Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wrestling Seminars and the betterment of our business.....if you WILL....

I need to say how much I'm looking forward to this Saturday with the Kevin Kelly seminar at the Monster Factory. Because I REALLY am. Seminars themselves, besides what we already teach, are very important to helping our students at the Monster Factory learn and grow MORE than they already do. Yes we have Danny Cage who was an excellent amateur wrestler and Larry Sharpe's apprentice. We have Bill Wiles who is another excellent amateur wrestler who also did his time in ECW on tv and pay per view. We have myself who did time in ECW and WWE. And now QT Marshall who has done everything from ROH to NXT and back. You have all of us teaching at the school but it's important to bring in new AND different learning trees from which to pick leaves of knowledge from. 

To me the Monster Factory is like a pro wrestling college. Instead of a classroom, we have a ring. Instead of study hall, we have tape study. Instead of books, we have boots, tights and weights. AND somwhat like of guest speakers that colleges pay to come in and lecture. We have seminars. Some other crafts and business call them workshops. My friends who do comedy do plenty of workshops. My cousin who is a minister goes to plenty of workshops. My friends in the music industry go to teach or learn from what they call clinics which are usually held at musical instrument stores. My friends in radio have done internships. My friends in the medical field have done what the call a residency. All forms of craft and professions have extra curricular avenues of which they pay for or do some work for the experience in which to learn from and better themselves. Pro wrestling should be no different. Especially now.

The practice of seminars in other realms are nothing out of the ordinary and are something pro wrestling could use in this day and age if done right with reputable people. Back when I broke in I was fortunate to learn from Al Snow. From Al Snow I went onto learn from Sabu while doing his shows. From there I went onto ECW and learned Paul Heyman, Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, Shane Douglas, Taz, Tracy Smothers, Tommy Rich and Bam Bam Bigelow.

When I went to the WWE I attended the Dory Funk Dojo where I learned from Dory Funk and Dr. Tom Prichard. When I lost all my weight in 2000 I went to Memphis to try and reinvent myself and there I learned from Jim Neidhart and then William Regal. Heck, I'm STILL learning about the wrestling business. You can NEVER stop learning in this business......that is....unless you learn from the RIGHT people. 

That's where I really feel bad for this and the next generation of wrestlers. Who is there to learn from? Where are the leaders to lead and the young guys who want to listen? Of course there are some great schools and promotions out there. But for every ONE good wrestling promotion and wrestling school there are five iffy schools and promotions. It's literally the blind leading the blind. From that is where wrestlers become what I like to call "indylicious" and form bad habits. 

That's why WWE is starting to stray away from the independent wrestling scene. There are way too many bad habits out there on the scene and some are irreversible enough to make a performer perform up to what the WWE standard is. Unless that person comes with a stamp of approval from someone held in high regard already in WWE, the WWE itself will and has looked elsewhere like amateur wrestling and football. Not because they hate the indies but because guys from football and amateur wrestling are still raw and moldable to what they want and won't question advice that goes against whatever indy pro wrestling zen master has taught them wrong.

I love reading when guys on the indies get mad because the WWE hires football guys like it's some new concept. Has no one heard of Wahoo McDaniels? Has no one heard of Ernie Ladd? How about Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Brian Pillman, JBL, Jim Neidhart, Droz and Goldberg? I know there are plenty of names I'm even forgetting but football to wrestling is nothing new and it's something the WWE is leaning towards again

Why? Because the indies are chock full of bad habits and THAT my friends is why seminars are vital to TODAY'S pro wrestling scene. That's why we at the Monster Factory are constantly looking to bring in different perspectives. We've had Glenn Ruth from the Headbangers return to help teach. We've had J.J Dillon come in. We've had Ring Of Honor veteran "Brutal" Bob Evans come in. We've even had Rikishi do an impromptu seminar. We had D'Lo Brown return to the Monster Factory and not only work our show but pulled every match to the side for a personal critique of each match of his own free will!! And most notably we had Gerald Brisco come in TWICE to check out our crew which is a privilege for the Monster Factory because Gerry doesn't go to EVERY wrestling school out there. He's scouting the amateur ranks for future WWE super stars and NOT the indies. Why? Again, independent wrestling is full of bad habits.

