I came across some sad news last week. Al Pabon, Minnesota wrestling personality and former producer of “Slick” Mick’s Bodyslam Review and other pro wrestling video productions, has passed away at the age of 46.
I saw the following on ProWrestling.net:
Twin Cities pro wrestling personality Al Pabon died in his sleep on Friday at age 46. Pabon did production work for “The Bodyslam Revue,” “Pro Wrestling Today,” and the Steel Domain Wrestling television show, among others. He was working for the Civil Air Patrol in Lexington, Ky. at the time of his death.
Pabon’s longtime friend Mick Karch wrote the following regarding Pabon on his Facebook page.
“Al was so vital to local, independent wrestling. He founded ‘Tac2‘ video productions and became very good friends with hundreds of the local wrestlers, fans and promoters.
“His extensive volume of work–those thousands upon thousands of hours of video tape–will last forever. His production capabilities aside, Al was a fantastic human being. He was brilliant, driven and committed to his work with the Civil Air Patrol. He was intense, opinionated, and spirited.”
The article also said “…you can read the full post at Mick Karch’s Facebook page.”, but I was unable to find it [let me know if you have better luck. I’m not on Facebook, so that could have something to do with it].
You can read more about Al from his colleagues in the Civil Air Patrol and other organizations at the links below, but I’d like to close with some of my thoughts.
I knew of Al before I broke into the business. Although I didn’t know how involved he was in the production at the time, he could be seen working the handheld camera at various independent wrestling shows when I was still just a fan.
Shortly after starting training camp, and before I had my first match Terry Fox took a bunch of us to the Northwest Community Television (NWCT) studios in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota to cut a practice promo. Al was there and I believe Mick Karch was there also. After Al gave us a tour of the studio, we all got in a line and each person was supposed to stand on their mark, look directly into the camera, and put yourself over for 30 seconds.
My first interview was, well…, not good. Probably terrible. Until you are standing in the studio and staring into a camera lens you don’t realize how hard it is. I also didn’t have much to say at this point… no upcoming match scheduled, no wrestling opponent to bad-mouth, and just 30 seconds ago I picked the ring name of Darin Davis. Al was an extremely nice guy, but what I really appreciated was that he didn’t pretend like it was good. He said something like, “Ok. Let’s try it again. This time try to be a little less…” “Monotone?“, I asked. “Yes“, he said. “You sound like you’re reading something you’ve memorized. You need to sound like you would if you were talking to me, but looking in the camera“, he said. I did it again like I was talking to Al, but looking in the camera. “Much better“, he said.
It was much better. In fact, it was a lot better. It sounds simple enough, but how many times would I have had to fail before figuring that out on my own?
Since that day he had continued to give good critiques of many of my matches, and to help with future promos in the studio or at the events. Even after we were both out of the business we would run into each other occasionally and he would go out of his way to say hello and shake my hand. He was a talented producer and an all around great guy. He will be missed.
More about Al Pabon: