No Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) or Bellator this weekend? No problem!
GoFightLive.tv has a great slate of action from the regional scene this weekend, featuring some very intriguing UFC prospects, and a ton of highly anticipated bouts.
Once again, as a gift to MMAmania readers, GFL is offering 20% off any event using the exclusive coupon code GFLMania.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five fights to watch on GFL this week:
The Warrior FC Lightweight Championship title is on the line as Brian Kerr takes on David Crowe in a highly anticipated battle between hometown favorites.
Kerr is looking to redeem himself after being submitted in his last bout, and has a great opportunity to do so with a championship victory. Coming into the fight with both the height and weight advantage, Kerr could prove to be a difficult puzzle for Crowe to solve.
Strangely enough, Crowe is also coming off a loss, and yet has been gifted the opportunity to fight for gold as well. Crowe is the heavy underdog but if he finds a way to walk out of the Kentucky Kings Mountain Memorial Center as a champion, there will be no stopping his momentum.
I hope the folks in Kentucky are ready for a war.
In a battle between two strikers, expect fireworks at PA Cage Fight 24.
Lightweight competitor Richard Gates has been on a role since hitting the MMA scene. Boasting a 3-1 record, Gates has won his last three bouts convincingly, knocking each man out in brutal fashion.
Fight fans can expect Gates to be looking for the home run early and often, but Mervin Rodriguez is no slouch on the feet.
Point blank, Rodriguez does have quite the challenge in front of him, as Gates is a UFC caliber prospect, but he does have the tools to win this fight.
The main issue for Rodriguez could very well be ring rust, as he has been out of action for over a year. “Marvelous” is also stepping up a weight class to battle the heavy-handed Gates, so the cards really are stacked against him.
Still, five career finishes is nothing to scoff at, and Rodriguez is looking to make a major statement this weekend.
Dynasty Combat Sports 26 promises to be a great show, and with John DeVall and Kevin Gray set to battle for the Flyweight title in the main event of the evening, you can expect a high-paced fight.
DeVall is looking to add another piece of gold hardware to his mantelpiece, but getting through a very tough Gray will be a difficult task.
DeVall has ton of experience under his belt, but his 11-8 record is far from jaw dropping. The truth is, DeVall is a fighter who is always looking for the finish, which often puts him at risk against his opponents.
If DeVall plays that game against Gray, he could be the victim of a brutal knockout.
After winning his last two bouts via unanimous decision, expect Gray to look to make a statement with a finish victory. Sure the Flyweight championship can be won via decision, but Gray is ready to finish the fight within the distance.
This fight has all the makings of an instant classic.
This will be a battle of style and flare.
Zak Ottow is walking into the Panther Arena in Wisconsin with an impressive record of 12-3, and three straight submission victories. Out of his three career losses, two came against UFC veterans in Jacob Volkmann and Mike Rhodes.
In his last seven fights, Ottow is 6-1 with six finishes. A win over Eckelberg could be his golden ticket to UFC.
Craig Eckelberg isn’t a stepping-stone for anyone, and should be a great challenge for Ottow this weekend. Hailing from the lauded Roufusport, Eckelberg is looking to represent the world-renowned gym by winning in convincing fashion.
With a 6-1 record, Eckelberg is a noted BJJ specialist with four victories via submission.
If this fight hits the mat, expect some wildly entertaining grappling exchanges.
If you have yet to hear Trisha Cicero’s name, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon.
The XFN Flyweight champ is among the most talented women’s fighters outside the UFC today, and it seems to be only a matter of time before she gets a shot in the big leagues.
Cicero has been dominating the XFN competition as of late, securing a 3-0 record and earning herself championship gold.
Standing in Cicero’s way this weekend will be the durable Kayla Stricker.
“The Bulldog” has more experience than the champ, boasting a 5-1 amateur record, including two finishes.
Fighting out of Mississippi, Stricker is a firecracker inside the cage. In her previous bouts, it seems Stricker’s opponents underestimated her due to her size, but she has proven to be a tough out for even the toughest competitors.
In terms of amateur fights, this is just about the best match up fight fans could ask for, pitting two legitimate MMA talents against each other early on in their careers.
Who will leave the cage as XFN champ? Tune in to find out
International Fighting Championship (IFC) makes its debut on GFL.tv on March 9 with UK VS USA Revolution at the Maida Gym in Aldershot Hampshire. The 12-bout card is loaded with intrigue and excitement as several champions will be crowned. Don’t miss the premier event by one of England’s top MMA organizations.
In the main event, Catalin Zmarandescu (6-2) takes on Vince Lucero (22-23-1) for the Heavyweight Title. Zmarandescu brings a solid grappling game into this fight and he could look to take the hard-hitting Lucero to the mat. But Zmarandescu is also a former boxer and kickboxer and he might want to duke it out in the middle of the cage. Zmarandescu is one of Europe’s rising stars and a win here could do great things for the Romanian star. Lucero is coming off a great showing in his final bout against former WWE World Champion, turned MMA fighter Dave Bautista. Lucero is a grizzled vet of the sport and has fought for such top ranked organizations like the IFL. Lucero possesses heavy hands and a slick boxing game that has put down and out tons of opponents. Lucero also has a solid chin, so if this fight turns into a slugfest, don’t blink as these two fighters will be throwing punches with bad intentions.
In the co-main event, Darren McNamee (1-1) fights Shannon “The Cannon” Ritch (51-76) for the middleweight title. McNamee is a rising star in the UK, but will be facing his toughest test to date in the experienced Ritch. Ritch is known for being a showman and anything is possible when you are watching “The Cannon”, so don’t blink. You are bound to see something you’ve never seen inside a cage.
In other championship action, Nick Chapman (3-2) battles Bryan Pardoe (13-16) for the Light Heavyweight Title. Chapman is coming into the bout with a tough test as he battles the WEC veteran Pardoe. Both fighters have a lot at stake in this bout as a title belt will further both men’s ongoing careers.
IFC presents a huge card as it makes its worldwide debut on iPPV with UK VS USA Revolution, be there for every KO and submission in the comfort of your own home by streaming the event live at GFL.tv.
