The Rag Mag, Volume #19: An OOC Interview with Gates

Welcome to a very special edition of the Rag Mag.

Quick disclaimer:

As many of you are aware — and have likely been annoyed by at some point — I rarely break from my “Sahara” character on anything EWA related, including feedback, social media posts, etc., and she often even bleeds through in these Rag Mag articles. Yes, I’m well aware I do this, and I realize it was daunting at first. And no, I’m not actually crazy … but with the EWA blending past and present technologies such as Facebook with more traditional “e-fed” forums, I figured why not go all-in and do things differently from everyone else as a way to get my character noticed?

So, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s do something different once again — and hopefully this will get noticed and garner some eyeballs, because my guest for this edition of the Rag Mag deserves it.

Today, I’m going to break character and interview Ross Gates, the stranger from Indiana that resurrected the EWA — and with it — helped rekindle my lost love of professional wrestling. Along the way, he somehow brought together a group of strangers and old acquaintances that may have lost touch over the years and created something of a community of creative writers and characters … and dare I even say it, but facilitated the creation of actual friendships.

To some, what we do here is silly. But to those of us that understand; it’s television. It’s video games. It’s movies. It’s creative. In the end, it’s a group of people bouncing ideas off one another and creating something that somehow finds a way to entertain and surprise. It may not mean much to most, but there are those of us here that love it, and can’t wait to see what happens next.

To the man behind it all, who spends countless hours writing, collaborating, communicating and putting these shows together, it can often come across as a thankless job, so I figured I wanted to take a few minutes and thank our “fed head” for all the work he does with the EWA.

So thank you, it’s been a hell of an entertaining ride.


Q: I don’t know the full history of the EWA, as I wasn’t around for it. From what I understand, it once existed under a different name, and has since evolved into what we see today. In 2015, you were somehow convinced into bringing the EWA back to life — how did that conversation go, and what was your initial reaction to the suggestion?

A: So essentially, I started the EWA back in like…1997? As a 15 year old self-entitled little shit of a teenager. I was a pretty big asshole and it’s amazing we lasted as long as we did (a couple of years, I believe). That being said, the fed did have a reputation as being one of the two “premier” feds in our little sliver of the internet, along with Corey Collins’ NYSWF.

Credit for the idea of bringing the EWA back, although he’s long gone at this point, has to go to Michael Jones. He approached me with the idea in mid-2015, and I laughed at him. He kept approaching me, and I kept laughing…and then somewhere along the way I started to wonder if it’d actually work. My initial thought was we wouldn’t make it three shows, which obviously was wrong. We went through various incarnations of what it would be like, but I insisted on no drama and on “angle-based” instead of judging RPs, which in my opinion is an outdated form of telling stories, given that everything’s subjective to whomever happens to be judging/reading at that particular time.

Q: Upon first approaching some of your old buddies about doing this again, what was their initial reaction?

A: Honestly, Jones did a lot of the initial talking with people, recruiting, etc. It’s never been my favorite aspect of it, and I’d lost touch with so many people from that time – you’re talking nearly two decades. I knew that in a perfect world I’d bring in Michael Draven to rekindle my feud with Alexander Haven, because that was my favorite “program” as a handler that I’d ever ran. So I looked up Darren on Facebook, and pitched the idea. He proceeded to laugh at me, and then go laugh to Corey Collins and Brandon Pope about it. And then a month or so went by and he messaged me saying he was in. Now his kids sometimes call me Uncle Ross. It’s a strange world we live in. Hahaha.

My Thoughts: It was Jones that recruited me into the EWA fold, in his attempt to resurrect The Hierarchy. I was reluctant at first, and eventually talked into the idea, but of course the angle was hotshot for maximum impact, only to have no follow up because the load was blown all on one show. It didn’t help that the hot faction at the time with The Youth, and in comparison, the Hierarchy looked minor league. In hindsight, the way the EWA evolved, everything unfolded exactly as it should have. One regret I don’t have is having joined the EWA.

Q: When and how did you get connected with the “SHOOT Project” circle of friends and/or how did they get connected with you?

A: Again, this was mostly through Jones. He was sort of the conduit for the SHOOT universe, along with a couple of people who’d participated in both “circuits” (Sean Boden is the one who primarily comes to mind). I know the very first two people to join from that universe were Sig (Osbourne Kilminster) and Joyce (Sinnocence), and their feud really sparked the EWA in its initial few shows. I think we owe a great part of our early success to their work and storytelling abilities. From there, it was just a gradual process – word of mouth slowly brought others into the fray from that point.

Q: Thus far since recreating the EWA, what have been your top three favorite or most memorable moments?

A: This is a really, REALLY difficult question, and I feel like I’m inevitably going to leave things out. But I’m going to try.

1) Sinnocence’s initial title reign. I feel like she was booked to perfection as the first “megastar” (sorry, Mark) of the new EWA era. The fans sort of cheered her naturally and turned her face even though that wasn’t necessarily the handler’s intention, and I just think it worked really well overall.

2) The feud between HATE and The Youth. The storytelling that went into this, and hours of collaboration between like 8 different handlers made for this gripping, compelling story that was told on multiple levels with different angles to it. To me, that’s the hottest we’ve been as a federation so far – and on top of that, we had people outside that angle, like Dietrich, working little mini-angles within it to make it all the better. I can’t say enough about it.

3) I’m going to cheat here and give you two answers, but they sort of tie together, and those are the evolution of Grace Goeren and Sahara. Both started out as little more than ancillary characters, never meant to be a force on their own. Both developed into layered, fascinating characters who would go on to become World Champions and generally well-respected by their peers. Huge fan of the work that Harlan and Mark put into these two.

Q: Exactly how much work goes into planning and writing an event like the Warrior’s Trial? Walk us through the process. Do you write down entrance times or names? How do you keep track of all the eliminations and timing? How long would you say the entire process to conceive such an idea from beginning to end takes? And last but not least, how much thought goes into deciding who should win such an event? The reason for this question is I want people that read these shows to understand exactly what goes into their planning, and while the Rumble might be an extreme case, it highlights how much work this can actually take.

A: So the first thing I do is make a list of all the participants. I come up with some ideas for spots based on what feuds are going on, as well as a general idea of the finish. I’ll then create an entrance order by reordering that list and adding the time each participant will be in the ring, and make a second list for eliminations detailing who will eliminate the participant and a time range of two minutes. It’ll look a lot like this:

#1.) Lou
#2.) Indrid Calder (02:00)
#3.) Sahara (04:00)
#4.) Maggie McIntyre (06:00)
#5.) Jester Smiles (08:00)

Lou eliminated by Sahara (4:00-6:00)
Sahara eliminated by Maggie McIntyre (06:00-08:00)
Maggie eliminated by Calder (06:00-08:00)
Calder eliminated by Jester (10:00-12:00)

I generally work on that outline off and on over a period of a couple of days, fine tuning things as I write. I think once the actual writing process goes into effect, #4 took me four days (this is doing it at work, which means sporadic writing, followed by work, followed by sporadic writing, and so on).

In terms of how much thought goes into deciding a winner? It depends. #1 was Ozzy winning the title, and that was debated back and forth between myself and Jones up until the day before. It was either going to be Ozzy, Jada, or (shudder) Caleb Storm. #2 was Laura Seton, and that wasn’t decided until 2 days before the Trial…we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7 candidates for that. #3 and #4 were Calder and Draven, and both of those were known well in advance, before the event itself was announced. So it really depends on the situation and what exactly is going on within the EWA itself at the time of the event.

My Thoughts: You could have used anyone else in your example to eliminate Sahara above. Thanks for picking Maggie McIntyre. Ass.

Q: What is the hardest decision you’ve had to make concerning the EWA?

A: Honestly, and this is a copout of an answer, but the hardest decisions, other than reopening it in the first place, are usually what most people would consider the minor ones. Should I delay this show or not, should I put the title on this person over this person, is this the right time for this person to lose, and so on. There’s not really one particular decision that stands out in my mind as being harder than any other, though.

Q: In your opinion, what are some of the more important things a writer can do in order to make their character more viable in the EWA?

A: Lots of things, really. I think the important thing, first off, is knowing your character, but also not being afraid to step out of any preset boundaries you may have. If you would’ve told me I’d have Michael Draven in romantic relationships when I first brought him back I would’ve laughed at you. So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

I would also encourage people to talk to their fellow handlers. Collaboration is really what the foundation of the EWA is built on – when there’s a lot of it going on, we’re at our finest. I think we have a friendly group of cool people here who are always willing to work with one another – it just takes reaching out and making that first step.

Also, ask questions. If you’re newer and don’t know about a character, ask. There’s plenty of us well-versed in the characters, locations, etc that can answer these. The site was a very good resource for this but fell by the wayside while I worked to get the RP archive for the wrestler pages done. I’ll be working now on getting that back up to date, and hopefully that’ll help.

My Thoughts: Couldn’t agree with this more. Until I decided to start bothering people with Sahara, trying to get her involved in anything and everything I could, she didn’t really catch on, and she never would have had I not tried. Just talk to people if you feel your character cannot gain any traction … and trust me, it’ll happen. Fan Questions from the Facebook Machine:

I’ll be using shortened names here in case the persons in question did not want their real names used.

Q: From “Jer”: Which character from a Stephen King book do you think would be successful in the EWA?

A: There’s so many to choose from! My initial thought was going to be Leland Gaunt, and then I realized that I sort of see a bit of him in the Stranger, in the way that he has that tantalizing ability to give people exactly what they need, but at a price, of course. So at the risk of sounding somewhat cliche, I’m going to give a face and a heel – and those would be Roland Deschain and Randall Flagg.

Although…Brady Hartsfield could be a LOT of fun in this environment.

Q: From “Jer”: Which is more fun to write, face or heel?

A: This is actually a tougher question than I expected. It’s 100% without a doubt easier to write as a heel, and that would normally be my preference and what I would consider more fun. Face Michael Draven, however, is really only possible when he has a stabilizing force in his life – in other words, Maggie McIntyre. Maggie makes it incredibly easy and natural to write him as a face, and writing with Joyce has really helped me expand him as a character in ways I never thought were possible before. It’s also opened up new layers in his feuds with Haven, Maggie herself, and Calder. This really isn’t an answer at all, I guess, but if you pulled a gun to my head and forced me to answer, I’d probably say heel. But I really am at the point where I enjoy both.

Q: From “Deadline Darren”: Once you realize your ultimate goal of finding me and infiltrating my life, why did you continue with the EWA?

A: Because confusion + life happens = Yep!

My Thoughts: Ahh, insider jokes I don’t get. 😉

Q: From “WW”: What was your favorite and least favorite feud that you weren’t involved with?

A: Great question.

Favorite feud that I wasn’t involved with would have to be Grace Goeren and Azrael Goeren. Mark did a fucking amazing job of telling this layered story where each RP would reveal new aspects of these characters. I was hooked and legitimately marked out every single time a RP would go up. Storytelling at its absolute finest.

Least favorite is actually very easy, and it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. In, I think it was late winter of 2016, I had two people who didn’t have a feud, and were sort of treading water. Neither one had had anyone approach them (surprisingly, since they were both good writers), and so I just sort of threw Shinya Nakamura and Philip Donovan into a feud together. And…it was a disaster. Hahaha. There was no real chemistry with the characters, no communication, and it just didn’t work. It’s no fault of Drew or Mel, really…there just wasn’t anything there, and I tried to force it through to disastrous results.

Q: From “WW”: Why did you pretend like you weren’t Tyler Morris?

A: I think this was meant as a joke, but I actually am glad this was asked.

So Tyler Morris came into creation early on in the EWA when I was (in my opinion) doing just absolutely dreadful work with Michael Draven. I didn’t have anyone to work with (this was right before Chris Kage debuted), and I was just treading water because I’d had no real plan for him if Haven didn’t come in (and at that point he hadn’t yet). So I decided to create a new character. That being said, I was really meh on the work I’d done with Draven and so I wanted to run a new character independent of both any prejudgment of it being from Draven’s handler, or it being from me, the EWA runner-guy.

So Jon Moxley was born.

That being said, it originally was intended to be my main character as I’d phase Draven out. But then Haven signed up and the Maggie thing happened and now Draven’s still kicking. So I had good intentions with Tyler’s secrecy initially, and finally just dropped it when I realized it didn’t matter. Was it a success? I’d say you couldn’t say so, but you also couldn’t call it a failure.

My Thoughts: Ross seems hellbent on trying to phase out one of the most over characters on the roster. That being Michael Draven. It seems that after every major occurrence in the EWA, he thinks about phasing out Michael Draven. As one of your biggest fans, don’t phase out your most over character. That is all.

Q: From “B”: I’d be interested to see your thoughts on how many male run female characters are overtly sexualized and vamped up to an almost cartoon like level?

A: They’re the same as my thoughts on Isaac Entragian being murdered by Sahara, Elizabeth Gaunt, and Lucy Blaylock, only to rise from a swampy grave and start a new reign of terror. Or the same as Indrid Calder snapping Michael Draven’s leg on live television (and him returning from said injury four and a half months later). Or three wrestlers openly engaging in a polygamous marriage on national television. I could go on, but you get my point.

The EWA Background page linked from the history section implies (but doesn’t outwardly state, and that’s something I’ll fix) that the EWA takes place in an alternate reality…a sort of slightly dystopian version of society, where maybe things are a little more risque, a little more promiscuous, etc. Think of the Attitude Era on speed. I don’t think this necessarily would work, however, at the same time that you have some admittedly at-times-outlandish things going on, you also have your more traditional pure wrestling characters in the fed as well. Martin Robertson is a fantastic example of this, as is Buck Dresden. The important point to take away from this is, as Jeremy recently said on the FB group, there’s literally something for everyone here. There’s been a couple of over-the-top characters that I myself wasn’t a fan of, but I tried not to let that show in how they were booked and it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the fed as a whole.

