|The site I ran for the better part of 8 years
If you’ve followed my writings over the years, you know that from late 2002 to late 2011, I wrote for, and later became Editor-in-Chief, for the “Declaration of Independents”, a newsletter/website that primarily covered northeast independent wrestling. During that time, everyone and anyone would contact me to give me news. I was also promoting and booking independent wrestling shows for a majority of that time. I would close the original DOI in 2011, and later, left wrestling for good, at the age of 30, in 2012, when I sold my WSU promotion. I just felt at 30 years old, it was time to move on, in life, in general. Sometimes you just need to sit down and re-evaluate life, your peers, and how you’re spending time. For me, I enjoyed wrestling, but I wanted to do other things & had other things to handle at that time.
Since starting this new DOINOW.com project, which primarily deals with New York sports, several of my old readers during my wrestling days have asked me to write about wrestling. Here’s the deal- wrestling was a fun time in my life, but it’s over. I’ve moved on and enjoy what I’m doing now. On occasion, I will cover a WWE PPV, to satisfy my old readership, but the days of covering wrestling, at the indy level, are over.
Recently, one night I was going back and forth talking with another former DOI Editor-in-Chief, Michael Zevon. We were discussing the craziness that was indy wrestling. I was looking through some old emails trying to find him something and I stumbled upon this – a chapter for a book I was doing.
A lot of my time involved in independent wrestling is a blur. I remember some things, but don’t remember all the details about every single thing that I did or was part of. I know that I was offered a book deal in late 2006, basically a book about the crazy world of independent wrestling. I don’t even remember the publisher’s name or the agent I was talking to, but it wasn’t a big publisher nor was it ECW Press, who was releasing wrestling books left and right at the time. I want to say the logo on the letterhead was a bear, but I can’t find any of my old correspondence with that publisher.
Basically, the book deal was I would get $10,000 based on completion of the book and a percentage of sales. I wasn’t expecting to make a million dollars off this, since it was such a niche, of a niche, of a niche subject, but a couple of bucks wouldn’t hurt. My approach to the book was to make up a chapter list to myself, and then tackle each chapter individually, while having what I was going to write in the other chapters in my head as I was skipping around. In this case, I started off with chapter 7, instead of doing chapter 1. Even today when I write, I’ll write the good/meat & potatoes stuff first, then do all the build-up/conclusion/trimmings after.
What happened was, and again, my memory is fuzzy, the person I was negotiating with said they would give me a $10,000 flat fee or I could take just a percentage of the sales. I couldn’t have both. I was pissed because I was offered both together already. At that time in life, I was starting a new “real-life” job, running WSU in its infancy and running the DOI. Getting the time to write a book proved tedious. However, I did write one chapter, and this is what you will get a chance to read below, if you so care to.
Keep in mind when reading this: this is an unedited copy. It’s not grammar/spell checked. It’s kinda jumpy as I didn’t flesh some sections out and add other stuff in. While “legends” like Frank Goodman, Carmine Sabia, Rob Black & others are discussed, at the same time, I never got to the Jac Sabboth’s, the Anthony Deblasi’s, etc. It flows ok, but this would’ve never been the final product. This is completely a rough draft.
Lastly, before reading this chapter, that was written in 2007, some names of people who I know couldn’t handle it have been changed. I don’t want people, who’ve moved on since this time, to get their panties in the bunch. I know most won’t care, but the ones I know who would, I’ve since amended.
Now, for all the people who have been asking for DOI-ish type of stuff, here you go. I now ask of you that you do me a favor and check out the other articles on this site. Writing about NY sports is my new thing here, and I hope you follow me into this new endeavor of mine. For my new readers, here is what I used to do for about a decade of my life. It’s pretty entertaining.
Thank you as always for reading – Sean.
Dedicated to Jimmy “Hustler” Alicea 12/1/14
CHAPTER 7: The Personalities, Characters & Stories That You’ll Only Find In Indy Wrestling
“Take your diarrhea covered, booger covered, shoe pegged corn shit covered, cuticle bitten finger, which smells like dirty fish, if it has been stuck up the vagina of Josephine Nannariello and press the number 1 button to get your asses hauled off to option 1.”
– Frank Goodman, who is a 40 year old married man with two kids, as “The Masked Maniac”, on his UXW Hotline.
Every person who works for a living has people they encounter at their workplace. Whether you are a lawyer, a janitor, a doctor, a security guard or involved in any other profession, chances are there are people that you have met through your job that makes you think, “Hey, this person should have their own reality TV show.” Indy wrestling is no different. In fact, Indy wrestling has people from all walks of life under its umbrella. Unfortunately, but fortunately for this book, the lowest forms of life find their way into the wrestling business. Con-men, cheats, thieves, arsonists, sexual harassers, sluts, drug users and creeps are just some of the adjectives used to describe some of the people in indy wrestling. Of course, not every person involved in indy wrestling is of low morale, because there are a lot of great people out there. However, for every great person in indy wrestling, there are easily at least five questionable people involved. This chapter will explore the lives and details of some of the zaniest and interesting people involved in indy wrestling today.
Frank Goodman, formerly of Queens, NY, but currently of Orlando, Florida, promotes UXW, which was formerly known as USA Pro Wrestling. Goodman has been in the wrestling business a little bit over 20 years. Starting off as a wrestler, and becoming a promoter in the mid-90’s, Frank’s UXW shows are very successful. Frank holds his events in Long Island and in Queens, New York, and averages 600 people per event. As mentioned earlier, the average attendance for an indy show, in the northeast area today, is around the 125 range. Frank is way above the average, and the way he draws fans has been a topic of debate.
Big names such as King Kong Bundy, Sunny, Vader, Billy Gunn, D-Lo Brown, and Tito Santana are among the big names that have worked for Frank Goodman regularly. However, small names such as Josh Deely, The New Dynamite Kid (Which is a slap in the face to the real Dynamite Kid), Ken Sweeney, Randy Darkfire and The HSK are some of the names that are peppered throughout UXW shows. These wrestlers are known as ticket sellers. Just like in the music business, these wrestlers are forced to “pay to play” to participate on these shows, angering the real wrestlers in the locker room that train hard and make sacrifices to be taken seriously in their craft. What makes UXW different than any other promotion is that fans can be the wrestlers. You, Joe E. Reader, can be a wrestler in UXW. You can share a locker room with ex-WWE talent and with up-and-coming indy wrestlers. UXW is the only promotion where fans can be wrestlers. Having fans or “marks” play wrestler breaks the code of kayfabe, which are the unwritten laws of what and what not to do in professional wrestling. Simply put, some of the wrestlers in UXW disgrace the sport of pro wrestling.
What these lower forms of wrestlers do, is buy anywhere from ten to fifty tickets from UXW promoter, Frank Goodman. In turn, those wrestlers sell the tickets to their friends and family who want to see them participate in a wrestling match. Frank, who usually gets about fifteen of these wrestlers per show, selling at least 10 tickets each, sees his attendance number and his gate number rise. In turn, the quality and respect for his shows goes down. After fulfilling their ticket-selling commitment, Frank books them on his show, and these guys get to spend 10 minutes jumping around in a wrestling ring. These wrestlers are known as “ticket-sellers”.
