Indy Focus: Michael Woods – Promoter of Inter Species Wrestling
By Atlee Greene
-Name of Promotion: Inter Species Wrestling
-Years of operation: 2005 – Current
-Shows per year: 2-3. “Shows happen when we have enough spare cash to justify running questionable wrestling shows”
-Area of operation: Montreal, Quebec and Danbury, Connecticut.
Q: When and how did you become a wrestling fan?
MW: I’ve been a fan since I was about 5. Before that, I hated wrestling. It was on our television on Saturdays, at an hour that usually signaled the end of “cartoon day” as I called it as a kid. Which made me hate wrestling with a passion. One year, my uncle bought me the British Bulldogs tag team set (LJN figure style) for Christmas. Every Saturday after that, I’d watch my cartoons and then stay in front of the tube to see if my toys were going to be on tv fighting. That’s how I got hooked.
Q: Where did you grow up?
MW: Ottawa, Ontario – in Canada.
Q: Who were your favorite wrestlers growing up?
MW: The British Bulldogs, Bret and Owen Hart, Chris Benoit and of course – Hulk Hogan. The Bulldogs are still my favorite wrestlers today.
Q: Did you attend wrestling shows when you were a kid?
MW: I did. I went to two house shows as a kid, and many more as a teenager.
Q: What is your favorite wrestling match and show?
MW: My favorite wrestling match is more than one match. It’s the entire Dynamite Kid/Tiger mask series. As for my favorite show – well – I can’t really name just one. I’ve enjoyed many. Wrestlemania X8 was incredible, just because I was able to experience it live.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to run shows, and how did you get started?
MW: I started working for an independent promotion just outside of my hometown in 2002. I basically laid cable, hooked up equipment, and ran the video wall for live shows. While doing this, I got the chance to learn from the bookers at the time – Joel Racine and former WWWF tag team and International Heavyweight Champion Gino Brito. They talked, I listened. In 2004, I was invited to be part of their booking team for the biggest supercard in Quebec independent wrestling history – Wrestlefest. I got bit by the booking bug, and yeah, the rest is history….I guess.
Inter Species Wrestling started out as a joke. A funny conversation with a friend of mine – where we made up silly wrestling cards, and laughed at the ridiculousness of them. A guy wrestling a goat in a ladder match, and so on. Then we realized that people would probably pay to see this stuff and decided to give it a try.
Q: Take us back to the time and place of the very first show first show you ran?
MW: Butterflies like crazy. My business partner, at the time, was in a car accident on the way to the venue. I was left to run the show alone, and I was nervous as hell. Luckily, some of the guys helped out backstage and it ended up being a blast. It was a learning experience, for sure. Nothing but good memories of the show – even though it really can’t hold a candle to the shows we put on today.
Q: What can fans expect to see when they come to a Inter Species Wrestling show?
MW: Organized chaos and mayhem, mixed with a little comedy, wacky characters, and SURPRISE! Solid wrestling action. We pride ourselves on our unique blend of wrestling, ridiculousness, and crude humor. It’s like nothing else out there.
Q: What makes Inter Species Wrestling different from other independents?
MW: The fact that we’re in this for fun, and it’s evident. You see it when you’re watching one of our shows. The Inter Species Wrestling locker room is a politic-free zone. There’s no backstabbing or bullshit because we don’t take ourselves too seriously. From my own experiences, a lot of other promotions do. That’s what sets us apart. The experience, and the atmosphere is like a party. Both in the ring, and backstage. Save the drama for your mama. Oh, and Lego. Definitely Lego.
Q: Who are some of the notable names you have worked with?
MW: Colt Cabana, Kevin Steen, El Generico, Skayde, and Mike Quackenbush to name a few. We’ve worked with many people, as well as many promotions.
Q: Do you believe Kayfabe is dead?
MW: It’s only dead if you allow it to be. Today’s indy fan is either a respectable one, or a downright douchebag. There’s very little middle ground. And the douchebags ruin it for themselves – because they go into a show with the “kayfabe is dead” attitude – and ruin it for everyone around them as well. You know what I mean, right? The guys who yell out real names, and who is behind the masks, and all that? It’s lame. Very lame. I’ve been to towns in Quebec where the fans still believe, because they want to. They love the faces, and want to absolutely kill the heels. It’s magic, and I love it. It’s up to you, really. I don’t watch too much wrestling anymore.
Q: Any TV/Media appearances:
MW: We’ve been in a few newspapers – but our only tv appearance was on G4′s Electric Playground. They did a pretty sweet little segment on us. (Editor’s Note: See the segment here http://www.elecplay.com/watch/19/297/4/17)
Q: What are some of the matches that define what Inter Species Wrestling is all about?
