Diary: Weekend of 3/23-3/25/01

The following is a republished diary/commentary from ProWrestlingRadio.com.

Friday 3/23/01: Rob Feinstein had asked me to do announcing/commentary with him on his fan cams, starting with Saturday’s Jersey All Pro show at the ECW Arena. I am very unfamiliar with their talent, as is he. We both decided that it would be a good idea to go up to their show that night in Bayonne, NJ. to familiarize ourselves with talent and stories.

I was hesitant, due to the impending announcement of the WWF purchase of WCW. I figured that if the story broke, I was not going to get any exclusives anyway, so go. Rob, Tom (Z Barr from CZW), Doug, and I drove up together. We busted on Doug, which is something Rob and I have done since our early ECW road trips. It is not quite the same without ECW’s Gabe Sapolsky in the van, but nonetheless it had to be done. Rob and Doug were telling me about how great their Sandman shoot interview went earlier. They said he shot on Tajiri of all people and we all had a laugh. I always love the van trips and the weekend trips for 4 years with Rob, Doug, Gabe, and myself were the best times of my life. I wish I appreciated them more than, as I do now.

As soon as we arrived at the building, we were notified of the WWF purchase. Rob and I were both in shock of the story and wished we were home to read and call about the details. We entered the building and a few of the workers were in the ring working out. The building looked like it was hit from a tornado. A really dirty and old building, a bingo hall. I did not know a soul that worked for their company. I did see JAP booker Fat Frank walking around a lot. Now, I appreciate Frank letting me into his shows this weekend but there is something about the guy that rubs me wrong. The last time I saw him was at the Jersey Extreme hearings and he made an ass out of himself and everyone there.

Rob, Tom, and I went into the convenience store next door. I found my favorite thing in the world, a black and white cookie. I work out regularly and have been for ten years and watch my diet. I try not to eat any carbs, or just a little. However, whenever there is a b & w cookie available, I break it. Rob made a date with the cashier, who I didn’t find particularly attractive. Unfortunately, for both parties the date never happened. The whole thing was irritating, as I was waiting for a price check, while Stella was trying to get her groove back.

Eventually, RF Video set up the TV and VCR and we watched the Best Of The Dragon Kid. What a tape, and what a piece of talent the Dragon Kid is. Eventually, Nick Berk who was working the show arrived. Whenever Nicky is around, it is always a blast. Nick works for CZW, and I have become real tight with him. My first night with CZW, Nick was the nicest guy there and made me feel like one of the team. I don’t forget little things like that. He is a goofball, and while that is funny, I think sometimes promoters and bookers do not take him seriously because of that. Billy Reil, who was working the show also came over to say hello. Now, I have a real wild relationship with this guy. Several years ago he ripped on Rob and I constantly on his hotline. He also claimed to have a tape of one of my few wrestling matches, but would always have an excuse on why he would not have it. Honestly, I hated the kid. Things have changed, and he emailed me at one time and told me how much he loved my commentary and even called me a “modern day Jim Ross.” So how can I hate him now? Also, a million girls were walking around this building with revealing and tight shirts that were not made for their bodies. It was very foul and Rob and I had a few laughs.

The show started and Rob and I were doing mock commentary throughout which was hilarious. We both kept talking about how excited we were for tomorrow night. They did some angle to start their show where Kristi Kiss returned. I have known Kristi for several years. My first memory was of Axl Rotten asking her for oral favors in Trenton, NJ three years ago and her answering with a quick “sure.” I also put a lot of blame on her for the whole regulation of extreme wrestling. If she would not have oversold her injury, maybe things would be different.

Buck Woodward from 1wrestling.com arrived and came over to say hello. We had a great conversation for almost an hour about the WWF-WCW story. I did not need to go home, because I had 1wrestling.com in front of me live. JAP wrestler, Homicide was wrestling as we were speaking. He went off and broke character and went into a rage of sorts. He went after a fan and things got ugly. Nick Berk also came over and watched the rest of the show at the RF Video table with us.

The last match was over and I had seen enough. There were about 13 matches that night. The show was 3 hours and it was just way too much. I think Ric Blade’s match with the Insane Dragon was the best of the night. The thing I hated as well as everyone else that I was with was, that the wrestlers, valets, etc. all walked around and just hung out after their matches. One thing I was taught and learned being around ECW so much and taking bumps was once you perform, stay in the back until the fans leave. You had people that just lost loser leaves town matches and a guy that cannot talk English walking around and conversing like it was nothing. It was making my skin crawl. It does not give the fans any illusion at all and that needs to be changed. I thought the talent all worked hard, but this was not my cup of tea. It also made me appreciate how great I have it in CZW and what we have there.

