Friday, 11 December 2015
Crofty: I had just finished College and I wanted to get in to Olympic Wrestling but couldn't find any where in Canberra that did it, unless I payed thousands of dollars to the AIS but then there was no guarantee that I would be accepted. So a friend of mine told me about a group that did Pro-wrestling (CPW) at a PCYC in Canberra, I thought "Sure, why not?' We went to a training session one weekend to check it out, we spoke to the trainer got some information and decided to give it a go. Went back a week later and started training. That was back in 2002. Six months later I found out that they had Olympic wrestling classes a floor above us. I made me choice though, and I'm glad I stuck with it.
M: Can you give us some memories of PWA Canberra?
C:Oh, wow, so many. I look back and think about the shittest times like unloading the ring at midnight after a show, and think about how tired and sore we were from the show and then the bickering would start. It would have been mainly Chris Turk (aka Turk the Tough Man) and my self yelling at each other and I'm pretty sure the other guys would just be waiting for us to start yelling. But, I wouldn't change it for the world. All tho, I wouldn't rush back to do it any time soon. I think a few of the memories that stick out in my mind were the crowd reactions from when I'd walk out through the curtains. Just the roar of the crowds we were getting and the awesome fan base we had, it was pretty incredible.
M: What are your thoughts on the current state of the Canberra scene?
C: It's a shell of it's former self. Canberra was one of the best places to work but now it's died off. There is still one company working in Canberra but they have rookies training rookies who are then training more rookies. It's like when you take a photo copy of a picture then photo copy the copy then photo copy that. The quality is going to be terrible. I think one day Canberra Wrestling will be back where it was but not with out a drastic change.
Marek: Thoughts on the doco Young and the wrestlers?
C:It still baffles me that some guy (David Farrell) wanted to follow us around with a video camera and film us "just because". I had fun with it and i think the end result was pretty awesome. There may even be a 10 year follow up, but don't know if Dave still has plans for that or not. A lot can happen in 10 years.
C: Yeah, I've worked for the original PWA in Melbourne, I've also worked for PWA-Q when Mason Childs ran it. I've worked SWA in Newcastle, Nightmare Wrestling, PWA Elite (now PWA Australia, or maybe just PWA?? I can't keep up with the name changes). Most of my stories would come from working with UWA in Sydney. They were doing 1-2 shows a month and it was always my self, (Lightning) Luke and (Jumpin') Jak going up for the road trips. I've always said "What happens on the road, stays on the road". But one thing we always did on the way back is, we knew that JJ aka Warlock would always call us to see how the show went, JJ was a talker and none of us at that point really wanted a JJ conversation, so what we used to do was wait until he called but not answer it, if he called some one else we still wouldn't answer it, but who ever he called the third time HAD to answer it and talk to him, it was kinda like Russian Roulette, but with more devastating results.
M: Thoughts on Blue Mountains Pro Wrestling?
C: Blue Mountains is an awesome place to work, not many local wrestlers so they can pick and choose the best of the best from around Australia to wrestle for them.
M: Whats in the future for Crofty in Australian wrestling?
C: Not too sure. If you would have asked me that question six months ago I would have said I would be hanging up the boots, but to be honest, I'm not ready to give it up just yet.
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Wednesday, 2 December 2015
I was very fortunate that my first serious experience of Pro Wrestling were local shows in Australia. I was a family friend of Wayne Pickford’s. It’s fair to say I was involved in the wrestling business before I was a fan.
Who were you trained by and when did you have your first?
I was trained predominately by Wayne “Lofty” Pickford and Ken “Dazzler “Dunlop. We would train out of Dovey’s Gym in Oxford Street Darlinghurst. Kid Hardy also had a gym in Western Sydney that we would train out of. My first match came about after meeting Roy Heffernan, one half of the original Kangaroo’s. I wrestled Pickford at Ingleburn RSL which set up a great respect for one of the hardest, toughest men in Australian Pro Wrestling.
How would you describe the differences between the state of Aussie wrestling back in your career to now in 2015?
The crowds are smaller but still vocal and passionate. I have spoken to fans at the last few shows I have attended who attended the shows 20 years ago. What has caught my eye is the production value of the shows and the coverage shows can get on social media.
Can you tell us what it was like to hold the Australian heavyweight championship?
I was only 22 when I first won the heavyweight strap. Possibly the youngest heavyweight champion. It was a massive deal for me but reflecting now on that time I didn’t respect it like I should have. The people who held that before me include Pickford, The Animal Harpis, Mr Wrestling, Bruiser Davis, George Barns, Mario Milano, Ron Miller and the list goes on.
Since becoming involved in Blue Mountains Pro Wrestling who has really caught your eye as far as talent goes in the ring?
Hands down as far a new talent goes it’s Josh Gatt. He has had some impressive wins and by way of submission which is impressive. He also looks like a wrestler, he has a good understanding of the basics and seems like he is prepared to take risks.
The best all round wrestler would have to be Bishop Sommers. If he concentrated more on wrestling and less on being a jerk he would be the World Heritage Champion in my opinion.
You currently live in the Bathurst region, do you think it's time the Central West area had its own professional wrestling company?
Yes, that would be great. I think the company could cover the Western region rather than just the Central West. Maybe Blue Mountains Pro Wresting could expand its territory.
I was Rookie of the Year in 1988 and NSW all Club Champion which was a trophy title for Rookies. I won the Australian Light Heavyweight Title off the late Dynamite Danny Burns and held this title on and off. I teamed with Dazzler Dunlop and we won the Australian Tag team title as the OZ Express. I held the Heavyweight title and tag title simultaneously for some time.
I originally worked for Roy Heffernan in 1988. There were some great promotors including Big Bob Blaskic, Ron Miller and Steve Rackerman. I also worked for the AWF 1993 Wrestleriot Tour which included Road Warrior Hawk and Big Boss Man.
Your return match will take place on December 19 at the Blackheath Community centre, what has lead you to decide to return to the ring after 20 years?
This is simple. It’s about respect. Respect for those that have gone before you in this great sport. Bishop Sommers needs a lesson in respect. I was invited to simply present the title at the Night Of Heritage 2014 and then guest referred the re-match earlier this year. Both times Sommers was in my face. He even asked if I would screw Eagles over. At the end of that match (were Sommers lost again) he blamed me for the loss and worst still knocked me down in the middle of the ring.
Come December 19 Sommers is gunna know respect. Win, Lose, Draw it doesn’t matter. I’m gunna hurt him. As I said it’s simple.
What can the fans expect to see from Shane 'Ace' Fenton?
Look, I’ve got nothing to prove. I’ve beaten the best, I’ve been the best. Retiring never sat well with me and the desires never left. The fans can expect a brawl on December 19. I’m stronger now than I have ever been. I’ve been training hard and I will back myself.
See Ace Fenton take on Bishop Sommers at the Blackheath Community centre, December 19th 7pm.
Wednesday, 5 August 2015
TS: Rooty Hill was where my first live wrestling show was. All Australian Real Pro Wrestling, Mr Wrestling, Wayne Pickford and Dominic Bianco in the main event. I remember that most because Bianco broke the top rope climbing into the ring.
Marek: How did you first get involved in Australian wrestling and who were some names coming through at the same time as you?
TS: I started training in 1999 with AWF, I used to work two doors down from the original gym, every Saturday I'd walk past and see people bumping and I knew I had to join up. With me there was Scarecrow, Illcognito, Kyle Seminoff, Mark Williamson, Mad Tony Kebab, Devlin De'Skys, Thug Thomas and Hardcore Superstar.
Marek: Take us back to the first Australian Wrestling Supershow that you were involved, do you think a concept like a supershow could work in 2015?
TS: Man, that first supershow was awesome, the after party was bigger. Driving up to the gates using your wrestling name just to get in made you feel like you were part of the WWE with a huge ass dressing room. Would it work now yes and no, yes with the amount of talent that's out there, no because there would be too many chiefs not enough Indians. To this day politics still run rampant.
Marek: How did you come up with the Dementor character?
TS: An old work mate of mine came up with it, Dementor was the name of a horror movie he told me. I came up with a couple of names like Kull and Manson, TNT helped me with the look over the years, the face paint design always changed because I'd keep forgetting it.
Marek: How many years have you been wrestling and tell us the promotions you have wrestled for?
TS: This year would have made it 14-15 years, unfortunately due to illness I've been forced to retire. Let's see I've worked for AWF, IWA, CWA, CPW, PCW, HCW, AWE and the second AWE, UWA.
Marek: Talk about how the audiences have changed from when you first started wrestling to today in 2015.
TS: When I started RSL's would be packed with 350 people, the biggest I've seen and been in front of was 1500 at Wollongong University and over the years they dwindled and more and more feds kept popping up everywhere, only the past four and a half years crowds are slowly coming back and it's great. I'm happy the young boys get to see real crowds again.
Marek: What are your thoughts on the current state of NSW wrestling or Australian wrestling?
TS: It's getting fun again.
Marek: Give us some on your best memories working for IWA?
TS: Sorry Sarge lol... Tyson Gibbs is playing with Sarges camera and Sarge just came out of the shower and charges at Gibbs who then runs out the door. Kasey Jackson and I see this and lock the door while Sarge is running after Gibbs in nothing but a towel. Sarge hears the door close and try's to open it, as this is happening Gibbs is creeping up on him and swiftly removes the towel, both K-Jax and I are in hysterics while Sarge is covering his modesty. I've never laughed so hard I'd lost my voice from it.
Marek: Why did you change your in-ring persona to Tony 'Thug' Slater after wrestling for so many years as Dementor?
TS: I changed it to Thug because I got an email from a promoter pretty much saying I'm doing the same act and people want something different. Plus, I wanted to be able to use the mic on shows more, everyone hates a Pom.
Marek: Where do you see Australian wrestling in the next 10 years?
TS: No idea what 10 years will bring but I can't wait to watch it all.
Mark Mercedes? Brother, greatest business mind.
Salem? Locker room general.
Mark Williamson? Smart ass, cheeky bastard, friend.
Ed Lock? 1 uh, 2 uh, beer drinking fish.
Crofty? Australian Dusty Rhodes.
Jackson Johnson? Voice of IWA, Dragon.
Mikey Lord? Comrade, 🍍militia.
Phil Picasso? Misunderstood, talk a little bit.
Dean Draven? He's the man to beat, as the saying goes.
Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Blue Mountains Pro Wrestling will be performing at the 2015 Winter Magic Festival in Katoomba on Saturday June 20th.
Winter Magic is the Blue Mountain's highest profile and most anticipated annual event. During the event, the main street of Katoomba is closed to motor traffic and open to pedestrian traffic. This allows the whole town to become a performance space. The streets are lined with market stalls and everybody who attends is encouraged to dress in costume.
Attracting 40,000 people to the area Winter Magic celebrates Winter solstice in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.
"This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our brand of pro wrestling to thousands of people in the Blue Mountains. Audiences will be amazed at the talent and passion shown by our pro wrestlers, expect hard hitting, high flying pro wrestling entertainment with so many wild and colorful characters. We provide an entertainment show covering so many ages and demographics, the perfect fit the 2015 Winter Magic Festival."
Promoter - Marek Indyka
Promoter - Marek Indyka
Thursday, 30 April 2015
BS: I started watching wrestling when I was seven or eight years old watching tapes from the local video store. There was no internet back then so I just watched whatever I could find. Then when wrestling got popular in the late 90's it was everywhere and around that time I was 16 and somehow found out there was a pro wrestling training school in Parramatta which was close to where I lived so that same day I went straight there and signed up. It turned out that the school was run by an amateur wrestler who'd seen wrestling on tv and thought he could teach it so that didn't last too long but through the students there I found out about Titan Pro Wrestling school in Blacktown and started training there.
Marek: Who were you trained by and give us some names that were starting up at the same time you were?
