With less than two weeks to go until Wrestlemania, the weekend of the showcase of the immortals is starting to shape up nicely. While WWE will be putting on the usual spectacles of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Fan Axxess, and offering Meet and Greet experiences to fans who purchased travel packages through the company. This isn't the only show taking place over Wrestlemania weekend though. The Wrestlemania weekend will also see the return of a tournament that originally took place in 2000 and 2001, a show that is now being revived after fourteen years, the King of Indies tournament. This tournament was revived by three great minds of the California wrestling scene, one of whom I had the pleasure of being able to speak to regarding the two night show. In this piece, I bring you an exclusive interview with one of the three minds behind the idea of this tournament, Kevin Gill.
Kevin, thanks for taking the time to talk with me on behalf of WWE News and Wrestling News World today. For those who aren't familiar with Kevin Gill, can you give our readers a brief history of your life and how you first got involved in the world of wrestling?
Thanks for this opportunity Jamie! I grew up in Queens, NYC and was a huge fan of wrestling, music, comedy and video games. These things fascinated me. The performances, the creative output, the final product, the idea of creating something out of nothing and entertaining the world with it was something that had me hooked! I was an avid reader, and would read everything I could about the people, places, and performers that fascinated me trying to get every grain of data into my head that was available in a pre-internet world.
Wrestling took a backseat during the early to mid 90's when I started at first being in bands and then putting out New York Hard Core records (an underground genre of music that is an off-shoot of Punk Rock, The genre has been the subject of several documentaries, books, and etc I recommend you check out the amazing N.Y.H.C. by Frank Pavich who just did Jodorowsky's Dune.) with Striving For Togetherness records, but then there was a buzz in the northeast. A buzz I heard in New York, about a product in Philadelphia called Extreme Championship Wrestling. One show later my wrestling bug was back HARDCORE. Through a record distributor called Very Distribution, and a man who became my best friend in his too short life on this earth Johnny Dudeck, I got ECW season tickets and would take a break from my all encompassing record label life to escape through Paul Heyman's genius vision every month. This got me so hooked, and now it was a different era. I started reading the Pro Wrestling Torch and Wrestling Observer at Johnny's house every time I was in Philly for a show and then started watching shoot interviews. Now I was studying shit on another level far beyond the Kayfabe magazines of the day by the amazing Bill Apter.
Around this time I started a wrestling interview column for the Philly based/nationally distributed publication "All That" Magazine, and later "Chord" Magazine… I interviewed a man who I was such a fan of, a man who was such a wrestling mastermind.. Classy Freddy Blassie! Not to mention one of my all time favourite wrestlers: TERRY FUNK! As well as 2 Cold Scorpio, Bill Alfonzo and more it was a lot of fun and it was giving me closer to the business I loved. The ECW shows were so cool back in the day. You'd run into Joey Styles at the rest stop, or you'd see New Jack hanging out outside before the show.. It reminded me of the NYHC scene where everyone was just there for the same reason. The Rancid lyric comes to mind "All these bands, and all these people, all these friends, and we were equals" kind of sums it all up. We all were part of the revolution and we all changed wrestling forever. That's something that I don't think will ever happen in wrestling again.
Right when this was all popping off, I got an advance copy of a VHS tape called "Stranglemania" which featured Insane Clown Posse doing commentary on Japanese Death Matches that featured Mick Foley, Terry Funk, The Headhunters, ONITA!!! and so many more. It's an insane tape that is still out on DVD and I recommend you pick it up at hatchetgear.com. Their commentary style blew me away. It was my first exposure to ICP and I couldn't believe how hilarious they were. Their comedic timing, their delivery, their voices, the jokes and reactions, it was off the hook.
So ECW and Stranglemania and Hardcore Music….. How does it all tie together? I got offered a job by some British gentleman who had an idea to revolutionize the game's industry, and I was hired by the then un-named company. A few short months later, Rockstar Games was born. I put music business to the side and remained an a avid fan of wrestling and music while working in gaming, and got involved with all the marketing and brand stuff I had been doing for my label, but now for Rockstar... which is why you would see Rockstar Games commercials starring Kevin Nash on during WCW NITRO on TV, or why the first episode of ECW on TNN was brought you by Rockstar Games and etc.. That was me! Paying it forward. I would tell all the Rockstar people about my monthly ECW adventures, my desire to revolutionize wrestling gaming, and how incredible ECW was and eventually got the ball rolling for Rockstar Games to develop/publish the first ECW Video game…. After wild team outings to the ECW Arena and in depth meetings with ECW management and me and Rockstar management a deal was hammered out… A deal that at the ZERO HOUR ended up not happening, despite one of the two organizations involved signing. The good news was, no one was left hanging because at the time there was a BIDDING WAR for the rights to the first ever ECW video game, so there was no shortage of companies lined up to pay, and unbeknownst to many, the ECW deal went to the second highest bidder: Acclaim. So close, yet so far. So After a few years at Rockstar I was looking for new challenges. At this time ECW is now bankrupt, and WCW has folded. I started a new job in San Francisco at Eidos Interactive (Tomb Raider, Hitman) and was in a meeting during my first week where I was told they had funding available and were looking to explore new development opportunities. Later that same day I pitched our president and head of product development a game concept around the WWF No Mercy control system, and capitalizing on the amount of well known characters available and not under contract and the void of wrestling games in the market at the time, and Backyard Wrestling 1 and 2 for Playstation and Xbox were born, and did I mention both games didn't fully deliver on my vision, but both did feature Insane Clown Posse?
Creating and working on the Backyard Wrestling game series for Eidos was an amazing experience, and the game was my whole life for a few years. Nonstop. Along the way we did some huge press and media events which featured live matches (and my debut as an over the public address system commentator) as well as voice recordings, photo shoots, TV Commercial shoots and things which gave me the chance to work with guys like Vampiro, Madman Pondo, Matt Cross, Sonjay Dutt, New Jack, Tylene Buck, and ICP. From working with the ICP guys we really hit it off as friends and got along really well, and at some point Vampiro was involved in putting together some mexican wrestling/music super show and ICP said I should be brought in to referee the matches and I guess Vampiro agreed. Because I remember studying tapes intently for a few weeks, and then getting a day of practice and coaching from ICP, Vampiro and even Madman Pondo… One thing I can always say is that I learned to lock up from ICP and Vampiro in a topless bar. It's the one move I never needed as a ref. I started reffing for Juggalo Championship Wrestling regularly and was happy to work with a lot of incredible performers, and I learned a lot from guys like 2 Tuff Tony, Scott Hall, Terry Funk, Kevin Nash, Sabu, Tracy Smothers, Scott D'Amore, Sam Anoai.. and great ref's like AT HUCK. I also picked up work as a ref in the San Francisco area and got to work with people like Rikishi, Hernandez (TNA), Count Black Pearl, Gangrel, Tonga Kid, Awesome Kong, and even Todd Bridges (Diffren't Strokes). It was a fun time. Video Game industry during the week and reffing and stuff on the weekends or the occasional string of dates.
I started thinking a lot about how I wanted to be doing commentary. JCW had Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope on commentary, and they're the best. So no openings there. The company in San Francisco (Fog City Wrestling) had one commentator named Jon "Cheeseburger" Roberts that was really good and after a while every show it seemed like he would have a different commentary partner which I thought was weak. You need a TEAM. Consistency. I'm happy being a ref, but I'd rather commentate. This is all in my mind, and one day in the locker room one of the production people wants to check light/sound/camera and says "hey ref, can you cut a promo or something while we check some levels" so I stood in front of the backdrop and cut a quick made up promo off the top of my head, and everyone in the room was talking when I started, but no one was talking when I was done. I felt like everyone was looking at me. Then one of the top talents there, a guy named Dylan Drake stood up on his chair and yelled out "WHY IS KEVIN GILL NOT ON THE MICROPHONE ON OUR SHOW?". No one had an answer. His speaking up gave me all the confidence I needed, and made me realize if I believed it, and SOME other people could see it, maybe I could go the extra yard make some stuff happen. But the promoters there liked me as a ref, and they even wrote me into some angles and gave me the chance to cut some promo's and stuff which was great, and very much appreciated…. but I kinda still wanted to do commentary.
While all this positive stuff is happening, something really sad happened. One of the first friends I made on the scene when I moved to California was an incredible wrestler and person named DJ Rizz (Jason Lee Smith). He rolled with a crew of talented people that were all trained or mentored by a legendary figure in the California scene Joe "Pogo The Clown" Applebuamer. I always remember getting contacted while I was on my way to the airport to fly to the Gathering Of The Juggalos and being notified that DJ Rizz had passed away in a tragic automobile accident. It was so sad for the world to lose a talented young performer who was also a father. My first thought was to try to organize a memorial fund raiser show, but Pogo the Clown and his homies already had that covered. So I asked them if they had plans to film the show, and when they didn't I got their permission and arranged to bring in a pro film crew to shoot the event, shoot some backstage interviews and talk about the life of our friend. At some point during the preparation I thought.. Who's gonna do commentary on this show? I mentioned what had happened to my buddy Lars Frederiksen from Rancid (and the Old Firm Casuals) and he offered to come be the official photographer for the show and shoot backstage and the matches which was super kind of him. At some point Lars and I were talking and I don't remember who had the idea but we became a commentary team on that DVD! It was great to be honouring our friend, and we put out a fully pro packaged DVD that spotlighted the life and times of Jay and also gave a ton of talent from the area a chance to be seen by some different eyes. When the DVD came out I put it in the DVD player in Violent J's studio and we watched it, and I felt weird because everyone was real quiet at first. I wondered if my wicked clown homies would like my commentary style? After a few matches Joe (Violent J) paused the DVD and talked about how they were looking to change things up in JCW and they had been looking for a commentator. But they haven't been able to find anyone.. I'm thinking to myself, they didn't like my commentary and now we're on to the next subject. I'm thinking who would they get on commentary? Raven? Scott D'Amore? Maybe someday I might get a chance to shine, but it didn't seem like my time was now. Until Joe looked at me and said "it's you, brother". A short time later we recorded some episodes of a show called Slam TV Express which featured me hosting and calling JCW matches by myself. From there we started doing internet pay per views with me and Shaggy 2 Dope as the commentators and Violent J as commissioner. It was on like Donkey Kong.
I started doing more and more stuff with JCW and got very involved with Violent J on the booking/storylines and that stuff as well as working with the production guys. This continued on until late 2014 when Violent J joined the commentary team and now we are releasing monthly DVD's with the 3 man commentary team, and it's a one of a kind experience. A lot of great wrestlers there in JCW that are blowing minds on a weekly basis. Much love to 2 Tuff Tony, The Weedman, The Ring Rydas, Kongo Kong, Shane Mercer, Spider Monkey and Super Strong Tiger, Madman Pondo and Crazy Mary Dobson, The Hooligans, Zach Gowen, Colt Cabana, Jimmy Jacobs, and everyone who shines in that ring on a monthly basis, not to mention the lovely Sugar Slam on the ring introductions and DJ CLAY on the turntables.
Can you tell our readers who may not be familiar with the King of Indies a little bit of the history about the tournament?
The King of Indies was the brainchild of San Francisco Bay Area wrestling promoter Roland Alexander who ran a company called All Pro Wrestling (APW). He felt that California was a graveyard full of amazing talent that wasn't being seen by the world. He devised a tournament as a way to spotlight the most deserving and hungry talent. The King of Indies 2000 was kind of like the prototype. It was his vision but maybe not quite to the full scale he wanted it to be. But it was one hell of a proof of concept. It was still rough, but it featured outstanding talents like Christopher Daniels, Vinny Massaro and The Ballard Brothers, not to mention Donovan Morgan. The 2001 King Of Indies is the one that changed the game for several reasons. First look at some of the participants, and keep in mind a lot of these guys were basically unknown talent at the time, or emerging talent trying to make their name:
American Dragon (Daniel Bryan)
Then keep in mind this is all happening during the tape trading era. So these King Of Indies shows come out on VHS and get sold and bootlegged and re-sold all around the world. Fast forward to Philadelphia and you have a young Gabe Sapolsky watching the King Of Indies VHS and the talent roster and basically using it as the blueprint to his Ring Of Honor which revolutionized independent wrestling in a post ECW world. Ring Of Honor went on to captivate the world, and many of the top competitors in King Of Indies went on to much bigger things. This was where things really started to happen for them.
