INSIDE THE MWF
by Dan Mirade
April 7th, 2017


Note:  the following is a column of thoughts, opinions and observations.  It's written with a deep passion for the professional wrestling industry as a whole, for the fans of wrestling and the athletes driven to live their dreams.  Whether you agree or disagree with these words, remember that there's a voice that cares behind it, one that only wants to see every hard working wrestler and promoter succeed, and for every fan to leave a live event feeling they got value for their time and money, so they'll be excited g to see live wrestling (both independent and major league) again and again.  For that, I do not apologize. 


Thoughts On John Layfield. . .

After seeing my social media timeline blowup with attacks against John Layfield over second, third, fourth hand, etc. accounts of "incidents" that fans have read about on the internet, I felt it was only fair to share my first hand, personal interactions with the man with so many people that have never met him calling for his head. 

Several years back while WWE IC Champion, JBL became intertwined in the Millennium Wrestling Federation with myself, John Cena Sr. and the Uprising faction that his energy drink company "bought" (one that included NXT superstar Tommaso Ciampa).  John extended great friendship and was giving towards the independent talent.  I found him to be extremely funny and witty as we share many common friends.  Suffering from a disability where I need a spinal fusion, John was nice enough to send me countless cases of the energy drink he used to help his injured back and get back into top condition. 

As I got to know John better, I learned of the tremendous volunteer work he does with the Beyond Rugby Bermuda program, helping at-risk youth not only have after school programs to enjoy and keep them out of trouble, but even going as far to provide meals for them.  It inspired us to help the cause and help raise a little money for them at our live events.  I've never seen him going around patting himself on the back for his hard work and dedication.  The man attempted to climb the tallest peaks in all seven continents as a fundraising endeavor for BRB, in some of the worlds most dangerous places.  He was also instrumental in helping create the annual WWE Tributes To The Troops after his own personal visits to the troops overseas.

Please don't think I'm ignoring Mauro Ranallo's situation;  I realize depression can take you to some dark, scary places and I certainly hope he's feeling better by the minute.  At the same time, after spending almost two thirds of my life in the sport, I realize it's not for everyone.  It's a tough journey.  Not everyone is going to be nice to you and like you.  It seems like fans are angry over the personal opinion of a wrestling reporter, and I don't get that.  Last weekend in Orlando, I had dinner with one of the top superstars in the industry, and we discussed (no one in particular) people in general having to stop being so sensitive and offended so easily about EVERYTHING!!  I'm "offended" by it!!  I'm sure John Layfield would admit he's not a perfect person, but who is??  I find the online attacks from fans that are basing their opinion off of the words and non-personal interactions of others (who likely have never even met him) insulting.  I respect John Layfield as a professional wrestler, commentator and human being.


















* * * * *
INSIDE THE MWF
by Dan Mirade
March 28th, 2017


Note:  the following is a column of thoughts, opinions and observations.  It's written with a deep passion for the professional wrestling industry as a whole, for the fans of wrestling and the athletes driven to live their dreams.  Whether you agree or disagree with these words, remember that there's a voice that cares behind it, one that only wants to see every hard working wrestler and promoter succeed, and for every fan to leave a live event feeling they got value for their time and money, so they'll be excited g to see live wrestling (both independent and major league) again and again.  For that, I do not apologize. 


Like the Phoenix from Greek mythology, I rise from the ashes back into the world of this column.  I've been asked more and more where I've "been" (and boy, could I share some stories), that I should get back to updating the column, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  That's not me, it's too much.  Other than occasional posts of interest / importance / anniversaries, I think Facebook is going to be joining MySpace in the social media graveyard.  2016 was honestly one of busiest years in wrestling to date, working on a variety of projects near and far, in reality and online, for the MWF, WWE and lots of other people / promotions / "things" in between.  I have a great amount of respect for President Dr. David Reiss when it comes to most things MWF and feel he's doing a great job, he's a man that cares even if we don't always agree. . . .

Most people come here (I think) wanting MWF-content and updates.  It means a lot that people keep asking.  The second chapter of the book, the sequel, whatever you want to call it, is coming much sooner than later.  I'm working on not one, not two yet three different concepts for fans to enjoy, and that really excites me.  Anyone can rent a ring and a hall (and it happens, by idiots - far too often - every weekend).  When it comes to what we're going to do here in the northeast, I have a strong voice in the conversation.  Outside of the north, my voice isn't as strong but I'm still sitting at the proverbial table as Johnny and company plan to rule the south.  I will not lower my standards or expectations, and fans and athletes alike will be better off for it when the big night happens.  It will captivate in new ways, hopefully engaging fans like never before.  I also want to make sure that all the i's are dotted, etc., so we never again run into the issue like we did with John Cena Sr. and the North Carolina Inside Job.  No one wanted to listen to me back in 2011, I was told I was paranoid, I worry too much, etc.  And look at what happened??  The book that will be written someday, my friends. . .hell, most of it already is. . . 

