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 wrestling...

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.

For 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.

Mike Mooneyham's 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..."

Wrestlers and 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 result.

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.

On the 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.

Especially in 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.

London 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 (Cattle Mutilation).

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, the 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 included:

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.

Until next time....


(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at