To make a comparison, imagine going to a football, baseball, hockey, or basketball game. Now imagine being able to play along your favorite stars in meaningful games. Drop a pass from Peyton Manning. Bobble a grounder from Derek Jeter. Become the Swiss cheese of the Detroit Redwings. Foul out in four minutes trying to guard Shaq. This is exactly what these ticket selling wrestlers do in pro wrestling. They can eat chair shots from ECW veterans like Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten. They get to share locker rooms with wrestlers they watched from the other side of the guard rail. They get to bump and run around in the same ring where former WWE Champion, Mick Foley refereed a match between ECW Icon, The Sandman and former ECW & NWA World Champion, Raven. They get to leave their dreams out, but at the fans expense. Would you pay full price to watch a bunch of no-name, untrained, kids play for your favorite professional sports team? (Sorry Tampa Bay Devil Ray fans) Would you want to see people who belong watching, not watching, the sport involved in crucial moments? Most likely not, and this is a fact that Frank Goodman disregards when employing the ticket seller wrestlers.
To make matters worse, the ticket selling wrestlers for the most part, are untrained and do not know the history nor the art of their craft. Most of these wrestlers don’t own wrestling gear, so most of the matches are skinny kids in T-Shirts and jeans flipping around and pounding each other with weapons. It is a train wreck to watch. People in wrestling have different opinions about these wrestlers. Some enjoy the matches because they are so bad that they are entertaining. However, other people in the wrestling business find them to be harmful to the wrestling business because they are so bad and “fake”. How are fans expected to pay serious money when the wrestlers themselves are neither serious nor even actual wrestlers?
While most indy promotions stay away from ticket sellers, because once fans find out that ticket sellers are on the show, they tend not to pay their hard earned dollar to watch crap in the ring, Frank Goodman employs them all. However, to make matters right, he takes the money generated from the ticket sellers and puts that toward bringing in the big name talent. It’s quite the double edged sword. On one hand, if Frank stopped employing the ticket sellers, he might only be able to afford 3-4 big names per show. On the other hand, because of the ticket sellers, Frank is able to book 10-12 big names per show. Fans are mixed about Frank Goodman’s UXW. Some come and laugh at the ticket sellers and enjoy the big name matches. Some fans refuse to pay money to continue the ticket-sellers dreams of playing wrestler and stay home. However, the end result at every show is a big wad of cash in Frank Goodman’s pockets.
Due to Frank booking all the ticket sellers, a lot of big name wrestlers, in addition to his solid core of indy wrestlers, Frank’s UXW has gotten the reputation of holding marathon shows. In fact, he’s the only promoter to have ever run a show that went past the 7 hour mark. Seven hours! Imagine going to any sporting event with a 7PM start time, and not leaving the venue until 2AM. It is just too long by anyone’s standards. On average, Frank’s shows last five hours, although in recent times, he’s been able to cut it down to four. The average length of an indy wrestling show is 2 hours and 45 minutes, because once you start hitting the three hour mark, fan interest in a show wanes and fans are itching for fresh air. To be an optimist, at least you get your money’s worth at Frank Goodman’s USA Pro Wrestling. With general admission tickets being $20, it equates to fans getting to see each match live for $1.00 each.
Making matters even interesting is that Frank Goodman, who is married with two kids, wrestles on his own shows. Going by the alter-ego of “The Masked Maniac”, Frank wrestles underneath a mask and cuts some of the most derogatory promos in professional wrestling. Topics such as racism, prostitution, sex, and drugs are covered almost every show. Being forty years old in a physical sport has taken its toll on Frank’s body, hence him relying on outlandish comments and actions to get a crowds attention. As mentioned previously in this book, Frank, who craves the attention and limelight, even hosts a wrestling hotline where he talks about people picking their ass and sticking their arms up vaginas. Obviously, Frank isn’t the typical forty year old man with a 9-5 job.
The sickest thing I’ve ever seen done in indy wrestling occurred at a Frank Goodman USA Pro Wrestling show. Oddly enough, the offense was built up at previous shows. It all started in late 2002. Frank, as The Masked Maniac, came out to cut his normal lengthy promo, where he insulted everyone of all creeds and races. Out came Randy Darkfire, who was also known as “Adolph”, who portrayed a Nazi-sympathizer character. The Masked Maniac ran down Darkfire, and soon enough, The Maniac pulled down Darkfire’s pants. Darkfire’s real-life shit stained underwear was exposed to the crowd and traces of toilet paper dangled from his butt. Darkfire was able to escape The Maniac before he could be embarrassed more. And really, who thought he could be more embarrassed? Well, Darkfire was, and it all happened on March 8th, 2003.
March 8th, 2003 will go down in history as the first day that someone was sodomized by a hot dog in pro wrestling. After the incident in 2002, Darkfire continued his Adolph character in USA Pro Wrestling. However, March 8th wasn’t a normal day for Randy Darkfire. It started off badly, as Darkfire, who I should mention is one of the ticket seller wrestlers, didn’t sell all of his tickets. To make matters worse, he was caught taking a number 2 on the floor of the locker room bathroom, rather than leaving the number 2 in the toilet like every other human being. For some reason, as you’ll find out later, bathrooms are the setting for some of the sickest stories in indy wrestling. After being caught leaving his feces on the floor, he was shouted at by Frank Goodman, for being disgusting. Darkfire didn’t look too worried, and went about his business. Business would pick up for Darkfire come show time.
Unbeknownst to Darkfire, Goodman was livid about Darkfire being nasty and creating a mess in the building (The infamous Elks Lodge of Elmhurst, NY) that Goodman rented. Goodman devised a plan where several other wrestlers on the show would bring Darkfire to the ring during the Masked Maniac’s promo. From there, no one expected what the Masked Maniac did to happen.
The Maniac cut his promo, where he discussed fecal matter, having sex with rats and other subjects that would be avoided at a family dinner table. As planned, several wrestlers brought out Darkfire and brought him to the ring. Frank, as The Masked Maniac, started up a verbal assault against Darkfire for being disgusting. From there, The Maniac pulled Darkfire’s pants down to his ankles and made Darkfire bend over. From there, The Maniac showed us what he learned from “Creative Hot Dog Uses 101” and jammed an 8 inch frozen hot dog in the anal sphincter of Darkfire. To make matters worse, after having a frozen hot dog wedged in his ass, The Maniac made Darkfire bite the end that was placed in his dirty area. The Maniac then kicked Darkfire out of the ring, and fans made their way to the bathroom, to puke out their previously eaten hot dogs.
Darkfire never got his revenge on the Maniac, and what could he do really? The indy wrestling world is a world that is mostly policed by people in indy wrestling. Goodman, being one of the stronger promoters out there, wasn’t going to be affected if a ticket seller quit his company. After all, Darkfire was just a scrawny kid who barely made enough money to afford food for himself. There was no ways of suing Frank. This whole incident was chalked up to being part of the show. When it was all said and done, Darkfire earned the reputation of being the only wrestler in the planet to be violated by a hot dog.
As you can tell Goodman can be a little crazy. Perhaps nothing is crazier than his hotline. On his daily hotline, which you can even hear for yourself by calling 516-214-833 (Long Distance charges may apply), Goodman has a crazy intro where he says, “Take your diarrhea covered, booger covered, shoe pegged corn shit covered, cuticle bitten finger, which smells like dirty fish, if it has been stuck up the vagina of Josephine Nannariello and press the number 1 button to get your asses hauled off to option 1.” Sometimes he changes up the intro to make it dirtier from time-to-time, but you get the point. Daily subjects on his wrestling hotline include anal sex, screaming at Acidic Jews, honking his car horn at women with large breasts, and once in a while, Goodman talks about pro wrestling. Never would a hotline like this be available in any other profession. Only in indy wrestling can a hotline like this be considered “normal” and ordinary. Never would you find a person like Frank Goodman in accounting or by the water cooler at your work. What other 40 year old married man with two kids has the time and maturity level to say these things? You’ll only find the sick and twisted Frank Goodman in indy wrestling, and indy wrestling wouldn’t have it any other way.
A person mentioned on Goodman’s hotline before her exile from the sport was Josephine Nannariello. Josephine Nannariello got her start in professional wrestling by selling tickets for Frank Goodman’s USA Pro Wrestling and for Carmine Sabia’s Stars & Stripes Championship Wrestling to be a valet/manager. Josephine, who is 4’11” and about 110 pounds, had a chipmunk cute face and large breasts, which in turn, led her to building up a steady fan base. Looking young, and even playing off her young age, Josephine turned that into a gimmick in the aforementioned Ring of Honor. Josephine Nannariello never had any formal training in professional wrestling, and that was her downfall, as she didn’t know what and what not to do in pro wrestling.
Now knowing Frank Goodman, Frank easily jumped at the chance of having Josephine Nannariello on his show. In her first angle, Josephine Nannariello teased baring her breasts to the crowd, only to have it broken up by indy manager, Tony Lo. From there, Josephine Nannariello created a buzz on the indy scene, and quickly saw her bookings increase. Unlike males in indy wrestling, females can see their bookings increase 10-fold if they are willing to look slutty and bare some skin. Josephine Nannariello took advantage of that fact. Indy wrestlers who were busting their ass to get into prestigious promotions saw Josephine Nannariello fly right by them into big spots and earning good money while doing it. Quickly, wrestlers who were jealous and wrestlers who were upset that an untrained girl was getting all these big money earning gigs in big promotions resented her. Josephine Nannariello had to take these bookings, as she was doing something she loved doing, and it would be silly for her to turn down bookings because other people were upset at her. What was she supposed to do, turn down money and notoriety?
While Josephine Nannariello earned a reputation for being untrained and being unknowledgeable, she didn’t do herself any favors to change that reputation. Instead of getting trained and trying to understand wrestling better, Josephine Nannariello spent more time in wrestler’s bedrooms than she did in wrestling rings. When she did attempt to train, she had a large blow-up with indy wrestling trainer, Richie Rotten, and went around calling him “a cross-eyed white piece of trash.” Her training lasted a day with Richie. Josephine Nannariello did try to continue her training with Eric Simms, who is another nutcase in his own right, but after spending 20 minutes with him, Josephine Nannariello had this to say about him on her website: “Eric Simms is an annoying Jew.” An ambassador to the United Nations, Josephine Nannariello was not. Quickly, Josephine Nannariello was earning the label of a “rat” and as a racist, to go along with the fact that she was untrained. This would lead to a nasty exile from the business.
The first major conflict Josephine Nannariello had in the indy wrestling business was after several sexual episodes. Unlike any other profession, everyone in indy wrestling knows who’s having sex with whom in indy wrestling. There is no secrecy. There is no shame. Everything is out in the open and talked about by the indy wrestling media, the promoters, the wrestlers and the fans. No topic is off limits and that is why Josephine Nannariello’s sex-life became public. After entering the wrestling business, Josephine Nannariello made it public that she was involved sexually with two indy wrestlers, which were Willy Genuine and Deranged. After using her just for sex, Josephine Nannariello got mad that she couldn’t have a long-term relationship with either man. To make matters worse, both Deranged and Willy Genuine used the DOI and Frank Goodman’s UXW Hotline to let everyone know that Josephine Nannariello’s nether regions “smelt like dog shit.” Obviously, a girl with smelly genitals is a girl that most men would walk away from, and Willy and Deranged accomplished burying Josephine’s reputation by discussing the foul odor of her genitalia. Whether this was true or not, was something that could not be proved, but just the fact it was a topic of discussion, did Josephine Nannariello no favors.
Frank Goodman, who loves to capitalize on controversy, quickly cashed in on Willy Genuine’s and Deranged’s statements and had Josephine Nannariello on his hotline. Josephine Nannariello fought back by saying that both men had small physical manhood’s. After fighting back, Josephine Nannariello and Frank discussed other topics, and it was at this time that we found out that Josephine Nannariello was also a racist.
Josephine Nannariello, who was a featured guest on the hotline numerous times, made many racist remarks on Frank’s hotline. To make matters worse, when she realized it offended and riled up people, she turned it up and started to include racist remarks on her website and on her online diary. Among some of the lewdest remarks:
“My cousin had sex with a nigger, so now they have an oreo baby.”
“I won’t go to Jamaica (Queens) because there are a lot of black people there and you have to be scared of niggers.”
“Deranged is a stupid spic with a little dick.”
“I don’t like him because he’s a nigger!”
“Bison Bravado is a dirty chink who eats cats.”
“Fuck that Jew kike.”
So now to add to her reputation for being promiscuous, Josephine Nannariello earned the racist label. A racist, promiscuous, untrained female in a business dominated by males. It wasn’t a made for TGIF line-up story for Josephine Nannariello. Josephine Nannariello had a lot of people hate her and want her eliminated from the business. A lot of people told Josephine Nannariello she was wrong, but she blew them off. Josephine Nannariello didn’t mend her mistakes, and everything snowballed against her. It got to the point, near the end of Josephine Nannariello’s career, where she was scared of going to certain shows, because she thought wrestlers of Latin or African descent would beat her up. It was only a matter of time before something happened. And something did happen.
On 12/23/2004, in Union City, NJ, Mike Morgan’s AWA-NJ promotion held an X-Mas Eve Eve show. One wrestler watching the show in the audience was Homicide, who is one of the most respected and wisest wrestlers on the indy scene. Homicide had earned his stripes in the business and is one of the best wrestlers that doesn’t have a contract signed by Vince McMahon today. Homicide, whose real name is Nelson Erazo, is Puerto Rican. He wasn’t too thrilled about an untrained, racist, ring rat spitting on the business that he had bled, sweat and cried for. He also wasn’t none too happy about Josephine Nannariello using racist remarks. In addition, Homicide didn’t particularly care for Josephine Nannariello going around and telling everyone that Deranged had a small penis, because not only is Homicide a great wrestler, he’s also a great wrestling trainer, and Deranged is one of his star pupils. Due to their wrestling schedules, it was only a matter of time before Homicide and Josephine Nannariello crossed paths. On the eve of the eve of Jesus’ birthday, Homicide and Josephine Nannariello finally saw each other face-to-face.
It all started innocently enough. The first half of the show was over, and Homicide went to the locker room to talk to some of his students and friends. It was around this time that Josephine Nannariello showed up to the building, in her two-door car. Josephine Nannariello was under the impression that Homicide and Low Ki (Another Homicide student) was going to do something to her. Josephine Nannariello was under that impression because wrestlers and promoters told her that, with hopes of ending her racist rants that she was conducting on hotlines and on her website. Josephine Nannariello, not knowing Homicide was in the building, made her way inside the building and went to the locker room. It was only seconds before Josephine Nannariello and Homicide locked eyes.
