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Dr. Darin Davis

Minnesota independent pro wrestler discusses past experiences and the current state of pro wrestling

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Tag: hellraiser

Congratulations to Austin Aries for becoming the TNA Heavyweight Champion after defeating Bobby Roode at the TNA Destination X pay-per-view on July 8th, 2012. Aries chose to end his 298 day reign as TNA X-Division Champion to get a shot at the World title, and it paid off.

Of course, you’ve probably known this for quite awhile before reading it here, so I’ll get to something you may not have known. Aries trained with Eddie Sharkey and Terry Fox (and later with a different wrestling camp) when he made his debut in the Minneapolis,Minnesota area. This was the same camp I was a part of (which I have described in a few previous posts, starting with Wrestling Training).

It was at the same time that Sheik Abdul Bashir (Shawn Daivari) and Bam Neely (Hellraiser Gutz) were being trained. Daivari would later go on to work for the WWE, TNA, and ROH. Neely would work in ECW and the WWE.

I still remember a conversation that occurred when Aries first got into the business. I was talking with some visitor to our wrestling camp – I don’t remember if it was an out-of-town wrestler or a promoter, but it doesn’t matter. It started with a single question.

This guy is really good. How long has he been training?“, the visitor asked.

I pretended to look at a wristwatch I didn’t have and said, “About 45 minutes.

He kind of chuckled and responded with, “No. I don’t mean low long today. I mean how long, in total, has he been in wrestling training.

I looked at him with a straight face and said, “About 45 minutes.

We just looked at each other for a few seconds as if we both knew we were witnessing something special. That this guy, barring injury, would go on to become something great. That he had shown enough talent in less than an hour to convince any promoter that his 5’9″ frame didn’t matter.

Aries has a current tag line of “Austin Aries- The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived“. In the context of professional wrestling, that may turn out to be completely true.

 

Last month, Brody Hoofer had what is believed to be his final professional wrestling match (I always need to qualify these things when it comes to pro-wrestling). I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at an interview he did back in  July of 2000 (about 18 months into his 12 year career).

The following interview was conducted by Tim Larson, who used to publish the Upper Midwest Wrestling Newsletter. Other issues of the newsletter can be found at the UMWN Archives page.

You can also find various interviews and pictures of Hoofer at Wayne McCarty‘s site: http://midwestindywrestling.blogspot.com

On to the interview…

Big Daddy Hoofer

20 Questions
July 22, 2000

1. How and when did you get in the wrestling business?

Towards the end of summer in ’98, I was working at my job and noticed a customer wearing an obscure ECW shirt.  Being an established ECW mark, I commented on it and sparked a conversation.  The customer was Marv Rubin and he was on his way to coffee with Eddie Sharkey down the street.  Marv asked if I ever wanted to be a part of the business.  I did, so I went for it.

2. Describe Big Daddy Hoofer, the wrestler, to us.

BDH is a loving man – well, he loves himself.  He has great disdain for nearly everybody else.  BDH is an attacking wrestler who will take three stiff bumps to get one in.  The high-flying is working it’s way into his repertoire.

3. What are your strengths in the wrestling business?

I really work to involve the crowd in the match.  I was trained to have good pacing, which as I mature in the ring has been crucial in having solid matches. I am always eager to learn and never ignore feedback.  Also, you won’t catch me whining about someone working stiff.

4. What have been your top athletic accomplishments other than professional wrestling?

I used to play a lot of volleyball, getting involved in and having some success in 2-on-2 beach tourneys.  I also placed second in the 1992 4th of July three point shoot-out at NERCC.

5. Who is your favorite all-time wrestler?

I loved Ric Flair‘s character, and marvel at Eddie Guerrero‘s ringwork, but if I was pressed to name one (with no fear of being cliche), it would be Mick Foley. I noticed Cactus Jack during his first WCW run and he just stood out
to me. I actually met him after SuperBrawl 2 in Milwaukee, so that added to my attachment to him.  His wild bumps, his fantastic promos, and his long climb to success are all things I admire.

6. What is the best match you’ve ever had?

Last summer’s North Dakota State Fair in Minot, Playboy Pete Huge and I opened the show in front of a huge crowd and tore it up for 19:58 in the 100-degree sun.  The crowd was really into us and was completely pissed when I went over.  All the boys were very complimentary and Pete and I were proud.

7. What is the first card you ever saw live?

An AWA show at the Duluth Arena in like 1983.  The main was to be Road Warriors-Hennigs, but the LOD no-showed and a near-riot ensued.  I even wrote a letter to the promoter to express my disappointment.  I did get Buck Zumhofe‘s autograph though!