What are your memories of the original King of Indies shows held in 2000 and 2001?
For me personally, I only heard the hype and buzz and watched the VHS tape. I had just moved to California and wasn't connected yet. For my partners in King Of Indies 2015 Markus Mack who now runs APW following Roland's death, I'm pretty sure he was in the audience watching the shows, and Gabe Ramirez (Pro Wrestling Revolution) was working with Roland around this time as well, so they were much closer to the original events than I was.
What was it that made you want to get involved in reviving the tournament?
They say great minds think alike, and that may be true. I had been wanting to run a special "spotlight" event here in California for a number of years and always had the idea in the back of my mind… I even bought the KingOfIndies URL when it became available because I thought that would be a great name to build around. But it was all pie in the sky for me because JCW and Video Games Industry was keeping me busy. I had talked with promoters before about my idea and Markus Mack spoke of wanting to do a very similar thing, but same thing. Something he would like to do but not something that was going to happen in short order. But the thought was there. We both believed in California wrestling and maybe someday the planets will align. When Wrestlemania was announced for the San Francisco/San Jose area it got every person in and around the business thinking of how they could capitalize on so many fans being in the area and etc. Roland's changes in philosophy as well as his unfortunate passing in late 2013 brought a lot of people closer together.
How did the concept of staging the tournament again in 2015 first come up?
It was around Fall of 2014 when I got invited onto a conference call by Markus Mack who I was friends with from the local wrestling scene, and Gabe Ramirez who was a successful promoter I had crossed paths with a few times. Gabe's home base is San Jose and he is very connected there and runs regular Lucha Shows. He ended up securing an amazing venue for the entire Mania weekend, that he offered to WWNLIVE.COM and his original plans were to run a big Lucha Libra show and have the rest of the shows be from the WWNLIVE family of brands like Evolve, Shimmer, and Kaiju Big Battel). He thought about it some more and thought this might be the perfect time to honour Roland Alexander, and bring the tournament back, but he wanted the right team to do it. So he got Markus Mack on board, and then they called me. I was pitched the idea of 3 totally different people coming together to produce a 2 night event that will honour Roland and spotlight California independent wrestling talent on the world stage in an ego and politics free zone. I signed on as a partner, and now we are counting down the days! The idea of working with WWNLIVE and Gabe Sapolsky and Sal Hamaoui is very exciting to me because those guys are so respected, so knowledgeable and so humble. I've been a fan and an admirer of those guys for a long time and it's an honour to be associated.
What was it that influenced you to make the decision to hold the show on Wrestlemania weekend?
We thought about how much easier it would be to do this event OUTSIDE of Wrestlemania weekend, but it just seems like the perfect storm. The world consumption and interest in wrestling at this time of year is unprecedented and with tens of thousands of fans coming in from AROUND THE WORLD, if our goal is to let tomorrow's stars be seen today, then we want to do it on the biggest stage possible for the people in attendance and everyone watching live/on demand on WWNLIVE.COM
What kind of process went into choosing the 16 names that were invited to take part?
We all started with the handful of guys we thought were the absolute best. There are some guys that are so good, that there is no questioning, no debating or arguing their merit. These guys all went in relatively quickly. What we found was that we had more deserving talent than we had slots available. I would say the final 4-6 slots were the toughest because that mix of hungry young talent, seasoned experienced talent, talent from this area, as well as talent from the Los Angeles area, the Nevada area, etc there was a lot to choose from.
