CALDWELL'S TAKE CALDWELL: A Top 10 for 10 Years - Hall of Fame, George, Sweet Tea, Studio B, Duke, Three-Pack, and you!
Jul 1, 2015 - 1:00:00 AM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
Ten years ago today, PWTorch editor Wade Keller brought me on the PWTorch Staff, which eventually led to the full-time assistant editor position. For some reason, I agreed to a daily column idea called "31 Days of Caldwell." Thank goodness there was a ton of news in July 2005. Otherwise, as Bruce Mitchell told me, I would have ended up writing about the top enhancement talent of 1970s territory wrestling.
So, in a change of pace from my usual writing, I get a little sentimental presenting a Top 10 for 10 Years...
(1) Hall of Fame. PWTorch editor Wade Keller will be inducted into the Tragos/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame next week, taking the Jim Melby journalism award. Having worked with Wade on a daily - seemingly hourly basis - over the past ten-plus years, I can vouch for Wade's candidacy. Wade covers the industry with integrity, class, and a commitment to his principles. And, he cares about people. Both the people he works with and the people he covers. That's why the Torch has been in business for nearly 30 years. I consider Wade not just the editor, but a friend who has been there through the wild thing called life from a long distance away in Torch Towers North all the way down to Torch South.
(2) Readers & Correspondents. One of the most thankless contributions to PWTorch are readers who send in feedback and emails, as well as correspondents who send in reports from house shows, TV tapings, autograph signings, and wherever else a wrestling event takes place. Whether you've sent in hundreds of reports, like always-reliable Mike Omansky, or just one TV Taping report, I appreciate you. There's nothing better than seeing a house show report appear in the inbox on a Friday or Saturday night.
(3) The Specialists & Contributors. Another thankless job are the contributions from our team of specialists and contributors who provide color to fill in the black & white ink covering the wrestling industry, plus cover Wrestling TV on a weekly basis. We have had so many great specialists and contributors come through the doors over the past ten years that I can't list everyone, but it's been a pleasure editing and reading your work. #InstantReaction.
We also lost a specialist earlier this year. George Chiverton, who covered NXT with his weekly NXT Rankings & Evaluation, died at the age of 21 in January. It was truly heart-breaking to hear about, as George not only brought a ton of enthusiasm to covering NXT, but he was always eager to learn in his college studies. Please think about George when you watch NXT tonight. [ Read about George HERE ]
(4) Livecast Callers. Six years ago, we embarked on a daily, weekday call-in show called the PWTorch Livecast. We've gone through 10 or 15 audio set-ups during that time trying to find the right mix, and through technology changes, the callers have hung in there. Mirror James, Sarge, Boris ... from Chicago, Chris in New York, D.J. in Miami, Kylin from New Jersey, the list goes on and on. I truly appreciate and am humbled by you guys calling in and hanging on the line for 30, 40, 50 minutes waiting to get on the air. Thank you for driving the live call-in format and here's to a Three-Pack of Questions.
(5) PWTorch Staff. This is a great group of guys. If you added up the total amount of years on-staff from Bruce, Pat, Sean, Greg, Prowrestling.net's Jason Powell when he was assistant editor, and me, we're talking about 100 years. They work hard, they're flexible, they're loyal, and they reflect Wade's commitment to covering pro wrestling. There's also Jim Valley, Travis Bryant of the East Coast Cast, Jamie Penick of MMATorch.com, and "New Guy" Todd Martin (Todd Mallin to have a proper Torch Family Name - Keller, Caldwell, McNeill, Mitchell, Powell, Valley ... Gullman) who bring a great deal of insight to their work and contributions.
(6) Sweet Tea. One of my favorite audio conversations of the last 10 years was an off-air discussion about sweet tea with Greg Parks after an episode of "Moonlighting with Greg Parks." Too bad it was not recorded, as it would have made the cut for a restaurant scene in Seinfeld. It was just an epic, delirious back-and-forth. The point being Greg and I have recorded a ton of audio through the years and it's always insightful, fun, and unpredictable. Like Greg solving the Elimination Chamber Problem by introducing bear-wrestling to the equation. But, what I appreciate most about Greg is his ambition, as he packed up and moved down to Florida, got a full-time teaching job, and is now the Athletic Director at his school. Plus, the collection of sports teams that he follows closely takes serious commitment - Ducks for the NHL, Grizzlies for the NBA, Marlins for MLB, Jaguars for the NFL, Wisconsin for college football, and NASCAR. That's pretty sweet.
(7) Dr. Jason. Over the years, I've covered a lot of wrestling shows at the Toyota Center in Houston. And most of the time there's been the "Four Horsemen" as my eyes and ears while trying to type a report on a tiny iPhone keypad while people are yelling and screaming. What is this, a wrestling show? Where is the peace and quiet of my office? And there's always been Dr. Jason. A good, good man who knows his wrestling history, we always book next year's WrestleMania, and someone I consider like a brother. Like my own brother, Jordan. At Night of Champions, The Horsemen ride again.
(7b) Before there were the Four Horsemen, there was the PWG Era in Southern California, which is where I started this 10-year journey. Included were late nights at Denny's watching Hero put unsuspecting customers to sleep, Kevin Steen/Owens kicking my knee out on a suplex spot on the front row, and a good group of guys including Matt, Evan, John, and others. There were a couple of trips to LAX mixed in there. I even took a nap in the LAX terminal while Bryan & Vinny probably booked D.B. Cooper vs. Big Foot. Now if we can just figure out how to get Cooper in a PWG ring...
(8) Studio B. Every Wednesday evening for the past few years, I've hung out with PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill in "Studio B" for the Livecast Aftershow. Some Wednesdays there isn't a dang thing going on news-wise, and other Wednesdays we're breaking news live on the air. And, we've mixed in some good football talk along the way. Plus, I know it's the last stop before Date Night with my wife. So, here's to Five Things I May Not Know.
(9) Duke! If you've listened to the Bruce Mitchell Audio Show long enough, you know that the best way to get in a word with Bruce is to shout "Duke!" repeatedly. The Blue Devils's favorite columnist has an unbelievable wealth of pro wrestling knowledge and insight at his fingertips that makes him an integral part of what we do at the Torch. It's been a pleasure sitting under the learning tree. And, after all these years, Bruce finally answered the question I asked him seemingly every time I guest-hosted BMA in last week's Torch Newsletter. If you're a veteran VIP'er, you know what I'm talking about. Finally.
(10) SIGNING OFF! The signature sound of PWTorch columnist Sean Radican wrapping up another solid VIP Audio Show. Here's to a solid guy who works as hard as anyone covering the independent scene without getting enough credit. Sean's work ethic has pushed me to work hard every day. And I truly appreciate that.
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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
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