That's why this Saturday with Kevin Kelly coming to the Monster Factory is very important to us. Besides my personal admiration for Kevin the person who has helped me over my career. Kevin has BEEN there and DONE THAT. He's done it all from announcing to WWE talent relations. He is now the voice of Ring Of Honor and still has that eye for talent. If you want to know where you stand in the business. Come to the Monster Factory for a seminar. If you want to know what you need to fix mechanically and visually in your approach and appearance. Come to the Monster Factory. If you want to begin your career the right way COME TO THE MONSTER FACTORY. 

Come to the Monster Factory where you WILL learn from Danny Cage. You WILL learn from Bill Wiles. You WILL learn from Q.T. Marshall. You WILL learn from myself the Blue Meanie. People HAVE LEARNED at the Monster Factory from Larry Shape, from JJ Dillon, from Bob Evans, from The Head Bangers, from D'Lo Brown, from Gerry Brisco and many more to come who we have in the works! Who will YOU learn from? Guys who've been to "the show" OR who guys who are at the same skill level as yourself...or WORSE? Who are YOU going to learn from? Guys who've been to "the dance" OR from guys who took 3 months of lessons elsewhere where they never finished training (or paying tuition for THAT matter) and now think they are qualified to teach others elsewhere? Who are YOU going to learn from? Guys who only teach "SPOT! SPOT! SPOT!" or guys who know the how, the why, the when AND the what to do of the things you are SUPPOSED to do. These examples are me presenting facts as I've seen and heard over my career.

So YES seminars are vital to wrestling. To me seminars at the Monster Factory are what we think is important for the future of this business. To learn. To grow. To hear the good and most importantly.....TO hear the bad. If you can't take the bad with the good then maybe The Monster Factory or wrestling in general isn't the thing for you. No babies or fragile egos need apply. If you ARE willing to take it all, then we have the right place with the right people for you. This Saturday with Kevin Kelly will be just another example of The Monster Factory giving a damn about making sure our crew and pro wrestling as a whole do better FOR OURSELVES AND MOST IMPORTANTLY.......BETTER FOR THE FANS WHO PAY HARD EARNED MONEY TO BE ENTERTAINED.


The Blue Meanie

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Remembering Owen Hart.......

Seems like yesterday since May 23, 1999. Hard to believe that much time has past since we lost Owen Hart. The whole day is a mixed bag of emotions for me. Owen was a hard worker, world class practical joker and a tremendous family man. He is the reference point on which many people should lead their lives. While I only knew Owen during my stay at the WWF you couldn't help but like the guy. You will never find one person with a negative thing to say about Owen and finding someone like Owen in wrestling is extremely rare.

The night before Kansas we were in Chicago. Goldust and I were doing a deal with the Godfather who was involved with an angle with Owen. So Goldust had the match with Godfather and doing the shtick we had done around the horn. This time around Owen was doing a run in at the end since they were in an angle and they were having a match the next night on the PPV. Sadly, that run in would mark the last time Owen would have stepped in the ring on a WWF event.

The next day we were flying from Chicago to Kansas City. Nothing out of the ordinary at the time. I strap myself in and settle in. Everyone else is doing the same and the person one seat over from me is........Owen. I said hello and Owen in his humorous way goes "Aw Great! I'm next to the Meanie. Now I know I won't find any sleep on the flight" and gave me the Owen smile. The Owen smile that anyone on the other side of an Owen joke has come to know and appreciate. If Owen played a joke on you it was more of a privilege than anything. Though he was kidding he did manage to fall asleep. I guess he heard stories from Mick Foley's encounters of sharing a room with me.

We land in Kansas City and head to baggage claim. I was traveling with Al Snow at the time and we did our routine of getting the rental car and finding our way around. After getting to the building everyone went to catering. On the way there Bob Holly and myself were talking and along comes Owen in his Blue Blazer mask and street clothes. He comes over to me and Bob and introduces himself. "Hello I'm the Blue Blazer." "Oh yes, Bob Holly. Nice to finally meet you." "BLUE Meanie eh? We may have to do something about that name." "Hey, have you guys seen Owen Hart? I'm supposed to be doing something with him tonight. I've heard some good things about him." Real funny stuff you'd expect from Owen.

