AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Since New Year's Day is Monday, thought I'd put out this blog the Friday before.
Wrestling lost some major names in 2017, including two of its greatest voices, Lance Russell and Bobby Heenan. One of the most poignant farewells to Bobby Heenan came on Twitter from Corey Graves: "Without him, there is no me".
Wrestling and its fans also lost names like Tom Zenk, George "The Animal" Steele, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff, Matthew Anoa'i (WWE's Rosey), FMW's Mr. Pogo, with lucha losing Gran Apache, Brazo/Alvarado family patriarch Brazo de Oro, Ruben Pato Soria, Chavo Guerrero, Sr., Fishman, AAA's Joaquin Roldan, and longtime WWA/Tijuana promoter Benjamin Mora.
We also lost Yukihiro Sakada (better known as Hart Dungeon trainer Tokyo Joe Daigo), Hart Family brother Smith Hart, WCW ring announcer Rhubarb Jones, German promoter/wrestler Otto Wanz, WWF/E's Timothy Well and Rex King, Chris Bryan (Absolute Intense Wrestling's co-promoter Chander Biggins), Rotten Ron Starr, Dennis Stamp (best known among many for his appearance in Beyond The Mat and the Stallone movie Paradise Alley), WCW copntroller/promoter Chip Burnham, Canadian independent wrestler Eric Denis, Tugboat Taylor, AWA tag team champion, Pretty Boy Doug Somers, Bruiser Bob Sweetan, Bruiser Bedlam, Nicole Bass, Wayne Van Dyke (Dick Delicious), Diane Von Hoffman (Moondog Fifi), Larry Sharpe, Jim Crockett Promotions' Elliott Murnick, Outlaw Ron Bass, Brandon Kaplan (Spyral BKNY), Pro Wrestling Magic co-founder Chad Adams, Burrhead Jones, Aaron "Nigerian Nightmare" Gainey and Stan "Krusher" Kowalski.
I also wanted to remind readers one final time about how independent wrestling promotion throughout the United States and Canada have been busy helping their communities with Toys for Tots collections, canned/non-perishable food collections, warm coat/clothing collections, and other charitable efforts this Holiday season. They did it without Vince McMahon's $2.5 billion, having to hustle sponsors from local pizza shops, bars, tattoo parlors, and more. More than one of those promoters (or others who head up these efforts) need assistance themselves from time to time. But they still put in all the work that promoting an independent wrestling show takes, and went well out of their way to give to others in their own communities in 2017.
These are very real numbers on how much they've helped their communities as of December 29 (2 haven't yet reported their numbers yet).
77 shows scheduled/75 reporting
* $47,963 cash donations/in-kind services
* 14,200 meals donated (estimated through donations of meals, canned and non-perishable foods)
* 7,275 toys collected through Toys for Tots and similar toy drive efforts.
* 47 blankets
* Numerous scarves and hats, winter socks and boots for the homeless
* 30 Christmas "Stockings of Love" stockings for the people of the Houston and Puerto Rico regions which included Walmart gift cards and various toiletries.
Here's how the individual promotions have helped their communities this year:
* Hoosier Pro Wrestling raised $775 cash, 10 new bikes valued at $800 and $500+ in toys (total value of nearly $2100) at the November 4 show (as well as collected toys at the October 7 show)
* Cassidy Christie Memorial Show raised $2,300 for the Cassidy Christie Memorial College Scholarship Fund. Cassidy Christie is the 11 year old daughter of longtime Michigan wrestler Pete Christie who died from a rare form of cancer in November 2015.
* Smash Wrestling held a show in Cobourg, ON in support of Fighting the Truth on November 10. Fighting the Truth is a non-profit organization which raises awareness for mental illness and alcohol and substance abuse in sports.
* UWE Pro Wrestling presented its annual Headlock for Hunger on November 11 at The Wex in Cadillac, MI. Just over 200 pounds of canned and non-perishable food was collected for Shepard's Table.
