First full year back…

So this was my first complete calendar year back in New England. It’s been great to see some old faces I’ve worked within wrestling before I left July 2015, a few from when I first started at the end of 2001, and many new faces…some weren’t even born yet when I started…of course after seven years of being away you should expect differences. Hell, I saw things change right before me in Michigan during my time there, and of course the years in New England prior.

This has been the coolest and busiest year for wrestling in a long time. In one sense that’s easy to do since from 2020-2022, we had the “All That’s Going On Out There” and I was wrapping up a divorce and plans to move from Michigan back to Massachusetts. I just didn’t have much going on and didn’t go looking to ask for it. 

Regular life…I’m still working on that, but who isn’t? As far as I can tell my heart is still strong, healthy, and as if a heart attack never happened (September 2, 2011 for those that don’t know). A few things need to get in order and checked out including things unrelated to the heart. I had a bottom wisdom and molar tooth give me trouble a few months ago and had to be removed due to infections…and since we were there the other bottom wisdom tooth got removed to since it would cause the same problems at some point. It was weird getting set up for the surgery, and then it seemed like a snap of a finger it was all coming off and I’m like “did you even take the teeth out?” with my mouth full of gauze.

We’ll see what happens in 2024, and kicking off my 23rd year doing this thing.

Making 2022 Work…

For this year I was pretty much focused on one thing and that’s getting moved back to Massachusetts.

Some might think I’m dumb or crazy for moving. I had a decent full time job that could’ve advanced further going into some kind of management. I had a decent apartment in a mostly quiet complex, in a decent part of town. I guess you could say I had things pretty settled for myself and as a bachelor. Sometimes you get that gut feeling along with that wanting to go, “get the arrangements and plans going, it’s time to go.” 

I also set out to enjoy the time I had left in Michigan independent wrestling the best I could. Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling was my home promotion. The place I wanted to make visits to well before living in Michigan was an idea. The visits never happened but being on their main roster did! I tried to stretch out my move date to the very end of August to fit in more promotions to work for one last time, but my moving help schedule didn’t work with that, unfortunately.  

In a way moving back feels like when I moved to Michigan seven years ago. You leave behind a life you built up, and it’s starting over. It took along time to feel settled in Michigan. It will take time to feel that way again in an area where I feel more at home. I can say I am doing ok though. I am better at this point than when I moved to Michigan so that’s a better start to changing life…so from here it’s about establishing life to a better place. Maybe something more transferable so if I need to move to another state again I can kinda take it with me. 

I’ve been offered and accepted a full time roster spot with the return of Wresting Federation of America, and have set for 50 dates for 2023. I have not done that many in one year since 2018. I reduced dates in 2019 for personal reasons, and then All That’s Going On Out There happened…then I did under 20 in 2020 and 2021. This year was about 25. I suppose I could’ve done more but my focus was completely somewhere else. This is one instance where I feel like my move was made in the right timing. 

Here’s to this year…I made it work. I got a great support system that helped make it possible and I’m forever grateful for that. I’ll make no claims of “2023 is my year!” Just not my thing. I’ll just go make this one work the best I can. 

I’m Going Home..

I haven’t put this out much publicly until now, even though it’s something I’ve talked about with some in passing over the past couple years. After the divorce being finalized last year, and now my moving help is more available, it’s come time for me to pack it all up and move back to Massachusetts. 

I moved to Michigan seven years ago to be closer to my wife’s (at the time) family, more especially her two kids who live with their father. Her grandparents on her mom’s side, as well as her mom passed away within a short time of each other. I was asked to move, and I felt it was the right thing to do for the family.

Michigan has been good to me. I’ve worked a full time job with a company that eventually promoted me to an assistant supervisors position. I didn’t become rich or anything but I made out alright in the long run. 

I went from a semi ghetto apartment, to home ownership in a mobile home…frozen pipes, raccoon invasion and evacuating them…, siding repairs…toilet fixings…the joys of owning a home…to moving out into another apartment that’s much better than the first apartment, mostly quiet, living alone with a dog.

