GCW & Orange Crush present:
The Indie Wrestling Hall of Fame
January 22nd, 2022
Cutting Room – New York, NY
Hosted by: Kevin Gill & Emil Jay
Ruckus – Inducted by Sonjay Dutt
Dutt starts by saying he hasn’t been in front of fans of independent wrestling for quite some time and he doesn’t know what will really say but was told he only has 4 to 5 minutes and he’ll try his damndest to do that. To him, Ruckus wasn’t Ruckus, he was Claude Marrow. The first time he and Ruckus became friends was in the early ‘90s, both in high school as backyard wrestlers and in the infancy of the internet he saw this overweight black man doing shooting stars off of a swing set, running up a wall, and do a backflip, razzle-dazzle, and moonsaults and he asked what the fuck is going on there and they connected on AOL Instant Messenger. Dutt never said it to Ruckus, but he looked up to him in his early years as a professional wrestler. Ruckus stuck his neck out for Dutt when he went to John Zandig and told him he should book Dutt, and Zandig did and for that, he thanked Ruckus (who throughout he kept calling Claude). Dutt mentions Ruckus not being able to drive, so Dutt had to drive him everywhere. He thanked him for beating Ruckus at CZW Cage of Death 5 for the CZW Junior Heavyweight Title. Dutt goes on to say that Ruckus’ mind looked at wrestling completely differently and nobody could touch his creativity and how he put together a wrestling match, and that they were in a video game together, Best of Backyard Wrestling. He knew that Ruckus looked up to 2 Cold Scorpio. Dutt looks back at that time in professional wrestling and they had a hell of a time together every single weekend. He finishes off by saying Ruckus always had the same ‘Ruckus CZW’ gear until BLKOUT came along, and introduces him as ‘The Jake the Snake of getting baked, the Vinnie Mac of the dime sack, the Teddy Long of hitting the bong, the Chris Cash of smoking hash, the Michael Hayes of blueberry haze, and the Bruce Lee of ooh wee’
Ruckus comes out and says this is awesome and he’s not good at giving speeches, but he thanks Brett Lauderdale and GCW for hooking him up there. He thanks Sonjay Dutt and the guys who he came up with in backyard wrestling and without them he wouldn’t really be there right now, so he shouts out all his guys in Maryland because they really helped him get there. He thanks his trainers Bob Starr, Chad Austin, Gillberg & Axl Rotten. He also thanks Tim Burke and Dennis Wipprecht that they took a chance on him and he’s forever grateful for them for doing that. Most of all he wants to thank John Zandig for giving him a chance, his girl Meg for being perfect, his man Robbie Marino for having his back, his whole BLKOUT crew because they are the best in the business and his mom and dad because they got him there and kept him out of trouble. He ends by saying all his fans are fucking awesome and he thanks them, and that this HOF plaque belongs to Trent Acid and Chris Cash.
LuFisto – Inducted by Lenny Leonard
Leonard starts by saying he’s been lucky enough to spend the last two decades watching LuFisto perform, and he couldn’t have anyone more deserving of this honor. When you think of the Hall of Fame, there are really four things that everybody inducted tonight has in common; They have longevity, the ability to attract viewers, tremendous wrestling ability, and historic significance. LuFisto checks every single one of these boxes. No one has been able to last and endure like LuFisto. She’s been a fixture in wrestling for nearly 25 years starting back in 1997 as a teenager and continuing on in her fourth decade. She continues to be active in and out of the ring, passing it on to fans as a commentator and helping the next generation of women’s wrestling by being a positive force behind the scenes. The ability to attract viewers is the toughest thing to calculate when you think about independent wrestling; they don’t have Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics tweeting out TV ratings on indie shows or Wrestle Tix tweeting out seating charts or building capacities, although they did it for the show tomorrow. LuFisto has been booked at the top or near the top at every company she’s been at and that shows that they have trust in her. When you talk about LuFisto’s fans they say the same thing if LuFisto is on that show, it’ll be a banger. LuFisto will get you covered in any scenario or type of match you need and wrestled against the best names in so many different venues. LuFisto along with women like Allison Danger, Cheerleader Melissa, Mercedes Martinez, Portia Perez, Nicole Matthews, and Sara Del Rey was one of the cornerstones in one of the greatest women wrestling promotions in US history, Shimmer Women Athletes. In 2003, the Ontario Athletic Commission received a complaint about her wrestling men and ruled that LuFisto was no longer permitted to wrestle in Ontario. LuFisto went to the Ontario Human Rights Commission and filed a counterclaim, it took until 2006, but the province not only reversed their ruling but deregulated wrestling in the province completely allowing women to wrestle on any show against any opponent. Leonard ends by welcoming to the Indie Wrestling Hall of Fame; the First Lady of Hardcore and the Innovator of Intergender, his dear friend; LuFisto