8. What is the best wrestling match you saw live?

Probably Pillman-Liger at Superbrawl 2.  Right before I met Cactus after the show, I met Gordon Solie and Lance Russell.  Gordon and I spoke about that match, and I remember him commenting that the referee in that match never had to scold the participants for rule-breaking.  I thought it was cool that somebody who had been inside the business that long would look at a match that way.

9.  Quick comments…

a) Playboy Pete Huge … Pete and I cut our teeth together in the business. We helped each other learn and logged a lot of road time together.  Good guy, good worker, and I look forward to stomping his ass again sometime soon.

b) Ed Sharkey … Ed rules.  Just a tremendous asset to the Minnesota scene. A million stories, a million holds, and a fun guy to be around. I am very lucky to be under his tutelage.

c) Terry Fox … The guy can wear every hat imaginable in this business: ref, ring-man, worker, commissioner, promoter.  He loves the show and I look at him as the grease in engine, keeping it running smooth.

d) Sheriff Johnny Emerald … As many of my legendary one-liners have targeted the Sheriff,  I have a lot of respect for the old guy.  His work has improved tenfold in the last year, and is a very fair man on the promoting end.  I was proud to put him over for the WA2K cruiserweight title recently – we had a hot match.

e) Shifty … I don’t know Shifty well, but I sure like to watch him work. Great moves and charisma.  We hooked up a bit in a tag match, and I would like to see more of him inside the ring.

f) Dr. Darin Davis … A very good worker with a hot gimmick.  He helped me a lot in my early days of camp.  I like the Doc a lot, and am inspired by his gutsy comeback.

g) Helmut von Strauss … Helmut is just breaking in, but his matches have had the look of a more veteran grappler.  I’d like to mix it up with him, particularly because I think it’d be fun to stiff a Utah Jazz fan.

h) Scott Free … Scott is another who tutored me quite a bit in camp. Has a good head for the game, has a sweet arsenal of moves, and can go hardcore.  I appreciate his help.

i) K-Train … Kraig is kool!  He’s real solid in the ring, and I’d like to see him on more shows.  Key cog for the Main Event shows.

j) Ian Xavier … My partner in crime and a damn good one at that.  His 30-minute Broadway with Mitch Paradise blew me away.  Got a lot of skills in the ring and a knack for the business.  He’s the driving force behind Cruel & Unusual and I’m fortunate to have him as my ally.

k) Cynnamon … A real sweetie who loves the business.  I’ve enjoyed having her by my side and she’s got real potential.  Hope we’re back together soon!

l) Hellraiser Gutts [a.k.a. Bam Neely]… The best around here right now, and surely on his way to bigger and better things.  Has got it all and I hope he takes it far.

m) Hellraiser Blood … Blood knows his craft inside and out. I’ve always enjoyed watching him draw heat from the crowd.  The guy can tell a great story and crack me up too.

n) Primetime … I was always impressed with his spots, but I remember one time when Blood stated that no one had better psychology in his matches than Primetime.  I paid better attention next time, and I found him to be correct. That’s why his matches are so memorable.

o) Mitch Paradise … Mitch and I started with Eddie about the same time, and I’ve seen his skills skyrocket firsthand.  Probably the nicest guy in the locker room too.  Should be on his way to stardom.

p) Steve Stardom … A newcomer to the local scene with plenty of skills. A hard worker who scares some, but not me!

q) Kenny Jay … Helluva friendly guy, and I’m not afraid to mark a little about meeting guys who I’ve seen on TV for years.

r) Buck Zumhofe … Pretty cool to go through getting his autograph in ’83 to doing an angle with him in ’99.  Always entertaing to be around and can fire up the crowds still.

s) High Rollers … Great, fun guys.  They’ve always treated me well and I dig working with them.  Among the tops at working the crowd.

t) Lenny Lane … Great talent and always been very cool to me.  It means a lot to the younger workers when a guy in his position comes back to lend advice.  I hope he ends up somewhere good.

u) Scotty Zappa … This guy gets plenty of props, but I would still say he’s underrated.  All the tools you could ask for.  One of my best learning experiences early in my career was reffing a match between him and Lenny.

v) Chi-Town Thug … Talented, well-rounded worker.  I’ve seen him wrestle numerous types of workers and adapting to them all well.  I like his manager too!

w) Robbie Thunder … This guy has loads of skill.  I’ve been lobbying to get booked versus this guy – I think we’d be great together.  GET SOME GEAR!

x) Mick Karch … The key guy in getting the boys over.  I’m kind of baffled as to why he’s not featured in the big three but amglad to have him here. Loves what he does and is a wealth of knowledge.

y) Jerry Lynn … One of my favorite wrestlers to watch period.  I’d met him just as an ECW mark, and when he was hurt, he’d be popping up at the local shows.  Cool guy with good taste in music and a deserving star.

z) Stormwolf … Stormwolf can really go and we’ve had some good battles. Has been too busy for camp lately, but when he’s in there, he’s put together a good array.  Major league dropkick.

