Outside the Ropes: HCW Return of the Kings, Sat Apr 29, 2002

The show was set to start at 5:05pm, which is great in two ways: the callback to the days of Saturday wrestling on TBS with the :05 start time, and the early start time – which meant I’d be home for a reasonable old man bed time. So I was excited to load my car with all my gear (mixing board, wires & mics, etc) to record an episode of the Northwest Indiana Wrestling Action Program NWIWRAP to broadcast later in the week on WVLP 103.1FM in Valparaiso. IN. I happily set off in the car, listening to my favorite podcasts (Bloody Good Horror and Voices of Wrestling) along the way. But a bit more than half-way in my 80 minute drive from Valpo to Mishawaka, I realized … my backpack with my laptop was still sitting at home in a dining room chair. OH NO!

Well, I completed the drive and decided to just sit back and enjoy the show, take a few pictures, and then prepare this little recap, the old fashioned way (although posting on a web page is not really “old fashioned” when compared to radio).

The HCW event was held at the Battell Community Center in Mishawaka, IN. I had been there several years ago for a few Revolution Championship Wrestling events, before they moved to the Goodson Event Center in South Bend. The Battell Center is actually a great place to see a show: not a bad seat in the house, and the ring noise echoes quite nicely in the room.

Not only did this event have an early start time, but it was short and sweet – three matches, intermission, and then two matches after that. This reminds me of shows put on by Backbreaker Wrestling in Griffith & Lowell, IN, which start early (usually 6:30pm) and have 5-6 matches on each card. When you’re 50+ and sitting on hard uncomfortable plastic chairs, this can be quite nice once in a while!

While I had not been to an HCW show before, I knew many of the wrestlers from other events. And wrestling is like heavy metal, where the people often look really scary, but turn out to be the nicest people you could meet. The folks at HCW welcomed me warmly even though I was a doofus and not prepared to do the radio coverage I’d planned.

The show actually started around 5:20pm, and the first match was Diesl Traxx and The Pro Dads against the Workhorsemen. This was a 6-man tag match between the colorful Pro Dads with Uncle Diesl against the traditional wrestling-minded, no nonsense Workhorsemen. Team Coach Theo Storm brought his mini megaphone to the ring to cheer on his teammates. You can also see under his leg the ridiculously long tag rope: the WHM actually attempted to walk off before the match started because as purists, they could not stand the absence of tag ropes. So Diesl pulled out these long shoelace things to attach in the corners. One person (can’t remember who) took advantage of them and went out several feet into the ring for a tag attempt! Anyway, Diesl and the Pro Dads won this bit of fun.

Match 2 featured (The Man They Call) Kujo vs newcomer Seth Seance. This was a battle of the face paint: Seth Seance had his full face covered by a voodoo priest type of design, and Kujo had large diamonds around the eyes, and the Joker-like extended black smile streaks extending all the way through the cheeks. He makes this look work well, it’s kind of creepy! Seth Seance got in basically no offense and was dispatched with by Kujo rather quickly; I didn’t even get a picture. Having barely broken a sweat, Kujo got on the mic and expressed his disdain to the HCW management, yelling, “This is what you got for me??” He wanted more competition, and out came Dick Davis. The second opponent was at a disadvantage, of course, because Kujo was already warmed up – and Kujo defeated Davis as well.

Match 3 was Tony Thunder against Nick Cutler. I believe several wrestlers were pulling double duty today, having worked in the afternoon at a Pro Wrestling King event put on as a benefit for a food pantry in Culver, IN. It was reported they managed to collect “three SUVs full of food”, which is great. I love the community support. I believe Nick Cutler was one of the ones pulling double duty. I don’t know how rough his match was there, but here Tony Thunder put him through a grind, and ended up getting the win. I have to say that one thing I never want to see again is Nick Cutler doing a booty shake / twerk for the camera of a woman in the front row. (That’s not what’s going on in the third pic below, but the pose is remarkably similar … in that pic, Tony Thundre is thinking twice about a suicide dive.) After the match, Tony Thunder had words for an unknown (at least to me) person who “took everything from him.” Tony warned that “old school” Tony Thunder may come back at the next HCW event, which will be on June 24 (more below on that).

We had intermission after the third match. I think Dick Davis was the only one with any merch out for sale, so intermission was pretty laid back. After about five or ten minutes, we were greeted by “A Moment With Michael Shaw” …. Mr Shaw came out to very relaxing music, and encouraged us to be our best selves, and said that he loved us. Personally, I was not motivated by his presentation, and I hope someone comes out next time and inflicts violence.