LuFisto thanks Lenny for being a professional and whenever she hears he’s calling one of her matches she knows a good match will turn into a great match. When she found out she was being inducted her first thought was ‘god damn it, I need to get a fucking dress’. The last Hall of Fame she was inducted to, the promoter told her there was no speech or inductor, but he was wrong as she showed up in plain yoga pants and a shirt, while B-Boy, Adam Flash, and Sonjay Dutt are next to her in nice suits, as someone yells out DJ Hyde outing that it was the CZW Hall of Fame. LuFisto mentions tape trading with her friend Luke and discovering the J-Cup Tournament and independent wrestling. From the start, her road has been quite challenging, from her stepfather who told her that wrestling would be another proof that she was a failure, from the first vets to tell her she wouldn’t last too long, to being the only girl backstage with promoters who wanted her to set up her match doing bikini contests. She refused and would go and change with the guys, to prove that she was a serious competitor and instead they labeled her as difficult, hardheaded, and even a whore. She wanted to work with the guys, because to become better as a wrestler you need to wrestle people better than you. Through all the chipped teeth, broken nose, her hair lifted from her scalp from being pulled so tight and the sexual abuse and comments, she was determined in proving that women could do this and even better. The late ’90s was the time of WWF Divas, and people would tell her she didn’t look like them, so she used fat burners, making herself sick and not eating to the point of passing out, just to try to achieve that perfect body that she didn’t have. She even fought the government so women would be treated as equals in the ring and in front of the law. She isn’t telling all this to be depressed but just wants everybody to realize, appreciate and celebrate how far we’ve come when it comes to women’s wrestling. When they were told they were fat and ugly, today, women of all shapes and sizes are celebrated and showcased. When they were told to shut up in the presence of abusers, although today it’s still not perfect, now they are not blacklisted anymore, they can talk, and they have the whole wrestling community behind them. When they were just an attraction and afterthought, right now they have their own promotions, their own divisions, and even women in charge of those divisions. They are now the main events and the top superstars. They can wrestle who they want despite the gender and they can go out there and do hardcore matches without being called a disgrace, disgusting, or garbage. She didn’t always express her feelings right but her mission was always the same, to do it better. She started doing intergender in 1997, she became a tag team champion, Iron Man champion, and even a world champion. She is the first woman to ever enter the Best of the Best tournament, she was supposed to win the tournament that year, but she got politicked out, the good thing though the fans chose her as the people’s choice, making her the real winner. She goes on to mention winning the Queen of the Deathmatches against Mickie Knuckles, beating Necro Butcher, and how Butcher said ‘she was the man’, and she was the man before ‘The Man’. She was the only woman to step inside the Cage of Death with Lobo, John Zandig, and Nick Gage. She thanks her grandma, her mom, her dad, Luna Vachon, Bull Nakano, Madusa, Akira Hokuto, and Jazz. She thanks her trainers, her opponents, and her fans and tells everybody to protect themselves and they lost enough brothers and sisters already to CTE, mental health, and injuries before saying ‘I love you Shannon’ to Daffney. Although she announced her retirement in 2019, her boyfriend came into her life and helped her not quit and have some of her best matches ever. She thanks all the other inductees presented tonight and says the women’s revolution didn’t happen on your television screen but the independent circuit, so to stop the ‘no TV, no history’ bullshit. In the words of the great Percy Pringle III, ‘independent wrestling is the grassroots of our history when the roots die, so does the tree’. She ends by saying her age doesn’t define who she is or what she does, her passion, her heart, her hard work does. As for her future, she hopes to contribute in and out of the ring for a very long time. As far now, she’ll just go in the ring once again every weekend and keep killing it. Because killing is her business, and business is always good for LuFisto.
