Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving.... and lots of shameless plugs

First of all I would like to wish all my #SuperFriends the most #Tremendous Thanksgiving  ever and wishing you all full a belly and a Packer victory...

Where has the time gone??  I cannot believe that another Pre Christmas Holiday is upon us (Thanksgiving).  So as I prepare this years Thanksgiving feast for my seniors today I thought I would grab my virtual pen and paper and reflect on what has been an amazing 2011 so far and what I am #thankful for....

First and foremost, I am thankful for my amazing little boy, the handsome and courageous Kal.  Every day this little man amazes me with his charm, his wit, and his love.  I know every parent says that they have the best kid or kids, but I know that I do. Hard to believe that he is 9 and soon to be in double digits. I am #thankful that I have the job that allows me to take him to school everyday and pick him up after school everyday. I am #thankful that he is able to share his honest thoughts and concerns with me knowing that he will not be judged. Thank you Kal for being you.

Second, I am most thankful for the most loving and encouraging family I could ever ask for. My parents Lew and Debbie, and sister Kerry (Miso), and Brian (Anna) have always been my rock. They have had my back from day one and support Kal and myself when we need them. I know it is a #hashtag, but my family are real life #SuperHerros...

Speaking of #SuperHerros, how can I not include my amazing, beautiful, charming, and sassy niece Radiah and my handsome, funny, and entertaining nephews Angelo, Isayah, and Hank.  Wow, do I have the best kids in my life. Radiah is the daughter I always wanted. She is Fairytale Princess beautiful and at the same time the sassiest little girl ever. My nephews are truly #Tremendous. Angelo is the brother that Kal never had, he is loving and sincere. Isayah is just starting to come out of his shell and there is no doubt that he to will be a heart breaker like Kal and Angelo, very charming.  Then there is the latest and greatest edition, Hank. He is known affectionately as Hank the Destroyer, because that is exactly what he does, he leaves a wake of destruction in his path, good thing he is so adorable (he takes after his Uncle). When people ask if I want more kids, I tell them I have been blessed with the best. #NoMoreDiapers

On to my #SuperFriends. Wow... talk about blessings. I have the greatest group of people in my life. Talk about a support system. When people say to me, "you always smile", it is because I have the most amazing Amigos.  Besides how can you not smile when reading Al Snow's tweets??  Going forward is a lesson I have learned from them. We can either sit still and take beatings and or be complacent or we can go forward and learn from mistakes and improve. I am going to mention some of the people that have been influential to me and I apologize if I leave anyone out, I suggest you follow them on Twitter and enjoy their company and wisdom....  Jeff Lynn, Al Snow, Scotty 2 Hotty, Kevin Nash, Brian James, Billy Gunn, Becky Weber, Rachael Robinson, Jack Koshick, Traci Brooks, Serena Deeb, Dameon Nelson, Ken Anderson, Gino Salamone, Armando Estrada, Katie Peterson (NSFW.. :) ) , Cory Catterall and my new #SuperFriend Amanda who puts the proverbial #Boots2Asses daily. Of course I also have my #WatchTower, she looks over all of us.... Thank you Tamara!!

Then I have my GLCW Blizzard Brawl family.... Thank you! Thank you!!! Shirley Perez, Saul Perez, Katbird, Big George, DJ Bob, Mike Groll, and the endless list of friends and supporters of GLCW and the Blizzard Brawl events. Kal and I are forever grateful. Did I mention Blizzard Brawl 7 is Saturday, December 3... Tix start at $10 ...

To all of our PWR Show supporters.. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for giving me the creative outlet that I need each and every week. Thank you for being #SuperFriends and knowing that the show is meant to be fun and full of #Shenanigans and that at the end of the day it is still just professional wrestling. Thank you to ESPN Milwaukee and My24 Milwaukee for giving us the stage to perform. Even the haters, the ones that spew nothing but nonsense and jealousy, special #ThanksPal to you for wasting your energy on hating me and making the show more relevant.... #MuchasGrassyass

What a year 2011 has been.  Kal and I took our first real road trip to Cincinnati to watch the TNA Lockdown PPV, little be known fact that Kal and Ken were screwing around and Ken pulled his back out before the PPV... Yes, Kal almost took down the entire PPV... #PullMyFinger... Wrestle Mania in Atlanta was fabulous, GLCW had a handful of tremendous shows thru out the year, lots of good times with great friends and did I mention #shenanigans??  I was even able to meet my celebrity crush (THANK YOU GINO) .... Salma Hayek, some day... some day, she will be my next future ex wife....

Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone of you that took the time to read this.... Thank you from the bottom of my heart and now you can all finally put your Christmas Trees up...#ButYouAlreadyKnewThat

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Unless you are addressed as "Your Honor" you shouldn't Judge

This past weekend I took Kal and my nephews to our vacation home in the Wisconsin Dells for some last minute fun in the sun and water parks.  I was looking forward to a wrestling free weekend and just chill out. The PWR Show is about to go in a different direction and I wanted some Daddy and Kal time..... Little did I know what would happen on Saturday night.

Saturday night I am out by the pool with the kids and my phone is blowing up with Tweets and text messages about Matt Hardy and his car accident.  One of the first tweets I read was from CM Punk,,,  It was something of a parody of Matt's old WWE theme and it included the lyric driving a car up a tree. I knew this was not going to be good for anyone.

As it turned out that my friend of almost 15 years did crash his car into a tree and was charged with an OUI or DWI. That is when the flood gates opened and I saw people on twitter acting so cold and heartless. I understand that some of you do not like the character that Matt may perform as or if you had a bad experience meeting your "hero" out in public, but for people to make fun of, be happy that, or wish more destruction on someone is embarrassing as a human being.

Before I go any further I want it to be known that I do NOT condone operating while impaired or do I condone any type of drug or alcohol abuse whatsoever. Since I have gotten involved in the wrestling business in 1996 I have lost at last count 16 friends to "demons".  I share those losses with my nine year old son so he knows the destructive path that follows addictive personalities. People with addictive personalities have a disease, it is'nt a switch that you turn on and off, it is a battle, a fight everyday.