Violent Valentine, IZW’s first iPPV of 2013 destroyed the status quo from top to bottom as new champions were crowned while the shifting dynamics had jaw dropping consequences that shook the very foundation of all that is IZW.
The show started off with “The Bronze Bull” Aaron Neil getting the unfortunate news from lawyers that he was not the heir to his departed fiancée Venus’ financial estate. Instead Venus’ wealth would go to “The Brass Bull” Bobby Starr. This news didn’t go over well with Neil.
To begin the in ring action, Jordan Jacobs defeated O’Malley with the help of a pair of brass knuckles giving O’Malley a taste of his own medicine as Jacobs looked solid and on the way back after defeating such a physical threat like O’Malley. This bout was hot right out of the gate as people hated Jacobs and let him know. At one point, O’Malley must have conjured up his inner Double D as he hit Jacobs with a crossbody that pancaked “Lights Out”. O’Malley wasn’t done as he crushed an already dizzy Jacobs with his backside against the ring corner. If Jacobs didn’t have a migraine before, he did now. O’Malley pulled Jacobs up from the mat and slung him into the opposite corner. O’Malley went to the well one too many times as when he went in for a splash, Jacobs ducked out of the way and O’Malley crashed into the turnbuckle. Even a flying double knee by Jacobs couldn’t slow down the big man. Jacobs got bounced out of the ring the hard way and then became a whipping boy for O’Malley who bruised, battered and fileted Jacobs’ chest with chops heard around the world. The crafty Jacobs ducked a chop meant for his head as O’Malley’s hand slapped against the ring post before Jacobs drop kicked O’Malley head first into the same post. A front kick followed by a top rope leg lariat had Jacobs in the driver’s seat. A series of chops later and O’Malley was once again in charge. O’Malley went for another splash when Jacobs’ pulled the referee in front of him. O’Malley slowed down his attack, and this gave Jacobs an opportunity to reach into his boot and grab a pair of brass knuckles that he sunk deep into the back of O’Malley’s head. O’Malley was out cold and after a quick rollup, Jacobs got the first victory of the night.
Next up, Copycat came out and informed the audience that Cody Jones wasn’t there and Cat insinuated that Jones wouldn’t be returning to Team Remix or IZW. Because he was a man down, Copycat said he wasn’t going to defend the Tag Team Titles tonight and that he would look for a suitable partner in the back and defend the titles at March Mayhem on March 23. This didn’t sit well with IZW owner Johnny Z, who came down to the ring to give Copycat a bit of bad news. Since Jones has been M.I.A. for so long and since Team Remix had not defended the tag titles in the allotted amount of time, Z stripped Team Remix aka Copycat of the Tag Titles. Z didn’t leave the crowd hanging as he inserted the Birds of Prey (Phoenix & Falcon) into the bout for later on in the night keeping the match a Triple Threat! Copycat refused to give Z the belts and instead attacked “The Natural Born Leader” landing a belt shot to the head and kicking Z while he was on the canvas. As Copycat whipped Z into the ropes he got a floatover DDT for his troubles as Z put Copycat in his place. Z then finished off Copycat with a big boot in the corner.
As Copycat fumed in the locker room about what had just happened, Damien Morte walked by and gave the freshly-minted non-champion and pep talk as the two seemed to bond over their mutual hatred for most anything and everything.
Next up was the TLC Match with the Impact Division Championship on the line, as Jermaine Johnson put his belt up against the maniacal Damien Morte. With tables, ladders and chairs blanketing the Impact Arena, it didn’t take long for both men to put those weapons to good use. Johnson started out hot, landing a series of punches and kicks but it was Morte who took advantage of the rules and began to break down the Champ with steel chairs that he crashed against the back of Johnson. The Master of the Specialty Match would not go away that easy as he whipped Morte face first into a steel ladder that was set up in the corner. The resilient Morte battled back and had Johnson eating punches and more steel as the crowd aka, the Hype Section, chanted “Morte Sucks!” Morte stayed focused, climbing up the ladder attempting to grab the title that hung from the ceiling. Johnson shoved Morte off as the challenger took a nasty spill. Moments later, both men were atop a ladder as they traded fisticuffs until Johnson and Morte fell to the ground, with Morte injuring his head and Johnson his back. Both men fell out of the ring where they recuperated until picking up right where they left off, with Morte and Johnson trading chair shots, side suplexes on the ring apron and even a powerbomb through a table by Johnson that seemed to break Morte in half. Morte was nearly dead as Johnson made his way to the ring and began to climb up the ladder in hopes of grabbing the title. The unbreakable Morte followed Johnson up the other side of the ladder and spit green mist into Johnson’s face. A blinded Johnson fell to the mat as Morte looked to grab the title. Johnson flailed around with his arms until he found the ladder and pushed Morte off the ladder which sent Morte over the top rope, outside of the ring where he landed on a table as his body bounced against the guardrail! Johnson, still blinded by the mist, finally found a ladder and set it up to grab the Impact Division Title. Johnson made his way to the top, but could not see the belt to grab as he pawed in the air empty handed. Copycat made his return to the ring and powerbombed Johnson, who was still standing on the ladder, through a waiting table down below on the mat, proving that Copycat is indeed the Worst in the World! Copycat literally grabbed Morte who was still broken and lying outside of the ring and put him on his shoulders and climbed up the ladder as Morte grabbed the hanging title to become the new Impact Division Champion! With the win, Morte showed he has more “Impact” than any other wrestler in the world.
The Triple Threat IZW Tag Team Championship Match was next as it was The Old School Suckas (Randy Price & Bryan Cruize) versus Big Business (Damon Windsor & Kevin Morgan) versus the newly added Birds of Prey (Phoenix & Falcon). Earlier in the night, BB took a secret elixir that initially made them much, much stronger as their newfound strength was hard to fathom. Cruize and Morgan started out first with Morgan giving Cruize a powerslam. Later on, Windsor took Price’s best shots and shook off every one of Price’s offensive moves before nearly decapitating the Sucka with a clothesline that lifted Price off the ground and nearly out of his boots. Windsor accidently gave Phoenix a blind tag, so now it was Phoenix versus Price. Price and Phoenix traded headlocks as they wrestled each other to a standoff. Later in the bout, BB started to lose their superhuman strength as both Windsor and Morgan became light-headed and looked lost in the ring. BB finally got their wits back and gave Cruize a Detonator that ended the night for the OSS as Morgan pinned Cruize. This left only BB and the Birds. Falcon got into the match for the first time in the night and was dropped on his head by a modified T-bone suplex by Morgan. Falcon tagged in Phoenix and Phoenix began to chip away at the bigger Morgan using his speed and precision. Falcon tagged back in as Morgan continued to suffer a barrage of moves by the quicker Falcon. In a bit of miscommunication, Windsor hit Morgan with a clothesline which seemed to irk Morgan who landed a clothesline of his own on Windsor. BB began shoving each other in the middle of the ring and took their eyes off of the Birds of Prey in a moment of bad judgment as BB got hit with matching superkicks! Falcon soared across the air landing a flying splash as Phoenix hit a variation of a twisting lionsault as the Birds simultaneously pinned BB and captured the IZW Tag Titles!
In the main event, IZW Champion Double D took on The Convict in a match for the ages. Double D started off working in close to The Convict as he landed several forearms that didn’t seem to make an impression on the Challenger. The Convict charged D and squished him against the corner and in one move reversed the tide. D had his mind set as the Force was with him as he came back stronger than ever, landing a crossbody from the top rope on The Convict outside of the ring as the big man crashed down to the hard floor. Both men battled back and forth outside of the ring with The Convict body slamming D on the ground and then D side stepping The Convict’s attack as he ran headfirst into the steel ring post. D went back to his aerial attack as he took a running leap off the ring apron and summersaulted onto The Convict, as both men crashed to the ground below. Once again, The Convict seemed to come out of the exchange the stronger man as he threw Double D back into the ring where the action continued. The Convict wrapped his huge hands around D’s throat and began to choke the life out of the Champion before landing two back breakers. D would not stay down! D fought back with everything he had including using his leg kicks to keep The Convict at bay for a short period of time. That would not last as D tried to execute a flying knee, but The Convict caught D mid-air and began to squeeze the life out of the Champion with a bear hug from hell on the already damaged back of Double D. D found a way to break the hold and then gave The Convict two quick flying knees which wobbled the challenger as D landed a high kick and finally a missile drop kick which got The Convict off of his feet for the third time in the match! D could only get a two-count as The Convict was right back on his feet. D was unyielding in his attack as he landed a springboard drop elbow. D went to the top once again and flew off the top rope for his patented crossbody finisher but The Convict caught D in flight and landed the 15 to 20. D somehow managed to kick out of the pinfall! This was the first time in history that anybody has kicked out of the 15 to 20. Not only did D kick out, he started to kick ass as he landed several head kicks to the cement top The Convict calls a face. Then D hit 10 knees in a row as The Convict stumbled to the mat. D went up for another attempt at a crossbody which he landed this time, but The Convict rolled over during the pinfall and picked D up by the throat as he finished the champion off with another 15 to 20. Your new IZW Champion, The Convict. The King of the Yard is now the King of IZW!
Finally, it was time for the Venus Memorial as Venus, the bride-to-be of Aaron Neil, who was lost at sea, was memorialized by Impact Elite. As the black casket was carried down to the ring and setup amidst flowers and pictures it was hard not to feel sorry for Neil and his cohorts…Until they started talking. Madam Commissioner Erica took the mic first and let it be known that she blamed Venus for this whole mess and that Venus was the only one at fault do to her selfishness. Neil took the mic next and thanked destiny for keeping him a bachelor. Neil continued that this would not be a sad event, rather this was an opportunity to cut off the dead weight and re-establish Impact Elite as the premier stable in all of wrestling. As Impact Elite celebrated, Bobby Starr rose from the casket, brass scepter in hand and began to level Impact Elite one by one. First Jacobs, then Morgan, next Windsor and finally Neil. Starr went at Neil mano y mano and after landing a series of overhand rights, lifted Neil high in the air, by the power of the Gods no doubt, and delivered a Greetings from Mt Olympus on the 6-time IZW Champion! Starr finished Neil off with a head shot from the brass scepter as Neil crumbled out of the ring!
This card was stacked from top to bottom with some of the most fast paced, athletic, high maneuvering wrestling in the world. Don’t miss this one of a kind iPPV event! Order now on GFL.tv and watch Violent Valentine 2013 for life!
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/IZWOklahoma
CLICK HERE TO ORDER – http://www.gfl.tv/Events/Fight/Wrestling/Impact_Zone_Wrestling__Violent_Valentine/1845
Kingdom Promotions MMA 5 debuts on GFL.tv with Valentines Massacre from the Metroplex Event Center in Little Rock, Arkansas on February 16. The pro/am event is a mega-event featuring over 20 fights from some of the rising stars from the South.
In the main event, in the professional ranks of the lightweight division Dave Burrow (5-1) defeated Thomas Gifford (6-2) via TKO at the end of round two in one of the most unsettling moments in MMA history. Burrow was controlling the fight in the first and second round by mostly using strong top control on the ground. At one point in the first, both fighters went for leg submissions, but Burrow ended that stalemate with a punch to the face. Burrow was able to land several strikes from a dominant position as Gifford was content to fight off of his back as Gifford, who is a grappling machine with all 6 of his wins coming via tapout, looked for Burrow to make a mistake. You could see the damage Burrow inflicted with his strikes as Gifford had a bloody nose, yet still continued to try and attack Burrow from the bottom at one point going for an armbar, but the stronger Burrow fought his way out of the maneuver and slammed Gifford down to the mat. Burrow landed a couple elbows and a right knee to the body of Gifford as you could tell Gifford was losing steam fast. Yet Gifford mustered up another armbar attack, but Burrow shook the attempt off with no problem. The bell sounded to end the second round and Gifford clutched his throat as he tried to get back to his feet but then fell back to the mat. During the action on the ground in the second round, one of Burrow’s elbows got through and landed on Gifford’s throat, damaging his windpipe. Gifford continued fighting until the round was over, but he was done. The medical staff at the event did a great job of helping Gifford who was in a bad spot and who required oxygen and was put on a stretcher to leave the cage. Kingdom Promotions MMA updated the health of Gifford on their Facebook page as Gifford was now breathing at about 98% late Saturday night and suffered swelling of the larynx. Prayers were answered as Gifford was ok. For the fight, Burrow did a tremendous job neutralizing an experienced submission artist in Gifford and looks to have a bright future in the sport.