Match 4 had Nick Dallas taking on Roach. Now Roach’s powerful symphonic entrance music does not really go with someone named “Roach”, but it does fit with his many, many tassels, so I don’t know what to think.

Roach busted me typing notes into my phone and called me out! I was so afraid to catch his eye afterwards that I failed to get a picture of this match, which Roach won (thanks to my support) after inflicting a few instances of brain damage on Nick Dallas.

The main event of the evening pitted Greek against Greek! The Greek Philosopher / Wrestler Simon Socrates took on HCW Champion and Greek pledge, the always lively Chip Walker (chug! chug! chug! … with root beer, of course, there are kids present). Socrates acted the Achilles heel during the match. (Sorry, I had to.)

Socrates worked over the knees of Chip Walker quite a bit, but it wasn’t enough, and Chip managed to get the win with a couple of suplexes. He remains HCW Heavyweight Champion.

The next HCW event at the Battell Center in Mishawaka is on June 24, and it’s part of a benefit for a cause called, I believe, “Fit With Fire“. Someone named Sapphire introduced us to it, there is a “two miles per day” challenge leading up to it, and there is some sort of activity going on earlier in the day before the HCW event. I was not able to dig up any pages or links on Facebook or Twitter, but if I can learn anything further, I’ll edit this page to include it.

With the time change going back from South Bend to Valpo, I got home by 7:30pm, which was superb! I love the early start time. I hope to attend the event on June 24, and I will do a better job of bringing ALL my recording gear instead of two-thirds of it. Ugh.

Anyway, you can catch previous episodes of NWIWRAP on YouTube, and you can hear them broadcast on WVLP in Valparaiso (you can listen anywhere using the Tune In Radio App as well). My schedule (along with my heavy metal show is):

Wednesday: Mostly Metal, 10pm – midnight, and NWIWRAP (when I have an episode) right after.

Sunday: 8-10pm, replay of Wednesday’s Mostly Metal, and NWIWRAP right after that.

Outside the Ropes: RPW Shamrock Showdown, March 04, 2023

“This is Ken the Metal Professor, and you are listening to the Northwest Indiana Wrestling Action Program, on WVLP 103.1FM in Valparaiso, IN” … wait a minute, no you’re not. I’m typing! For the first time since 2017, and since my wrestling coverage moved to radio, I am posting a wrestling recap here. I made my first trip to Rocket Pro Wrestling at St. Joseph Park in Joliet, IL last night; since I was not familiar with a good portion of the roster, there was no point asking if I could do radio coverage. So I just went in like a normal dude. Here’s how it went.

(And seriously, I didn’t know about two thirds of the roster, and it was hard to make out names for those w/o individual identification on their entrance videos. Plus, I was trying to take very brief notes on my phone while enjoying the show, but I didn’t always make a specific note of the winners … figuring, of course, that I could easily remember less than a day later. I neglected to take into consideration my age.)

Right off the bat, I need to say that RPW has one of the best well thought out, professional big-time-show-looking set ups I’ve seen in a while in my usual circuit. This isn’t a knock on the normal groups I go see; they do what they can with the space available, and likely have limited time to get things set up in between other events. But from what I’ve seen on Facebook, this location is the permanent home of RPW, and they are able to get in couple of days ahead of the event to start setting up; it’s not just a “come in the morning and have it all put together by mid afternoon” sort of set up. If it is, it’s very impressive! One end of the room is completely dedicated to production: curtains from wall to wall, the commentary table, and the entrance. The whole room was lit up with purple and green themed lighting. The walkway and ring are separated from the audience by very sturdy interlocking barriers (not the usual “bike rack” kinds of movable steel frames). This allows the wrestlers’ world to be completely separated from the audience … which might be a good thing, due to the “energetic” nature of this crowd! The array of chairs for the crowd is set in a U-shape around the ring. The long walls have small bleachers, so those sitting farther away can still see well; , so there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. There is a lighting rig suspended from the ceiling over the ring, and a video screen hanging from the ceiling and visible to most of the crowd. Pre-show music was provided, and made me very happy with the inclusion of Run to the Hills, by Iron Maiden.

The wall opposite the curtained entrance contains the concession stand, and — because it’s a Catholic venue — the bar. The audience enters the arena through a separate lobby area where gimmick tables (hey look, I learned a term!) are set up. Pretty much every square foot of the main room is dedicated to the ring, production, and seating. And even with that, the crowd was standing-room-only.