Goldust and I look and see that we are working the Hardy Boys that night on Heat. I was happy with that since I really like them in and out of the ring. The 4 of us went down to the ring to see what we could come up with. We go over different ideas and when we were through they asked people to clear the ring. We all looked up and saw they were practicing Owen's entrance for later that night and things went fine. Heat rolls around and Dustin and I have our match with the Hardy's and it turns out to be one of the best matches I have had in the WWF. I was really happy for once with my performance and everyone was happy with each other.

We all went our ways and changed into our street clothes. When I wasn't getting ready or if I was finished for the night I would hang in the room. They had a monitor in there and it wasn't as crowded and you could watch the whole show. I made sure to watch Al’s match cause he told me the shirt he was going to where in memory of the deer head he had named Pierre and some of the stuff he had planned. After Al's match I was going to get a bottled water from catering. I was almost out of the room when they said the next match was The Blue Blazer vs. The Godfather. So I didn't bother leaving cause I knew this match was going to be classic Owen. They has some funny stuff planned and were going to do something with a Mini Wrestler coming out as a Mini Blazer.

They go into the taped package giving the history of the feud and everyone in the dot com room is popping for Owen's stuff and his super hero promos. Then the moment that came that will be forever etched in my mind. The cameras are fixed on the crowd and JR tells the world the news they would never expect. There has been an accident and this isn't an angle. The room went silent. Everyone then jumped up and darted out the door and down to the Gorilla Position. Half way down the hall we encounter Sgt. Slaughter where he said "Owen fell..........doesn't look like he is going to make it........" In the back of my mind I am screaming "Don't tell me this!!" but I am still filled with a roller coaster ride full of emotions as I get closer to the entrance.

There wasn't a dry eye in the house and the pale, blank expressions on every face confirmed how dire the situation was turning out. I made my way to the curtain and saw that EMTs doing everything they could do work on Owen. The saddest part of all was not only was one of our comrades laying there in the ring having people trying to revive him but the people in the building thought it was all part of the show. Which brings up a point a lot of people still argue to this day............Should they have stopped the show?

Hind site is always 20/20 and there are a lot of unwritten rules in wrestling but no one would ever have fathomed that something like this could possibly happen. Maybe it’s fear of jinxing their well being or fear of karma by talking about it. At that moment in time the shock and disbelief was so thick in the air that no one knew what to do. People were crying, people were consoling each other and people were just hoping it was just a bad dream. As Owen was rushed to the ambulance with EMTs still rigorously working on him all the way, we all said a prayer.

Everyone waited around to hear any updates that would come. Eventually the word came that we dreaded and the weight sank in that Owen had left us. Al and I went to the dressing room to gather our gear to leave and head on to Moline, Ill. I went to my dressing area, closed my bag up and made my way to leave. As I turned around from where I had been sitting.......there was Owen's gear bag. Like a cold shot, my body went numb and tears welled up in my eyes. As we were going to our car the show had not finished and the news trucks were starting swarm outside of the arena.

The next day my phone rang off the hook. Family and friends called with great fear in mind. By now the news had spread about the incident and everyone I know, knew I was at the PPV. So when the news teasers broke with “Pro Wrestler dies in ring last night.....more after this commercial” everyone got concerned. Then as the news cast went on and they went onto to say “A Pro wrestler plunged to his death in the ring last night while performing his entrance. The Blue........” At that moment all my friends and family's hearts paused for a second until the words “Blazer” followed. Some of my friends driving to work only heard on the radio the words “Wrestler dies” , “Blue” .

They all panicked and called me right away. Like I said in the beginning it, it was mixed bag emotions for me. In one instance I am saddened by Owens death. In another I also found out how many people cared about and love me when they thought the news they heard was about me. Wrestling, with the fans and wrestlers involved lost one of its greatest performers and friends and the Hart family lost a cherished member that will be deeply missed.

Like Foo Fighters song says “It’s times like these you learn to live again. It’s times like these you learn to love again” and that’s exactly what I did. Now more than every I cherish the time with my loved ones just for the fear of not knowing what the next moment will bring. Now more than ever we STILL miss Owen Hart.....

R.I.P Owen......We are all richer for having known you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Oh. What's this I have?

