CM Punk

Respect in the World of Independent Professional Wrestling-

I recently had the opportunity, for the second time in 10 weeks, to have an all access look behind the scenes of the International Wrestling Cartel (IWC).  And, for the second consecutive show, I left with a greater appreciation of the atmosphere, the overall production, and most importantly – the boys.

Since February 8, 2013, I’ve taken on this professional wrestling industry as a second career.  From the onset, I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in or how my future in the business would play out.  54 weeks later, through the guidance of Chair Shot Reality (CSR) executive producer, Justin LaBar, I’ve learned more than I ever knew in a very short period of time.

Prior to joining CSR, I was a “casual” fan of sports entertainment.  I was a diehard growing up as a kid enjoying the performances of Sting, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Bret Hart.  As I grew older, I still followed the sport – having monthly WWE pay-per-view parties at a friend’s house.

And then I went to college.

I no longer tuned in to USA or Spike TV every Monday night at 9PM.  I no longer had the time or money to watch the big shows each month.  But, I did still have the itch, the guilty pleasure, and most importantly, the friends who still had a passion for professional wrestling.

It was by chance, when I was a senior at Point Park University, that I would meet a skinny kid with blonde highlights and a love for professional wrestling.  That scrawny pretty boy was LaBar.  I was 23 and he was 18 when our paths crossed for the first time.

Fast forward to Saturday night, December 14, 2013 – IWC’s ‘Winner Takes All’

Thanks to the generosity of IWC owner Chuck Roberts, I had an all access pass that night.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I did know I wanted to learn.  I desired wanting to learn everything I possibly could in order to have a better understanding of the overall world of the industry.  And learn is exactly what I did.

What I left with that evening was a greater appreciation for the business and everything that goes in to it.   I won’t give all the details, but I will say that behind the curtain, professional wrestling is a work of art.  Some of the art is that of beginners however, much more of the art is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Before John Cena was the face of the WWE, he was learning how to wrestle just as the stars of IWC were on this evening.  He wrestled in a local gym, in front of a crowd of 300, dressing in an open area with 30 others, while rehearsing his match against his opponent in the dark, and at the end of the night was a better performer because of it.

The night of December 14, former WWE wrestler and commentator Matt Striker was the special draw of the evening.  He wrestled a match against Andrew Palace, which was the first in a series of upcoming matches that will crown the IWC Super Indy Champion.  Palace was victorious, but Striker’s feedback to not only Palace, but the entire IWC locker room was worth more than anything they made that evening.

Matt Striker was also invaluable to me as well.

While Striker was in town, he was a guest host on CSR.  Meeting him earlier in the week, I was able to communicate seamlessly with Striker at the IWC event.  In fact, there wasn’t one person on the IWC roster who wasn’t accommodating to me.  They each introduced themselves to me, a total stranger to most, as soon as they arrived at the venue.  One by one they approached me, extended their hand and said “Hi I’m (FILL IN THE BLANK).”

WOW, talk about respect!  I immediately turned to LaBar and pointed out how impressed I was by the professionalism of all the talent.  Not just as wrestlers, but as real life people.  It was this that made me appreciate the boys endlessly.

The night ended up being a great success.  Colt Cabana performed in a triple threat match – which was won by the ‘Neon Ninja’ Façade.  RJ City defeated Shima Ion, and Dalton Castle defeated ‘Big League’ John McChesney to win the IWC World Heavyweight Championship.  It was the dawning of a new era for the IWC!

At the end of the evening all the boys rallied together.  For some, dinner was on the agenda after a night of blood and sweat- adding a beer to celebrate a night well done and successful show by all.

It was at that dinner when Roberts asked me “how was it?”  My response- great!

I further explained to Roberts that I was impressed with everything from start to finish.  I saw what I could only imagine prior to the event.  And, I then reiterated what stood out the most to me- the individual respect and introductions from each and every one of the IWC performers.

I’ve heard horror stories from independent wrestling shows about lack of morale, no-shows, and dead crowds.  I encourage you to visit the IWC website ( and pick a show in the near future to attend.  You will get great value for your entertainment dollar.

This past weekend I was on hand once again for the ‘New Era’ event.  I arrived to the venue with LaBar and guest talents of the evening- Luke Gallows and Amber O’Neal.  Immediately, I said to myself, ‘I am going to walk up to each of the boys – and girls – one by one and shake their hands.’  However, before I could even begin that process, they all approached me, again.

It is something I’ve come to expect and greatly appreciate.

This was no fluke, the IWC locker room is something special.  There is only one place this could come from, and that is the leadership of Chuck Roberts.

Observing Roberts more closely this evening, I was able to see the hustle and bustle of the promoter of the company.  His dedication to each and every detail was precise.  He knew what he wanted and made sure all hands were on board.  I can only think that in Vince McMahon’s infant days in the business, he was the same way.  I sure hope so, because I don’t see how the WWE could be where it is today without the tireless effort of its leader.

Chuck Roberts is a leader and, I wish him all the best in one day making IWC one of the biggest draws in the industry.  This evening, in addition to Gallows – Al Snow was on the card.  But IWC is no stranger to top talent.  Several current top WWE stars have performed over the years for IWC.

Cesaro and CM Punk are just two of the many who wrestled in an IWC ring.

Recently, another IWC grad and original, Logan Shulo, began his quest to make the WWE roster down at the WWE Performance Center and NXT.  I was fortunate enough to see Logan’s last IWC show in December and I am certain I will see his first WWE match sooner rather than later.

At the end of the night, there was once again a rallying of all, and the boys were complete once again in blood, sweat and a beer.  And finally, I accomplished what I had set out to do 7 hours earlier, I initiated farewell handshakes with the boys and let them know just how much I appreciated their work.