Upon seeing Josephine Nannariello, Homicide walked up to Josephine Nannariello, with the intent of instilling fear in her, thinking that would shut her up for ever. Josephine Nannariello quickly had her knees buckling, and tried leaving the locker room. As she tried leaving the locker room, Homicide grabbed her jacket and told her he wanted to talk to her, in a civil manner. Josephine Nannariello, who had some paranoia issues, tried to wrestle away, and wound up falling down in a heap on the floor, while everyone in the locker room laughed at her. Josephine Nannariello then tried making another attempt at the locker room door but saw that Deranged was standing there. She tried to mow down Deranged, and Deranged looked at her. Homicide again told Josephine Nannariello he wanted to talk to her, but this time,Josephine Nannariello busted through the locker room door and started running like she was being chased by Freddie Krueger and Michael Myers. In reality, Homicide and Deranged were only walking to her, with hopes of scaring her so she’d stop her racist remarks.
As she started running down the stairs, Josephine Nannariello tripped and fell, and again fell on the floor. Homicide and Deranged followed suit, and marched down the stairs. Josephine Nannariello then ran for her life, and jumped in her car. Trembling with fear, Josephine Nannariello backed out, and smashed a parked car behind her. She then sped down the block, made one of the fastest left turns you’ll ever see, and was gone. Everyone laughed at Josephine Nannariello, but the laughing quickly stopped 20 minutes later.
After everyone was done having a good laugh at Josephine Nannariello’s expense, Union City police officers came to the building while the show was going on. Josephine Nannariello told the officers that she was hit by Homicide and Deranged. The cops were looking to arrest Homicide and Deranged for assault, even though the only physical contact made was Homicide grabbing Josephine Nannariello’s jacket and Josephine Nannariello trying to barrel through Deranged. After Homicide and Deranged were alerted that cops were in the building, they got away from the building because who wants police trouble during X-Mas week? Homicide and Deranged took off, and the cops couldn’t do nothing but watch some of the show.
However, while those cops took it easy, Josephine Nannariello was in a squad car with other police officers. It was only a matter of time before the cops found Deranged, who separated from Homicide when leaving the building. Deranged was taken back to the police station and arrested. This would be another incident to be added to the rap sheet of Deranged, which has become international, after being arrested in Canada for being accused of stealing gasoline by an ex-flame. For as much activity Deranged was having with girls he met through wrestling, he was also involved in a lot of police activity, as it seemed that the police were always going after him.
After being issued a ticket to appear in court, Deranged was let go by the police. Deranged earned a lot of respect and credibility when he refused to tell the cops Homicide’s real name. Deranged was forced to tell the police his real name, because he had his drivers license on him. It also didn’t hurt that Josephine Nannariello knew his real name. In Homicide’s case, many people don’t know his real name, for reasons like this. Not knowing Homicide’s name prevented the police for searching for Nelson Erazo that night.
Getting the police involved in wrestling is a major no-no, and a great way to be blackballed from the sport. Wrestling polices itself and while some people take bad beatings, have their property vandalized or have other acts that could be considered criminal committed against them, people in the indy wrestling business take it and chalk it up to “a learning experience.” Josephine Nannariello wasn’t liked anyway, so she wound up finding herself blackballed from the sport, as no promoter would use her and no wrestler wanted to be around her. Josephine Nannariello lasted a year in the business, and couldn’t use her sex appeal to save her mishandled career. If Josephine Nannariello was trained and taught respect for the business, Josephine Nannariello might still be around today.
As far as Deranged goes, the case against him was dropped when Josephine Nannariello failed to appear in court to press charges. Deranged rightfully walked away from an alleged crime that he didn’t commit. After being forced out of the wrestling business, Josephine Nannariello did some modeling work, but was deemed too short and meaty, to have a serious modeling career.
Not every story in indy wrestling has humor to it. Just ask William Welch. William Welch, who took on the persona of “The Messiah”, wound up having his thumb cut off, after a messy personal war with a wrestling promoter. As “The Messiah”, William Welch became a big name in the California independent wrestling scene. Welch, who became a wrestler straight out of high school, found himself working for XPW during his third year in the wrestling business. The owner of XPW was Rob Black, who also owned “Extreme Associates”, which was a video company that produced, directed and filmed pornographic videos. The titles of Rob Black’s movies suggested stuff that you wouldn’t dare try in an ordinary bedroom, hence the word “extreme” in the name of the company. Like his video company, XPW stood for “Xtreme” professional wrestling, and XPW was known for their blood bath shows, mixed in with occasional nudity.
Upon joining XPW, William Welch took on the moniker of “The Blunatic.” It wouldn’t last long. After a short run as “The Blunatic”, Welch found his calling as “The Messiah”, as he portrayed an extreme religious character. Quickly, William Welch really became “The Messiah” and his character and stock took off. The Messiah quickly became one of the fastest breakout stars for XPW. He was a proven draw and had one of XPW’s largest fan bases. As The Messiah, Welch took XPW to a higher level, and the company, which started off as a California based promotion, wound eventually become so big, and that they would run shows three thousand miles away from their home base, at the famous ECW Arena (Currently called The New Alhambra”) in Philadelphia. Despite making XPW money and despite XPW making The Messiah a star, the peachy keen relationship wouldn’t last forever.
In August of 2001, William Welch was fired from XPW, for reasons unknown at the time. There was a swirling media blitz around The Messiah’s departure. The wrestling media couldn’t figure out the reason why Messiah was fired from XPW. The fans couldn’t find out the reason why The Messiah was fired. However, it didn’t take long for a rumor to spread like wildfire around wrestling circles. The rumor was that The Messiah was caught having a sexual affair by XPW promoter, Rob Black. Who was The Messiah sleeping with? Why none other than another XPW and Extreme Associates employee, Lizzy Borden. Lizzy Borden was the porn name for Janet Romano. Why was this big deal? Simple. Janet Romano was the wife of Rob Black. Apparently, Rob Black didn’t mind if his wife was involved in porno films, but was upset that his wife would have sex for free (or without a camera around) with another man.
When the rumors of The Messiah and Lizzy Borden spread, The Messiah quickly granted the wrestling media an interview. The Messiah claimed that the rumors were false and that he never slept with Lizzy Borden. He said the reason he left XPW was due to “personal issues.” In the same interview, The Messiah said he was no longer comfortable working for a promotion funded by pornography money.
With The Messiah gone from XPW, XPW rolled along and continued their expansion in the wrestling world. Since The Messiah was always looked at as an XPW wrestler, some companies didn’t want to use The Messiah, due to the type of matches and product promoted by XPW. However, in the wrestling world, one’s loss is another’s gain. Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), which was and still is a promotion promoted by John Zandig in Philadelphia, quickly jumped at the chance at booking The Messiah. On January 12th, 2002, The Messiah made his unannounced and shocking CZW debut, at the ECW Arena, jumping then CZW World Heavyweight Champion, Justice Pain. The Messiah was quickly cheered by the hardcore Philly fans, who knew what was going on in The Messiah’s life. Like explained earlier, most of independent wrestling fans are “smart” to the business and Philadelphia is the home city of some of wrestling’s “smartest” fans.
The Messiah quickly became a main event fixture for CZW. The Messiah had two high profile matches in February and March of 2002. Looking to put the boots to their competition, CZW announced that at their April show; The Messiah would fight someone from his past, implying that it would be an XPW wrestler. Originally CZW planned on using XPW stand-out, Kaos, to take on The Messiah. However, Rob Black, realizing that CZW as gaining a lot of momentum and drawing a lot of money based on his bad decisions, quickly put out an ultimatum to his roster. Simply put, if you wrestled for CZW you would be fired by XPW on the spot. While that might not sound like such a big deal today, at the time it was, as XPW had more going for it at the time.
Despite not getting to have the match he wanted in April, The Messiah continued to wrestle for CZW. On May 8th 2002, The Messiah competed in what has since been called “one of the greatest matches in CZW history.” The match pitted Justice Pain, Sick Nick Mondo, Adam Flash and The Messiah in a four-way bout. The match wound up lasting sixty four minutes, and when it was all said and done, The Messiah became the new CZW World Heavyweight Champion. Somewhere in California, Rob Black was fuming at The Messiah and CZW’s success.
Although The Messiah’s title reign was short lived, as he lost the championship a month after winning it, losing the title didn’t compare to what was going to happen in The Messiah’s life next. August 1st, 2002 became a date that The Messiah would never forget.
On August 1st, 2002, two African American men entered The Messiah’s apartment. It started innocently enough. The two men knocked on Messiah’s door, and Messiah was under the assumption that those two men were friends of his roommate. The Messiah let his would-be attackers into his apartment, his private sanctuary, with no struggle at all, due to false pretenses. After letting the men in, The Messiah started playing video games, and let the men wait for his roommate to come home. However, these weren’t Messiah’s roommate’s friends; they were hired goons, with the sole job of taking The Messiah out.
As Messiah was playing video games, The Messiah noticed in the reflection of the TV screen, that the two men were arguing. When The Messiah checked to see what was up, the two men quickly turned on The Messiah, locked The Messiah’s door and threw The Messiah to the floor. What happened next was like a surreal wrestling angle, only this time; this was 100% for real.
With The Messiah on the floor, one attacker kept The Messiah on the floor with a chokehold. While his buddy had The Messiah in a chokehold, the other attacker grabbed a pair of gardening shears. In a moment neither that The Messiah nor the wrestling community will ever forget, the attacker with the gardening shears cut The Messiah’s right thumb off. The Messiah, now full of adrenaline and fear, was able to out power his two attackers and potential murderers. However, the two attackers fought back, and brought The Messiah back down. The attackers then tried to “Bobbit-ize” The Messiah, as they tried cutting his penis off with the gardening shears. Like any man would do in this situation, The Messiah used all of energy to fight the attackers off again, and the attackers left before the police would arrive. However, before the attackers left, they took something of The Messiah’s with them- The Messiah’s thumb.
As time went on, this story received local news coverage and was also featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” The wrestling media and news media painted Rob Black as the mastermind behind The Messiah’s attack. Unfortunately for The Messiah, there was no physical evidence to suggest that Black was involved. The stories at the time also speculated that The Messiah’s thumb was taken by the two men as a way to prove their hit. However, neither the thumb nor the two men who attacked The Messiah were ever found. The two men are still at large today and they may never be caught for their “thumbicide.”
To make matters more interesting, days before The Messiah’s attack, at an indy wrestling show in California, the crowd started chanting at The Messiah, “YOU FUCKED LIZZY!” How did The Messiah respond? By saying “And she loved it!” This story made wrestling headlines, and this could be the straw that broke the camels back, and the reason why Rob Black would’ve hired two men to take The Messiah out.
Coincidentally or not, when “America’s Most Wanted” set-up a meeting to interview Rob Black for their story, Rob Black’s “Extreme Associates” offices were closed and Rob Black was no where to be seen. Rob Black knew about the meeting in advance and for “Extreme Associates” to be closed during normal business hours, didn’t help Black’s case as being the number one suspect in this crime against The Messiah.
The Messiah proved his love for indy wrestling and gave a big F-U to Rob Black, when less than a month later, The Messiah was back competing in a CZW ring. On August 31st, 2002, in Delaware, The Messiah became and personified CZW like no other person before him. The Messiah became the poster child of CZW and the biggest CZW fan-favorite of all time. Think about this in a non-wrestling way. In less than 30 days after having his thumb chopped off and almost having his penis chopped off, in addition to the fact that his private home was invaded, The Messiah was back out in the open, doing what he loves most, wrestling. It’s insane that The Messiah would continue to wrestle, especially after his incident, but it was his indescribable love for professional wrestling that makes him the person he is today.
The immediate fall-out of The Messiah’s incident saw a huge CZW crowd chant “FUCK ROB BLACK!” when The Messiah returned to the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, on September 14th, 2002. The Messiah made no bones about who he thought attacked him and called his attackers “gutless cowards.” The Messiah would then go on to win back the CZW World Heavyweight title two more times, and would hold the championship for more than 22 months combined. The Messiah will go down in the record books as the man who took CZW to the next level.
As far as Rob Black, the fans would never support him ever again. Black, who already had a questionable reputation as it was, effectively buried himself by never clearing his name. The Messiah was the fan favorite in this situation, and in every situation there is always a fan favorite and a heel. Rob Black became the ultimate heel. On February 14th, 2003, six months after The Messiah attack, XPW closed its doors. Extreme Associates would also wind up closing their doors too, because in April of 2003, Rob Black and Lizzy Borden were indicted on obscenity charges due to pornographic material produced by XPW’s parent company, Extreme Associates. Federal agents in Pittsburgh had ordered the offending material, which depicted scenes of rape, urination, and murder. Most of Extreme Associates warehouse stock was confiscated and was not allowed for sale. Rob Black and Lizzy Borden faced a 10 year jail sentence for their roles in Extreme Associates. However, the charges were eventually dropped, but not before Rob Black spent an exorbitant amount of money in legal fees to protect his freedom. Having his money supply depleted, and losing his two companies (XPW and Extreme Associates), Rob Black hasn’t been seen in the wrestling business since XPW’s last show on February 13th, 2003.
Today, The Messiah still competes on the indy wrestling scene, and is one of the more popular wrestlers. Wrestling fans don’t have the longest memories, and new eras are always being ushered in. On February 5th, 2005, The Messiah lost the CZW World Heavyweight Title, after holding it for nearly a year. The Messiah and CZW amicably split away from each other, and a Messiah return is a possibility for the future. While The Messiah might be an afterthought in today’s CZW, what will never be forgotten was how The Messiah personified CZW, but how he personified the love of pro wrestling.
While The Messiah was proving to the wrestling world what wrestling meant to him, another promotion was irregularly promoting wrestling events only 50 miles away from Philadelphia. Stars & Stripes Championship Wrestling (SSCW) was Carmine Sabia’s wrestling promotion. Like the way The Messiah personified CZW, Carmine Sabia & his SSCW personified how not to run wrestling shows.
Carmine Sabia got his start in the wrestling business by selling tickets to work on an independent show in New Jersey in the late 1990’s. Weighing a whopping 140 pounds soaking wet, Carmine’s wrestling debut was floppier than his grandma-esque arms. Realizing that he’d never make money as a professional wrestler, Carmine decided to go the other route, and started talking to wrestling promoters. Receiving guidance from other wrestling promoters, most notably Tommy Fierro of ISPW, Carmine entered the wrestling promoting world. It was a world that Carmine wasn’t going to be able to handle, nor make money in.
Somewhere along the line, during Carmine’s transition from a ticket seller wrestler to a promoter, Carmine developed agoraphobia. Agoraphobia, as defined in the dictionary is “An abnormal fear of open or public places.” For Carmine, that meant he developed a fear of leaving his house. Carmine didn’t know what caused his agoraphobia, but said in an interview that he believed it was caused by a multiple amount of occurrences in his life, that were non-wrestling related. Carmine Sabia would become to be known as the only wrestling promoter who didn’t leave his house. That meant whenever Carmine ran a show, he wouldn’t be there. Carmine would be sitting at home watching “Wheel of Fortune” while his shows were taking place.