Wow.......I forgot I had the blog gimmick. I started it initially to write a blog on 9/11 three years ago when I had been just disenchanted with the hatred I had been seeing mostly online. But now what do I do with this gimmick? Use it I guess. I remember when I first became aware of blogs.  When I wrote them for my old website they weren't known as blogs (or at least I don't THINK they were). I simply called my online diary "The Meanie Massage". As I have also done with this blog. It was something I could do to share what I'm up to etc. To entertain or give whatever you want to take from it.

I'm finding myself in a conundrum of sorts. I WANT to be more active online but my mind seems to be my own worse enemy because I'm constantly talking myself IN TOO and OUT OF what I want to do. Or in some case I simply forget. Do I wanna do a blog? How about a podcast? What kind of podcast? What kind of format? Maybe stick to the randomness of a blog and put it up when I feel like it? Who the hell knows. I don't seem to know myself.

I put a question out to see who would listen if I did a podcast and the replies where favorable of wanting me to do a podcast. I've had a few feelers from people who would want to help with a podcast. I definitely would like to do one but I want to do it in a fun, random, entertaining way. I also still keep trying to talk myself into writing a book. Sure I've done a few shoot interviews and have talked about a lot of things in my life but there are plenty of things I've never talked about either. A lot of things I think fans could relate to as well as I myself is still a fan of wrestling.

Enough of my rambling. Just wanted to throw up some thoughts. maybe if I got them out of my head I could actually pursue them(?). We shall see.

Note to self: Enough procrastinating

Until the next spurt of randomness!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11. 9 years later by Brian Heffron aka Concered American

It was 9 years ago today that the America I grew up in and loved was washed away in one single wave of unconscionable acts in New York City, Arlington, Va and Shanksville, Pa. People of every age, color and creed were murdered not because they were white or black or Hispanic or Jewish or native American or Muslim or christian or baptist or atheist or Asian or Korean or European. All the races and creeds that made America the great melting pot that it WAS. They were murdered because they were AMERICANS. It was a day that left a lot of mental scar tissue that still bothers me to this day. If there was anything positive that came out of 9/11 it was how we bonded as a country. Like the first flower that rises out of volcanic ash, Americans of all age, color and creed were as one and it seemed to make America stronger.

But sadly like a flower, the love and unity we had for each has long died. People, Americans, have gone and turned to the business of hate as usual. It's all over the TV, the Internet, our newspapers and our radio airwaves. This country is as divided as I could even remember..........and it saddens me. In a horrible, horrible way it saddens me. That on this day. September 11. A day of reflection the day we lost thousands of innocent civilians. A day were lost a lot of our freedoms. That we would have this much hate in our country towards each other when after all it was HATE from abroad that brought us together some 9 years ago today.

I only wish that all the energy that is being used to spew this venom and hate that's being spread through our country to separate us. Use that SAME energy to demand why the person responsible for these acts. Osama Bin Laden. Has never been captured and brought to justice. If this were an earlier generation. A generation that I fondly listen to talk about how things were back then. People would have taken to the streets demanding answers for the RIGHT things. Why hasn't Bin Ladin been caught? Why were we lied to about Iraq being tied to 9/11? 9 years gone with no Bin Laden and several thousand American troops and troops from other counties killed for a lie. Where are the people fighting for the rights of the first reponders who aren't getting the proper medical attention while prisoners in Gitmo get STATE OF THE ART medical treatment? REALLY?! Seems like no one gives a shit about THAT. No one wants the truth but they're willing to tear a  fellow American down? Especially those whose religious views are different from their own. This country WAS founded by people who fled Europe to escape religious persecution.

I'm as far from religious as one can be BUT I believe everyone has a right to religion. I believe they have a right to worship their chosen faith. BUT we shouldn't hold the views of extremists who twist and destroy the ORIGINAL meaning of their faith for the purpose of anarchy against those who are true to the origins of the religions real message and purpose. Because ALL forms of religion has there own form extremists and those few rotten apples should NOT spoil the bunch. As I stated before, when I was a kid I remember being taught that American was a great "melting pot". Well the pot is still here but the burners to that great American stove we used to use to do the melting has been turned off.

Maybe one day we can be as united as we were. I can only hope and dream. There's a famous slogan in our country. America: "United We Stand, Divided We Fall". Right? Well as we stand here today reflecting on what happened and what went wrong. Maybe we'll realize as we look in the reflecting pool that our greatest enemies are staring right back us in our own reflection.