GM: When did you get interested in the Independent scene?
JM My interest in independent wrestling really was sparked when I first started hanging around the business back in 1993 or 1994. I had been reading the sheets for a while, but indy wrestling was barely covered in there at all. Actually, PWI did the best coverage of any of them, and they just ran results. Anyway, I was hanging around and talking to as many people in and around the business as I could. As it turned out, ECW was really just starting to take off at that point, and a lot of people around that scene were people connected with other area indies. From going to those shows, I was introduced to a lot of people who had a hand in indy groups here and there, and I suddenly became totally enthralled with what goes on in the indies. The behind-the-scenes news on independents is ten times more exciting than the stuff at the Big Two.
GM: Who are your top five favorite wrestlers on the Independent scene?
There are a ton of great workers out there, itís tough to limit it. Reckless Youth is the one who comes to my mind as the best independent wrestler today. He is the complete package. Eddie Golden and Steve Skyfire are really good workers out of Tennessee. I like Bull Pain a lot. He is very underrated. I also really like Cheetah Master out of Delaware, simply because he is so over with the people. Itís great to just watch the reactions he gets. Flash Flanagan may be right behind Reckless in terms of having everything. And of course, there are also my old-time faves like Buddy Landel and Bill Dundee.
GM: Who are your top five promotions on the indy scene?
JM: Memphis Power Pro is doing a great job right now drawing people and putting on compelling TV. You donít draw 3,500 people by putting out a lousy product. ECWA in Delaware is another great group. Their goal is to put on a complete show, with the families and hardcores entertained. Even the family stuff they do, with guys like Boogie Woogie Brown and Cheetah Master, is quite watchable. All-Pro Wrestling in California has the best talent base of any promotion out there. Lots of great workers. IWA in Kentucky also has a lot of good young guys who work their asses off. Cash Flow, American Kickboxer, Cpl. Robinson, Harry Palmer, they all try really hard. Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling does a decent job too, even though they really follow the same formula and use the same guys as ECWA. Besides these, there are some other good groups out there that donít run as frequently, like IPWA in Virginia.
GM: Do you feel Independent wrestling is declining or are they doing better than ever?
JM: I think itís doing really well right now. Better than ever, I donít know. There are a lot of promotions drawing 800 or 1,000 to shows, which is a good sign. Indies hit the skids for a bit last year but they are coming back.
GM: If you were Vince McMahon who would you be recruiting from the indy scene?
JM: Reckless Youth. Michael Modest or Erin OíGrady. Flash Flanagan. Ray Odyssey. People always overlook him, but Ray is one of the best pure workers Iíve seen in the Northeast.
GM: Do you think ECW is on the incline or decline?
JM: It depends upon which standard you use to measure. Their live gates are better than ever. Itís not a coincidence that comes at a time when the promotion has de-emphasized the importance of live attendance as compared to PPV. Today, to draw the kinds of numbers that WWF or WCW draw to their houses, your promotion needs to be perceived as a big-time deal. PPV has helped give ECW that perception, which is why people want to go to the shows, even though less happens on the shows (storyline-wise) than ever before. But with regard to increasing or decreasing, I havenít seen a significant increase in their PPV buy rates since they started doing the shows. I donít think they are decreasing at all but I donít see much growth either.
GM: Do you think any independent promotion has a chance at putting on a ppv in the next couple of years?
GM: If they try, theyíd be a fool. To oversimplify everything, there are two factors to drawing well on PPV: television exposure and widespread fan base. The only groups close to that are Memphis and Music City. MCW is in no position to try a PPV show. Memphis does great locally, but their TV only airs in Memphis. I donít think anybody wants to do PPV, and if they want to, they need to reconsider their position in the business.
GM: Do you have any other comments?
JM: Yes. Support your indies! There are a lot of bad indy groups run by crooked people, but there are also a ton of great groups run by people who want to put on good shows. Everybody should seek those groups out and support them loyally. Successful indy wrestling helps the entire business.
GM: Do you have anything you would like to plug?
JM: Yes. I couldnít do an entire interview without mentioning that I have a weekly column in the Wrestling Lariat. You can read the Lariat at www.1wrestling.com, where I do a feature called "Moonsaults Online", which is devoted to the latest indy news. Thanks.