1. From the beginningâ€¦ This company has been stewing and brewing for what seems to be a century, though they marked their official start on February 19th, 2010. The show was held in Tempe, Arizona and birthed countless people who turned into fans almost immediately. A few well known Arizona names found their way to the big stage, but also some of the wrestlers we have grown accustomed to seeing on our televisions. Collectively, this provided the perfect formula to create a monster–one that was destined to take over the world. And it all began on that chilly evening.
2. The winds of changeâ€¦ Elite Xtreme Wrestling seems to be a tremendous change of pace from anything else. It feels wrong to compare them to others, as every promotion brings something new to the table. But one thing that is clear, is that EXW has assembled a group of men and women who are head over heels in love with the business they bleed for. Rexx Reed (of EXW, NWA Hollywood and DGUSA fame) has traveled to many different promotions, but finds himself coming back time and time again to Mesa, Arizona–“EXW, compared to working in Texas, is completely different. The attitudes, the drive, the guys on the roster care about the product, instead of themselves and feeding their egos.” The admiration the audience has for them increases tenfold by watching them do what they do best.
3. Cheering, chanting, booingâ€¦ That brings me to, the fans. What would you have without the fans? All the talent in the world would be for vanity and thrill if not for the rowdy audience. Every show is a sea of people sporting the t-shirts of their favorites, signs depicting their opinions, and streamers, locked and loaded. And with shows usually occurring every other week, they’re hungry for it. Ryan Castellucci is the quintessential fan favorite, and has made no secret of his appreciation for them–“I love the fans. They are why we are here. They are the heart and soul of EXW. Without their support I don’t exist. They are WHY I exist.â€ A large portion of their success can be safely attributed to the salivating fans that allow them to shine brightly.
4. The talentâ€¦ And shine, they do. EXW has become a place for only the most elite of athletes to reach for. It’s a goal they put on their list of “to-do”s and strive to gain. Men have put their bodies on the line time and time again. It is never a dull moment, as they are usually making your jaws drop to the floor. The men gather from all overâ€”California, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, and many, many more places, bringing in a level of balance that is the perfect remedy. Frenchy Riviera, a man who has seen his fair share of locker rooms in his impressive 20-year career, said, “EXW has one of the best locker rooms of talent I’ve ever worked with. From Val Venis to Kyle Hawk, everyone brings it every time.”
5. Gold minersâ€¦ These boys see gold everywhere they look, trying to capture their desired championships and reign over the rest. Derick Neikirk was the first (and only) athlete to wrap his fingers around the Heavyweight belt, winning it on September 9th at The Day The Earth Stood Still. The Freak Squadâ€”Frenchy Riviera and Dom â€œThe Bombâ€ Vitalli secured the first tag team titles, having already defended them successfully once. But Cutler Wright stole the Elite Championship a mere week ago, from Andrew Hellman, which he couldnâ€™t have been more thrilled about. Â â€œSince the day I stepped into EXW I’ve said I was here for competition and challenges… Here we are months and many bumps and bruises later and all my hard work has paid off and now Iâ€™m the Elite Division Champion. What does the Future hold for this Kid from Vegas? Well one thing you can bet on is I plan on defending this title against any and all challengers and for many weeks, months and (God Willing) years to come Iâ€™ll be showing everyone what being an ELITE ATHLETE is all about.â€
6. World dominationâ€¦ EXW keeps pushing, rolling towards that dream: to be on TV. Shifting from live events and grainy YouTube videos, they have begun streaming their shows for the entire world to see. Arizona would no longer be the only state privileged enough to enjoy their brilliant shows; people in states such as Georgia and New York were starting to take notice. The live streaming they had once done (official statement here) fizzled, only to be replaced with a better quality show for people to watch. Every step they take in this department is more of a leap, and the future seems more than promising.
7. A bit of estrogenâ€¦ With all the big boys backstage, one has to wonder what the women bring to EXW. With the scarcity of women behind the curtains (currently only consisting of the Freak Squad’s dominant valet, Terra Calaway), it’s difficult to gauge what the future holds for them. Some quality matches have been given by these ladies, and it would be interesting to see a real division for them, given the fact that talented females do exist amidst the mockery others seem to imply with their women.
8. Something old, something borrowedâ€¦ EXW has played host to numerous names that fans would easily recognize. On that monumental inaugural show, they were graced by the presence of Tommy Dreamer, Madison Rayne, and Taylor Wilde. It was a stellar way to put the company on the map and declare their independence. Â Soon, they added Val Venis to their roster, hooking new fans in simply by dropping a name recognizable from space. Valâ€”who has been wrestling regularly for EXWâ€”has a bar set and not just anyone would be considered to join. When I asked him about it, he said, â€œThe Hardys could never hang in EXW. Their talents are chemically suppressed.â€ But in January, they put Bill Demott and Johnny Stamboli (who would later join the roster) on the card. It was clear that these men had faith in the quickly-growing company, and for damn good reason.
9. On a personal noteâ€¦ Elite Xtreme Wrestling has become a new obsession for me, having attended my first show on September 10th, 2010. I discovered it when I had fallen on countless hard times, and was searching for the shallow end of the pool. The atmosphere of their venues, paired up with the passion of the wrestlers and truly genius way of composing their shows gave me everything I was searching for, and more. Since then, I have turned my back on most WWE shows, as I am reminded of why I fell in love with this business to begin with when I attend any and all shows they provide. For a company to pull someone out of the depths of their own misery, proves that they are doing something right, and that they are something to see.
10. The futureâ€¦ So where do we go from here? On top of their regularly scheduled shows, they are beginning to book more and more events all over Arizona. Their big one-year milestone on February 19th of this year was snowed outâ€”an ailment not commonly seen in Arizona, but it happensâ€”so it has been moved to May 7th of this year. They return to Prescott on April 8th. But where to next? How far will their gospel spread, and who will be converted next? The entire Southwest? America? The world? Only a matter of time, my friendsâ€¦
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Tags: 10 Thoughts, bill demott, derick neikirk, exw, frenchy riviera, johnny stamboli, ryan castellucci, Val Venis