About Liz Savage

Liz Savage is a former Independent wrestling manager, and occasional wrestler from NY, currently residing in Los Angeles. Liz is involved in social justice movements, and currently is the Digital Content Manager and staff writer for BetWrestling.

Perth Pro Wrestling – Final Chapter VII Highlights

Final Chapter is always a tumultuous time in Perth Pro Wrestling, but this year we saw more than our fair share of endings, and at least a few new beginnings.

Bring on 2017, Perth Pro Wrestling Old School Reload, and the longest-running tag team tournament in Australian Wrestling history, the Headshrinker Samu Legacy Cup Tournament!

Women of Honor : Hania VS Mandy Leon

Ring Of Honor -Baltimore Maryland

There are several ways to #WatchROH

1). Every weekend on your local Sinclair Broadcast Group station

2). Monday nights at 7pm Est on FITE TV (www.FITE.TV)

3). Tuesday nights at 10pm Est on the Fight Network in Canada (www.FightNetwork.com)

4). Wednesdays @ Midnight (EST & PST) and 11pm (CST & Mountain) on COMET TV. For more info visit http://www.CometTV.com

5). ROHWRESTLING.com

To find out when RING OF HONOR airs in your area visit http://www.rohwrestling.com/content/R…

Find out when RING OF HONOR will be in your area http://www.rohwrestling.com/live/upco…

Personal Crisis’s And Support Outside The Ring

When you are immersed so deeply in a world of “make believe” sometimes the lines of reality are blurred. Whether it be from true mental health issues, brain injury related issues, or substance abuse, it is sometimes hard to tell what is going on when wrestlers act out.

How many of us who fought our way through the independent scene have brain damage? We hear of high profile cases like Chris Benoit, but we rarely talk about how the same thing can affect others in the industry whether they realize it or not.

Substance abuse is another issue, as this can stem from a number of triggers whether it be to deal with pain from injury, emotional pain, or  recreational use. This can ultimately lead to unsafe situations for not only the person using, but those around them.

Mental Health issues are a normal part of society. Unfortunately we discuss it as a stigma, instead of working to find the roots of these issues, and address them, rather than demonizing those who are suffering.

If you see someone who you think needs attention there are many ways to be there for them. You can start out by listening, spending time with them, taking them out of their environment for a while, making them or taking them to dinner.

Here is a guide to Mental Health Alternatives you can embody as a community to help support each other:  http://ram-a.net/sites/default/files/FMTBM_final_wcovers.pdf

So lets stop judging peoples actions, and start being more attentive to those who need community support.

MCW SOCIAL MEDIA EXCLUSIVE – BIG SEAN STUDD ATTACKS BRUISER!


MCW champions Drolix vs. Ken Dixon on Nov 25; MCW Returns Dec 3

MCWProWrestling.com

– Saturday, December 3, MCW Pro Wrestling returns for “Seasons Beatings” at the MCW Arena, 1000 Joppa Farm RD in Joppa, MD featuring Impact Wrestling champion Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards, and WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Pre-show meet and greet at 6 pm, live event starts at 7:30 pm.

Before “Seasons Beatings”, MCW Pro Wrestling champion Drolix faces MCW Rage TV champion Ken Dixon, title-for-title, on Friday, November 25 at WrestleCase “Showcase of Champions” at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, NC! Visit WrestleCade.com for more information. Whoever is the winner walks out with both titles!

Then on December 3, inside a steel cage, the rivalry between The Hell Cats (Jimmy Starz and Sexy Steve) and F.U. (George Jenkins and Chris Swann) goes head-to-head. No outside interence and no running away from this one!

The Wolves, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards will battle The Appalachian Outlaws, Cousin Clay and Bo Nekoda, with J.P. Callahan.

Lio Rush, two-time Shamrock Cup winner, returns to take on Dante Caballero.

After being choke slammed through a stage (youtube.com/watch?v=E04h9mVAUfs), Bruiser looks for a measure of revenge against Sean Studd. But, Andy Vineberg’s, Studd’s manager, has arranged to be the special guest referee!

Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Lance Anoa’i, and Johnny Crab Cakes face The Rock ‘N Bowl Express (“Mr. 300” Nick Jeremy, Stryker Lane, and Biggie Bowlas).

To name a #1 contender to the MCW Rage TV Title, Greg Excellent, Brandon Scott, Jeremiah, and Rayo will face off in a 4-way scramble match.

Tickets available at missiontix.com, by calling 888-996-4774, and day of, at the door! Catch up on the action at MCWRageTV.com!

Follow MCW: facebook.com/MCWProWrestlinginstagram.com/MCWProWrestling

twitter.com/mcwwrestling

Test Of Strength Wrestling: “The Miracle” Mike Bennett Clinic

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Hey wrestlers, our friend Slyk Wagner Brown has been holding clinics at his wrestling school, with athletes well known in the industry who have worked for the top companies.

October 30th from 10am-1pm they will be holding a clinic with “The Miracle” Mike Bennett, former TNA star! It will be held at 121 Echo Lake Road, Watertown, CT 06795, and it only costs $20!

For more info contact Slyk at swb@yahoo.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/testofstrengthwrestling/

After The Spotlight Dim’s: Wrestlers Battle for Their Lives

When you think of pro wrestling, you think of athletes, in the prime of their lives, who entertain you with feats of strength, high flying moves, and good old fashioned grappling. However few people think about the injuries, surgery, illness, and lack of resources most wrestlers have access to.

Professional wrestling is not a high paying gig, unless you are at the top level in WWE. Many of the wrestlers you see on TV, make $100,000 or less, with almost all of the women earning far less than their male counterparts. In this article, former WWE talent, Tyler Rex talks about what WWE talent really earns when you look at their expenses.

“It [pay] was getting crappy when I left, and the guys I’ve talked to now say it’s beyond crappy,” Tuft said. “People assume you once you’re on TV you make a load of money and drive Lamborghinis and stuff, and that’s just not the case. Here’s a perfect example: I hate to spill my salary on the internet, but when I left I got a bump to $100,000 a year. But a third of it goes to road expenses. The only thing they pay for is your flight. You pay for your own hotel, and car, and food. Could you imagine trying to eat out five times a day? As a body guy, you have to maintain your physique and that means eating five times a day. Spending all your money trying to maintain that? Good luck. Then Uncle Sam takes 20%-30%. You guys do the math and see how much I walked away with, which was next to nothing. I was making more money fresh out of college as an engineer fresh out of college in an entry level position than being on TV.

 

More than 60% of many WWE stars pay is already gone before they spend a dollar. Wrestlers at this level are expected to maintain a specific look, so they spend money on gym memberships, tanning, ring gear, dietary supplements, not to mention having to pay for health insurance, and other medical related expenses. They are also not employees, they are contracted as “Independent Contractors”. This classification leaves them in a much higher tax bracket than other athletes, as they must pay into unemployment, much more than they would if they were a employee, personal insurance premiums that are extremely high, and workers comp is not available to independent contractors at all. If you are hurt on the job, you are responsible for all bills incurred.

Forbes laid it out in this article stating:

 

An employee only has to pay the employee part of FICA, Medicare, etc. An independent contractor must pay the higher self-employment tax. …

So by listing wrestlers as independent contractors, this actually allows WWE to abuse these peoples rights. The Economic Policy Institute sums it up nicely here: 

Independent Contractor misclassification undermines worker bargaining power, for both workers who are misclassified and the directly employed workers alongside whom they work. As noted, misclassified ICs are not covered by basic labor standards, particularly laws affecting work hours and compensation. It is therefore easier for employers to enforce bargains on work hours and compensation for the self-employed that not only deviate from the workers’ compensation agreement but also result in effective hourly wages below the federal or state minimum and in actual work hours that go beyond 40 in a week, which under the FLSA would require premium pay. It is also easier for employers to renege on a compensation agreement, to pay cash “under the table” (i.e., unreported on a 1099-MISC tax form), or to shortchange workers on agreed compensation. These vulnerabilities of misclassified workers—and the fact that some employers exploit them—have a ripple effect on directly employed wage workers in these workplaces, hemming in their ability to bargain for higher compensation and to resist standards violations by their employers.

And it is far worse for wrestlers who work mainly on the independent scene. These athletes don’t make 6 figures, in fact many have a hard time holding down 5 figures, and usually have other types of employment to supplement their wrestling careers, and many do not carry the proper insurance to protect themselves in case of a major injury. They simply cannot afford it based on how much they get paid to perform.

So what happens to those who have no contracts, no savings, who lack the proper insurance, when they can no longer wrestle due to injury or sickness? They rely on us. Their fellow wrestlers, their fans, their friends. Many of these folks have little to fall back on, and some honestly have worked in wrestling for so long, they have no other options, and are too sick or injured to work.  Just last month Billy Reil wrote about Sabu needing hip replacement.   Just today I found out Rico Constantino, is extremely unwell with complications from head injuries, amongst other afflictions and also has a fundraiser going.

These are just a couple of examples of those who put their bodies and lives on the line for our entertainment, and now are facing an uphill battle to pay for the expenses that stem from their injuries from working as professional wrestlers. There are many more, and sadly there are many who lost their lives to health and wellness problems that stem from putting your body through hell for others entertainment, and for the promoters wallet. We need to recognize these issues and create a greater understanding around what we can do to support these folks, while at the same time putting pressure on the bigger companies to provide healthcare, disability insurance, and pensions for their “talent”.

If you care about wrestling, and claim to “love” the sport,  then its time to show support for those who have put everything on the line to entertain you, and realize its not all glitz and glamour. Its a lot of Blood, Sweat and tears, combined with liniments, pain pills, physical therapy, and surgery.

Liz Savage Has Arrived!

The Champion of A.W.E.S.O.M.E “Fallah” and I in 2008, photo by Robert Payes, Stiffshots Photography

So maybe you’ve heard of me, maybe you haven’t. Either way, here is a little introduction to the madness.

I grew up in a small town in New York. From as long as I can remember I was a professional wrestling fan, as my grandfather was a huge fan, and it was always a must watch in my house. I remember begging to see the very first Wrestlemania, as my grandparents friends were getting it on closed circuit TV. They told me it was an adult party, however after much begging, they gave in.