* Northern Tier Wrestling presented Fight for the Cure on November 12th in Towanda, PA and raised $320 for the Janet Weis Children's Hospital helping children with pediatric cancer.
* Tommy Wildfire Rich's Wrestling School in Myrtle Beach, BC did a food drive from November 6-14. Numerous boxes of non-perishable and canned food were donated to local charities along with fresh chickens from a local merchant, Fieldale Farms.
* Fighting for Autism partnered with Dynamo Pro Wrestling in a benefit show on November 11 in St. Charles, MO.
* Primal Conflict Wrestling held its annual food drive at its November 18 Harper's Ferry, WV event and collected 113 pounds of food for Jefferson County Community Ministries.
* IWA Vintage Pro Wrestling and DAWG held a benefit event on November 18 at The Alms Center in Bridgeton, NJ for CASA. Nearly $100 was raised that will help the organization that advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children who are struggling in foster care.
* All Pro Wrestling and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada again held Headlock on Hunger on November 18 at the Edward C Reed High School, Sparks, NV. They EXCEEDED their goal of enough collected for TEN THOUSAND MEALS.
* NOVA Pro Wrestling again helped the Jewish Community Center of Fairfax, VA on November 24 with its FACETS Toy Collection at its "11th Dimension" show at the JCC in Fairfax, VA. 300 toys were donated.
* Appalachian Mountain Wrestling presented "Thanksgiving Turmoil 2" on November 23 in Hazard, KY at AB Combs Elementary School, AND presented "Blue & Black Friday" on November 24 in Jackson, KY at Breathitt County High School, collecting toys for their annual Toy Drive. At least 500 toys and $500 were collected.
* Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling presents "Headlocks for Hunger" on November 25 for the fourth consecutive year at the Departure Bay Activity Center in Nanaimo, BC, VIPW collected 3 huge canned and non-perishable bins of food for the local Loaves and Fishes food bank.
* All Star Wrestling/West Virginia returned to Madison, WV on Black Friday (November 24th). Santa again collected numerous bags of toys and $100 for The Nice List.
* Classic Championship Wrestling returned to Lebanon, PA on November 24 for Blood, Sweat, and Chairs, collecting numerous toys for Toys for Tots.
* Pro Wrestling Eclipse presented November Bash on November 26 at the Oshawa Legion Branch 43, Oshawa, ON. This year's November Bash supported Feed The Street and Cold Foot Canada, with non perishable goods and winter clothing collected at the show. The effort will continue in January as well.
* Delmarva Wrestling Digest and Kentucky Fried Chicken of Seaford, DE presented their third annual Toys for Tots Toy Drive featuring Ring of Honor Superstars "Dem Boys" Jay and Mark Briscoe and some of Delmarva's top independent on Wednesday, November 29 which produced nine industrial size trash bags full of toys...and counting.
* Christian Wrestling Association International and Cody Hawk Pro Wrestling Training Camp presented Warehouse Wars on Friday, December 1 at 1930 Fairgrove Avenue, Hamilton, OH.
25 to 30 cases of food were collected. The promotion will do another collection in December, and hopes to collect 100 cases by the end of December. The event featured live pro wrestling with the stars of the CWAI & the students of Cody Hawk's Pro Wrestling Training Camp.
* Eastern Panhandle Pro Wrestling presented HARDCORE Christmas in Kearneysville, WV. in cooperation with Ghostbusters Tri-State Division, as part of a Christmas Toy Drive for Community Children, collecting over 100 toys.
* Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling returned to Pitt Meadows, BC on December 1 with proceeds benefiting Diabetes Canada, raising several hundred dollars Canadian.
* MCW Pro Wrestling presented "Season's Beatings", its annual Toys for Tots show in December 1 in Joppa, MD, and collected hundreds of new toys and games.