MW: Izzie Deadyet and Zombified vs. Twiggy and El Generico from Hot Summer Rub-Down is the first match that comes to mind. Gimmicks and great wrestling all around. After that, it’d be any of the Giant Tiger vs. Beef Wellington matches. They really hammer the point home.
Q: There is a growing trend of promoters across the country who only promote their shows on the internet? Do think this is a wise move?
MW: I do and I don’t. Promoting online via social networking and forums works and can generate a ton of interest. There’s just no telling how many of them will actually come to the show, or if they’re even close to the area you’re promoting in. Handing a fan a flyer means that they’re obviously from around your area – because you’re not going to flyer out of state or anything. Makes it a little more likely that they’ll come. I don’t know. It’s good and bad. I’ve seen it work and I’ve seen it bomb miserably.
Q: Can you talk about how much time and effort goes into promoting a show?
MW: A whole lot. Unlike many promotions out there, our shows are fully booked before we even announce them to the public. Then it’s time to promote and we put alot into that. We have people postering and flyering other events. We record a weekly podcast, with news and interviews. And we do alot of online promotion – via press releases, video promo work, and guest spots on other podcasts. A good 2-3 months of promotion all around, per show. We keep busy.
Q: You are one of the few promoters who promote shows in different countries. (Canada and U.S.A.) What are the differences?
MW: Not meaning to offend – but the fans in Canada are much more rowdier than the fans in the USA. Completely different atmospheres at Canadian and American shows, for sure. Also, (there) seems to be quite a bit more political bullshit in the US. Aside from that, it’s the same.
Q: Take us through your schedule and what you go through three hours before show time?
MW: Well, basically we make sure we have everything we need to have done. Water backstage. Everyone’s theme music on the laptop. Videos ready for projection on the big screen. Then it’s just mic and equipment tests and whatnot – as the guys (and girl) work out in the ring. Make sure everyone’s merch is on the table. Talk things out with my partners to make sure we’re all on the same page, and there aren’t any concerns. I sit around, and try to get rid of the butterflies because I do still get them. 20-30 minutes before the doors open, I call everyone backstage for the rules of the night, and the pre-show meeting. Then I go upstairs, we open the door, and it’s showtime. I greet fans, because I’m friendly. I hit up the bathroom, because I’m on commentary all night and get no breaks. And I probably eat something in those 3 hours – because I’m fat.
Q: Who are some of the names on the independent scene that fans need to look out for?
MW: Frankie Arion is the guy who more people need to be watching AND booking. Same goes for guys like Dan Barry and Mathieu St. Jacques.
Q: What are your future plans?
MW: To keep having fun, and entertaining people for as long as we can. I want to turn the craziness up 10 notches, and see what happens. My dream, however, is to run a show at the old ECW Arena.
Q: When and where are your next couple of shows?
MW: Our next show – BURGER KING OF THE RING – will take place on July 23 at the Heirloom Arts Theatre in Danbury, Connecticut. Really excited for that one, as it’s our first ever tournament show. I’m a huge fan of tournaments. We’ll also be presenting the first EVER “Fans Bring the LEGO Deathmatch” to ever take place on American soil. An Inter Species Wrestling original. Really excited for all of it.
We’ll also be involved in the big “Fighting Back – Wrestling with Cancer” show on August 12 in Ottawa, Canada. A show in honor of my good friend, and a huge part of the Inter Species Wrestling family – Phrank Morin – also known as “Stinky the Homeless Guy.” We lost him to cancer on April 1, and this will be our night to pay tribute – with all proceeds going towards a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society in his name. Every Inter Species Wrestling show from here on out will take place in his memory.
If you’re in the area for either of these shows – come check ‘em out!
Q: Where can workers contact you if they are looking for work?
MW: We have a contact page on our website, (www.interspecieswrestling.com) with instructions on how to go about contacting us for work. We don’t like people getting at us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re very old school, if we want to know who you are, where you’ve been, who trained you – and where we can see some of your work. We’ve got to get a feel for your personality because if it doesn’t come across – it’d be hard for us to use you as part of our style of product.
- Here are some video links of matches from Inter Species Wrestling
www.iswondemand.com It’s a pay site.
- Social Media
Facebook – www.facebook.com/interspecieswrestling
Twitter – Inter Species Wrestling @ISDub or Michael Woods – @RotchyKong
If any Wrestlers, Refs, Mangers, Ring Announcers, and Promoters are interested in being interviewed please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org