The past couple years were rough as the mandatory overtime looked like it would never end. It paid the bills, and got the credit card paid off so I’m thankful for it all even though I was constantly exhausted. I didn’t venture off much with wrestling bookings as much as I would’ve liked to. I felt the need for rest, and of course didn’t want to leave my dog at home alone more than I already was. Piper handled it great though.

It’s challenging and sometimes funny starting wrestling in a new region. I came in with almost fourteen years of experience, but I only knew a few people here. Some I met at the Ring of Honor tryout/seminar camps. Some I met while making my rounds in Ring of Honor events as an extra/referee. I met Brian Gorie and Truth Martini there, and got to learn about Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (XICW) on their social media accounts. This was a few years before moving out here… I thought how cool would it be if the wife and I were visiting her family in Windsor Ontario, if I could drive across the drive and referee XICW as a visitor. That never came to passing…but after a few months of living here, I got opportunities to work with XICW on their Proving Ground events, and shortly after that I was on their main cards, and got to be a part of their milestones such as the Cobo Center. It’s now been a little over six years of opportunities. On a funny note, when I first met Jaimy Coxxx he thought I was a fresh graduate from the House of Truth, and he asked me “how many matches have you refereed kid?” I was like “uhh….I don’t know off the top of my head, I keep a log…but It’s somewhere around 1,400 or 1,500…” 

While no one buys a ticket to see a referee…and nor should they…I’ll encourage you to check the events I’ll be working. My final dates for Michigan (and the Midwest) are August 13th, with Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling at the International Institute in Detroit, MI. Doors Open 7pm, Belltime 7:30pm. August 19th with Metro Pro Wrestling at the VFW in Wyandotte, MI. 7:30pm. August 21 with Grizzly Pro Wrestling at Grizzly’s Bar in Wyandotte, MI. Doors open 4pm, Belltime 5pm. 

Thank you everyone who has given this stranger a shot, and kept me around as long as you have. I hope I’ve served you all well.

Another year down “with all that’s going on out there.”

I didn’t have anything to say at the end of last year because of “all that’s going on out there”, and it’s about the same this year. One thing I forgot to mention in my 20th anniversary post is that the past two years have been slower with events. Two years ago I separated from my marriage, and got my own place. With that life change, I decided not to take on too many extra bookings than what I was doing, just to get settled and adjust along with my dog adjusting to the change.

Soon after that, we had the whole shut down with “all that’s going on out there”, and events got cancelled, postponed, put up in undisclosed locations, and so on. I just took that time to let my mind, body and soul rest as I put in a lot of overtime with my fulltime job…that I never talk about other than right now.

I’ve only done maybe one or two events a month since then and it’s mostly been with XICW, which has been a great crew to work with, they are a bunch of supportive people. Normally none of us would want to put on a wrestling event in someone’s backyard, just because of how that can be perceived for video and pictures…but we did it anyway because there was really no other way to put on an event that point simply because we really wanted to work together again.

The Hot Rock in Warren, MI was finally able to open up fully, and the XICW events retuned there. Only to come up through this past summer to learn the property had been sold, and our event was the last event for the business to be open. I didn’t know it until that time how much that venue meant to the long time members of the locker room. I do remember a time when fellow referee, Brian Gorie said “this venue is a shithole, but it’s OUR shithole!”.

XICW lost two members this year. B.U.G. Royce Carney, and the time keeper, Greg Schmizzy. My personal friend, Kirsten passed away suddenly too.

It was a very slow amicable, and clean break of a process, but Meg and I came to terms of the dissolution of our marriage, finalized our divorce at the end of August. I wish Meg the best in her future endeavors. No need for mudslinging, moving on is all there’s left to do. I mean, we already did, quite some time ago.