In the past couple years I lost two fabulous friends in Andrew "Test" Martin and the beautiful Luna Vachon.  Two amazing people that had hearts of gold but also had issues that they could not defeat on their own. Most people do not know this story but Test called me the day before he died, we were going to talk about future dates in Canada that we had booked. When I saw his name on the caller ID and I saw what time it was, I chose not to answer because I knew I wouldn't enjoy that conversation with Drew.  I wish I had picked up the phone.  The next day he was gone.  I promised myself that I would never turn my back on a friend.  I am not saying that anything would have been different, but you never know. 

Luna Vachon, my lovely Luna.  I really really miss her. Luna was a woman that had so much life in her, so much fire. She just wanted to be the very best at what she did and in my opinion she was the best.  She made Sable look amazing during their feud and she did it like a champion. Luna and I had so many special talks over the years, thru the good times and the dark times.  All she ever wanted was to be appreciated. Is that really ever to much ask?? I remember talking with Luna a week before a WrestleMania, probably in 1999 and she was telling me how Vince told her that she was not pretty enough to draw ratings and that she was not going to be used anymore.  That broke her heart, she had done everything that was asked of her and it still was not good enough. She half jokingly told me she would run down the ramp at Mania and blow her brains out in the middle of the ring and that would be "ratings" for Vince.  A part of me honestly thought she might try.  Thank God for Luna she eventually found some peace with herself and her career.  I am proud to say that I promoted her last match with Traci Brooks, and she left as the champion that she truly was. Luna was working on a book before she died and she wanted me to have my brother who is an attorney to look it over for her when she was done, sadly we will never see that amazing story. YouTube Luna Vachon and watch her, she was amazing.

I am sure some of you are wondering where am I going with this.... Well the fact is I am tired of losing my friends. Matt Hardy is my friend. Jeff Hardy is my friend. Road Dogg BG James and Billy Gunn are my friends.

Oh you didn't know???? Let me just say this I do not think I could ever be more proud of two people like I am for BG and Kip. Over the years I have booked both guys on numerous shows and appearances and in the spring of 2010 I decided I was no longer going to use Road Dogg on my events. His mind just was not right, he lost focus, and my friend was a mess. I couldn't stand to see another Test. I could never really gauge Billy because Billy was just being Billy. A big, hard to read guy but you could always see a shine about him. You could see he was like Darth Vader, he had good in him.. LOL 

BG and I talked one day and I told him how much he meant to me as a friend and how much his family needs him, this conversation happened right before he went into rehab. I am happy to say that BG has been clean and sober for well over 10 months now. His light is shining bright and he believes in himself more than ever. Billy was also able to get the help he needed and the same way, and  he has also found his balance and peace and it makes my heart feel #Tremendous.  Both men still  have to fight every day for their sobriety and sanity and they are doing their work. Yes, they are doing their WORK. The New Age Outlaws really are better than ever. When I told BG how I worried about him as a friend he told me how sorry he was that he did that to me. I believed him, I could see the clarity in his eyes, he was no longer sleeping he was awake and living. I always feared I would have to tell Kal that his friend the Road Dogg died from his "demons", I never thought I would see BG sit Kal down and tell him the struggles and battles he has had and tell him that drugs and alcohol never end well. I know that message will stick with Kal for his life and I am thankful that my friend was able to deliver that message IN PERSON. Please follow them on twitter and show them the support and love @BGRoadDoggJames and @RealBillyGunn and be sure to tell them you are a #SuperFriend.

Okay, time to wrap this up here. So what I am saying is that everyone on twitter and in the IWC that judges people for their falls and trips in life I ask you, who are you to judge?  We all know someone that has addictions whether it be drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, sex, etc etc... Instead of throwing stones and mocking why don't we try and help, why can't we all really be SuperFriends.  Yes you could say that Matt Hardy could have killed a family or that Matt Hardy could have done this or that, but the fact is the only one that got hurt was Matt Hardy. Matt Hardy is someones son, brother, nephew, uncle, friend, cousin, lover, and so on.

Matt I wish you the best my man.  Lets just pick our-self up and dust our-self off and reset. I still remember that young kid in the EconoLodge hotel in Chicago signing ladders, chairs, and 8x10s for me with Jeff and Lita. Stay true to who you are and Go Forward.

I hope everyone knows that I make no excuses for anyone, we are all responsible for own actions. We choose certain paths in life and some go down a dark and narrow road and some are filled with sunshine and butterflies.  Please don't judge anyone, because we never know what that person ultimately is going thru. I wish all of you that took the time to read this the very best and to always have faith, hope, and believe in yourself. I appreciate you all.  #SuperFriends.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blizzard Brawl 2 and Two???

So when we last left off the very first ever Blizzard Brawl was in the books and I was able to avoid a biggerfinancial disaster than Bernie Madoff. It was time for me to get out of the wrestling business again and get back to selling Real Estate and Insurance like I had been doing.

The real estate boom was amazing and I was riding high. My Dad and I own The Herro Company a Real Estate Development Company. We would purchase the vacant land and develop it into a subdivision or as my Dad would say a "neighborhood". At this time we had four different developments going on and I was also selling insurance. It was a great combo. We sell the land, build the home, sell them the homeowners insurance, and then the life insurance to cover the mortgage. Did I mention that my cousin was an appraiser and my brother is an attorney?? Talk about a One Stop Shop. We had you covered ... #Tremendous!

So like I said, Blizzard Brawl was done and so was I. Then the phone rang. It was Jeff Lynn...... He asked, "Well, do you want to do it again?" I didn't know what to say, so we decided to meet for lunch at this Chinese place called Chins. I gotta admit I was happy to be done with wrestling, BUT I still had the itch for the business. Gonna get off track for a second and name drop for a minute.... About six months ago (January 2011) I was talking with Armando Estrada current WWE Superstar and GLCW Champion. Armando has become one of my closest friends, we have some really cool discussions about life and wrestling and I have to admit, I sometimes steal his thoughts and use them on PWR Show Radio and TV....... so when I asked him if he still had the itch to get back in the ring he told me, he told me,"the itch never goes away, it just gets bigger". Of course I mentioned they have different creams and powders ....Ha! So yeah, once you are in, you are in. Needless to say Jeff did not have to twist my arm and in March of 2006 I am now planning for Blizzard Brawl 2 in December.

