Len Denton, better known to wrestling fans as the masked "Grappler", was ready for another run. Not in the ring this time, but behind the curtain - booking a successful promotion. The Grappler had booked for (original owner) Don Owen's "Pacific Northwest Wrestling", better known as "Portland Wrestling", in the early nineties. His resume reads well and he felt he should not have a problem landing a gig. But after numerous failed attempts at landing a gig, Denton decides that in 2010, he must start his own promotion if he ever wants to see work again.
The first man Denton contacts is Robert Trobich, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Alliance. Denton seeks to establish a new NWA promtion, maybe even get Don Coss (PNW rights owner) in and relaunch Pacific Northwest Wrestling. Instead of talking PNW, Trobich and Denton find that they share a common love for the old school "territory" system. The good old days when wrestling felt like it actually meant something. The two play a game of "what if" - and the topic turns to a wrestlers union. We all know that will never happen. Then discussion evolves into a new look at the territory system. Although we know there is no way to "unify" the independent wrestling organizations nowadays, Denton and Trobich beg the question, What if"? After some discussion, "What If" turns to "Why Not" as the two begin fleshing out a unique business model that would bring together only the best indie promotions and showcase their talent. Denton decides then that THIS idea would be his new gig.
The biggest initial challenge would be making this venture complimentary to the invovled brands. They would have to find a way to keep their product "different" from the individual promotions involved. They envision the promotions coming together, and putting on shows like no other. You could have your basic dream matches and cross promotion stuff. But the emphasis would be placed on the Promotions battling each other in different scenarios - almost like teams. The two agree that this idea had a chance of working - which leads to a phone call with Cary Silkin, owner of Ring Of Honor.Silkin is immediately hooked on the ideas, calling it a "battle of the indies". Silkin insists the two must first get Jim Cornette's blessings before they can officially count in ROH, and suggests calling up Chikara. The next call goes out to Mike Quackenbush, owner of Chikara. Quack likes their ideas, and would love to showcase a more serious side of Chikara. Quack insists his friends from the West Coast - Pro Wrestling Guerrilla - must be involved. Trobich has no problem with PWG coming on board, as he trusts Lighting Mike and backs his every move. Quack calls out to Excalibur from PWG and seals the deal. PWG loves the idea of proving themselves to be better than Chikara (LOL, all kayfabe, no real heat), and more than a joke as well.
Days later, Denton talks it over with Cornette. Jim says he would LOVE to have ROH a part of this little "battle", but he has a few ground rules...No WWE, no TNA, and for sure no Vince Russo. Cornette swears if TNA or Vince Russo's names are even mentioned, you can count ROH out of this whole deal. Denton tells Cornette he will get back to him. So with NWA, PWG and Chikara on board, all involved must decide whether or no to try and sway ROH. Eventually Excalibur and Quackenbush talk sense to Cornette - and all sides come to an agreement. No WWE involvement. Talent from TNA can be brought in, but no references to prior WWE or TNA stints will be made. All TNA talent will be defaulted to the NWA banner. Furthermore, Jeff Jarrett, Dixie Carter and Vince Russo are not allowed in the building at anytime.
Time for the drama...Trobich agrees to Cornette’s demands, but keeps to himself his resentment of Cornettes decision. Trobich had hoped all along to get TNA involved in this idea, since TNA defaulted from the NWA years earlier. The talent defaults to NWA, but his idea was to have TNA as a whole represent the NWA banner in this "battle of the indies". The Grappler sees Trobich as the ultimate professional, and something petty like this could really sour their working relationship. On the ROH side of things; Silkin is looking forward to this venture and expanding his business opportunities. Cornette, on the other hand, is merely looking to bury the other promotions and ROH comes out all the stronger. In Cornette's mind there should be no "battle of the indies" - ROH is clearly the best company today - indie or pro.
All drama aside they all agree on a name for this new venture "Victory Pro Wrestling". They come up with an idea for the weekly show, "Carnival", and decide to debut it on the VPW website and stream it for free with ads. The thought is if they can pick up fans from each companies base, maybe they can secure a spot on syndicated TV. With ROH being involved, there is a chance that HDNET could be watching. For the shows PWG's Excalibur is named color commentator and ROH's Mike Hogewood is named play by play. Trobich then flexes his muscle and makes a demand of his own - he wants his own guy in the booth on the play by play. After some discussion, Hogewood is out and the unnamed NWA guy is in! Trobich says just who this person is will be a surprise for the first show. The Grappler already senses some sort of dissension and does not like this new turn of events.
They set up an official VPW board of directors; with one representative from each company. Silkin names Cornette obviously. Excalibur goes for PWG, and Leonard Chikarason is nominated for Chikara. Trobich pulls another "power move" and opts to name his rep on the first show as well. More boisterous surprises from the usually monotone NWA!! Each promotion sends in a list of eligible names for the upcoming shows. Note that not all talent will be used at once, and some talent will be brought in that is not named. But we have a "working" list of talent that can appear in VPW at any given time...Keeping in fashion with their new angle, the NWA has also opted to reveal their talent names "when the time comes". Whats the deal NWA?
Len Chikarason *representative
Ice Cream Jr
El Hijo Del Ice Cream
Ring Of Honor
Jim Cornette *representative
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
Ring Announcer: PWG's Jon Ian
Play By Play: NWA's ???
Color Commentary PWG's Excalibur
Backstage Interviews: ROH's Dave Prazak
Lead Booker: "The Grappler" Len Denton
Referees: PWG's Rick Knox
Chikara's Bryce Remsburg
ROH's Todd Sinclair
VPW will adopt the "Code Of Honor" from ROH's past. The titles VPW will recognize
World Champion - solo champion of VPW
Tag Team Champions - under Chikara Campeonatos De Parejas Rules
6 Man Tag Champions - under Freebird Rules
King Of Carnival - solo king of VPW
Aside from the Weekly show, there will also be "special attraction cards" (free, yet important clash of the champions/saturday nights main event style shows). These events will showcase the "war games" between the promotions. This is the heart of the VPW product - the "battle of the indies".
All Star Game
The Grand Memorial
In most cases, the fight for the individual titles will be overshadowed by the bigger battle between the brands. The mentality being more titles means more momentum and more stroke. More ability to make the "power moves" to sway things your way. The War Games themselves carry stipulations...sometimes titles change, momentum changes, team members change - it's different each time. Each upcoming battle affects each weeks "Carnival" card.
*from vpw.net 8/5/10* The secretive demeanor of the NWA has raised questions in the eyes of several VPW reps. Under heavy pressure from VPW head booker "The Grappler", Robert Trobich begrudgingly releases the name of his representative, play by play, and some of his roster. First off, the rep was named. He plans on keeping it traditional...Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee...He's cool, he's cocky, he's bad (just looking for a paycheck) - The Honky Tonk Man!!! vpw.net caught up with HTM and here is what he had to say
Reportedly Chikarason and Excalibur were pleased to be working with HTM. Jim Cornette reportedly "laughed his ass off for over an hour" over the NWA's announcement, and the thought of HTM being a "shot caller". The Grappler, on the other hand, was relieved - as he was almost certain Trobich was up to no good. Next came the working rosterThe Honky Tonk Man said:"First off - Im honored to be a part of Victory Pro Wrestling - and as the representative of the NWA...you can bet your blue suede your gonna see the NWA Shake rattle and roll right through these other guys. Now, most of these youngsters don't know what that means...And that's okay! Back in the days, the shake rattle roll was the most lethal neckbreaker on the face of god's green earth. Well pay attention kids, because today - the game's changed. The Honky Tonk Man's calling the shots - not dishing them out. The NWA is keeping it strictly old school, and you know what that means? People are gonna get hurt - plain and simple. Let the game's begin"
National Wrestling Alliance
Honky Tonk Man *representative
2 Cold Scorpio
Nick Patrick *referee
Finally came the play by play man. VPW really benefits from this one...The NWA managed to acquire the services of legendary commentator "J.R" Jim Ross. Ross gave an exclusive interview with vpw.net and here are the highlights:
The Grappler's temper flares when he hears the news...he KNEW something was up! Everywhere he goes, Jim Ross ends up in the front office and tinkering with creative. The last thing Denton wanted to deal with was a personality like JR. Things behind the scenes are starting to heat up here in VPW! On a positive note, the site of the very first Carnival will be The Arena in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. more to come...Jim Ross said:"I'm not in it for the money. I'm in a position now, financially, where I honestly don't need the money. Starting from scratch, molding a company, making the right decisions - that's why I am here. I chose to come to Victory Pro for a number of reasons. Don't get me wrong - I love calling wrestling - and I will be in the booth. But I'll be doing a little bit of everything."
*from vpw.net 8/10/10 * The tension building inside VPW proves to be too much for a man of Jim Ross' stature. JR hands in his resignation literally days after signing. Len Denton breathes a sigh of relief, as this means the pencil lies solely in his hand. Robert Trobich and the NWA immediately announce the signing of yet another legendary call man. This time though, their demeanor is less than secretive. Joey Styles of WWE.COM fame (LOL) has been named the new play by play man here in VPW. Styles reportedly handed in his two weeks notice to the WWE last week, as he was initially the man pegged for the job. Reportedly, Styles was pushed to the back burner by the NWA as soon as possibilities of JR surfaced, so time will tell how this relationship pans out. It should be
noted that ROH's Mike Hogewood is still in the bullpen if needed in the booth. Styles, known to be a man of his word, should be arriving in VPW soon - and more details will come forth as this situation develops.