In the co-main event, Wade Johnson (1-0) won his professional debut defeating Dusty Mason (1-4) via TKO from punches. Johnson showed off a strong grappling game as once the fight hit the mat Johnson threw heavy punches inside of Mason’s guard and they all seemed to connect. Mason turtled over and Johnson continued to throw more haymakers and elbows until the ref called off the fight.
Be sure to catch all of the action now on video on demand as Kingdom Promotions MMA brings down the house on pay-per-view exclusively at GFL.tv with Valentines Massacre. See the rising stars from the South compete in front of some of the most boisterous fans. Be a part of the excitement and order this iPPV from the GFL Combat Sports Network.
PRIME Wrestling returned to GFL.tv with the iPPV Pressure Rising 2013 – Megalomania and brought the house down at the Twinsburg Fitness Center in Twinsburg, Ohio. Another unfettered success, wrestling fans worldwide were exposed to what PRIME Wrestling is all about. With the hottest prospects in the prime of their careers, showcased by a wrestling promotion that stresses action, athleticism and drama inside the squared circle, PRIME Wrestling is kicking ass and taking names.
In the main event, Krimson captured the PRIME Title from Johnny Gargano amidst controversy in a hotly contested, brutal matchup. Gargano has held the PRIME Title dating back to August of last year and has defeated every challenger to his throne. Gargano has been the Man of PRIME, the anchor of the promotion and traveled around the world defending his promotion’s honor and growing his name globally in recent months. But all of that came to a crashing halt as his arch nemesis, Krimson, took the title and set PRIME on a very different path.
At one point in the match, Gargano threw a chair directly into Krimson’s face (legal in the match), but the leader of the Dead Wrestling Society would not stay down. In fact, he came back at Gargano with a vengeance and crashed his own chair against the spine of Gargano, who has had severe back problems in his career. Krimson went to the top to try a splash on the downed Gargano, but missed and crashed into the waiting chair. Later in the match, Gargano hit a superkick, looked for a Uniquely You, but Krimson reversed the position and landed his finisher the Witches’ Wheel, but Gargano kicked out! With Gargano still on easy street, Krimson went for the mist, but sprayed it in the eyes of the ref instead. This gave Gargano time to land his Uniquely You, but there was no ref to count. As Gargano tried to revive the ref, Krimson clobbered him with a steel chair that sent Gargano crashing down to the mat. The wrestlers continued their onslaught as the ref finally regained consciousness as Krimson set up a table with thumbtacks on it. He maneuvered Gargano onto the top rope and looked for a superplex, but Gargano would not relent and pushed Krimson off the ropes as he crashed through the table and tacks. A superkick by Gargano later and it was 1-2-3. Gargano had retained. But new PRIME Wrestling Commissioner Vic Tavagliante, in his first official match as Commissioner, restarted the match and that was the opportunity Krimson needed as he pinned Gargano. Krimson hit Gargano full on with the mist this time and then gave the blinded Gargano the Witches’ Wheel for the second time in the bout as Krimson won the PRIME Wrestling Championship in dramatic and unforeseen fashion!
In the co-main event, for the PRIME TV Title, Facade defeated Louis Lyndon to retain his title in an epic battle that featured athleticism from both wrestlers that not many on the planet can match. Facade landed a series of kicks to Lyndon’s mid-section, and finished off with a head kick, displaying his martial arts training for all to see. A German suplex by Facade, and it looked like Lyndon’s night was over. But Lyndon kicked out. Lyndon then rolled out of the ring to collect his thoughts, but Facade, wouldn’t let him off the hook that easy as he jumped from the top rope, somersaulted and came down with an axe hammer on Lyndon’s head while landing on his feet. Lyndon would not give up, landing a moonsault press later in the bout for a near fall. Both men fought their way up to the top rope where Facade was able to land a super Arashikage Driver from the top rope. This was enough to get the pinfall and retain his PRIME TV Title in fantastic fashion.
The only way to watch this mega-event is to order it online at GFL.tv and see what wrestling fans are talking about. Watch PRIME Wrestling to see some of the best of the best in a sport where only the strong survive. Order Pressure Rising 2013 – Megalomania now!
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) was a huge hit in its debut show in Pennsylvania, where it put on a 10-bout card with 6 stoppages at the Valley Forge Casino Resort. CFFC has quickly expanded its footprint up and down the Eastern seaboard and is the largest East Coast MMA promotion currently promoting MMA. CFFC is not only building up future world champions from its home base in New Jersey/New York, it is also grooming the top blue chip talent from Virginia, Delaware and now Pennsylvania.
In the main event, Scott “The Animal” Heckman (14-3) defeated Brett “Young Blood” Martinez (5-1) via guillotine choke in round one to top off a brilliant night of fights. Heckman showed that experience still matters as he was able to overthrow the younger and undefeated but also less experienced Martinez. Martinez looked for a takedown right from the beginning but Heckman grabbed a standing guillotine. Martinez used that to his advantage as he got his takedown in impressive fashion by slamming Heckman to the canvas. Heckman popped back up and the two started to have a striking match with Martinez landing a solid knee to Heckman’s face. Heckman got the fight to the ground with a Superman punch followed up by a clinch as the two fighters continued their scrap on the mat. After a quick choke attempt by Heckman the fighters broke and popped back up to their feet where another striking battle ensued. Heckman landed another takedown and again went for a guillotine choke off the takedown, but Martinez wiggled out. Heckman and Martinez fired off more punches and kicks as the pace was still going at break neck speeds. Heckman scored with another take and this time he got his guillotine sunk in far enough that Martinez had no choice in the matter but to tapout. It was a terrific performance by Heckman who showed that he is capable of hanging or beating anybody in the world in his weight class.
In other action, Paul Felder (4-0) defeated Ricky Nuno (1-1) via TKO in the first round. Felder is a one man wrecking crew as all 4 of his fights have ended in KO or TKO from strikes. Felder possess knockout power in both hands and proved it once again as he caught Nuno and finished him off with strikes.