Also, an important distinction that I hold to is that the truly “outlandish” things don’t generally happen on the shows themselves. Nobody’s having sex or getting killed at Battlelines. Those things are saved for RPs and character development.

I suppose this could be viewed as giving a dodgy answer, so to circle back around to the initial question – I don’t know that any character currently on the roster is “sexualized/vamped up to an almost cartoon like level”. There absolutely are characters who ARE sexualized and vamped up, but I’ve found in the instances that we currently have that those are vital parts of the character itself, and that serve more of a purpose to who that character truly is than a stereotypical Mary Sue writing clinic might.

In other words, nobody here is Tanya Black. Because….fuck a Tanya Black.

My Thoughts: I agree with Ross’s points here. We often forget to keep wrestling in context when we talk about female characters, and we even tend to do this in real life with the WWE or GFW, etc. Yes, we want to bring you complex female characters, but they’re still wrestlers, and as such, have to fit in that world. This is a sport in which half naked, sweaty men prance around and show off their adonis like bodies and the crowds cheer for it, so when the women do it, I don’t find it overtly sexualized, I just see it as part of the game.

Q: From “Deadline Darren”: What was your favorite EWA moment or drama that occurred off card?

A: Oh, where to begin? Is it Jon McMahon calling MIchael a racist for virtually no discernable reason? Maybe SmirtDogg’s handler fuming about handlers writing their own matches? Jon yelling at me for making a reference to “NEED MORE PROTEIN!!!” Heinrich von Henderson? A handler trying to backdoor themselves into a World Title run at the expense of others who’d stayed the course and been working hard all along?

Nope. It’s definitely Tanya Black.

Fuck a Tanya Black.

Q: From “B”: First, how nuts is it I work here? Also, aside from match writers/RPers, what aspect of the EWA do you feel is the most vital piece of the puzzle?

A: It’s bucking nuts, man. Bucking nuts.

Collaboration. I don’t know if that falls into the category of writers/RPers, but collaboration is absolutely, 100% it. Without it, we’re nothing, really. Collaboration breeds interesting stories. Not all of us are like Boden or Mark and can come up with amazeballs stories on our own. I sure as hell can’t, anyway. The more people collaborate on angles and work together, the more exciting this place is.

If that’s not an acceptable answer I’ll also add prompt meeting of deadlines. I’ve always, ALWAYS prided myself on never having a LATE show. (Emphasis on the word late, not delayed.) I find when you start putting things up late, there’s only so much of that people will tolerate before losing interest altogether.

Q: From “B”: Name one dream talent to come here that you’ve never worked or have barely worked with long term but wanted to see what all the fuss was about?

A: I’ll do you one better, and give you two names from each “circuit”.

EWA/NYSWF – Sean Sanders (I’ve tried relentlessly to get Steve to come back, I never got to work with him a great deal but I think the Colonel would be a really unique character in the EWA landscape) and Spiral (formerly of the NYSWF, a very unique character…the one I would compare him to most is a more deranged Indrid Calder).

SHOOT – Two names that I’ve heard an absolute ton about but never seen anything from – Diamond Del Carver and Adrian Corazon.

Q: From “Kris”: What is the most challenging part of being a fed head, and what’s the most rewarding?

A: The most challenging part, by far, is dealing with procrastination. I try to be as absolutely understanding as humanly possible. Shit happens, and this should never overshadow things that need to be done in “your real life”. But when everything is at the absolute last minute every single time, it can definitely wear on you, especially because inevitably that just makes things harder on my end. So that’s definitely the most challenging.

The most rewarding? Getting feedback for shows. Reading what everyone thought, what went right, what didn’t go as well. Seeing the excitement in others as they go through another cycle. That’s why I push so hard for feedback. I don’t need a blow-by-blow recount of the show to count as good quality feedback. Just a quick post of likes and dislikes. Hearing that stuff? That’s absolutely the most rewarding part, because it tells me that running this place isn’t for naught – that people are engaged and eager and participating.

My Thoughts: I’d like to see more feedback participation on the shows. Ross does an astounding amount of planning and work on the shows, and the feedback not only helps him, but others.

Closing Thoughts: On behalf of everyone in the EWA, I’d like to thank Ross for his time and dedication to the EWA, as well as others, such as Corey (both of them), Joyce, Darren, and the countless others that make this possible.

The Rag Mag, Volume #18: The Michael Draven Sucks Edition

Let’s talk EWA, Live from Sydney, 3’s Kompany, Kings, Queens, Lords and Ladies, and what has become the Summer of Sahara.

It’s been a long time, Ragfans, but I’m back from my hiatus, and here to talk about all things EWA.

Since my last column, featuring none other than Tanya Black, the landscape of the EWA has changed in many ways. So, let’s touch base on some. Do try to keep up, and keep in mind none of this is in any particular order.

Ready?

Speaking of Tanya Black, the EWA released her over what I could only call creative differences. As in the EWA was creative and she … I know, that’s not necessary! Love ya Tanya. So the Fallout disbanded, thus ending the greatest yet short lived female faction in the history of wrestling. The Youth disbanded. Three Kings came together and then the kingdom fell. HATE is in the midst of falling apart at the seams as NOTHING defeated Mephisto and Calder brought destruction upon Michael and Maggie, yet the house of HATE is left in shambles. Kage fought Haven and Haven fought Kage. Kage retired. Kage returned. Kage won the World championship and then walked away. Robertson fought Grady. Grady won. Yelled at some clouds. Grady then retired. Robertson declared himself World Champion material after losing to Grady, not quite sure how that works, but a returning Stacy Vandervort put him in his place. Sean Boden’s house of cards collapsed, and got what was coming to him. Sahara slept around, ohh, with Sinn, her son, Michael Draven, and I assume others … though not with me, unfortunately. She somehow convinced Sinnocence to train her. Oh, then and she defeated Grace and Gaunt in a show stealing ladder match and recaptured the Combat Championship. Which she subsequently lost to William West with an assist from EWA newcomer Cronos Diamante. Josh Kaine, who was sleeping with Sahara, formed a tag team with Sahara’s little brother, who then added Nikki Caldwell to the mix … and won the tag-team titles Freebird style. Laura and Willmott found their happily ever after. I think. Alex Brooks debuted. Minxy, Lagrima, and Muerte came together as the Fabulous Vice Squad. Alice became Grace’s new punching bag. Elizabeth Gaunt disappeared. Donovan King returned, kidnapped the sometimes fatherly Goeren, and subsequently disappeared. Ethan Leers is demented, but a trainwreck you just can’t stop watching. Jester Smiles also returned, but is … different? I’ll believe that when I see it. Maggie, now a member of 3’s Kompany, captured the Network Championship in an astounding 3 second record breaking match, some would say with an assist from her wife, Sahara. Yes, you read that right. And last but not least, but it’s worth pointing out, Michael Draven is the luckiest man in the universe and I hate him with the burning passion of a thousand suns. Oh, and who are 3’s Kompany? That’d be Draven, Sahara and Maggie. The most unlikely NC17 trio the world’s ever seen…living in not so perfect harmony…and every episode that airs I oddly find myself wanting more.

*Deep Breath*

I do apologize if I missed anyone, but that was a lot to recap from memory alone.

Yes, I realize I typed *deep breath* as if I was taking a deep breath from all that typing. I wasn’t. I was just trying to be dramatic.

Wow, it’s hard to know where to begin.

The EWA took a chance this summer and shelved a number of its major names, banking on the fact that the few remaining full timers would be able to carry the burden on a limited schedule and keep things rolling as we awaited Live from Sydney. A mix of Cronos, Maggie, Sahara, Michael Draven, Robertson, Haven and a few others shouldered the load, but in what I’ve come to call the Summer of Sahara, the former rookie that a year ago was losing to the likes of Johnny Napalm … became a star.

A woman that was once an afterthought, originally slated to be the sidekick of a sidekick, saw her fortunes change when the original idea of the Fallout collapsed. Blossoming under Grace Goeren’s rule, she went on to become one of the most cowardly heel champions I’d seen in quite a long time. Disliked by all, she took an opportunity given to her by sheer luck and ran with it, eventually culminating in an embarrassing one-sided loss to her now wife, Maggie McIntyre. Always relentless, she didn’t give up, but instead sought the help of the legendary Sinnocence and trained tirelessly for months. While she still displays moments of awkwardness in the ring, her win at all costs spirit combined with her uncaring ability to dish out and absorb punishment have made her a truly scary proposition, to the point that even Stacy Vandervort’s eyes were opened, and that little blonde who a year ago couldn’t buy a victory, is now considered a number one contender for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship.

In a bit of a sadder yet still somewhat triumphant story, the legendary Grady Smith captured the EWA World Heavyweight Title, lost it, walked away from wrestling … got called out by his own son and returned, only to put him down. It should have been a moment of glory for Grady, but something tells me the bittersweet memory of having to defeat his own son is likely to nag at him for the rest of his life. Wrestling it seems, does not have a place for family ties.

Next on the list we have Chris Kage. The legendary multi-time EWA World Champion that seems to have retired from a business in which you never say never. However, this time, it sadly feels like it actually is … well, never. Battling his lifelong best friend Alexander Haven in a blood feud driven by unrelenting jealousy, the two collided for the industries top prize at the biggest show of the year only to find that the price they paid was too steep to justify. While there may be no words strong enough to capture the energy and the emotion of the moment, in what should have been the final act where villain turned hero Chris Kage stood victorious, the newly crowned champion left the EWA World Heavyweight Title lying in the center of the ring. In a bewildering moment, there it stood, glistening beneath the lights so many have bled beneath for that very prize. It was a symbolic gesture that meant, at least in my eyes, that there are some things in this ultra competitive world that just aren’t worth it.

3’s Kompany. This is an obvious spin off of the 3 King’s name I created for my own amusement — and out of outright jealousy — that Michael Draven finds himself living with, and sleeping with arguably two of the most gorgeous women in the EWA. Now, Maggie McIntyre aside, who is absolutely beautiful in her own right, I want to take a moment to get something perfectly clear about his other wife, Sahara. Let’s not mince words here, as some of you may have never met her, but I have, and there is something you have to understand about Sahara that you may dismiss when seeing her on television and assuming makeup and lighting are at play. Sahara, also known to many as Lauren MacKay, is really, really, really good looking. Even by the standards of wrestling or television, despite her age, she turns heads like no other. And Michael Draven has her and Maggie McIntyre, as if she wasn’t enough on her own. So let me be very clear that I will never have a nice thing to say about this man out of petty jealousy…no one man deserves that. That said, 3’s Kompany, and their near endless antics did a lot to shoulder the burden of ongoing storytelling throughout the summer months, and it’s been amazingly fun to watch.

What about HATE, and the saga of William West, NOTHING, and the always intriguing Indrid Calder? While NOTHING allowed the house of HATE to fall into ruin throughout his blood feud with Jacob Mephisto, he’s now passed that demon and thus begun rebuilding. Brick by brick. The house of red letters is on the mend, despite it’s recent issues. Calder disposed of Michael Draven and Maggie McIntyre in brutal attacks that left both hospitalized, and good, I hope it hurt. Not you Maggie. Michael. I hope it hurt. Watching Sahara care take of you all Summer made me sick. Sorry for the rant. Then, quite abruptly, Calder disappeared, but left in his wake the claim that once he finds what he’s been looking for, he shall return. I can’t wait to see what he has in store … or what he’s looking for. West, now separated from the hive, has found his own identity as the reigning Combat Champion. A champion strong enough to dethrone the Crimson Queen herself. But as the purveyor once said, NOTHING lasts forever. In this case? Nothing being the crumbling ruins of HATE. Mark my words, that won’t last.

Now, last but not least, let’s discuss the upcoming super show, Live from Sydney. At the upcoming Battlelines 34, a new World Heavyweight Champion will be crowned, and at Sydney, they will defend that title in a Fatal Four Way jam packed with star power. Pitting the winner of said Warrior’s Trial against former champion, Grace Goeren, HATE’s NOTHING, and last but not least, Sahara herself. Usually in these types of matches, there are automatically one or two competitors you can dismiss as potential winners, but not in this match. Any of these three can win, and being that I do not know who the fourth man or women is quite yet, I can’t speculate, but seeing as they they’re able to win the Warrior’s Trial, I’d venture to guess they won’t be a pushover.

As this card marks the Season Premier — at least that’s what they’re calling it — I’m expecting a massive series of big returns on the upcoming 34 show as well as at Sydney. So, while it’s common to say anything’s possible in wrestling … time time it actually is. In other matches already announced, Martin Robertson will be facing a big test in either Maggie McIntyre or Ethan Leers for the Network Title. And in what they’re calling an Australian Rules Trios Tag-Team match, The Vice Squad will take on the team of Mocajo. Note these are three man/woman tag-teams and the winning team will take home the gold.

Just three matches so far announced on the season kick off show, and the card is already stacked.

Riddled with returning legends, from Donovan King to Cronos Diamante, to Jester Smiles and Alex Brooks, the EWA roster is stacked to the gills with big names and growing talent all vying for the iron throne. And one things for sure … it’s gonna be fun as hell watching the fight.

I hope this little recap caught you up to speed on some of the happenings surrounding the EWA this past summer and for what’s to come…until next time. Take care of yourselves … and fuck Michael Draven.

The Rag Mag, Volume #17: An Interview with Tanya Black

Tanya Black.