Change can be tough, but you know what else is? Staying right there in the same thing all the time just because it’s there. Especially if that’s just now where you’re supposed to be. I’m still not sure where I’m supposed to be, but I’ll be out looking for other things that make me happy. So far, I’ve been good with rebuilding my life on my own…and my dog of course.

I can say things are generally better. I got my place set up more like a home now, and was able to pay off my credit card finally. Piper is healthy and happy, and I’m still alive and doing well. I don’t have any “resolution”, I’ll just make changes where I see fit and as I can make them work.

20 Year Anniversary.

Tonight marks my 20th anniversary as a pro wrestling referee. I started out training with some folks at Northeast Championship Wrestling, got a couple matches that night in a little American Legion Hall in Natick, Massachusetts. From there I got sent to a school to train more with TJ Richter, and a little later on I wound up with “Brutal” Bob Evans.

Like anything else in life, I’ve had a lot of good times, and some bad times. The good times don’t last, and the bad times don’t last either. From working internet tv tapings in a freezing cold mill building, flea markets, old converted movie theaters, opera houses, civic buildings, Hammerstein Ballroom, 2300 Arena, refereeing three 1 hour Iron Man Matches in the same week, becoming the “evil” senior official of Sean Gorman Presents Chaotic Wrestling, fans blaming me for an event being cancelled due to a snow storm (kinda, sorta, not really)…WWE Invite Tryout, moving my base to Detroit, Ring of Honor TV…I’m sure I could go on longer, but I think you get the point.

I don’t regret any of this. Sure its brought on a lot of pains, struggles, heartbreaks, and maybe caused some personal relationships to dissolve. I just don’t see myself having enjoyed doing this any other way.

Thank you to everyone involved in my journey in pro wrestling. Here’s to another 20 years?

Life carries on… In Memory of Darlene Peters.

I meant to write something like this two years ago, and life had me too caught up in responsibilities to sit and get all the thoughts out. Writers block forces me to take a little extra time. I have to write out whatever thoughts I have, and then edit and piece it all together. Some people might try to chime in on my work and suggest additions while I am a work in progress, and it ruins the thought process…so I tend to keep whatever I plan to write about under wraps until I feel it’s time to call it a “rough draft”. Darlene would understand though.

Darlene in her natural state, after remission.

Darlene was in and out of my life very quick. She was my first fiancé, the first woman I could clearly see myself marrying, and had semi plans set to make a move to the Madison, Wisconsin area from the Worcester, Massachusetts area within the following year. She had just made it into remission from lung cancer at this point. Little did I know at that time the cancer was making a come back, and that’s when she pushed me away, and didn’t say why or what was going on. Just that she had things she had to take care of in her life and couldn’t handle this level of a relationship for the time being. I kept asking God for the signs that I could understand. That evening I was driving up to Rochester, New Hampshire for my booking with Front Row Wrestling. The radio was on and in my round trip; “Shadow of the Day” by Linkin Park would play. I felt the whole song give me the answer, but the course that stuck out the most: “In cards and flowers on your window, Your friends all plead for you to stay, Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple, Sometimes goodbye’s the only way”. Pretty much, I knew this was it. The cancer is back, she is not fighting, and she’s waiting to die, because to her this was the only way for her to be pain free and at peace. I can’t fault her for this. As for me, I waited for the time to call for when she’d need me the most and I would be there.

Fast forward to when I got the phone call that she was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and the condition she was in… I had a flight, car rental and hotel set up, and went. I was nervous. I wasn’t afraid to see Darlene in the condition she was in. I was nervous of meeting the family, and whatever could unfold from that. I like to believe everything in that regard turned out ok. I didn’t stay long on the first day, but I held her hand and let her know I was there. She was unable to respond in anyway while in a medically induced coma. I like to believe that by watching her heart rate on the monitor that she relaxed, or felt comforted. The next night thought, I had a letter written and read it to her. I had it folded up and left in her hand along with some things others left for her to take into cremation. 