Saturday 3/24/01: I was real excited about my radio show. How lucky can I be to have a forum to discuss the biggest story of all time? I listen to Dave Meltzer’s daily show religiously and I am fortunate to be able to do the same thing. I really wanted to get someone like Les Thatcher or Terry Funk on, but being away I did not have time. The show flowed better than it has in a long time. The lines were jammed and all busy the entire hour. One call from Ron from Levittown, people found particularly entertaining. Everyone seemed to think that the sale was both good and bad, but everyone said they will watch WCW now.

I arrived at Rob’s house at 5 to go to the ECW Arena. Rob and Doug were arguing as always. We took separate cars as I rode with Doug, and Rob rode with Tom. Tom is a great kid and very misunderstood, but he needs to be a bit more humble. We arrived at the building and there were 4 people in line. I remember when we would arrive earlier and the line would be wrapped around the corner. As we pulled up to the building I was getting very excited. I had not been back in the ECW Arena in years. The last show I saw I think was a three way between Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, and Shane Douglas.

When I entered the building a chill came up and down my spine. I reflected and it became very sad as to what had happened. I also felt very special to have been apart of the history of ECW and privileged to see it all. The matches and angles I saw there will forever be remembered. Being there for something other than ECW, gave me a sick feeling. I felt as if I was a cheating husband or boyfriend. On the other hand I was excited to be able to call a show in this building. To me, this building is the mecca and not MSG. I walked around and just stared at every inch and memories would come back each time.

Walking in I saw wrestlers once again working out in the ring. I had flashbacks of Tracy Smothers’ training sessions with the boys. I did recognize the guys in the ring this time, and they were the Briscoe brothers. The Briscoes compete regularly in CZW and let me say this. These two kids are going to be stars. They are incredible and I would imagine within a year they will get a developmental deal. I cannot say enough great things about them, and I tell them every time I see them how great they are and how much we at CZW appreciate their efforts. The kids are simply awesome. I also noticed Rockin Rebel talking with people. I wanted to say hello, but I did not care for the people he was speaking with.

Outside I saw Justice Pain from CZW pulling up. After exchanging hellos, I asked him what he was there for. I joked with him that he was spying. He told me he was working Berk tonight. Justice is the CZW owner, John Zandig’s assistant, so it took me by surprise he was working. I thought he was ribbing me and he laughed every time I told him that.

In the building I was greeted with a hug from one of my listeners. Her and her boyfriend told me how much they enjoyed the show that day. We also talked about the high and low points of CZW. Late last year I was not very high on the company. Things were disorganized and I even missed a show because of that. The payoffs were lower and I questioned my future with them. Thank God I stayed, because they are on fire now. I spoke with Justice for a little while at the table. Most people know that CZW will be airing a television show coming up. He gave me some details, which I cannot reveal yet. He also said that I will be featured on the first show to give the viewers a history of the company and summary of the current stories. I consider that an honor and privilege and cannot wait for that time.

Rob and I walked around the building and went into the old locker room area. I expected to see Paul Heyman sitting at the table with his clipboard and case. All that was there was an empty room of nothing. Rob and I both took turns imitating classic moments from that area. Rob imitated a Paul Heyman speech and I imitated a Tod Gordon angle. We went into the JAP dressing room and got the lineup and we were ready to go. We set up our camera and mics at a table on the balcony above the entrance. Back in the day, I used to watch the ECW shows from there. I have seen Raven’s return, the Gangstas debut, and Tommy Dreamer fall from that spot. The 1wrestling.com guys, Buck in particular were right behind us.

As we were about to start, Rob was very nervous. I kept reassuring him things would be fine, but be prepared for UN-perfection. It took me about 4 shows to get comfortable calling an entire show and I am still not perfect. I wanted to call the show live, rather than in post production, because that is the best way for Rob to learn. It is harder than most think, and I still do not know how JR does such a great job. I used to blow my voice out all the time as well, but now I am comfortable with things.

The first match was the Briscoes match. The Briscoes stole the show and were awesome. Earlier in the night, I met their mother. She could not be prouder and it was so cool to see such a supportive parent. She was very smart to the business and I can see why they are such great kids. As for Rob and I, well we sucked. Our timing was off, I was stumbling, he was tongue tied, it was not looking good. I think it bothered Rob more than I, since I did not expect anything else. The second match was Rockin Rebel’s and that was a different story. Rob and I were dead on during that match and we really had it going. That was our best match in my opinion of the night. As the show went on, we would get better and worse in spots. At about the fourth match we started getting a lot looser with it and it was the most fun I have ever had calling a show. It was so entertaining and we kept making each other laugh. We were talking about Kristi Kiss and Rob kept calling her Kristi Myst, who is a porno star. I ripped him on it and we even popped Buck!

