School has some MMA experience and can brawl but knows his pro wrestling and was trained by a legend in Paul DeMarco. Jones has 5 years of NCAA experience. The energy these guys produced in the match matched those that are 10 years younger.
Perez VS Hornet: Well, it was what it was. Two midgets battling each other. It was a decent match but certainly not in the top 3 of matches that night. Hornet will have some good footage of himself against one of the better, if not the best, midget wrestlers in the industry.
Melissa over Danger & Sara was good. I don't know if it was as good as it could have been but it was solid. When you think that Danger was probably out on her feet and didn't probably know where she was at half way through the match, the match was very, very good. Melissa and Sara are still two of the elite female wrestlers in the U.S. and I don't say that just because they are both APW BOOT CAMP graduates. The fans seemed to enjoy the hardcoreness of the match but I always fear when there is rain and someone takes it outside because there can be serious injury. Our very special guest from the UK actually remembered seeing Erin O'Grady VS. Vic Grimes when they took it outside in the car shot heard round the world. When people used to label that match that way, I used to think, great marketing but now that I know our special guest saw the match on video and loved it, it probably was the car shot heard round the world.
MPT vs. Kudo was the match of the night. Kudo was impressive. If you can picture a a combination of a technical JJ Perez/Puma/Rocky Romero and an MMA kicking Senshi/Low Ki and throw in the high flying skills of a Scotty Aboot, you have Kudo. Many were telling me he is being compared to Marafuji from Pro Wrestling Noah. I don't think he is in the class of Marafuji quite yet but has the potential because of his MMA kicks. That match was very good. I'd love to see him come back and take on someone more his size like JJ Perez. MPT was too much for him because of the weight difference and don't forget MPT can fly and has lots of technical ability. But even with the loss, Kudo made an impression on me.
Kafu over Rulez was okay for 2 big guys. I don't think Kafu was on his game and when you add LaRocca making sure Sanders and Kirsch were involved, that threw Kafu off even more and the disqualification probably hurt Rulez more than he realizes because the way the match was going, it could have been the night Kafu dropped the strap. Kafu has lots of pressure on him right now and is having a hard time remaining focused on his matches because of all eyes that are on him right now. TNA likes him alot as does New Japan. All of a sudden, there has been a very strong interest from the WWE and people have been watching him from all over and this could have as much to do with Kafu not being at his best lately. The thing you have to remember is KAFU is still heads and shoulders above most in California and the U.S. on the Indy level because of that great look he has. He is wild, unpredictable and you never know what this guy is going to do. You'd think I know what he is going to do but I really never do. The guy is a beast and I still thank and respect him and as you can see, he still has my back and he destroyed Dino for thinking he could chase after my tight looking ass.
I want to give special thanks to Oliver John, MPT and J. J. Perez for running the pro camp that takes place on APW show days for 2 to 4 hours. Just another reason the APW BOOT CAMP is the best. How can it not be when you have guys like Oliver John, MPT and Perez fine-tuning the pros and teaching the semi-pros? Even though the Beginner students are not at the upper level because their camp just started 3 weeks ago, they don't even know how valuable sitting in on these sessions are going to be when it comes time for them to debut. The wrestling maessage boards can vote all they want for their top 10 wrestlers and their top trainers and I am sure some of the other promotions have a wrestler or two that might be their best but none of them hold up to the high standards APW has. At this time,
I would have to say the Northern California top 3 wrestlers and top trainers hands down are OLIVER JOHN, MPT AND J.J. PEREZ.
People are beginning to set eyes on these 3 and see their true value. Props also go out to Dana Lee who trains our current beginners and semi-pro students. What a training team! It is a no contest, no brainer and whatever other term you want to assign it.
Anyone wanting to attend the Pro Camps on show day can do so by calling our office at 510-785-8396 and making the necessary arrangements and who knows, it might eventually lead to an APW booking at a Gym Wars or house show.
I will have one more blog before finishing the Pro Wrestling Noah blog. I want to discuss how some people, whether on the message boards or on the inside at this lower level, just don't get it. I want to talk about schools, Indy promotions, training fees, gym dues and why they are necessary and have always lended to the success of APW over the years. Stay tuned to that blog because everyone should learn from it including APW wrestlers and students and even some of the LOSER IDIOTS that seem to frequent a certain message board in Northern California. Of course not all of them are loser idiots. I am sure there are a couple that post intelligently and have a better understanding of the pro wrestling business.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
I know you never ask for my 2 cents but I always give it whether you like it or not because that is ME!