Be sure to catch all of the action anytime on video on demand as CFFC XX brought down the house on pay-per-view exclusively at GFL.tv. See the rising stars on the East Coast compete in front of some of the most avid fans. Be a part of the excitement and order this iPPV from the GFL Combat Sports Network.
by Drew Archer
“I do accept tips when I walk to the ring, so don’t be afraid to fan out those dollar bills and hand them over.”
The life and times of “The Number 1” Shawn McHale are filled with more ups and downs then the most feared rollercoaster known to man. McHale is a rock-solid veteran in the professional wrestling world and his been involved with the business for the better part of a decade and a half. By this point in the game, McHale has earned the trust, respect and admiration from fans, wrestlers and promoters alike for what he can do on the mic and in the ring as the premier manager on the Independent circuit
What many fans don’t know is that McHale originally got involved in the business to be a wrestler but when real life responsibilities stepped in and then later a life-changing injury occurred, McHale took his passion for the squared circle, tweaked his approach and became one of the most entertaining and engaging individuals on any wrestling program anywhere in North America. That drive and determination to succeed started off at an early age for McHale growing up in Clinton, Oklahoma.
“I grew up as an only child with a single mom, who busted her ass to make ends meet. I played baseball, football and wrestled. I always watched wrestling, in fact I don’t remember when I started, I just know I always have. I always wanted to be a pro wrestler as long as I remember,” McHale recalled.
“I trained to be a wrestler 14-15 years ago with Tom Jones, but I had a daughter and wasn’t making enough money to support her and a dream, and when I didn’t get paid for my first show, I put my dream on hold. Fast forward five years later, got in with Gary Tool, Bryan Cruize, Brad Michaels and Angel Williams. I knew I needed more training and ring time; I knew the importance of protecting myself and really getting properly trained before I went out and tried to start wrestling again. Mainly because I didn’t want to look like crap and I didn’t want to kill no one,” McHale said.
Unfortunately, in an ironic twist of fate, it wasn’t McHale’s opponent that he had to worry about. “I took a back drop in training, landed at a weird angle and damn near paralyzed myself. The first thought was I’ll never get to hold my daughter again. Luckily it was a stinger, but it weakened my neck and scared me enough to just walk away again.”
With ten years of on again off again involvement in a business that is always evolving, McHale took one more swing at his lifelong dream and connected full force hitting it out of the park. “Fast forward about five years later. I saw an ad for a wrestling ring announcer needed for an Indy promotion, I went out got the gig and met my three best friends in the business that night; Damien Morte, Damon Windsor, and Rage Logan.”
From landing that initial ring announcer gig to parlaying that opportunity into a weekly role with the leading Independent wrestling organization in the country, IZW, where McHale wears a few hats for the Lawton, Oklahoma based promotion including; color commentator (working side by side with play by play man Big DA), manager to several high profile wrestlers, de facto Commissioner (under Brandon Bishop’s Impact Inc. stable while Bishop was away from the Impact Zone) to most recently becoming Madam Commissioner Erica’s right hand man as part of Impact Elite. McHale has turned into an institution unto himself in IZW as you will rarely watch a Saturday night show on GFL.tv and not see or hear McHale adding something important to a feud or wrestling match.
“By far, IZW is the best place to be, there is nothing compared to it around here,” McHale added.
For McHale, being able to be an integral part of a wrestling program, while taking away most of the physical confrontation that professional wrestling usually demands from its performers and athletes, is a big plus for McHale. But there are still those moments that give would give any father pause. “Balancing wrestling with family and my job outside of wrestling is tough. My neck is always a concern for me when doing physical stuff. I have had a couple moments when getting knocked around where my hands and arms start tingling. It hasn’t happened in a while, but it’s still a concern for me.”
Right now, McHale is busy managing the most physically imposing tag team to ever step foot inside an IZW ring, Big Business (“The Big Picture” Damon Windsor and “The Image of War” Kevin Morgan) who look to reclaim their IZW Tag Team Titles at Violent Valentine. Asking McHale what the highlight of his career is you can see by his answer why he is such a coveted manager as his team and their success is always on his mind. “Big Business! My most memorable feud is with Big Business and The Old School Suckas.” McHale, known for his quick wit and back and forth sarcastic approach also has a typical answer for what his finisher is. “I actually do have a finishing maneuver it’s called ‘Big Business just beat your ass for messing with me or BBJBYAFMWM’. Sometimes it’s quicker just to say it out than to use the acronym.”
But McHale is an overachiever and one of the most resourceful people in the whole business. McHale always seems to have more than one iron in the fire and he will once again be pulling double duty at Violent Valentine as not only will his tag team Big Business be going for Tag Team gold for the second time in a Triple Threat Match against current Champions Team Remix (Cody Jones and Copycat) and The Old School Suckas (Randy Price and Bryan Cruize), but McHale has also become a fixture in the ongoing engagement and soon to be wedding ceremony of “The Bronze Bull” Aaron Neil and The Golden Goddess Venus dubbed “The Golden Wedding” also taking place on February 16.
“I’m looking forward to Violent Valentine and the Golden Wedding. Little known fact, I’m the Wedding Planner. Little known fact two, ‘The Bronze Bull’ has spared no expense for this wedding. Little known fact three, we have blown way past ‘The Bronze Bull’s’ initial budget he set for me. Little known fact four, ‘The Bronze Bull’ has no idea, but I’m sure all is good as it’s for him and the Super Dynamically Gorgeous Venus,” McHale said.
As to his nickname “The Number 1”, it’s a name that has a long history and keeps evolving into whatever McHale is asked, needed or required to do.
“‘The Number 1’, it just kind of happened organically really. I was with Brandon Bishop when he was the Commissioner here at IZW and he and I hit it off from day one. Being with Brandon made me a better performer, because he was such a good talker, I had to step my game up. He was living in Colorado and doing other things too. He couldn’t make every show and needed a right hand man. I came into the picture to fill that role. When Brandon was in the building, I stayed by his side and assisted him. When Brandon was not there I was running the whole damn thing; because that’s what the ‘The Number 1’ does. When Brandon left unexpectedly and Madam Commissioner Erica took over, I became her ‘The Number 1’, but since she has been in charge she never leaves so I’m always running errands for her, or doing crazy tasks for her. She’s always like ‘if you fail, you’re out’. I’m like ‘whatever, I’m The Number 1, ain’t a task I can’t complete.’ Where there is a will there is away, if you believe you achieve. ‘The Number 1’ is Madam Commissioner’s ‘Magic’. That’s right, she thinks she waives her hands and things just happen by magic. Well she’s right, because I make it happen for her. See what I mean? I’m her ‘Magic’.” McHale replied.
