Untitled Wrestling Blog: New York City
Written by Mark Adam Haggerty
I was born on September 4th 1986 at Mount Sanai Hospital in New York City, and lived the first several months of my life in the Battery Park neighborhood of Manhattan. Even after moving, I spent many of my formative years in and around New York visiting family and friends and even attended a not-so-successful semester at the New York Film Academy. New York has this global reputation as the “City That Never Sleeps,” and that “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” Maybe I was inoculated at an early age, but New York was never anything special to me. Until I found professional wrestling. New York is the Mecca, at least here in America. The sight of three groundbreaking WrestleManias, the host of the inaugural Monday Night Raw, a hotbed for Extreme Championship Wrestling, and the home of the world’s most famous arena Madison Square Garden. I started my career just across the river in New Jersey, with zero aspirations about ever performing in the ‘City itself. But since making my debut, and working within all five boroughs, I can say with a hundred percent certainty that New York City is the most exciting place I’ve ever worked.
My name is Mark Adam Haggerty and this is the Untitled Wrestling Blog powered by BodySlam.net and sponsored by my friends at AudibleTrial.com/BPlusPlayers as well as Heel Shit Design. I don’t get paid to write this, so please sign up for a FREE trial of Audible or grab a shirt from Heel Shit. I’ve also got shirts available at ProWrestlingTees.com/Haggerty if you’re so inclined. It’s been nearly two months since my last chapter, during which time you can rest assure I’ve been overwhelming busy but this post has been a long time coming, particularly with WrestleMania right around the corner. If you’re just joining me, which is likely given how long it’s been since my last entry, I encourage you to check out the prior chapters before proceeding: My Life Prior to Wrestling, The BBWF, Grim’s Toy Show, We Are the Dynasty, B+ Player Radio, The Real Robbie E, and Paradise Alley.
Chapter Seven – New York City
By the Spring of 2017 I had established myself as the regular ring announcer for both the Bigger Better Wrestling Federation in New Jersey as well as The Dynasty in Upstate New York. In addition, I had already made sporadic appearances for EPWE Underground as well as ECPW, and was growing more popular in social media due to my presence on the wildly popular Grim’s Toy Show. I wasn’t making much money and the experiences were still few and far between and well-within driving-distance, but I was gaining confidence which was something I’d never had much of before. For a long time I was scared to approach promoters, afraid to ask wrestlers for their information out of fear of bothering them. But the more I did and the more I saw and the more comfortable I became, the more willing I was to take chances and send messages and live by the old Wayne Gretzky credo: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
In late April I was contacted by Chris Ruiz and Mike Sweeney, the owners of an up-and-coming wrestling promotion in New York City called Wrestlers’ Laboratory. The thinking behind the Wrestlers’ Lab model was simple and yet still pretty brilliant at the same time. Rather than run large shows of their own, Chris and Mike partnered with more established companies to co-promote events, with Wrestlers’ Lab oftentimes acting as the pre-show. In addition, the ‘Lab didn’t book the same talent New York audiences were used to, but instead imported wrestlers from around the country, some as far as Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, and California. I was invited to perform backstage interviews at “Method to Our Madness” on May 6th 2017 in the Bronx, which preceded Battle Club Pro’s “May the Villain Reign.” The card featured a number of noteworthy characters I’d meet for the very first time including Hippy Dicky Moon,Colossal Mike Law, and the “Hitman for Hire” Mr. Grim. I also got to meet Dave Sturchio for the very first time as well as Battle Club Pro owners Carlos Aristy and Joakim Morales.
That was also the night I met Dennis Long, the co-owner of Tier 1 Wrestling, another New York-based promotion with an event just about a month away in the neighboring borough of Brooklyn. At this point I was willing and eager to message promoters on Facebook or via e-mail, but I was still sort of nervous when it came to talking to them in real life. I’ve always been like that though, ever since I can remember. With girls I liked, and then guys I liked, and now people I want to work for. I swallowed my nerves and stood tall beside Dennis during the Battle Club portion of the evening, and introduced myself by noting we were friends on Facebook. I told him that if there was ever an opportunity for me at Tier 1, it would be my honor to work for him. He sort of shrugged me off in the moment but said it was nice to meet me. A few weeks later he sent me a message asking if I was available to do play-by-play at his event on June 11th alongside the aforementioned Joakim Morales, and I instantly obliged.