I have to tell you the bookers have put together a strong lineup on paper. You know how that goes, sometimes the strongest on paper don't always turn out that way and sometimes they turn out even stronger than you can imagine but here are my thoughts match by match.
MAIN EVENT - Kafu VS. Rulez: I don't know what to think about this match. I don't know if this is another plot on the part of Gabe Ramirez and Jason Deadrich giving Nate Rulez a title shot. I don't know if it was meant to cause disention in EGO or even create a little heat between Rulez and Kafu or even LaRocca and myself. I'll tell you this, we will be making last minute strategic plans because I don't even want to think about it right now. One thing for sure, my eyes will be open with LaRocca and the bitch that keeps looking in the mirror and can't have enough of himself, AJ Kirsch.
APW INTERNET TITLE: Kudo VS. MPT I can't tell you much about Kudo but I sure hope he knows he is getting in the ring with a stud in MPT. Gabe Ramirez is always making these wiere relationships with people overseas. They tell me this guy is one of the top wrestlers in his promotion in Japan. One thing for sure, MPT will soon bite the big one if he keeps defending his belt against these Japanese wrestlers who are trying to make a name for themselves in the U.S. and an even bigger name in Japan by defeating a top wrestler in the U.S.. I know WWE and TNA are the big promotions and ROH is well know in Japan as far as Indy promotions go but don't forget APW is also well known in Japan becausee of all the graduates that have toured Japan over the years. This guy Kudo is no dummy. He is here to make a name for himself in a promotion everyone in Japan is familiar with.
3 WAY DANCE: Melissa VS. Sara Del Ray VS. Allison Danger
This could end up being a dogfight. Why do I say this? First, you have 3 of the top females in the U.S. competing. Secondly, there has always been the argument who is the best BOOT CAMP female graduate, Melissa or DelRey? Sometimes my question is who is the best female in the U.S., Melissa or DelRey? These two aren't stupid. They know the competition and what fans think and don't think and if that doesn't intensify the competition, I don't know what will. Now throw in Allison Danger and what the heck can she be thinking? Maybe her strategy will be to let Melissa and Del Rey beat the crap out of each other and she sneaks in for the victory and becomes the talk of #1 female. (Danger: That was free advise from the Godfather - anything else will cost you money and I don't come cheap)
SPECIAL ATTRACTION - J. J. Perez VS. Hornet
Let me give you the inside scoop on this guy Hornet so you know why someone would be dumb enough to ask for a match with a midget. He knows someone in a Japanese promotion and is trying to get him in. He needs footage and some goof tells him if you wrestle the midget and defeat him and send that footage in, it will increase your changes of going on tour with the promotion. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell this kid that it is a rib because last I heard there are not any MIDGET PROMOTIONS running in Tokyo.
I guess I'll finish up with the preliminaries. Some preliminaries. I know you've heard it before but I will say it again, "THESE MATCHES CAN BE MAIN EVENTS ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY TODAY" Okay, Roy Shires got away with his television announcer using that line back in the 70's but if you've seen some of the crap I've seen out there lately, these next matches might not be all that bad and might be main events anywhere in the country today.
SHOOTER JONES VS. OLIVER JOHN
Interesting match! Oliver John is a nutcase who was very well trained by a 60's/70's legend Paul DeMarco with lots of technical ability but I haven't seen any of this technical ability in an Oliver John match yet. He always wants to brawl. He would have been good at Gym Wars in 97 in matches with Vic Grimes. He better put his technical shoes on or Jones will tie him up in knots. It is funny because any wrestler that has an amateur background, I don't care if it is Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle etc..., they've all heard of Tony Jones and I am not talking about Beyond the Mat movie, I'm talking his NCAA days. Now Jones could afford to pay me for consultation because nobody has scouted his opponent better than I have because I grew up with Paul DeMarco wrestling.
