(Just after this interview was conducted, another independent organization, Extreme Rising, canceled two of their shows suddenly. Maryland Championship Wrestling quickly offered free admission to Bodyslam Autism for any fans who had tickets to their events)
Q: Your shows tend to have a balanced card between the regular MCW guys and then the more established guys, like Sean Waltman [X-Pac in WWE] on Friday or Matt Hardy at your following show. How do you keep that balance on your cards?
A: The reality of the situation is that it's the only way to get people who have never been to a show to give you an opportunity. If we just ran a show where we had our MCW guys, not that this is a knock on them at all, but we might have our three or four hundred regulars that follow our guys. But to take it to that next level and continue growing, the only way you can get some of these fans out there is for them to look on a flier or the internet and see “Oh wow, Matt Hardy and Rikishi are there?” It's a necessity. You have to mix it up and keep things constantly changing to keep those people interested ... I balance it out, and try to do one or two a show, depending on how big the building is, or where I'm going. You can't load up the card with too many big guys, or all of a sudden you're losing money on the show. It's really just a judgment call that I make based on my time in the business. I cringe when I see some of these shows that advertise for 20 or 25 big names. I'm just thinking 'My god, if they don't have 5,000 people in the audience, there's no way they're going to be able to pay the bills.' It's necessary to do what you need to do to pull in the influx of people.
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Q: At your last show, Jake Roberts wrestled and after the match, he gave a speech that got a lot of mainstream attention, not just in the area, but all around the internet. What was your reaction to that speech, and has that brought any extra attention to the company?
A: I definitely think it did. I got a lot of emails from people who wanted to see it and use it. As a wrestling fan, I was sitting down there at ringside, and the little kid in me thought it was amazing. All night long, Jake was talking about how blown away with the crowd, how many people were there and how into the show they were. It wasn't planned or anything, he just asked for the mic and I was standing out there just like everybody else, and when asked for five minutes of our time, I just went down to ringside and listened to him. It wasn't expected but it was great that he did something like that. He's been through so much, and so many wrestling fans feel like they've been on this journey with him through the years of him fighting his demons and his comeback. It was a really cool moment as a promoter and a former wrestler and a lifetime fan of wrestling.
Q: You're having a show soon in Waldorf for the first time. Is there a desire to expand to other parts of Maryland?
A: I'm not sure if I'd say there's a desire, but I'm willing to. As long as I have partners, for instance, the Unique Sports Academy is partnering with us on this show. If there's partners, then I'm willing to do it. But because there's so much involved in making shows successful, there's so much legwork from getting out fliers and posters, and getting the local businesses to come on board and sponsor us. When it's an hour and a half to two hours away, I need someone to partner with us on the show, because there's so much to do. I'm not out saying that I'm going to do shows all over the state of Maryland, but I'm open-minded to it if someone reaches out to me and wanted to partner up and do something.
Q: You've mentioned all these talents in the past that have risen to the top of the business. Do you think there's anybody on the current roster that you really think has that chance to get to that level?
A: I like all the guys who are in Black Wall Street. Our current tag team champions, Napalm and Solo, have the WWE look, and I think they look like WWE stars. Napalm is a lot more experienced than Solo, but I could see them getting an opportunity as a team. Drolix, who is one of our top guys, has been coming along incredibly, and I could see him get an opportunity.
I think Jessie Kaye, from the divas standpoint talent-wise, is as good and hardworking as any of the girls that are in the WWE right now. There are a bunch of guys who could make it. And Christian York, our MCW Champion. There's a guy that I can't understand why he's not in WWE right now. He's so talented, he's a ring general, he's a locker room leader. If there's a guy that I thought could go on the WWE roster right now and make the WWE money, it would be Christian York. I can't figure out why TNA let him go. But that's the wrestling business. Sometimes over the years you find yourself mind-boggled about what guys made it and what guys didn't.
I've heard Tommy Dreamer say over the years, as a guy who worked in the WWE front office, that unfortunately talent is just a small portion of it, and there is a lot of politics involved. Talent can be meaningless, it can be just a political thing.
But back to the question, that's just a small handful of the guys I think could make it. It will come down to who goes above-and-beyond to make it. There are guys who have a desire to make it, and then there's people who want it as much as they want oxygen. Take a look at the most recent guy to come from us to go to the WWE, Darrick Moore [who is a current referee for WWE] He started out in our wrestling school and worked with us for years. He took that next step and just packed up and moved to Florida. He went to NXT, and worked The Arena this week, and by mid-summer, I think he's going to be on the main roster.
Q: For the fans who haven't been able to experience an MCW show, what can they expect from a show, particularly the two that are coming up?
A: I think they're going to see a combination of everything. We have a variety of guys. Guys who do comedy, guys who are jacked up, guys that can high fly. We have people who will appear to everyone. These are all guys who are hungry and trying to make it. They're not just giving 110 percent, they're giving 210 percent. Not to say we're better than WWE, because we're not, but some fans who come out leave saying they enjoyed it more than WWE because the wrestlers go nonstop. They're going to see talented professional wrestlers, who want it, and want to get to the next level. They're not content, and they're digging, scratching, and clawing to get noticed.
And you can ask some of these fans who have been watching for a long time, you don't know who you'll be able to say you saw. If you went to a show in 2000, you'd be able to say you saw Lita, or Mickie James, or Joey Mercury, or Orlando Jordan. They would have seen all these guys, like Matt and Jeff Hardy back in 1997-98. They wrestled for me. What are they going to see? Guys and girls busting their asses to get a job, and you might be able to see the future stars. Ten years for now, we could be having this conversation about Napalm and Solo or Drolix or Jessie Kaye. What are they going to see? The future of the wrestling business.
Bodyslam Autism will be held at The New Green Room in Dundalk on Friday, April 25 and Xtreme Measures will be held at the Unique Sports Academy in Waldorf on Saturday, May 3. For more information or tickets, you can go to the website, www.marylandwrestling.com.
Any questions or comments? Leave them below in the comments section, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster