Untitled Wrestling Blog: Grim’s Toy Show
Written by Mark Adam Haggerty
The absolute craziest thing in the world is being recognized by fans outside of a wrestling environment. It happened to me twice. Once by a kid at a convenience store and then again in my own home when the guy cleaning my vents knew me the moment I opened my door. And I’d love to tell you that they’ve seen me on television, or pay-per-view, or some sort of streaming platform—because I’ve appeared via all those mediums—but they didn’t. They saw me on YouTube. They saw me on one of the most massively recognizable YouTube channels out there, wrestling or not. They saw me on Grim’s Toy Show.
My name is Mark Adam Haggerty and now two chapters into this endeavor I’ve still yet to come up with a name. And since graphics have been drawn up and Twitter accounts have been activated, I figure this is going to be what I stick with for the next however many chapters of the now officially-titled “Untitled Wrestling Blog.” Last time I touched on my first opportunity as part of the pro wrestling industry when I discussed my time and tenure with the Bigger Better Wrestling Federation. If you’re just joining me now or haven’t yet had the chance to read that, check it out HERE.
Chapter Two – Grim’s Toy Show
Grim’s Toy Show, for those unaware, is a widely-popular YouTube program airing multiple times every week featuring professional wrestling stars—some noteworthy, others not so much. Among the more recognizable figures to appear are James Ellsworth, Curt Hawkins, Robbie E, Thunderosa, Bull James, Nunzio, and so many more it would be impossible to list them all. The rest of the roster is fleshed out with independent wrestlers from around the northeast, the vast majority of whom are from New York and New Jersey. While the show relies heavily on adolescent jokes—what my grandma would refer to as “bathroom humor”—the consistency of the linear storytelling and even the in-ring product cannot be denied. I like to compare Grim’s Toy Show to Saturday Night Live; SNL brings Hollywood A-Listers and Academy Award winners to their studio in New York City and puts them outside their comfort zone to achieve hilarious results. Grim does the same sort of thing by inviting television stars to GTS, where they end up fighting zombies, solving mysteries, and—in the case of Robbie E—fucking other wrestlers’ moms. I’ll tell you more about that in a little while.
Robbie was actually the person who got me involved with Grim’s Toy Show. At the time, I was only a few months into my tenure with the Bigger Better Wrestling Federation and was looking to expand as much as possible. I began riding to events with Robbie and one day, driving back from Philadelphia, he asked if I’d ever heard of Grim’s Toy Show. I admittedly had not, and Robbie went on to explain the basic premise. He said he was going over there one morning and asked if I wanted to tag along, and—given my attitude at the time—I did. We met our friend Dionett Vaton at the local Retro Fitness for an early morning workout and then carpooled to Grim’s grandmother’s house in Toms River. Back then, the ring was set up right on the grass in her backyard, with the wooden deck and stairway serving as the entrance. After signing an insurance waiver, I was positioned alongside the camera and was instructed to provide running commentary on the action as it unfolded. The rest of the afternoon was sort of a blur but I remember the episode ending in the street with Kleetus and Tony Emerald hobbling away from whatever fight they just lost.
My first impression of Grim’s Toy Show was, in all honesty, a sense of jarring disbelief. I couldn’t believe that something so simple had garnered such a resounding reputation amongst wrestling fans regardless of age, gender or location. I was also taken aback by the number of former WWE Superstars [and CURRENT Impact stars, ROBBIE] who not only didn’t mind being part of GTS, but wanted to be there in the first place. I soon came to realize that the respect Grim was gaining amongst wrestlers had less to do with his popularity on YouTube, and was more centered around the unlimited creative freedom afforded to people thirsty for that kind of opportunity. Guys and girls seemingly stifled by professional boundaries found themselves in an expansive no holds barred environment where anything was possible.