KIRSCH/SANDERS VS. GROUND & POUND Aquino/Lee
Another runaway midget in Aquino. If the opponents forget about the Tito popularity with fans, they can overcome his in-ring abilities and he has some and is impressive at times. I just think for Aquino to be successful in a tag-team he has to team up with smarter partners. Dana Lee is not the brightest light bulb. As a matter of fact, I can produce more light from a burnt out light bulb than I could from the lightbulb Dana Lee. Speaking of lightbulbs, Lee's body is about as pale as a lightbulb. Now that doesn't mean they can't win this match especially because I hear Derek Sanders has been fighting a bug and has been spending lots of time in bathrooms as of late. If I were Tito, I'd take advantage of the fact Sanders might be sick. It is going around.
AMERICAN BALOON vs. DANSHOKU DINO
If you think I am going to comment on American Balloon, you can forget it. Maybe Sanders sat next to Ballon in the Bakersfield locker room and watched him dress. That would turn anyones stomach.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
"Listen sweetie, they will be taking their Boot Camp contracts out
of the APW filing cabinets a few months from now and I won't be getting any money out of this deal so don't come to me with your complaints. I am just a carny"
Keep this K-Fabe but Mike and Donovan told me she had slept with many of the boys. I can't believe I kept that K-fabe for 5 years but in CARNY CENTRAL, there is no holding back.Upon arriving at the airport, she took us to the hotel to check in.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
After receiving many, many, many e-mails (4) asking me to discuss the Pro Wrestling Noah deal back in 2001, I've decided to make it my first educational blog. Since APW and NOAH are no longer doing business 6 years later, there should be no heat discussing the particulars from 2001. Doing business with NOAH started in APW but I believe it ended in PWI and I will explain how that is.
Before I get into the story, it is important to make you aware that in the history of APW since 1991, the person that made the most money was Donovan Morgan. At times his job was a cushion job and other times he was a busy bee. Donovan had flexible hours because he was an Independent Contractor. His duties included, training, recruiting/marketing and he was an Administrative Assistant. Other duties included making bank deposits, setting up duties for students to pass out flyers, sell advertising for the souvenir program etc... Donovan got the job when he didn't want to take a similar job with XPW and Modest negotiated for Morgan in 1999 and said he'd do everything in the Front Office for APW if we could guarantee him a salary and commission. He was allowed to do work for himself and come and go as he pleased because he was not an employee. That is also why he would take off during the day to go eat, lift weights, go tan or take a nap. Donovan was very good at recruiting but only worked hard at it if he needed the money and wanted to jack up his commission. I gave him a sweet deal. Instead of giving the guy 10% of the company, I did better than that. I gave him 10% of all monies that walked in the door whether it be Boot Camp, collections, sponsors, souvenir program ads. In less than 18 months, he built his pay to over $3k per month. Like I said in Beyond the Mat,
I am the best payoff guy in Indy wrestling(You should see me at my computer with the tears rolling down my eyes just like Beyond the Mat). I am known for taking care of the boys. Anyone want a fluff job making over $3k a month where you put in about 5 hours a day Monday through Thursday? Apply at firstname.lastname@example.org
In reading David Meltzer's Wrestling Observer, I found out that Mr. Misawa, then President of Pro Wrestling Noah and Mr. Nagata, money guy and probably majority stockholder as well as some of the Japanese media (probably on the Noah payroll because they did whatever Mr. Misawa wanted) were coming to the U.S. to scout U.S. Indy wrestlers and/or students and were hitting 5 locations including the Harley Race training school. They were also headed for Las Vegas for business and pleasure. When I found this out, I asked Donovan to do some research and he was paid for it. I wanted to see what it would take for PRO WRESTLING NOAH to squeeze in a visit to the APW training school. Donovan made some calls and found out they had no time other than a 5 hour layover at the S.F. International Airport when they headed home to Japan. We had to take advantage of that so I took the time and money to set up Limosine service to pick them up at the airport and shuttle them back. We also put out a nice food spread as I felt the two would be the classy thing to do. NOAH didn't have time to eat any food and the wrestlers were too nervous to eat any of it. Well hell, I wasn't going to let it go to waste. I ait all the damn food! It cost APW around $800 but ignore that! According to the Internet World, Roland Alexander and APW are a bunch of cheap bastards and never pay anyone!