Jeff Lynn and The Brew were once again going to be my media sponsors for the event and I knew that with the power of The Brew that the show would be a huge success. It was also at this time I was starting to build my new home. Like I said the Real Estate business was booming and I was gonna build my Fortress of Solitude.

Ego is a funny thing, it really does get in the way at times. I admit I have an ego, we all do. So when I started to build our new home I picked out the best lot we had in our "neighborhood” and started building. My wife and I agreed on a beautiful 2500 square foot two story home that also allowed for me to build a theater room under our garage, a real life Bat Cave for this Super Herro. Of course a room like that does not come without compromise, so the wife got her dressing room sized walk in closet and fireplace above the  Jacuzzi bathtub. Now before anyone thinks I am "rich", keep in mind I am building my own house with our own sub contractors who did lots of favors for me to keep the price down as we were building about 20 homes a year. I was NOT paying RETAIL if you smell what the Rock is cooking. I am not sure how it happened but the 2500 square foot home somehow Hulkasized into a 4700 square foot home. I had no idea all those little inches on the blue prints could be so big.

I am sure some of you are wondering why I am talking about this in a wrestling blog. Well I decided that if I am going to tell my story about GLCW and Blizzard Brawl so I might as well give you the real journey. This "Fortress of Solitude" plays a big part of the future of GLCW. So please be patient.....

For some reason I felt this Blizzard Brawl should be a double shot so I contacted my old High School and met with the wrestling coach to see if they would be interested in doing a fund raiser for the team. There were a few hoops to jump thru but at the end of the day we agreed to do a show to help raise some money for the Grafton High School Wrestling Team. I was excited because I was bringing my show home to the place where I grew up.

Blizzard Brawl 2 was to be a Legends type theme so I booked King Kong Bundy, Sherri Martel, Kamala, Demolition Ax, Tito Santana, Baron Von Raschke, and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Did I mention Doink the Clown was booked?? Well he was and NO he was not Steve Lombardi, Matt Bourne, or Phil Apollo. He was an indy wrestler from Michigan who did a great job. I also contacted NBC Sports Anchor and good friend Lance "The GunShow" Allan and asked him if he wanted to fulfill his childhood dream and get in the ring. After clearing with the wife "The Gun Show" was ready to make his in ring debut against Doink at the Milwaukee Blizzard Brawl. I still had to book the Grafton Blizzard Brawl, so I used the same idea, GHS Wrestling Coach, Mike Dodge vs Doink and I would get back in the ring again and team with King Kong Bundy against the GLCW Tag Champs, The Militia. Yeah, what was I thinking getting back in the ring, oooh yeah EGO!! Ha Ha..... I did not know when I would have the chance again to get in the ring and I knew that Kal would be excited.

Everything was running smooth, it was September and I was on my way to take my wife to Las Vegas for her 30th birthday. It was tremendous. Good food, good gambling, good shows, good saki. One of my favorite trips of all time. Because I feel there is no need to mention her by name I will use the initials SBL when talking about my now ex wife. Let me just say that SBL is a beautiful woman, I would definitely say that I gave fat guys hope when I married her. She was my best friend and wish things would have worked out between us. We were a blended family and as some people know, blended families can be very straining and difficult. Her son was very trying for me at times, who am I kidding MOST times. We did not click because of his "special needs". Anyone with a child of ADHD knows what I am talking about, it is so hard for the child and so stressful for the parents, and step parents really don’t have a chance. Let’s just say that at times I would rather pound my head thru the wall then have to argue with her about how to handle "blended" situations. Needless to say that two weeks after we got back from Vegas the stress and frustration levels were back again and SBL told me she was going to leave. EGO..... I could not believe it. She told me that she saw how happy and relaxed I was in Vegas and that in the two weeks back that guy was gone. So SBL moved out of the house we just built and back into the old house that we did not sell yet. Did I mention this is six weeks before Blizzard Brawl 2???

Now I have the task of promoting two Blizzard Brawls and trying to save my marriage. I honestly did not know what to do. I hated life. I was looking for balance that I could not find. One of the first calls I made was to Jeff Lynn. I told him what was going on and assured him everything would go forward as planned. I wanted to let him know that if I seemed stressed out it was because I was and that he just had to know everything would be fine. He must have been thinking that these wrestling people are crazy. First Crusher's Family was gonna sue over last years show and now I was having a marriage crisis. Ahhh the wrestling business.

To help promote the Grafton Blizzard Brawl I brought Baron down to be apart of the Grafton Christmas Parade and it was so amazing to see The Baron in that convertible throwing up The Claw to all the fans along the parade route. Baron got a bigger pop than Santa that day..... Did I mention Jeff Lynn requested to be Baron's driver for the parade... Talk about a kid in the candy store... :)

After the parade I had to focus on family stuff, SBL and I agreed that Kal would float back and forth between the two houses and obviously her son would stay with her. Let me just say that that Fortress of Solitude got mighty quiet and lonely when Kal was not there and it was just me and the two labs Mick and Hogan.... Yes named after Mick Foley and Hulk Hogan #ButYouAlreadyKnewThat. By the Grace of God, SBL and I agreed to make it work and she moved back in about 10 days before the shows were to take place. Little did I know that this would happen three more times over the next three years. #NoThanksPal.

Blizzard Brawl 2 and Two went off with a huge turnout. The Milwaukee show drew over 1,200 people and Lance Allan was triumphant in his in ring debut. But not without my heart stopping. For some reason Doink decided to start suplexing The Gun Show all over the ring and doing spots we never talked about. Thank God that Lance had Baron Von Raschke as his manager that night as the Baron dropped "The Claw" on Doink which allowed Lance the opportunity school boy Doink for the three count.