Carmine would go through a slew of people to physically run his wrestling events, while Carmine played wrestling promoter in between shows. Carmine would book all the talent, book a date with the venue and hire people to hang up posters promoting his show. However, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. With other people just receiving paydays from Carmine, people under Carmine didn’t work hard. Street teams were dumping 500 flyers/posters they received from Carmine into the dumpster, and getting paid for it. It was so easy for the street team to do that, because Carmine wouldn’t physically check up on them to make sure they were doing his job. Carmine became widely known as the “money mark who didn’t leave his house”, because he would just blow through money without making a profit. For Carmine, the profit was being able to tell people that he was in the wrestling business and to have phone calls with people in the wrestling business. That was great for Carmine, but most people would rather profit in the form of money, rather in sentimental value.
One of Carmine’s biggest successes’s as a wrestling promoter came in November 2002, when Carmine was able to book former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Scott Steiner. Scott Steiner was about to sign with the WWE, and his presence in SSCW, albeit for one show, was huge. It garnered Carmine a lot of attention. However, Carmine went about the show the wrong way. While this was the biggest moment for SSCW, it was also the turning point of the company, and the beginning of the end.
For starters, whenever you have a big name, and Steiner was one of the biggest names at the time, you want to make it as easy as possible for fans to come out to your show. Carmine ignored that fact, and instead of running the show on a traditional Friday or Saturday night, when kids don’t have to go to school the next day, and when people don’t have to go to work the next day, Carmine held his show on a Tuesday night. By running the show on a Tuesday, Carmine alienated a lot of people who would’ve went to the show if it was held on a Friday or Saturday. Parents weren’t going to let their kids stay up late to watch a silly wrestling show. People weren’t going to make the long drive to the boondocks of New Jersey when they had work early the next morning, and that was the other mistake Carmine made. He ran the show in a building that was hard to get to. No public transportation near the venue was available. If any fan from NY wanted to go to the event, they were out of luck if they didn’t own a car, and as many people know, most wrestling fans in New York City don’t own automobiles.
Going into the show, Carmine had to worry about getting the people of Lyndhurst, New Jersey to go to his event. Again, since Carmine had a fear of leaving his house, flyers were dumped in the garbage, by his unreliable street team, and Carmine didn’t know about it until after the show. The show, which was sub par for the most part, saw Scott Steiner defeat Steve Corino to become the new SSCW Heavyweight Champion. Giving the heavyweight title to a wrestler who wasn’t ever going to return to SSCW again was a debatable decision, but might’ve been the smartest move Carmine made in this situation. With Steiner as champion, it allowed Carmine to sell his company to sponsors and advertisers as the company that had Scott Steiner as his “World” Champion.
The end result in this entire situation saw Carmine pay Scott Steiner $5,000 for a 10 minute match. Carmine’s overall budget for the show wound up being near $9,000. With numbers like these, Carmine would’ve needed 600 fans, paying $15 (The cost of a General Admission ticket) just to break even. Carmine claimed in a shoot interview with the DOI that he did draw 600 fans, by saying “600 fans isn’t bad for a Tuesday night”, but in reality, the attendance was around 250 tops, meaning that Carmine only grossed $3750, which meant he lost nearly $5250 on the event. While Carmine claimed that he almost broke even on the event, his mother stated that the show tanked, and lost over $5000. And why would Carmine’s mother know this information? How would Carmine’s mother know SSCW’s fiscal situation? Easy, because in reality, she was the owner.
Up to this point, I have failed to mention how Carmine was getting all this money to hold these events. Obviously, a person who doesn’t leave his house and lives with his mother isn’t the biggest earner in the world. To help her son be more active and to get him to socialize with other people, Grace Sabia, Carmine’s mother, funded Carmine’s SSCW shows. Grace didn’t know a thing about the wrestling business, and in reality, the same could be said for Carmine Sabia as well. Grace Sabia works in the real estate business and is successful in it. She had extra money lying around, and gave it to her son. Even though Carmine’s shows bombed and never made money, Grace was happy to see her son have something to do. SSCW essentially wound up being a tax write off for Grace Sabia, as Carmine pissed money like no other.
With SSCW losing money left and right, Carmine realizing that his presales were low, started to earn the reputation of a show canceller. It got so bad, that Carmine promoted and cancelled more shows than he actually ran, in the last two years of SSCW’s existence. It was a sorry state for SSCW. Fans wouldn’t go to SSCW shows nor buy tickets in advance, because they didn’t want to waste their time or money on a promotion that was likely to cancel his event. However, Carmine boasted to anyone that would listen that his SSCW was one of the top companies in the land. Carmine’s ego got so out of control, that he started calling himself “The George Steinbrenner of Wrestling.” Among the differences were that Steinbrenner left his house, wasn’t running Yankee games off his mothers money, and wasn’t harassing Yankees on a daily basis, like the way Carmine harassed his wrestlers. Well, maybe Steinbrenner was harassing some Yankees, but it wasn’t as bad as Carmine was harassing indy wrestlers.
Carmine’s harassment of wrestlers got so bad, that one day, one wrestler chose to fight back. After being cursed out and made to be looked at as an idiot by Carmine Sabia, in the online wrestling community, Kevin Matthews had enough. Despite being the last ever SSCW Television Champion (An ironic title, considering SSCW didn’t have television); Kevin Matthews was disrespected numerous times by Carmine Sabia. Even though he was being disrespected by Carmine, Kevin still continued to work for SSCW, because at the time, it was the only promotion giving him quality opponents on a somewhat semi-regular business. Kevin busted his ass for SSCW, and on November 7th, 2003, Kevin had a Tables Ladders and Chairs match with long time nemesis, Danny Demanto. The match featured numerous death defying spots, with Danny Demanto practically landing on his head after he fell off a ladder, and collided with the solid floor. When the match was all said and done, Kevin Matthews put Danny Demanto through a table, with his patented “Ego-Driver” finishing move, to win the match. The match was so entertaining and exciting to watch, that the match got SSCW’s “Match of the Year” Award. Obviously, while Kevin wasn’t Carmine’s favorite wrestler, he produced, as the fans and Carmine had to admit that his match was the best match in SSCW for the year 2003.
One of the problems with Carmine not attending his own shows is that he doesn’t actually get to see the shows until they are ready to be released on VHS tape or DVD, which usually takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks after a show. When Carmine watched the match, he was satisfied. When he went to show the match to his family at a family gathering, his family was shocked to hear Kevin Matthews reply to a heckler in the match, as Kevin screamed back at the fan, “Fuck you, fuck your mother and fuck your grandmother!” The heckler, embarrassed, shut up. However, the Sabia family wouldn’t shut up, and screamed at Carmine for promoting wrestling where wrestlers used vulgarities. Since Carmine’s mother was the money of SSCW, Carmine wanted to appease her and his family, and told them he’d stop booking Kevin. In reality, his family wouldn’t have ever noticed if Carmine unbooked Kevin or not, since they didn’t even watch the shows, unless Carmine showed the shows to them.
Carmine went on to “fire” Kevin Matthews publicly and privately. Despite fans and other people working for SSCW telling Carmine to keep Kevin around, Carmine wouldn’t listen. It also allowed Carmine to bash Kevin more, as he proclaimed to others that Kevin was “unprofessional.” While cursing at a crowd isn’t the most polite thing to do, it has somewhat become the norm, ever since the success of Paul Heyman’s ECW, where it seemed every promo had a four letter word in it. If anything, cursing at indy wrestling shows became almost second nature and en passé. Cursing really didn’t mean anything and lost some of its shock value, especially when you had several thirty year old men on national WWF TV, telling fans to “Suck It” on a weekly basis.
Kevin didn’t take the firing lying down. Like I said earlier, one person’s loss is another person’s gain. Jersey Championship Wrestling (JCW), a promotion ran by Ricky Otazu, was a promotion fighting for the same fans that SSCW was. Although both shows were lucky to draw a combined 100 fans during their waning days, the promotions and the promoters fought tooth and nail. With Kevin being dismissed from SSCW, Kevin was quickly booked in JCW. The first thing Kevin did during his February 2004 JCW return (Kevin previously worked for JCW as an opening card wrestler during his first year in the business) was to cut a promo bashing SSCW and Carmine Sabia. Kevin talked about how Carmine didn’t leave the house and “licked his mother’s pussy.” That was certainly something you didn’t hear every day, but Kevin wasn’t satisfied with just verbally pissing on Carmine Sabia and SSCW. He was physically going to do it too.
Before having his match, Kevin Matthews, paraded around the fans during intermission. Kevin created a stir around him and got the fans attention. Hoisted on Kevin’s shoulder was a makeshift SSCW TV title. Kevin told the fans that it was the real SSCW TV title, because it looked like the real SSCW TV title, and that’s because most indy promotions use WWE or WCW replica championship belts as their title belts. It is the good promotions that spend a little bit extra on custom championships, as the second rate promotions use belts that any fan can buy. When fans in the front row are holding the same belt that two wrestlers are fighting for, the championship kind of loses its affect, because if a wrestler really wanted a belt so bad, he could go buy it. Alas, I digress.
With the fans buying into the fact that Kevin had the real SSCW TV title, which in reality was just a WCW TV Title replica belt, Kevin went into the men’s room. Fans filled up the men’s room. Kevin threw the championship belt into a urinal, and then unzipped. Kevin then cut a promo on Carmine as he was urinating on the SSCW TV Title! Kevin said “I’m taking a ‘Carmine’ on this worthless piece of tin belt.” Kevin also added that Carmine was a “hermit”. The footage of this was taped and later was available online for everyone to see. Clearly, Kevin got his revenge and one upped Carmine.
Carmine, still reeling from being made to look like an ass by Kevin, tried whatever he could to better his name and his promotion. On May 15th, 2004, Carmine put together a show, featuring former WWF Hardcore & Tag Team Champion, Al Snow, former ECW World Heavyweight Champion, Justin Credible and former NWA Tag Team Champion, Simon Diamond. This had all the makings of being a huge event, as Simon Diamond, Justin Credible and Al Snow were all respected names in the wrestling business and had solid fan bases. Again, since Carmine doesn’t leave his house, no promoting got done for the show. The show could’ve featured Hulk Hogan vs. Elvis Presley with John F. Kennedy as the special guest referee, and the show still wouldn’t have drawn people, because no promotion was done. If fans don’t know about a show in their area, there is no possible way for them to attend it. And that’s what happened here.
With these three huge names, May 15th, 2004, became a day of infamy for SSCW. Not only did the show draw only 15 fans, the building went on fire. It was like a sign from God, telling Carmine to give it up. Imagine spending $6,000 to make only $225! Only in indy wrestling. To make matters worse, Carmine’s high priced wrestlers didn’t even wrestle, but did get paid, because the building went on fire during the show, and had to be evacuated before their time to perform. Luckily for Carmine, no one got injured, and it was easy to get everyone out of the building, since there were only 15 people there. Some fans asked and received refunds, which meant Carmine didn’t even get to pocket the whole measly $225. After this debacle, Carmine wouldn’t hold another show until September 10th, 2004. The end result of that show? A loss of $2000 and being the butt of everyone’s joke in the wrestling world.
Carmine would promote two more shows after September 10th, but wound up canceling them both. On March 3rd, 2005, Carmine officially announced that he was done promoting and that SSCW was finished. After canceling shows and lying to fans about it, claiming anything from hurricanes to snowstorms hitting the area, (While the weather forecast predicted sunny & 70 degrees) Carmine came clean about everything and said he had it with losing money. Carmine would later on go to say that he was burnt out from wrestling, which was odd, since he didn’t do any promoting, wasn’t at any of his shows, didn’t raise any of his own money for shows and sat home every day. The fact of the matter was, his mother was sick of seeing her life savings being dwindled away by her son, and pulled the plug on him.
Carmine Sabia will go down in indy wrestling history as one of the strangest promoters out there. While most of his shows bombed, costing his mother a lot of money, he was also accused of many other things during his SSCW tenure. One wrestler, ex-WWF Intercontinental & European Champion, D-Lo Brown, claimed that in order to get paid for an SSCW show, he had to pick up his money from Carmine’s house. Once arriving to Carmine’s mother’s house, he said he watched Carmine play with wrestling figures. D-Lo also described in an interview how Carmine would show D-Lo what moves he wanted to see D-Lo do, by mimicking out the movements with his wrestling figures. Other wrestlers would later go on to confirm D-Lo’s statements, and said that Carmine, a 26 year old man, played with wrestling figures. Apparently playing with wrestling figures was more important than playing with his mother’s money, as Carmine had every wrestling figure out there, but couldn’t make money with his SSCW.
Another rumor circulating around Carmine was the affection he had for his mother. Many wrestlers have come out to say in interviews, and I have witnessed personally, Carmine talking to his mother the way a man would talk to his wife. He uses nicknames such as “honey”, “love bug”, “sweetheart’, “babes” and other sweetheart names, when addressing his mother. Carmine was accused by several wrestlers of having some sort of sick Oedipus-esque relationship with his mother, but that was never proved. As far as Carmine’s father, his father left his mother when Carmine was at a young age, adding to the Oedipus speculation, since many people in the wrestling business don’t know the details about Carmine’s father’s whereabouts.
Carmine Sabia is as indy as anyone can get. From having bootleg shows featuring 16 year old wrestlers, to losing money every show, Carmine was one of those indy promoters that everyone wanted to be friends with when he had money to blow, but no one talks to today, since he has no money to give them. Even by indy wrestling’s standards, an agoraphobic man, who may have some sort of sexual interest in his mother, is considered weird. In the end, Carmine is just a guy looking for friends, but was looking in the wrong place by looking for friends in the wrestling business. It was kind of a shame, as Carmine never harmed anyone, nor was malicious, he just came delusional, perhaps from his disease. I personally, would love to hear about Carmine crushing his disease.
As Carmine proved, anyone, and I mean anyone, can run a wrestling show, even if you’re not at the venue the day of the show. When States in the union, don’t regulate wrestling, the money mark promoters will come out to play. As discussed in an earlier chapter, all you need is the proper funds, a wrestling ring and a few wrestlers, and you’re set. If you have the dream of running a wrestling show, especially in the state of NJ, you can have your dream fulfilled. Jimmy Hustler (Real Name: Jimmy Aliciea) was one of the many who did just that.
On September 5th, 2003, Jimmy Hustler presented All Boro Championship Wrestling (ABC Wrestling) to about a 100 people in Boonton, NJ. Jimmy Hustler was in the wrestling business for several years before running this show, wrestling and toiling around on many under cards of the independent wrestling circuit. With guys like Carmine out there, Jimmy figured he could make a sweet amount of coin, by running his own show and doing all the promoting. As Jimmy found out, making money as a promoter, in indy wrestling isn’t as simple as it seems.
