Fighting Spirit

I write a monthly column for Fighting Spirit Magazine, the United Kingdom's largest pro wrestling/MMA magazine, available on newstands across the UK. You can check out more about FSM at, but in the meantime here's an archive of my columns.


Every year at Christmas season, I end up doing tons of reading, and most of it is about wrestling. The biggest reason for this is that people who know me best get me books or giftcards to bookstores as presents, and it's been that way most of my life. This season, my favorite wrestling reading was Capitol Revolution, Tim Hornbaker's wonderful history of the McMahon Family empire--which is basically a history of the business itself. Of course, I would have loved reading "Tuesday Night At The Gardens--Pro Wrestling In Louisville" even more, but the problem there is that I read it when I wrote it.


Every year, when Thanksgiving weekend in the United States rolls around at the end of November, every wrestling site and publication has some article or rememberance of the glory years of pro wrestling pre-1990's, when the Holiday was the best weekend of the year for drawing crowds to live grappling events. The most notable, of course, was the tradition in Greensboro, North Carolina, where Thanksgiving night at the Greensboro Coliseum was just as much a part of the Holiday festivities as turkey and dressing for 25 years.


Even though so many of my columns deal with what's wrong with pro wrestling today, I think everyone knows that deep down, I still love the sport. This sports entertainment shite gives me the sour belches, but I don't know that I can ever stop being a fan of true wrestling, especially the classic, vintage stuff I grew up on. I don't do that many wrestling events these days--a quick glance at my date book shows that in 2015 I will appear at only 13 events that involve actual matches, and three of those were the first few Global Force Wrestling shows near my home in Louisville.


Not only can't I figure out how to word this column, I'm actually astonished that I have to write it. How do you describe something in writing that is so instinctually obvious that you are amazed it needs explanation? I have finally decided that I will work it out, on paper, as I go, attempting to analyze just what it is that has made a certain segment of the current generation of fans AND wrestlers oblivious to the very things that have helped usher the wrestling industry into an era where it is less popular with more people than it's ever been.


When I toured the UK, I had people try to explain British television to me on several different occasions. Not the content of the shows themselves, but the method of transmission and reception, the way the networks actually broadcast the signals, how you paid, the differences in cable there and in the US, etc. I couldn't get it, which means that American TV is probably just as confusing to folks over there. Therefore, I would imagine that the recent and continuing news story that is the TNA/ROH/Destination America love triangle has some citizens of the UK scratching their heads to figure out what the fuss is all about. Don't feel bad, there are a lot of people in the US that don't understand US television either--so I thought I'd give everyone a free tutorial, along with some advice for Ring of Honor.


The boys are their own worst enemies.

That philosophy was drummed into my head by veterans from my first weeks as a rookie manager. Of course, back then it had very different implications. In the simpler times of the Seventies and Eighties, it meant that if the wrestlers got a great rate at a nice hotel, somebody would end up trashing the place and ruin it for everybody. Or if they found a fan who ran a restaurant, and you could eat free if you tipped the server, somebody would stiff the server. Or if a promoter agreed to ease up on some draconian rule the talent had to follow, within weeks some fuckup would abuse that so bad it would go back in place even stronger. Part of life's aggravations, sure, but nothing lifechanging.


This month's column is another that is hard for me to write, and much like a few months ago, when I scrapped my planned subject following the death of Jimmy Del Ray, I was just sitting down to start this one when I heard of the passing of another legendary figure in our sport--the King of Kingsport, Ron Wright, who died on April 21 at the age of 76. As FSM's primary readership is in the United Kingdom, the vast majority of you have probably never heard of Ron, but you should have, and now you will. In a sport filled with colorful personalities and unique individuals, he was one of a kind, and we will never see his like again.


With the recent reports of improper coaching practices on the part of Bill DeMott, the head trainer at NXT, and his subsequent resignation, I have been asked numerous times for my opinions about the whole fiasco. I was involved with Ohio Valley Wrestling for six years while we operated the WWE developmental program, and in actual fact the entire concept of a developmental program for the WWE in the first place was the brainchild of myself and Jim Ross in 1999, so in that respect my opinions are pertinent. But, surprisingly to some, I can't specifically address the charges against Bill from a first-person perspective, because I've never seen him train.