The Grafton show was also a blast we had a crowd of almost 900 people in the GHS Gymnasium. This was when I realized that I do not need to book myself on the show especially when I have to book the other matches. I only need one hat and that to promote the shows. Any ways I had my last match that night and wow did I suck. Within the first minute of the match I somehow got my chin stuck on the top rope and wrenched my neck something terrible. Now considering I already have three fractured vertebras, I was rather concerned and in a ton of pain. Bundy and I came up short thanks to a Doink the Clown interference and the doctor was not able to help me with my neck because of the swelling. It took two days for the swelling to go down before I could get any treatment. Of course the family was not pleased that I would take that did I mention EGO??? BTW Kal loved it :)

After the shows Bobby Heenan pulled me aside and told me that the two shows were the most well run indy shows that he had ever been apart of and that if I ever needed to use him as a reference to book future talent to give that person his number. He also said that if Bobby Heenan's word was good enough then “fawk um”.... Anyone that knows Bobby knows he does not say something unless he means it. I was honored and flattered that Bobby said those kind words and I looked forward to working with him again.

Needless to say I survived not one Blizzard Brawl that year but two and dodged a bullet to The Super Herro least for the time being. My life from here on out takes many different crazy hills and valleys but the one constant besides Kal has always been wrestling, so of course, the obvious question was how will Blizzard Brawl 3 top this?? Well looks like you will have to wait and check back next week to find out.... #ButYouAlreadyKnewThat.

Follow Blizzard Brawl on Twitter here

Monday, May 23, 2011

This is Blizzard Brawl

So the last time we left off, HERE I was winding down Great Lakes Championship Wrestling (GLCW) as I was about to get married and enter corporate America. As far as I was concerned I had accomplished everything I wanted to do in the wrestling business, that was work with the greats and earn their respect. I felt that I had succeeded and it was time to “grow up”.

Fast forward about three years to 2005 and Cousin Jack gives me a call.  Anyone that knows Cousin Jack will always appreciate the “Hey cuz” tag line.  So here we go….  Hey Cuz, was my greeting on the other end of the call.  Keep in mind the Legendary Crusher, the Man Who Made Milwaukee Famous, had just died a week ago and Cousin Jack was partnering with 97.3 The Brew to promote a Crusher Tribute Show. My initial thought was that the Crusher’s body wasn’t even cold yet, but Jack and the Brew wanted an event and I was asked to come to the meeting and help out.

Now as far as I was concerned, I was done with the wrestling business. I no longer had my segment on ESPN radio, I no longer did autograph signings, schedule personal appearances, and barely talked to the “boys”.  After all I was married. To be honest, it drove me nuts. I no longer had my creative outlet and the suit and tie gimmick was driving me crazy, and I had the “itch” to get back in the business again, so for me to hear “Hey Cuz”, I knew it was gonna be something interesting.

I met up with Cousin Jack at the Clear Channel Milwaukee offices and met Jeff Lynn and Ken Kohls. Jeff was the head guy in charge for the Brew an 80’s rock station that was on fire in Milwaukee and Ken was his promotions director. I expressed my interest in working with Clear Channel and the Brew on the event because I could see it would be huge and just what I needed. Finally I was working with a big time media player.  The Brew was going to cover all the expenses and all Cousin Jack and I had to do was put the show together and book the talent. Several times throughout the meeting I asked if the Crusher’s Family was on board and Cousin Jack assured us that they were and that they were all excited to honor their father. We left the meeting and I felt like I was back, I had ideas racing through my head and people to call.  I reached out to my friends… Al Snow, Diamond Dallas Page, King Kong Bundy, Jerry Lawler, and Grandmaster Sexay. I also booked Traci Brooks on the show and it was also the first time I ever worked with her. The show was set, the plane tickets were booked, and now we just had to get the ball rolling.

Cousin Jack and I were out postering and flyering the event that was to be called The Brew’s Bolo Brew-ha.  The Bolo was the name of The Crusher’s finisher and seemed like the perfect name for the event.  We had booked the Ramada Convention Center by the Milwaukee airport to hold the show.  I liked the idea of the Ramada because we worked out a deal where we paid rent according to the bar sales, we had a number to hit and if we hit that we got free rent and a percentage of sales. I also like the fact the hotel rooms and the show were all in the same building. Less chasing around for me. I gotta admit this was all going really smooth, too smooth actually.  As Cousin Jack and I hung up one of the last posters my phone rings….. It was Jeff Lynn of the Brew informing Cuz and myself that the Crusher’s daughter had called to complain that we were using her father’s likeness for the event without her approval and that she would sue everyone if we continued the event.  Jeff told us that Clear Channel and The Brew would no longer be affiliated with the show because of legal ramifications.  I was numb. I looked at Jack and just took him home.  I asked for Crusher’s daughter’s number because I had to try and fix this ASAP.  Considering I already had about $5,000 of my own money into this show I needed to act quick because I had no desire to tell my wife that I lost $5,000 a month before Christmas.

To this day I am not sure if all the I’s were dotted and T’s were crossed with The Crusher’s family. I am sure that some of his family loved the idea and others did not. So I called Dawn (Crusher’s daughter) and told her that I had no idea she was not in favor of the show and that if the show were to continue on as planned that her father’s name and likeness would not be used whatsoever to promote the event.  After 45 minutes of really great conversation and understanding she gave me her blessing to go forward with the show and wished me luck. As soon as I hung up with Dawn I called Jeff Lynn at the Brew and asked if I could meet with him the next day.

Now you can only imagine how much I was hating life and the wrestling business at this time, I went from not having a “creative outlet” to all of the sudden being $5,000 in the hole and possibly ruining my reputation as a promoter.  So I met with Jeff Lynn, a man I had only met once before in my entire life and I told him what I was willing to do.  I said I would still go forward with the show, get another $5,000 to cover remaining expenses and then I get to keep the gate. All I needed from Jeff was the power of Clear Channel and The Brew.  I told Jeff that he did not owe me anything and that I would understand if they wanted no part of a show that was supposed to place in three weeks.  Jeff excused himself for five minutes which seemed like an hour.  All I could think of was how was I going to explain to my wife, who was not a wrestling fan to begin with that I was out $5,000 on a show that was never my idea in the first place. Waiting… Waiting… Waiting….

Jeff came back into his office, sat down and with a huge smile on his face asked me that if they backed the show promotionally if he could be the ring announcer. I said absolutely. Now I don’t want to tell you how much Jeff and Clear Channel graciously helped me with promotionally but let’s just say that the WWE does not get that much air time when they come into town. What a huge day for me, I had more advertising that I ever could have imagined, now I just have to brand the show. Needless to say that Jeff Lynn has become one of my best friends on the planet and has been my ring announcer ever since.