The show was scheduled to start at 5pm. which is wonderful. Ring announcer “Too Sweet” Timmy Sweders came out at about 4:50pm to get the introductions going. Even the announce team got intros: Steve Ahrendt, Schelli, and Professor Blackburn – complete with his academic regalia. With introductions out of the way, the action could begin at 5pm sharp.

Rion Skillz is the first to come out, and he starts (badly) singing a song, which turns out to be the entrance music of Maximus Orion. The badly offended Orion comes running out from the back to attack Skillz. (I don’t know the history here.) General Manager Damien Saint sends in the troops to break up the brawl, and the crowd chants, “Let Them Fight!” Eventually order is restored, but Mr. Saint already has a headache. This crowd is HOT and ready for everything.

The first real match is a four-way with Eric Schultz, Shaq Jordan, Axel Rico, and The Ryan Matthews (who comes out with one of those giant cardboard photo heads of himself). The early part of this match went like Game of Thrones, with alliances being formed and broken. (The pic shows Jordan jumping onto the other three.) Having never been to RPW before, how do I know all their names? Because they each have videos shown on the screen, with their names clearly displayed! This is wonderful. The sound was kind of muddled where I was sitting, so I often could not clearly catch names, even though Tim Sweders delivered them with zest. The match ended when an assailant came out from the back and blasted Eric Schultz in the head with a case, and then chased The Real Ryan Matthews to the back. Axel Rico got the win after the disruption.

Next, Flash Harris (with Joey Roth and Roxi Heart) took on Gunnar Brave for the latter’s Outer Limits Championship. Joey and Roxi were color coordinated with the green Shamrock Showdown theme, although Joey neglected to adorn his white neck brace. (Even the entry wrist bands were green and decorated with Shamrocks; the youngster helping at the door put mine on quite snugly. Ouch.) It was good to see Flash Harris again; I had not seen him since the days of Fire Pro Wrestling in Merrillville. However, I am disappointed in the company he chooses to keep. After one of the snappiest 2.999 kickouts I’ve ever seen, Gunnar Brave choked out Flash Harris to retain his title. Roth / Heart match count: 0-1.

EDIT: In the next paragraph, I’ve edited my erroneous reference to the team as “Gold Coast” to the correct “No Coast” after being, um, politely informed that I had it wrong. And I went back to my hastily typed notes on my phone and I indeed typed down “No Coast”, but by the time the info got to my fingertips for this post it has changed to “Gold Coast”. My bad.

Match 3 must have had some previous drama behind it, and I don’t know what it was. It seemed like it was between two members (ex-members?) of a team called No Coast. Both intros involved a video for “No Coast”; while intro videos are great to catch individual names, when the wrestlers come out under a tag team name, but for singles competition, and both are from the same group, we have to go with “No Coast #1” and “No Coast #2”. One of them may have been DC Shaw? To make it more confusing, each contestant was backed by a buddy — who also are part of No Coast? Anyway, either No Coast #1 or #2 won when his ring partner interfered on his behalf … and the winner looked very disappointed in his pal for doing that.

Joey Roth and Roxi Heart are back again with Rockstar Jonny Nigh, to take on Damien Deshain, representing “Those Damn Coyotes”. If Deshain wins, his team gets a shot at the RPW Tag Team titles, which Nigh must help hold. Like with Flash Harris, it’s good to see Jonny Nigh again after a few years, although I’m even more disappointed in him for associating with the Roth group of villains. Roth and Heart were more active in interfering from the outside in this match, but it didn’t help, because Deshain won suddenly with a surprise pinfall, and Jonny Nigh can’t believe it. Roth / Heart match count: 0-2.

Match 5 features Bucky Collins and Christian Rose (another member of Those Damn Coyotes). They brawled to the back, the ref started his 10 count, and Bucky came running back out to the ring just in time to answer the 10 count – he wins.

Intermission gives me a bit of relief from the drunk guy standing right behind me yelling “You Can’t Wrestle!” and “Suplex City!” over and over towards the ring, even for matches where clearly, no one was going to get suplexed.

After intermission, Match 6 had The Idols against Hot Rod Daddy Andy and The Amazing Turtle. The only thing the crowd wanted was for Turtle to get tagged in. I jotted “bat mishap” on my phone to denote the end of the match, and now I can’t remember exactly how it went – other than someone got a bat in the ring, and of course someone else got hold of the bat, or the wrong person got hit with the bat. I hope it wasn’t Turtle. I’m pretty sure one of the Idols hit the other with the bat, because the Roth / Heart match count is now 0-3 on the night, possibly precipitating something that happened later.

