Imanii Labels is the Co-Owner and Executive Producer at Imperial World Wrestling and a retired rapper, indie wrestler, and fashionista for Shannon Maze and Episode 1.
He is making waves in the indie wrestling world with his innovative use of music and videos to market the New York-based IWW, which recently had a wildly successful sold-out first show in Queens. Think of the IWW as the “Hip Hop and wrestling connection.”
He sat down with Shannon Maze for an in-depth interview on the new Internet interview show Shannon. Shannon is a quality interviewer who can walk that line between tough yet caring- think a far younger Barbara Walters meets Oprah. In the course of the 23-minute show, she asks Mr. Labels about his battles with both depression and Bulimia. This is far superior to the generally obsessive wrestling shows you find rampant on the Net. Those which stick to often meaningless and silly in-ring angles and such. Simply put most wrestling shows just “wouldn’t go there”. Kudos to both hostess and interview subject for not shying away from these important topics. It raises the bar on sports entertainment programming.
As Imanii is an Executive Producer on the show (which airs on his network) and at one point he even states that he “sent the questions over…”, the viewer is made to wonder what the line is here between interview show and promotional video. Further comments like “Imanii wanted to keep the cameras rolling” does momentarily give it a “worked” reality show feel and did manage to take me out of the interview albeit briefly. Those minor qualms aside, I enjoyed this competent and engrossing interview and would be curious to see upcoming episodes.
Shannon Maze with Episode 1
Watching wrestling for nearly 50 years, the last thing I want to see at this point is grappling fare with the “I want to get you in the ring!” type stereotypical promos. It’s intriguing to see indie wrestling personalities presented as fully fleshed-out people.
All in all, the premiere episode of Shannon is an impressive first effort with Imanii Labels.
IWW returns November 30th