HOUSTON, July 20, 2012 — Professional wrestling became popular in the American culture at the turn of the 20th century, with historic matches at Madison Square Garden between George Hackenschmidt and Tom Jenkins. In the last century, wrestling has grown into a sports entertainment phenomenon that’s engrained in our culture today.
The World Wrestling Entertainment, better known as just WWE, is largely responsible for the growth of professional wrestling, transforming it from an ancient, Olympics sport into sports entertainment, and this million dollar empire is the king of this industry. But before anyone makes it to the WWE, they must start in the independent circuit.
Some independent wrestling organizations are lackluster at best, others show great potential, and some blow the rest out of the water. I recently had the pleasure of attending an event that defines the latter, when I attended a live taping of the Reality of Wrestling (ROW) event in Clear Lake, Texas. Former six-time World Champion Booker T is responsible for this exciting new program.
Some of the wrestlers that were featured on this program come from all around the world; others are wrestlers who have trained at Booker T’s wrestling facility, Xtreme Wrestling Fitness. These incredible athletes are developing their persona and ring skills, and fans are treated to talent that is perhaps the future of sports entertainment.
One of the many qualities that allows ROW to stand apart from other independent organizations is the additional ingredients that complete these events. Booker T’s wife, Sharmell Huffman, is developing the exciting dance team of the X-Girls, led by X-Girl captain, Strike. Sharmell is a former WCW Nitro Girl (Storm), Miss Black America, professional dancer, and wrestling manager. She lends her experience as the choreographer for this stunning group, which treats fans to a few class act routines in between the matches.
“I have always been a fan of professional wrestling and dancing is my passion. For me now to be working with Sharmell and Booker T is a true honor. They’re both amazing individuals as well as performers, and I feel like I can go to them about anything,” says Strike.
In addition, fans that watch the YouTube shows are treated to an inside look and a sneak peek into the wrestlers lives, along with the entertaining commentary by Adrian Jones and Booker T himself.
Many independent organizations don’t leave much room for character development, the ROW has no shortage of personalities. There’s the attractive and flashy baby face, The Rockstar; if Vince Neil and Bret Michaels had a lovechild, this would be him. Another interesting wrestler, who is accompanied by his own bodyguard, is Abel Andrew Jackson, whose gimmick is that of a politician, whose aim is to take the politics out of wrestling.
Then there is the classic role of the heel in the persona of Gustavo Mendoza, who takes on the character of an evil Cuban dictator. One of the most charismatic and entertaining wrestlers in the stable is Kelly Kevin; Adorable Adrian Adonis and Goldust have nothing on this guy.
As a former professional wrestler, I can testify that another reason ROW stands apart is that of the locker room, a true inside look at how professional an organization actually is. Often promoters are crafty and greedy, and the negative energy of the wrestlers in the back, is a testimony to that. In this case the energy was so positive that one could sense a nature of “family” in the locker room.
“Everyone helps each other. Booker is like a father figure and teaches you how to grow…,” says Abel Andrew Jackson. “…he is very honest and approachable, and he gives it to you straight.”
That evening I had the pleasure to get some comments from Booker T and Sharmell.
“Our show, is just that, it’s a show,” Booker T said. “It’s not about one individual; it’s about the fans that come and watch it. Here it’s all about ROW and how much of a professional show we can give our fans that come and support us. It’s the fans that have made this thing work.
“It gives them a chance to see what these wrestlers are really like and how hard they work, and with hard work they may just be discovered. We do this to give back to the industry. Since we started this, Sharmell and I have not accepted one check. It goes back into the company. No amount of money can create that feeling of helping out these youngsters and giving them guidance.”
“My husband has been in this business for 20 plus years,” Sharmell added. “…and he loves it, and the fact that he loves it, he wants to see wrestling continue. So he uses his time and takes his time working with this young talent trying to develop these superstars. What’s exciting is that the fans get to see these wrestlers from day one, and one day these wrestlers may be the future of the industry.”
This event also had solid booking. It takes more than just having a roster of talent to put on a good show. It takes a true booker to put the matches together and decide when they should take place within the card for the event to be successful.
I will be covering these shows and giving you the results of the cards of this first class wrestling federation. With the guidance of the legendary Booker T, the unique additions to the show, solid bookings of the matches, and a stable full of talent, the ROW is sure to grow and make an impact on professional wrestling.
Carter Lee is the author of, When Jonathan Cried for Me, President of Innovative Social Dynamics LLC., is a professional speaker, and is the co-host of Really Genius Radio. To learn more about his media appearances, radio show, book, or to schedule an appearance or speaking engagement visit www.innovativesocialdynamics.com
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