The next match had tag team action, with Youth Gone Wild versus The Final Level – Marshe Rockett and Shogun. Rockett and Shogun are big dudes, and this was a powerful match. In fact, there were several actual suplexes, but “Suplex City” guy was nowhere to be seen heard.

Match 8 was Ruthless Rockin Rivera, the man with two nicknames, against … Jbek the Paycheck? I think the crowd was a bit puzzled about him. Imagine Josh Alexander from Impact Wrestling, with the headgear, but the body and face of Captain Kangaroo. (Old people like me will get that reference.) Rivera quickly gives him the ol’ chair treatment, hoping for a more worthy opponent. And out comes Aaron Stone (?). They had a good fight. Again, my note taking failed me. I was trying to jot a few things down to remember, but I was also just trying to enjoy the show … so I didn’t mark who won, and I don’t remember. Let’s hope it was a double DQ, then it won’t matter!

I mentioned before that the Roth / Heart cohort was 0-3 on the night, and they were not taking it well. After the previous match was done, the whole group (Roth, Heart, Jonny Nigh, Flash Harris, The Idols) caused a commotion by going to the announce table, grabbing Steve Ahrendt and Schelli, and dragging them to the ring. I noted that they did not include Professor Blackburn in their attack, because even they know not to fuck with academics. We’ll mess you up. Once they got the announcers to the ring and terrorized them a bit, someone blasted poor Steve Ahrendt in the head with a chair. Schelli was distraught.

The main event featured Joey Jet Avalon vs. Quinn Whitock, for Whitock’s RPW World Championship. This was a hell of a fun match, with lots and lots of near pinfalls towards the end. Note that both men had weapons nearby – Avalon brought a shovel to the ring, and Whitock came up with a crowbar. There were a few sequences where one would try to use the weapon but lose it quickly, or better yet, one would end up grabbing the other’s weapon and actually be able to use it. The ref missed a lot of this because at one point, Whitock was going for a springboard cutter on Avalon out of the corner, but Avalon ducked aside – so that Whitock delivered it to the ref instead. And let me say, that ref took the cutter LIKE A CHAMP! But yeah, he was out for a bit, allowing many weapons shenanigans to ensue. Eventually, a groggy ref got his wits about him again, and counted many near pinfalls. It came to a close when Avalon gave two small package pile drivers to Whitock (ouch!), with both resulting in a 2.99 count. After the second one, Avalon grabbed the back of his head like he’d been struck, although I didn’t see what happened. Whitock took the opportunity to roll him up for the (at last) 3 count, and he retains his title.

So that’s a wrap! It was a great show, and I recommend checking out RPW, especially if you enjoy a raucous (if not quite family friendly) crowd. Their next event is in April, and they seem to run monthly. Get there early if you want to sit, because they do sell out quickly to SRO. The show was a bit over 3 hours altogether, but it started at 5pm, which allows for a very reasonable exit time.

Next weekend, I’ll be doing radio coverage for ACME Championship Wrestling in Rensselaer, IN on Friday March 10, and Revolution Championship Wrestling in South Bend, IN on Saturday March 11. That “delayed audio coverage” will air alongside my heavy metal show “Mostly Metal” as follows – on WVLP 103.1FM in Valpo, and streaming at wvlp.org everywhere.

  • Wednesday, March 15: Mostly Metal at 10pm, ACW coverage at midnight (Central time)
  • Sunday, March 19: Mostly Metal at 8pm, RCW coverage at 10pm.

My Top 10 Favorite Songs by Rhapsody (of Fire)

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun January 30, 2022.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

10. Never Forgotten Heroes, off Symphony of Enchanted Lands Pt 2 (2004).

9. Dawn of Victory, off Dawn of Victory (2000).

8. Emerald Sword, off Symphony of Enchanted Lands (1998).

7. Winter’s Rain, off Into the Legend (2016).

6. Rage of the Winter, off Legendary Tales (1997).

5. The Pride of the Tyrant, off Power of the Dragonflame (2002).

4. The Dark Tower of Abyss, off Symphony of Enchted Lands (1998).

3. The Last Angels’s Call, off Symphony of Enchanted Lands Pt 2 (2004).

2. Power of the Dragonflame, off Power of the Dragonflame (2002).

1. Infinitae Gloriae, off Glory for Salvation (2021).

My Top 5 Favorite Songs by Shape of Despair

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun October 17, 2021.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

5. In Longing, off Monotony Fields (2015) .

4. Fragile Emptiness, off Illusions Play (2004).

3. Woundheir, off Shades of … (2000).

2. Shadowed Dreams, off Alone in the Mist (2016).

1. Descending Inner Night, off Monotony Fields (2015).

My Top 10 Favorite Songs by Stratovarius

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun September 12, 2021.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

