Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Memphis Mofo" Mark Bravura Weighs In On the Jeremy Wood Incident

----Bravura is regular reader of the site and is a wrestler in the North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia area.  Bravura "cleaned up" in the 2009 Mid-Atlantic awards. He sent in the following letter.

Hey Brian,
Memphis Mofo
Just wanted to drop you a note about Jeremy Wood. It annoys me that way people throw around the word tragedy for things that just aren't, because it minimizes what the word means in a situation when it truly applies such as this. In fact I would go father and say it's even worse. It's an atrocity.
A 23-24 year old kid is DEAD because some idiot is giving him fucking powerbombs unsafely. DEAD. Dead is forever. This kid who survived a tour in Iraq is dead because of some idiot who probably wasn't trained correctly himself. Indulge me for a second with a story. When I first moved back to DC. I looked up all the local companies and as soon as I could went to shows and got myself booked. Pretty soon I got the itch to start training too and started going up to the closest wrestling school to train. Eventually, other guys stopped showing up and since I wanted the ring time, I started leading the classes. I would NEVER say that I was a trainer, but like I said I wanted ring time so I showed people what I knew and did my best to lead them and teach them. New people chain wrestled for at least a month before they ever even THOUGHT about taking a bump. From their first squat bump to standing back bump took weeks. WEEKS. Nobody ever took a bigger bump than a bodyslam, suplex or backdrop and that was only after months and months of training.
One day one of the other workers came up to the school. He used to train guys up there, but stopped showing up once I was coming up. Anyway, he's a great guy, but very into the old ROH/Northeast Indy big move headdrop style. We only had two of the more advanced trainees up there that day. Each had started training over 18 months earlier. Well one of them expressed interest in taking bigger bumps like powerbombs or chokeslams just so he could know he could do it in a match. I tried explaining to him about a bump tab and once your bump tab is run all the way up you can't pay it off and you're done, but he really wanted to take the bump and the other trainer guy was all for giving it to him. I finally relented and said okay. I made sure that he was going to give the kid the safe chokeslam. He said oh yeah totally. So I said okay then go ahead. He proceeded to give the guy the most unsafe chokeslam imaginable. Jerk him up Shove him down by the neck. No hand in the lower back flattening him out. No falling down with him to break the fall. Nothing. He just threw the poor kid down. The kid freaked out in the air and landed all messed up. Luckily he just got the wind knocked out of him, but he could've been really hurt. I chewed the other trainer guy a new asshole. Then made him take a SAFE chokeslam from me. I lifted him up, put my hand in the small of his back. flattened him out went down to the mat with him. Giving him the SAFEST chokeslam possible. That is how you give a chokeslam when NOBODY IS GETTING PAID. His reaction was yeah, but it probably looked like shit. WHO CARES. It's a chokeslam. The crowd thinks it a killer no matter what and if you sell it like a killer guess what? It's a killer. G-zus. Everyone walks away. Nobody gets hurt. That's the object of the business.
The margin for error in this sport in minuscule. One inch the wrong way and you're injured, you're paralyzed, you're dead. Henry Godwin had taken the Doomsday Device dozens of times. It got messed up once and it broke his neck. They just had to do it the cool way with the guy taking it cutting a flip instead of the safer way with Animal taking the Electric Chair bump. Nobody has ever broken their neck the Electric Chair way several have the other way. Guess what people NEVER DO THE FLIP WAY AGAIN. NEVER! It's not worth the risk and the fans don't care either way.
I feel like an ass for even ranting about the business after what happened to this poor kid and his family. It's absolutely horrible that his life was sacrificed to something he loved by someone who didn't deserve to be a part of it. I'll never forget Gravedigger (Son of Moondog, you may remember him as the guy with the highest unpaid child support in the history of Missouri, or as the moron who tried to fake his own death to get out of paying it) saying that he was training people at that one the first day he worked on their punches. I hadn't even had my first match yet at that point and I knew that that was wrong. That's what this situation reminds me of. Sometimes you just don't have to know more about a situation to know some people shouldn't be training guys. Powerbombs clotheslines, whatever, you shouldn't be doing that shit on the second day. Hell the second week.
What's wrong with people. And why do they insist on fucking up the business we love. I never met Jeremy, but I've heard nothing, but good things about him. It's a horrible shame what happened to him. I feel horrible for his family, but the saddest thing is it will happen again. It was only a few years ago that a kid died from taking powerbombs from Khali in training in California. As long as there are kids who want to be wrestlers and there are morons who buy a ring and think that makes them a wrestler or a trainer then this will happen again. Wrestling doesn't learn from it's mistakes it doesn't learn from its tragedies. Lance Cade follows Test follows Steve Bradley follows Brian Pillman follows Louie Spicolli follows Art Barr and on and on.