Fans and detractors alike have to give McHale credit. He has managed the superstars of IZW and Impact Inc. as well as the megastars of Impact Elite. From Nemesis (Damien Morte and Rage Logan) to “The Bronze Bull” Aaron Neil, Jordan Jacobs, and now Big Business, what do all of these wrestlers have in common besides being managed by Shawn McHale at one time in their career? All have been to the mountain top and crowned champions.
“My only goal is helping my guys win Championships. Shawn McHa1e brings results; it’s a fact that can’t be denied. Oh yeah, rule # 1, I’m ‘The Number 1’.”
by Drew Archer
“I see myself in IZW becoming a champion again. Hopefully, one day, even becoming Heavyweight Champion.”
“High Risk” Joe Herell has been a top hand in the Oklahoma and surrounding territory for years. Always known for his fast paced style, Herell is always a hot commodity for any organization to sign. Recently, Herell has found himself back in his old stomping grounds, inside an IZW ring. As one half of the tag team Aerial Assault, along with Dane Griffin, Herell has stormed into the division shaking up the status quo and giving fans from around the world another reason to tune into IZW every Saturday night on GFL.tv.
Along with the weekly platform provided by GFL.tv, Herell and all of the IZW Superstars can be viewed by 24 million households across the country on The Comcast Network and over half a dozen Comcast SportsNet regional networks. For Herell, his return to Impact Zone Wrestling and getting the chance to partner with Griffin couldn’t have come at a better time in his career.
“IZW…… What an amazing company. They have so much to offer for the wrestlers and most importantly for the fans. They have top notch talent and awesome storylines. And did I mention the production? This is the best fed that I have possibly been to. The wrestlers look like wrestlers and not dressed in gym shorts, church shoes and kickpads. That tells a lot about a fed when everyone has different characters, styles and gear. IZW having monthly iPPVs and airing on Comcast once a month is a huge deal because it allows for the wrestlers to be seen WORLDWIDE and that’s huge in this business. The more you promote yourself, the more you get booked in other places and the better chance you have to make it to WWE or TNA perhaps. In my opinion IZW is up there with TNA,” Herell said.
Herell, like most wrestlers working on the Independent scene, has had a long, grueling road to the top. But for Herell, he has always been able to count on something not every wrestler has, and that’s his natural athleticism.
“Well I grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and went to school at Dickson High School. As far as I can remember back, I have always been a fan of wrestling, but it’s not what I’ve always wanted to do. I started playing football in about the fifth grade and I played all through high school and I wanted to try and get a scholarship to play in college.”
As fate would have it, Herell caught the wrestling bug during his teens.
“Well come my senior year in high school, right before football season started, I went to a really big show here in Ardmore. The show had names like Scott Steiner, Buff Bagwell, Jeff Jarrett, R-Truth and a few others. That’s where I met my trainer Al Santos and he had told me that he was starting a wrestling school right here in Ardmore. After that show I got all of his info and the next day when I came up to help take the ring down I met the owner of IZW, Johnny Z. He asked how old I was and if this was something I would like to do and I think that’s when I decided that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and that’s how I got started in the business,” Herell remembered.
Herell put his years of blood, sweat and tears on the gridiron to good use as he transferred over his skillset into the squared circle as he hit his newfound passion with the same resolve that made him such a highly respected football player. “I started training right after football season so I was midway through my senior year. I trained with guys like Montego Seeka, Javi Hernandez, and my best friend and tag partner now, Dane Griffin. After about six months of training every day, I made my pro debut in March 2007.”
Since 2007, Herell has been progressing up the ranks of Independent wrestling and has incorporated his own personal family history and bloodlines into the equation along with his in ring work to help set himself apart from the crowd. “I do have a nickname it’s KY-OTE everybody calls me that. It was my debut name and I had that name for a good five years until I started to use my real name, Joe Herell. I came up with my finisher after watching one of my favorite luchadores from Mexico LA PARKA. He calls his the ‘lucha bomb front-flip power bomb pin combo’ but I was thinking of a clever way to rename it. I thought to myself well I’m Indian Chickasaw and so I started calling it the Chickasaw bomb.”
“My goals in pro wrestling are of course make it to the WWE or TNA. That’s pretty much everybody’s goal in wrestling. But I want to tour overseas and really get a lot of matches under my belt. I think experience is the key to make it and being successful in this business. Being an Indy wrestler really isn’t a walk in the park. It’s hard for most guys to be really successful do to having to manage your wrestling time, your job during the week, and families. It’s harder than people expect. I’ve dislocated my shoulder three times. And the following Monday, I had to be at my job. That makes it hard to fully recuperate,” Herell stated.
But with great sacrifice comes great reward. Herell’s work inside the ring has even taken him outside of the country where he has gotten a chance to rub shoulders with some of the sports all-time greats. “The highlight of my career is when I did a one month tour in Puerto Rico where I did shows with the Great Muta, Scott Hall even Eddie Colon who is now Primo in WWE. I wrestled three days a week for a month doing dark matches. It was a really good learning experience getting to talk to the old timers and legends like Carlos Colon,” Herell continued.
Longtime fans of Herell will know he is a two-time IZW World Tag Team Champion and will remember him in one of the hottest feuds in IZW history. “My most memorable feud would most likely be when I was feuding with Randy Price over the fact that I’m an Indian. He bribed me with firewater, a huge bottle of whiskey; we brawled in the parking lot, the locker room and finally ended the feud with an Indian Death Match which was my idea. It was a good feud and that match I think is pretty memorable for the IZW fans as well.”
As for what fans can look forward to in the present, Herell and his partner Griffin are close to reaching the pinnacle of tag team wrestling on the regional scene. They are only one or two wins away from having another crack at the IZW World Tag Team Titles.