Can you give our readers some details about the 16 names taking part in the show? Are there any names that they may be familiar with?
One of the things that's most exciting is that, you will definitely be seeing talent you have not seen before. That's not a bad thing, that's a good thing. We all know who the current indy darlings are, and we've got a few of them in the tournament and in featured matches on the card.
Willie Mack, aka Chocolate Thunder, is arguably the most talented man in the tournament with his off the charts speed, agility and charisma. He's shined in his work in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Lucha Va Voom, Mexico, all over the indies and has the backing of many high ranking wrestling insiders.
Timothy Thatcher, aka The British Messiah, is the best pure wrestler in the country today. I realize that's an incredibly bold statement, but this "throwback" has finally gotten to show the world outside of California what he can do, and he has been turning heads in FIP, CZW, and now in Evolve.
Adam Thornstowe "The Rock Legend Scum" is someone who captured the attention of Ring Of Honor officials with the reception he got from ROH fans at their Anniversary event where he was involved in a dark match, and this man has been tearing it up across Arizona, Nevada, and California and his savage punk rock presence and his incredibly sharp wrestling skills are a true unique hybrid that is incredible to watch.
Brian Cage has been stealing the show on Lucha Underground which is not easy to do, and he has been blowing minds at Pro Wrestling Guerrilla for some time. The Swollverine has the physique that Vince McMahon is looking for with the high flying insanity that fans of the independents crave. Truly one to watch for.
Jody Kristofferson has so much heart, so much passion, and he's a big boss, the son of a legendary performer and when the Warpig goes to war, you don't want to be across the ring from him. He learned a lot during his stints in WWE developmental and now he looks to use that knowledge to get to the next level. He's also been shining in Evolve and on the WWN China tour really earned him a lot of attention.
B-Boy is a veteran of the ring, and has represented California globally. His matches on the east coast and through the Midwest are legendary and his work in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla has always been spot on. He is another great talent getting a great opportunity with Lucha Underground and we are proud to have him in the tournament.
Jeff Cobb "Mr Athletic" only been on the mainland soil of the United States for less than 2 years, this Olympian and pro wrestler has been turning heads everywhere he goes and is moving up the ranks faster than anyone I have seen on the Independent scene in California. I think one year from now this will be a name everyone is familiar with.
Vinnie Masarro is another veteran of the scene, and in fact wrestled in the 2000 and 2001 King Of Indies tournament and is the only person in the tournament to have that achievement. He is an unsung hero of the mat wars, and someone who recently made a much talked about appearance on Lucha Underground.
Rik Luxury calls himself Wrestling Personified and is one of the most decorated and respected wrestlers in California. This is the moment Rik has worked his whole career to get to and will not be a moment that will soon be forgotten.
Dylan Drake is The Golden Boy. A San Francisco original, and a guy who carries himself with class and honour at all times. He's got the flashy robes, he's got the girls, but when the bell rings he has what it takes. A star everywhere he goes in California, looking to take it to the next level.
Jeckles The Jester is called FREAK by many, but it's often a sign of love from the fans that rally behind this tortured soul. His matches against Goldust and Chris Hero got a lot of attention and he hopes to carry that momentum into this career making performance. Someone who was incredibly close to Roland in "real life" and someone who has dedicated themselves to wrestling at levels beyond human comprehension. Who knows what he's willing to do to win?
El Mariachin - I've watched this guy's star start to shine on the Pro Wrestling Revolution show's I've seen. He's well trained, well seasoned, has worked with the best and carries himself like a champion. His unique style and worldly appeal makes him someone to watch out for. You may not know his name now but you will remember it following the tournament! Has a unique arsenal of moves that may catch his opponents off guard.
Shaun Ricker is a standout wrestler from Southern California who I had the opportunity to see while he was working on the ill fated Jeff Katz Pro Wrestling Retribution project, and his dedication in the ring and in the gym has certainly earned him a spot.