Arguably one of the pioneers that helped usher in the modern women’s revolution we’re witnessing in the world of professional wrestling today, Tanya suddenly finds herself wading in the rough, muddy waters of the EWA on her own. From pioneer to outcast, the industry shifted and with it came the rise of the bad ass bitches we see today. From Grace Goeren to Maggie McIntyre to Sahara, they’ve broken barriers painfully and openly in a manner we’d not before witnessed. Agree or disagree, they’re changing the game those like Tanya Black once helped create.

While names like Laura Seton, Sinnocence, and Tanya Black come to mind as those that paved the way for the current era, it’s clear this new era doesn’t believe they have a place in the modern wrestling world. Buried beneath a changing landscape of bloody violence, sex, and drugs, we’ll attempt to explore Tanya’s thoughts on what wrestling was, what it’s become, and what she believes it should be.

Tanya, I want to thank you for sitting down with us tonight for what I hope to be an open an informative interview. I apologize for my opening statements as they’re sometimes jarring to my guests. Just keep in mind I’m forthright with my opinions, and I often don’t see things the way my guests see them.

Q: While it’d be easy to just go read your BIO, I’d like my first time readers to get a bit of a glimpse as to who you are, and how you started. Could you give us a brief summary of how you got involved in wrestling?

A: Not much to say. I was a fan as a kid. Did other sports to bide my time and start building my body up to something that can take the grind. When I was 16, I was lucky enough to meet Lady Lola, a teacher and legend on the East Coast Indy circuit. She saw my passion for the business and trained me. She put me through hell and made sure I learned properly what it means to be a wrestler.

Q: You’ve had a somewhat long career to this point, spanning well over a decade. While you’re on the shelf now, injury hasn’t seemed to be a big part of your history. Any advice for the current crop of ladies as to how to stay healthy long term in a landscape that seems to be getting more violent by the minute?

A: (Laughs) I mean two neck surgeries but given the monsters I’ve fought? Yeah I am not as hurt and broken as I should be, as I could be. I mean there are two ideas. The Sahara way which is to avoid fights and have teammates who do the work for you. Or there is my way which is more about conditioning. Men or Women please don’t train based on some meathead’s YouTube video. Listen to your own body and make a workout routine that works for you and the style of wrestling you want to use. Customize your workout, let your body tell you what it needs.

My Reaction: Two neck surgeries vs Sahara’s zero. Maybe Sahara isn’t as dumb as we all think?

Q: This next question kind of goes hand in hand with the previous question. Wrestling as it stands today. Specifically the EWA and the women you see — I want to word this right — changing what you helped create. A world where women were accepted as equals to the men, what do you think of the direction they seem to be taking it? Is it too much? Will it equate to nothing more than shortened careers?

A: The industry always evolves and changes. Some are drastic enough quickly enough that you can easily make division lines for the history books. I never sought to be a revolutionary. I just fought for the opportunity to fight anyone and everyone because I like wrestling. Women’s Divisions still exist some places and if those wrestlers want to focus on wrestling women. Great. As for EWA? Hey equality for genders is cool but the violence….

You have to understand something. You want to Final Solution? Not crazy about the name but Fine. You want to Asylum? Fine. You want to barbed-wire rope C-4 tables surrounded by an electrified cage? Fine. It’s a match, every one is adults. They consent. The fans choose to watch the match. They can leave the arena during a match if they don’t like it. They can not buy tickets or not watch the internet stream. Money Talks. Money Always Talks. So what pisses me off? What I don’t approve of? Bloody group brawls in the parking lot. Bullshit belt whippings on someone who has already wrestled that night and didn’t know you were coming to flay their ass. That is what shortens careers, unnecessary risks and violence that just endorse a lack of civility not badassness.

Wrestling is a Business. Wrestling is a Sport. Wrestling is pride, dignity, honor, and respect. Acting like a wild animal and just doing anything you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. That’s not fun for anyone and doesn’t help anyone’s career in the long term. That’s what I oppose and get angry about. Fuck Genders, douches can have penis or vagina. Both or neither.

My Reaction: As she said, money talks. And right now the money is screaming for more sex, more violence, and more blood.

Q: I appreciate your honesty. So, getting to more current affairs within the EWA, upon entering, you became part of the team of Sex and Violence, which let’s just say didn’t really work for one reason or another. At this point it’s apparent Tanya Black is moving on from that, and now finds herself on her own in dangerous waters. From this point, obviously healing up from injury, what’s next for Tanya Black in the confines of the EWA?

A: I do what I’ve always done. I’ve spent most of my career going solo and still managing to keep my head above water. Yeah I win tag titles but I don’t need tag partners either. I’m a show stealer and a big-mouthed bitch. I tell it like it is because simply having custody of a championship belt or three in your career isn’t respect. Getting in the ring and fighting a good fight that the fans go nuts for. That’s how you earn my respect. Having my respect though still doesn’t mean I’ll kiss your ass. I’ll challenge people to step up and show me they can walk the walk with me. I’ll do my damnedest to win championships and be a fighting champion. I Will Survive. The ultraviolence, the screwjobs, the gang ambushes. I Will Survive.

Q: You’re rather contentious rivalry with Hank, you talk about ultraviolence, but this is a guy that carries around forks, and has no issues using them. Do you plan on evening the score?

A: Well Hank forked me once and I gave him his receipt back before our match. Now if he forks me again? Yeah I’ll give it back to him because that’s the game he wants to play. I’m not after Hank to run him out of EWA, Hank messed up my championship pursuits. He ruined my match. So now he has to make that up to me. That was what the last match was about, penance for sins.

If he wants to use a fork on me during a match then all he has to do is say so. I’ll agree to a Weapons match, bring my lead pipe. Hey no problems. Hank has a certain askew set of ethics compared to most of society. At the end of the day at Champions Summit 2 he beat me fair and square. That’s the key: Hank has the potential to be something more like me or he can be a Monster led around by nice tits and a pretty smile. He has to make the choice though. For now, he’s a challenge that I will overcome. Because I don’t believe in quitting a fight until there is no more reason to fight.

My Reaction: I don’t think it’d be all that hard to get Hank to agree to a match where forks — or other weapons — are legal. As a matter of fact, it sounds like his wet dream.

Q: Passion Never Dies. It’s a slogan attached to your bio on the EWA website, did you come up with that or did they? And what’s the story behind it, if any?

A: I came up with that in my last promotion I was in. 4CW/Uprising. I struggled early on there and folks started claiming they could finish me off because I was old and weak. So I told them the truth: My passion for this sport can’t be snuffed out so easily. Because of that passion, I can’t be snuffed so easily. They cornered me and I started biting back. Was about to get a world title shot when Uprising went belly-up and Jaime said he could use my help here. I kept that philosophy because it helps me stand out here in EWA: Competition for the sake of Competition. It’s a promise to the fans and a challenge to my foes.

My Reaction: Competition for the sake of competition is great and all, but we all know how wrestling works, the more invested you can make the fans in your character, whether they love or hate said character, the bigger and better the payoff will be when the competition part of the equation comes into play.

Q: If there was one message you wanted to get across to the EWA as a whole, now’s the time. If you had one last rant to go on, or one last thing to say, what would it be?

A: Don’t assume that because I don’t aim for a killshot every single show that I’m not dangerous. I’ve been an upfront, angry, bitter bad-girl. Just because I have a happy marriage and a life that is drug and alcohol-free, well except tobacco, doesn’t mean I don’t have that evil and bitter rage inside of me still. I just save it. Never assume I’m dead and done. Never assume I can’t hurt you. Tanya Black is still the patron saint of bad bitches.

Thanks for being so candid. This is the usual name association section of the interview, and like most, I’m sure you know how this portion of the interview works. I’ll name an active wrestler in the EWA, you give us your thoughts or opinions about them. And feel free to not hold back…because they wouldn’t.

Q: How about we start with a name like Azrael Goeren?

A: Twisted Excellence. AzGo has been through hell and all, mostly due to his own bad choices but he always comes out on top somehow. That’s someone to never underestimate.

My Reaction: Couldn’t agree more.

Q: How about his daughter, Grace?

A: Bitter Delusions. God Queen? I said it once before and I’ll say it again. I ain’t down with Idolatry or Nobility. You put yourself on top of the world? Just means the fall is that much farther and harder.

My Reaction: Better having loved and lost than never having loved at all?

Q: Indrid Calder?

A: Corruption. Calder one-on-one would be an epic war that might actually end me. As long as he desires Pillars to stay at his side, I have no desire for a suicide run.

Q: Kharrion, Dietrich and Rockefeller?

A: Two guys who could walk the same path as me. Hard-hitting but straight up most of the time. Lately though, they are more mook than champions. That’s not good business.

My Reaction: A champion is a champion as far as I’m concerned, and they’re the ones carrying the gold at the moment.

Q: Laura Seton?

A: The PG Princess. She’s never understood my world. She’d fit in better with Pageant Queens than me. She’ll quit EWA as soon as it becomes hard work.

My Reaction: Them’s fightin’ words.

Q: Speaking of Laura, how about World Heavyweight Champion, Ray Willmott?

A: Good heart, rotted brain. Ray actually called himself the last savior, the only hero. That’s a slap in the face to me. Still at least I don’t fear him hitting me with a weapon from behind.

My Reaction: I’m not sure Ray meant it to come across that way, but to some degree he has a point. The heroes of this industry are just few and far between these days.

Q: How about the Three Kings of the EWA, Michael Draven, Martin Robertson and Alexander Haven?

A: I don’t do well with abusive authority. Or little boys who think they are men just because that second testicle finally dropped. Alone I can’t topple the Throne but the siege would weaken them for another to kill.

Q: What about the lady that seems to be making the decisions right now, Alyssa Marie Haven?

A: She let me have Hank on the big stage, before I even asked. So either she conspired with Draven to take me out or she simply knows talent and big-money matches. I haven’t decided yet what I think of her.

Q: Minxy Jones, also known as Ainsley Lake?

A: She’s with the right crew. Hedonists and Airheads. I like sex and having a good time but some women don’t realize there’s a time to put the fun aside and go to war. I don’t think she and the rest of the Vice Squad has the demon inside to survive pissing people off enough for heads to be called for. I’d fuck her for the lulz though. If Jaime said it was okay, vows and trust first.

My Reaction: Wouldn’t SHE be the one that has to say it’s okay? 😉

Q: How about a name you might recognize from Shoot Project, Dan Stein?

A: (long pause) No Comment.

Q: How about some low hanging fruit to bash? Thoughts on Sahara?

A: Good kisser. Not GREAT but she’s been slumming for… well whenever she started dating Mirage at least. Story of her life, cheap and easy. I could show her some things that would make her better at wrestling but she has to open her mind up first. Seeing isn’t Believing, Believing Is Seeing.

My Reaction: I’d have to try it first to know … Sahara, please contact The Rag Mag for a test case. For science and all.

Q: Speaking of which, how about newcomer to the EWA, Natalie Burrows who seems to be on Sahara’s radar?

A: She’s got good manners. Got some moves. Cute as a button. Haven’t really seen how bright her fire burns yet. She’s another I’m still deciding if I like her yet.

My Reaction: Burrows seems to come with a bit of baggage from her past life…it’ll be interesting to see when these words collide, that’s for sure.

Q: Last but not least, how about Hank?

A: Power. He’s someone who could rule EWA with an Iron Fist… but he has to want it. He has to set his mind on the goal. Hank can do evil as good as anyone but he fights alone and fights straight up and honest. Hank will never be a hero but he could be a weapon for the side of good. They say the path to hell is paved with good intentions, well then the opposite is true. Heaven’s Road is founded on bad actions. That’s what makes him a challenge. You can’t truly get into his head. Not all the way, no one can.

My Overall Reaction: Tanya Black comes across as misunderstood to some degree. Her long history in the wrestling business has cemented her view of what wrestling should be about — competition — but the reality is as the industry shifts (and it HAS shifted) you have to reinvent yourself to stay at the top. While this thought is noble, I also think it’s a remnant of a different era. As a quick example, Azrael Goeren has reinvented himself and become something of an unlikely hero here in the EWA. Ten years ago, had I told you Azreal would one day be a hero, you’d have laughed in my face. Now, let’s consider a person like Mirage who was unable to adapt…the industry passed him by and then he got front row seats to watch his own wife pass him by along with it.

Tanya Black has the knowledge and experience to make a dent in the EWA, I thoroughly believe that, but the big question is, when will she finally say “enough is enough” and shed this view of “competition for the sake of competition”, and start seeing wrestling here in the EWA for what it currently is?

With that, I want to thank Tanya for her time, I wish her the best of luck in her recovery!

The Rag Mag, Volume #16: An Interview with Josh Kaine

The Heir to Valhalla.

At Battlelines 25, we saw the haunting blue eyes of the one and only Joshua Kaine on the jumbotron with the ominous teaser, “Enemies of the heir, beware.”

It was just enough to make us wonder…

This was in obvious reference to the now legendary Sinnocence, and there wasn’t much more to go on since we hadn’t seen his debut in the EWA to that point. Now that he’s entered the fray and decimated Joe Lemon in his debut, in under two minutes I might add, I decided I’d pester the newcomer to find out what brought him to the EWA — other than family connections — and soon discovered his love of wrestling before he knew who Sinnocence was, and the people he’s become acquainted with thus far.

So, without further adieu, let’s get to the interview. As always, this is printed exactly as it was transcribed, and the opinions I’ve added to certain responses were added after the fact.

Josh, I wanna first say thanks for the time, and wow…I just have to say it’s quite the surprise to be sitting down with the son of Jada Kaine, better known as Sinnocence. Former multi-time world heavyweight champion, now Sahara’s trainer…and apparently yours. Here you are all these years later, following in your birth mother’s footsteps, a woman that shattered the glass ceiling for what I like to call the modern woman’s era of wrestling. That’s some big shoes to fill, complete with the high expectations that come with it…

Q: How did it feel to find out who your real mother was, after all those years of being a fan of wrestling?

