Hello, everyone! Here are my latest happenings over the last few weeks. In terms of, wrestling activity, my busiest day by far was on Saturday, October 27, when myself and the rest of the “Inside the Empire” podcast crew held a live broadcast at the Buffalo Sports Pod-A-Thon in Cheektowaga, N.Y. and then I drove down to Erie, Penn. to debut for Revenge Pro Wrestling (RPW). Here is what happened at A Nightmare on State Street and more.
The Buffalo Sports Pod-A-Thon was a lineup of several Buffalo-area sports media members, from TV reporters, radio hosts, other podcasters and print journalists, talking sports live at the Walden Galleria throughout the day. Donations were being raised for BB&G Charities – a non-profit organization that helps needy children go camping and pay for sports equipment.
I first saw the event being advertised on Twitter and inquired with its organizer, Ron, saying it would be something we may be interested in participating in. Ron was open to including us into the event and my fellow crew members, Chris Gullo, and Brandon Thurston, both could attend that day so we jumped in on the pod-a-thon. It seemed like a great opportunity to help spread Empire State Wrestling’s (ESW) message and also raise money for a pretty cool charity. I played a fair amount of sports as a child, and think it is a great cause helping children ensure they receive the same opportunities that I did in sports participation that I did.
You can learn more about BB&G Charities: here
We came to a quick consensus that we wanted “The Butcher of Buffalo” Andy Williams to be our special guest for the event. Williams is a lifelong wrestling fan with a plethora of knowledge on the sport and knows several interesting stories in just the few years since he began wrestling. We also liked his crossover appeal, as Williams plays guitar in local hardcore band Every Time I Die which is very popular in the Buffalo area.
The pod-a-thon did not disappoint. The four of us broadcasted live over Twitter and on house microphones which many people could here in Western New York’s busiest mall on one of its most crowded times of the week. A good amount of people stopped by to sit and watch us chat. Trainwreck Sports did a great job on the production end of the pod-a-thon. We also clad ourselves in as much wrestling-related apparel as we could to help give a little-added bonus promotion to anyone that walked by us.
Our time slot was from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. We were introduced onstage by WGR 550 radio host Nate Geary and dove right into the wrestling talk. We discussed Williams’ backyard wrestling roots, how he first started to train to wrestle, his fan memories at wrestling shows in Western New York, his thoughts on the current state of ESW and the inspiration of his gimmick. We want to bring Williams back for a longer length episode, as we there are more things we would like to talk to him about.
You can listen to Andy Williams’ episode: here
We also put out an episode of “Inside the Empire” prior to the pod-a-thon. We met up with Puf at Thurston’s apartment and talked to him about how he got started in the wrestling business, his future aspirations and how he almost got trapped in a pyramid scheme. If you want to hear more from one of the quickest up-and-comers in the Northeast U.S., I encouraging you to listen to this episode.
You can listen to Puf’s episode here: https://eswwrestling.podbean.com/e/puf/
Back to my busy day. After wrapping it up at the pod-a-thon, I took off for the Revenge Pro Wrestling’s “A Nightmare on State Street” in Erie. I left the mall around 5 p.m. and estimated my arrival time for about 6:30 p.m. which would put me at about a half hour before bell time. Stopping once for gas around the stateline (unknowing to me it was a full-service station which was kind of awkward and led to me tipping the attendant with a random $1 coin since I paid for the gas with a debit card), I made it just as I predicted at the Avalon Hotel.
The show took place in one of the hotel’s carpeted ballrooms. The Avalon Hotel certainly ranks up there in my list of nicer venues I worked at. The production was one of the more modern step ups I encountered with video screens that showed graphics for each wrestler and video promos which were aired by a backstage crew.
This is also my first time ever in the downtown area of Erie. Most of my prior trips were to area around Erie’s Millcreek Mall and the surrounding stores, so I got to see some new places as I traversed through the city.
My last Erie booking was about 5 years, so I was able to run into some old faces and meet some new people. There was also a significant amount of Buffalo wrestlers at the show that I work regularly with at ESW.
The first match I reffed was between Puf and Rex Brody. It was a fun bout that featured a good amount of comedy spots in it. I previously reffed Brody under a different gimmick about 10 years ago for Cleveland All-Pro Wrestling, so it felt cool to share the ring with someone from my wrestling past and my wrestling present at the same time.
My next assignment featured Warchild who took on a Ryan Cassidy, Jack Manic and Cole Cash in a gauntlet match. After Warchild plowed through all three, the trio ganged up on them and faced him in a handicap match. But once again, Warchild ran through each of them and stacked them all up for the pinfall victory. All these guys were trying to cash in on a bounty that Krimson put out on Warchild, and obviously, they all failed.
I worked previously with Warchild at a promotion that used to run in Cheektowaga a few years ago. I also worked with Cassidy a few times before in ESW and Southern Tier Wrestling (STW). However, Manic and Cash were both new to me, which is one reason why it is good to travel to get work, so you can get experience with how other people operate in the ring and grow your knowledge base outside of your normal comfort zone.
My third match of the night was Joe Keys versus Vance Desmond. I never met either one of these guys before, but nonetheless, they put on a very solid match. This bout exemplifies what I mentioned before about getting out of your comfort zone in order to keep learning. There were a few spots I worked with that were new to me and it felt satisfying to know how I would react in these situations.
Lastly, I refereed Kate Carney against Honey Badger. I worked with Carney before at ESW and STW but this was my first time with Badger. I was spooked initially when Badger made her entrance with her song having “honey” and “badger” repeated over in a very death metal-like vocals but it was pretty over with the crowd. The match went well and set up for them to confront Lady Frost at a future date.
Overall, I was glad to be a part of this fun event and hopefully, I will return to RPW in the near future. After the show, I helped with tearing down the ring, collected my pay then said my thank yous and goodbyes and headed home. It was a long day for me and I was ready to be back with my family.
The following week, my profile article on Daniel Garcia was published. Garcia, like Puf, is another one of the young group of Buffalo guys making a name for themselves in the Northeast U.S. and Canada. If you want to learn more about “Red Death”, you definitely want to read this article. This was also the first profile that I wrote in about 5 years and I am fairly happy with how it turned out. I hope to keep writing more profile pieces like this about members of the ESW roster in the future.
You can read the article: here
Before I wrap up this latest entry, I once again will plug “Inside the Empire”. Our newest episode features Superbeast. I first met Superbeast when I started reffing in New York in 2008 and worked for many Western New York promotions together with him, from current ones such as ESW and Southern Tier Wrestling to locally notable defunct ones like New Era Wrestling and Pier 6 Wrestling. He holds a wealth of wrestling knowledge and gives detailed stories about working with former WWE stars such as Virgil and Brian Christopher, wrestling for Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) as well as his personal wrestling background. This is an episode you do not want to miss out on.
You can listen to Superbeast’s episode:here
That wraps it up for this entry. Looking ahead, we are hoping to record another podcast episode this month prior to ESW’s biggest show of the year: “Wrestlebash”! I hope to provide you with more tales from my journeys after that. Once again, thanks for reading!
You can read my “Wrestlebash” preview article here, which also includes some exclusive quotes from some of the wrestlers on the show: here