|AAPW at Rent One Park May 2010|
More talk on the independent circuit. Yesterday I talked about my experiences in Alabama. Now time for talk of wrestling in southern Illinois. Ironically, when I lived in West Lafayette, Indiana I didn't attend any wrestling shows at all, independent nor national. Part of the reason, I don't know if they ever existed in the area.
Anyway, I've been to a lot of independent shows here. High school gyms, armories, civic centers, even a bar one night. Saw "Cowboy" Bob Orton wrestle there one night. He was in a tag team match. My buddy Chad and I were so close to the ring, we could have tagged in and taken part of the battle.
Many times, these shows will feature a lot of local and regional talent. From time to time, they'll bring in a legend, like Jerry the King Lawler, Brutus Beefcake, or Jim Neidhardt. Renegade Pro Wrestling in Metropolis is run by Tojo Yammato, Jr. He seems to have a working relationship with a lot of the past stars. Sid, Scott Hall, and Koko B. Ware all recently worked shows there.
Most of the indy shows I've been to here are with the All American Pro Wrestling group. They put on some decent matches. The guys work hard and get over with the crowd. Again, it's more cozy in these venues, so there's a better chance your cheers (and jeers) are going to be heard.
I have had a chance to talk to some of these guys, most notibly "Curly". He's actually going to be on our morning show tomorrow promoting an upcoming show for his Southern Illinois Wrestling Entertainment event this weekend. One of the wrestlers on the show, Matt Storm recently answered some questions for me.
As I suspected, he has dreams of one day making it to the big leagues. He wants to perform for TNA. He told me, "I do it because I love the athletism of it, the physicality of it, the acting part of it, I love the crowd reactions, and finally I love the intense atmosphere." Payment for the indy wrestlers varies and is based on the ticket sales and items purchased in the stands. These guys depend on us, so don't let them down when you attend a show.
Sure the guys that wrestle for this indy groups are smaller than the ones you'll catch on Monday or Thurday nights. But their hearts are just as big. They love to entertain and perform too.
I'll wrap this discussion up with a teaser. One of my best memories with the independents came about 5 and a half years ago with Ian Rotten and his IWA: Midsouth group. I'll save that story for another blog. It's a good one though. Honest.