A: It’s…it was terrifying to be honest. I mean, I knew from the time I was little that I was adopted and my parents were real supportive to me growin’ up. They’re real good folks and they knew after I turned eighteen I was gonna get my adoption records unsealed and findin’ out I was the son of her…was indescribably scary. Jada Kaine’s always been one of the baddest women in the industry and I thought she was gonna shoot me on sight…especially since my biological dad isn’t around anymore to calm that temper of hers.

Q: The days leading to your debut with the EWA had to be scary. The pressure was on, and no matter what anybody might say about Lemon, he’s good enough to be on the EWA roster. Losing this match could have meant a total derailment of your career…how nervous were you going into this and what was it like to win in such dominating fashion?

A: Dude, I gotta say it was more terrified than just nervous. There was a lot riding in this debut…months of hardcore training with my birth mother, the constant meetings with creative, image consultants, brand building…I’m lucky in the fact that Jada handled a lot of that for me. She wanted me to worry about winning and I’ve gotta give props to Joe. He’s good and he almost got me…My knees were shaking until I walked out past that curtain. All those people, the lights. It’s just…enervating. I just learned that word. I was only in the ring for like two minutes and coming out felt like I had my whole being sucked outta me.

Q: And it took place in front of your actual parents, your adopted parents that is. How did they receive the overall show? The EWA isn’t for the feint of heart, and a lot of what goes on here is a bit, well…over the top for some. How do they feel about you getting involved with this business?

A: They…uh…They really cheered for me, Jada managed to get them in one of the ring-side sections. My ma wasn’t a real big fan of everythin’ else that happened. Especially with Sahara…and then that stuff with Maggie McIntyre and the Kings. Dad knows it’s just a show, but my ma’s a real good Christian lady. She said she was appalled.

My Reaction: I don’t want to laugh at this, but I have too. Bringing the uninitiated to an EWA show could be a harrowing experience. I could imagine them being proud of their adopted son winning in front of all those fans, but then seeing other — things — that goes on in the EWA would make any parent second guess whether this environment is the best thing for their child.

Q: Speaking of that, the other day you got yourself in a bit of a situation on YouTube when Sahara got caught hawking merchandise in the EWA lot. You made a brief appearance in that debacle — which she got away with — and she appeared quite friendly with you at the time. Care to comment?

A: There ain’t much to say, really. Jada’s trainin’ Sahara too, so when I went to pick up some stuff and I saw her in the crowd, she uh…she just kinda pulled me up and got real friendly.

Q: Real friendly…uh huh. You do know her reputation, right?

A: Look, I ain’t into shamin’ women for what they wanna do with their bodies and no one else should either. She’s a grown woman, she don’t have to answer to anyone but herself.

Q: Good answer. Understand they wouldn’t call this the “Rag” if I didn’t try to dig up dirt, so forgive me. Let’s move on. So you’ve made your big debut and won in grand fashion…it almost looked — easy — for lack of a better word. Next stop is the one and only Azrael Goeren at Asylum. It’s like they took you from the kiddie pool and threw you into the abyss…couple that with the fact you’re mother is, let’s say involved with this man? I guess this is a two pronged question. How do you feel about this match, and do you feel the EWA did this specifically to create drama?

A: It’s all forgiven. You ain’t askin’ to be malicious or nothin’. Yeah, when I saw that my heart kinda leapt up into my throat, cuz y’all know how much Jada likes him and all…and for a second I got that thought if ‘what if i hurt the man?’ she’ll kill me…but even with so many months of trainin’ with her it kinda became ‘goddamn this man is probably gonna lay me out in a hot minute’. It’ll be weird ‘n all facin’ him, but he’s a good man deep down. He treats Jada right and he’s a real hoot if yer feelin’ blue.

I dunno if’n they made me go against him to stir up a can o’ worms, but I’m gonna do my best. I ain’t never been to Mexico before, I promised my Ma I’d take lots of pictures.

My Reaction: This move looks like a controversial booking decision if I’ve ever saw one. This is the kind of match that can really hinder the kids growth if things go as wrong as potentially possible. Josh Kaine is likely not ready for such a match and this could ding his confidence something fierce depending on what goes down.

Q: If you wouldn’t mind, I’ll step a bit beyond the veil here with this next question. Azrael’s past is pretty well documented, it’s no secret the man he was or the people he was close with…do you feel he’s truly a changed man or is there a part of you that wonders? And furthermore, how does this make you feel about the fact he’s “with” your birth mother?

A: I know he’s been fightin’ with his daughter Grace for good part of the last year and he ain’t been the best man he could be to her when she was growin’ up. She got every right to be angry, but I think she took it way too far, yanno? He’s done a lot bad in his life, but I reckon everyone can turn over a new leaf. Besides, if you could see the way he looks after Jada…you wouldn’t wonder if he’s a changed man, you’d just know. And his son Max lives with us now too and he’s real level-headed. His pa is tryin’ to do right by him now, tryin’ to make up for not bein’ there.

And I can’t say anythin’ bad about a man that makes my birth mother that happy. I ain’t never seen her laugh as much since Champion’s Summit II and they got back together. I mean, Max and I gotta buy stock in earplugs now, but I ain’t gonna begrudge no one that kinda happiness.

My Reaction: This has got to be the most fucked up living situation in the history of the world. It’s like The Brady Bunch meets Shameless.

Q: Okay, let’s get to something a bit more simple…in a recent interview, you claimed it took you months to convince Jada, err, your birth mother to train you. What exactly do you feel was her apprehension to do so?

A: She ain’t want me to follow in her footsteps, is all. This business ain’t exactly been kind to her and a lot of other people. She flipped out on me when I first brought it up, told me to go back home and help my dad out in the shop and live like a normal person…but I cain’t do that with knowin’ who my folks are. She don’t wanna see me get hurt or screwed over, so that’s why when she did finally cave…she got all mama bear on me. I ain’t never worked so hard in my life for somethin’, but she ain’t just gonna give it to me and I prefer it that way.

My Reaction: The fact Jada is training both Josh and Sahara, and has been for weeks, leads me to believe that there is NO possible way these two have not had near everyday exposure to one another, whether either of them admit it or not. As stated, Brady Bunch meets Shameless.

Q: Who came up with the Enemies of the Heir Beware on your teaser? It makes it seem like you’d be a little more…intimidating, but you’re really kind of a cream puff all things considered.

A: Hahahaha, that was me. Jada wasn’t happy with it at all, but I really like Harry Potter and it was her idea to bill me as the Heir of Valhalla. Besides, it got me noticed, didn’t it?

Q: True enough. What else do you plan on doing to get yourself noticed?

A: Oh, I ain’t gonna spoil that surprise yet.

This is the usual name association section of the interview, I’m sure you know how this works. I’ll name an active wrestler in the EWA, you give us your thoughts about them…unfined and unfiltered.

Q: Alexander Haven?

A: He’s the boss, mostly, I guess? I dunno. I ain’t too hot on him personally.

My Reaction: Well, as stated, I transcribe these interviews exactly as they were spoken — little word of advice, kid, as the new guy, don’t word associate “I ain’t hot on him” when I ask you about the boss or you might find yourself in more vs Azrael Goeren type matches than you’ve bargained for.

Q: Martin Robinson?

A: It seems like a lot of the second-gen stars here in the EWA have real bad issues with their parents. I mean, maybe I’m just lucky that I grew up with good folks, and Jada says this business ain’t good to relationships and families. That bein’ the case, I think he’s a jerk. His momma raised him better than that, I’m sure of it.

Q: Keeping with the 3K theme, Michael Draven?

A: (audible sigh) I don’t like bullies and what he did ta Maggie ain’t right at all, but them two are like…two cats fightin’ in a sack of crazy. Whatever is goin’ on between them ain’t gonna end well and I sure as hell ain’t gettin’ in the middle of it.

My Reaction: Something about Michael Draven REALLY annoyed the kid.

Q: The World Heavyweight Champion, Ray Willmott?

A: To be honest, I like him a lot…he’s worked real hard to get where he is and he ain’t a pile a shit to his family or his lady. Must be tough to be the World Champion, I hope I kin git there someday. Won’t be tomorrow or next month, but soon, you know? Hell, Grace Goeren did it before she was twenty and she’s crazier than a raccoon in a gunnysack, but she still did it. I hope he’s got a good reign though and he ain’t gotta fight Laura Seton for it.

Q: Maggie McIntyre?

A: I think she ain’t all that right in the head either, but I think she’s got a good heart…she just needs to find it again.

Q: Maggie’s best “friend”, Sahara?

A: I don’t think they’re really best friends anymore. Sahara’s her own woman and she’s goin’ through some stuff, but she’s trainin’ with Jada to actually learn how to wrestle. She’s a real spitfire, to be honest, kinda reminds me of Jada when I was watchin’ her growin’ up. Now that she’s pretty much standin’ on her own, I think she’s gonna be amazin’.

My Reaction: Yes, I know they’re not friends anymore, Josh.

Q: How about Maggie’s best “friend” Sahara’s little brother, Mojave?

A: Oh, I got to meet him out in Vegas! Jada brought me along ‘cause she was gonna help out Mr. Goeren with his match if folks interfered. He’s real nice, I like him a lot. I hope he heals up okay and comes back real soon.

My Overall Reaction: Real nice kid. Too nice, even. Kinda reminds me of that scene in Goodfellas where young Henry Hill wastes 8 fuckin’ aprons on that guy that was shot outside the pizzeria. The reason I bring that up is because one of the mobsters says shortly after, “We’re gonna have to toughen this kid up”, and Josh Kaine just seems too nice for the EWA. This is undoubtedly his adoptive parents shining through his personality, but being the blood of Jada Kaine, we all know he’s got that darkness lurking somewhere. Then again, he did decimate Joe Lemon in under two minutes making a pretty clear statement that he’s not gonna hold back.

Until then, maybe Josh and Natalie Burrows can form the tag team “The Saccharin Sa

The Rag Mag, Volume #15, Part 2: CS2 News & Analysis

Champions Summit II.

As the show of shows continues to live up to it’s billing, we get a recap of night one, also known as the fall of the Fallout.

Night two kicks off with a backstage promo between Haven and Draven. No, not THAT Draven, the other Draven. We harken back to Tokyo and the Hummer incident, and The Icon asks if Haven was the one behind wheel.

Haven says no.

Now we as viewers have no reason to not believe Alexander Haven, right?

Sahara’s Brother vs Burrows. Vincent Ashe referring to him as Sahara’s Brother was on point for Vincent Ashe, and to be honest, it’s on point for the ever struggling Mojave. Things gotta be hard enough on this kid given his sisters overbearing presence, to say he seems stuck in a rut is an understatement.

The newcomer shows her wares. Solid match to start the show…and Vincent Ashe with the “he kicked her in the tit” comment made me laugh. Crowd can’t decide which of them they like…that’s always a positive sign for heat. Wow, Mojave just speared the damn ringpost, and I mean HARD. The Southern Blonde takes advantage and takes the win.

Solid opener to get the newcomer some exposure…not that she needs it being on the Fallouts radar, I got a feeling she’s gonna be seeing plenty of action.

Keep in mind this footage was recorded BEFORE the show…trust me folks, the place was sold out. We take a trip down SHOOT memory lane with Isaac Entragian before he finds his way to the ring to find the man he’s looking for, Azrael Goeren. Ivory Ike admits he was wrong and in a rare — and when I say rare, I mean like this may have happened NEVER before — show of respect, the two share a handshake.

And just like that, the Legend Isaac Entragian walks out of the EWA.

Guess there will be no vengeance against him.

Martin Robertson comes out ushering in a new era of frat boy self-aggrandising love for himself. The new persona works for Robertson. Lemme just say that prior to this, I felt he was a bit restrained and vanilla…seems the EWA let him off the leash and he went off.

Poor fat kid in the crowd.

There are rare times when a single promo can make or break a character. It’s like you got one shot…go out there and do your thing, don’t fuck it up because EVERYBODY is watching. It wasn’t a perfect promo, but it was DAMN close.

Needless to say, the fans responded…

Now, if I could make a request…EWA, could we PLEASE pair Robertson and Sahara even if it’s just for one night? I’m not sure two people exist that love themselves more.

Mephisto backstage being all Mephistoie. Yes, it’s a word.

Ahh, it’s Sahara Stark called in to see Stacy Lannister. Wanna guess what happens to Sahara here? If you said a bunch of bad shit, give yourself a pat on the back. So, a bit a go, there was apparently a time in which Sinn seduced Sahara into signing something she shouldn’t have…which is believable given Sahara’s kind of … eh, I don’t wanna call her stupid. But she’s primal, I think Maggie once said it’s not that she can’t think, she just doesn’t? Anyway…Sinn owns Sahara’s wrestling personality, and the pile it on the shit sandwich Stacy serves up, she suspends Sahara for shoving Rick Iley during her match on night one.

Sahara goes a bit nuts and leaves us with the ominous we live in desperate times line…

Stein, Willmott and Seton vs The Fallout sans Sahara. What’s the over under Sahara claims the ratings went down because she wasn’t out there? This ended up being a better than expected match given it was a handicap. While The Fallout were mostly cohesive, you could tell there was a bit of trepidation on the part of Seton and Willmott when it comes to Stein.

Oh, nice ending. Stein with a Stein like maneuver to seal the victory, but the story has to be the white knight Ray Willmott saw the whole thing, but he took the cheap victory. I have to credit this to the fact people are so sick of the Fallout that they’ve come to enjoy when bad things happen to them.

Wow, happy endings DO exist in the EWA!

