Untitled Wrestling Blog: World of Hurt Wrestling
Written by Mark Adam Haggerty
A lot of crazy things have happened to me since breaking into the pro wrestling business nearly three years ago. I’ve announced some noteworthy names, I’ve taken countless uncoordinated bumps, I’ve gotten the chance to work for incredible companies like CHIKARA and Evolve. But the absolute wildest thing that’s happened is how accustom I’ve become to life on the road every weekend. I used to truly hate driving and being in the car for more than an hour at a time. So much so, that when I first debuted I was hesitant to take opportunities solely based on distance. I made up the most elaborate and unnecessary excuses to not tag along on trips, which in hindsight was radically counter-productive. I just didn’t want to drive! But in the Spring of 2017 I was approached by a promoter in Upstate New York who’d heard good things through the grapevine, and I agreed to work his show without checking my GPS. I didn’t fully grasp the geography of New York State and assumed it would be some two and a half hours away like previous events I’d worked. Four hours later I was in Whitehall for World of Hurt Wrestling.
My name is Mark Adam Haggerty and this is the Untitled Wrestling Blog powered by BodySlam.net and sponsored by my friends atAudibleTrial.com/BPlusPlayers as well as Heel Shit Design. Also be sure to check out ProWrestlingTees.com/Haggerty for all my latest t-shirt designs. If you’re just joining me, I encourage you to check out the previous chapters in this series: My Life Prior to Wrestling, The BBWF, Grim’s Toy Show, We Are the Dynasty, B+ Player Radio, The Real Robbie E, Paradise Alley, and New York City.
Chapter Eight – World of Hurt Wrestling
Prior to working for World of Hurt, all of the bookings I received were at the behest of somebody else, whether that be Dan Ramm or Robbie E. It was always a matter of, “Hey, I’ve got this guy who rides with me—he’s a ring announcer, he can do commentary, he also manages, can you throw him a bone?” World of Hurt, specifically Shane Alden, was the first promotion to reach out to me personally and as previously stated, I instantly obliged without calculating how long it would take me to arrive in Whitehall. I remember reading Whitehall and thinking “White Plains,” and thinking it wouldn’t be too far. Upon further research I realized Whitehall was just north of Glens Falls and basically sat on the border of Vermont. I was overwhelmed, but I’d reached a point where I was ready to give my everything to any and all possible prospects, and that’s exactly what I did.
I arrived in Whitehall New York in the afternoon of May 26th 2017, alongside the aforementioned Robbie E. Again, Robbie wasn’t the impetus for the opportunity, but circumstances being what they were meant we happened to be headed to the same place. I was really relieved, quite frankly, as this was to be the longest journey of my career thus far and having my then mentor along for the ride helped quash the nerves by which I’d have otherwise been overcome. We pulled up to the venue in the mid-afternoon just as things were being set up, and I was astonished to discover the building itself was an historical landmark. The Whitehall Athletic Club, also known as the Whitehall Armory, is a centuries-old mansion with grand staircases and dozens of rooms, a state of the art weight room in the basement, a full bar serving food, and most notably—a grand ballroom complete with balcony and high-end lighting fixtures not unlike those you see at more noteworthy wrestling promotions. It was magnificent.
After I finished admiring the structure, I introduced myself to Shane Alden who, in addition to promoting World of Hurt, is a well-traveled wrestler himself appearing for Ring of Honor as well as countless independent companies throughout the country. My first interaction with Shane is something I’ll never forget: I sat down in the audience where he was going over the card. We made small talk and exchanged pleasantries, and then he said, “I had to get rid of my old ring announcer because he was sending inappropriate pictures to teenage girls.” I cackled at the absolute absurdity that exists in this business and assured Shane that wasn’t going to be something he’d have to worry about with me. We shook hands and went about getting ready and before I knew it the lights were on bright and I was standing in the center of the biggest crowd I’d ever worked before. The show was excellent; I believe Kyle with the Good Hair won the heavyweight championship. But more on Kyle with the Good Hair a little bit later.