I wanted to get a charity involved to help get some more attention and hopefully help with ticket sales. I wasn’t sure who to use so I went down a list of local charities and came across Variety.  Variety is a charity for abused and battered women and children. Originally I was going to name the event “Season’s Beatings” but I felt that probably wouldn’t be appropriate considering the charity involved. So back to the drawing board for a new name. That’s when I decided to go with Blizzard Brawl.  Not sure how it came to be but it just worked. So Blizzard Brawl was born.

I was looking for other ways to make money on this event because I always feel that no matter how much you do to promote the event it is never enough.  So I decided to sell “attendant” sponsorships.  The way it worked is that the fans could purchase the opportunity to sit with the talent at their table during the meet and greet session, kind of like their own personal security.  I sold those for $300 to $500 each. Tremendous.

I then reached out to all my media friends that would come to Herro’s Sports page (HSP) for personal appearance events.  One of those “media guys” was my good friend from the Milwaukee NBC station and the Sports Anchor, Lance Allan.  Lance is a true wrestling fan, he was a fan growing up and eventually became one of GLCW’s undefeated stars.  Lance came in to interview Diamond Dallas Page who was scheduled to take on Jerry “The King” Lawler in the Main Event. One week before the show Jerry called me and said he had a court date that he could not miss but he was willing to send a video to be played at the show explaining that he couldn’t make the event and that he would name a replacement.  That replacement would be Buff Bagwell. Why wouldn’t this shows Main Event have to be changed, the show has been a roller coaster ride from the get go.  What else could go wrong? A Blizzard at Blizzard Brawl?? It is Milwaukee in December remember.

We are now five days out and Jeff Lynn and The Brew have been tremendous, I am hearing the commercials all over the Clear Channel Milwaukee universe. I also bout some 30 second TV spots on Time Warmer Sports for $2 each so I had lots of media presence and Lance Allan had invited DDP and myself to be on the 6am NBC TV news. I was also fortunate enough to get Steve “Sparky” Fifer from FOX Sports Radio to come and manage King Kong Bundy. I covered all my bases, I had FM radio, AM radio, Cable TV, and Network TV. What could go wrong, we are almost home??? Did I mention the show was called Blizzard Brawl?

The night before Blizzard Brawl, the  Milwaukee and Chicago area were hit with a legit blizzard. It was so bad that an airplane skid off the tarmac in Chicago.  Like C3PO “we’re doomed”. I had no faith that the people would come out to a show like this at a hotel ballroom with this ridiculous weather. Now all I could think of was that I was going to lose $10,000 on a show that wasn’t supposed to be mine in the first place…..

Al Snow, Brian Christopher, King Kong Bundy, Dallas Page, Buff Bagwell, and ODB all made their flights in the morning of the show and the roads were starting to get cleaned up. The last person I had to get was Traci Brooks. She was terrific, beautiful smile, and just happy. I wish I could find 10 Traci Brooks to use on every show, drama free and doesn’t complain. Best “diva” experience ever. Traci and I would go on to become great friends and I was even invited to her wedding.

So as I am in the back going over all the matches with everyone and making sure everyone knows what they are doing I decide to go and check in with DDP and Buff.  These two have had the same match 100s of times so I was confident everything would be perfect.  Then my brother walked in the back and asked me to come out front, he wanted me to see what was going on.  My heart stopped, we were 30 minutes from bell time and I was certain that I would walk into an empty ball room.  As we both walked out from behind the curtain the room was jam packed, the hotel was searching for more chairs.  They originally were set up for 750 people and wound up having more than 1,000 people in the Ramada Ballroom. I couldn’t believe it, I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t have a tear in my eye.

The show went off as planned and for the most part without a hitch. There was a chant for The Crusher and a chant for Eddie Guerrero as he had also just passed.  The Crusher’s daughter was there and she gave me a big hug and congratulated me. The fans were excited and happy.  It was a great experience for everyone involved and I was not out $10,000 but I was emotionally exhausted.

The very first Blizzard Brawl was finally in the books, everyone was paid, everyone had fun, everyone made some money and I was ready to get out of the crazy wrestling business again. I have said this many times, if it was not for the kindness of Jeff Lynn this would have been the worst experience for me.  For some reason he believed in me and what we could possibly do together. For this I will be forever grateful. You can be the greatest promoter alive but f you do not have the right people working with you then you really don’t have anything.  Jeff Lynn is a founding father of Blizzard Brawl.

So like I said, I was done, spent, exhausted, I just wanted to get home and go to sleep and leave wrestling behind me again. I did just that. Then about March 2006 I got a phone call from Jeff, he said “do you wanna do it again?”….. TO BE CONTINUED

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Great Lakes Championship Wrestling is born....

Okay #SuperFriends, when we last left off I was explaining how Herro's Sports Page (HSP) got its start, how it grew and who was involved. It was a #tremendous experience.  Then one day a monster of a man walked thru the doors of HSP. 

This guy was as tall as me and looked like a mean dude. I gotta admit he was rather intimidating. Rich Finke was his name and at the time had the personality of a potato chip and a very dry sense of humor.  Rich was a local independent wrestler that was trained by AWA Tag Team star The Texas Hangman (WCW's Disorderly Conduct's Mean Mike) and Verne Gagne prelim guy, Tom "Rocky" Stone.  Rich heard there was a wrestling store in Milwaukee and wanted to check it out.  We chatted on and off for a couple weeks feeling each other out and we decided we should do business together.  Sitting in the office at HSP we decided that we could make some money being a player in the independent wrestling scene in Milwaukee.  With his connections in wrestling and the popularity of HSP and my radio show we felt we could take over the area.  All we needed was a name..... Great Lakes Championship Wrestling (GLCW) was born.