My first Tier 1 Wrestling event was sort of surreal and put me outside my comfort zone in a major way like never before. Up until then I’d only worked at a certain level on the independent circuit. Most of the places where I was booked brought in talent like—well, like me. People who were brand new to wrestling and finding their way however and wherever possible. Wrestlers’ Laboratory was a departure, but Tier 1 was another planet all together. The first show I worked included names like Donavan Dijak, Jordynne Grace, Homicide, Flip Gordon, and in the main event Pentagon Jr. versus Low-Ki. Nobody needed to tell me I wasn’t in the Bigger Better Wrestling Federation anymore. I figured it out from the opening bell. I felt good about the work I did on commentary with Joakim and was thrilled when Dennis asked me to return for his next event—a show that would ultimately go down as Tier 1’s swan song—where I got to work with Brii Combination Wrestling’s Pete Rosado.
My relationship with Dennis Long and Tier 1 Wrestling opened a lot of doors for me in the New York market, but also connected me with audiences abroad and important people such as Sanjay Bagga of LDN Wrestling in the United Kingdom. LDN, I was excited to learn, is among the most active touring brands on the planet, wrestling or otherwise. In fact, LDN Wrestling comes in just third behind only WWE and NJPW when it comes to number of events held annually. I was over-the-moon when Sanjay asked me to do commentary for his first-ever event in America at the stunning Queens Theatre in the Park in Queens New York. This was the first time I was tasked with working solo, meaning I’d provide both color and play-by-play for the entire event myself. It was at this show I met Allen Lee Travis, Crusher Curtis, Rex Dangerous and Joey Scott—Joey Scott of course the guy who got me involved with Full Force Wrestling and Turnbuckle TV, thus helping to continue my expansion into the U.K. The following year LDN returned stateside, this time in Staten Island where I was excited to work with the folks at Warriors of Wrestling, but none of it would have been possible if I didn’t meet Dennis Long one night at a Wrestlers’ Laboratory show at the Point CDC in the Bronx.
Days prior to my first appearance with LDN I was privileged to make another debut, this time with a company I’d long since admired from a far. A company that I grazed along the periphery but never quite infiltrated. A company everybody in the northeast was talking about—Battle Club Pro. I debuted with Battle Club at “The Bounty in Kings County” where Pete Dunne wrestled Darius Carter in the main event with the rest of British Strong Style working on the undercard. I wasn’t the ring announcer for this monumental event, but instead mere powerbomb fodder for Brute Van Slyke who hoisted me into the air following an interview and drilled me into the canvas at the instruction of Mike Orlando. I’m not sure what it was about that power bomb but somebody liked what they saw and I was invited back to take over as the permanent ring announcer for Battle Club Pro beginning on November 4th 2017. Since then I’ve worked six sensational Battle Club shows across three states all while introducing some of the most well-known and highly-regarded athletes the wrestling business has ever seen.
Performing in New York has brought some of the most amazing human beings into my life. Folks like referees Steve Dumeng and Chris Torres, the master of ringside GIFs Jocay, ring announcers Shane Fair and Brian Black, photographers and videographers Brian K., Richard Ruiz, and Danny Walsh, as well as countless wrestlers I couldn’t begin to list for fear of leaving nearly everybody out. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my friends at Uncanny Attractions at House of Yes in Brooklyn, A Matter of Pride at Lucky Cheng’s in Hell’s Kitchen, and Legendary Action Wrestling at Taino Towers in Harlem.
Working in New York City and the surrounding areas has been both personally and professionally fulfilling in a deeply satisfying way. I’ve been honored to expand further than a lot of ring announcers, and in a very short time. But as much as I love traveling and visiting new places and getting out there, New York holds a special place in my heart in terms of my career. New York is where I saw my first independent wrestling show as a kid. It’s where I began connecting with the people who’d help break me into the business. I was a wrestling fan in New York City. I attended everything from House of Glory to Pro Wrestling Syndicate to less-established spots in the Bronx and throughout Jersey. To work with the people I used to cheer for—guys like Matt Macintosh, Anthony Bowens, Sonny Kiss, Mike Verna, Darius Carter—and to do it in front of the same audience that I used to be a part of is gratifying in a way that no envelope ever could be.
On the next edition of the “Untitled Wrestling Blog,” I’m going back to Upstate New York, but this time I’m going farther than ever before! I’m going up to damn-near Vermont. In fact—I’m also going to Vermont, because I’m discussing World of Hurt Wrestling! How did I become so tight with Kyle with the Good Hair? What did Jimmy Hart tell me that I’ll never forget? How did World of Hurt lead me to a red carpet movie premiere? And who exactly is MIKEY CHEESE? The answers to all of those questions and more on the next“Untitled Wrestling Blog.”
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