Keep in mind, there would be nothing in it for APW other than exposure. Why? When Donovan Morgan left APW, he returned the cell phone with no chip and returned the front door key but he didn't leave the the Modest and Morgan Boot Camp contracts. Somehow the movers took a couple of Championship Belts and the Modest and Morgan files that had agreements stating we would TRAIN THEM FREE OF CHARGE in exchange for 15% of any income they generated. It would have been nice to get 15% of their weekly pay for the 5 years between 2001 and 2005. By the way, we never got anything from Crash Holly, Spike Dudley or Vic Grimes either yet the Internet is under some misconception that we have. I guess some people on the Internet don't have a life and hold a grudge for never being a part of the wrestling business.
Jason Deadrich, the other swine many people love to knock on the Internet because he is part of the APW Management. People are jealous of all his hard work done in APW over the years to earn his way to where he is in the pro wrestling industry. Afterall, the guy is responsible for www.clickwrestle.com and www.chickfight.tv and a board of director at Cauliflower Alley Club. For those that continue to knock him, you do so because you can't be him. Jason took a day away from his busy schedule (time and money) to assist me with the NOAH tryouts at the famous APW GARAGE. He helped gather resume statistics and pictures for NOAH Management. My memory doesn't even allow me to remember if one of the more famous Anderson brothers, Doug Anderson was there or not but damn, he should have been there helping us because according to the very bright Internet world, he owns part of APW. If this is the case and I don't know about it, maybe I should hit him up for some more investment money. It is amazing how some people know everything behind the scenes at APW and yet they have never set foot in the building but that is another story.
IDIOTS, my favorite people!
The tryout day came and we were organized. We had gone around the gym and taken down all the Antonio Inoki pictures and replaced them with Misawa pictures. My biggest surprise was yet to come. As we are pulling away in the limo after the tryouts, Mr. Misawa is sitting in the back of the limo and he lights up a cigarette. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. His translator, Ken (when you are super intelligent and bilingual, and speak better English than most Americans, always make sure you have a translator with you) said, "I hope you all don't mind but Mr. Misawa would like to excuse himself because he is going to have a cigarette". This is where I made my mistake. At this time, I should have had Donovan say, "Roland would like to tell Mr. Misawa excuse me but he is going to have Betty Beefcake hop in the limo, serve him some of his favorite food, Sushi and she will be bobbing on Mr. Alexanders knob". That would have blown Misawa away and he would have at least had a good laugh and said to himself, "It is so awesome to be a Japanese legend, in the U.S., riding around in a limo with a Carny Legend". Now that I think about it, I could have then had Betty Beefcake give him some bisquits and gravy. Can you imagine the photo op that would have been? Here I am, sitting in a limo after APW and its graduates impress Mr. Misawa with the tryouts and he is lighting a cigarette. This isn't any Japanese wrestler. This isn't Sandman. This is the fricking Japanese pro wrestling legend, probably one of the top 3 or 4 wrestlers in the history of Japanese pro wrestling if not the best. This is the guy who has done more 30 to 45 minute matches than you can count and here he is smoking a cigarette in his jean shorts in a limo in Hayward California at the famous APW GARAGE. You'll just never know what you will see behind the scenes in pro wrestling. At this time, I am thinking, "MISAWA IS GOD!" Shit, he probably had his knob bobbed on while in Vegas... well. Uh... Ummm... Strike that, Forget I even said that, K-Fabe. I don't want to get heat with them again for breaking K-Fabe. We leave the Garage to the airport and I am thinking to myself - I wonder what Legend Wrestler, President of Pro Wrestling Noah is thinking about right now as he pulls out of the famous APW GARAGE in a limo. He probably thinks we're all marks, and we were! But in the end after giving him several great tryout matches, he was probably drooling in his shorts because he had probably just witnessed the best trained Indy wrestlers he had seen in his trip to the U.S. and was more than happy to have APW save his scouting trip. I don't really believe he had discovered any decent wrestling talent during this first trip to the U.S. Oh, I am sure there was some talent he would use for political on tours for political reasons but none because of their God-given wrestling talent.