Our very first show was to take place at Texx's Victory Hall in Cudahy, Wisconsin in October of 1997.  I was nervous, I never promoted a live event before so I had no idea what to expect. We agreed to bring in "The Brooklyn Brawler" Steve Lombardi as the headliner.  I believe we had seven matches and rolled the dice.  The show was selling pretty well and a few weeks in we had already presold 200 plus tickets, I could feel a home run on our first show.  During this time I was working with Jim Cornette in the WWF offices (Jim was the talent relations guy).  I called Jim up and asked him if I could book Mick Foley on an upcoming show in 1998. At the WWF was still allowing their talent to take indy bookings, but obviously that was about to change.  Jim, Mick, and I spent well over a week negotiating a fee for an autograph appearance at HSP and a match for GLCW, lets just say knowing what Mick gets now for a personal appearance I got a #tremendous deal. I know I am getting ahead of my self as I haven't even finished the story of my first show, but just hang in there, I will get there.... now.

So the night of the first GLCW show we were ready to rock, the place was jammed packed, I believe we did over 600 paid, so I was very pleased.  The crowd was hot and they were spending money on gimmicks and the bar. I was even booked in the Battle Royale, one of a handful of matched I would book myself in over the next 13 years.  No, I didn't win... I am not a wrestler and even tho I may have the size, I have always had more fun promoting and booking the shows, besides it drives me nuts when indy owners book themselves to get themselves over.  Col. Corruption won the GLCW title that night and right after his match we announced that he would defend his newly won title at the next show against WWF star...... Mankind.  The crowd went nuts and I knew that we had a huge show in the making.

Over the next couple months all I did was plan and promote that show. We booked it at The Rave in Milwaukee, WCW and ECW ran the Rave and I felt it was the right size of a building to hold an event with Mick Foley.  Over the next few weeks we also added "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Ken Patera, and Bastion Booger. I guess looking back at it, I really did not take any baby steps from show one to show two, I jumped in head first. proves the fact that patience is NOT one of my strong points. Everything was running smoothly, GLCW was about to be put on the map.  Tickets were selling fast and it looked like we would easily hit 1,000 tickets sold. I was feeling very relaxed and comfortable knowing that everything was falling into place.  Then the day before Mick was to get in town for his appearance for me at HSP, I got a phone call from my Mom..... My grandfather has just died......... Wow, I couldn't believe it, I had no idea what to do, how to feel, I was numb, my grandpa was gone, he was a huge part of my life and I was too busy living out my childhood dreams to visit him as often as I should have. I was crushed and felt extremely guilty that I didn't give him more attention. The next few days were just a whirl wind of emotions.

When Mick landed in Milwaukee he had just finished a WWF European tour and he was exhausted.  He even mentioned this Milwaukee show in his book, the New York Times Best Seller, "Have A Nice Day".  Mick and I caught up and I told him what had happened with my grandpa and assured him that everything would go as planned, and it did.  We had a huge turnout at HSP for his appearance, I think we had over 500 people show up on Good Friday to meet the Hardcore Icon. After the signing we had a quick dinner then back to the hotel to get ready for the next day..... Mick wanted to go Easter Basket shopping for his kids, so I asked Mick is he wanted to go to the Mall, specialty stores, candy stores???? He said "Walmart". #ButYouAlreadyKnewThat. After all the shopping was done all that was left was the show......

I almost forgot to mention that the Monday Night Raw before my show, Mick cut a promo in the ring saying that Cactus Jack was leaving the WWF and that he was not appreciated. I was elated that the guy that was gonna be headlining my show just told the world that he wanted to quit wrestling and was given a lot of TV time. I had FOUR tv commercials during that RAW.

We got to The Rave and was met by a pleasant surprise, about 600 people waiting in line two hours early..... Mick was impressed and Rich and I were very pleased. The show went off without a hitch, we had 1800 plus fans yelling and screaming and Cactus Jack became the 2nd ever GLCW Heavyweight Champion. I learned a lot from Mick Foley that weekend, he taught me a lot about running indy shows, promoting, running the locker room and perhaps the most important lesson of all...... 50/50 split on in ring Polaroids.  Happy Easter to me :) About 500 fans purchased an in ring Polaroid with the new GLCW Champ for $20 each.  Yep #Winning.

After the show Mick told me that he was impressed the way I handled everything for only having run one show prior to my super show and dealing with the death of my grandfather.  He told me he looked forward to returning and defending the GLCW Title.  Vince McMahon had other ideas for Mick.....  That was Mick's last true "Indy" match as he went on to become Corporate Dude Love and feud with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Austin vs Dude was the Main Event of the WWF Over The Edge PPV held in Milwaukee.  SO needless to say, Mrs. Foley's baby boy never defended the GLCWtitle and I had no choice but to take the belt off him.  Mick and I have remained good friends since that day and I even got a bit mention in his latest book "Countdown To Lockdown".

GLCW was now a player on the Milwaukee Indy scene.  We were able to run events for SummerFest, Dan Jansen Festival, Wisconsin State Fair, and numerous County Fairs and High School Fundraisers.  Cousin Jack Koshick and I even branched out to do three casino shows in Minnesota and Miami with Jim Cornette and the WWF. Yes, GLCW ran shows with WWF talent Al Snow, Test, Val Venis, Gangrel, Terri Runnels, Mankind, and others. Those were great shows, lots of fun and we sold a ton of merchandise (remember I was able to buy direct from WWF so I had all the tshirts :) )

Over the next five years Rich and I ran shows all over Wisconsin. What a cast of characters we came across.... Rock N Roll Buck Zumhoffe, The Honky Tonk Man, King Kong Bundy, Iron Sheik, Luna Vachon, Jerry Lawler, The Crusher, Nick Bockwinkel, Greg Valentine, The Bushwhackers, George Steele, Nikolia Volkoff, Larry Zybysko, Haku, and of course one of my favorites...... Gillberg.