Another reason I've been quiet is that my goal isn't to put myself over - it's all about the wrestling and the wrestlers.  I'm damn good at enhancing and producing, but my life is complete without posting about myself on Facebook everyday.  I'm at the studio most nights until 10PM or so, then I go home and continue working on various endeavors until 4AM or 5AM.  Then I do it again the next day.  There are a lot of unique experiences and people involved in the journey, but I would feel somewhat hypocritical typing and posting away with my fingers crossed that someone will hit the "Like" button or enjoy a photo of what I had for lunch when I roll my eyes at a lot of the content I see daily. . . 

I'm not focused on tomorrow (maybe the wrong week to be saying that where we have so much going on in Orlando as part of WrestleMania week). . . or next week. . . or next month, even. . . my goals and focus are for the years and decades ahead. . . 

WrestleMania week is going to be one of our busiest to date.  Each minute from when I wake up Thursday until I fly home will be jammed, and I expect the unexpected after running into so many people and situations (in good ways) last year in Dallas. Some of you know I used to live in Florida 3-4 months a year, so going back to Orlando is like going home.  Zeb Colter / Dutch Mantell (most recently hired as the head of creative for the new-look Impact Wrestling) joins the three gentlemen (John Cena Sr., Shelton Benjamin and myself) in the photo above at WrestleCon at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando both Friday, March 31st and Saturday, April 1st all morning and afternoon.  Autograph and posed photo tickets are on-sale here.  The picture was taken at the MWF's TD Garden event in Boston a few years back leading up to SOUL SURVIVOR VII, a historic night for anything not named WWE, as I can't see Impact Wrestling, ROH or anyone else selling tickets to an event at the Garden.  We did it.  That was one of the nights when "I knew". . . one of those magical nights when I was able to take a moment in quiet and think. . . we had to be at the venue very early, and was able to walk into an empty Garden. . . just 16,000 empty seats or so. . . and knew that we've really created something special. . . 

Anyways, WrestleCon is going to be a blast if it's half as good as last year.  We have a bunch of giveaways for fans that come to visit us.  I feel guilty charging fans for anything, so we try to give you as much value as possible.  We have a lot of bills to cover from the number of airline tickets, paydays, hotel rooms, car rentals, printing, etc., etc., we've had to purchase to make this happen.  You are appreciated, as always.

On March 31st after WrestleCon and before the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony at the Amway Center, John Cena Sr., the legendary Vader and other superstars TBA will be putting together a hell of a Make-A-Wish fundraiser for the winner of an on-going dinner / merchandise raffle (tickets available here) and their guest on International Drive.  Very happy to have Vader involved.  I could tell many stories about this man from my interactions with him going back to 2010.  I have a world of respect for his accomplishments on the gridiron in the NFL and, obviously, his in-ring accomplishments around the globe.  Whoever wins this raffle isn't just going to enjoy dinner with these guys, win a boatload of wrestling prizes and leave the restaurant with memories that will last a lifetime, they most importantly will have done something great to help some kids that need it most.  Ever since Linda MIrade's two wonderful sons came into my life many years ago, I cannot resist helping any kids charity that comes our way.  We've done a lot with Make-A-Wish over the years.  As much as John Cena Sr. and I butt heads, one thing we agree upon is how important helping out folks like this is.  His son has granted more MAW wishes for kids than any other athlete or celebrity, ever.  Help the cause and spread the word. . . 

I'm looking forward to seeing the WWE Hall Of Fame, NXT Takeover and WrestleMania live as WWE has once again graciously invited me to be their guest.  I have at least one meeting lined up during the week and so many other friends and extended members of my family that will be taking up space in every hotel all over the happiest place on earth.  It's a wonderful experience, only wish I was staying longer.  John Cena Sr. unloaded on WrestleMania in a recent interview;  I feel this is one of the deepest line-ups in Mania history, I can't think of any top superstar that's going to be on the DL like last year with Cena, Wyatt, Orton and Rollins out of action plus Daniel Bryan retired several weeks before the event.  Very happy to see Teddy Long inducted into the WWE HOF, and Kurt Angle is a feel good story.  It hasn't been an easy road for the man, but during a four-day swing we did with TNA back in the summer of 2007, we talked neck woes where he broke his neck during the 1996 Olympics and I've had my own issues. . . 

I'll be honest to a degree that the "other" part of my social media "silence" has revolved around deaths..  I haven't been the same since Paul Bearer died in March 2013.  It was a death blow to my psyche as much as it was his near daily contributions to the Millennium Wrestling Federation.   Fans and even some of the roster had no idea how much that man did for us.  Him and I interacted almost everyday, whether it be emails, texts, social media or on the phone.  I'll say it until my final day on earth - how lucky was I??  To not only befriend a true WWE legend, one of the greatest managers of all time, but to have him want to actively contribute so much.  Who the hell was I??  Dan, who started watching wrestling on television at six years old and watched him as blonde haired Percy Pringle on World Class in Texas.  Not only did he respect me as a peer, but told me he loved me like a son;  one of two people in wrestling that has ever said that to me.  So, yea, when I learned of his passing just four nights before he was supposed to be with us here in Boston, leaving us almost out of nowhere, it took away a big piece of me that hasn't come back.  The MWF has yet to find the person to fill that void, which is another reason why I want to make sure "Chapter 2" is not only as excellent as fans deserve, but that the car drives itself the same way.  I miss my friend, each and everyday.  Every time I call or email someone at Titan Towers (WWE's headquarters in Stamford, CT), I have conversations with people that "get it". . . at this level, there are less and less guys still active that get it in that way. . . 

And that takes me to January 12th of this year. . . when I learned  The Jackal, my friend of nearly 24 years,  passed away at the age of 51.  The Jackal helped break me into this crazy world when I was just a freshmen in high school, again, almost out of nowhere, gone.  Someone else I interacted with almost every single day.  Reminded me of Paul Bearer, reminded me of the late "Boston Bad Boy" Tony Rumble when his time came in November 1999.  It still hasn't truly hit me that the Jackal is gone. . . hell, I still email Percy from time to time. . . 

Losing three mentors like that is very hard, but this is also an industry where members of the brotherhood pass away far too regularly.  Thankfully, the young deaths have slowed down to a degree, but it's still too much.  Already in 2017, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka left us, who I had known going back to the mid-90's with Rumble's CWA, and appearing as one of the headliners at our debut event in 2001;  and George "The Animal" Steele, who I had an extremely memorable weekend with in March 2004 during WrestleMania XX weekend in New York and was one of my favorite superstars when I started watching wrestling as a kid.  In fact, he was in the main event teaming with Hulk Hogan against Randy Savage and Adrian Adonis in August 1986 at the Boston Garden at the first event I ever attended live.  It seems like a couple of times a month, someone else we care about is gone, often time, far too soon. . . 

(NOTE:  very sorry to hear of the passing of Jan Ross, the wife of Jim.  I have known JR since November 2005 when we interacted at Titan Towers, and they had both been regulars at our Cauliflower Alley Club reunions in Las Vegas each year.  My best to JR and his family)

I've re-typed this paragraph enough times, so I'll be honest in that I had a conversation via telephone with the Iron Sheik down in Atlanta last week.  The Sheik and I had have had a mind blowing odyssey both good and bad over the past thirteen years, from being blown up by a drunk driver, running around Boston, LA, Toronto, Las Vegas, to having our first Studio Shoot Interview become so hot it was a daily part of the Howard Stern Show.  When millions - and millions - came to know and love the insanity that was that interview, you could say there's some history there.  Sheik will get several chapters in the book, both good and bad.  In 2017, he's a calm man, he's a sober man, the bullshit that you see on "his" Twitter account has absolutely nothing to do with him.  His ankles and feet are in horrible condition, and he's very quiet compared to the Sheik some knew and loved during the "humbling" years.  BELIEVE ME. . . the Sheik not doing drugs and drinking is a great thing for him. . . he's too old for that.  I don't know how he's still alive.  But I also hate to hear him sounding so down, as all he wants to do is be on the road again, making the towns and meeting the fans.  Even at his worst, beneath all the crazy, the tirades, was a good man. . . 

Geez, I don't think this column is going to help many manic depressives out there.  I used to crank out some of my best stuff when I'd fly down to Orlando or Tampa, drive an hour or so from either airport to my house. . . it was like turning the clock back to the 1950's or 1960's. . . just a completely different way of life than Boston. . . the weather was always nice. . . I'd keep the sliding door to the lanai open all night and never worry, listening to the warm air make the wind chimes go crazy . . people were just people, they were nice to each other, they looked out for one another. . . there was an air of loyalty, respect, honesty, character, and integrity that I think is lost on the world sometimes in 2017.  It isn't posted on Facebook and Twitter very often.  That's how all people should want to be.  Those are values I tried to instill in the little Mirade's. . . that's what I look for in other people I choose to engage with in and out of wrestling. . . and it seems like they're in short supply more than ever. . . 

Until we speak again, be happy, healthy and safe. . . enjoy this years WrestleMania as if it's the last one. . . will hopefully bring home a bunch of cool videos and photos for your enjoyment if you don't make it down to the Sunshine State. . . 

Dan


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