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Smackdown Meets Critical Mass

Interview Posted on Pro Wrestling Daily 07/28/2001
By Bill "Potshot" Kunkel Potshots - July 28, 2001

It's Potshot's Babe of the Day page, and today's Lady, Ms. Hellfire comes to us from Critical Mass Wrestling in New York City, as do Trinity Payne (page one) and Sophia (pages two and three)!

It's tough to argue that starting an independant wrestling promotion today is a path to riches. The initial gold rush is over and even Titan couldn't find a station to take it's planned WCW show, leaving one major promotion in North America.

With so few available spots and so many contenders, I decided to speak with Brimstone of Critical Mass Wrestling in New York and see what inspired him to get on the wrestling bandwagon.

"Well, after years of wrestling... It was always a dream of mine to open my own Pro Wrestling School," he explained. "It had to be about last year at this time when I finally put my plans into action. After attempting to open the school several times and failing because of lack of cash flow, I happened to have an epiphany, and made it happen! I did some talking, called up my partners Mayhem, and Curse, incorporated and the rest is history!"

They started out slowly, picking up one or two students at a time. "Our first two students were Ritchie Rodz, and Tek, followed by Habitat, and Tyler Payne. That was the original clique [laughs]. We began to get guy after guy soon after, and we got an amazing buzz all over the area! It is very hard to open a business, especially one as specialized as pro wrestling, but we have managed to grow at a phenomenal rate."

The school opened officially in September 2000. "The teachers are Myself (Brimstone), Curse (the first actual student at the House of Hardcore/Ex Team Taz Member), and Mayhem."

I couldn't resist asking what his take was on Tough Enough, and his primary complaint was one of my main gripes with the show - the selection process. "I guess the idea was ok, the problem I believe is that they should have taken workers, instead of MTV's idea of the next Real World cast. I personally did not try out for the show, but many guys who actually believed it was going to be legit were very upset about it. I know that personally, I've worked very hard over the years, and it isn't really 'fair' that these people have this shot that a lot of us wish we had," he adds honestly.

"We expect to create the best workers, and product that is humanly possible," he promises. "All of us, pros and students alike work our ass's off to be the best we can be. Pretty soon, we look to have at least two shows on a week on television. We should have our Smackdown-type program on in October, and our RAW-style show will be coming in the very near future. We are just finishing up some very lucrative deals that will put us over the edge, so we can do it!"

The New York Wrestling Connection, as the promotion is formally known, draws what 'Stone calls "a really great crowd to work for. They know most of the workers, and really make them work for their appreciation. The guys usually love the valets - who doesn't? We hold most of the cards at our training facility, but we are also the guys who do the official Hooters, and Funzone shows. We also like to make sure to do lots of benefits when we can. We actually just did a last minute Food Drive, and we raised about 100 pounds of food for a local shelter."

The one story that every wrestling school seems to tell is that of the contemporary student, their unrealistic expectations and sometimes lackluster work ethic. Then there's the miniscule number of spots available to them, even if they graduate successfully. So we asked Brimstone if that was a problem for his operation.

"That's a good question. Put it this way - there are thousands of guys going for the same position as you are. You may or may not get it, BUT, if you put your all into it, mind, body, and soul, there is always that chance. NEVER give up your dreams! Nothing is out of reach, so sometimes it is best to reach for the stars. Guys should just understand the small percentage of workers who actually "make it" in the biz."

Obviously, the school also includes valets, and we were curious whether Critical Mass trains them to take bumps and wrestle, or whether they are just taught to look good, and garner heat outside the ring?

"We do both. Actually, Trinity is becoming a really fantastic worker quickly, and is set to go toe to toe with Ritchie Rodz at our upcoming event, "Up For Grabs!!" As for Ms. Hellfire, and Sophia, they are mostly eye candy for the fans. We do however try and stay clean with the women. They can get over without having to get naked!"

And since the subject of valets had been broached, we asked his opinion as to whether he thinks the traditional male heel manager can make a comeback in the modern wrestling environment.

"I think with the right person it very well could. We have our version of the traditional male manager in Tommy King. The guy is a pisser! He managed the NYWC Tag Champs, "Out & About (Dickie Rodz & J-Silva)," and now continues managing Rodz after his unexpected heel turn. King is a staple here in the NYWC, and we wouldn't have it any other way!"

To check out more on this interesting new school and promotion from the NY area click here. Thanks, Brimstone!
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