The majority of events held by World of Hurt are hosted at the beautiful ‘Athletic Club,’ but we’ve also presented shows from Fort Edward New York, Brandon Vermont, and Bennington Vermont. World of Hurt has also booked some of the biggest names I’ve ever had the chance to work with. People like Scott Hall, Jimmy Hart, Scott Steiner, the Godfather, Gangrel, Tommy Dreamer. Beyond the big stars and Hall of Famers, however, World of Hurt is also where I’ve met some of my closest friends imaginable. Folks like Kelly Slingerland who co-promotes World of Hurt alongside Shane Alden. People like Craig Wippleman who took a photo with me the day we met and used it as his profile picture for almost two years. Mike Blair, the timekeeper, who’s made it clear he doesn’t drink or smoke but loves Mountain Dew. Mary Gage and Wayne Fitzgerald, two noteworthy names in the pro wrestling production game, without whom I’d be lost more times than not. Referee Dan who never tucks his shirt in, but I love him anyway. Reagan the 50/50 girl who never calls my number but she’s still cool I guess. Daniel Zaffarano! One of the best up and coming ringside photographers who got his start with World of Hurt! Swinger Sidusky, Daniel Roberts, Eric Alden, Ricky Williams, Tyler Payne, Damian Adams! Geeze Louise, Damian Adams! And his students, which means everybody from Karen Q to Karissa Rivera to Blaxstrom to Ray Jaz to Matt Montana. I can name people all day, and that’s because every single person I’ve ever met at World of Hurt is passionate about what they do, inside the ring or out.
In addition to the friends I’ve made, I’ve also gotten closer to people I’d only ever known through social media. People like “The Gouda Guy” Mikey Cheese, FKA Mikey Mudd, FKA Mikey Mozzaralla, FKA—well, you get it. I met Mike Leanza, the man behind the many monikers, through Facebook where he was gaining a reputation as a pretty prolific wrestling artist dealing primarily in“Wrestling Buddies” ala the old WWF dolls. I had just started B+ Player Radio at the time and thought Mike would be an interesting guest and spoiler: I was one hundred percent right. After the interview wrapped he insisted on sending me a care package featuring stickers, a chef’s hat, and a Mikey Cheese doll that my friend’s dog eventually destroyed, but that’s beside the point.
I owe a lot of who I am and what I’ve been able to accomplish to World of Hurt Wrestling. They gave me a voice, they gave me a home, but above all else—and this is where it gets real for a second—they gave me an excuse to ride to and from every event with Kyle Brad. I’ve met a lot of people on this journey of mine and made a lot of true friends along the way. But Kyle is different. Kyle’s the kind of dude who’ll stay out all night drinking and gambling with me because he knows we can sleep it off in the Whitehall Armory before our next show starts. He’s the kind of guy who’ll willingly switch seats with me when I get pulled over because he knows I have warrants in certain states. He’s the kind of guy who didn’t hesitate to accept me when I came out of the closet because he knows we’re still the fucking FUN BOYZ.
I can’t tell you what World of Hurt Wrestling means to me. It’s the sort of place I don’t mind driving four hours to every other month. The events are exciting, the fans are supportive, and the atmosphere that Shane Alden has successfully created over the past decade makes every show feel like a family reunion. I can’t wait until the next time I get to come visit my family.
Next time on the Untitled Wrestling Blog I’ll be discussing Test of Strength Wrestling and all that it entails including my relationship with and earliest memories of Slyck Wagner Brown, the quirky Sunday afternoon Training Day events, and how I got hooked up with Alex Rojas and Heel Shit Design & Apparel. PLUS details on Test of Strength’s most recent show, “Undeniable,” which is being hailed as the best event in the promotion’s history. All that and much more on the next edition of the Untitled Wrestling Blog.
Until then please follow me on Twitter & Instagram @MarkAHaggerty and be sure to Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for all original content on a nauseatingly consistent basis. Another reminder to check out AudibleTrial.com/BPlusPlayers, Heel Shit Design, and ProWrestlingTees.com/Haggerty. If you’re a promoter and you’d like to book me you can Direct Message me on any social media platform or email [email protected].
Check out our brand new store at PRO WRESTLING TEES, show us your support and buy a shirt. You can visit our store by clicking here.
Also check us out on Facebook and give us a like and share by clicking HERE.