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Dr. Darin Davis

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


Tag: Sheik Abdul Bashir

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.


I’m a little behind on wrestling news due to the holidays, but reports are that Sheik Abdul Bashir (a.k.a. Shawn Daivari) had asked for his release from TNA. This became part of the storyline for the TNA PPV “Final Resolution” that aired on Sunday December 20th.

From the WrestleZone article:

According to the source, Daivari did in fact ask for his release from TNA, as other reports are suggesting, as he has been frustrated with the direction of his character for quite some time now. It appears that when Jeff Jarrett took his hiatus from TNA and was pushed out of his creative position in the company, things started to go downhill for Daivari.

…Daivari personally asked for the match finish to be changed so that he would be the one to draw the pink slip, and it would be a way for TNA to write his character off TV as he had wanted to leave the company.

As I have said a few times before, Daivari went to the same wrestling training camp that I did. He started in pro wrestling when he was 17 and still in high school.

I will him luck. Hopefully he’ll land some place where he’ll be better used. Another training camp alumni, Austin Aries, is currently in the Ring of Honor wrestling promotion. Maybe Daivari will pop up there?

Bashir LimoAccording to Bill Behrens on WrestleZone, Shawn Daivari (a.k.a. Sheik Abdul Bashir in TNA Wrestling) got married this past Saturday in Minneapolis.

No details, other than mentioning that Bashir resides in Houston, TX.

Congratulations Daivari!

[updated 2/23/09: You can find some pictures from the wedding here]

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.

Sheik Abdul BashirI feel like I’m just recycling the same story. At the TNA Pay-Per-View last Sunday (didn’t see it), Sheik Abdul Bashir lost the X-Division championship belt after some interference by referee Shane Sewell. After all the chaos, TNA declared the title vacant and started a tournament for the X-Division title on this week’s TNA Impact TV show. They also saw fit to eliminate Bashir in the first round of the tournament to ensure that he won’t get it back.

I’m not sure what’s going on here. Apparently they only wanted him champion for a short time, but why didn’t they just put the belt up for grabs after the last time this happened? Why have him win it, then lose-win-lose in the span of a few weeks? Are they planning on doing something with Sewell that they needed him to be bludgeoned by Bashir?

Last week, referee interference caused Sheik Abdul Bashir (a.k.a. Shawn Daivari) to lose the X Division title. On this week’s edition of TNA Impact, Jim Cornette reversed the decision and gave Bashir the belt back.

Looks like they did the right thing.

Not sure where this is leading with referee Shane Sewell. Maybe a Bashir-Sewell match? I’m guessing Bashir is going to try to get Sewell fired by making him violate his probation of not having physical contact.

Sheik Abdul Bashir (a.k.a. Shawn Daivari)

Sheik Abdul Bashir (a.k.a. Shawn Daivari)

Sheik Abdul Bashir (a.k.a. Shawn Daivari) was robbed of the TNA X-Division title when the referee in the match attacked Bashir, giving opponent Eric Young the chance to make the 3-count and win the match.

TNA referee Shane Sewell, a former Canadian wrestler, has had a couple of altercations with Bashir in the past, but they were always post match. This is the first that actually affected the outcome.

It’s hard to believe that they wouldn’t need involvement from TNA management to reverse the decision on that, but I wouldn’t count on them doing the right thing.

The only good outcome of this is that if the decision sticks, it looks like it may cause a split in the “good guys” locker room, creating a third faction. When there are more than just “good guys” and “bad guys”, things can get interesting.

[Updated 10/20/08: Put in a couple more wrestling trainees I forgot to include when I originally published this]

[Updated again 10/21/08: a few more names I forgot to include]

In Part 1, I talked about how I started wrestling training back in 1997 with Eddie Sharkey. In Part 2, I covered the move to a location in Coon Rapids, MN after the closing of the Peacemaker Center, and the addition of trainer Terry Fox, along with Charlie “Thunderblood” Norris and Sam Houston.

Part 3 was intended to cover “the rest”, but I’ve been struggling with how to do this for a couple of months. “The rest” is too big for one post or for several posts and I tend to remember things out of sequence. I think it’s time to drop the numbers. I’ll cover the rest of the overview with this one and then anything else will be sort of random from sometime between the start of Part 1 and the end of Part 3.

Continuing from Part 2…

At the end of the summer of 1997, with the weather growing colder, it was time to find a place inside.

We ended up setting up shop in a garage in St. Louis Park, MN. It was actually in back of Terry Fox’s house that his mom was living in (Terry was living somewhere else). Sometimes she would have us do a few chores like carrying a roll of carpet up from the basement, or other things that she couldn’t do on her own. As long as she had some “big, strong boys” there, might as well put us to work.

