Red River Regular Will 'Inspire' Through Wrestling
Of course Max Dropout is becoming a wrestling promoter. The long-time booker at Red River institution Beerland has the perfect name for the sport of brawlers and high fliers. This weekend, he'll be ringside for the first Inspire Pro Wrestling event. He said, "I want to combine modern athleticism with traditional creative story telling."
After bouncing and booking Beerland for the last 11 years, Damage teamed with Joshua Neal Montgomery and Justin Bissonnette to create a new promotion. His partners bring the experience and contacts that the new promotion needs: After all, if anyone has a worse reputation than a music promoter, it's a wrestling manager. Yet Dropout hopes Inspire can help change that image. He said, "[Bissonette] has a really good reputation as just being that guy that doesn't rip people off."
Ten years ago, Austin had fallen off the list of wrestling towns. Now the WWE brings its ratings leviathan live show to town two or three times a year, and local promotion Anarchy Championship Wrestling has drawn in major name talent from around the indie world, all the while building up its own roster. Dropout's plan is to compliment, rather than compete with those two proven companies. He said, "If you look at Philadelphia, it has Chikara, CZW, Ring of Honor, and the reason why it's such a great market is because it has all these guys co-existing and doing their own thing." As Inspire brings new feuds, new faces and a new flavor of wrestling to Austin, he said, "I'm hoping to expand the audience and bring new people in."
Growing up in California, Dropout watched wrestling with his grandmother: Then when he moved to the East coast, he became attracted to its rich indie scene. "Admitting you're a pro-wrestling fan isn't always the most popular thing," said Dropout. "It's just something that me and and a number of friends get together in the catacombs to discuss."
It's still tough being the rookie on the scene, but Dropout has a long history in Austin music promotion. He's also a writer, and will be deeply involved in creating the feuds that he hopes will make Inspire's monthly events unmissable for pro-wrestling fans. "When I was writing in New York, I remember people passing along to me job ads for WWF and WWE. They'd say, 'We're looking for people in the creative department, but you must have this much experience and this college paperwork,' and the idea was just far out there. The only way I'd get to write for a company of that notoriety is if I won a goddam Oscar."
The pro-wrestling industry globally is dominated by the WWE, much to the chagrin of many fans. Dropout said, "People in the indies tend to disparage the WWE, but you see the influence of it everywhere." Many indie promotions have become overladen with goofy gimmicks and soap opera theatrics, and "I guess this is my way of trying to fix things." His own inspiration is "the period of [WCW] Nitro when the undercard was the best part of the show. Not the nWo, not the heavyweights, but the stuff where you'd see Silver King and La Parka, or Guerrero versus Malenko. There's going to be some comedy stuff, some lucha libre, some more technical matches, some brawls. We're trying to give people a wrestling pupu platter."
Sunday's card, named The Beginning, is his first chance to remake this little corner of wrestling to fit that vision. The night's main event features three hot names on the indie circuit. First, Davey Vega (an Anarchy Championship Wrestling alum, and trained at Chikara by WWE superstar Antonio Cesaro), who'll face the Kentucky Gentleman and professional trash talker Chuck Taylor (Dropout said, "He's driving down from St. Louis, and he's a name right now that's getting a lot of attention.") They'll be joined in the squared circle for this three way dance by rising Ring of Honor star Ach (if you haven't seen him wrestle yet, imagine a mix of TNA mainstay Christopher Daniels and the groundbreaking 2 Cold Scorpio.) On the line is a golden ticket for a future main event match in the hunt to crown the first ever Inspire Pro champion. Similar golden ticket matches include Shawn Vess versus Chris Cross and Alex Reigns versus Jojo Bravo.
But there'll also be real gold on the line, in a three-way lucha libre-style bout for the NWA Grand Warrior Revolution belt. That matters to Dropout, because his philosophy of booking is simple. It's like Stone Cold Steve Austin said: If you're not in the ring to be champion, then why are you there? Dropout said, "You see so many shows where the matches just don't matter. The title has to mean something."
Inspire Pro: The Beginning at Marchesa Hall and Theater, 6226 Middle Fiskville, Sunday July 7. Doors 5:30pm, first bell 6pm. Tickets $10, available now. More info and tickets at www.inspireprowrestling.blogspot.com