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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!

2015 – The Year of Transitions and Moving On.

I had the intention to write more for this blog this year, but obviously, I didn’t. I didn’t even really come up with any topics…so it looks like it’s another year-end reflection for this year.

I still didn’t keep a list of the positive, and good things that happened to or for me over the year.  I did often write out details on what I want to come to pass, though. A good amount has come through, while others are still in the works. Granted, I didn’t just write these out and leave it; I put in the footwork too.

I’ve faced frustrations and impatience, despite knowing things happen for a reason; and they happen when they’re supposed to…at the right time and right place. Sometimes that desire can drive you up the wall when other factors are taking things for another spin. Although goals have moved a long quite well, I’m still not where I exactly want to be, but I’m thank God I’m not where I used to be.

My wife’s grandmother and mother died within a few months of each other. With my wife’s two children living in Windsor, Ontario and this loss being hard on all of them, we decided to move to the Metro Detroit, Michigan area. We are now able to see them more often as the travel is under an hour as compared to twelve hours from Massachusetts. I miss the view of a lake from home, but one day I’ll have an even better one.

View of the Lake behind where I lived in Worcester, MA.

View of the Lake behind where I lived in Worcester, MA.

TanakaSmackTony2I left behind the wrestling promotions I was refereeing for in New England on good terms. It’s not hard to do, but I’m glad I can say that I did. June was my last month in the area, and I got to leave in ways I didn’t Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 7.12.32 PMthink I would. After nearly fourteen years, and going with two months notice it felt weird going through it.  I honestly never thought I’d end leaving the New England region until I couldn’t physically referee anymore, or if by some chaTanakaTweetScreenshotnce I got an exclusive contract to a major wrestling company. Thank you once again to the promoters and bookers who gave me the privilege to be a part of your team. I miss it, and one day I’ll be back for visits, and would love to fill in if the spot is open.

Creepy Old Guy offering treats in Frankenmuth, MI.

Creepy Old Guy offering treats in Frankenmuth, MI.

Moving into Michigan brought on some culture shock. I don’t know how to be specific but things are different. I already knew Truth Martini and put in some practice time with his facility and got to know other talents in the area and begin working with events as well.

Ready for Ring of Honor, Final Battle '15

Ready for Ring of Honor, Final Battle ’15. Credit: Scott Finkelstein.

I spent more time this year focused on advancing with Ring of Honor, and was able to referee twelve events with them. A couple of which took place at the 2300 Arena (FKA the ECW Arena) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Toronto gets upset when their candy machines are broken by patrons.

Toronto gets upset when their candy machines are broken by patrons.

One of them took me to Toronto, Ontario Canada making that my first event in Canada. Of course now living in the Midwest, I’ve had my run of first Midwest state events. My older brother lives in the Dayton, Ohio area, and was able to bring his oldest son out for his first ever live event, and now they watch the Ring of Honor TV program every week.

It’s crazy how you can find yourself coming full circle with circumstances you’ve faced several years prior. Eight years ago I was with a woman who survived lung cancer, but it returned. While we weren’t together long, November 2007 was when she pushed me away without saying what was going on, and told me “you need to go pro with this wrestling, like a full time gig with WWE”. She lived around Madison, Wisconsin, and just this past November I found working a Ring of Honor event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With Hopkins Minnesota being the next day I traveled through Madison, Wisconsin. All within the same time frame she told me I had to go pro, eight years later. I can’t say I’m exactly at the point she said I need to be, but reflecting over the past year and half, from even just having a WWE Tryout at their performance center, and now this year working more with Ring of Honor, I’d have to say things have come full circle from that…and it feels great. Darlene passed away a few months after telling me to go for it all, she will always be remembered, but my life has truly moved on from that point in time.

With 2015 closing up, it’s really been the year of transitions, and moving on. It hasn’t been easy. That’s life though. Everyone faces some form of these at some point, and you just have to make it work. In the end, even with the heavier challenges, tests, and frustrations…this year was even better than last year. Now to strive for do more in 2016, and see where the wind takes this journey.

