Joe Babinsack talks Deaf Wrestlefest


* One of the biggest pro wrestling events in the Western Pennsylvania area is happening this weekend, Sunday to be exact, as the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf holds what is an annual fundraiser, this year called Deaf Wrestlefest 2010, featuring some significant names in the industry.

Local extreme superstar Shane Douglas is on the card, as is fellow Original ECW alum Blue Meanie, and also an appearance by the one and only Mick Foley. Paired up after their big matchup a few weeks ago in Franklin for the International Wrestling Cartel (and likely the last event promoted by legendary local promoter Norm Connors) are Larry Zbyszko and David Sammartino. Dominc Denucci is also advertised.

Also appearing on the card are some of the core crew from the Keystone State Wrestling Association out of the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh: Shawn Blanchard, Anthony Alexander, Lou Martin, Frank Durso, The Latin Assassin, Kris Kash and Justin Sane.

All of it makes for a great event, a great cause and some of the region’s most celebrated talents. Tickets are available at the door at the facility in Edgewood, just southeast of Pittsburgh.

*Absolute Intense Wrestling is a promotion out of Ohio, and has put out a video of one of their recent matches on the internet. I hope to get some more recent DVDs from the organization soon. AIW is the one time home of WWE NXT’s Michael Tarver, and older DVDs feature his hard hitting action. AIW has been on the cutting edge of the indy scene, with nationally renowned talent, top notch matchups and some peculiar and interesting perspectives from their camera angles. Check out their site for pre-sales of tickets and DVDS at:

* It’s becoming interesting on the indy scene again, and one thing I’m definitely seeing is CHIKARA talent all over the place. Great to think that there may be work out there for guys who are talented and dedicated and plying the craft.

If there are any guys or gals you’d like to learn more about, I’m starting up the “bio” concept and will take a look at the career of Mercedes Martinez very soon. (Yeah, I’ve noted that far too many times.)

* The WWE continues to make a complete debacle of what it calls a “draft.” While the NFL has been featured, speculated about and analyzed for the past few weeks, once again, the WWE believes that random selections of talent, moving them from one ‘brand’ to another, in an era where cross-brand appearances happen every week, would be exciting and interesting to its fans.


Without managers, without realistic authority figures and without any sense of drama or sports related packaging and definitely without any concept of “rules”, the WWE should stop promoting itself as “Sports Entertainment” when it has so very little connection to sports these days.

Once upon a time the WWE would feature a bracketed tournament culminating in a PPV, called “King of the Ring” and at least when their concept of a draft began, they pretended to have “General Managers” pick selections. But then it became a bingo number draw, and then it became this weird random flash of images.

But what really gets me about the WWE’s draft is that it shatters any reality of their claim that their workers are “Independent Contractors”

Imagine working for a company and having them tell you, at the spur of the moment, at the whim of management and for no logical or interactive reason that your work schedule changes immediately upon a public announcement.

Sure, if you’re an EMPLOYEE, that happens, but what part of “independent” or “contractor” does this fall under?

* Author and sometimes Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Newsletter site participant James Swift has a book out, called “How I Survived Three Years at a Two Year Community College”.

I reviewed the book for a pop-culture site, available here:

It’s not wrestling related, but ironically James puts me to shame for any use of the word “Intellectual”. If you want a complicated and challenging and costly read, go for it!

* Just a reminder that the purpose of my columns has always been to highlight the lesser known pro wrestling promotions out there. I know I’ve concentrated more on the major and national indy groups, but I’m always willing to take a look at new products.

If you have DVDs for review, please contact me at the below email. I always recommend sending a few, not out of reviewer’s greed, but because wrestling product is best seen in event to event development, and I’ve found out that a DVD that strikes me badly the first time may be better explained from the perspective of the next one.

As readers would know, I’m not a fan of gore-fests (unless it’s of the caliber of Tommy Rich/Buzz Sawyer) or gratuitous physical violence or anything that utterly mocks my appreciation of the history of professional wrestling.

OK, let me shut up now.

I’m also interested in pro wrestling related books, whether self-published or not. Tips on what to look for are always appreciated for either media.

* One last comment: I know I’ve come close to dissing Ring of Honor from time to time, and I just want to clarify that I love the promotion and its talent and, for the most part, its approach. I remain frustrated with ROH (not at the level of TNA and “Cornette” levels) but the ongoing issue I’ve had with the promotion has been their inability, if not indifference, to playing to a mainstream audience.

To be fair, I simply do not have cable access to HDNet, so I may be missing something. In terms of pro wrestling history, fans and respect, ROH is everything that TNA is not. In terms of breaking through to be recognized by more fans, ROH unfortunately seems to be stuck in a one-gear motor.

ROH fans are among the greatest of all time. But ROH fans also seem to have an inclusiveness that prevents them from bringing in new fans, and the product makes you need to know wrestlers and seems to be content providing matchups that only the hardcore fans can truly appreciate.

I would love nothing more than for ROH to succeed and grow and profit so the indy talent base has more options and a better avenue to make a career out of this crazy sport.

I’ll have some ROH reviews up soon. I promise.

Joe Babinsack can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Too many little things to talk about, and I’ll be back with something in-depth next time.



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