Mike Modest and myself booked the tryout matches and kept them short (5 minutes per their request). Of course, the tryout stealer was Modest VS. Morgan. I tried that match later in the year in Vallejo and it bombed because it was already 11 p.m. and Modest felt the fans were not as appreciative of pro wrestling in the states in the same manner they were in Japan so they went home after 11 minutes when they were supposed to go 24. They mailed it in! They certainly didn't mail it in at the Garage for the tryout and had Misawa cracking smiles in the front row of the Warzone where many a wrestling fan has witnessed some great wrestling. I hope Misawa understood APW history and what it meant to be sitting in that front row chair in the Warzone watching APW trained wrestlers. You think he knew he was sitting in the famous APW GARAGE home of many great GYM WARS shows? Throughout the tryouts, I kept an eye on all of them to see reactions. Most tried to be professional and keep a serious look on their faces and not give away their hand but MISAWA, of all people, broke a smile once or twice during the Modest/Morgan match and again later during the Jones/Bison match. The media was clicking away with pictures and filming the session as they used it later in a video release. I think they also used it on their television show.
Tony Jones and Bison Smith had the next best tryout match. They didn't take Jones because of his body and probably politics. I had a friend translate for me after the Jones tryout what they were saying in Japanese. My friend says Mr. Misawa was saying to Mr. Nagata,
"I think if he builds the upper body, he is in the hunt"I better be careful before Barry Blaustein accuses me of being dishonest again. I can't remember if Tony had been to BattleArts yet or not in 2001 but the politics back then were still somewhat a factor in Japanese pro wrestling decision making.
I know they had to love Christopher Daniels and his athleticism when he tried out against his trainer Kevin Quinn. Chris had done the Sushi gimmick with a smaller promotion, Micho-Pro. They probably felt it would be belittling to book him now that he has jobbed for a smaller promotion in Japan. They must have also felt Chris would be recognized by the very smart Japanese audience (I don't know why Pro Wrestling Noah was so big on practicing K-Fabe back in 2001. It isn't like they don't subscribe to the Pro Wrestling observer in Japan). They liked Kevin and his look and almost took him for the Jr. Tourney but decided they would take Jardi Frantz instead. Nothing against Jardi getting a shot but I couldn't figure out why they took Jardi instead of the impressive Vic Capri. Vic had a better body and was an unknown face in Japan and I believe he could have gotten over but later I found out it was a one-time tournament and they probably had no intentions of bringing back Jardi again. Again, politics might have played a factor because the newest Junior they would eventually push was MARAFUJI. They certainly wouldn't have wanted anyone from the U.S. in that tournament showing up their top Junior stars or Marafuji who was projected to be their next huge superstar. Hell, Kenta was still a student training and wasn't near being ready yet.
As talented as Vinny Massarro was, we all know his body does not look like HHH and that is probably why they didn't like him but he still got the biggest pop from Misawa and his group. He was certainly innovative. Modest and Donovan even bowed at the end of their match to Mr. Misawa to show respect. They took lots of notes during the tryout matches and they huddled to talk before stepping into my office.
After the tryouts Mr. Nagata, Mr. Misawa and Ken asked to meet with Modest and Donovan first with myself present. Mr. Misawa kept staring at Donovan. I have no idea why he kept staring but he was staring at him for the longest time. I think he was trying to picture what Donovan's cheeks and gut would look like when he wasn't on the juice. Later, they met with Bison and Jardi, one at a time. They probably chose to do it this way because all of them were on a different pay scale. Even though Modest was at a higher pay scale than Donovan, I believe they knew they were attached at the hip if not somewhere else. We went to my office where Ken translated for Misawa and said this: "I want to make sure you don't feel offended by the financial offers we will be making and remember, this is only an opening offer. Please don't feel insulted. This is only a starting point and Mr. Misawa wants to make sure you understand this". They made their offers to Modest, Morgan, Bison and Jardi. I figured the guys would come back with a much higher offer and eventually end up in the middle. I did not want to interfere with them for fear I may have cost them a booking and spot on the tours so I let them work their own deals. I probably should have been more involved.
