AS I SEE IT - 8/12/2002:
The Further Adventures of a Wrestling Pornographer
by: Bob Magee
The continuing soap opera concerning the attempt by Rob (Black) Zicari's XPW promotion to run a show at the ECW Arena on August 31st has continued non-stop since the last AS I SEE IT column.
News continued to come from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission that XPW did not have a license to run in the State of Pennsylvania.
Then, this past week, with a graphic saying "What's The Fuss"?, XPW published what they claimed was their surety bond, one of the conditions for running a professional wrestling show in Pennsylvania. It was in fact an application, and they still needed a license, either of their own, or rented from another promoter licensed in Pennsylvania.
The bond, for reasons you'll see, has since been removed from their site, but may still be available for viewing at this URL.
When many people saw the bond on the XPW website, the address listed on the bond was easily discovered to be the same as that of RF Video's The Pro Wrestling Shop in Langhorne, PA.
That led to reasonable speculation that XPW was using the Pennsylvania State license of the Ring of Honor promotion.
ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky denied any involvement with XPW in the strongest terms.
Sapolsky's version of the story as told on CZW Fans.com:
"...XPW called Rob Feinstein to see if Rob could help them get a bond. Rob just gave them the name of the company we use because we aren't going to be assholes and just hang up the phone on them.... So next thing we know our address appears on XPW's bond. They used our address without our permission."
Then on August 8th, after some digging, I found the agent who sold this bond from The Hartford. I then discovered that things were, as seems to be the case with everything concerning this story...complicated.
The Hartford attorney Anna Evenly stated to me in a phone call to their Delaware offices that the address used on the XPW bond was false. Steps were taken to cancel the bond on the grounds of a false address being sued; namely, the business address used by RF Video and the Ring of Honor promotion.
XPW claimed to Socaluncensored.com reporter Stave Bryant that "RF-Video/ROH Head Rob Feinstein had agreed to let them use his address as a local office, but due to pressure from all around they decided to ignore that agreement, thus having their bond revoked."
However, as far as The Hartford was concerned, the bond application was falsified and was as a result revoked.
Then....on Friday, August 9, according to sources in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, it was reported that XPW promoter Rob Black finally obtained a license, by striking a deal with Joe Blackburn, the promoter of the Delaware County-based Heritage Wrestling Association.
On Saturday, August 10th, Steve Bryant reported that Joe Blackburn had now said:
"...that nothing has been signed or set in stone regarding the license. He also said he will talk it over with some people this weekend and have a decision on Monday. I imagine the deal was done but the negative feedback he started getting from fans and wrestlers lead to this "talking things over".
Finally, on August 11th, the following e-mail arrived in my e-mail box:
From the desk of Joseph Blackburn
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We’ve heard it all and now its time for the official statement, no more guessing, no more playing games. On August 31st at the Viking Hall
XPW, in agreement with myself and the Heritage Wrestling Alliance, will present "Hostile Takeover"...
...There was a time when the XPW office wanted for us to wait to "smooth things out", but that time is over and now everything is a go. We hope to see you all at the arena for a night of wrestling from a company who has certainly proven that they know how to get attention. For more details you can go to our site at
www.angelfire.com/wrestling2/HWARULEZ, or of course www.xpwrestling.com
Heritage Wrestling Alliance
One hopes Mr. Blackburn is aware of the way that the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has stated publicly that they will be watching XPW at this show, with members of the Pennsylvania State Police present. According to the way a promoter's license rental works in Pennsylvania... if the promotion renting a license violates State regulations, the primary promoter is held responsible at risk of his own license.
In other related developments, XPW had previously announced that they on would be running the ECW Arena (aka Viking Hall) on October 26th, November 16th, and December 21st. Socaluncensored.com's Steven Bryant contacted officials of the South Philadelphia Viking Club, who stated that not only are those dates not booked by
XPW, but some of them are booked by other wrestling promotions. XPW Vice President Kevin Kleinrock claimed, when asked by Bryant that XPW has a written contract with Viking Hall for the above dates.