The day came to take her off life support. Darlene’s oldest daughter, who was the power of attorney made the decision. As much as it saddened me, I knew it was the right thing to do. Darlene did not want to live her life as a vegetable. Her condition was terminal and inoperable. It was time to set her free, and be without pain.

I stayed by through the process with Darlene’s oldest, and her son. We held her hands, and told her its ok to go. She fought to take her last breath, lifted her body, and then she was gone. It’s been twelve years now. I remember it being a very warm day. The hotel I was staying in needed air conditioning blowing when I got back. Today I’m sitting around in my apartment; it’s freezing cold, and waiting for snow to hit.

One of the many nights wearing a dark green athletic tape with Darlene’s name.

I tried to move on at least in some aspects of life immediately after Darlene’s passing. I had more wrestling bookings than I had before, and just kept diving into whatever was going on and in my way with other projects. I paid tribute each wrestling night to her by wearing her name on a piece of athletic tape around my forearm. I even had two friends from the wrestling events join me on night one after returning from Wisconsin. Eventually the tape became a wristband with her name embroidered I could just slip on or off.

Embroidered wrist band…

I did things in Darlene’s memory… I ran a 5K in her name for a lung cancer fundraising event. There was even a wrestling event that sent proceeds to Bonnie J. Addario, a lung cancer advocacy group. I had ideas set to do annual wrestling events, and some other types of events here and there to help lung cancer research funds. I however got in way over my head and thought too big instead of keeping it simple and start with just one event. Maybe another time, I can pull something together to do the wrestling thing.

Two Nights of Wrestling raising funds for the Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. I refereed on the October 15th event.
Darlene’s name in the Lung Cancer Partnership’s Newsletter.
Free to Breathe 5k. September 2010. Lowell, Massachusetts.

A lot has happened since Darlene’s passing. The connection I had with Darlene was unlike any other I had before. I didn’t fathom ever having something like that again, and I made no attempt to. In fact I usually avoided it. I made a few small trials after a couple years, only to have nothing happen. Eventually I did have another strong connection with another girlfriend, who would end up moving in with me, and see me through a widow maker heart attack that I’m very lucky to have survived without heart damage. We got engaged later that year, and then married a little after a year from that. I’ve been a father role to her two children and seen them grow from 5 and 7 years old to teenagers. I’ve kept in touch with Darlene’s kids as well, and seen them grow older, get married and have kids of their own. They are doing great! I had opportunities with Ring of Honor, and a tryout camp with the WWE in their performance center. It’s interesting, I can reflect back of when Darlene told me “you need to go big time pro”. I was part time with Ring of Honor in Milwaukee, WI, the night of the anniversary from when she said that. Eventually the part time gigs stopped. I’ve had a sweet loving bichon frise, named Diamond, giving her the best six months of her life, and having to watch her go. I have a sweet loving silky terrier, named Piper now. I am also now separated and facing a divorce.

Life carries on whether we want it to, or not, and whether we like it or not. There have been bad experiences and good ones. I know that’s cliché to say, but it’s true. I think at this point, while I do have concerns for where things will go, and where I’ll be…I’m just not so consumed by it. I have no clue where life is going right now. I have a few ideas and plans in mind and I am open to, and working towards them. I don’t dwell or mourn her passing… I’m moving along with life, going with the flow, occasionally adjusting the sails… Otherwise, everything will pass by.

Darlene would want all of her loved ones to move on with life, live out their best, find happiness, not dwell and mourn her passing. She’s out there on the spiritual plane, watching, and still makes her visit to make sure we are all ok. She guides a long, and gives signs as needed. She’s a guardian. She is forever loved, and remembered.

I’m going to leave this one with a song she played on her internet radio show. “Greensleeves” performed by Blackmore’s Night. It was the first one played on her first fully successful broadcast, which is when we actually made contact with each other. There’s nothing to run too deep with on it, just an “I remember.”

