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Interview with Drew Cordeiro (english)
CAGEMATCH: Most of the German wrestling fans have probably never heard about Beyond Wrestling. Could you explain what Beyond Wrestling is about and what the difference between Beyond Wrestling and other independent promotions is?
Drew Cordeiro: First off, I wouldn't even classify Beyond Wrestling as a "promotion." When Beyond Wrestling started, it was intended to be a "wrestling retreat" for a select group of independent wrestlers; a “safe haven” of sorts where they could go a few times a year to recharge their batteries. But since then, new wrestlers have been introduced to Beyond Wrestling, and it's become a place where upstarts can compete in front of their peers to get feedback firsthand, which in turn helps them become better wrestlers.
The concept of Beyond Wrestling lends itself to “on the job” training. Each event is held closed to the public. Fans are not allowed to attend. There is no locker room. Instead, all of the wrestlers remain around ringside to watch every match. This creates an unprecedented atmosphere, which further reinforces the idea of competition. Not only are the wrestlers competing to win the match, but they also must compete to win over the support of their fellow wrestlers. As a result, our athletes pull out all of the stops. Bottom line: Beyond Wrestling hosts some of the most innovative wrestling around.
CAGEMATCH: How did you come up with this concept?
Drew Cordeiro: I have a keen eye for talent and I was able to determine that certain individuals could make positive contributions within the wrestling world without having to compete on a regular basis. I’m talking about talented athletes who were turned off by the politics in pro wrestling; guys that had stepped away from the industry. Beyond Wrestling is an organization free of political oppression. In order to remove the politics, you must create an environment where everyone is an equal, without any financial ramifications. Even still, the concept of Beyond Wrestling has evolved since the organization launched in May of 2009. Because industry politics are absent at Beyond Wrestling, it's a great place for relative newcomers to the professional wrestling game to hone their craft. The veteran wrestlers do not judge the younger athletes. Instead, the more experience competitors provide constructive criticism to help the rookies improve, which benefits the newcomers when they compete for other independent organizations.
CAGEMATCH: What was the reaction of the wrestlers when you first told them about your project?
Drew Cordeiro: They were in full support of the Beyond Wrestling project. The first set of wrestlers I contacted for the pilot taping were wrestlers that I had maintained friendships with outside off wrestling. They all embodied a similar quality. In regards to pro wrestling, they were all very progressive. Since then, some of the original crew has moved on, but that has opened spots for younger wrestlers. These rookies understand that Beyond Wrestling is a platform where they have complete creative control. They are able to compete to the best of their abilities, without any restrictions, which has actually allowed some of our wrestlers to gain more notoriety within the wrestling world. Conversely, we have contacted more established wrestlers to compete for Beyond Wrestling, and some have turned down the booking. They think it contradicts the purpose of wrestling, which is to make money by holding shows for a paying crowd. However, that's a bogus excuse, since very few make any real money on the independent level.
CAGEMATCH: Speaking of the wrestlers, your roster consists of many young and talented wrestlers. Who do you think has the potential to become a regular in one of the bigger indies like DGUSA an ROH or even TNA and WWE in the future?
Drew Cordeiro: Chris Dickinson and Team Beyond Wrestling (Chase Burnett and Zane Silver) competed for EVOLVE earlier in the year. All three of those guys are younger than 25. I guarantee that all three of them will make waves once again within the wrestling industry. Chris Dickinson's dedication to fitness is unparalleled. He's also a legitimate martial artist. He has all of the pieces - he just needs to assemble the puzzle, and that will come with experience. Chase Burnett and Zane Silver are fearless. They don't get intimidated by big opportunities. On the contrary, they actually step up their game. Despite their small stature, their explosive offense will continue to innovate tag team wrestling into the next decade.
Corvis Fear has the best mind for professional wrestling of any wrestler I've ever encountered, and he's got the execution to boot. Jonny Mangue is just waiting for his one big opportunity and he will surely breakout. Jefferson Saint has developed an amazing person which appeals to old school wrestling fans as well as a newer audience. Davey Vega has competed regularly against some of the best in the industry over the last 12 months and it shows in his work. Danny Danger is a self-promoting genius, and it's a matter of time before the right people take notice.
I could honestly mention why I think every member of the Beyond Wrestling roster could make a living off of professional wrestling, but I don’t think we have time for that!
CAGEMATCH: If I understood everything correctly everyone who is trained and wants to work for Beyond is allowed. Are there many backyarders that want to work for Beyond?
