We want to ask about some of the talent. It’s previously been revealed that WSU World Champion Mercedes Martinez has relocated to Tampa, FL. She was previously a local and competed a pretty regular schedule for WSU. How does that affect the promotion?
It has affected us when it comes to the “On The Road” stuff. It doesn’t affect how she will be booked here, as she will always be on every show as long as she can make it. I think in the three years she’s been champion, I’ve given her nearly 80 bookings which is unheard of on the indy wrestling scene. When she first started as champion, it was necessary to get over the prestige and importance of the championship. I think we’ve done that. You can tell me if you think so too. People know Martinez is the best champion in all of women’s wrestling and has defended her title more than any other champion on the women’s wrestling scene, so maybe at this stage it works out, so her title defenses aren’t watered down. Nothing against Niya or Rick Cataldo, but does anyone really think they are going to beat Mercedes at this point in time? We don’t want to come off like we are padding stats, and my favorite Martinez matches are the ones that were built up over time, such as Roxx, Serena, Alicia, Savage, etc.
However, if we are paying for a flight, it means we have to get our money’s worth, which is why you will see the occasional 73 minute record breaking match, haha.
Also returning to WSU is former TNA Knockout Cookie aka Becky Bayless. She announced her return the same day she announced that her TNA contract had expired. How long before she announced it had you known she was gone from TNA? How did this return come together? Who contacted who?
I have known Becky for almost 10 years and have always had a good relationship with her. She started with us from day one, although I worked with her before that in other promotions. I knew there was an issue once Terry Taylor left, as that was her main supporter, but didn’t realize they weren’t going to renew her [contract]. To me, she is someone that could do Christy Hemme‘s job for a quarter of the price and 10 times better.
The way Becky came back is really funny. Keep in mind WSU will not use people who work for TNA because of iPPV competition issues in addition to national DVD releases and because I will not pay the ridiculous prices TNA wants for their talent. I was picking up DVDs from our producer Will Wyeth at 7am. Will said, “Do you know Becky is done with TNA?” I said, “How did you find that out?” He said “Check her Twitter.” So I was on my phone, saw her Twitter, and wrote “Call me”. As I’m sitting with Will, she called me legit three seconds after I wrote that. I said “You’re done with TNA?” She said she was and I said my next show is 11/19, and she said “I will see you there”.
Becky knows me well enough that she knows her money will be right, she will be booked right and we will promote her right. Even as I’m talking to you, we still haven’t discussed specifics, but we both know it will work out and it will be fun. I always like having Becky here. She is a character in and out of the ring, but always has positive vibes in the locker room. Is she the best wrestler in the world? No. But is she a great personality? Hell yes.
The only reason Becky wasn’t here for the last year was because I will not use TNA talent for many reasons as described above and also, you can’t book [their] people long-term as you are at their mercy, as they can pull people off your show whenever they want.
The last taping in August presented some big shifts in terms of the landscape of WSU. We now have the Midwest Militia with Havok, Kay and Stephie. What is the goal with this group? Will they dominate as the major heels of WSU like the NWO?
The NWO was the NWO. We don’t want to do that. That idea is 15 years old now. We want to do something new. The goal, like any group, is to create stars. I think Jessicka Havok is almost there already. We want Allysin Kay to break out, and hope this will be a big role for her. We thought Brittney Savage as a heel was running its course and needed to balance things out, and since Stephanie is in real-life best friends and travels with Kay/Havok, it only made sense. It is something all three of them wanted to do and I always feel if a wrestler is behind an idea, you will always get better results. I don’t like to discuss spoilers or anything of that nature, but is the Midwest Militia the top heels of WSU? Only time will tell, but it would be hard-pressed to think they’d be anything else. I’m also sure they have their fans too.
Tell us about Brittney Savage’s face turn. Will fans buy her as a face?