In the summer, we could have the ring outside, but in the winter it had to be moved to the garage. At first, there wasn’t much headroom. Even though we were in a shorter ring (the ring posts were sawed off so that it could be used in the low ceilings of a typical bar), if you went vertical more than a couple of feet you would be banging your head. I remember a few people (including me) getting their heads driven into the rafters taking a reverse atomic drop. A few months later Terry would cut away most of the rafters to give us a lot more room. I didn’t really look too closely at what was holding the roof up (didn’t want to know), but it looked like he did a pretty good job of putting in other reinforcements.

The trainees from our previous location stayed in the camp (Robbie and Mike Thunder, Hellraiser Gutz (a.k.a. ECW’s Bam Neely), PrimeTime, “Opera Man”, the Mighty Angus, referee “Diamond” Joe, Hellraiser Blood, and fairly quickly we started getting new recruits.

In the years that I was there, the trainees that I can recall were Thor Tyler, “Playboy” Pete Huge, Big Daddy Hoofer, Ultimate Fighter Brad Kohler, “Andy” (forgot his ring name), Mitch Paradise, Shawn Daivari (a.k.a. Sheik Adnan Bashir in TNA), “City Slicker” Jake Ricker, Ian & Ashley Xavier, K-Train, Scott Free, The Sheriff, Shifty, Lacey, Crystal, Ladyhawk, Cynnamon, Sandy from FL, Morgan P.R., “Ray” (don’t remember his ring name), Austin Aries, Helmut Von Strauss/Justin Lee, Smilin’ Jack Daniels/Devin Nash, Black Stalliion, Drej, Travis Sharpe, Storm Wolf, “Stone Cold” Doug Johnson, Troy “Don’t Call Me Goldberg” Steel, Chuck Diesel, some kid from China (?), and the High Rollers.

At one point I remember counting 17 people training all on the same day. Crazy. Way too many to do anything effectively. Some doing in-ring drills, some on mats outside the ring, some working on punches and other holds. Then “musical chairs” and everyone rotates.

Besides the camp regulars, on Fridays we sometimes had wrestlers from out of town including neighboring states (mostly Wisconsin and Iowa) work out at the camp. They usually were coming in to work a Saturday show and got in a day early to get a little extra ring time. Guys like Travis Lee, Red Lightning, “Superstar” Steve Stardom, Jay Hanna/Mr. Destiny, T.S. Aggressor, Kamikazee Kid, Rain/Payton Banks. Some former Sharkey trainees like Red Tyler and Lenny Lane would also stop by occasionally, along with local wrestling “celebrities” Tim Larson and “Capital City” Kyle.

Other times we had “friendly” promoters like “The Iron Duke” Jim Mitchel, Big Al, and the High Rollers come in to do some talent scouting.

The Split

I’m a little fuzzy on the timeline of what happened next (sometime in 2000?), but there was a growing unrest among some members of the camp. I think part of it had to do with the fact that you couldn’t use the top rope for 8 or 9 months out of the year when the ring was inside. Others may have had some disagreements about paying for heat (which I didn’t mind). Still others thought that we should be learning more advanced moves than some of the basics (armdrags, bodyslams, etc.).

Whatever the various reasons, collectively they were enough to split the camp. The Sheriff and Shifty would go off to form their own training camp under their Midwest Pro Wrestling banner, renting a building in an industrial park area. They started out in St. Louis Park and then moved to Maple Grove. Some people stayed with Terry, some went to MPW, and a few of us participated in both camps (including Sharkey).

Except for the occasional collection of money to pay for propane in the winter, Terry’s camp had the policy that if you were trained there (and you paid your original training fee), you could work out in the camp as long as it was running. The MPW camp had the benefit of high ceilings so top rope moves could be perfected, but with that came a building that needed the rent paid and other expenses. For existing wrestlers that had already been through training, they set up a fee structure much like a health club. For a small monthly fee (I think it was something like $15 a month), you could use the facilities. They also had free weights and some other perks that I never really got to take advantage of. The MPW camp also churned out quite a few wrestlers, including O.D.B.

The Future

March 5th of this year marked the 11th anniversary of my first day of training with Sharkey. December of this year will be 7 years since my last match. Still hard to believe it’s been that long on both counts. A lot has changed since then, both on the local and national scene. Promotions have come and gone, and then come back. TV viewership swings with the mainstream popularity, which then trickles down to the locals. I had started in the business just as the general population was being re-introduced to the WWF/WWE because of a guy named “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. In the same month I started camp, his classic match against Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 took place. This was the match where Austin bled like a “stuck pig” and would end up passing out rather than quitting when placed in Hart’s Sharpshooter finishing move. After that match, Austin became the next superstar and the wrestling business really took off– even more than it did in the Hulk Hogan era. The local scene usually lags by about 6 months or so, and by the time I was ready to start working matches the shows were being booked at a regular pace.