Wrestlemania was what solidified my idea to be a professional wrestler, at 5 years old, I already knew one day, I’d step into the squared circle myself. Watching Wendy Richter vs Leilani Kai was the epitome of awesome, to see women who were just as talented in the ring as thier male counterparts.

From there I watched wrestling for almost 20 years before I gained my own opportunity to get in the ring. When I was 24, I discovered the wacky and somewhat elusive world of independent pro wrestling as a regular listener of the “No Holds Barred” wrestling radio show hosted by Jason Barrett and George “The Animal” Farmer on WPDH. They decided to do a calender girl contest, which my friends decided for me, I was going to enter. When JB called me, I honestly thought it was a joke, really me??!!

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With Bobby “The Brain” Heenan at a wrestling convention in NJ circa 2004

After the calender was published, I started traveling with them and doing promotions. We went to indy events, fan signings, and even WWE Shows. I was hooked and wanted a piece of the action.

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2004 Mid Hudson Civic Center WWE House show with The Dudleys photo by No Holds Barred

NHB was in regular contact with Tony Devito, of the ECW tag team “Da Baldies”. Tony was running a wrestling school in Newburgh, NY at the time, and had been putting the fans of the show through tryouts. As of that time, not one had been able to pass Tony’s tests. So the hosts of the show, sent me down to Tony’s to see if I had it in me.

When I arrived at the school, I was the only woman there. Tony put me right to work, showing me front bumps, back bumps, and forward flip bumps. It felt like I did at least 100 bumps in the ring, then he asked me if I was ready for body slams. I said “Sure” and took 10. After that he let me rest and told me if I wanted in, I was in. Sadly at the time, I was barely scraping by, working multiple part time jobs, with very little income, so I could not afford to train right then. By the time I was ready to go, he had closed that particular venue.

I started looking around for other opportunities, and began working as a manager, in NJ. During this time, I discovered a school I will not name, that I thought sounded really solid. Unfortunately I did not realize at the time, they were mostly about making money. They told me I could no longer work as a manager elsewhere, after telling me I could when I signed my contract. I traveled for over an hour and a half to go to class, at least twice a week for months on end. During this time, I was forced to move out of state, and had been told this was reason to get out of my contract. After moving, the 4.5 hour trip each way, became too much of a burden, and I put in notice. 2.5 years later, the remaining partner in the school decided to sue me, and multiple others, as apparently he was failing miserably in finding new people to rip off. That was my first taste of the bullshit in the industry.

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Agreeing to do this match was pretty dumb, but I was not going to back down from a real life bully. Photo by Christine Coons 2006

After that experience I became more aware of who I worked with, and that they weren’t trying to put limitations on me, based on their financial gain. I volunteered countless hours working behind the scenes, to get the training I so desperately wanted. I designed promotional materials and logo’s, I did ring crew, I ran sound, I set up chairs, I used my skills to make sure I became an asset to any organization I worked with. When I got ring time to practice, I went full in. I learned from both men, and women. One of my best teachers, wasn’t even a coach, she was a fellow wrestler from NY, who I worked with multiple times a week for months on end, Year after year, to learn moves, to put together fun, engaging matches, that made sense.

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Photo by “Wrestlin’ Wally” May 2006

I also was honest with myself about my limitations, hence why I mainly worked as a manager. As someone who suffers from chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, I limited myself to old school style, comedy, or the occasional intergender tag team matches. I was not going to be jumping off anything, as I was afraid to get hurt too badly. I learned quickly I was not going to allow myself to be booked into things that were dangerous. I learned that you cannot trust all bookers judgement on bookings, and that not everyone in wrestling is willing to work with the movesets you want, nor are willing to “spot-check” themselves, as to whether or not the moves they wanted so badly to do, were worth the effort for the crowd, and the very real possibility of getting hurt.

 Luna Vachon legit gave me a concussion with this frying pan, as she was told I shot on a fan, Actually it was a drunken father of a worker who grabbed me, poured water on me, and was trying to pull me over the guardrail. I beat his ass, people lied to her about what happened, she beat mine. Photo by Robert Payes, 2007


Luna Vachon legit gave me a concussion with this frying pan, as she was told I shot on a fan, Actually it was a drunken father of a worker who grabbed me, poured water on me, and was trying to pull me over the guardrail. I beat his ass, people lied to her about what happened, she beat mine. Photo by Robert Payes, 2007

I spent 9 years working in professional wrestling, inside the ring, outside the ring, and hidden away in the background. I had the opportunity to work for over 30 promotions in 12 states, and be an extra for WWE. I managed over a a dozen champions. Shows I was featured on, were broadcast on television networks across the world, sold for download online, and also in DVD format, and still are. Sadly some of my best work, was seen by the least people. I learned from the opportunities I got, and I grew into the person I am today because of it. I hope my writing can educate, and inspire others to pursue their dreams, but to do it in a way that benefits them, and not just the ones who profit off workers willing to put their bodies on the line for entertainment.

 

I look forward to entertaining and engaging those who visit this site, and feel free to ask me anything! I can always be found on twitter @lizsavage 

 

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