Homicide – Inducted by Chris Dickinson
Dickinson starts by saying he first saw Homicide when he was 14 years old in 2001 at Jersey All Pro Wrestling show and says RIP to Fat Frank for giving him a start in wrestling. He was blown away by Homicide and his finisher, and in every match he made you believe and you really wondered how hard Homicide really was. Homicide is such a good worker and to this day he doesn’t know what Homicide means such as their tag teaming together and Homicide to say to call it in the ring. And to this day, Homicide has not missed a step, and just like LuFisto says ‘my age does not define me’ or Homicide. Back in the day, Homicide was a God to them back in the day, and if you were from New York City and you were into wrestling he was the fucking man. Two years ago, Dickinson wrestled in Madison Square Garden for AAA and that only happened because Homicide didn’t show up that day and he owes a lot to him. Homicide was Ring of Honor, he was Jersey All Pro Wrestling, he was independent wrestling and introduced the Notorious, 187, Homicide.
Homicide starts by saying he hates fucking talking and seems in awe to be there. Homicide thanks everybody, starting with GCW for giving him a tribute show, then Minoru Suzuki, and now this Hall of Fame and keeps catching himself cursing. He brings up how in 24 hours he’ll be wrestling Jon Moxley for the GCW World Championship at Hammerstein Ballroom, and although Moxley is his friend, he will give it to him. He thanks everybody again and now he will get fucked up and drunk, he thanks his wife who told him he has to wear a suit, but he couldn’t do that. He says RIP Trent Acid and how he should have been here. He thanks everybody again and says they will fuck the world tomorrow. He screams ‘Eddie Kingston’ before leaving.
Tracy Smothers – Inducted by Spyder Nate Webb, Accepted by Chris Hero
Webb starts by saying if he hears anybody boo he is out of here which they do and if he hears anybody say ‘Tracy sucks’ one time, it’s ultra-mega mass homicide and everybody dies. When Webb started his career in IWA Mid-South he got to meet and wrestle Tracy Smothers, as a young up and comer and about 20 years later he gets a text from Brett Lauderdale who says ‘hey Nate, would you want to wrestle Tracy Smothers in Nashville’, in which he said ‘yes, do you have any more stupid fucking questions’. And in their match, they were out there for over half an hour and they only did five moves. Tracy Smothers taught you how to work a match and it wasn’t about the moves, it was about the story and he’ll always be grateful because of that. Webb mentions how it was one of the biggest moments of his career that has absolutely nothing to do with him. Webb says that Smothers was a teacher, his friend, his brother, and his hero and he didn’t just affect his life but a lot of other people and while they are on the subject of heroes, he’d like to bring out Chris Hero.
Chris Hero came out accepting on Smothers behalf and started by jokingly loving the fans back even if it’s dark and he can’t see them. Hero says he wants to dedicate this to the memory of so many people in the wrestling community that they lost in the last year and a half such as Victor Philpott, Mooque Bishop, Shannon Spruill (Daffney), Brodie Lee, Jonathan Barber, and Markus Crane. Hero thanks Brett Lauderdale for asking him to do this and texting him ‘once or twice’, and how it’s an honor to come up there and talk about somebody he loves so much in Tracy Smothers. Hero starts quoting all of Tracy’s ‘Tracy-ism’s such as ‘what’s your deal’, and Tracy’s deal was without a doubt the hardest working man in professional wrestling. Everybody who’s fought him knew it was a battle. Whether it was tag-teaming as the Southern Boys against the Midnight Express, Smokey Mountain Wrestling ladder matches with Chris Candido, or ECW Arena dance-offs as a member of the Full Blooded Italians having the crowd chant ‘where’s my pizza’. Smothers was such a kind soul and always intentional with the conversations he’d have with people. Smothers said he used to look up to Jack Brisco and Dick Slater, as Brisco was a wrestler and Slater and a fighter and that’s what Tracy ended up being both. Hero mentions a story of Tracy’s tour in AJPW and getting kicked by Toshiaki Kawada at Korakuen Hall so hard he wanted to fight him after in the locker room, fighting Terry Funk at IWA Mid-South and telling Funk the T don’t stand for Texas, but Tennessee and beating the hell out of each other after. He talks about Tracy wrestling three bears and head-butting them and leapfrogging them. Hero mentions Tracy possibly now kicking it back with people he admired like Eddie Guerrero, ‘Bullet’ Bob Armstrong, Mark Curtis, Chris Candido, Bobby Eaton, Brad Armstrong, and Larry Sweeney. When people pass away physically, they are gone but the energy they put out into the world and the universe is the universe because the lessons you teach keep going on and on. And the way Tracy was so inspiring to him and would always encourage you and feel good about yourself. This isn’t a memorial, but a Hall of Fame induction because Tracy Smothers is going into the fucking Independent Wrestling Hall of Fame. He mentions calling matches with Tracy about calling it in the ring and then Tracy would keep coming back with spots. Smothers mention replacing Jason the Terrible in Japan and becoming ‘New Jason’ and shooting on each other before having Korean BBQ that night. And every time after Tracy would bring Jason oatmeal, a jar of peanut butter, and homemade cookies. Smothers loved pro wrestling and being around it and was always the first to meet you after the match with constructive criticism and Tracy Smothers made wrestling better. Tracy was a father, a son, a brother, a mentor, a heel, a babyface, a heel, babyface again, but there was one thing that Tracy was and that was a THUG. And the crowd says T is for Terrible, H is for Hell, U is for Ugly, and G is for Jail, cause a THUG can’t spell.