10. Cold Winter Nights, off Destiny (1998).

9. Distant Skies, off Fourth Dimension (1995).

8. Move the Mountain, off Elysium (2011).

7. Witch Hunt, off Fright Night (1989).

6. Black Diamond, off Visions (1997).

5. My Eternal Dream, off Eternal (2015).

4. Fireborn, off Nemesis (2013).

3. Eagleheart, off Elements Pt 1 (2003).

2. Lost Without A Trace, off (Eternal 2015).

1. Unbreakable, off Nemesis (2013).

My Top 10 Favorite Songs by Circle II Circle …

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun September 05, 2021.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

10. Victim of the Night, off Reign of Darkness (2015).

9. Lies, off Watching in Silence (2003).

8. Echoes, off Delusions of Grandeur (2008).

7. Who Am I to Be?, off Burden of Truth (2006).

6. Blood of an Angel, off Consequence of Power (2010).

5. Diamond Blade, off Seasons Will Fall (2013).

4. Cynical Ride, off The Middle of Nowhere (2005).

3. Forever, off Delusions of Grandeur (2008).

2. Take Back Yesterday, off Consequence of Power (2010).

1. Heal You, off Burden of Truth (2006).

My Top 10 Favorite Songs by Andromeda …

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun August 29, 2021.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

10. Antidote, off Manifest Tyranny (2011).

9. Crescendo of Thoughts, off Extension of the Wish (2001).

8. This Fragile Surface, off II = I (2003).

7. The Hidden Riddle, off Chimera (2006).

6. Worst Enemy, off The Immunity Zone (2008).

5. In the End, off Chimera (2006).

4. In the Deepest of Waters, off Extension of the Wish (2001).

3. Chameleon Carnival, off Extension of the Wish (2001).

2. Inner Circle, off Chimera (2006).

1. Morphing Into Nothing, off II = I (2003).

My Top 10 Favorite Songs by Epica …

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun August 22, 2021.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

10. The Second Stone, off The Quantum Enigma (2014).

9. Kingdom of Heaven (A New Age Dawns Pt 5), off Design Your Universe (2009).

8. Cry for the Moon (The Embrace That Smothers Pt 4), off The Phantom Agony (2003).

7. Consign to Oblivion (A New Age Dawns Pt 3), off Consign to Oblivion (2005).

6. Delirium, off Requiem for the Indifferent (2012).

5. Edge of the Blade, off The Holographic Principle (2016).

4. Seal of Solomon, off Omega (2021).

3. Never Enough, off, The Divine Conspiracy (2007).

2. Kingdom of Heaven Pt 3 (The Antidiluvian Universe), off Omega (2021).

1. Victims of Contingency, off The Quantum Enigma (2014).

Top 5 Long and Top 5 Mid Length Iron Maiden Songs

My Top 5 Favorite MID LENGTH Songs by Iron Maiden (6-8 minutes) …

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun August 08, 2021.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

5. Phantom of the Opera, off Iron Maiden (1980).

4. Infinite Dreams, off Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1986).

3. The Journeyman (*), off Dance of Death (2003).

2. To Tame a Land, off Piece of Mind (1983).

1. Hallowed Be Thy Name, off The Number of the Beast (1982).

(*) Yes, I love this song. Suck it, haters.

My Top 5 Favorite LONG Songs by Iron Maiden (8+ minutes) …

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun July 04, 2021.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

5. Empite of the Clouds, off The Book of Souls (2015).

4. Alexander the Great, off Somewhere in Time (1986).

3. Dance of Death, off Dance of Death (2003).

2. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, off Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988).

1. Rime of the Ancient Mariner, off Powerslave (1984).

My Top 10 Favorite Songs by Masterplan …

…as played on Mostly Metal, 103.1FM, Valparaiso, IN the week of Sun June 06, 2021.

(Sunday 8:00 – 10:00PM US Central, replay Wednesday at 10:00pm … stream on wvlp.org)

10. Lonely Winds of War, off Time to Be King (2010).

9. Return From Avalon, off Novum Initium (2013).

8. Spirit Never Die, off Masterplan (2003).

7. Far From the End of the World, off Time to Be King (2010).

6. Black in the Burn, off Aeronautics (2005).

5. Heroes , offMasterplan (2003).

4. Keeps Me Burning, off MKII (2007).

3. Sail On, off Masterplan (2003).

2. Crimson Rider, off Aeronautics (2005).

1. Falling Sparrow, off Aeronautics (2005).