AS I SEE IT: Remembering Russ Haas - 1/23/2002
In keeping with last week's theme of promoting alternatives to "sports
entertainment", I'd like to tell readers in the Northeast about a worthwhile
alternative coming up on February 2nd.
As most of you know, WWF developmental talent and independent wrestler Russ Haas died on December 15, 2001 of heart disease. Haas was born on March 11, 1974 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from Edmond Memorial High School and attended Seton Hall University in S. Orange, New Jersey.
Haas worked together with his brother Charlie for nearly three years as the Haas Brothers tag team for the East Coast Wrestling Association, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling, the Pennsylvania-based World Xtreme Wrestling, and former WWF developmental territory Memphis Championship Wrestling. As a tag team, they won the ECWA Tag Team Championship, the JAPW Tag Team Championship, the CZW Tag Team Championship and the Memphis Southern Tag Team Championship.
In a time where those who work within wrestling are forgotten all too soon...Russ Haas was and is remembered by many.
The December 17th Monday Night RAW featured comments from both Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler in the middle of the show...remembrances of a man perhaps not yet known by most of TNN's national audience. But those within the WWF knew Russ as a student of the game and a respectful young man.
William "Paul Bearer" Moody said the following:
"...To see the next generation coming up, loving the business just as much as you do, gives you a very special feeling. When I turned on my computer Saturday afternoon, the last thing in the world I expected to see was that we lost another brother. The name of this brother jumped off my computer screen and slapped me right in the face. I was sick to my stomach. He was my brother in spirit, but he was Charlie Haas' real-life brother...
To say that Charlie and Russ Haas were bound for the 'big time' in our business is an understatement. I first met these two talented individuals a couple of years ago when they wrestled in opening matches at World Wrestling Federation television tapings. Notwithstanding their in-ring ability, what stood out about these two brothers was what Aretha Franklin sang about many years ago, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Russ and Charlie had it. It was always, 'Yes sir,' 'No sir,' 'Did you watch our match, sir?' and 'What can we do better, sir?'
When I started working with out talent development department about a year ago, I got to know the brothers fairly well. I followed their progress through the Memphis area, and I was so happy for them when they were promoted to Heartland Wrestling Association in Cincinnati.
I was certain it wouldn't be long until they would both cross that bridge to working full-time in the World Wrestling Federation...
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that he would be crossing that bridge into eternity so much too soon."
Kevin Kelly worked programs as a heel manager with Russ and Charlie Haas in Jim Kettner's ECWA, and shared these remarks with WWF and JAPW fans in his column.
"...Here were a couple of university-educated guys making a good living in their respective careers wanting to find out if they had what it took to make it in the World Wrestling Federation.
They never expected anything to be handed to them and when they were told to tighten up on some basics, they did just that. Russ and Charlie had toiled in the New Jersey indies for a few years, but unlike the goofs they had to work with, the Haas Brothers had 'it'. I could tell instantly that they had 'it.' You can't learn 'it,' you either have 'it' or you don't.
We had some great times working for Jim Kettner's ECWA. One of our favorite times was when we started a riot at St. Matthew's Parish. Nobody could have ever imagined that two clean-cut college guys and a nerdy announcer could have created such a scene. The best part about the whole riot was that we got Kettner hot! Russ, Charlie and I came slinking up to Jim's office door and with our best angelic faces, we said we were sorry. Jim needed many doses of his mythical 'medicine' with Kevin Kelly and the Haas Brothers around....
As an only child, I don't know what it is like to have a brother, but in this business, we are all 'brothers'. I have spent a lot of time since Saturday -- when I learned of Russ' death -- telling people who are important to me just that, they are important. My phone has been ringing non-stop with concerned friends and family members wondering what happened.I don't know what happened, but all I know is that the road will never be the same again."
In that spirit, Jersey All Pro Wrestling will present the Russ Haas Memorial Show at The Charity Hall in Bayonne, NJ on February 2nd, with an 8:00 pm belltime.
Jersey All Pro Wrestling will be donating all proceeds from this event to Russ's wife Deidre and the Haas family, with all talent donating their services for the event. Deidre and brother Charlie are actively working with JAPW promoter Frank Iadevia on this event.
The matches on the Russ Haas Memorial Show will include:
JAPW Triple Crown Championship Match/all three titles on the line
Homicide (JAPW Heavyweight Champion) vs. Dixie (JAPW NJ State Champion vs. The Insane Dragon (JAP Light Heavyweight Champion)
JAPW Tag Team Championship/Inter-promotional Challenge
The Hit Squad (JAPW Tag Team Champions) vs. The Shane Brothers from IPW-Hardcore Wrestling/Florida
Tag Team Grudge Match
The Big Unit (Dave Desire and Rick Silver) vs. Mike Quakenbush and Don Montoya
Crowbar vs. Slyk Wagner Brown (with April Hunter)
Low Ki vs. Kid Kruel
Current CZW Tag Team Champions and independent standouts The Backseat Boyz (Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere) go up against Ric Blade and Nick Berk
Also scheduled to appear are:
NWA Virginia champion Jacey North
IPW Hardcore Wrestling's Sinjin Akki
Judas Young (NWA Jersey/ECPW/WXW/IWF-New Jersey)
Ryan Wing (ECWA/ECPW/WXW/NWA Jersey/IWF-New Jersey)
Dave Grecco (JCW/JAPW)
Mark Clemson (WXW)
JAPW performers Billy Reil, Wenzel, Deranged, Jay Lethal, Rainchild, Chico Martinez, Kane D, Chris Cabbana, Magic, Suba, Skinhead Ivan, the Sheik, Glenn Strange, Danny Demento, Callahan, Orphan Bubba, Valentina, Scott Matthews, Brad Trechak, Chris Matthews, and JAPW referees Ref Hanson, and Paul Turner will all be appearing on February 2nd.
From New York City: Take Verranzano Narrows Bridge to I-278. Exit on Willowbrook Expressway (Route 440). Take the Bayonne Bridge into New Jersey. After getting off bridge, go to Broadway. Follow numbered cross streets to 37th/38th Streets. The Charity Hall will be on your right side.
From North Jersey: Take New Jersey Turnpike to Turnpike Extension (Exit 14-14A-14B-14C). Take Extension to Exit 14A. After exiting continue straight on to Avenue E under the overpass. Continue straight ahead on Avenue E, until you reach 38th Street. Make a right turn on 38th Street and continue to the light at Broadway. The Charity Hall will be on your left side.
From South Jersey: Take I-295 to Route 73 exit. Within about 500 feet on Route 73, enter the New Jersey Turnpike on Exit 4 (Philadelphia/Camden). Take New Jersey Turnpike until you approach Newark Airport, and exit on I-78/ New Jersey Turnpike Extension (Exit 14-14A-14B-14C). Take Extension to Exit 14A. After exiting Extension, continue straight on to Avenue E under the overpass. Continue straight ahead on Avenue E, until you reach 38th Street. Make a right turn on 38th Street and continue to the light at Broadway. The Charity Hall will be on your left side.
From Philadelphia: Take Walt Whitman Bridge to I-295. Take Exit 1B (North I-295 to NJ Turnpike). Go northbound on I-295. Follow above directions for South Jersey.
For tickets, and more information, you can call the JAPW Hotline at (888) 478-0667.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com)