“February 16 is Violent Valentine, two days after my birthday. Yes, my birthday is on Valentine’s Day. Aerial Assault is ready and whoever our opponents are, they better bring their A-game because we are ready to be back on top as a premier tag team in IZW.”
Herell has always been a fan favorite and that feeling is reciprocated by “High Risk”.
“I just have to say to all the fans of IZW thank you for all of your support. I promise Aerial Assault will keep doing what we are doing. And remember when Aerial Assault is in the arena the ASSAULT STARTS NOW!!!!!”
by Drew Archer
“I see myself and Joe Herell as the purest of tag teams in the area.”
“Daredevil” Dane Griffin is back in IZW and making a huge splash as one half of Aerial Assault, the dynamic, energetic tag team catching the territory on fire and on the cusp of greatness as one of the top contenders in the ever-changing gauntlet that is the IZW Tag Team division.
For fans new to IZW, Griffin has already carved out a legacy in Oklahoma as one of the top grapplers in the region. Griffin was ranked by Oklafan’s Top 50 as the #1 Wrestler in back to back years covering 2008-2009 for his successful run through the area. A large amount of Griffin’s success came with Impact Zone Wrestling during that time period, including winning the Impact Division Championship back in 2009 and becoming Tag Team Champion as part of The Future Hall of Famers (with Shane Rawls) a year later in 2010. IZW fans will also remember the epic feud Griffin had as part of Revolution (with Seth Allen) when they battled against BLK-OUT (Jermaine Johnson and Montego Seeka).
But with all of Griffin’s past successes his mind is squarely focused on what lies ahead for him and his current tag team partner as they make a run at the IZW Tag Team Titles.
“My goal for the next iPPV [Violent Valentine on February 16] is to get one step closer to or even capture the IZW Tag Team Championship,” Griffin said.
For Griffin, he and Herell are kindred spirits and that plays a huge part in what they are able to accomplish in the ring against other teams. “We are not, for lack of better term, a ‘thrown together’ tag team. Not only are we a team on the show but real life friends at that. We broke in together, we had our first match together, train together at the gym, we go out to dinner and hang out with our wives on a regular basis, heck I was even his best man at his wedding. We haven’t achieved our goal at becoming IZW Tag Team Champions yet, but we will.”
Griffin and Herell’s friendship started off right at the beginning of both men’s careers.
“I trained at Prince Al Farat’s ‘Slam University’ along with Joe Herell and Montego Seeka. The trainers there were Al Farat and Thomas Trump. Michael Faith also made some ‘guest appearances’ as a trainer.”
It was a match in which the aforementioned Faith was a participant that set things in motion for Griffin, to transform from a fan into a pro wrestler. “I’ve always enjoyed wrestling while growing up. I was always a HUGE Macho Man fan as a kid. Even through my teenage years I was obsessed with wresting and pretty much wore nothing but wrestling tee shirts to school. One day I saw a flyer about a UWF wrestling show in Ardmore, Oklahoma that featured Buff Bagwell and I decided to go. The main event was Buff versus Michael Faith, a good entertaining match, the rest of the show sucked, except for Cody Jones versus Ryan Davidson. I remember saying that I could do better than most of these guys. At intermission they announced that they were starting a wrestling school, and that is where my journey began.”
With roughly six years of professional experience, Griffin has experienced firsthand the highs of being a professional wrestler while also dealing with the challenges that are a reality for 99% of pros today. “At this level there are many things that fans probably don’t think of when it comes to wrestling. At the Indy level most of us have full-time jobs as well as families. When we get injured at this level it doesn’t only keep us from wrestling but also our other jobs, which is the one that provides for our families. Having other jobs also makes scheduling some wrestling shows difficult or sometimes impossible,” Griffin continued.
Like most wrestlers on the Independent circuit, Griffin continues to pursue the big dream of being a full-time professional wrestler, with his sights set not only on WWE but taking his skillset across the world and performing in front of Japanese and Mexican crowds, where his well-rounded, hard hitting, high flying style would fit right in with those foreign promotions.
Fans of Oklahoma know all too well that watching Griffin wrestle is to expect the unexpected as you will get a different Dane Griffin match each and every time you pay your money to watch the “Daredevil” in action. One of Griffin’s trademarks is the fact that you never know how he is going to finish the bout. He uses a plethora of finishers that keep his opponents on their heels and the fans on the edge of their seats. “I have a few different finishers. The main one is called the K-9. It’s basically a sit down spine buster out of the fireman’s carry. Al Farat is actually the one that came up with it for me. I also like to use the Alabama slam, made famous by Hardcore Holly, and the crippler cross face, made famous by Chris Benoit,” Griffin remarked.
Griffin couldn’t have picked a better time to return to IZW as along with the deal struck back in 2011 with The GFL Combat Sports Network (GFL.tv) and more recently the nation’s leading cable provider, Comcast, IZW provides a platform that no other Independent wrestling company can touch. And for experienced grapplers like Griffin, this new exposure is sure to strengthen IZW’s broadcasts and build his own brand in a way that was never possible even two years ago. “IZW’s future looks very bright to me. It’s headed in the right direction. I haven’t been to a show where production value comes anywhere close to IZW. There are a lot of talented workers in the back and everyone from the workers, to the production guys, to the lovely ladies in concession, pull their own weight to make it the best fed around.”
The IZW Tag Team division has never been more exciting and Aerial Assault stands near the top of the pecking order. For Griffin and his tag team partner, Joe Herell, the sky is the limit for these two innovative wrestlers who form one of the blue chip teams in any wrestling organization on the planet.
by Drew Archer
A mountain of hate.
Normally it’s a pleasure to interview the superstars of IZW. I’ve found all of them to be very professional and outgoing when they are talking about their own personal story. Recently, I set out to try and interview the most mysterious man in IZW, new Impact Division Champion, The Convict. Let’s just say this interview went a bit different from the rest insomuch as there was no interview to be had. In fact he doesn’t give interviews, ever. It seems The Convict is a private man, a very private man. But I still believed there was a story to be told on this wrestler that has swept the nation and made an immediate impression on IZW. But the more I uncovered through my research it became crystal clear to me that The Convict was not the type of wrestler, or human being for that matter, that had the standard feel good story. The Convict’s is a story of blood, sweat and tears all right, but other people’s blood, sweat and tears. It’s a story of a man with a dark past and maybe a darker future. To learn more about the grappler that has been a one man wrecking machine in the Impact Arena I thought I would chronicle his activities while a member of IZW and try to piece together some semblance of a man that was already part myth and part legend. But that was only the beginning of what I found.
