In a few hours I’ll bare witness to one of the greatest wrestling companies run it’s last show. A epic send off will occur. One big farewell show. It’ll start at 3:30pm and run till well, whenever they feel like it. They will present it to the world as 2 Sets. It’ll air live on the internet for free! But how did we get here… more importantly how did I?
Growing up in the beginning, my childhood years, I didn’t watch much wrestling. For that matter up until nearly my teenage years I didn’t watch much television. Since around second grade I lived on a farm. Well, it was a dead farm, a used to be farm. And where we lived there wasn’t access to cable, so we had a poor antenna reception.
Most of my family lived in and around Syracuse, and when I say most, I’m talking about both sides, my mother’s and my father’s. We lived in the Albany area. A nice long distance away so we only got to see each other occasionally, mostly around holidays.
One of my uncles was going to go to college and obtain his master’s degree. He decided on attended the University of Albany and with living in a old farm house we had plenty of room to house him. So we did. In the early 90s he lived with us. Which turned out to be one of the greatest things in my life. Granted this was my early years still, so like when I was 9 years old.
But he would tell me stories of the great sports he had witnessed in his life, because he was a huge sports fan. He would tell me about the New York Yankees of the 1970s, he told me about this guy named Muhammad Ali. He then explained to me this character named Roddy Piper. And that’s when the world changed for me. He explained to me who this guy was. He told me how he was larger than live. He described a entire world of wrestling that well, I never knew about. In 1994 he would graduate and move back to Syracuse.
For the next few years a friend from school and I would start watching wrestling tapes. It was mainly old WCW and WWF pay-per-views that we could rent from video stores. We watch old WrestleMania’s and wrestle each other or with our brothers. Which really made our parents happy.
A few years would past after my uncle had moved out, my parents finally broke down and got us satellite television. And that’s when my entire wrestling world would evolve into where it has become today. You can just say that small PrimeStar dish was my gateway drug to sitting front row for the last ever show of some independent wrestling company.
I forgot the exact date that we got it, but I knew that there was this show called Raw. And I wanted to watch it to see what it was all about. So in the great year of 1996, I began.
Being only 12 years old at the time my parents had this crazy idea that I was too young to stay up late and watch wrestling. But of what I can remember from those early days it was great. I should however state why it was so great. And this is where my life became became completely different than wanting to attend a WrestleMania show compared to what I’ll be at tonight.
You see, one week I went to turn on this show called Raw and well, it wasn’t there. I don’t know if this was actually the first week I ever watched or what. But it is the most substantial situation in my life. Leaving me with nothing to watch, I think it was because they had a dog show or it could have just been a commercial. So I turned the channel, I looked for something else to watch. And then I found it – WCW Nitro. The competition.
I may have watched for weeks or I might have just watched to watch. But I remember the first big match and it was a Parking Lot Brawl involving Fit Finley and Steven Regal. You may have watched it, or maybe have no clue. It was a technically mastered match. It involved punches and kicks and body slams on cars. It was different. It was cool.
I would continue watching Nitro and completely ignoring Raw. I watched the coming weeks as this guy who I had once saw on those rented tapes from the video store appeared, Razor Ramon was on this wrestling show. Going by the name as Scott Hall, he would soon change the face of professional wrestling forever. Mainly because it got me hooked.
Over the next few years, I would along with my one friend, got hooked. We would stay up late and watch this other company called ECW. We would drink Surge and enjoy this renegade promotion. We played the video games, WCW Vs The World. We would start ordering the pay-per-views. And then well, I found more and more wrestling.
I started being involved and eventually running roleplaying wrestling federations, or e-feds. They were and probably still are, companies based through e-mail where you could write scripts of how wrestling goes. You would write out what you’re wrestler says, does and what not. And once a week or if not more, a event would occur. Your scripts, or promos, or whatever you want to call them would be compared to other people. And then you would be declared winner or not. It was a whole quantity vs quality thing.
Which helped to put me where I would be today.
I was part of numerous companies through out my middle school and high school years. Even running my own a few times. I called it EICW, yes, a play on ECW, the I stood for internet, the others well, yeah, they were what you could imagine. I would stay up late thinking up cool ways to present the talent, writing out promos, matches. I had my own cast of characters. I called myself Mike Live. Mainly because of my middle name and well, I was listening to a CD of the band Live. And surprisingly I’m still friends with some of the people I’ve met through this. My main character was a seven foot Amish guy named Ishma The Amish Enforcer.
My fandom would continue to grow. I couldn’t get enough of this wrestling thing. I started hearing about these other companies, and well, being a teenager in Upstate New York I couldn’t easily get anywhere, especially without a car. And this was back in the day where video wasn’t on the internet. I ended up finding these tape traders, and this is where my life would get a little crazy. I would end up trading and dubbing tapes for hours and with people throughout the country.
I would obtain wrestling shows from through out the world. Like I once mentioned in a article about ECWA Super 8 and Sean Carr called I’m Just A Wrestling Fan, But He’s A Super 8 Guy. I talked about how I would ride my bike to the post office, to the local K-Mart, which was 8 miles away. I would obtain shows from Japan, from Philly, from Tennessee from anywhere and every. I watched shoots and best of’s. I feel in love with all the characters. I enjoyed watching Eddie Gilbert, only to find he had died before I started my fandom.
In Middle School once I got in a fight. It was near the beginning of all this. It was also shortly after a feud between The Giant and Lex Luger. It was a feud that saw The Giant choke slam Luger through a table. Well, I ended up doing that to a kid. While in High School, I would find more and more people that enjoyed wrestling. This time, not fighting, but joking with a kid in English class, in which I took a steel chair and slapped him over the head with it.