Luster the Legend - A monstrous man, with a monstrous Mohawk, and massive fists, Luster the Legend has the unique distinction of looking more like an action figure than a person. TOUGH as nails. Pure punk rock through and through. From the mean streets of Reno Nevada, trained by ECW ORIGINAL Mustada Saed of THE GANGSTA'S!!
Lil Cholo - A name synonymous with independent wrestling in California, another hardworking talent who is getting some much deserved attention on Lucha Underground these days. Cholo is southern California pro wrestling.
Rey Horus - From a Lucha bloodline, this man formerly was stealing shows as El Hijo De Rey Mysterio and now he steps up to a whole new stage in his career to continue his family's legacy in this sport of kings.
What are your thoughts on the current product WWE is presenting to its fans? And how do you think the King of Indies show can offer them something different?
Well, WWE are the top tier of wrestling. They are the industry. Period. They have some of the most incredible talents, talkers, and minds under contract.
But, the spirit of the independents is what keeps wrestling fresh. Although the line-up may not reflect it, guys like Paul Heyman, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are really doing a lot to carry the company right now and still allow the product to be appealing to wrestling fans. Like many, I feel WWE has gone too far in the direction of scripting every line for everyone and it can create a generation of people who can't talk on their own or can't react and process in real time because of the limitations this scenario creates. I also feel like in the ever increasingly short attention span world, no one wants to watch a 3 hour weekly television show. For my personal preference, I'd take NXT or Lucha Underground over the current "Frontline" WWE product. Encapsulated, leaves me wanting more, well done! Let's do it again next week!
I think it's very interesting that WWE is maybe starting to feel the buzz of NXT(!), Lucha Underground, New Japan, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, Ring Of Honor and on and on… and they seem to want to actively engage the disenfranchised or the borderline disenfranchised viewer. As a fan, NXT going on tour sounds like a must see show. I hope the financials and all that add up to be a profitable experience for the men and women working so hard down there in NXT.
I think what we can offer different is urgency. It's hunger. It's people who have sacrificed their whole lives to get a chance to stand on a global stage and showcase who they are, where they are from, and what they are about. This isn't one of six bookings that weekend for these guys, this is what they have waited their whole career's for. A chance to show the world what they can do, and to hopefully turn a few heads. The emotion and drama of pro wrestling is well documented, but when you gather together performers who have personally or professionally in some way been impacted by Roland Alexander, and the original King Of Indies tournaments, and you have this unprecedented gathering of Wrestling promoters and affiliated promotions all joining forces to put the spotlight on tomorrow's stars. There are no restrictions on the talent, and whether they are eliminated on night one or whether they go all the way, they will be putting it all on the line. We want to show you something you've never seen before, and give you a chance to see a lot of talent for the first time. This is pure pro wrestling, people fighting to be the best! We want people to remember the first night they saw a new talent that went on to positively impact this business that we love.
What do you believe makes King of Indies the must see show to attend over the Wrestlemania weekend?
We're part of the WWN live Experience which allows a dedicated venue with a series of daily events from Thursday through Saturday night, featuring all the top names from the independent world. Evolve, King Of Indies, Shimmer, and Kaiju. So there's a lot of great diverse stuff going on all around us and King Of Indies is the only show going on that weekend that is focused on the FUTURE of wrestling. We got a little of what's now and a whole lot of what's next for the wrestling world. Seeing star making performances, and remembering you were there the night so and so became and star or the legend was born.. That's a once in a lifetime experience, twice in a lifetime if you come both nights! FRIDAY NIGHT we have a dream special attraction match which is a first time ever match up. Mdogg Matt Cross Vs. The King Of Sleaze Joey Ryan Vs. Ricochet!! Saturday Night it's an international dream match: ULTIMO DRAGON will be taking on JUVENTUD GUERRERA, and that's exclusive. The only place you can see Ultimo Dragon or Juventud Guerrera wrestle that weekend is at King Of Indies. If you come on either night, Juventud and Ultimo will be signing autographs and taking pictures, not to mention you can meet all the other wrestlers on the show at intermission and etc. So if you want autographs and pictures, we got you covered. If you want to see a totally brand new show with a lot of exciting new talent and get in on it before everybody else, here we are for you! Live In Person, just a few minutes away in San Jose at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds! Or watch it on Internet Pay per View...And, You can watch in HD on your ROKU! Hit up WWNLIVE.COM for more details.