BS: I was trained at TWP by Amy Action and Red Flair. They were the trainers at the time but I also give credit to Dean Draven, Troy the Boy and Will Pheonix. Those guys really helped me after I started wrestling and taught me a lot in the ring working with them. I kind of think of my group as guys like TJ Haze, Will Pheonix, Jass and Kasey Jackson. Those guys started before me and were actually wrestling when I started training but we were all good friends so that's kind of my group, there isn't really anyone from my actual class that had more than maybe one match.
Marek: Talk about some of the promotions that you have worked for over the years?
BS: I've worked for a lot TWP, UWA, two different AWE's, a couple of different promotions in Queensland, Nightmare Wrestling, CPW in Canberra that then became PWA Canberra, PWA Melbourne, PWA Sydney, SWA, Newcastle Pro, Blue Mountains Pro Wrestling and probably a few more that I don't remember.
I guess the ones that I've worked for most are UWA, PWA Canberra and PWA Sydney. UWA is really where I got my experience its where I learned. I had my first singles match there and worked with a bunch of great guys. Through my work there I started getting booked elsewhere.
Marek: Do you have any plans of wrestling overseas?
BS: Not at this stage. My goal at this stage is to try to improve the product in this country. Its a goal of mine that whenever I leave Australian wrestling to leave it in a better state than when I entered.
Marek: What are your thoughts on the current state of Australian wrestling?
BS: I'm not someone who thinks all Australian wrestling needs is money. I think Australian wrestling needs to make its own money. Take small steps and grow crowds. Every promotion needs to be trying to have a bigger crowd this show than their last, even if its just one more person. There should be something on every show that makes people want to see what happens next, if you're not trying to do that then what's the point? Australian wrestling needs to take baby steps and take crowds from 100 to 200, 200 to 300 etc. Walk before you run.
Marek: Talk about your time working for SWA (Showtime Wrestling Alliance), holding the SWA championship and what lead to SWA closing its doors.
BS: I really liked working SWA. I had some good matches with Gene Kelly up there and the crowds were always good. SWA had a really loyal following and its a shame it closed when it did. I beat Matt Bailey for the SWA belt on the last show and that's one of my favorite matched I've had, the crowd loved Bailey up there and I got to be the guy that beat him so it was really fun. I wish we could have had more matches there. What led to it closing its doors I couldn't really tell you. I don't really know. I stay away from that kind of stuff I just think its pointless and leads to stuff like a healthy wrestling promotion that was packing their venue every show closing down. As for the details I don't really have any. Sorry.
Marek: How has your wrestling style and persona changed from your early years wrestling to now.
BS: When you first start wrestling its just about trying not to suck. As I was improving me and Will Pheonix started teaming and we did a real traditional heel team, we worked some comedy in, which not many were doing back then, but then more and more people started doing the comedy stuff so I started moving away from it and now I do a bit more serious stuff while still trying to do the basics right. My persona is very close to who I am so I guess its changed as I have as a person. I was very young when I started so I guess the character has evolved. In PWA I'm doing something very different which is fun.
Marek: Can you give us some memories on working in the Canberra scene?
BS: Canberra was another great place to work. I loved going down there. When I first started going down there they only had a couple of good guys but great crowds anyway then as the years went on some of the guys down there really improved and they started bringing more guys in and it became one of the very best promotions in the country as PWA Canberra. My favourite match I've ever had was down there against Justin Cross in a blindfold match.
Marek: What are some of your most memorable matches?
BS: As I mentioned the Blindfold match against Justin Cross in Canberra, a lot of tag matches I had teaming with Will Pheonix were memorable, I mentioned the SWA matches with Gene Kelly and Matt Bailey. Any time I get to wrestle Crofty I'm happy. I think that myself and Robbie Eagles haven't even got going yet so I look forward to wrestling him more.
Catch Bishop Sommers at PWA on May 9th at Casula Powerhouse and at Blue Mountains Pro Wrestling at Blackheath Community center on May 30th.
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Lithgows 'Full Force' Mat Rogers challenges Robbie Eagles for the World Heritage Championship at Lithgows Ironfest on April 19th.