Q&A with Dr. Heresy
NEI: If anyone takes time to look at some
of the older promotions in New England, your name seems to pop up in every one. How long
have you been working the region and what was some of your earliest opportunities?
Dr. Heresy: My earliest opportunities
came through Power League Wrestling, to this day a promotion which exists entirely to
benefit worthy charities. The promoter runs all shows as losses, as each and every penny
generated by the show goes directly to the charity. They still run sporadically to this
day, and I encourage any fans reading this, if there are any (laughing) to support those
shows if for no other reason than to support the charity that is being benefited. Also,
the quality of shows and roster has improved to the point that I wouldn't have been able
to get my foot in the door if I tried to get in today. Which, in hindsight, probably would
have been a good thing, but hindsight is of course 20-20.
NEI: Having wrestled for seemingly every
promotion in the region at one time or another, we now find you only booked for the EWA.
Why such an exclusive working arrangement for one of New England's staples?
Dr. Heresy: Well, it kind of worked out
that way, not entirely by my choice, but that's the way it is. I believe very strongly in
the EWA product, obviously, and those shows became my top priority in the area a couple of
years ago. Around the middle of 2001, I decided that I wanted to try to get as much work
as possible in other areas both for experience and in hopes of getting my name "out
there" more. I was able to be brought on as a regular for the top promotion in FL
(where my long-time girlfriend at the time lived, conveniently), IPW, and was making trips
down there up to three times a month. Starting in April, I picked up a regular deal with
NEPW, which is a fed that is on course to run 80 shows this year in Eastern Ohio, and I
have been a regular with them ever since. Keeping these out-of-region commitments has
caused me to miss some opportunities in this area, which I regret, but hope to be able to
secure some more regular work in this area by the end of this year. Being a
"traveling willbury" is fun, but can be tiring when you factor in a full-time
job and an active life in addition to that.
NEI: In traveling to Florida and Ohio and
seeing how things are done, what do you think of New England wrestling today?
Dr. Heresy: Hmmmmm, interesting question.
There is a lot more solidarity in the promotions I work for in FL and OH, because both are
unquestionably the tops in their region. IPW is undisputed down there, as the only
competition, who they were very friendly with and co-promoted shows with, FOW, just went
under, leaving IPW with state-wide clearance on UPN, running-shows statewide, numerous
sponsors, and top talent. NEPW is also pretty dominant in Eastern Ohio. Their only
competition is Cleveland All-Pro, run by JT Lightning, but the two companies are
ultra-friendly, book around each other, and split costs of bringing guys in. So basically,
everyone I encounter at IPW or NEPW is very much a team player, happy to have a slot at
the respective top promotions in their area. Up here in New England, there are several
promotions, which can lay claim to being tops, given different criteria. The EWA, NECW,
Chaotic, and WWA can all lay claim to being tops for different reasons. Consequently,
there is a lot more dissension amongst the promotions, and the top workers for each
company tend to bury each other a lot more. There's a lot more "smile face-to-face,
bury behind the back" stuff around here than I've experienced in other areas.
Particularly great are the guys who post anonymously or under pseudonyms on message
forums like yours, and echo things they've bitched about in "real life." It
takes a genius to figure out who's posting in those cases (laughing). I hope this area can
get to the point where we start working together to get the area as a whole more
well-known, and leave the petty bickering aside. This should happen roughly thirty seconds
after I hit my first moonsault...ok...any highspot (laughing). On a positive note, I am
very pleased with the informal working agreement that the EWA and Chaotic have developed,
sharing a lot of talent and trying not to book opposite each other whenever possible. It
ends up meaning more work for the boys who work for both, and not forcing fans to choose
between either promotion, as well as the requisite decrease in online slandering
NEI: Who is Dr. Heresy in Ohio and
Dr. Heresy: Dr. Heresy in Ohio is the Dr.
Heresy of the EWA in Maine, while in Florida is usually the Dr. Heresy of the EWA in
Southbridge. Actually, in FL they now, after a run all last year as a face, tend to put me
as whatever they need me to be that night, and have me cut a quick promo to either turn
heel or face, depending on my opponent and what I was doing last time. It's probably
tempting the fine Barry Windham line at this point, but as long as it works and gets over.
|NEI: The gimmick was once
the standard and the most critical part of a workers career in Wrestling. Today, the
traditional gimmick of Cowboys, Vikings, Soldiers, Clowns, and Russians have all but gone
by the way side. Besides Mike Osbourne, you are one of the only "gimmick
workers" around. Do you think that it is a fad that has passed or can a gimmick still
play to today's fans?
Dr. Heresy: Well, in
all honesty, outside of my attire and name, I don't really incorporate much of a doctor
gimmick into my work. I think that primarily a gimmick can draw a little attention at
first glance, but inevitably, it's the work itself that will maintain fan interest
throughout the course of a match. A few years ago, I considered dropping the Doctor deal
and just going as Heresy, but I had been doing it for a little while at that point, and
didn't want to lose any fame/notoriety/indifference by changing the name.
- The good doctor taking a break
NEI: When someone talks about who the
best Wrestlers are, they focus on the in ring work. Often times, it is forgotten that
Wrestling is character and charisma, relating to fans, creativity, and the ability to work
the stick (microphone). Who do you think are some of the best Wrestlers in New England and
for what reasons? What traits has made Dr. Heresy a regular in New England promotions for
so many years?
Dr. Heresy: Historically, the top money
drawers in the industry haven't been the best pure athletes or technical workers, but
rather posses a combination of charisma, mic' skills, athletic ability, crowd work,
getting the most out of the least, ring presence, psychology, stamina, selling, look, and
many other intangibles. Ric Flair, for example, may not have been the best pure athlete,
nor the biggest, but he possessed such a perfect combination of the aforementioned
attributes that people always CARED about what he did, and bought tickets to see him get
his ass kicked, or conversely to kick ass. Getting people to care about YOU as a
performer, rather than to care about your specific spots (i.e. to pop for your comeback,
rather than for a specific highspot) is quickly becoming a casualty of the modern-day
style, but the modern-day money drawers still have mastered this art. In New England,
there are many who stand out for various reasons. I'll limit my discussion here to current
members of the EWA roster. John Walters is tops in terms of in-ring work, and his mic'
skills and understated charisma are starting to come around as well. Adam Booker has that
elusive "it," the size, and is so fluid in most everything he does in the ring.
If Kid Crazy was six inches taller and fifty pounds heavier, he'd be the talk of this
region. He gets it, can talk, gets more out of less (by choice), and makes people care,
particularly as a heel. Aaron Stevens has the look, charisma, and good old-school
psychology. Antonio Thomas has really come a long way in a short time, as he has the look,
the ability, and was able to bring a diverse crowd to attention at two shows in a row in
Southbridge, headlining with Walters. Johnny Heartbreaker has a tremendous look, GREAT
heel charisma and promos that went untapped for a long time, all the right connections, a
very good understanding of how to effectively structure a match, and some of the meanest
forearms EVER (laughing). Frankie Armadillo, like Crazy, is often overlooked because of
his size, but is a tremendous worker who eschews highspots that he could do with ease in
favor of getting the crowd to respond to a punch (and his punches are probably tops in New
England on a good night...never underestimate the power of a punch). There are so many
guys with a ton of talent in the EWA, I could go on all day. Johnny Curtis, Brian Black,
Steve Ramsey, Kenn Phoenix (big kudos to him for getting a look at only 16 years old,
incredible), Rick Fuller, Mikazie, Vince Vicallo...everyone brings a LOT to the table. As
for me, I'll never be the most athletic or look the best, which ultimately limits me, but
I'll always have my mouth (laughing), and that's done alright for me so far. I've been
lucky to establish some very good contacts, and I enjoy what I do, so I'll keep doing it
for as long as I can, while getting as many of the guys opportunities with decent
promotions in other areas as I can.
NEI: In the last year, the EWA has
expanded to Southbridge, MA and has developed one of the most impressive fan bases in the
region. What do you think this is attributed to?
|Dr. Heresy: A
good team on the ground there, consistent booking which makes sense month-to-month, and a
very good product which promotes positive word-of-mouth. The team there can draw as many
people as they want for the first few shows, but if the product didn't live up to the
expectations of the paying public, they wouldn't come back. Luckily, it has, and now the
EWA is able to have two regular venues to run monthly.
You are a heel who taunts and riles the fans of Portland, ME but play a babyface that the
fans can't get enough of in Southbridge, MA. How important is crowd work to your persona
and which role are you more comfortable in?