10. What has been the highlight of your wrestling career so far?

The Minot show referenced in question #6

11. What has been the lowpoint of your career?

Landing on my nuts on a top rope legdrop was quite unpleasant.

12.  Who would you really like to work with locally and nationally that you haven’t?

Locally, I’d like singles bouts with Shifty, the Doctor, and Rob Thunder. Nationally, I would really enjoy working an ironman match with Lita.

13. Who has been the biggest influence on you in the business?

Ed Sharkey and Terry Fox have shown the way, and seeing the way the Chicago guys (Pearce, Dominion, Steel, etc.) handle themselves has influenced me as well.

14.  Compare/contrast yourself as a singles and tag team wrestler.

It is easier to focus on a singles match just because the are fewer people involved.  I was hesitant to be in a tag team just because I’m a spotlight hog. In a tag battle, with rest time on the apron, I have time to work the
crowd a little more and that also gives me a bit more time to think of what I want to do next.

15. How much time do you spend on wrestling each week?

I would say about twenty to twenty-five hours.  I wish I was getting paid well to do this so I could lose the day job and focus even more on my craft.

16. What is the one thing that surprised you most about the wrestling business?

Probably the brotherhood that is ‘the boys.’  Even though large egos are involved, most everyone is in this to make their co-workers look good.

17.  Give us a brief summary of your career.

Debuted 2/99 in Spooner, feuded with Pete Huge for that summer. Formed Cruel & Unusual in the fall of ’99 and became MIW I-C tag champs.  Won the WA2K cruiserweight title from Sheriff Emer-old, held it for a couple months, dropped it back to him.  Undefeated in cage matches to boot.

18. What is the one thing you would most like to improve on?

My body. I just need to find the time to dedicate myself to the weights. If I get some muscles, I think I bring a pretty stellar package to the table.

19. If you could book one match, what would it be?

Nationally, I would like to see a six-man elimination tag match pitting Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, and Lance Storm vs. Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Jerry Lynn. Locally, I would pit Mitch Paradise against Johnny Emer-old in a shootfight.

20. What are your goals for 2000?

Besides adding bulk to myself, I’d like to see C & U hit the road and become known over a more vast area. Also, I’d love to go work for Michinoku Pro or something like that.

Below are the my best articles for the year 2008, listed in chronological order. If you didn’t get a chance to see them when they were first posted, you may want to check these out.

Previous articles are always available through the Archives box on the right, the Category selection, or the Search box.

  • A Killer Bee and Me (Dec ’07): My experiences with former AWA and WWF Superstar “Jumpin” Jim Brunzell.
    [Ok, technically this was posted in Dec 2007 but I’m including it in the year-end list because I didn’t have enough content to do this in 2007]
  • One Degree of Separation? (Jan): A follow-up to the previous Brunzell article, where I talk about my potential as a celebrity look-alike.

Tuesday December 9th is the much-anticipated DVD release of the second installment of the revitalized Batman movie series. While millions are getting ready to watch The Dark Night, I thought It would be a good time to remind people that Christian Bale wasn’t the first one to battle the Joker. No, I’m not talking about Michael Keaton or Adam West either. I’m talking about Minnesota’s own Hellraiser Gutz, who is known in the WWE as Bam Neely.

Back around the spring of 1998 (I think), Gutz fought Marty “The Joker” Hamilton at Club Cancun in St. Paul, MN. After working the Joker gimmick for awhile, Marty ended up changing it to “The Jokester“, and then to “The Practical Joker“. I had heard the reason was pressure from DC Comics, that owns the trademark to the name, but I have a hard time believing Marty had enough fame to call the attention of their team of lawyers. Then again you never know.

It’s not the best of Gutz’s matches, but I thought the timing was appropriate. You also get to hear a little bit of his tag partner, Hellraiser Blood, complain about a lack of competition. Sounded like it was originally going to be a tag match, but whoever Marty’s partner was didn’t show up. The Penguin must have been knocking off a bank or something.

Part of why I like watching it is that having wrestled Marty myself, I know how hard it is to “sell” the silly string during a match. Couldn’t have done it better.

This video originally aired on WTW‘s wrestling show. Commentary by John Lloyd and “Slick” Mick Karch. The referee is Eddie Sharkey

Ed Sharkey

Ed Sharkey

Back when I was still participating in wrestling camp, a crew was filming a documentary about one of my trainers, Eddie Sharkey, and about a few other wrestlers in the Minneapolis area. I had forgotten about this, but I just stumbled across it recently.