Thank you for reading…

Scoliosis spinal fusion surgery 25 years later…

25 years ago I was waking up in a recovery room from spinal fusion surgery to correct triple scoliosis. Five days prior I had surgery to remove the 7th rib from my right side. Soon after back surgery it was discovered I lost the use and feeling of my right arm due to a nerve injury. 12 hours on the operating table, and a pressure point in my armpit being on a corner of the table during that time did it in. After a few days it was like when you sleep on your arm, and wake up feeling pins and needles, but times a million, followed by a lot of pain on top of it.

The first three months of recovery were the hardest. My back muscles were all stretched out, being in a full back brace to help with fusion and healing. Going back to school was also a challenge. I was still doing physical therapy for my arm, and didn’t have full use of it. I couldn’t write by hand, so a lot of note taking, and written assignments were done on a laptop.

It took until about the 6th month where I was able to function like my old self. I was finally out of the back brace, my arm was working a lot better, and the pins and needle feeling was gone for the most part. On the 12th month I was able to be fully active including most sport activities.

I’m very lucky to be where I am with my back. I’ve heard stories coming from massage therapists on others who had the same surgery as me as being in constant pain and always whiny regarding that. Don’t get me wrong, nine times out of ten my back is sore to some extent (some days are worse than others), but nothing like before the surgery where I couldn’t stand or walk for much more than 10 minutes. I can stand and walk for long periods of time, and I am able to referee pro wrestling without trouble. My arm works great, though still not the same as before the injury during surgery. I mean…I’m able to hit the mat for the pinfall counts just fine, right?

2018…The Call for Balance and Reevaluating.

December 29, 2018

Another year ending… I had intentions on writing more than just a year end blog this year, even if it were just one…life just kept me busy. Honestly I’m not much for writing opinions on hot button topics. I’d much rather talk about hobbies/projects, or something more related to professional wrestling or being a referee…and with that I like going with a unique look on it. It would take time to gather everything I’d like to cover on such topics and I’ve just had my hands tied with other more important responsibilities. I had other projects I wanted to dabble into and those had to be put on hold as well. I’m hoping 2019 will be the year I get to do these.

I mentioned in a Facebook post this past thanksgiving that my wife and I almost split after the summer. We were separated for a month. A lot of reevaluating went on, and as we got back together it was clear how a lot of changes had to be made. If you have a spouse or long term relationship, and they support your crazy lofty dreams and goals, never take it for granted. Invest your energy into the steps you make into quality measures instead of quantity. Don’t do too much of the shits and giggles… otherwise you may feel success without fulfillment, and even worse make your spouse and family feel like you do all these events and bookings to keep yourself away from them on purpose. I’m making these changes for me and my wife.

Wrestling was good but felt like a plateau for me. I take responsibility for this. I’ve signed up for mindset training. I should’ve completed my courses by now. Those will be stepped up as well. So far it’s helped me make some releasing of sore spots and settling mindsets. This training is geared for wrestling and I couldn’t be more grateful that this is available. It should’ve been taught a lot time ago. Better late than never and it’s never too late to start. That being said I am scaling back on bookings. There will be some promotions I still work with, and others I won’t be. I hold nothing against the ones I’m no longer working for. After evaluating what I’ve worked with over this year, I had to pick and choose which ones are serving me and justifying me being away from home, as much as I am serving them. I am thankful for what these promotions have given me being a new face in Michigan. This is just part of what I need to do to get myself back in the right track while maintaining my home life. Thank you, and I wish nothing but the best for their events.

My wife finished nursing school at the end of this summer. She started a nursing job at the beginning of October. It’s a huge deal as she was told she’d never be able to work again, following a car accident she was in a couple years before we even met. I’m very proud of the hard work she’s put in to get through school and start a job and taking her career back. A lot of my time has been spent trying to take care of her while she studied everyday for her exams. It was all well worth it. But it doesn’t nearly addy up to all she’s done for me to support all I do.