Happy New Year to all!

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. Ventures in ROH & WWE, My 2014 Reflections.

Much like many people do, I like to reflect back over the calendar year as it draws to an end. For 2014 I had great experiences, life’s lessons of living better, and accomplishments. I have read about people keeping a list of all the good things they experience through out the year, which I thought was a cool idea, but didn’t do… However things hit close to the heart this year, and will never be forgotten.

I’ve seen the results of what happens in your life when toxic and negative friends are removed. It’s amazing what other people can see in them, that you can’t and it reflects on yourself! Once these “friends” are removed, not only the perception of others on you changes, but your energy, and outlook will start to change as well all for the better!

Things DO happen for a reason! Sometimes, you may find yourself on a path to get somewhere you really want to be, only to be disappointed. Take a look what happened along the way though. The people you meet, as they become lifetime supporters of what you want to accomplish. The places and things you get to see, and the things you learn. All of these can be used for the next chapter, because things don’t just end there. Sometimes blessings are in disguise, and God’s delays are not God’s denials!

I have nothing to brag about but things to be proud of in my 2014 accomplishments and I’d like to share them as some have not been shared publicly, or at least not on any internet platform until now.

I was given several opportunities to referee on Ring of Honor events through out this year including: Wrestling’s Finest 2014, Supercard of Honor VIII in New Orleans that took place during the biggest wrestling weekend of the year, a couple TV Taping events, and of course their end of year event Final Battle 2014 in New York City.

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ROH in New Orleans – Screen Shot from ROH TV

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ROH in New Orleans – Screen Shot from ROH TV

 

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ROH Final Battle ’14 NYC. Mikey Webb pinning Cheeseburger. Credit: George Tahinos

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ROH Final Battle ’14 NYC. Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole for the World Championship.

 

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Kwick-E-Mart found in Pittsburgh, PA just before ROH Wrestling’s Finest ’14!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In February I got my first “real” haircut in 16 years…and oddly, there are still some out there who don’t know, despite having kept an active schedule in refereeing events.

Today marks 13 years since my first match refereed… There’s nothing to celebrate, but it’s a cool thing to look back on. It took place in Natick, Massachusetts at the American Legion Hall. “Psycho” Mike Osbourne defeating GQ Beast!

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WWE Performance Center – Orlando, FL

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WWE Performance Center – Orlando, FL

In June, I was invited, and accepted the opportunity for a 3-Day Tryout Camp at the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Performance Center in Orlando, FL. I never imagined it to happen years prior. While I am not being offered any contract at this time, I had a positive experience, and I went out with a positive outlook.

I want to close this note off by thanking all the promoters and/or bookers for all the opportunities this year. Whether you kept me on as a regular, a few events, a one-night deal, or if you gave me extra work to make you a flier/graphics! Thank you to all my true supporters and mentors. You all know exactly who you are. You all stuck through with me through my slumps, spells and even my nosedive to the abyss. Even though I probably didn’t deserve it… Thank you for being there, and guiding me through these steps to fix myself up as a person, and a professional. Most of all thank you to my wife, Meg who has helped me heal from the inside out, and get my focus back on track, pushing me to go further and go after what I really want to do. T his year, and the years leading up to now wouldn’t have been possible without her in my corner. I have to say, if anyone in professional wrestling has a spouse, or a significant other who supports them to all ends to succeed…hang onto them. It’s a rare quality, and rare sacrifice one would make for this business that can throw things off in personal lives.

Things have stepped up this year, and I may not be where I want to be in life, but I’m grateful that I’m not where I was before. 2014 was an amazing year, and the best is yet to come!

Blogs coming back soon

Blog will be coming back soon with previous commentaries from the older designed website!  Since these will be easier to make entries with, perhaps they will become more frequent in the future!