For some strange reason, every one of them accepted the opening offer and I almost fell out of my chair when they did. I could understand Bison and Jardi taking what is being given to them and to a certain extent Donovan but Modest could have gotten them for another grand a week, if you want my opinion. The only thing I could think of is they were desperate. Sometimes, young Indy wrestlers are in a vulnerable position of accepting what is out there for them just to open a door. That might have been their attitudes on taking the opening offer. I felt they could have done much better becuase although Japan had been slowing down on International big-name talent and paying them the big bucks, some of that still existed in 2001. I know with Modest, he might have felt it was his last chance. We had gotten Mike a look with Jim Barnette when he came out to scout the Boot Camp and our wrestlers for WCW and Kevin Sullivan. Jim's word was gold because of the success he had promoting pro wrestling in the 60's in the U.S. and Australia. I heard the phone conversation he had with Sullivan at our show in San Leandro and he said, "I haven't seen him wrestle yet but I watched him teach the APW BOOT CAMP class and I can tell you based on that, he is a keeper". Sullivan said because it was Turner and they had to go through the corporate red tape, he would have to show up for a tryout in Florida but the job was his. J. J. Dillon would fax to APW an intent to sign agreement after the tryout in Florida and Mike should sign it and return it immediately. I believe they were scared Mike would go to WWE because they wanted Vic Grimes and Erin O'Grady (Crash Holly) earlier when Paul Orndorff had called the APW office in early 1998 but they had already made a commitment to WWE. Unfortunately, the Intent to sign never arrived as Sullivan got fired and everyone that was part of that regime got let go as well including J. J. Dillon. They brought in Vince Russo and he certainly wasn't going to keep anyone that was part of Sullivan's group and that included Modest. I didn't know anyone else in WCW so I waited till they let Russo go and then I turned to my good friend Red Bastien, current President of Cauliflower Alley Club to see who he knew in WCW. He asked if I knew Terry Taylor and I said no. He said he'd call Taylor and try to set something up. He was able to set up a NITRO tryout through Taylor and Mike could bring anyone in for the tryout. Hell, we chose Christopher Daniels and to his credit, even after seriously injuring himself during the tryout, he continued the match with his arm and shoulder just hanging. They both received a standing ovation when they got back to the dressing room and were given contracts. Three months later, WCW was going out of business and WWE bought them. Vince McMahon had just hired most of the ECW wrestlers when ECW went bankrupt and now he had to take as many big-name WCW guys as he could and a guy like Modest was out in the cold again. That could have been a reason Modest jumped at the first offer. I am not saying he could have gotten much more but he could have gotten at least a grand a week more. The money lower level guys were getting was about twice what Modest accepted. At first I thought Donovan was lucky because I felt he was taken by NOAH only because they thought they had to to get Modest but later it was easy to see they wanted to market them as a tag-team.
I was very excited for everyone involved but on the way to the airport, they said they wanted Jardi to start on the very next tour which was a Jr. tournament. When I asked when that tour started, they said Jardi would have to be on a plane first thing in the morning because he had to fly to Hawaii first to get the visa. Here I am thinking Jardi would swim if he had to. On the way back from the airport after dropping Mr. Misawa and his group off, I made travel reservations for Jardi. As tradition, he had to fly to Hawaii to get his Visa and once it was ready 2 or 3 days later, he would fly to Japan for his first tour. Modest and Donovan would go on the next tour. Jardi had no money so I put it on my credit card and fronted Jardi the money until NOAH could reimburse me the flight several weeks later. Another example of how much of a piece of crap I can be to the boys. Don't believe me, listen to a shoot interview or two when you get a chance.
My next blog will have part 2 of the Pro Wrestling Noah story. I will tell you why I think the relationship with APW ended, how PWI was involved. I will also tell you about my trip to Japan to visit PRO WRESTLING NOAH to watch Modest, Donovan and Bison wrestle. While there, Mr. Misawa, the translator and myself sat in Mr. Misawa's office and talked business for almost 2 hours about KING OF INDIES and our business relationship, I will talk about that meeting. Tune in to find out how David Meltzer plays a part in all of this? I'll even tell you about running into Samoa Joe at one of the shows on the tour and how politics played into that meeting. Learn about why NOAH pulled out of KING OF INDIES or at least the reason given by Mr. Misawa. I'll even reveal the contents of the letter I wrote to Mr. Misawa and Mr. Nagata after the relationship with APW had ended and how American Dragon, Spanky, Doug Williams, Low Ki played a factor in Modest and Morgan leaving APW and my theory about how they all played a part in our relationship with Pro Wrestling Noah going sour.
I look forward to your comments and to my next blog...