Time will tell on that. Savage has been a heel for two years now and after the loss to Mercedes, where does she go from there? It was about time she had a change of heart. Savage has quickly become one of our top people in every aspect, and fans were getting behind her. It was time to give the fans what they wanted. Plus, I like the Team WSU (Martinez/Alicia/Savage) vs Mid-West Miliita dichotomy we have going now.
Amy Lee and Cindy Rogers retired in quick succession. Who do you consider now to be the veterans leading the younger girls?
That’s a good question. I think it’s really the same people. Martinez is a bigger help than anyone knows, and not because she’s champion, but she really goes out of her way to talk to and help everyone before their matches, and that has always been the case for the last five years. Rain has asked to help out more, so she will help. Alicia has always helped out as well. To be honest, I think this is the best roster we’ve had. Look at what these girls have done. Since the anniversary show, Midwest Militia, the Boston Shore and Brittney Savage are really clicking on all cylinders, in addition to our regular main eventers. We have created a whole new crop of stars and fresh match opportunities. I’m really looking forward to seeing a bunch of different matches from a fan’s view, whether it’s Jessicka vs Lexxus, Stephanie vs Mercedes, Alicia vs Kay, etc.
WSU brought in Allison Danger for Cindy’s retirement which turned a lot of heads as she is co-founder of SHIMMER. People have perceived there to be heat between the two promotions over the years. What do you say to that?
There is no heat. They are good for women’s wrestling, just like WSU is. It is two different ways of doing women’s wrestling, but two different positive ways of doing women’s wrestling. We are more storyline based and character driven, while they do the joshi style. The only similarities is the crossover in talent. The only women wrestling company I despised was Wrestlicious because I thought they set back all the hard work WSU and SHIMMER were doing to show that women’s wrestling wasn’t this cheesy, perverted bullshit.
People have asked if this could lead to a working relationship between the two groups or a storyline feud. Is there a possibility of working together somewhere down the line?
I don’t think so because they don’t run often enough and don’t really run storylines the way we do. To be honest, the last three anniversary shows and this one coming up were all booked a year ahead of time. Sure some things change, whether someone got hurt, someone got signed [by WWE or TNA], someone is in Japan, etc., but we book a year out and have a full schedule to do stuff, while they only run two weekends a year. Perhaps if they ran more often we could do something, but right now it would be hard to do a storyline type of deal when they only run two weekends a year.
Will we see the likes of Danger, Jazz and Athena back in WSU?
I wouldn’t rule it out. The reason you don’t see people back more frequently is really just a location issue, not a heat or anything like that issue. If Danger, Jazz and Athena all lived in New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia, they’d be on every show. Jazz had to pull off the last show as she was moving. She lives near a small airport and the flight to get her here is $600 which is a lot of money, and it’s hard to make that back. We need an airline hook-up!
How do you feel about your other ‘competition’? Promotions such as Femmes Fatales, Pro-Wrestling: EVE, WILD, and even Ice Ribbon in Japan.
I have no problems with them and wish them the best. I don’t really see anyone as competition, I’m focused on what we are doing. I guess the only one that got on my nerves is the ArenaChicks because they would book people we were building up and ask them to do jobs in opening card matches. I think that’s why one person left that company. Also, the day after we did the Midwest Militia angle, Amber O’Neal booked Allysin Kay vs Sassy Stephanie (which the wrestlers told Amber they wouldn’t do). Why try to walk all over our angles, especially a place that has no real stories set up? We would rather work with people, and respect others’ angles and championships. Wouldn’t it make sense to book Kay/Steph as a team and try to get a rub/buzz over what we just did since we are the bigger promotion? Why try to put the girls in a bad spot and kill what we are building. Amber has worked here before, and she had a great run here too, sp she should know that everything we do here happens for a reason. It’s not like we came up with the Midwest Militia idea the day of the show.
People ask us why Madison Eagles hasn’t been in WSU yet or why Sara Del Rey or MsChif weren’t, and it was because they were or are the SHIMMER Champion. We don’t want to make their champion look weak on our shows. It’s just a common courtesy.