Dave Prazak – Inducted by CM Punk
Punk comes out for his appearance, as Dave Prazak is somebody you wear a suit for but the Independent Wrestling Hall of Fame is maybe something you don’t wear a suit for, but his work and travel schedule has been so hectic that he hasn’t been home since before Christmas so all his suits are at home, but it did make him feel better when he came into the building and he saw how Chris Dickinson was dressed. Punk congratulates LuFisto, Tracy Smothers, Ruckus, Sonjay Dutt (who he imagines is halfway home by now), Lenny Leonard (who he didn’t know could speak French), Jerry Lynn & Sean Waltman, as it’s past their bedtime and Homicide. He congratulates GCW for selling out Hammerstein. Punk can’t argue with Prazak being the most influential person in independent wrestling history. Punk says he asked Dave the first time that they met, as he couldn’t remember and Dave thinks they met at a Mid America Pro Wrestling show in the year 2000. Punk says Prazak has done everything as a manager, who learned how to take bumps, a commentator, taught himself how to referee, could book a show, could print out MapQuest directions, and the master of making VHS tapes to give to promoters, which isn’t as old as Lynn and Waltman who used to put their videos on Betamax tapes. Prazak made it easier for guys like him and Hero to get into wrestling and mentions Prazak being on Prodigy internet writing for Bob Ryder for 1wrestling.com and breaking into the business by Dennis Coralluzzo. Punk mentions driving around with Prazak and others and being the time of his life. Because of Punk, he worked in Mid America Pro Wrestling, then IWA Mid-South where he met Chris Hero and Tracy Smothers and wrestled Chris Candido, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio Jr. Prazak made CM Punk music videos and gave him contacts such as Blue Meanie and he wouldn’t be in Ring of Honor if it wasn’t for Dave Prazak. One thing you could take away from Prazak’s career is women’s wrestling such as Shimmer. The landscape of not only wrestling as a whole, but women’s wrestling is drastically not what it is today without Dave Prazak. When Punk was in OVW, he sent him Prazak, Serena Deeb, Beth Phoenix, and Sara Del Rey. Punk mentions Britt Baker and Becky Lynch wouldn’t be who they are without Shimmer. Punk finishes by thanking for being called to do this today and calls up Prazak to come up there and talk about himself.