My favorite experience working on GTS was with Robbie, Tony Emerald, and Grim. To catch everybody up: Robbie [in storyline] has fallen in love with Tony Emerald’s mother. Tony is CONSERVATIVELY 43-years old, which means his mother is what—maybe 70? Robbie spends weeks, if not months, telling Tony all the nasty things he’s done with his mother, all while belittling Tony for “being a bad son.” The two have their battles inside the squared-circle with various stipulations therein, but when the dust settles, Robbie is still plowing Tony’s mom. One afternoon, while Tony was trying to sleep—with his ENORMOUS stuffed lion—Robbie entered Tony’s house and dragged him from bed for an impromptu “Father/Son Outing.” [Real quick side note: it’s actually my stuffed lion and this entire scene in “Tony’s house” was shot in my condo here at the Jersey shore.] What followed was a montage of scenes featuring Robbie and Tony that we shot at the Seaside Heights Boardwalk.
The drama between Robbie and Tony hit an all-time peak however, when Mrs. Emerald—played by… you know what? I’m not going to ruin it. Played by Mrs. Emerald is good enough. Tony’s mom debuted, which led to the moment everyone was waiting for—Robbie’s proposal. My single greatest contribution to Grim’s Toy Show is the poem Robbie read to Mrs. Emerald on camera. I remember standing outside the warehouse spouting off random words and sentences hoping for some kind of cognizant phrase along the way. The end result was another Mark Haggerty Masterpiece that was probably focused more on Tony’s quirks than on Robbie’s love for his mother.
I’ve had the chance to work with dozens of different performers on Grim’s Toy Show including but certainly not limited to El Jefe Rojo, JJ Adams, Jay Evans, Jimmy Controversy, Joe Wolf, Pete Corvus, Kama Kozzy, Dalton, Mathias Glass, Tommy Salami, Ace Marxman, The Whompis, The Beach Bums, Ed the Ref, Sterling, Kurt Bale, Duhop, Drax Masin, and Kleetus. I’ve seen GTS grow from a literal toy show about a dude playing with action figures, to a backyard wrestling phenomenon with legit WWE Superstars, to a halfway decent promotion itself in a warehouse with working relationships with independent companies. To say I’m proud to have appeared on Grim’s Toy Show is an understatement. No matter where I go or what I do, the number one question I get: “When are you coming back to GTS?” Regardless of how long it’s been or how infrequently I appeared in the first place, it’s clear I made some sort of impact on the GTS audience at large. Even if the majority of my “appearances” were from behind the camera.
So when AM I coming back to Grim’s Toy Show? That’s the question I get online and in-person. In the United States and in Canada. From Maine down to West Virginia. My stock answer is either of two one-word responses: “soon” or “never.” But I don’t mean either, if I’m being completely honest. I will return to Grim’s Toy Show at some point down the line—but I honestly don’t know when. At this point—and this is me keeping it one hundred with my loyal readers—it depends on the creative and how I’d be utilized as part of the product. Just the same as an Academy Award winning actor on SNL, I’m sort of striving to do stuff that I’m not already doing. I want to get outside my comfort zone and have fun and make memories, and if I can do that with Grim’s Toy Show, then there’s no other place I’d rather be.
So what’s on the agenda for the next installment of this Untitled Wrestling Blog? At this point in my career I was only doing commentary for BBWF and making occasional appearances on GTS. That is until a couple of promoters in upstate New York gave me the opportunity I’d been hoping for since I was 9-years old. Next week I’m talking about Chris Envy, Mike King, and my love affair with The Dynasty and professional wrestling in the Capitol Region of New York. A love affair that continues to this day and has led to more professional breaks in this business than anything else I’ve ever done.
Until then remember to follow me throughout social media on Twitter and Instagram @MarkAHaggerty. Subscribe to B+ Player Radio on all major podcasting platforms including iTunes TuneIn SoundCloud Stitcher and GooglePlay. And don’t forget to check me out live and in person across these United States in the coming weeks. I’ve got shows every weekend—all weekend long, in most cases—in as many as 10 different states this month, so don’t miss your chance to meet me and see some spectacular professional wrestling in the process. MAH
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