(Note: Before the final 2CW cards this past December, I had the chance to create and put together a magazine. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be putting the stories here on the blog. Enjoy!)
Squared Circle Wrestling isn’t your normal independent wrestling federation. It’s proven that time and time again with the cards it puts on, the talent it brings in, and the way it treats its fans.
But there are other aspects that separate 2CW from other independent federations.
Take the 2CW Fancast, for example. This podcast, which is all about 2CW, gives fans a perspective on the federation that many others don’t have.
In late 2008, Peter Wrightsman – known as the Original Hat Guy – came up with an idea as a way to spread the word about 2CW.
“We did some research and figured out how to record and edit and set up the website for it,” said Andrew “Dewey” Brooks, one of the four original hosts for the show. “We did a couple of demo episodes to work out some of the bugs in December, and released our first episode in January 2009.”
Brooks and Wrightsman hosted alongside Brian “Viking” Burton and Token Tom, who later left the podcast to work on other podcasts.
“At the time, I was a big fan of wrestling podcasts and thought it would be a good idea to start one for 2CW,” Wrightsman said. “None of us knew what to do, so it involved a lot of research to figure it out. Actually, Dewey did most of the research and we did all the recordings at his place. He edited everything and he recorded everything, so he was a huge part of getting the podcast off the ground.”
It also gave the group a chance to talk about wrestling, and more specifically about 2CW.
“It was to help bring attention to the best wrestling company on the planet,” Burton said.
Fans from the start
Brooks, Burton, and Wrightsman all attended the first 2CW card on April 8, 2006. Held at the Pastime Athletic Center in Syracuse, the three went to support a local company after seeing a commercial for the event during Monday Night Raw.
Brooks has since been to 111 shows. Burton has been to 110. Wrightsman has been to more than half, but often has conflicts during the summer, so his total isn’t as high as the other two.
“We went to the first show after seeing the commercial on RAW, and wanted to see what a local promotion could offer,” Brooks said. “We started with just the Syracuse shows for the first year, but after going to one in Rochester, the Viking and I decided we’d try to go to every show from then on.”
Not only is the trio known for the Fancast, but they also are known for tailgating before events. The group can be found in parking lots before events indulging in some food and libations before heading inside to their customary front-row seats.
Burton said the tailgating has been a great way to interact with fans and wrestlers alike.
Brooks noted for the first few, it was only for an hour or so before a shot to have a cordial or two before heading in to watch the card.
“As we met more and more of the same people going to all the shows, we started getting there earlier and earlier to spend more and more time tailgating,” Brooks said. “As more and more people hung out, the wrestlers began coming out as well and it just took off from there.”
One time, Brooks said, they went and visited a brewery before tailgating , thus making it an all-day event.
Wrightsman said he thinks the first tailgating day came at an event at the Pastime Athletic Club and they’ve done it in all weather.
“The best tailgate party was recently when we returned to the Pastime Athletic Club,” he said. “It was a Sunday and it was warm out. People brought flat-screen TVs and were watching football in the parking lot. We had a grill going and it was a blast.”
Moving forward with the show
The group has brought an added element to the 2CW family and wrestlers have taken part as well. Some of those interviewed over the years have included Colin Delaney, AR Fox, Dick Justice, Sean Carr, Nick Ando, Slyck Wagner Brown, Kevin Steen, Jason Axe, Jay Freddie, Matt Hardy, Spike Dudley, Isys Ephex, and Eddie Edwards, among others.
In total, there have been 73 shows.
The guests and topics have varied. They’ve recapped and previewed shows and who was coming and going in 2CW. The website (http://the2cwfancast.com/) has a plethora of information, including the results of every card 2CW has held, as well as title histories.
Burton said Jason Axe was the best guest they’ve had on the show, especially the second time he visited.
“He was just a great guest and had a lot to say that was really interesting,” Burton said.
Brooks agreed on Axe’s appearance.
“I think it’s probably the best interview we did and really gave a great insight into Jason’s entire career to that point,” he said.
Wrightsman said he had a lot of favorite episodes, including one where Punisher Van Slyke and Kevin “The Man” Graham showed up. Another of his favorites was when Dick Justice was on the show.
“I didn’t know he was coming to do the show,” Wrightsman said. “They wanted to surprise me as I always have been and always will be a huge Dick Justice mark.”
As for the worst guest?
Burton and Brooks once again agreed, saying it was when ZSIII was on the show.
“He may be the Innovator of Silence but that doesn’t mean he ever stops talking,” Brooks said.
Added Burton: “He just rambled on and on about prayer dogs.”
But Wrightsman? He went against the pick Burton and Brooks had for their favorite show, saying Axe was the worst guest.
“I really hate to say it,” Wrightsman said. “I don’t think he really wanted to be there and was not very open with the answers he was giving. It was like pulling teeth for a while.”
Saying goodbye to 2CW
It’s not going to be easy to say goodbye to a federation the three have given so much time to, but they all noted they understood.
The memories will last for many years to come, however.
“It’s a mixed bag of emotions,” Burton said. “On one hand, I hate to see it go, but this way it won’t end up being a joke like what happened to WCW or other similar promotions.”
The legacy of 2CW will be a strong one, Brooks said. He noted he’d hate to see the federation turn into a shadow or parody of itself like many companies do, so he understands why this is happening.
It doesn’t make it easier to accept.
“It’s really bittersweet,” he said. “It’s a company that did it their way from the day one until the end. It’s a company that always has something for everyone on every show. While they brought in some of the biggest names in independent wrestling, they also kept their true indy feel by keeping homegrown talent.”
The big names were a bonus, but Brooks said the local talent – such as Axe or Isys Ephex, or Jay Freddie – could capture one’s mind and emotions just as much as an old WWE star or other big names coming in. The mixture that 2CW was able to do each show made the cards even more special.
Obviously nobody is happy that 2CW is coming to an end. But, Wrightsman said, he understands and it seems like the perfect time to do it.
He also said he’s happy 2CW is giving the fans the chance to say goodbye.
“I am glad they announced the last shows are it so that we know to get every bit out of that weekend,” Wrightsman said. “We are going to have the best tailgates and the best time at these last shows.”
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