Yes, that's right, I said Gillberg.  Duane "Gillberg" Gill was on top of the world, he was the current WWF Light heavyweight Champion.  Gillberg was the brain child of Al Snow.  I remember sitting in a Denny's with Al when he told me about the Gillberg idea.  He thought that what a great rib it would be on WCW and Goldberg if the parodied Gill as the undefeated WCW superstar.  The WWF even pumped in the "Gillberg" chant. You are probably wondering why I am taking th etime to explain this "phenomenon".  Well, I was all set to run a show with the super amazing Luna Vachon, and one month before she was supposed to make her GLCW apperance she called me and told me she was going into rehab and would not be able to make the show.  First call I made was to Jim Cornette and asked him if anyone was available to come in. Knowing that Vinny Mac did not let any of his Superstars work the indies I knew the chances were not good. "How about Gillberg?", Cornette asked. "Absolutely", I said.  How could I pass up having the current WWF Light heavyweight Champion on my show. He was on TV every week and his fee was more than fair. I had four weeks to change all the advertising and flyers and get the word out that WWF Light heavyweight Champ, Gillberg would be in Cudahy, Wisconsin.  Jackpot, over 800 people showed up to cheer on the sparkler waving, jack hammering, lovable JOB Squader.  Victory for GLCW.

May of 2001 would be the last show I would run for a while.  I was getting married in July and I knew that  the wrestling business is not conducive for a successful marriage. So I called my good friend Road Dogg Jesse James, Road Dogg was just released by the WWF and I felt he would be a great draw.  So I was able to book him in Green Bay on a Friday night, Saturday for me, a Pay Per View Party on Sunday, and his birthday party / RAW party on a Monday.  What the hell was I thinking!?!?!? Turns out Road Dogg wound up staying with me for a week, remember when I said wrestling is not conducive for a successful marriage??? Ha Ha.  I am proud to say that the BG James that I know today is NOT the same Road Dogg Jesse James that I worked with in May of 2001.  He is a stronger, more disciplined, and wiser man. I am very proud of his growth as a man and am inspired by his strength. BTW, BG is also accepting bookings, message me for details :)

When Road Dogg hopped on that plane to go home, I decided that my four year run of GLCW shows was more than I ever could have asked for.  I had nothing left to prove, I was an established promoter and I was about to start a new chapter in my life, I was getting married. It was time to move on. I had just closed up HSP, wrestling was not as hot as it once was and WalMart and Target were now selling wrestling merchandise cheaper than what I paid for my own inventory.  I decided to go corporate. I was working for someone for the first time in 10 years and I was frustrated, wrestling is who I am, it's a huge part of me, and I was going crazy without my creative outlet. For almost five years I was wrestle free because that's what I thought was the right thing to do.

October 2005, one of my idols and good friend, AWA Legend, The Crusher has died. Once again I felt that guilt when my Grandfather had died, once again I had forgotten another. I was involved in my own life and now new family and did not take the time to visit Crush when I had the chance.  Seeing everyone in the "biz" again got me feeling restless, but I knew that wrestling wasn't a good fit for me. Two weeks later the phone rang..... "Hey cuz".        TO BE CONTINUED...... The story of Blizzard Brawl

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

True Story... HSP 4 Life

So a few of you have asked me how Great lakes Championship Wrestling (GLCW) started and how did Blizzard Brawl come about.  Well to be honest if it was not for Herro’Sports Page, none of this would have happened.

I opened Herro’s Sports Page (HSP) in August of 1996 and the timing could not have been better, the Green Bay Packer were on their way to an eventual Super Bowl Championship and I was a Green and Yellow selling machine.  Life was good. As much as I loved the Green and Gold I was making, wrestling was always my first love.

During this time I had started a relationship with SportsRadio 1510 WAUK (eventually ESPN Milwaukee) and that’s how Herro’s Squared Circle Report was born.  Every Tuesday afternoon at 3:50pm I would give a 10 minute recap on RAW and Nitro with Bill Johnson.  It was a blast, wrestling was never more popular or exciting and I was thought of as an “expert”.  The ten minute segment eventually morphed into a one hour Saturday morning show with longtime friend “Milwaukee” Matt Marchese.

America Online was the hot new thing at the time and I was chatting with Kimberly Page, yes the Nitro Girl and wife of Diamond Dallas Page (DDP).  I told her how I was interested in bringing in some wrestling talent for a public appearance and she was able to point me in the right direction with the people of World Championship Wrestling (WCW).  After a few phone calls WCW told me that if I was willing to produce a live radio remote from HSP that they would provide the talent to me free of charge when WCW Clash of Champions would come to Milwaukee in January of 1997. As Charlie Sheen would say that’s “winning”.  Since I was already in with ESPN Milwaukee I was able to get a great deal with them for an on site remote and my first wrestler appearance was on it’s way to HSP.  WCW had asked me who I would like to have at the store, we agreed on the Steiner Brothers, unfortunately they had to pull out and a replacement was needed….. Feel The Bang…. DDP was that guy.  The night before he was to make his appearance at HSP he appeared on WCW Nitro and gave the Diamond Cutter to all of the nWo. A star was born.

The next day at 3pm on a Tuesday after noon DDP walked into HSP wearing a full length fur coat that was once owned by “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and signed autographs for over 400 people.  Did I mention that it was 3pm on a Tuesday!!!  That was crazy.  DDP was absolutely amazing, he signed and talked his way until the very last person got his autograph.  The fans were so happy and I was super pleased with the experience. The WCW reps were pretty impressed with the way the remote and the signing came together and assured me that anytime WCW was in the area that they would be more than happy to have someone from WCW stop in for an appearance. I was also able to secure an order form from WCW and was able to purchase the same tshirts that the stars wore on TV and sold at the arenas.. I was on my way to getting the hottest wrestling tshirt in the world at my store the nWo. Now that was #tremendous. So thanks to DDP and Kimberly I was put on the wrestling map.

Two weeks later I had the official line of WCW mwechandise in my store, Sting, Four Horsemen, nWo, Hollywood Hogan, DDP, & Macho Man, you name it I had it, well except for the WWF.  I picked up the phone and called Titan Towers, I explained to them what I did with WCW and I offered them the same deal the of radio remote in exchange for the talent, the seemed very interested but decided to let the local promoter in Milwaukee make the final call.  I asked for his name and number and I could not believe what I heard.  The local promoter was my Cousin Jack, Jack Koshick.  Again “winning”. I called Jack as I was hanging up with Titan Towers and I pitched him the idea.  Lets just say magic happened and I was able to score a press conference at my store with Big Van Vader.  Vader was fresh off coming back from Kuwait after roughing up the news reporter so I had no problem getting the NBC, FOX, CBS, and NBC news TV cameras and ESPN radio at my store for his “press conference”.  Vader was fabulous, he came across as the ultimate villain and even made the local media a little nervous.  But that my #SuperFriends was just the appetizer.  The main course was better than I could have imagined.  The legendary tag team The Legion of Doom, The Road Warriors were scheduled to sign autographs at HSP for two hours.  We had well over 1,000 people in line on that Sunday afternoon.

