AS I SEE IT - 7/14/2003:
Unhappy endings and happy beginnings...
by: Bob Magee
This past week has brought some unhappy endings and happy beginnings in
One of those unhappy endings was the last chapter to the
bizarre story reported here last week regarding Michigan independent
promoter Darlene Brown and a legends wrestling show she ran this past
weekend in loose association with the National Cherry Festival.
those of you who didn't read last week's column, the show was initially advertised with this flowery language: "...the first legends show of such
magnitude in North America since Pay Per View! The event is made possible by GWPE promoter Jersey (Darlene Brown's promotional nickname), who is one of
the first female professional wrestling promoters ever!". The talent roster was advertised as Dusty Rhodes, Kamala, Larry Zybysko, "Powers of Pain"
Barbarian and Warlord, the Rock 'n Roll Express, Jimmy Valiant, and "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton, and Colt Cabana.
Everyone on the show from
workers to ring crew to vendors... even the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds
itself were all paid by check...none of which were legitimate. The vendors
at Cherrymania were burned, after having paid $200-$1,000 for tables for an
event that Brown had promised would draw thousands...and instead drew just
over 100 fans for her "legends" wrestling card.
weekly Charleston Post and Courier wrestling column this week listed the
following comments regarding the event: "I don't think the show was
advertised very well," said one source. "The matches were held about 20
miles from the actual festival, and many of the wrestlers even had a hard
time finding the place. Nobody seemed to know much about the show. It just
wasn't well advertised. I doubt if she had much experience promoting. She
apparently was banking on a very large crowd..."
other staff learned during the Cherrymania event that Brown's check to the
Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds fairgrounds was not legitimate. Wrestlers
can read signals, and after hearing this news, they started questioning
Brown about their own paychecks.
But even before the show, many wrestlers
scheduled for the show had begun asking questions after they had their
travel arrangements changed by Brown, due to a "poor advance". Dusty Rhodes,
Larry Zybysko, and Colt Cabana cancelled their bookings as a
The final chapter of this sad story occurred on July 10th, as a
media release from Wexford County Sheriff Gary Finstrom declared Brown's
death to be a suicide. The release states that police responded to a phone
call made Sunday at approximately 12 noon, and and found Brown dead with
"what appeared to be a self-inflicted single gun shot wound, possibly
involving alcohol use". Brown was transported to Mercy Hospital in Cadillac,
MI, where she was officially pronounced dead minutes later.
other hand... there was news this past week of some happy beginnings as
ROH/NWA-TNA/Zero One star Paul London signed a developmental deal with WWE,
and will be starting soon with Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Philadelphia, London was one of the talents that got Ring of Honor noticed
with his solid background from Rudy Boy Gonzalez's Texas Wrestling Academy
and with Dory Funk's Funkin' Conservatory, melded with a willingness to do
absolutely psychotic looking spots in and around the ring.
regularly stole almost every show he worked on, no matter if there was a NWA
World Champion or a Wrestling Observer Hall of fame candidate from Japan on
the show. His sincerity and his tremendous talent are obvious to anyone
who's ever met him, and whoever's seen one of matches.
London got an
opportunity to shine for WWE officials when he won this year's ECWA Super 8
on April 5; defeating Alex Arion, Frankie Kazarian and Chance Beckett in the
Super submission when Beckett blacked out in the Oriental Torture Device
London will work his last Ring of Honor match on
Saturday, July 19th, at Ring of Honor's show at the Rex Plex in Elizabeth,
NJ against ROH champion Samoa Joe. For information on this show, go to
Ring of Honor website. To order tickets online for the show, go to this URL:
Some memorable moments during London's Ring Of Honor stay
- His September 21, 2002 "Unscripted" street fight
ladder match against Michael Shane in Philadelphia, including the insane
shooting star press off of a ladder that inspired the "Please don't die" for
each of his lunatic spots in ROH.
- His match with Bryan
Danielson on the December 12, 2002 "Night Of The Butcher" show in
- His ROH title match with Xavier at "Final Battle
2002" on December 28, 2002 in Philadelphia.
- The four-way
match against BJ Whitmer, Homicide, and Colt Cabana at the January 11, 2003
"Revenge On The Prophecy" show outside of Pittsburgh.
- The ROH
First Anniversary show on February 8, 2003 at the Elks Lodge in Queens,
NY...where he wrestled both a 40 minute indy MOTY candidate with Low Ki and
AJ Styles...then, in the same night took on ROH champion
- In the 2003 Super 8 final, returning only shortly
after emergency sinus cavity surgery, Paul London defeated Chance Beckett,
submission when Beckett blacked out in the Oriental Torture Device (Cattle
- His April 12, 2003 MOTY candidate at "The Epic
Encounter", in a 40 minute match with Bryan "American Dragon" Danielson in
- His classic challenge of Christopher Daniels at
the April 26, 2003 "Retribution: Round Robin Challenge II" show in suburban
- His match with AJ Styles battle in yet one
more MOTY candidate at the June 14, 2003 Cambridge, MA "Night Of The
London always seemed like a genuinely nice person who
somehow forgot to develop the "star mentality" that affects some within
wrestling...especially those who only THINK they are stars. I've also heard
the same from many who work with him. The funny thing, London would be one
of those who'd actually have the right to HAVE an ego. Wonder if he realized
how much he's like Chris Benoit in that respect?
He's also had to
deal with the fact that his own family is strongly against his career choice
of wrestling. Perhaps if some of his family sees how many people he's
touched with his talent and his genuine personality, they can think twice
about that lack of support.
Best wishes, Paul. Here's hoping someone down
in OVW can find you a good comic book store or two down in Louisville like
Hall of Heroes, and that someone can tell you where to pick up good German
chocolate cakes. Lord knows that Jim Cornette and Danny Davis will take
care of the few nuances in your style you haven't already learned from Rudy
Boy Gonzalez and Dory Funk.
Now if we can only keep Stephanie McMahon
from keeping him down... HHH from ever seeing him period... and from only
being seen by the few people that watch Velocity.
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)