Around the time I left, the business was starting to slow down again. Guys like Austin and “The Rock” were moving away from wrestling to other parts of the entertainment business and there wasn’t really anyone of that magnitude to fill their shoes. Things eventually slowed down around this area as well.

In the last year or so the local scene seems to have picked up. There seem to be more local shows running and more venues that are promoting wrestling on a regular schedule. I’m not one to predict the future, and I haven’t really researched too far into the past, but I’m guessing that this will always be the normal curve for pro wrestling. The pendulum swings one way and then the other. I don’t think there’s any danger in pro wrestling ever going away at the local or national levels, and at the same time I would be surprised if it ever became more popular than it was in the late 1990s. Luckily for me, I just happened to time it right and get in at the bottom of that upswing.

Now if I could just figure out how to do that for the stock market I’d be set. 😉


Terry Fox continues to run his promotion [MIW]. Wayne McCarty has some pictures of Terry’s latest training camp w/ Austin Aries on his blog.

Sheik Abdul Bashir (a.k.a. Shawn Daivari)

Sheik Abdul Bashir (a.k.a. Shawn Daivari)

Congratulations to Sheik Abdul Bashir (a.k.a. Daivari) for winning the X-Division title at the TNA Pay-Per-View last weekend.

Of the wrestlers to train with Sharkey while I was there, he’s the second one win gold in a major promotion. The first was Austin Aries (as Austin Starr) in TNA.

The TNA web site has more details.

A couple of months ago, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown over the period of several months to see if I’m able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming (e.g. am I watching less, more, or about the same).

After looking at the data, there was enough variation there that a one week sample wasn’t going to tell me anything. So I decided to look at the trend of a longer period, like a month.

After experimenting with a few different ways to graph this, the best way I can think of is to show the trend for each program separately. I’m also showing a rolling 4 week average that could be useful as I get more data. I’m showing the “Percent of Episode Viewed” for each program. I also had a suggestion to make sure the vertical scales were all set to 100% so that you could compare the graphs.

Here is the data for WWE Monday Night Raw through August 2008:

Raw % of Episode Viewed (August 2008)

Raw % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

My Raw viewership is holding steady at about 60% of the episode viewed. Higher viewings are usually after PPVs where I tune in to get the results. For example, there was a PPV on 8/17, which caused a bump in Raw viewing time.

Here is ECW:

ECW % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

ECW % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

ECW viewing is staying around 40% of the episode viewed. ECW and Smackdown take a little bit of a hit after a PPV because they give you a similar PPV recap (they don’t assume that you watch Raw, or in the case of Smackdown that you even have cable). Since Raw airs first, I skip through the recaps on the other two shows.


TNA % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

TNA % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

TNA is holding around 60% of an episode viewed. Pretty steady week to week. They go off in directions that I’m not interested in, but they’ve got a lot of talent that I enjoy watching. And of course they have Daivari Sheik Bashir.


Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

Smackdown sits a little above 40%. Again, there’s a dip on the 8/22 episode because of me skipping the PPV recaps. Even though ECW and Smackdown are kind of the “B squad” for the WWE, new talent like former TNA wrestler K-Truth and the loss of JBL from the announce team can make the program interesting. Also, Minnesota wrester Bam Neely makes appearances on both ECW and Smackdown.

So how did the month of August look overall? Below are the 4 week averages for Percent of Episode Viewed and Time Until First Match (time from the start of the program until the opening bell of the first match, or first “unofficial” brawl):

Overall Percent of Episode Viewed (Aug 2008)

Overall Percent of Episode Viewed (Aug 2008)

Looks like TNA takes the slight edge over Raw for my time. ECW and Smackdown are distant 3rd and 4th.

Overall Time Until First Match (Aug 2008)

Overall Time Until First Match (Aug 2008)

Raw continues to have the biggest delays until the first match of the program, followed by Smackdown. Anything more than about 10 mins means that you went through the whole first segment and through a commercial break before seeing any in-ring action. I guess maybe some people like that. I still haven’t gone and looked to see how the actual ratings compare to my viewership, but I’m guessing that it wouldn’t show me anything I don’t already know. When I used to look at the ratings, the interview segments at the top of the show or the top of the 2nd hour (or the overrun, since the Raw program regularly goes over by a few minutes) where the highest rated quarter hours according to Nielsen.