In a rather touching moment, which I feel came across well, Laura Seton proposes to Ray Willmott…who says yes! The crowd seemed to enjoy the moment. Seton proposing to Willmott fits given the EWA’s rare penchant to actually treat women as equals. I don’t talk about treating them as equals, I mean actually doing it.

Mephisto employs Kharrion to do something Mephistoie…holy fuck, the EWA accidently showed one of it’s road agents on camera.

That dudes sooo fired.

Kharrion vs The Vice Squad. And after a grueling match the longest current reigning champions run comes to an end. Normally, matches this long bother me…but the way they injected self-commentary into it kept the flow going rather well. Lot’s of impactful moves and some funny as hell lines sprawled throughout this match. The crowd really got into this at times.

Another title change at Champions Summit.

Well, Kharrion, it’s your time to shine. Don’t let us down.

Hey EWA, don’t look now, but Rick Iley is quickly becoming your top referee. He seems to officiate a lot of title matches and can take bumps…

Our Schadenfreude advertisement of the week! Every Time I have to type that word out, it takes me about twenty-seconds to do it…I’m positive I’ve spelled it wrong. Hell, right now I’m positive I’ve spelled it wrong and I’m pretty sure I didn’t.

Erik Draven comes out to give his farewell speech, the announcers deservedly put him over. Look at the young kids in the crowd, they’re like “Who the fuck is this guy?” as their parents mark out all over themselves. Michael Draven appears to say a few words and it’s not long before Alexander Haven interrupts.

We finally get our answer to who the mystery Humvee driver was!

We get a bit of a brotherly exchange of violence before Eric get’s the upper hand but quickly get’s cut off by a blow to his injured knee. Such a sad moment in what was supposed to be Erik’s farewell to the EWA.

FIVE GUYS BURGERS AND FRIES!

Note how that rhymes when you say it all together.

How clever.

I still prefer Culver’s.

We cut backstage to Tanya Black who runs down the injuries sustained…and eats a bunch of stuff that most of the girls backstage probably despise her for being able to eat and still somehow looking like she does.

Well, this would likely tell me Tanya is being shelved for a bit, but I’m not quite sure. Concussions can be a bitch.

The Fatal Four Way. That’s too many names to write…this was a crazy match, and these guys are all so fast it was hard to keep up with at times…but I kinda expected that going into this. This was like an action scene that just kept going and you were on the edge of your seat, unable to look away because you were afraid you’d miss something awesome if you did. This formula worked exceptionally well for this match. It kept the tension building throughout.

LOVED the ending with Mephisto taking down Boden of all people to win.

ANOTHER title change at CSII.

That’s three out of four so far.

The EWA better hope all these new champions carry those straps as well as the ones prior because this is like a seismic shift in flagship bearers.

We go backstage with the new Tag-Team Champions and Kharrion make a statement to the entire EWA that they ain’t afraid a’ no ghosts. They pretty much issued an open challenge to the entire EWA here…because they’re Kharrion.

Nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of success.

Kage vs Calder.

So much happened in this match, I could literally write an entire article on just this one match. No, I won’t be doing that because fuck you. We begin with two FANTASTIC entrances that I’m sure people will remember for some time to come.

This one starts out at a blistering pace with some ultra violence and a couple of rapid nearfalls. Ahhh, the ring masters slow down the action a bit to give the crowd a breather and immediately start to rebuild. Do you know what we call that, my lovely students? Ring psychology. They rebuild the crowd and damn these guys can go.

Stacy Vandervort comes out…she joins HATE! No! She doesn’t!

NEARFALL!

This was well orchestrated, because normally in moments like this the match would be over. Calder finding a way to keep it going was a breath of fresh air.

Here comes new Combat Champion Maggie! Gawd that’s so weird to write. Cracks Kage with a chairshot. Punches out Vandervort! This shit just went off the handle.

Danny Smith calls for a disqualification but, oh god, Alyssa Marie is back…she restarts the match! Crowd is really into this…jesus, a 450 splash from Kage onto Calder through the commentary table.

Now THAT was a spot.

Took too long to get Calder back into the ring and he shoulders up…here comes Michael Draven…more carnage ensues. Ohhhh, Draven smashes McIntyre and Calder to bits…somewhere in the world there is a platinum blonde celebrating this moment.

Needless to say, Indrid Calder wins and retains as result of disqualification. But HATE paid to get it done as Maggie gets wheeled out on a stretcher after taking a number of solid chairshots.

It’s the aftermath of this match that really hits home.

The Youth implodes and what’s left standing?

Draven. Haven. Robertson.

They take out Kage. For good?! Gotta say, that looks like the end.

This was…nuts.

Really good match, but the interconnecting storylines at the end overshadowed it, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. As I’m not a wrestling purist, I was really really happy with how they finished this show.

Closing thoughts and lingering questions:

CS2, both nights lived up to it’s name. I wouldn’t say either night was better…it was just fantastic from beginning to end.

Great matches.

Great story endings.

Great story beginnings.

If I had ONE nitpick because I may have missed something…why did Alexander Haven and Michael Draven nearly kill each other on night one if they were in on this together the entire time? Was that kind of a show of respect? I guess I could write it off as such. Anyway, I felt the need to ask. What would I be if I didn’t stir up some controversy?

So…what happens with the Youth? I have to assume they’re done.

HATE now control two titles…it’s like HATE and Fallout flipped positions of power.

What of Parriah? Obviously with Mephisto taking the Network Title of Boden, there has to be some sort of aftermath in store…

Kharrion usher in a new era of tag-champions…

And what about the Fallout?! If Tokyo was the best show for them this was undeniably the worst…just a terrible showing from the girls. I mean, all around…I can’t even find a silver lining in this for them.

Are Haven/Draven/Robertson a new faction or was that a one night thing?

Wow.

The EWA is no longer that small company that started out in 2000 seat auditoriums a little over a year ago…

Champions Summit II.

The Rag Mag, Volume #15, Part 1: CS2 News & Analysis

Champions Summit II.

Nice opening video package…interesting they left Mirage off that SHOOT montage, have to wonder if they did so just so they wouldn’t have to listen to Sahara’s incessant bitching?

Good opening, keeping with the story that the match is unsanctioned, and could result in permanent injury, so naturally, the Doctor is upset. This shows the EWA pays attention to the little details others might overlook.

HATE vs Pariah had an interesting twist of an ending, resulting in a fatal four way for the EWA Network Championship. Unexpected way to finish this one, but it works, feeding into Night 2 of the biggest show of the year. I’m glad they exercised some patience with this result. It makes both teams look strong, and adds an aura of unpredictability to the title match. I’d rate the match on the star meter, but does anyone actually give a fuck about that?!

I don’t. Besides, this show isn’t in the Tokyo Dome, so all matches are one star.

The bitchiest EWA Combat Champion in history (including the history of the previous titles this unified Combat title represents), Sahara tries to recruit newcomer Natalie Burrows into the Fallout.

Given the results of this show, Natalie made a good choice, it would seem…but hindsight is 20/20 and we’ll get to that later.

Sahara vs McIntyre, or as I like to call it (again, in hindsight), the beginning of the end of the Fallout. Nice false finish at the start, setting up a bit of unpredictability, because with this finish, Maggie retains bragging rights when Sahara weasels her way out of it. Again. Or at least I thought. Nope. Sahara literally got her ass whopped for almost the entire duration of this match, puts on the crimson mask…and then Maggie brilliantly oversells the leg, luring Sahara into a kill move she never should have made.

The self-proclaimed rookie of the year just got owned.

The kiss moment was odd…but like someone else said, these two are fucking odd. They seem to lovehate each other. And yes, it’s a word.

Nice touch on the end with Vandervort finally getting some comeuppance for poor George Abjornson, who was brutally attacked and injured by the Fallout months prior. Sahara takes the walk of shame after ending her fabulous Combat title reign.

Duane gets makes a rare contract error with Dietrich and Dowling…not that it matters, I’m sure he’s yanking bank with the Fallout. Come out to the ring to sell the main event…nice segment, and it goes to show you how entwined everything is in the EWA. There is seriously a level of cohesion here that you rarely see in wrestling.

What’s up with Laura and Ray? Do I sense trouble in vanilla paradise?

Hank vs Black. Wow. What a spot. Fallaway slam to the outside…crazy. Tanya with a random low blow to even the odds mounts a comeback, gets the crowd fired up but the monster Hank powers out of it. Hank refuses to make the pin, yanking her up at 2. Referee says she’s unable to continue anyway and we end it…Hank backs off as the medics check on Tanya. Interesting. Well, if anything it builds something for the future…Hank proves he’s a fucking beast and Tanya proves she’s a Goonie, and Goonie’s never say die.

Wow, it’s so weird to see someone else with the Combat title. Michael Draven congratulates her and says she deserves it, she agrees. Hell, I agree. Enter Calder, pointing out the fact that while Draven may have once been a bumbling fool that fell off a ladder, he’s now a cunning fox, and he’s playing Maggie. Maggie tells Calder he made her, and she can weather any storm…with or without him. Ominous, lovely stuff.

Robertson vs Smith. Father/Son matchup for the ages. An amazing spectacle of a match, and full of emotion. Anyone that’s followed this feud of respect to this point would feel it seep into your bones…really well laid out match. Lot’s of rolling nearfalls, building the anticipation…don’t play keepaway too long here, fellas or you’ll lose us! Grady just keeps kicking out at 2.99999. I think the fact they did it for so long rebuilt the anticipation, because more often than now, too many nearfalls can take a fanbase out of a fight…they finally reach the point where they throw up their arms and say, ok fuck it…but they somehow pulled his off with the added dialogue. I’m not sure if I love or hate the fact they ended it through all that with a small package, but it works. Martin Robertson takes the victory.

We get the temporary show of respect before Robertson turns and chokebusters his father to hell and Vincent Ashe sells the shit out of the turn. Here comes Haven…Robertson tells him he’s next. Trouble in The Youth?

What the hell is going on here tonight?

SHOOT legend Donovan King makes a guest appearance at the Epicenter, bringing back some memories from a time long past…was a nice touch.

Draven vs Haven. This was a hellacious match…and of all the spots I could pick as a favorite, I’m not taking the low hanging fruit. The part where Draven picks up Haven and smacks him in the face repeatedly was THE spot in this match.

And let me tell you why. Bare with me because I’m breaking my review of the match here to go on bit of a tangent…the character we’ve been watching Draven play since his return, he’s essentially been saying one thing in public and doing another in private. I can’t tell if he’s lying or not anymore, or if the things he’s doing behind the scenes are genuine or not…which goes back to what Calder said earlier…he’s become a cunning fox. Maybe I’m just looking too far into things, but I’m not sure Draven is on the level here…not with Haven, and sure as hell not with Maggie. I guess we’ll see.

Ok, as for the controversial end. The people clearly wanted Draven to win. They didn’t give that to them. How do I feel about it? I’ll admit it, I’d have preferred the payoff…so that’s likely why I didn’t get said payoff. I think they went out of their way to not be predictable here…but I can’t say I don’t feel a bit let down by the finish…but that’s the mark in me talking.

DRAVEN SHOULD HAVE WON THAT MATCH, YOU COCKSUCKING MOTHERFUCKERS.

Ok, got it out of my system.

Grady Smith … walks away.

Vincent Ashe with some more golden announcing here, probably made me laugh when I wasn’t supposed too with the Johnny Cash playing and all.

Alllllll by myyyyysellllf.

Sorry Grady, couldn’t resist.

Goeren vs Goeren. Going into this match, I thought this was going to be the girls redemption match…as it turns out, I was wrong. Again. Unpredictable Summit II commences. I think everybody was wrong on this one. If you tell me you called Azrael Goeren winning this match, I’ll punch you in the fucking dick, you liar.

Jesus fucking Christ on a Cracker.

What the hell happened tonight?

Are the EWA killing off the Fallout?

As I noticed Sahara post on Twitter, and I now happen to agree with her: Worst. Day. Ever. For Fallout fans. And Fallout girls.

Wow.

If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the collective groans of everybody that bought Fallout merch last night at that show, because holy damn they ain’t living this down. Crazy action here, but what an amazing story coming to it’s conclusion. Ok, fuck it, I can’t do this…yadda yadda yadda, hard fought crazy ass match, but let’s get to the nitty gritty of this match. Grace loses. Gaunt and Lucy get stopped dead by Willmott and Seton. Sahara gets demolished by the surprise return of Sinnocence and … did Sinn steal Sahara? Like, literally steal her?! The Royal Guard turn on the girls…and the Fallout crumble before our eyes.

Surprising? Hell yes. But what kind of ending was this?

It was the right one.

My head is spinning.

Holy fuck, welcome to King’s Landing where The Fallout are now known as The Starks.

If you don’t get the reference, well…the Game of Thrones books can literally be translated to “Shit on the Starks”, so…there ya have it.

What an amazing night for wrestling fans…I’m literally in shock over these results. Sinn returns to the ring and has one final moment with Azrael, likely in tribute to when he once helped her.

Overall Thoughts: This was an amazing night for storytelling and wrestling, full of ups and downs…turns and returns, rises and falls. Glorious falls. Everything a fan could ask for in the grandest show of the year.

Champions Summit II.

The Rag Mag, Volume #14: Changing the Game

First and foremost, merry whatever it is you choose celebrate…but since it’s Christmas Eve, I’m specifically saying Merry Christmas, too. Be nice to each other for a day or two…then come back and watch some EWA and live vicariously through these … pretty fucked up people.

CHANGING THE GAME

My thoughts on the EWA, and how it’s changed the game.