Drew Cordeiro: That's correct. We have an open-invite policy. If you can get yourself to one of our events, in most cases, you can compete for Beyond Wrestling. However, I make it a point to research the athletes online beforehand and all new wrestlers must first pass an in-ring test administered by veterans Corvis Fear and Johnny Cockstrong. I can honestly tell you we've hosted some of the worst matches that will never see the light of day by allowing some fully-trained outsiders to wrestle during our events. Despite their poor performances, the trip is still worth it for these guys. While they may not be able to celebrate the added exposure of having one of their matches online, they can still obtain valuable feedback from their peers. And since we don't allow any fans to attend our events, we aren't charging anyone to see wrestlers who may not be ready to compete for a paying audience. It's a sacrifice of time and energy on our part, but other than that, it is beneficial for all parties.
To answer your question - no, we haven't been contacted by any backyard wrestlers that want to work for Beyond Wrestling.
CAGEMATCH: To be honest, if you don't know the story behind Beyond the setting looks a bit extraordinary and could be confused with backyard wrestling when you see it for the first time. What would you tell someone who thinks of insane backyard wrestling when they first saw a match of Beyond?
Drew Cordeiro: I mean, there are certain elements that are undeniably similar to backyard wrestling. Our wrestlers compete to entertain each other first and foremost, and if the byproduct is something that can be shared with an outside audience, then that's a bonus. The "do-it-yourself" mentality is alive and well in Beyond Wrestling. However, the biggest issue with backyard wrestling is safety. At Beyond Wrestling, all of our wrestlers are trained, we use professional equipment, and we host our events at a training facility. It's funny to me that someone could event look at one of our events and compare Beyond Wrestling to backyard wrestling. We don't even wrestle in a backyard!
The fact that some backyard organizations have gotten their hands on professional equipment really says something about the state of the industry as far as I'm concerned. If promoters are willing to rent their equipment to backyard wrestlers, not only is that an amazing liability, but it also perpetuates the idea that independent wrestling is a joke compared to WWE or TNA. If a promoter needs a payday so bad that he's willing to allow untrained "wrestlers" to compete in his ring, he probably shouldn't be promoting shows in the first place. If he was a successful promoter, he wouldn't be looking for a payday. Beyond Wrestling may be an unconventional approach to training, but I assure you that safety is a major priority.
CAGEMATCH: Are you surprised that there are so many wrestlers that want to work for Beyond, even though MMA is considered "the next big thing" by the media?
Drew Cordeiro: Not really. There are always going to be people who grew up watching wrestling that want to make the transition from one side of the guardrail to the other. If anything, independent wrestling is oversaturated in the United States, because so many people trained to be wrestlers after the “Attitude Era” boom. There is way more supply than demand. Hopefully more athletes training MMA nowadays means less wrestlers who don’t belong in the ring and less promotions that don’t have a business plan or long-term goals. In the long run, that should improve the overall quality of independent wrestling. It is a lot easier to become a professional wrestler than one might imagine, and the abundance of “talent” hurts those passionate enough to try and make a living off of it.
MMA is definitely hurting the wrestling industry on a larger scale, but it's a free country. Whichever entertainment company puts out the better product is going to secure the money of the fans. That’s the driving force behind Capitalism. But in no way, shape, or form does the MMA boom hurt Beyond Wrestling. Our audience is a niche of a niche of a niche, and our biggest priority is to help out up-and-coming wrestlers. We do have DVDs available at http://www.facebook.com/beyondwrestling and http://www.smartmarkvideo.com but our audience is independent wrestling fans who are interested in seeing the next generation of independent wrestlers. Perhaps someday we can expand that audience, but for the time being, we are content with the contributions we are making to independent wrestling.
CAGEMATCH: Speaking of audiences, will there ever be Beyond shows where fans are allowed in the arena?
Drew Cordeiro: Beyond Wrestling works best as a developmental system for a more traditional wrestling company that already runs live events. I think it would be a disservice to the Beyond Wrestling brand to hold live events open to the public under the Beyond Wrestling banner, but it's not out of the realm of possibilities. It's definitely something we've considered, and we haven't ruled it out. It depends on two factors. 1) There needs to be enough demand to make it a financially viable venture. 2) It can't go against the principles on which Beyond Wrestling was founded.
CAGEMATCH: What else do you expect for the future of Beyond? Do you have any plans or goals that you want to achieve?