The reason WSU works in our area is because no one else is doing what we are doing, which means we can create our own stars and fans can really get behind the stories and the realism of it all. For male promotions, how many times do you see a show on Friday night with guys as babyfaces teaming up, then heels destroying each other the next night? It all looks so fake and hokey. People should work together to make things seem grand and majestic. The NWA worked for a long time because every promotion recognized one guy as champion. In any given place, you have a million champions and they all wrestle in the same places and step over and counteract stuff they did in a promotion the night before. It is great that WSU has a working relationship with about 15 different companies where the WSU championships are the ones recognized, giving our champions more work and making the titles more prestigious and hyped up.
Looking at each of those rosters, hypothetically, are there any talents you would like to poach for WSU?
I would like Beth Phoenix from WWE and Angelina Love back from TNA. As far as the indies, if we wanted them or if they wanted to be here, they’d be here by now. We don’t want to disrespect any other promotions by taking their draws and what makes them unique away. I’d also like to have [Manami] Toyota and Madusa here one day.
Many wonder financially how WSU manages to put on several shows a year compared to other promotions. How do you do it?
Because we make a profit every show. If we aren’t profiting, we wouldn’t be running. You get what you put into it. How can anyone emotionally invest and feel like they part of the product if you only run two to four shows a year? How are the wrestlers supposed to grow? Luckily the fans support us, so we keep going. If things were going bad, we’d slow down or just cease to exist.
In the age of the Internet pay per view, you picked up on that market pretty quickly. Where do you see WSU branching out next? Is the goal TV?
If someone offered us a TV deal, we’d take it! TV is tough to get into. Right now, I don’t have those contacts, and it would have to be a network looking for us, which is highly improbable. But if we could get a one hour TV show every week and get paid to do it, we’d be idiots not to. Right now, the goal is to stay the course… do double DVD tapings to build stories and characters and build big matches for iPPV.
In terms of the next year, let’s say, what is coming up in WSU in terms of shows/storylines people should watch out for?
Of course 11/19 and 3/3 are our next iPPVs, so watch out for those, I would like to think we have developed a reputation for always delivering on iPPV. Always check out the new DVDs on WSUvideo.com as well.
I don’t like to give spoilers, but really, you are going to see a lot of different talent get the chance to sink or swim on their own. We gave Savage a shot in the main event and she delivered. Lexxus has exceeded and smashed all expectations. Jessicka Havok is on the rise. Kay & Steph too. We are focused on creating the next top stars/main eventers, just like we did with Mercedes, Alicia, Rain, etc. We are trying to create as many interesting fresh matches as possible, and if everything stays according to plan, we already have something surprising for the J-Cup and Uncensored Rumble shows next year.
Anything you’d like to announce for the WSU iPPV on November 19th?
For 11/19, there will be surprises and you will see one of the best women shows all year. The whole roster is ready to shine and know that with Melina on the show, more people will be watching. I have heard several WWE talents are in town for Survivor Series that Sunday and have asked to come to the show. We plan on turning people away at the door, so make sure if you are coming, to get your tickets ahead of time.
While we are looking ahead, the J-Cup, for the first time next year, will be broadcast on iPPV based on the success of the Uncensored Rumble on iPPV.
We hope everyone comes out on 11/19, whether it’s on iPPV or in person. We really need your support. Women’s wrestling does not exist without the fans. Illegally downloading DVDs or iPPVs hurts the promotions that pay these women to put on these great matches. Support the girls’ sites as well. This is a labor of love for many, but when you got great fans it is worth it.
We also ask you check out WSUvideo.com, especially new fans just finding out about us as we are running special sales for fans just like that.
I’d also like to thank Diva Dirt for taking time out to cover women’s wrestling. I know what it is like to run a major website, and how grueling it can be, so I appreciate Melanie, Steven and everyone else’s time and effort.
WSU presents Breaking Barriers 2 live on iPPV on November 19th. Click here to pre-order.
For tickets and more information click here.