I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years. By this, I mean pro wrestling. Still with me?! Good. You can say I’ve seen quite a bit in these federations over the years, from the “birth” of the industry to what it’s become today. Of course, just like so many of you, I was very much on again/off again over that span of time. There were times in my life I was simply too busy to dedicate the time necessary to excel, so instead of half-assing it, I’d step away before it eventually lured me back. Let’s just say I’ve seen everything from gratuitous sex that had nothing to do with a character or storyline, to outright murder in the ring…so let’s start by agreeing that some of what we’ve done or saw over the years wasn’t the best.

The EWA has evolved into something I’ve never seen before, and I think they’ve got the right formula for the times. It’s a crazy world we live in today, and it moves faster than ever before. As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Stop and look around the EWA, because you don’t wanna miss this. Whether you agree with the direction the EWA has gone or not, you can’t argue that it’s not interesting. Or something. Language is hard. This is not to say other federations haven’t evolved and changed with the times, too. That’s NOT what I’m saying here. SHOOT Project comes to mind as one of the pioneers of allowing the “industry” to breathe and evolve. As did Legacy, the old EWA, the NYSWF, and so many others.

But here is where the difference lies for me and how I see the EWA as it exists today. It’s also why I believe it differs from any federation I’ve seen before, be it SHOOT Project, Legacy, NYSWF, and a plethora of others. The EWA bucks tradition in that it’s not about a wrestling promotion.

Huh? What?!

I know, what the fuck am I talking about, right? If the EWA isn’t about wrestling, then what’s it about?!

I’m glad you asked.

The EWA is about a cast of colorful characters that happen to wrestle, but it’s not about the wrestling itself. If you don’t understand what that means, you’ll never understand what I’m saying. So close your web browser and go outside or something. If it’s too cold where you live, move to Florida, I hear there’s some cool people that live there. I mean, half the time as of late, the action and adventure hasn’t even taken place inside a wrestling ring and what we’re seeing looks more like a movie than anything close to what we see as “wrestling”.

Now, seeing things cast in THAT light, I wanted to share a few thoughts after a recent appearance from a former SHOOT Superstar that kind of put things into perspective for me.

I’m talking about none other than Dan “The Lights” Stein and his lovely assistant…Molly…uhm, the Assistant. While I could be completely off base on this, it’s my opinion to what I’ve witnessed and heard backstage, so I figure why not discuss it…since that’s what we do here.

Anyway, back in SHOOT Project, Dan Stein was like the epitome of “Sex”, he was the “Rated R” superstar that pushed the limits as to what was normal accepted behavior and made the fans swoon. I guess. Totally not me, though, I promise. I never once swooned for Dan Stein. Ok, maybe ONCE. But that’s it. Enter the EWA. Where SHOOT Project was definitely a hard R rating for it’s abundant use of swearing, violence and gratuitous use of blood, I think the EWA somewhat shocked even the unshockable Dan Stein…because this place is at LEAST NC17+.

But let me say something about that.

That’s the reality in which we exist.

The EWA is a reflection of certain aspects of life some of you wish didn’t exist…but totally do. You know what exists out there? Drugs. Just ask Sahara. Ok, that was a bit of a cheap shot…so ask Haven while you’re at it. Or probably half the roster who simply hide it better. You know what else people do quite a lot of? Fuck. Just ask Sahara. Ok, I promise I’m done, but someone in control of the EWA would probably get upset if I let such opportunities pass without taking a swing at the poor girl. The point is, where some of you may view the EWA like one huge Wolf of Wall Street party of debauchery…that’s because that’s what life is sometimes. We don’t all have white picket fences and live perfect lives with families that get along like the Brady Bunch. Some of us live in a bit of a fucked up somewhat not so sacrosanct reality that’s a bit Shameless, a bit wonderful, a bit violent, and a bit … filthy.

I don’t know, what do you guys think? Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Quite a few characters here are pretty raunchy, and wield sex like a flaming broadsword of some sort while others make use of gratuitous amounts of drugs and alcohol in what appears to be a nonstop party…and then there’s the violence!

I don’t know if it’s good or bad.

But I do know one thing it is.

Life.

And yes, life sometimes gets THAT ridiculous…just look around.

Oh, before I continue on with the news and rumors, I’d like to officially welcome Dan Stein, Molly the Assistant and the southern belle herself, Natalie Burrows to the EWA.

Join in on the fun, guys and gals…the EWA is THE place to be.

NEWS & RUMORS

Ya know, I was thinking about something the other day, but Haven’s car crash in South Bend? Yeah, isn’t that where Crippler is from?! Now, I’m not insinuating anything, but I am saying a connection exists.

It’s been rumored that former two-time EWA Heavyweight Champion, Sinnocence, was unhappy at recent merchandise offered by the EWA featuring both her name and viking-themed likenesses rebranded under the name of Sahara and the Fallout. It’s well-known that Jada Kaine is fiercely territorial about her trademarked Viking brand and it’s come down through the grapevine that she was NOT consulted about this merchandise, nor is she receiving any royalties for the use of her name. We can expect that if these rumors are true, the Viking Queen may be having some words with dear old Sahara.

Speaking of EWA merchandise, Sahara’s viking themed merch is reportedly flying off the shelves, which will likely lead to the bodacious blonde being more arrogant than we’ve seen. Interestingly enough, the anti-Sahara shirt, despite being double the price of her pro-Sahara shirt, is sold out. Big surprise there. But I will say it was a brilliant move to market your own anti-me apparel.

EWA manager Big Ed Johnson has been spotted around the EWA HQ in downtown Boston. What this may or may not mean, I have no idea.

The Rag Mag, Volume #13: Insider Edition & Rumors!

WRESTLING 101

There are no outtakes in this business, but it’s real.

In this special “insider” edition, we’re going to look at one very specific subject pertaining to wrestling, and why it’s of critical importance.

* The illusion of a character and the importance of keeping that illusion alive.

I had to get special permission to use this “hypothetically lost footage that I totally made up” from the EWA and those involved. And by those involved I mean I didn’t ask anyone for permission.

First, let’s take a look at character, the development of that character, and the importance of keeping the illusion of that character alive. Unlike in movies, or other forms of entertainment, such as serialized television shows, wrestling characters aren’t played by actors/actresses that “they’re playing on a show”. In wrestling, the actor/actress is the wrestler and the wrestler is the actor/actress. They’re the same person. Get it? The viewer MUST believe that’s the actual person they see in the ring or it doesn’t work, because unlike most television shows and movies, wrestling doesn’t “end”.

In the old days, wrestlers would carry this out to ridiculous off-camera lengths, known as keeping with kayfabe or some such mumbo jumbo wrestling vernacular, to the point in which if after a show a babyface (good guy/girl) showed up at a bar that a group of heels (bad guys/girls) already happened to be at, the babyface was REQUIRED to leave and find a new place to hang.

They could NOT and would NOT be seen together in public.

While this has changed to a large extent in the last decade or two, it’s still important to a certain degree that even off camera, that a character retain certain personality traits of the person they portray while the cameras roll. Still with me? Even at autograph signings and whatnot, as I’m sure some of you may have experienced, Grace Goeren tends to have a bit of an attitude toward the fans from time to time. This keeps her hateable and seemingly entitled, since she kind of is, and it keeps both very important traits to her character alive and well.

Now, let’s take a look at a relatively old scene an example as to why character is important in wrestling. This took place between Sean Boden and Sahara a while back, so as a reminder of what you’re about to read, this is where the naive blonde decided to take matters into her own hands and confront a maniacal Boden on her own, thinking she’d be able to exact revenge in the name of her bestie — err, former bestie — Maggie McIntyre.

As you likely remember, she failed miserably.


He stood up, the haze falling away in an instant. He walked, slowly and casually, to where she stood, picking the knife up out of the floor. “A fine tool, too. Mind if I keep this?” He didn’t wait for her to respond, sliding it into his pocket with one hand, while the other pulled a knife out of the other side; a tactical folding knife, scratched and worn from repeated use and sharpening. “I like this one better, personally… easier to hide.”

He quickly pushed her to the wall, holding her there with his forearm, while holding the cold metal blade to her neck.

“You see, Lauren, it’s a very thin line between good and evil. One I’ve straddled for most of my career. You want to do right by Maggie… get her some measure of vengeance. You want to do something for the woman you’re obviously in love with, even though she will never, ever love you back. I can relate. Really, I can. Probably a little more than you think.”

Ok, so here we have a cowering Sahara being reduced mentally by the sinister Boden who puts a knife to her throat while calmly explaining to her that it takes a special kind of person to be able to do what she was attempting to do. She also may have been (or still is) a drug addict, but has no idea how to administer doses of drugs to other people. That was pretty apparent in this scene.

In a single scene we capture the fear of Sahara when she’s not backed up by Grace/Gaunt all while further cementing Boden as a legit sociopath. Don’t know about some of you but I wouldn’t wanna be alone with this guy. Also, keep in perspective that while it’s not shown in this clip, Boden still finds a way to compliment her in some twisted fashion.

Now, let’s take that same exact scene and hypothetically show an outtake (ahh, the magic of editing and cgi) of this same scene as if it was filmed on a Hollywood set of some sort. By breaking character, even for a few seconds, we instantly humanize both Boden and Sahara and shatter the illusion that makes it all work…


He stood up, the haze falling away in an instant. He walked, slowly and casually, to where she stood, picking the knife up out of the floor. “A fine tool, too. Mind if I keep this?” He didn’t wait for her to respond, sliding it into his pocket with one hand, while the other pulled a knife out of the other side; a tactical folding knife, scratched and worn from repeated use and sharpening. “I like this one better, personally… easier to hide.”

He quickly pushed her to the wall, holding her there with his forearm, while holding the cold metal blade to her neck.

“You see, Lauren, it’s a very thin line between good and-” A smile started to form on Sahara’s face as Boden continued, “-Good and evil. One I’ve straddled-” He stopped again as her lips quivered as if trying to stifle a growing desire to laugh until she finally started giggling. Boden released her and threw his arms up in exasperation.

Pointing the knife at the camera, Boden shook his head with a laugh, “That one wasn’t me…”, as someone yelled out orders for them to take their places again and keep rolling. “Come on Lauren, I can’t work like this!” Grabbing Boden from behind in a huge bearhug, Sahara shrugged at the camera, “It’s ok, a couple quaaludes and he’ll still love me in the morning!”

Boom.

Humanized.

In one single “outtake” the illusion of their characters is completely shattered. Now keep in mind that never actually happened … so I wouldn’t approach either on the street and talk shit.

Ahhh, the magic of storytelling!

Goddamn, I love it!

NEWS & RUMORS

Ok, so, now that I got that little wrestling lesson out of the way, let’s discuss a couple of interesting news items and rumors floating around the EWA stratosphere.

Yes, that’s a thing.

Ok, first things first…as I feel if I didn’t say this first, the EWA would try much harder to prevent me from weaseling my way backstage to overhear these things…

An announcement is supposedly forthcoming about Alexander Haven and Stacy Vandervort. I’m not exactly sure what, but it likely pertains to his condition after the recent car wreck and her future with the EWA.

The EWA isn’t quite sure what happened to the Bard, who happens to be my writing competition who’s nothing more than a glorified shill for the EWA, which is why they allow him to post directly to their fucking website while I have to post much better material on forums across the internet. Wow, talk about a run on sentence…and I could have kept that going! Fuck you, Bard…the Rag is the ONLY place to get your EWA related dirt, people!

Whispers of a Sinn return have been heard. Yes, that Sinn. As in Sinnocence. Sources spotted EWA office personnel at a coffee shop meeting with renowned former World Heavyweight Champion Sinnocence. Supposedly they were carrying a folder with the name J. KAINE written on it…but that’s as close to the conversation as this reporter could get without being noticed.

Oh, speaking of rumors that are totally confirmed…because this happened. I found Maggie’s picture on Tinder and totally swiped right on that shit, because it’s no secret I’m in love with her…I’ve mentioned this repeatedly in early editions of this very magazine. Maggie, if you’re reading this, go check tinder and return the favor!

Ok, some other low hanging fruit, supposedly Sahara gets around. Is anyone actually surprised by this? After the recent Michael Draven rumors started up — by Sahara herself — whispers around the locker room is she sleeps around with some powerful names in upper management, which likely explains how she got away with half the shit she got away with these past few months. And no, I’m totally not upset she hasn’t tried to “get around” with me. Sad face.

Speaking of Sahara, some within the EWA front office are annoyed by her relentless bombardment of their Facebook page of things they say don’t belong on their damn Facebook page. I guess people got upset when she leaves feedback on other wrestlers promos…because she has such a way with words.

I’ve also heard rumblings about some sort of secret alliance between Jacob Mephisto, Sean Boden and Isaac Entragian. And no, I’m not talking about the stuff we’ve been seeing on camera…supposedly this is happening. Can you imagine?

Grace Goeren is still upset about how she lost the World Title…and really, it’s hard to blame her, but at this point she should probably focus on getting it back in the ring versus in the courtroom.

As we know, Mojave’s boyfriend Ethan (I think that’s his name) was recently released from the hospital and authorities are still searching for the assholes that attacked him. Moe’s personally offering a reward that will be donated to local LBGT charities in his hypocritical sister’s name. His sister’s name is Sahara, by the way. I felt like if I didn’t write her name and remind everyone who his sister is — it’s Sahara — that I wouldn’t be ribbing the kid effectively enough.

Rumor has it Tanya Black is getting frustrated with the EWA and its unwillingness to “play fair”, and let’s be honest…she has a point. Then again, she’s also part of a group called Sex & Violence, so I got an idea, kids, how about you start gettin’ really violent about it.

Ok, more Sahara shit…this girl is all over the place. Maybe she does get around. Her recent um, relations with Michael Draven were apparently DENIED by Draven himself, but rumblings backstage are the excuses he made up about the selfie situation — which Sahara has since posted on Instagram — are pretty weak considering the photographic evidence she supplied. Also…I’m not buying it that a single guy that was dumped supposedly kicked THAT out of bed. I mean, seriously.