Drew Cordeiro: One constant goal for Beyond Wrestling is increased exposure. This probably seems like a contradictory statement since our events are not open to the public and our top priority is to create an environment conducive to learning. However, Beyond Wrestling also acts as an incredible networking tool for the wrestlers that take advantage of it. If their match is good enough, it will eventually find its way to http://www.youtube.com/beyondwrestling where we upload free weekly matches. Our wrestlers can then show these matches to promoters to increase their paid bookings around the United States. This is one of the biggest obstacles we have to overcome because of the nature of Beyond Wrestling, but every little bit of coverage we get adds up. After our upcoming taping in November, "Developmental Hell," we are going to start inviting experienced, well-known independent wrestlers to hold clinics before each event. This is important because it will allow our wrestlers to have a more established veteran critique their work, while simultaneously providing our wrestlers with a different professional perspective at every show.
CAGEMATCH: Time for some fantasy booking: If you had the chance to book any wrestler you want for one match in Beyond, who would it be?
Drew Cordeiro: Mike Quackenbush, head trainer of the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory, has produced the best students in wrestling over the last decade. I'd love to see him and Corvis Fear tear it up.
CAGEMATCH: Now let’s talk about you, the man behind Beyond, no pun intended. What first made you want to get into pro wrestling?
Drew Cordeiro: I grew up watching wrestling every Saturday morning. I really lost interest right before the "Attitude Era" started and didn't get back into it until mid-1998. I met some of my closest friends when I started high school and we immediately bonded over wrestling. One of them was obsessed with tape trading, and he really opened my eyes to other styles of professional wrestling. We went as a group to the first Ring Of Honor show in Boston, MA in August of 2002, and I was the one who became obsessed with wrestling. I spent a good chunk of my formative years traveling the Northeastern part of the United States to see the best wrestling cards live. I graduated college with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, specializing in entertainment marketing, and decided that I had the right tools to make a positive contribution to the wrestling industry. Believe it or not, I "broke in" by working with Kaiju Big Battel, which allowed me to work with Chris Hero, and then CHIKARA. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it.
CAGEMATCH: You worked as commentator and behind the scenes. Did you ever want to become a pro wrestler?
Drew Cordeiro: I did, but I suffered a torn ACL when I first started my training. I had to have it surgically repaired, and it was a 15 month process from injury to recovery. I came to the conclusion during that period of time that I could make better contributions outside of the ring.
CAGEMATCH: Do you follow WWE, TNA or any other promotions?
Drew Cordeiro: I follow WWE regularly, as well as ROH, CHIKARA, PWG, DGUSA, and EVOLVE. It is important to know what other promotions are putting out. You must to study current trends in the industry to try and stay ahead of the game. If I could bring myself to sit through an episode of iMPACT, TNA would be included on that list. I find redeeming qualities in every other organization I mentioned, so while it may seem like a painstaking investment of time, I get a sense of satisfaction out of watching so much wrestling.
CAGEMATCH: What's the funniest thing you've ever experienced backstage at a wrestling event?
Drew Cordeiro: Unfortunately, I don't spend much time backstage during live events, since I'm by ringside more than anyone else, doing commentary.
CAGEMATCH: To finish this interview on a high note, which matches would you recommend to a new fan who wants to start watching Beyond?
Drew Cordeiro: Chris Dickinson vs. Hailey Hatred is available for "name your own price" download and it is a groundbreaking match that pushes intergender wrestling to its absolute limits -http://www.facebook.com/beyondwrestl...pp_10531514314. Corvis Fear vs. Darius Carter vs. Anthony Stone vs. Jonny Mangue is an authentic example of the awesome four-way matches you can expect from Beyond Wrestling - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2uhY6j_lBw. There's a ton of content available at www.youtube.com/beyondwrestling, and it's really hard for me to pick any one match over any other.
CAGEMATCH: Thank you very much for answering our questions. We wish you and Beyond all the best for the future.
Drew Cordeiro: Excellent. Thank you for the opportunity!
Ring of Honor: iPPV
Vince McMahon: Hilarious
Shawn Michaels or Ric Flair?: Shawn Michaels
Women in Indy-Wrestling: Passionate
Booze or Pills?: Booze
Reckless Youth: Retired
Main Event Mafia or nWo: nWo... for life
TNA Television: Unbearable
Scripts in Wrestling: necessary evil
Mike Quackenbush: visionary
Cagematch.de: google translator
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