The WWF agents that came along to “supervise” the signing were also very impressed and loved the idea of a sports and wrestling store.  They just did not care for the huge wall of WCW merchandise that I was offering to the Milwaukee fan base.  When asked why I was not selling their merchandise I told them the truth, “nobody called me back”.  Well needless to say the following Tuesday I had received a huge box from Titan Towers with about 100 t-shirts with a note saying “Hope this holds you over until we get your first order”.  In that box were t-shirts of Austin 3:16, LOD, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Sunny, Marlena, The Headbanger, etc etc… #Tremdous.

So with that being said within two months I went from having a small corner of my store dedicated to WWF action figures to the whole line of WWF and WCW tshirts, dvds, music cds, action figures, jewelry, and masks.  I was now living the dream.  After that I was privileged to do signings and appearances at HSP with such greats as Kane, The Headbangers, Sable, The Honky Tonk Man, The Crusher, Nick Bockwinkel, Road Dogg Jesse James, Mick Foley, Edge, Christian, Val Venis, test, Luna Vachon, gangrel, Gillberg, Kurrgan, Debra McMichael, Triple H, Chyna, X-Pac, Buff Bagwell, Lex Luger, Ivory, Tori, Miss Jackie, Scotty 2 Hotty, Kevin Nash, Kimberly, Curt Hennig, King Kong Bundy, Goldberg, Jim Cornette, Sunny, Marlena, Dawn Marie, The Iron Sheik, Bret Hart, Al Snow, and The Rock.

HSP was the very first public appearance that Kane had ever made and HSP was also the last public store signing that the Rock did for the WWF.  With the way HSP was rolling I couldn’t imagine life could get any better, then a man named Rich Finke showed up one day and the idea of Great Lakes Championship Wrestling (GLCW) was born…….  TO BE CONTINUED

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Here's The Thing .....WWE Draft

#HeresTheThing....  I have been a wrestling fan for well over 30 years, my first memories of wrestling were of my father taking me to the Mecca in Milwaukee to go see the old AWA with The Crusher headling against Mad Dog Vachon.  I #AbsoFrickenLutely hated the experience. I never would have thought that later in my life I would be asked my opinions and thoughts on  a sport originally hated, let alone eventually work with The Crusher and Mad Dog. That being said here are my thoughts on the wonderful world of wrestling...ooops I mean Sports Entertainment.  Please keep in mind this is EPO, Entertainment Purposes Only.

So the WWE just finished their annual RAW & Smackdown! talent draft. I must say they did a fine job of teasing the audience with the draftng of John Cena and Randy Orton from RAW to Smackdown, then eventually drafting Cena back to RAW.  Kind of reminded me of a recent PWRShow Fantasy Draft we did where I drafted The Miz, only to be traded to my co-host Dameon Nelson only to be wild card picked back to me to end the show.  Coincidence?? No Idea. You can watch the PWRShow Draft here...

The fact of the matter is this, the WWE as a brand needs to develop new "superstars", they are no longer called "wrestlers" per Vince McMahon. The WWE can no longer depend on aging stars such as The Undertaker and Triple H.  John Cena is the new top dog and the second tier is Randy Orton, The Miz, and CM Punk (off and on).  That being said the talent depth is rather thin and needs a good boost and for certain individuals to take their game to the next level.  Studs like Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, and Christian need to take advantage of the talent exchange and become the headliners that the company has hoped they would become.

Sending Randy Orton, one of the company's top stars to Smackdown to replace the retiring Edge is a great start, both guys are extremely talented and Orton will able to fill the void of losing Edge. Some may think sending Orton to Smackdown is a demotion to the "B" show, but I feel he is the one guy that will elevate the talent roster on Smackdown to become better.  I have spoken with many legendary WWE Hall of Famers, and they all say that Randy Orton is the real deal, the best in the business today.  Lets see how he does as the new face of Smackdown along with the Undertaker.

The "E" also sent some of their new, bright, young hopefuls to the Flagship show Monday Night RAW.  It will be sink or swim time for such young studs as Alberto Del Rio, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, Chris Masters, and Kofi Kingston.  These  guys have been pushed and de-pushed often over the last 12 months and now they are finally getting one more chance to make a name for themselves and possibly become headliners. Alberto Del Rio has been the standout with the audience totally investing into him as a top heel. RAW also obtained Big Show and Rey Mysterio in hopes of lessening the blow of losing Randy Orton.  Both Show and Rey are solid main eventers that can also help the young talent grow and mature.

The Smackdown brand which is seen every Friday on Syfy acquired younger stars that are still searching for their identity and for fan investment such as Sin Cara, Daniel Bryan, The Uso Brothers, Tyson Kidd, Yoshi Tatsu, Alex Riley, and Ted DiBiase. By moving these younger talents to Smackdown they will get a fresh start from the Cena, Miz, Orton, Triple H led RAW brand where they never really had a chance to shine.  William Regal and Mark Henry were also solid additions to Smackdown where the can be locker room leaders and teachers.  Regal is a tremendous teacher and knows how to teach the young kids how to tell a story and use expressions instead of crazy bumps to get over.  Hopefully they will listen to him.

This Sunday the WWE will have their Pay Per View: Extreme Rules.. This will be the show that will end many feuds and start new and fresh story lines. Hopefully this is what the WWE Creative had in mind when writing the draft.

I am looking forward to a partial reset of the WWE, it is nice to see and watch of some of the new guys have an opportunity (that's all we can ever ask for)  and see if they have what it takes to become true superstars, headliners, or legends in a business that is no longer called "pro wrestling" but is now referred to as "sports entertainment".  That topic will be for discussion at a later time.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts.  You can also follow me on Twitter @DavidHerro for more random goodness.  Be Safe, Behave, and always Go Forward.