Newly acquired former SHOOT superstar, Dan Stein, has been making waves backstage in the EWA with his seemingly entitled attitude and treatment of their very own Allison Haines, and quite a few of the EWA superstars have the opinion that he’s nothing more than a big fish from a small pond not called EWA.

The Youth. The Youth. The Youth are on fire. Sorry, I couldn’t resist low hanging lyrics. The Youth have been left in shambles after a recent string of events culminating in a car accident involving Alexander Haven. Since the incident, it’s been absolute radio silence from the usually loud and flamboyant group…when the Youth go silent, it’s deafening. So watch out, EWA.

Ok, that’s it for this edition of the Rag…I hope you enjoyed…then again, I don’t care if you enjoyed or not, without me, all you’d have is that second rate dirt sheet that works for and is controlled by the EWA!

G’night, kids!

The Rag Mag, Volume #12: The Warrior’s Trial

Just when you thought I was out, they drag me back in. Ok, now re-read that in a Cuban Al Pacino voice for full effect.

As you all know, the Warrior’s Trial is upon us, and being that I love expressing my opinions on all things EWA, well…talk about a golden opportunity to piss even more people off. Now, keep in mind that while I do have “leakers” backstage in the EWA, it seems the front office has been extra careful about this one, and I really have NO idea who is going to win this thing. So, in light of that, what I’m going to do here is talk about each wrestler involved and give a “Defcon Guess” as to what I personally believe their odds of winning are, and why.

For reference to what the hell a Defcon scale is, it’s partially reality and I partially made it up to apply here. It stands for Defense Condition and is a scale of nuclear war eminence, and if you’ve seen the movie WarGames — showing my age — then you’ll kind of come into this was some understanding. Only in the movie, they flipped the scale on accident, because there was no Internet to look up “facts” at the time. And because I got this information off of Wikipedia, I know there is no way it’s incorrect.

In short: Defcon 1 = High confidence — Defcon 5 = Low confidence.

If I assign a Defcon 1 score to you, I have high confidence you either can or will win this event. Feel free to get mad at me for assigning you low confidence scores, too…I don’t care.

So, let us begin…

The names are in the same order in which they’re listed on the card.

Grace Goeren. The reigning EWA World Champion.

Defcon 1.

Making the case for Grace. Grace Goeren is a bankable draw for the EWA. Everyone hates her, and everyone wants to see her lose. That’s why she has a HIGH probability of winning. The second a babyface chases down the heel and wins, it’s over. The crowd gets sent home happy, the ratings spike temporarily…and then what? The fans are collectively like a guy after sex. We’re just done. Back to the drawing board. Find a new nefarious way to get the title off that babyface and start the chase all over again.

Grace is consistent, creative, and surrounded by an army that’s actually loyal to her, so she will be hard to eliminate unless something in the Fallout system breaks down.

Alexander Haven. Co-CEO of the EWA.

Defcon 4.

Is Haven dangerous? Yes. Is Haven bankable? Yes. Is Haven a draw? Yes. Then why, Mr. Rag Mag, are you so confident he won’t win? Too many enemies. HATE, well, hates him. The Fallout, particularly Sahara, hates him. Michael Draven hates him. Basically like half the contestants in this match have a reason to eliminate him, and I simply cannot see him overcoming such odds.

Azrael Goeren.

Defcon 3.

How sweet would it be for Azrael Goeren, the father of Grace Goeren to usurp the crown? Amazing. So why do I think it won’t happen? Because he’s too laser focused on one person, and this is beyond titles for him. This is nothing but personal. He’s basically going to spend the entire time he’s in there trying to eliminate Sahara, Gaunt and Grace, which means he won’t be paying attention to anyone else. That doesn’t bode well for this kind of match, but in the end, he doesn’t care…

Chris Kage.

Defcon 3.

A former world champion that can easily recapture the title. So, why won’t he? Same issue a lot of others are having with this match. He’s too laser focused on a few different people. Kage will be so preoccupied with Indrid Calder and HATE after the numerous open threats made against Stacy Vandervort, I simply see no way he wins, mostly because his eye isn’t on the prize.

Dredd.

Defcon 4.

I’m not convinced Dredd cares about winning the world title, but there’s more too it than that. This type of match goes against the grain of a competitor like Dredd. Odd to say that, I know, but Dredd is a soldier, and while I can easily see this monster decimating the field, he’s TOO big of a target to last, if that makes any sense. For the most part, an event like this signifies everyone for themselves, certain faction based exceptions aside, however, when everyone sees a 7’3” 420 pound monster hit the ring…watch how quickly allegiances form among the smaller, more mortal members present. They’ll all be gunning to get rid of this beast to save their own asses before turning their attention back to each other.

Elizabeth Gaunt.

Defcon 5.

Elizabeth Gaunt is a seraph to Grace Goeren, the God Queen of the EWA. She won’t even try to win this match, much like her partner in crime, Sahara. Even if it did come down to Gaunt vs Grace, Gaunt would gladly eliminate herself to keep the gold on Grace. That’s just the way it is. I wouldn’t apply this logic to any other faction, either. The Fallout are special in this regard in that I actually believe both Gaunt and Sahara would lose for Grace.

Grady Smith.

Defcon 2.

Never underestimate old man winter. This match is created for the underdogs that fly below the radar. He’s the exact type that can actually win it because he’s not really the target of many. That’s what makes him so dangerous in a match of this sort. I think it depends on when he pulls his number, too, as his age will work against him if he happens to be an early entrant.

Hank

Defcon 3.

This is almost impossible to gauge as I haven’t seen him in the EWA for very long, his signing was just announced, and while we all know how dangerous is, that will likely make him a target for elimination. The last thing a person wants going into a match of this sort is a reputation or a mythology attached to them, and he has both. And in this case, both work against him. Can he do it? Sure. Do I think he will? No, and for the reasons stated. I think he’s drawn too much attention to himself.

The Heart Attack Kid

Defcon 5.

I’m not exactly sure if it’s personal or what, but something behind the scenes has HAK at odds with himself. He doesn’t seem to be the same person he once was when he carried the EWA Network title. Have you ever heard the phrase, “lost my smile”, well…I think HAK has, and until he finds it, I just don’t see him as a threat.

Indrid Calder

Defcon 1.

Indrid Calder is the exact type that can pull this off. Brutal. Visceral. And comes with a bit of built in protection in the form of HATE. Calder is capable of standing up against anyone in the EWA, which he’s repeatedly shown, but the question is, how much does he actually want it? If Calder let’s his “projects” distract him while he’s involved in this, it could lead to a fatal mistake that gets him eliminated. That said, a Calder victory would not surprise me.

Issac Entragian

Defcon 4.

Issac Entragian doesn’t care about titles. He cares about dishing out his horrific brand of pain. He will likely be so preoccupied with trying to make the angels weep that he won’t be paying attention to much else…not to mention he will suffer from the same issues as Dredd. He’s so big and noticeable — and scary — that people will focus target him for elimination just to level the playing field.

I expect Entragian to pick up his war with the Fallout girls right where it left off…he wants to taste the blood of angels, and there is a high probability he will again.

Jacob Mephisto

Defcon 2.

Mephisto is cold and calculating, and this is the exact kind of match an opportunist like him thrives in. A lot of question marks surround Mephisto, and for good reason, it’s his way of keeping us guessing…so who knows what he has in mind for this match. Underestimating him would be the worst mistake anyone could make. Again, the lone-wolf type is the exact sort that tends to win this style of match…the less people you have gunning for you, the better your odds of survival.

Jaime Alejandro

Defcon 3.

Alejandro has a lot on his mind, from his personal life starting to reinvade the wrestling scene, and the close knit relationships he has with others involved in this match to opening a new bar. Alejandro seems to have become more of a teacher than a student these days, so I’m not quite sure how badly Obi-Wan wants this for himself. I’m betting he would sooner see Tanya or Napalm win this thing.

That being said, I’ve been around long enough to know that if anyone can pull it off, it’s him. He knows how big of an opportunity this is, but once you’ve achieved all he has, it’s hard to care as much.

Joe Lemon

Defcon 5.

If Joe Lemon wins this thing, I’ll die. I’ll just … die. In no universe do I see this happening. And that’s not because poor Lemonhead can’t do it…no. I just can’t be nice. He can’t do it. He’s that guy we all love, but c’mon people…he’s like the Indiana of wrestlers. He’s there…everyone sees him, but they’re all really thinking, “But Chicago”.

Johan Dietrich

Defcon 4.

Again, I’m not sure how badly he wants it. I haven’t seen or heard much from him as it pertains to this opportunity, so it’d be hard to convince me he’s really going to try. Which is a shame, too, because when he’s on his game…damn he’s good. There is just so much noise at the top of the EWA card right now that a lot of voices are getting drowned out, but it’s on them to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Start speaking up, Dietrich…when you talk we listen.

Johnny Napalm

Defcon 4.

Napalm is like a huge question mark for me. I know how good he is, and how good he can be, and since uniting with Jaime Alejandro he seems rejuvenated. But not in a singles mindset. And this match requires a singles mindset.

Is a Napalm victory impossible? No. Not at all. If it happened I’d likely say, “Wow!”, but it’s longshot odds, simply because he hasn’t gone into business for himself in regard to this match…and this match of all matches REQUIRES you to go into business for yourself, even if temporarily.

KC Rockefeller

Defcon 4.

I apply almost the exact same logic to Rockefeller that I apply with Dietrich and Napalm. He has a voice, but he has to start using it. For himself. Especially in regard to this sort of match. I know all these tag-teams are united and it feels so good, but you HAVE to break off and worry about yourself, not the team. I’m just not convinced he wants to do that.

Lunatikk Crippler

Defcon 2.

I wasn’t sure if I should assign this a Defcon 2 or a 3. I leaned 2 just because I know how damn dangerous he can be…but the question is, what are his goals with HATE? Unless I missed something, I don’t think I’ve heard from him yet in regard to this event. I could be mistaken about that, and if so I apologize, but I don’t think I am. When an event like this rolls around, the more I hear from a person the more I tend to believe they care…

I’m just not convinced he cares…like, literally. I’m not sure. Which is why I’m giving him a 2 anyway. Because if he decides to care, watch out…but he may very well be focusing on HATEs business right now, and if that’s the case, he would likely increase others in that factions chances of winning more than his own.

Maggie McIntyre

Defcon 1.

Confidence is high. I repeat. Confidence is high. Strike while the iron is hot, I say. Maggie McIntyre was just voted #1 on the hot seat coming into this event…she’s popular with the people, and small enough to fly under the radar while others zero in on monsters like Entragian and Dredd. Not to mention other factions like The Fallout, who have to get dethroned before anyone else can take the crown of power.

Maggie can do it, easily…well, not easily, as nothing is easy in this business, but she can do it. The burning question is, how focused can she remain throughout the match? She’s getting pulled from many different directions right now. HATE. Haven. Draven. Sahara. That’s a lot to take considering most of them are involved in this match.

Martin Robertson

Defcon 3.

Every member of the Youth is a factor in this match and Robertson is no exception. That being said, he’s just been too silent for me to factor into anything more than a middling rating for this match. Can he win? Yes. Do I think he will? No. A lot of this pertains to the Youth’s attention to HATE. Almost nobody in either of those factions is actually focused on this match and what’s at stake…they’re STILL focused on each other.

Mojave

Defcon 3.

The newcomer to the EWA that Stacy Vandervort brought in largely because Sahara is an annoying bitch. Not to take anything away from Mojave here, he has the pedigree to do big things in the EWA, and he was originally brought in because Stacy scouted him on the indy scene…Sahara simply all but guaranteed he’d get signed when she told Stacy not to sign him. Only she did it as only Sahara could do…by calling her a bitch and throwing a temper tantrum and what have you.

Mojave is all about business, he has the wrestling skill to knock your socks off, and he’s already progressing in the promo department. It’ll be interesting to see how or if him and his sister interact during this match. I don’t see it happening because he’s at an unfair advantage of already having had a match earlier in the night, which never bodes well for an event such as this.

NOTHING

Defcon 3.

In short, too focused on Kage to win. It’s really hard to say that so many people don’t care about this match, because I’m sure everyone involved cares. But most of these guys and girls hate each other SO much that they’re taking their eyes of the prize. This is more HATE vs Youth rivalry, and because of that it’s just hard to tell if any of them can last long enough to claim the prize.

Ray Willmott

Defcon 1.

Ray Willmott is the exact type of competitor that can and likely will win this thing. He’s one of the very few people in the federation focused on the brass ring. He’s pissed, too…which adds a bit of an extra edge to him. For quite some time leading up to this even he’s been in a full on blood feud with The Fallout, and somehow they keep squeaking past him in one way or another. Whether that’s in some sort of 3-way or “food poisoning”, he just keeps coming up inches short…and the fans are just salivating at the though the one true hero left in the EWA can come out on top.

Sahara

Defcon 5.

For the same reasons cited with Elizabeth Gaunt, Sahara has no intentions of even trying to win this match. She will likely do anything in her power to make sure Grace retains because if the Fallout somehow lose this match — and with the the title — with the fragile egos involved in that crew, it’s likely to shatter the very foundation the group was built upon. It would leave Sahara as the lone title holder in the group, which would likely cause friction among the girls that are used to revering Grace. Also, come on people…Sahara’s current state of mine isn’t all that sound.

Sean Boden

Defcon 1.

Sean Boden, along with Ray Willmott, are the top two likely winners of this event. They’re on fire, ready to take the next step, and quite capable of doing so. Boden does have a couple of issues that Willmott does not have, however, such as McIntyre and to that effect, Sahara. Both will likely gun for Boden at some point, and that could spell trouble for him.

Tanya Black

Defcon 3.

Another returning former star to the ranks of the EWA, Tanya Black makes her debut at Battlelines 21. Well, her re-debut. Now, do I think Tanya Black can win? Sure. Will she? I doubt it…and I cite the same reason I gave Mojave. The kid is going to try to make a name for himself tonight, and Tanya likely has some ring rust on her, especially at this level, so the odds are stacked against her being she’s in another match earlier on the card.

I’ve seen Tanya pull off some enormous upsets throughout her career, so, as they say in wrestling, never say never, but it’d be an uphill battle for the Sex and Violence star.

The Rag Mag, Volume #11: An Interview with Laura Seton

Guess who’s back?!

Tonight I have a special treat for you kids out there in Ragland…I’ve got the one and only Laura Seton. That’s right, bitches, I landed the two time EWA World Heavyweight Champion for an interview and this is gonna kick major ass!

Just when some of you thought she had disappeared from the scene…she’s back in action!

Now, I know what some of you asshats in the Fallout (and their completely obnoxious fans) are gonna say, “Yeah, but, she only held the title for like two minutes”, and to that I say…she held the fucking title. TWICE. She was the world champion…so what have you done lately? And before you say it, shut up, Grace.

And yeah, I’m a fan of the FOG (Fallout Girls), don’t get me wrong, but I’m not THAT fan, and you all know exactly the kind of douche Fallout fan I’m talking about.

In my eyes, Laura Seton is a longstanding good guy (or gal), or babyface in the industry, and while I’ve heard some rumblings in the past of her heelish ways…I’ve gotta be honest when I say I’ve never seen it myself. Maybe it’s my selective memory on this particular subject, but when I think Laura Seton, I see the goodiest of the goods. Milk and cookies and all that. Some of you may disagree, as is your right, but in this writer’s humble opinion, Laura Seton is one of THE last remaining heroes in a wrestling world that needs them very badly.

Let’s get to it…

Laura, it’s great to finally get to meet you after all these years…blah, blah, blah, pleasantries aside, let’s just get the questions rolling as I’m sure you’re sick of hearing that kind of thing anyway.

Let’s just get to the low hanging fruit on this question tree to get things started…

Q: You’ve had a hell of a time these past bunch of weeks since the Fallout rose to prominence and they’ve seem to have taken a particular liking to taking you out. You’ve been around for MANY years and know the wrestling landscape all too well. How do you propose taking on a crew of villains like this when it’s obvious they’re NEVER going to fight fair?

A: I can tell you what the “smart” way is: Rally a few people and go out there together. They gang attack and really the only way to stay in one piece against a group like that is to have backup. That’s the best way. Of course, I’m not known for having had much backup wherever I’ve gone. I can’t say I can just “hope for the best” on my own, but I can’t force people into helping me. If someone wants to and they actually have good intentions and aren’t a jerk? Sure, I’ll gladly accept that assistance.

Q: I gotta do this. Live from Tokyo. Bad memories, I know. That moment you capture the world title…I remember seeing it, you’re in that ring when you’re handed the world title, you hug it close and the fans are going wild. You did it! You dethroned Chris Kage and reached the pinnacle of our sport for the second time. And then it happens. On the same night the Fallout forms, they come out from behind, Gaunt and Sahara break up your celebration and shanghai you, and then Grace Goeren turns in the briefcase…what was running through your mind?

A: Disappointment. I don’t blame her for taking advantage of what was in front of her, but I don’t think it was so satisfying for her to win the World Championship how she did. It was almost like a sign of disrespect for it, you know? She wasn’t there to “win,” she was just there to “take possession.” When the day comes that she loses it, I hope it’s 20 times more heartbreaking to her than it was for me that evening.

My Reaction:”Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” – Henry Russell Sanders. Yeah, I know a lot of people attribute that saying to the great Vince Lombardi, but he stole it from Sanders, and we at the Rag Mag have a massive research budget called Google. Anyway, my take on this is get what you can, while you can. That money in the bank gimmick is pretty much created specifically for one purpose, and that’s taking advantage of a situation that maximizes your chance to capture the world title. Whether it’s satisfying or not is really up to Grace and the Fallout…and with how much fun that party train looks, I doubt they care. Q: Now, you have a big match coming up in a 3 way with Grace Goeren and and a personal friend of yours, at least I think he’s a friend, in Ray Willmott. It’s taking place at Out for Blood for the World Title. Not only do you have the Fallout to contend with, but Willmott is no joke in his own right. This is a two-part question, so be sure to answer both. What are your thoughts on this match and has the possibility of a double-cross from Willmott helping the Fallout crossed your mind? After all, those girls can be quite convincing when they want to be.

A: If this was 2001, I would say you’re completely out of your mind even thinking that was a possibility. A friend is a friend, right? But here we are in 2016 and I’ve seen and experienced so much… …sure it’s crossed my mind Ray could turn on me. Nothing is a sure thing until it’s over in this sport. Do I think he would turn on me just so Grace could win? THAT I have a problem believing. I’ve known Ray since late-2001 and that’s not his way. He does what he does for himself. If he joins The Fallout? It’s after he wins the World Championship. I fought Ray once before and he got me, but again, that was way back at the start of my career. I’m not going to have an easy time in Dallas. Fighting Kage one-on-one was insanely difficult, facing Ray and Grace will be a whole other animal. If there’s a bright side, it’s that they’ll be tearing into each other as well.

Q: Shifting gears a bit, in my recent interview with Jaime Alejandro, he had some not so nice things to say about you, I’m not sure if it’s out of jealousy or past relationships or what, but he seems convinced that the image you project in public, IE this hero image, is completely fake and that you’re pretty much the opposite of that in reality. Any response?

A: No.

My Reaction:I get the distinct sense Laura Seton does not like Jaime Alejandro very much. Q: The landscape of the EWA. You’ve obviously got The Fallout, but then there’s HATE, The Youth, all factions that seem to have their own agendas and base of power. What are your thoughts on HATE and The Youth?

A: There’s a lot of bad blood within, and I don’t mean between the members themselves. I mean in the way that they all have bad intentions to begin with. NOTHING has never been a great guy. Kage–we all know about Kage. Grace is something else to be desired… and everyone else in those factions? Let’s just say this isn’t a great time to be on your own. Gang attacks are aplenty… and you know, have you often seen otherwise? When was the last time there was a strong set of fan favorites that teamed up? Even if just to face one of these other evil-intentioned factions. You never see that, really, and I think that’s disappointing. It’s always the want to take over or demolish a place or someone specific and I think that’s a shame.

My Reaction: I’ve never really considered the potential of a mega-babyface faction or how it would work. Gang warfare is traditionally a “bad guy” type of mentality. This could be almost impossible to pull off…sorry, good guys/gals, you’re likely on your own…but, let me ask the question anyway… Q: Have you thought about rallying a group together to fight back?

A: Honestly, no. I don’t know if I’d be ready to be a part of something like that because I’m highly invested in getting back the World Championship. I think that would be too much of my–no, I KNOW that would be too much of my focus and I wouldn’t be as much help to the group as a whole as I would otherwise wish to be.

Q: Laura Seton. From where you started, to where you are today, do you have any regrets about things you’ve said or done in the past, and what’s your current message to the fans out there that believe you are the one true hero of the EWA?

A: Oh, I have a huge regret. SHOOT Project. I don’t know where to start with that. I was brought in as this special blue-chip addition after LEGACY closed and was being pumped up as “the sky is the limit.” I knew SHOOT was different, but I didn’t realize the fans were also a different breed. They aren’t the kind that would watch EWA or another fed based on traditional aspects of this sport, they’re a niche crowd, and I had never been in a violent-heavy organization before. I did what I always did–be kind and give my best wrestling effort, but… … that’s not what those fans wanted.

Q: And that’s when you had the heel turn, and you’ll have to excuse me when I say that I may need a refresher course there..

A: Haha, you may be the only person that doesn’t remember that. I think… well, there’s really no excuse I can come up with about that. I just flat-out flipped out. I was the good person but getting booed? I mean, does that make ANY sense at all?? I see what Entragian and Kenji Yamada were doing and Azrael and Diamond Del Carver did and it’s like, “What’s wrong with all of you??” I said some horrible things and shoved everything those fans loved right back in their collective face. Instead of cheers, I was hated even more and called very nasty names. I stopped caring altogether about them. What I did was wrong and because I acted like that way for almost a year, well, I wish I had never signed there. I was pretty successful there, but that environment just wasn’t for me. But at the time LEGACY closed, it was really SHOOT or nowhere else and I didn’t want to retire just then.

My Reaction: In fairness to Laura’s point, SHOOT fandom was traditionally borderline Rated NC17 types of rabid, bloodthirsty fans. Q: Now you’re this heroine again. What do you say to fans about that?

A: I am SO thankful I’m in their good graces. My guess is EWA fans never watched SHOOT so either my actions there were heard by them second-hand or they watched what I did there well after it all happened. Either they understood what I lost my mind about or they were willing to forgive me Either way, I’m happy I can be the type of person I was born to be instead of this transformed soured witch. If there’s anything too much of in wrestling it’s these people, again like HATE and The Fallout, that have no want to even look at the bright side of things. I can’t beat that into people, but I want everyone in the crowd to know positivity carries you to where you want to go. You have to really want what you set out for, but the last piece to the puzzle is being positive. That’s the overall lesson I hope people take from me. Strive to be good and you’ll reach what you want.

Q: Yet people like Grace Goeren succeed.

A: Heh… well… she’ll get what she deserves soon enough.

I’m going to rattle off a few names, just give us your thoughts on them…I’ve always loved this part of the interview because it gives us the chance to see what the superstars think of each other.

Q: Chris Kage?

A: He gets under your skin so you have to withstand that… he’s unquestionably one of the toughest I’ve ever faced physically. I wouldn’t mind challenging him again.

Q: Alexander Haven?

A: Who’s the boss? That guy, not Angela Bower. Joke aside, we’ll see how he handles things now, but I hope he doesn’t skew things for himself and The Youth. At least he has the chance to back himself up in the ring unlike a number of other fed owners.

My Reaction: Hold the fuck up, Laura. Tony Danza, aka Tony Micelli was the boss. As for his prowess in the ring, unquestioned. Q: You were short earlier when I mentioned him, but I’ll try again, Jaime Alejandro?

A: Next.

My Reaction: LOL Q: What about Alejandro’s new partner in crime, Johnny Napalm?

A: Big son of a gun and you don’t like him when he’s angry. I admit I like seeing him succeed as he’s one of the first guys I feuded with but I hope he can keep that temper controlled or even HATE’s destruction will look like child’s play.

Q: Ray Willmott?

A: You just want to know about the kiss, don’t you?

Q: I just want to know your thoughts on him. Take it as you will.

A: He’s changed since I last saw him. He used to be this bad, “I don’t care” attitude type of guy. He did what he did for himself. And it worked. I run across him now–it’s like a whole different person. Time sure humbled him, but darn if he still can’t excel.

My Reaction: I notice she didn’t actually mention the kiss. 🙁

I’m going to separate these next three because you likely have a particular beef with them at the moment. I’ll start with their leader.

Q: The World Champion, Grace Goeren?

A: I don’t care what her background consists of–well, I do in the sense of no child should be treated like she was–but that doesn’t mean to take shortcuts and act like a brat. Earn it the right way. You want respect from people for once? Try showing some honest class.

My Reaction: Class, from the potty mouth that is Grace Goeren? Good luck with that…she’s even took Sahara and somehow turned her into something of a skank. Q: Elizabeth Gaunt?

A: I’ve known her since LEGACY; Entragian’s sideshow freak woman, so to speak. I give her credit for finally showing the guts to get in the ring. She teased it so often years ago. I just wish she would be on her own for once.

My Reaction: Say what you will, seeing Elizabeth Gaunt slowly spark to life and come out of Isaac’s shadow has been fun to watch, even if she hangs out with the cool kids now. Q: The Combat Champion, Sahara?

A: The same thing here–I wish she would break from The Fallout because I think she could be SO much more alone. I don’t know why, but going into Live From Tokyo I felt this aura around her that she could beat Azrael and sure enough… I don’t know what Marcus has taught her at home but if there was a person to teach this business, it’s him.

My Reaction: Before the Fallout she was 0-4 and getting decimated…and I don’t think she would have beaten Azrael without them. She might now, though. Q: How about Maggie McIntyre?

A: Great young talent and I was really admiring her actions. I was looking forward to seeing her win a Championship and watching her blossom with it but… I don’t know what she’s thinking jumping to HATE. There’s nothing to gain there but a black heart.

My Reaction: Have no fear, Sahara and Maggie will melt each other’s frozen hearts. Q: Anyone else you have any specific thoughts on?

A: I know almost every wrestler says this about the federation they’re in, but this is without question, with only LEGACY rivaling it, the deepest roster of pure wrestling talent I have ever been a part of. And that’s even more amazing considering a number of guys I first crossed paths with over 15 years ago are here and they’re not just part-time, only wrestling at Supershow guys–they still wrestle every single show. As long as you can still move, age means nothing in this sport.

My Reaction: I don’t even think Legacy rivals it at this point, especially with the recent additions of Mephisto and Entragian (which took place AFTER this interview). Final Thoughts: As this interview was delayed for release, some of the information may seem a few weeks old…and that’s because some of it is. That being said, I can’t help but feel Laura Seton is losing faith in her own crusade against the evildoers in the EWA. I hope I’m wrong about that, because the one thing this place cannot afford is to lose one of it’s greatest loners/heroes. I hope she’s just been busy training or something and we start seeing more of her again…don’t lose faith now, Laura…we need you!