As far as the show goes, well it was so-so. Half of the show was CZW talent. Justice and Nick Berk had a great match, but I thought their Dover, DE. one was better. Justice got a great pop for being a mystery man. I saw Reckless Youth work for the first time ever as a heel. It was different to see him in that role. His match with Ric was very good, and the efforts were amazing. I think Ric has a world of potential, but he needs to slow down. The last few shows he has missed more moves and hit his head a lot. I think less is more and sometimes he tries too hard. He is a great kid, but I also think he needs to get more charisma down. He does not work enough with the heat, in my opinion. This will all come in time and I am not ripping him at all. Again, the wrestlers were walking around the arena after their matches. The arena only drew about 150-200 people which is not good at all. I think JAP should stick to North Jersey, because they do not bring anything comparable to the arena with ECW. Billy Reil got on the mic and asked for weed after his match which I think was really stupid, and it shows how much discipline they have. Johnny Hotbody returned that night as a surprise. Who is booking this?

Sunday 3/25/01: I spoke to my CZW partner, color man John “Hitman” House on America Online. He apologized for a poor effort at the last show. John, is a great guy and I love him to death but he has not been able to grasp things. He needs to add more flavor to the shows and worry more about getting stories and characters over. Recently, people who have watched CZW have told me that they were not fans of his. John has shown a ton of potential, but he has to realize it soon. We are about to expand to TV, and he has to be ready for prime time. I think he is beginning to realize how under the gun he is. Sometimes I just think his head in the wrong place at the shows. I do not want to be harsh here, but there are a thousand people easy chomping for his spot. I hope he can settle into things quickly, because I could not imagine myself in CZW with anyone else and all of the hard work he has put on should come to fruition for him with television.

I did voice overs for GLOOW’s second TV show. I work with a guy Jeff, that is awesome. He is witty and very quick and we have real good chemistry and timing. So, I was looking forward to working with him, although my voice was almost gone. I arrived at 12PM as I was told and I was so beat. Things were a little behind, so I actually did not begin to do work until 3 o’clock.

I had the chance to watch the first GLOOW show that I worked on in it’s completed format. I was very impressed, as I did not know what to expect. Honestly, I was a little hesitant about working for GLOOW. They have an awesome thing going on, but I did not know how things would turn out. I am glad I did, because I am jazzed about these guys and girls. The first show is very fast and is a half of an hour, with the belief that less is more. The first show starts out with a ton of promos that move fast, like ECW. The promos are designed to establish the characters. If you can catch on to the joke in some of them, you will enjoy it. I would suggest taping this and watching it twice, because you miss things originally. I was really happy with my work on the first show and I think I came across really entertaining. I was very proud of my work and I can’t wait for feedback. After the show was over, I clapped and was so jazzed for the product. I hope people give it a chance, because it is extremely entertaining. Not the best wrestling, but for everything else it is great.

We started doing announcing for the first match which was the Mae sisters-Mistresses of Doom from the UK. I was told about how disappointing the effort of the Mistresses were to GLOOW. My color man was told to rip on them and I was to call the match was if it were good. On our first take, we were awesome together. We were so in line with each other. Unfortunately, we were too good as the producer and executive producer wound up bursting out laughing in tears midway through at us. I consider that a good job, if we could do that. My partner Jeff argued with them about doing another take. I have to say I was kind of disappointed, but it was all in good fun. We nailed it on the third take, but I think the first was much better. Hopefully they edit the two together.

Next we did a match between Tara and Candy. I am familiar with Candy from tapes of the FWA where she managed Ronny Zuko. In all honesty, I was not happy with my effort during this match. I think I was tired and fried from the weekend and I could have been better. The match was way too long, but it will be edited down for TV.

After about 3 slices of pizza, it was time to the open, middle, and close of the show. I changed into my suit and we stood in front of a GLOOW banner. Little would you know we were doing this in a living room. To save money, GLOOW has a whole studio set up in the producer’s apt. We nailed the open in three takes. I always find the first take the best, but they like a few. The middle was frustrating at times, because the producer was having some technical problems. I get really upset with myself for screwing up, but it gets frustrating when it is someone else’s fault. It is all trial and error, and I can appreciate that. The last take we also nailed in a couple of takes. I argued over a line with the producer. The show airs at 1am on Monday mornings, but I was told to say it airs on Sunday nights at 1. To me, that is confusing and they will lose a lot of viewers that way. However, I can only inject an opinion and the final say is theirs and I realize that. After all was said and done, I went home, watched Sopranos, and called it a weekend.

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