Will you be taking in the spectacle of WrestleMania live on the Sunday? Or will you be watching the show from home or elsewhere?
You know brother, some people would tell you otherwise, but the truth of it is, I love wrestling. I respect every positive person at WWE trying to raise the bar for this art form and there is no way I won't be right there in the heart of the action enjoying Wrestlemania live and in person. It's nice to hang up your "professional" hat and put on your "fan" hat and enjoy the spectacle.
What does being involved in this tournament mean to you? And what does it mean for not only the California wrestling scene, but independent wrestling in general?
It means a lot to me. I'm humbled to be accepted by my brothers in the California wrestling scene, and it means a lot to me that they would want me involved with the single biggest weekend to hit California wrestling…ever. I love working with JCW and I love and support the California indy scene where I live and to have this once in a lifetime opportunity it's just really awesome. I'm glad they invited me to join the crew, and I hope to have even a small portion of the impact that the 2001 tournament had on the wrestling business with the 2015 tournament. I think for California and the indy scene in general this is all about making your own path, and not letting anything get in your way. Sometimes you really gotta extend yourself to the breaking point to bridge the gap or make things work. Some people aren't willing to do that. Other's are. How far will you go to make your dreams come true?
What do you hope the legacy of King of Indies as a show will be? And if this show is a success, will this be a regular event each year?
My sincere hope is that people really enjoy the show and I hope a bunch of guys get more bookings all over the wrestling world because of it. I hope people see that something is in the water out here, and something about being largely ignored by the world has given these talents a lot of time to develop and hone their skills to a level that is far above average and March 27 and 28th they unleash the beast. This is 100 per cent DIY. It's 3 people. Gabe, Markus, and me: KG. And Gabe's wife Shannon is there every step of the way with Gabe. WWNLIVE is giving us the platform, but it's our risk, it's our project, it's our endeavour. And we are doing all we can to spread the word and to ask people to support the event. This is the spirit of Punk Rock, the spirit of Outlaw wrestling, and the spirit of unbridled passion and creativity. Talents are selling tickets. Fans are selling tickets. People being trained by people on the show are selling tickets, we are just asking everyone to support it. The future? Anything's possible. I wouldn't say we would do the tournament around Wrestlemania each year, but the tournament or something like it may be back on an annual basis, or maybe it's like the Led Zeppelin reunion I went to in London… One and done… Time will tell!!!!
As well as the tournament, there will be a special match taking place between two big names on night two featuring two stars with WCW and WWE origins in Ultimo Dragon and Juventud Guerrera. How did that match come about being signed? And what makes it so special?
We really wanted something special. And there's a lot of events going on in and around San Jose. So we thought about it and started with Ultimo Dragon as a being a legend, being someone who rarely appears in the states, and someone's who's legacy bridges styles and generations in wrestling..WORLDWIDE… Then who do we watch him with? This was trickier than expected, but in the end.. A man he is no stranger to, a man who has wrestled him countless times… Even on the very first episode of Nitro… Juventud Guerrera! We thought bringing in both these guys for exclusive Wrestlemania weekend appearances and a showcase match was just something unique and something no one else was doing. We realize it's a global market, and while former WWE stars always do great business, we hope that fans will appreciate seeing something they don't get to see everyday.
The original tournament helped put names like Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, and Brian Kendrick on the map, and helped lay the foundations for the launch of Ring of Honor. Do you think this years show could see the emergence of the industry's next top stars, and even spark another independent wrestling revolution like Ring of Honor?