For all intensive purposes, ABC Wrestling wasn’t a bad indy show. It featured an ex-WWE Superstar in Justin Credible and one of the best indy wrestlers on the scene, in Homicide. It also featured two future WWE Superstars, in Alexis Laree and Joey Matthews, who later became Mickie James and Joey Mercury, in the WWE, respectively. The show lost around $1300, which wasn’t bad, considering the scene at the time. It also wasn’t good, because no one wants to lose money. However, when it was all said and done, what wasn’t remembered was the quality of the show, or the quality of the wrestler’s performances on the show. What was remembered was the incident following the show.
In indy wrestling, many deals are struck. Indy wrestling is a business of side deals. Indy wrestling could’ve coined the phrase “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, just like it could’ve came up with “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” One such side deal was struck by ABC promoter, Jimmy Hustler with one of the fans of the show. The deal was if the fan helped take down the ring with the ring crew team after the show, then Jimmy Hustler would give this fan a free ticket to his show. Essentially, for a $15 ticket, the fan agreed to spend an hour taking the ring down after the show. It was a good deal for both parties, but it was a deal that didn’t work out the way Jimmy wanted.
Perhaps Jimmy should’ve made the fan set-up the ring to earn his ticket, rather than having the fan watch the show for free and be expected to take down the ring late at night. If he did, it would’ve saved him for me writing about him in this book.
After watching the show, the fan went to leave and go home, without fulfilling his end of the deal. In front of all the fans leaving the show, Jimmy got into a heated verbal argument with the fan he struck a deal with. After shouting for several minutes, it was clear that the fan had no intention of doing ring crew that night. Jimmy was obviously pissed, and due to the frustration of losing about $1300, coupled in the fact that he was getting screwed, Jimmy did the only responsible thing he could come up with. A headlock.
In front of about 50 or so fans, and the wrestlers who participated on the show, the promoter of the show was giving the fan a headlock. Of course, to everyone observing this, no one knew about the deal these two struck, so to everyone it looked like the promoter was beating up some fan. The fan and Jimmy wound up falling to the ground and rolled around. The altercation was eventually broken up before it got out of hand, but the damage was done.
The next day, the wrestling media and wrestling message boards got wind of this story. The story got twisted on message boards with headlines such as “Jimmy Hustler Beats Up A Young Fan Who Said His Show Sucked” or “Jimmy Hustler Beats an Underage Boy” popping up all over the place. The fan, who was in reality, 18 years old, looked young, and everyone thought he was a minor. Needless to say, Jimmy’s reputation was shattered for the time being, and it took nearly four years for Jimmy to start promoting again. Jimmy did go back to wrestling on the indy circuit, to moderate degrees of success. Jimmy was also started doing security guard gigs for wrestling conventions, which is another story we’ll cover later.
The sport of pro wrestling, especially on the indy scene, is all about deluding the fact that the wrestlers are working together and not against each other in a ring. It is very easy for a wrestler to be caught up in all of the delusion that is going on, especially when your name is Kel O’Sullivan.
Kel O’Sullivan is an indy wrestler from the Pennsylvania area. Originally using the name Kel O’Sullivan, Kel O’Sullivan started his wrestling training with former WWWF Tag Team Champion, Afa “The Wild Samoan” Anoi. Kel O’Sullivan was also blessed with rich parents, so he was able to focus his life on professional wrestling, while his parents footed his bills. The only bill his parents weren’t paying for was Kel O’Sullivan’s gym bills, as Kel weighs in at a sickly 130 pounds, and has skinny legs, similar to the legs of a chicken. To go with his chicken-esque legs, Kel has a round stomach, and to make the package complete, he has a high shrill-like voice, which sounds very feminine, earning him the name “Karen” from his peers and the wrestling media.
Normally, a 130 pound wrestler who looks like he could be beat up by 50% of the crowd, wouldn’t be garnering any media attention. Kelwas the exception. In a 2004 match with Pinkie Sanchez, when calling a move in the match, Kel whispered to Pinkie “You know what’s coming DICKFACE!” Kel was eluding his leg lariat move, which made Pinkie Sanchez crack up, because Kel has chicken legs. It was just a humorous situation because you had a guy with a feminine voice, trying to be abusive, by saying the word “Dickface” in a menacing manner. Hearing the word “Dickface”, Pinkie Sanchez almost lost it in the ring, but was able to fight back his uncontrollable laughter. After this match, Pinkie Sanchez told all the other wrestlers about what Kel said, and Kel quickly earned the nickname of Karen “Dickface” O’Sullivan. To everyone in the wrestling business, Kel Quinn was the butt of a joke.
However, one summer day in 2005, Kel O’Sullivan finally got to laugh back at his peers. After firing WWE Senior Referee, Earl Hebner, the WWE was auditioning referees, at the tune of $250 a night, which is a payday that is practically five times the amount of a normal indy wrestling payday. Kel O’Sullivan was a man in the right place at the right time. Using his friendship with a guy who does sound for the WWE, Kel found himself backstage at a WWE Smackdown show, looking like a lost 12 year old child among behemoth men. Kel’s size, or lack thereof, worked in his advantage. Due to the WWE needing new referees, a WWE agent looked at Kel, and laughed when Kel told him he was a wrestler, because Kel looked like half the size of one of The Big Show’s arms. Instead, Kel was asked to cut his hair, and don the zebra shirt, and referee some matches on the show. Kel, whose dream is to live off of the wrestling business, quickly obliged, chopped his mop, and threw on the black and white. On Wednesday morning, when everyone woke up, and checked the wrestling media websites, everyone found out that Kel O’Sullivan was a WWE employee, that Tuesday night, even if it was for one night.
Kel wound up doing so well in his referee work that he was asked to come back. Kelwould do two months of shows, culminating by being flown out to Canada, to referee the Canadian loop of shows. Kel found a lot of people hating on him, due to jealousy. Here was this 130 pound guy that everyone perceived to be a joke, making more money than them, and doing it with the WWE. Kel finally was on top.
Sadly for Kel, Kel’s mat slapping days didn’t last long. The WWE decided to hire two other referees instead, and it was made known that the reason they decided against Kel was because he looked like a child. The WWE wanted their referees to look like men and not like children, and since we live in an image-driven world, Kel was told “Thanks, and good luck with your future endeavors.”
Kel is now in a bind today, because he doesn’t know if he wants to continue refereeing or if he wants to resume his wrestling career. The hardest thing to accept in Kel’s case, is that the biggest wrestling company in the world knows him, is aware of him, but wants nothing to do with him. Kel must now accept that he’ll be on the indy circuit for life, unless he is able to change his look dramatically, and by reading about some of the people in this book, who can blame Kelfor wanting to get out of the indy wrestling scene?
As I said in the beginning of this chapter, not everyone is a character in indy wrestling. I’d say the ratio of true characters to normal people in indy wrestling is 5:1. We’ll visit some more crazy characters in wrestling later on in this book, which are even wilder than the people described above. Now that you know some of these people that linger around the indy wrestling scene, it should help you understand the thought making decisions and controversies that arise in this crazy sport, which we’ll get into in the next chapter.
Thank you for reading this trip down memory lane. It would’ve been hilarious if this book was ever released. Who knows if it would’ve ever turned a profit?
I hope you old readers enjoyed this and give my new website a chance. This is a site dedicated to NY sports, so I’m hoping there is a crossover audience here. I’ve received some positive feedback since opening this site and I hope you get time to check everything out.
It’s just a shame I never got to the chapter on “Sabboth The Stiffer!”
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