I’m not gonna make any outstanding proclamation, or preach “new year, new me” or say “this is my year”. I’m just gonna put in the work to get what I want, balance my energy and life, make wiser investments with that energy. I have no idea where it will get me, but I have to do the effort from the inside and out. I know what I want to do and where I want to go. All I know is it can’t work if I keep doing the same things I’ve been doing the past two years. Time to pick up and move on, as sour I may be and whatever chips I have on my shoulders. I’ve worked through my life through many things so why not this one too?

I guess we can say 2018 called for balance, reevaluating and resetting the sails.

Favorite things about 2017.

It’s been a struggling year, but I won’t complain too much, nor get into specifics of the negatives. Milestones have been a bit of a plateau for me, as I did not work with any of the national promotions this year. It’s a kick in the balls, but I don’t point the blame at the promotions nor their decision makers. Things are the way they are now, and things change often. The good times don’t always last, and just because the good times aren’t there doesn’t mean it’s all bad. If it is bad…you make the right moves with the right attitude, the bad times won’t last either. The good times can come back at any moment. Back to work, right?

I’ve found that the teams I’ve been running with since moving to Michigan have given me the benefit of the doubt. I’m still sort of a stranger around these parts, and I’ve never been sure if I’ve been perceived as someone who is full of themselves and can do no wrong type of attitude, or someone who will take responsibility of their own wrong doings in the situations. Sometimes I felt like I had to reassure them even though they say, “everything is cool”. I’ve had a couple things go down that were able to work between me and the other individual privately resolved. I’m thankful for these guys giving this new guy a chance to prove themselves in being trustworthy in good faith.

Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling at COBO Center! It was a long day of convention meet and greet, a matinee wrestling event featuring XICW’s Proving Ground brand, and later that evening the XICW main stage wrestling. Though Cobo was once an arena, now a convention center, this was the late “Sweet Daddy” Malcom Monroe’s dream come true brought forth by his son Malcom Monroe II. It was truly an honor to be a part of this milestone, and to referee the Xtreme Intense Championship Match of “The Franchise” Shane Douglas vs. Al Snow.

My wife and I became homeowners. There are pros and cons to it compared to renting an apartment…but the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot. Sure our pipes froze and it was a headache of two days getting that sorted out. In the end, there isn’t any laundromat units, or parking spaces to fight for. Also…we can relax in the evening through the night and not hear some ghetto wannabe rapper blast their “beats”, or hear their kid run, stomp and jump while screaming all hours of the night. It’s just far more peaceful and private for us, and our dog!

I have projects I would’ve loved for this year to be the start, but maybe it will be next year. I won’t make a resolution out of this, as things are not 100% certain. It will take a financial investment, time, and practice. As things formulate I will post them for sure. Should things get going as soon as I’d like them too, I’m sure it will be challenging to learn, but fun to have a final product.

Happy New Year, have fun, and stay safe.

Happy Festivus! It’s time to air some grievances!

Airing of grievances for 2017…

You can block anyone and any pages you want on Facebook but you can’t block Mark Zuckerberg nor his wife. You can’t even put them on “hidden”, forcing users to see whatever BS they want to promote or claim. But hey at least it’s still a free service right?

Rehashing movies into musicals. Namely A Christmas Story. Maybe it’s “not new” but it still happened and shouldn’t have happened. Especially since they made it all politically correct instead of using the original dialogue. I mean really, you had Ken Jeong in there who played Chow in the hangover! “But it’s 2017!” Get real!

“Beyond Meat” sold in the meat section…despite that “Beyond Meat” isn’t meat at all! “Oh let’s manipulate meat eaters (said as if that’s a bad thing) to become vegetarians so animals no longer have to die!” Yeah, over the rainbow… If you like that kind of thing, go ahead but don’t try to dupe meat lovers into vegetarianism.

People complaining about others airing their grievances “as if you came up with it”. No one ever claimed they were being original with this! It’s always been pretty clear it’s influenced by being a fan of Seinfeld’s sitcom show! Oh but you want to play all peace, love, harmony and positivity 24/7 and not let anyone have their fun with this.

Now I prepare for the feats of strength!