“…Reaching for Ring Ropes and Touching Turnbuckles”
Four years ago I earned my first paycheck from professional wrestling as a dirt sheet writer for a former site called Cheap-Heat [which was owned by Bodyslam.net‘s Cassidy Haynes]. I wrote an assortment of articles featuring previews and reviews, as well as a regular column entitled “Lucky 13” where I listed off the Top 13 of whatever I was into that day. Fast forward to the following year and I was privileged enough to be working for a good dozen different wrestling websites including Daily Wrestling News, Wrestling Inc., Lords of Pain, and so many more that I hesitate to list them out of fear of neglecting even one. To me, at that time, writing about wrestling and being able to pay my rent with the money I made was a dream come true and if that was my ceiling—that’d be totally acceptable.
My editor at Cheap-Heat suggested I give podcasting a try and I was woefully opposed to it. Everybody had a goddamn podcast [this was in 2014 before everybody did have a podcast] and most of the people already doing it were far more knowledgeable than I’d ever be. In addition, I didn’t know how to record a podcast, I didn’t know how to edit a podcast, and I sure as shit didn’t know how to post a podcast. But I figured it out and B+ Player Radio was born soon thereafter.
I relocated from the Golden State of California to the Garden State of New Jersey in 2016 and immediately immersed myself in the independent wrestling culture that was not then-present back on the West Coast. I gravitated toward “Super Indy’s” that put on massive events with a healthy dose of recognizable names while still focusing on their homegrown talent. I was lucky enough to get access to the locker room at Pro Wrestling Syndicate [the company that begat what is now known as WrestlePro] and interviewed a number of guys and girls who I’m proud to say are some of my best friends to this day.
I continued to make connections, in New York and New Jersey primarily, and spent every single weekend out on the road going to another show for another company where I could get another handful of interviews for the websites as well as my own podcast. I eventually found my way to a show in Totowa New Jersey where the play-by-play announcers were shouting their commentary into a house-mic ala Brother Love on Boy Meets World. I told the promoter I’d be happy to help with their audio moving forward, given my self-taught podcasting expertise. He was happy to welcome me aboard and invited me to a YouTube taping he’d arranged the following week.
In the days preceding the taping, the company’s regular ring announcer was injured and I was asked to fill in for the night. Of course I was elated to oblige, but what the fuck? I started writing for dirt sheets to supplement my income and now I’m stepping inside the ring where I’m going to be part of the show? Looking back it’s easy to realize this was a skeleton crew of unpaid wrestlers-in-training filming themselves in front of zero fans using iPhones. But it was still so cool! I remember leaving the venue that night and calling my dad. He must’ve thought I performed at WrestleMania the way I was talking, but I didn’t care. I was a fan watching wrestling on television who loved it so much that I started writing about it and here I am 3,000 miles away actually reaching for ring ropes and touching turnbuckles.
Is this a good time to start?
My name is Mark Adam Haggerty, and I’m a professional wrestling ring announcer, commentator, manager, and yeah sometimes they make me wrestle too. Since debuting in August of 2016 I’ve worked close to 200 live events for 35 different promotions across 14 states and three countries including the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Not a day goes by that I don’t recall every detail of what I just wrote because not a day goes by where I’m not flummoxed—albeit blessed—to be living the life I lead. I started my career writing for websites owned and operated by the same people who bring you BodySlam.net, which is why I’m honored to make my literary return[after nearly two years] to this up-and-coming platform.
So what can we expect from this column in the coming weeks and months? I’m hoping to provide a candid look at some of the most pivotal events from my career thus far, including: the first event I ever worked and how I’m still waiting to get paid; the former Impact Wrestling star who took me under his wing and taught me how to be successful; my first trip to Canada and the miscellaneous shenanigans that ensued; the time my car broke down and I was stranded 400 miles from home; being outed against my will and how being gay in wrestling is actually dope as fuck; and much more! I’ve got a lot I want to talk about, and if Cassidy Haynes and the fine folks at BodySlam.net are willing to provide the platform, I’m willing to share my story.
I still haven’t decided on any sort of consistent frequency with which to release these columns, but I’ll probably have that figured out by the time the next one is released. Speaking of which! Next time around, I’ll be discussing the aforementioned first time announcing for an actual wrestling promotion. I think the best way for me to tackle this autobiographical prison sentence I’m committed to is to go in some kind of chronological order. And where better to start than the beginning? So tune in—uh, next week? I guess? For another edition of… this untitled wrestling blog. MAH
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