Prazak says Punk was right, as he doesn’t like to hear others put him over, so his speech is putting other people over. Coming up on February 3rd will be 26 years in independent professional wrestling. He mentions Dennis Coralluzzo’s son Mark when he was 13 years old sending him a message on Prodigy right before the first Eddie Gilbert Memorial Brawl that Dennis promoted in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Mark said his dad wanted to know if Prazak wanted to try ring announcing. Prazak said at the time had done a wrestling newsletter in high school, updated the free wrestling hotlines and they heard him through that. Indie wrestling always attracted him the most and he wanted to do whatever he could so he told Mark to tell his dad that he would be there. Dennis kept using him after doing a good job. Although he lived in Chicago, Prazak started on the East Coast because he was there marking out at ECW shows and was a big Chris Candido fan. Prazak was then told in Milwaukee that maybe he should become a manager which he thought was a good idea, as he thanked Sonny Rogers, Ace Steel, and Danny Dominion for opening up their schools, as well as Adam Pearce helping him out. Prazak would continue going down the list of people to thank like Reckless Youth, but the main two early promoters who really taught him wrestling were Carmine DeSpirito (Mid-American Wrestling) and Ian Rotten (IWA Mid-South). Prazak mentions Punk putting in the word with Gabe Sapolsky to work in Ring of Honor and thanks everybody at ROH he worked with and mentions Bryan Danielson being sent down to FIP in Florida, wrestling in front of kids, and doing southern style stupid comedy spots which got over huge, and they probably will never see that footage as it’s been sold. He mentions wrapping it up and then realizes he hasn’t even gotten to Shimmer yet. Prazak mentions women coming into IWA Mid-South and realizing they have enough women to either crown a champion or even an all-women’s show. He did the first show Volcano Girls and planted the idea to go and try doing these shows on his own, which they did and ended up doing shows for 16 years. Prazak mentions Sara Del Rey, Mercedes Martinez, Daizee Haze, MsChif, Cheerleader Melissa, Allison Danger, Lexie Fyfe, Portia Perez, Madison Eagles, Kellie Skater, Nicole Savoy, LuFisto, Kana (Asuka), and many more names including going through all the people who worked with him in Shimmer including commentators. He continues by thanking GCW, MLW (which got a couple of boos from the crowd), and all the fans for coming tonight and selling out the Hammerstein.
Jerry Lynn – Inducted by Sean Waltman
Waltman starts saying he has to fucking follow CM Punk but tells Punk that he’s still in his forties and he’s only six years older than him. Waltman says he was nervous and had a fear of talking in public, but he couldn’t pass this up as nobody would know who he was if it wasn’t for Jerry Lynn. Waltman said he never had chemistry with anybody else as he did with Lynn. Waltman has a bit of difficulty going through this but says that Lynn is one of the best guys, period and they used to beat the living shit out of each other in 1990-91 and show up the big muscle heads in Minnesota. They got a break in GWF in Dallas and they became a tag team in Japan in Universal Pro Wrestling. After that, they went their separate ways and Jerry Lynn ended up in ECW and was killing it. Waltman mentioned the amazing matches Lynn had with Rob Van Dam, and if there was anybody else who could be here inducting Lynn and would give a much better induction speech, it would be RVD. He said he’s just going to skip to something his daughter sent him earlier and it was about a memory of Jerry for when they were together in TNA and Lynn said the best man would win and he lost the match. And after he told her, he was still the better man, which made Waltman cry when he read it. Waltman says he loves Lynn and says Lynn is a better person and pro wrestler than he is and congratulates him on being inducted into the Indie Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Lynn starts by saying Brett told him he might not have much time, he said he was used to that as in WCW one time as he’s in the ring, he was waiting for his opponent and Nick Patrick tells Lynn to ‘take it home’. Lynn says he used to be a wild child, and then took it easy and had to make a lot of apologies along the way so first and foremost he thanks God for there being a lot of instances where he shouldn’t be there right now so he knows the big man upstairs still has plans for him. Lynn brings up driving with Waltman and both of them falling asleep then flying off the road into a dirt path in the middle of a cornfield doing 60 miles an hour. Lynn thanks his wife Pam, for putting her through hell including seven surgeries, five of which were after he retired. Lynn thanks his daughters for not being there for him and not being able to play with them for being banged up, and thanks them for loving him. He thanks his trainer Brad Rheingans for being so blunt, honest, and straightforward and his high school coach Bob Christianson for saying ‘people will say whatever they feel like about you, but the thing they will never be able to take away from you is your work ethnic’, and he’s always given his all to everything he’s tried. Lynn says to Waltman if they wouldn’t have met they don’t think their careers would have gone where they met, and he agrees so he is so thankful for him, with his passion and his drive and they used to get together every day with their tapes and study and watch and implement it in their style. Back in their days, the business wasn’t welcoming to their size and there were guys who didn’t want to wrestle with them. He thanks Johnny Love for being his lifelong friend. He thanks Judy Martin for talking him through his first time refereeing. He mentions Tommy Rich and Tracy Smothers in ECW calling him nicknames and calling him ‘for life’ and how he misses Tracy. He lastly thanks the fans for letting all the promoters they wanted to see him in the ring and he got to do the best job ever and leaves with ‘I love you guys! Thank you!’