It is known that there are businesses in South Philadelphia who are not happy with the idea that Zicari is running this show. These businesses have apparently contacted the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission to make them aware of that fact.
As all this is happening...XPW is promoting its August 31st show on its website with the following semi-literate dialogue (the spelling and grammar is the XPW website's own, by the way).
"Rumors have been flying that Hostile Takeover has been cancelled, Hostile Takeover has been shut down and Hostile Takeover has been banned but these rumors are being spread based on fear!
That hasn't been done anywhere that I know of.
On August 31st XPW will invade the East Coast And On August 31st XPW Fans From Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, Massachusetts, California And Other States And Cities Will Gather To See First Hand Why We Are The Wrestling Promotion Everyone Else Is Afraid Of And Why We Are The Wrestling Promotion Everyone Is Trying To Keep Out.
I'm sure that Vince McMahon is shaking in his boots.
XPW has also claimed that there have been attempts to "sabotage" the show. If asking a promoter to follow the rules of the state of Pennsylvania is sabotage, I suppose that's happened.
Now...some readers may ask the question as to why this is really important to so many people, why I'm spending two columns on it; and why I'm not talking instead about such interesting subjects as why HHH is lording over the WWE
Consider this: XPW is run by pornographer Rob (Black) Zicari, who makes his money from his Extreme Associates company. God knows with the dismally poor paid houses he draws at his California shows, he isn't making it off of
Mind you, as a civil libertarian, I'll defend anyone's right to sell or view pornography, if they deem it appropriate...as long as the material in question involves activities involving consenting adults.
However, as everything else is with this whole mess...it's more complicated.
Mr. Zicari also sells material involving females that appear to be minors, labeled as "Extreme Teens", a fact which can be noted at this URL
[PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS IS AN ADULT SITE, AND IS NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS].
On the warning page that precedes the Extreme Associates page they claim that all those in their films are 18. It appears that to cover themselves legally, they claim on a warning page that they
aren't selling the very thing... that they claim within their site that they are selling.
Well...as far as I'm aware, selling pornography involving minors is illegal throughout the United States and many, if not all, of the countries with readers viewing this column. The only question might be what each state, locality, or country determines a minor to be.
Then, there is such constitutionally protected...but sickening beyond words... material as his "films" that depict simulated rape and murder. Here is the ad for a "film" called "Forced Entry":
"The Most Controversial Movie In Extreme Associates' Video Arsenal. A Stunningly Disturbing Look At A Serial Killer, Satanic Rituals, And The Depths Of Human Depravity".
I couldn't have described what Rob Zicari does any better myself.
This is what Rob Black is, and what he does.
Apparently the State of Pennsylvania finds allowing someone who peddles this garbage to be more acceptable under their rules than allowing wrestlers like Mark Briscoe...a talented young man who has the full support of his family who happens to be a few months this side of 18...to wrestle.
Interesting priorities, aren't they?
This entire story as listed above leads to the obvious question as to how the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission can allow a promoter to run a show in the State of Pennsylvania who:
1) Sold tickets for an professional wrestling event three weeks in advance of possessing a license to legally do so.
2) Is reported to have falsified the bond application submission for his own license, a requirement to run shows in the Commonwealth.
3) Sold tickets for an event three weeks in advance of possessing a $10,000 surety bond license to legally do so.
4) Engages in an activity which is illegal in the State of Pennsylvania, that being the selling of pornographic material that either does or is designed to create the illusion that it is depicting minors.
All of these facts have been made known to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. Yet, as of this moment, Rob Black will run his wrestling show on August 31.
If any readers would like to offer their opinions on this matter to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If any readers would like to offer their opinions on this matter to Joe Blackburn, promoter of the Heritage Wrestling Association, they can do so at email@example.com.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)