* Hoosier Pro Wrestling did its final Firemen's Cheer Fund Toys for Tots show (of three shows yearly) in Columbus, IN on December 2. Despite the Columbus Festival of Lights which drew around 10,000 people, $400 cash, $600 in toys was collected with more from a local sponsor who collected at their business. For the year as a whole (3 shows), Hoosier Pro Wrestling collected over $3000 in toys and cash.
* Crossfire Wrestling returned to St. Catharines, ON on December 2 for Jingle Bell Brawl, $1740 was raised for the Niagara Peninsula Children's Foundation.
* Wrestling for A Cause presented "Fight for Daniel" on December 2 at the Claremore Community Center, Claremore, OK raising $1,000 for families of children fighting childhood cancer.
* Monster Factory Pro Wrestling returned on December 2 to the Monster Factory in Paulsboro, NJ, and got at least a box of toys for the Toys for Tots collection at the show.
* United Wrestling Coalition of Wrightstown, NJ, held its annual Toys for Tots event on December 2, with 12 boxes (500 toys) and 12 bikes collected, as well as 30 Christmas "Stockings of Love" stockings for the people of the Houston and Puerto Rico regions with Walmart gift cards and toiletries. The promotion also began a clothing drive, and collected 17 blankets, numerous scarves and hats, winter socks and boots for the homeless.
* The Delaware/South Jersey based ECWA held its annual Toys for Tots show on December 2 in Woodbury Heights, NJ. Two Toys for Tots boxes, plus one big bag were collected.
* Chinlock Wrestling returned to Kingston, ON on December 2 for its annual holiday charity show to benefit Youth Diversion and Family and Children's Services' Tree of Hope campaign, raising $25,715 in an event featuring Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat.
* Ring Wars Carolina returned to Lumberton, NC on December 2, collecting donations of gift cards were accepted as admission, and donated to area flood victims.
* Keystone State Wrestling Alliance presented Fan Fest/Toy Drive 2017 on December 2 in Pittsburgh, PA. Hundreds of toys were collected.
* American Premier Wrestling presented BRAWL 30 - Toys for Tots on December 2 at the APW Slam Center , Statesboro, GA, collecting over 300 toys.
* Aspire Pro Wrestling returned to action on December 3 at the Pennsauken Youth Athletic Association, Pennsauken, NJ. 40-50 canned goods and non-perishables were collected for the South Jersey Food Bank.
* Harley Race’s World League Wrestling presented Christmas Bash 2017 on December 2 in Troy. MO, raising both monetary and food donations for the local community food pantry The Bread For Life Food Pantry with what the pantry described as a "huge donation" of 1-2 pick up trucks full of food plus a "considerable donation (financial)".
* H20: HardCore Hustle Organization returned on December 8 for HOSS, a 16 person tournament in Williamstown, NJ. The show featured a Toys for Toys collection and collected a box of toys.
* Adrenaline Championship Wrestling returned to Denton, MD on December 8 for their annual Toys for Tots show, collecting over 100 toys
* California's Big Time Wrestling returned to Newark, CA on Friday, December 8, at the Newark Pavilion, 6430 Thornton Ave, Newark, CA collecting 200 toys with its annual holiday toy drive, Rock The Bells.
* Brew City Wrestling held its annual Headlock for Hunger food collection at its December 8 show in West Allis, WI, collecting 75 pounds of canned and non-perishable food.
* Combat Zone Wrestling and DJ Hyde again did the annual Toys for Tots collection (in conjunction with the Marine Corps Reserve) for the thirteenth year in a row... another record for toys....an estimated 600, blowing last year's total out of the water, despite a the first snowstorm of the year that continued all day.
An incredible part of that was CZW fan Bob Manning, who drove up from near Glen Burnie, MD...northeast snowstorm be damned. Why so remarkable? He did it with $1,000 OF TOYS...a literal truckful of toys which he bought through a $865 GoFundMe. So many toys were donated overall that Kathie Fitzpatrick had to make three trips to and from the venue to where toys are being stored (in the storm), until delivery the following week. There were so many, she had to employ other people to help transport and store the toys, which will go to Ronald McDonald House/Cooper Hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as other agencies and groups.