I would find more friends, and a bunch of people that wanted to wrestle too. We would use a trampoline as a ring. We would pretend we were made up characters and fight each other. We sadly would also pretend there was ropes. Ugh. But me and a few friends started a company called Hardcore Pro Wrestling. We made a website, took some pictures, booked matches, created characters and just had fun. I went under the name Justin Payne, I used the nickname The Performer because of a Gwar song.
There was another bunch of people who did the same thing, but they had a video camera. So we hooked up with them. I would introduce a bunch of different characters for myself. And we moved from outside and into one of the barns. The trampoline would eventually break, but we fixed it real good with a old refrigerator. We ran shows and had fun. We had matches in the snow, matches with dried up corn as a weapon calling it corn tacks. There was a kid from school named Eric O’Brien, so we gave him his own talk show, because you know he must be related to Conan O’Brien.
We had fun. I still have a bunch of the tapes. And well, I think that’s about as much as you’ll see.
This was when the birth of Trademark Mitch Morrison happened. That was my character. I came out to the Foo Fighters song Gimmie Stitches. My finisher was a variation of the Pedigree, funny right? I also used a variation of the Chris Jericho’s Liontammer, I called it the Lament. I also had different characters, I once played Marty Sleaze, one of my most elaborate characters. He was a mixture between Al Snow and Mick Foley, so not so elaborate right? I would wear a bike helmet, use a yellow blanket as a cape, ride my bike to the ring and eventually when I entered the ring I would pray to the super hero Gods.
I would make friends with people outside of my small town and start talking about doing more with my wrestling career. I would talk about going to Philly to become a wrestler. I would attend wrestling shows. Not many, just a few local ones. A local independent company ran a show out of a old bowling alley. The roof was so small that they had taken out of a tile so they could climb up one side of the ring and jump off. I attended a WWE house show in which Foley was trying to push his first book. I didn’t like that much, the card, the book was good though.
And then in 2001, I would graduate from High School. I didn’t really have a plan of what I would do, I guess I’d go to school, but what I really wanted to do was become a wrestler. I wanted to do what I watched on those tapes, of who I tried to imitate on that trampoline and I wanted to have people listen to what I had typed in those e-mails.
But that’s when the wrestling world died.
WWE and Vince McMahon would eventually purchase their competition of WCW and ECW. A few months before my graduation, a few months before I had planned to leave home and become a professional wrestler. Looking back now, I wish I had continued that dream. But due to having a girlfriend, the fear of not having a solid career, and well, all of that, I never went.
In and around this time, a bunch of friends of mine would meet up after school and watch tapes, mostly the same guys that did the backyard wrestling. We’d sit around in my friends house and watch old tapes of ECW and other companies. We played video games and what not.
One of my friends who also collected wrestling tapes, but well, he collected masters, which was tapes that weren’t taped off of others. He was big into RF Video. He would get the masters of shoots and we watch them. In and around the time the wrestling world died, the guy who ran RF Video, Rob Feinstein would be a part of this new wrestling company. He called it Ring of Honor, it was based out of Philly. It would be the saving grace to the wrestling fan in me.
So we decided to start going to the shows. And well maybe I would have become a Ring of Honor guy. After all I did attend a bunch of their shows. But it could have been the distance between Albany in Philadelphia that hindered my becoming one of the fans. Or maybe I was a little younger and well, poor.
But the Ring of Honor shows I did to go were fun. They were some of the most famous shows ever like Unscripted where I saw Paul London and Michael Shane nearly die as the made a name of themselves. Glory By Honor 2, where I first met Terry Funk and watched as he wrestled and numerously threw a chair towards one of my friends working ring crew. I attended ROH’s Beating The Odds when I saw AJ Styles wrestle for the first time and I lost my voice yelling at Samoa Joe. I made my debut at the famous ECW Arena as the war between ROH and CZW heated up and I attended Arena Warfare and because I attended that last one I also attended Combat Zone’s When 2 Worlds Collide.
And then to quote a curtain 2CW Champion “and the earth stood still…….”
As the next few years rolled on I phased myself out of live wrestling shows. Disappearing and not much caring for the wrestling business in itself. I attended a local companies shows every now and then, being slightly disappointed. I would tune into wrestling every now and then, being slightly disappointed.
I started watching TNA when it was on Spike TV and it was good, and then it started being slightly disappointing. I started with Twitter, and found out through this guy named Sam, that there was this company in Syracuse that was running shows. I would watch as they had a free viewing of one of their events. I liked what I saw. It was some of the same guys I had seen in Philly for ROH. It had passion, it was awesome, it was magic!
Eventually I would attend a show, it was in April of 2014. I went with my uncle that once told me the stories of Georgia Championship Wrestling. And then I got hooked. And a little while longer I would be sitting ring side and chanting along. I would become one of their fans.
And now wrestling dies again, the earth stands still.
In a few hours I will attend their last ever event and I will watch them go out on top, the same way I watched them that first time. Tickets are sold out, they sold out quickly. But like the first time I watched they are offering it for free for everyone in the world to watch. And if you like wrestling just a bit, you better go ahead and watch.
The young little kid who heard about this larger than life guy named as Roddy Piper will be watching. That kid who once walked miles to attend a wrestling show will watch. The kid who once rode his bike 9 miles to a Kmart and then back again just so he could get some blank tapes so he could watch more wrestling will be watching. That guy who attended a wrestling show at the Murphy Recreational Center in Philly will be watching. That grown up kid who drove to Philly during a snow storm back in February, while other cars were losing control and going off the road, will be watching. That guy who wrote that will be there live, if you’re there come up and say hi. If not? Then watch it live! And feel that magic that is 2CW.
So come around 3:30 and again at 7, watch as 2CW presents for one last time a show, this one called 2 Sets. And it will air live at this link presented by UStream.