The Convict debuted in IZW in May of this year. Most wrestlers work their way up through the smaller shows, making a name for themselves, building connections, the usual stuff one does when starting out on a new profession. Then when talent and preparedness meets opportunity, they seize it and hopefully make it to the big time and wrestle for an organization like IZW, but not The Convict. He took a very different road. In fact, IZW seems to be the only place of record that he has ever wrestled.
Speaking of records, it’s no secret that The Convict is well, a convict. But in digging through newspaper clippings and perusing the Internet for information I uncovered The Convict past is not only checkered but it’s quite guarded as well. My hunt took me to several states where I contacted dozens of professionals and civilians in the justice system ranging from police officers, judges, prison guards, parole officers and even ex-cons. They all left me with a chilling profile of the man who has left a wake of bodies in his tenure with IZW.
Because of states’ privacy rights laws that supersede my need to know every detail about the man they call The Convict, I was unable to uncover his name. I sensed my contacts where doing it partly because it was the law, but also for self-preservation. They didn’t want any more trouble with The Convict then what they already experienced in the past. It was a dead end and I didn’t want to push it. What I uncovered was terrifying enough. I did manage to discover one of his prison IDs and the violence that was attached to it, which was one of the bigger breaks of my quest. With that original prison ID I could track The Convict’s long history of violence. It was like a jigsaw puzzle and all the pieces finally started to fit together. What I found was an unrepentant man that has a blood thirst for inflicting as much bodily harm as possible on as many people as possible. The Convict has rap sheets in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Nevada. And the crimes he has been charged and convicted of read like a gruesome horror novel. Aggravated assault, burglary, stalking, arson, kidnapping and weapons possession are all some of the things The Convict has been charged with. Fortunately for him, but unfortunately for the roster of IZW, not all of the charges have stuck in a court of law. And now, with all of his “debts” fully paid back to society, The Convict is a free man able to do as he pleases, and what he pleases is to disassemble bodies in the squared circle of IZW.
It’s easy to see with his short time in the squared circle that violence is second nature to the Impact Division Champ.
Whether it was destroying IZW World Heavyweight Champion Double D in a non-title match or decimating former Impact Division Champion Jermaine Johnson week after week until finally squaring off one on one and capturing IZW gold for the first time, violence and lots of it is what The Convict brings to the party. In some respects I admire the man, as IZW seems to have broken in to two factions, Impact Elite and everybody else. But The Convict refuses to take sides. He’s a lone wolf with no allies and only enemies. That mentality served him well in prison where he was the king of the yard and it has served him well during his IZW tenure.
I got a variety of quotes from a range of IZW wrestlers and they all came to a singular conclusion. The Convict is a bad, bad man. “I’ve faced The Convict on two different occasions and his strength is absolutely inhuman. His strength is matched only by the malice he obviously feels towards society. The Convict has that type of power for which you simply cannot prepare yourself. When you get in the ring with him, you simply know it’s going to hurt and you’ll have to fight with every ounce of your being, not only to win, but to survive,” said IZW World Heavyweight Champion Double D.
Who can forget the epic Johnny Z versus “The Bronze Bull” Aaron Neil Lumberjack Match where every member of the IZW roster surrounded the ring? Neil was thrown out of the ring and as he gathered himself and stood back up he came face to face, eye to eye with The Convict and there was no backing down from either man. For a split second, it was the immovable object meeting the irresistible force. But don’t think The Convict would battle alongside Johnny Z or his comrades as earlier in that same night, The Convict defeated Jermaine Johnson using nothing but an animalistic approach. He has no allegiance except to himself. The Convict is the living proof of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory and embodies the phrase “survival of the fittest” or to put it another way, “only the strong survive” better than any wrestler in the sport today and possibly throughout wrestling’s storied and long history.
“The Convict has made quite an impact as everyone has seen this past month. He would make a great addition to Impact Elite, however The Convict is unpredictable and I don’t have the time or patience to spend grooming him into a member with STATUS at the moment. Impact Elite’s main focus right now is leaving Chaotic Christmas with all the Championships in hand,” Madam Commissioner Erica said.
Now The Convict gets to make history once again by being involved in the first ever Impact X Match at Chaotic Christmas on December 22. The match consists of a steel cage with the Impact Division belt suspended above the ring by cables. The match features some of the most radical wrestlers in IZW history as Jermaine Johnson, Damien Morte, Jordan Jacobs and “The Brass Bull” Bobby Starr will step up to the challenge and look to escape the match with not only their lives but also a championship. Johnson, Morte, Jacobs and Starr have all put their bodies and their livelihoods on the line before and they will all be taking that risk again in the Impact X Match by being locked in a cage with The Convict.
It’s a fact, former champion and Leader of the Hype Section Jermaine Johnson is all too familiar with. “The Convict is without a doubt the most powerful person I’ve ever been in the ring with and it’s frustrating to hit someone as hard as you can just to be left wondering if it affected him at all.”
I have a feeling things are going to get a lot worse for members of IZW before they get better when it concerns The Convict. The other competitors in the Impact X Match don’t know what they have gotten themselves in to. Most wrestlers are motivated by a sense of justice or what’s best for them or even money, but not The Convict. His motivation has been branded into his soul and it’s the complete and utter annihilation of anything in his path. That’s how he stayed at the top of the food chain in prison and that’s what he’s aiming to do in IZW. As the Impact Division Champion, The Convict is regarded as the #2 wrestler in the company, and whomever wins the main event at Chaotic Christmas, either Double D or Aaron Neil, a word of caution; please watch your back and sleep with one eye open. The Convict only knows one way and that’s destroy or be destroyed and he’ll be setting his sights on that title and the person holding it soon enough.
To order Chaotic Christmas click here http://www.gfl.tv/Events/Fight/Wrestling/Impact_Zone_Wrestling__Chaotic_Christmas/1754