* United Pro Wrestling teamed up with Ultimate Championship Wrestling on December 9 for a Toys for Tots Toy Drive at the National Guard Armory in Bowling Green, KY. The promotion collected two and a half bins full of toys.
* Dynamite Championship Wrestling presented Rumble for Glory on December 9 in Milford, DE to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation; and collected 5 full boxes despite a Delaware snowstorm. There are sponsor locations still collecting as of this date.
* All State Championship Wrestling returned to New Egypt, NJ on December 9 at collected numerous Toys for Tots.
* Grand Slam Wrestling returned to the GSW Arena, Old Forge, PA for Jingle Brawl on December 9. Their Toys for Tots collection brought in at least 100 toys.
* Cen-Cal Pro Wrestling presented 'Twas The Fight Before Christmas on December 9 in San Luis Obispo, CA collecting 50 toys for the Season of Hope charity.
* Championship Wrestling from Ontario presented "T'was The Fight Before Christmas" on December 10 at The Rockpile in Toronto, ON and raised $150 of cash and non-perishable foods for Toronto's Daily Bread Food Bank.
* Ontario's Smash Wrestling presented SMASH!STIGMA! together with Wrestling With Stigma to benefit the The Peterborough AIDS Resource Network on December 10 in Peterborough, ON, with at least $500 raised at the show.
* Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling returned to Warren, MI and the Hot Rock Sports Bar and Cafe on December 10 for Hardcore With A Heart with its annual canned goods drive to benefit the Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit. The event collected 248 pounds of food collected and $150.
* Bar Wrestling returned to Baldwin Park, CA on December 14 for "A Christmas Classic" which included Brian Cage, Joey Ryan, and Reno SCUM. Taya Valkyrie spearheaded a non-perishable food item/unwrapped toys collection which took in at least 100 toys and 100 cans of food.
* National Wrasslin' League returned to St. Joseph, MO on Friday, December 15 in St. Joseph, MO in a Toys for Tots show, collecting 215 toys.
* Christian Wrestling Association International and Cody Hawk Pro Wrestling Training Camp presented Warehouse Wars on Friday, December 15 at 1930 Fairgrove Ave, Hamilton, OH. The promotion collected an additional 10 cases of food.
* All Star Wrestling returned to Cloverdale, BC on December 15 for BodySlams for Toys to benefit the Surrey Christmas Bureau; and collected 100 toys.
* SCW Unlimited Wrestling presented Dead of Winter in Bremerton, WA on December 16 where fans and promoter Ron Van Hess donated clothes, toys, and provided $5,000 in in-kind services, rebuilding an entire room for the Stella Mavis House battered women's shelter.
* Total Wrestling Federation presented Wreck the Halls on Saturday, December 16 at the Historic Colonial Theatre in Sacramento, CA, and collected numerous toys for local Shriners Hospital.
* Georgia Wrestling Extreme presented its first Annual Holiday Throwdown and Toy Drive on December 16 in Albany, GA and collected nearly 100 toys.
* NWL/HoPWF Wrestling returned to Martinsburg, WV on December 16. The Holiday Season Toy Drive for Children In Need, Inc. collected 229 toys and $550 for Children In Need, Inc/Washington County. 9 WWE official t-shirts,and 2 FREE pro wrestling training gift certificates valued at $2000 each.
* Top Of Texas Pro Wrestling returned to Amarillo, TX on December 16 for Season's Beatings. All profits from the show went to buy toys for the children at Northwest Texas Children's Hospital. Between 50-10 were personally delivered by the promotion.
* Nueva Revelacion de Lucha Libre returned to Thomasville, NC on December 16 for the fourth annual Lucha 4 a Toy show, collecting numerous toys.
* Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling presented its annual Wrestling For Hunger show in New Westminster, BC on December 16 collecting 100 toys, 100 or more food items, and 20 blankets.
* Imperial Wrestling Revolution did a Toys for Tots show at its December 16 show in Ardmore, OK, collecting 200 toys for area children.
* Pro Wrestling All Stars presented Christmas Classic on Friday night December 15th from The Play Atlantis in Melvindale, MI for the promotion's annual Toys for Tots show, where toys were collected.
* Blue Water Championship Wrestling returned to Port Huron, MI on December 16 for Headlock for Hunger benefits Midcity Nutrition Soup Kitchen in Port Huron, MI; with an estimated $2825 in donations/live gate and 1200-1300 canned food items.
* OVERCOME came to Lincoln Alexander Centre, Hamilton, ON on December 16 in a benefit for Mission Services Men's Shelter and Addiction Services.
* Northeast Wrestling returned to Bethany, CT on Sunday, December 17 for King of Bethany in a Toys for Tots event, collecting at least 100 toys.
* Tommy Wildfire Rich School Of Wrestling presented "'Twas The Fight Before Christmas" to benefit Toys for Tots on December 16 in Myrtle Beach, SC. 100 toys were donated.
* DWI Wrestling returned to Riverview, FL on December 16 for a Toys 4 Tots show with 2 boxes of toys collected.
* Wrestling 4 a Cause, the seventh annual Christmas 4 Kids Toy/Food Drive was held December 16 in Whitesburg, GA to benefit the local "Christmas for Kids" effort, collecting at least 500 toys, and raised funds for the Carroll County Women's Shelter.
* National Wrasslin' League returned to Joplin, MO on Saturday, December 16 at the St. Joseph Army National Guard Armory, 301 N Woodbine Rd, St Joseph, MO in a Toys for Tots show, collecting 200 toys.
* UWE Pro Wrestling presented Season's Beatings on December 16 at The Wex in Cadillac, MI, collecting 150 toys for Santa's Helping Hands of Wexford County.
* Battle Arts Professional Wrestling returned to Mississauga, ON on December 16 in a benefit for Kurdistan earthquake relief on behalf of The Toronto Kurdish House,raising $165.
* Supreme Pro Wrestling presented its annual toy drive show and canned food drive on Sunday, December 17 in Sacramento, CA collecting 50 toys.
* Gangrel's Wrestling Asylum presented a Florida Toy Drive student show on Sunday, December 17 in Dania Beach, FL. Just under 200 toys were presented to Dania City Commission at bell time and to kids at Frost Park later the same day.
* Miracle in Greektown took place December 17 in Toronto, ON benefiting the John Howard Society of Toronto, which provides addiction/harm reduction services, domestic violence services and more; raised $4,538.
* H20: HardCore Hustle Organization returned to action on December 22 for "A Christmas Classic 2" in Williamstown, NJ, featuring a Toys for Toys collection.
Still to report information:
* DOA Pro Wrestling returned to Portland, OR on December 16 for 'Twas The Fight Before Christmas (a popular show title this year, as you can see). Unopened toys and canned food were collected.
* Great Canadian Wrestling returned to Oshawa, ON on December 27 for "Season's Beatings", collecting cans of food to benefit Simcoe Hall Settlement House.
To me, those are incredible numbers: At least $48,000 donations/in-kind services provided for various charities, 14,200 people fed who would have gone hungry, 7,275 children allowed to have a little innocence for one more year , 47 people who will be warmer (along with homeless people who will be a little warmer), 30 Christmas "Stockings of Love" stockings for the people of the Houston and Puerto Rico regions who get to have a bit more dignity after tragedy.
If you're a independent wrestling promotion, and you DIDN'T do a show like this to give back to your community this year....there's always next year. If you're an independent wrestling fan, and your favorite promotion isn't named...ask them if they plan to do something next year. If not, ask them why not.
To contact me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Happy New Year to everyone. Please don't drink and drive.
Until next time....