- The Master of the Microphone at work
Dr. Heresy: Imminently important. Making
people care about you as a performer, as an individual, instead of caring about and
popping for just your spots, is something of a lost art. It is one I have tried to focus
on, because Lord knows my spots alone wouldn't get many people popping (laughing). I try
to project as much emotion and charisma as possible whenever I perform, to make people
respond to me, and to try to get them invested in me as a performer. I'm more comfortable
as a heel, since that's how I work 75-80% of the time, but between having a full-time
babyface run in FL last year, and now Southbridge, I'm fine with either.
NEI: How long have you been in Wrestling
and what were your early days?
Dr. Heresy: I began managing in November
of 1996, and in-ring one year later. The early days were very dark days. And by early
days, I mean everyday up until ummmmmmm...yesterday. Seriously, at least until the middle
of 2000 or so, if I could hire a hitman to "erase" all the years before then,
consider it done. The less said, the better.
NEI: Thus far in your career, who has
your best match been with? You're worst?
Dr. Heresy: That's very tough to say.
I've consistently had my "best" matches with Kid Crazy and Adam Booker, with the
recent seven-month program in Southbridge with Crazy being a personal highlight from both
a creative and in-ring perspective. I had a good run in FL with Don Juan DeSanto before he
retired, as well as up here before he left. One of my favorite matches from 2002 was
teaming with Chi Chi Cruz against Chris Hamrick and Jerry Lynn in PA. That was a great
match that had 500 people rocking. Teaming with Chi Chi was a regular thing in Ohio, and
always a blast. My teaming with Maverick Wild in the EWA was short, but the TLC match we
had was a very fun match. In my "Top Rope" (I know, I know) days, I always
enjoyed working Johnny Angel. For nostalgia's sake, I really enjoyed the EWA six-man match
at the "Headlocks for Humanity" show, where myself, Frankie Armadillo and Steve
Ramsey went in with Brian Black, Damian Houston and Booker, and had a very good match in
front of a crowd who didn't know us from a hole in the wall when we started, but gave a
decent ovation at the end. That was a good time. As for worst? Everything else (laughing).
There have been plenty of dark moments. I try not to reflect on them and instead focus on
the positives that keep us motivated to continue with this.
NEI: Many workers from New England have
traveled to TNA for dark matches where they worked one another; Adam Booker & Johnny
Curtis, Slyk Wagner Brown & John Walters. When you traveled to TNA with Kid Crazy you
worked Jose Estrada and Crazy worked AJ Styles. How did this come about?
Dr. Heresy: Ahhhh...the infamous TNA
appearance. Well, from the beginning, when Chris Hamrick was offered a dark match, he was
told to bring an opponent. He couldn't get hold of Chi Chi Cruz, so he told Bill Behrens
(who schedules the dark matches for TNA) he'd bring me. Before telling me, he got ahold of
Chi Chi, and they squared everything away, so he never brought it up to me. No one told
Behrens, however, so at the first night of the Wildside Fright Night Tag Tourney, Behrens
brought up that he'd see me again that Wednesday, for TNA. Thoroughly perplexed, a few
phone calls later we pieced everything back together. Behrens then offered me my own match
(and, despite the "many" dissenting views on your board, who would evidently
turn down a tryout for a regular paid weekly gig, I accepted in short order), and told me
to bring an opponent. I chose Kid Crazy. We arrived there to find our names paired on the
sheet with Estrada and Styles, which I assumed was a rib. It just happened that they had
decided to switch Xplosion over to matches featuring TNA guys instead of pure dark match
talent, and Behrens chose Crazy and I out of the dark match guys there that night to do
the Xplosion matches. Finding a tape of that is like searching for the Holy Grail, though.
NEI: In the EWA documentary "Don't
Stop Believing," that many fans may not have seen, you discussed some of the
sacrifices that you have made because of your passion for Wrestling. What is your greatest
sacrifice and is your involvement in Wrestling worth those sacrifices?
Dr. Heresy: If people want specifics,
they can shell out $10, the price of my innermost secrets, (laughing) for the video, I
don't want to be a sad sack here. In the end, without a doubt, my involvement was worth
NEI: Have you or do you loose your
Dr. Heresy: It comes and goes. Luckily,
it's here 95% of the time. Every once in a while, I know I'm starting to look at it as a
responsibility, rather than as a fun and gratifying (although typically not terribly so
financially), and I take a short break to recharge my batteries. I did that last summer in
the end of July-mid-August. That's worked so far, I still value all of my experiences and
couldn't imagine my life without them.
NEI: What Phobias haunt the mind of Dr.
Dr. Heresy: Highspotophobia, because my
highspots are knee-high at best, relatively (laughing).
- A compromising position