That's our sincere hope. There is truly so much talent in the region that we felt we couldn't sit back and allow it go unnoticed. We figured leave all the petty infighting and local promoter drama to those who want it and focus ourselves on a selfless goal of giving talent a springboard to the future. We'll see how it goes. I just watched 6-7 of the guys in the tournament wrestle last night for All Pro Wrestling, and their all favourites of mine but just seeing them again reconfirmed how amazing these guys are. The great part is, instead of having to wait for VHS tapes to be circulated fans can order the event live through WWNLIVE.COM or buy it on DVD so I feel the impact will be felt but it's really up to how many people see and support it. You can't light a fire without a spark! You're the spark, wrestling fans!!
What can we expect your involvement on the show to be? Will we see KG in super looking referee gear? Or will you be providing live commentary like you do for JCW? Or will you just be taking in the show as a fan?
I think you can expect an announcement on that front very shortly :) I definitely won't be reffing unless someone is injured, as my knee's are quite happy to have left that behind!
If any of our readers are interested in attending the show, how can they get tickets? I understand there is something special for anyone who purchase tickets directly from you?
Absolutely! In general, You can go to WWNLIVE.COM and get tickets for the King Of Indies Events on 3/27 and 3/28 and Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, or you can even buy reserved seat packages that get you in to ALL THE SHOWS WWNLIVE.COM is running on Thursday/Friday/Saturday.
For listeners of the KevinGillShow and people who read this article, we do have a very special LIMITED OFFER:
If you purchase your tickets directly from me, or my site www.DignifiedBastard.Com, you get a FREE Ultimo Dragon 11x17 Poster at the show, AND Ultimo Dragon will sign it (or an item of your choosing) at the show for you on either night. EACH TICKET PURCHASED DIRECTLY FROM ME includes a free 11x17 Poster and an Ultimo Dragon signature.
And for those like me who can't attend the show in person, is there any way people can catch the shows?
For sure! WWNLIVE.COM will be doing internet pay per view through their site and they also just launched their ROKU CHANNEL so you can watch it on HD on your big screen TV! Ah, the Good life!!!!!
And where can our readers get a little more Kevin Gill in their lives?
Yes, after this exhaustive interview, if you still want a little more, please check out www.KevinGillShow.Com where I've got great interviews with legends like Mick Foley, Chris Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, X-Pac, Vampiro, Kevin "Steen" Owens, Colt Cabana, Shelly Martinez, Lars From Rancid, ICP, Craig From Sick of It All, and so much more.. As well as Olympian Jeff Cobb and I'll be releasing new episodes with Rocky Romero and Adam Thornstowe too. It's a weekly in depth conversation/interview with icons of music and wrestling and it's totally free to stream or download from my site or you can get it on iTunes or Stitcher Radio, just type in KEVIN GILL SHOW! All episodes recorded in person for maximum audio quality. We bring that Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) on a weekly basis, and there's something about hearing inspiring stories from people you look up to (and people you should!) that gets you peeked for the week! Perfect for listening to on the way to/from work, at the gym, while cooking, relaxing, etc. I truly invite you to check it out! I put my heart into it weekly!! You can also follow me on Twitter with my handle @OGKevinGill, as well as @kevingillshow. You should also follow the KingOfIndies Twitter feed on @kingofindies!!
Finally, do you have any last messages for our readers and your fans?
Thanks for this opportunity, and to everyone who believes in me and supports me I salute you… You make this possible. Keep that PMA! Stay Positive! Visualize your goals and move towards them. Even if it's just a little each day. Life's too short to be a scumbag! Aim High!! WHOOP WHOOOP!!! I also have a T-shirt shop at ProWrestlingTees.Com and it would make my day if you bought one… or two!!!!
I want to thank Kevin Gill for taking the time to grant me this interview, and for taking the time to speak with me about the King of Indies show. Please make sure if you are able to attend the show, or even watch it online, you make sure you check out this once in a lifetime event. For more news on the show, keep an eye on the companies website and Twitter feeds, as well as keep following Kevin Gill on Twitter for regular updates. And if you want to attend the show in person then remember to hit up KG for those tickets and that free signed Ultimo Dragon poster hook up. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.