The IWC stands for International Wrestling Cartel, but to me- it now means- Infused With Class.



For those who follow this blog, be sure (if you aren’t already) to watch Chair Shot Reality this and every week!  Here is a link to the first segment of this week’s show – episode 211.

Also airing today is Segment 2: Mail Box w/ Josh and Justin.

Saturday:  Segment 3:  Brock Lesnar booking w/ myself and Josh Eisenberg (@JoshIsenberg4)

Sunday:    Segment 4:  Fired up w/ myself and Justin LaBar (@JustinLabar)

                 Segment 5:  Roundtable talk – STING






What If…CM Punk is Setting Up His Retirement Match With This ‘Stunner’ of a Walk Out?!

Sure- it’s unlikely, improbable, ridiculous to suggest…but, what if the WWE has an ultimate plan for the supposed CM Punk walk out this past Monday?  What if the WWE, and only those apart the most inner circle, knows something we don’t?

Perhaps that ‘something’ is an epic showdown between the two most outspoken WWE superstars of the past 15 years.  What I am suggesting is CM Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania XXX!

Notice the language that is being used by the ‘sources’ who broke the story- “CM Punk tells Vince McMahon he is going HOME.”  Eerily similar to June 11, 2002 when, in the Rock’s words, Austin “took his ball and went home.”

It was on that day when Austin himself walked out on the WWE the night after a pay-per-view, because he was unhappy and did not agree with a plan for him to put over Brock Lesnar, who was a WWE rookie at the time.

Now, I am not saying CM Punk refused to put anyone over, but it is no secret that, like Austin, Punk has always been critical of the WWE creative team’s plan for not only him, but other wrestlers as well.

For the past few years there has been only one rumor that consistently appears at the same time as the Sting vs. Undertaker one, and that is Austin returning for a Wrestlemania match with CM Punk.  The two men who spoke out against the ‘authority,’ against Vince McMahon himself.

Punk and Austin are similar in so many ways, so why wouldn’t the WWE capitalize on the one thing they both have in common (or in Punk’s case, as we are being led to believe), they walked out and went home!

Who is heel and who is face in this match wouldn’t matter.  Like Vince McMahon wants; there are no such things as a heel or face anymore in the current day WWE.  One thing is for certain, it would be one of the most anticipated matches in Wrestlemania history.


Stone Cold Steve Austin: 6 time WWE Champion, 3-time Royal Rumble winner, and WWE Hall of Famer who was once declared by McMahon (TSN’s “Off The Record” – June 1, 2004) as the most profitable wrestler in the company’s history in terms of merchandising and licensing, and pay-per-view and live events.

CM Punk: 3 time World Heavyweight Champion, 2 time WWE Champion (including the longest reign in the modern era), who was elevated to the top of the WWE after gaining prominence in the independent circuit.

Needless to say, the back story here is the “anti-company” guys, who both have told Vince McMahon to, well, (insert any phrase here).  Austin is a beer-drinking outlaw against the law of the land, while Punk is a straight-edge outlaw against the law of the land.  Both have been compared to each other during their runs with World Wrestling Entertainment.

This match is what Punk has always wanted, the only thing that has been needed was a physically healthy Austin, who would agree to do the match.  With the developments in the past 48 hours, maybe he has?  Then again, maybe Punk really did go home.  Either way, if I were the WWE, planned or not, I would run with this angle with comparisons of the two- no one person is bigger than Vince McMahon and the WWE!  Not Austin, Punk, or even Hulk Hogan.

The build for this match would be incredible, perhaps the WWE would set it up as follows:

The night after Elimination Chamber, the opening segment of Raw begins with Vince McMahon in the ring (similar to 2002 when Tony Garea came and told him “the he who you were talking about is NOT Stone Cold, then who in the hell is the he you were talking about?!)…when suddenly, glass shattering music hits, and Austin makes his way to the ring.

Austin then gives McMahon 10 seconds to get out of the ring, the very same way the Rock did, before he goes on and talks about his past, the current state of the WWE, and the one thing that he has always regretted, walking out and going home.

He then will reference Punk, his walk out and the regret he will have for not making a “wrong,” right.  Whether it that night on Raw, or the following week (in Chicago), we will have a Punk v. Austin confrontation.  During that time Punk should take the lead as the proverbial heel, telling Austin he is better than him, referencing his ‘pipe-bomb’ and the fact that he has the longest title reign in the modern era.

Austin will stand there as the crowd erupts in ‘what’ chants as Punk makes each point.  This will get Punk to turn on the crowd, egging them on even more saying he never needed them, they don’t stand up for themselves and the fact that no matter what they say, nothing will ever change- “which is why I walked out.”

Just as Punk did to Rock in their buildup to the Royal Rumble 2013, Punk will initially get over on Austin by giving him a GTS, planting the seed for a Wrestlemania 30 match between the two.  How the WWE decides to let it play out from there is not rocket science.

Think about it, for all the talk the past 24 hours about CM Punk walking out and going home, perhaps too much thought has gone in to what the real story is… Is it real or is it a work?  Maybe, it’s both.

We all know Punk has been fed up in the past and has been outspoken.  With his WWE contract supposedly being up in June, this could be a perfect ending to a controversial and stellar career.  Following his match with Austin at Wrestlemania, Punk can do one of two things, A) retire in to the sunset 2 months early or, B) bring it all to a close at HOME in Chicago on June 1 at WWE Payback (perhaps in a rematch against Austin).

Option B is how I would plan this story.  Austin gets over at Wrestlemania because it will be his last Wrestlemania match (unforeseen a Goldberg showdown).  Austin will then return the favor and see Punk off in to the sunset in his hometown in front of his friends and family.

At the end of this fairytale idea is the thought of – which is more likely, Punk vs. Austin or Undertaker vs. Sting at Wrestlemania 30?