You can see excerpts of the short film and hear audio clips at the documentary site. It doesn’t look like the film is available for sale or rent, unfortunately. The film is called The Minneapolis Wrestling Club.

You can find an audio clip of Sharkey on their site, where he talks about Harley Race and himself getting in a fight with a couple of people from the crowd in Denver, CO.

Eddie’s bio on the site:

Eddie Sharkey wrestled from the early 1960s to 1972. He retired and stayed out of wrestling for a number of years. Eventually he was lured back into the business by some younger wrestlers who asked if he would train them. These wrestlers – Jesse Ventura and the Road Warriors – eventually went on to some success. Sharkey still runs a wrestling school in the Twin Cities and referees matches throughout the Upper Midwest [at the time the documentary was filmed].

There is also a short video clip of Sharkey available in the excerpts (QuickTime). In the background you can see me wrestling Terry Fox in our training ring. The referee was “Rough Rod”. Over on the far right of the screen you can see Scott Free and Hellraiser Gutz (who is currently in the WWE as Bam Neely) standing on the apron.

The second part of the clip shows a battle royal. If you don’t blink, you can see me for a few frames wrestling in a black tank top. Eddie is the ref in that match.

Also part of the documentary is a profile of “Sodbuster” Kenny Jay. I wrestled Kenny twice. The first time I wrestled him he was 63 years old (that is not a typo). That was back in 1999. Wayne McCarty has pictures on his blog of Kenny wrestling in June of 2008! Do the math on that one!

In his early days, the wrestler now known as Bam Neely spent a lot of time wrestling in a tag team with his uncle. They were known in the area as Blood and GutzThe Hellraisers.

Blood had wrestled several years before in a tag team with someone I believe was his real life brother. I think the team was called the Blood Brothers, but don’t quote me on that.

Although the following match is unstructured (it’s pretty much a free-for-all at times), and it’s definitely not their best match as a tag team, I thought it would be worth posting to see four guys having fun beating each other up at a bar.

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This match originally aired on “Slick” Mick’s Bodyslam Review, hosted by Mick Karch and produced by Al Pabon. It was taped at Sharx in Fridley, MN. I believe it was in 1998.

I missed last week’s (4/15) ECW broadcast. At least I don’t remember it. I might have fast forwarded through most of it. I started watching this week’s show and at some point they were showing a recap of some contract signing between Kane and Chavo Guerrero where Kane was attacked by Chavo’s new bodyguard. It was a black and white montage so the bodyguard was only shown for a few frames, but I somehow sensed that I knew him.

Wait! Back it up a second. Let’s see that again (I think I mentioned before I have a TiVo). Crap, that was too fast. Okay, slow motion…Stop!

Hey… if it wasn’t for the shaved head and the beard, I’d say he’s a dead ringer for another wrestler that went through Sharkey‘s camp while I was there. Considering that would have been at least 6 years ago, I think that would give someone enough time to grow a beard. Definitely enough time to shave your head.

I checked around a few sites on the net and found out that my suspicions were right. The bodyguard, who will be called Bam Neely apparently, wrestled in the Minneapolis area as Hellraiser Gutts.

And as Hellfire.

And as Hellfire Gutts.

And as Magnus Maximus.

And maybe a few others that I forgot.

You could use an old line like, “this guy changes gimmicks like I change socks”, but he wasn’t really changing his gimmick, only his name. Basically the same character, same intensity.

Didn’t have any good pictures of his face, but I included a couple of vidcaps of a match I had with him at the Main Event sports bar in Fridley, MN. The second picture is of him giving me a Razor’s Edge (a.k.a. Crucifix Powerbomb). Wayne McCarty has a much better picture of him as Magnus Maximus at his photo site.

Hellfire GuttsIt’s getting to seem like there are a disproportionate number of wrestlers from Sharkey’s camp that are showing up on TV. Daivari, Austin Aries/Starr, Hellraiser Gutts, Payton Banks (though technically she didn’t start training w/ Sharkey). If you throw in guys that came a couple of years before me you can include Lenny Lane. Of course if you go back even farther you get into the Road Warriors and all the guys he was famous for training.

Hellfire gives Dr. Darin Davis a \If you include those that went to The Sheriff‘s Midwest Pro Wrestling training camp that split off from Sharkey’s you can include O.D.B. in the mix.

Maybe it’s just like when you buy a new car, and then notice that every 5th car on the road seems to be the same model as yours. You never noticed it before until you were looking for it. Maybe there are clusters of wrestlers out there from other parts of the country that I don’t notice, but it sure seems like there are a lot of folks from around here.