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 V.17 No.15 | April 10 - 16, 2008 
Tina Larkin

Feature

No Holds Barred

The Alibi steps into the ring with All Star Wrestling

As I watch J.C. Hendrix’ head get hurled into a chain link fence by his nemesis, Nick A. Demus, I have to turn away.

The DVD of the championship wrestling bout has been in my possession for nearly a month, and I’ve watched its contents before. This time is different. Over the last few days, I’ve spoken with several wrestlers who are part of All Star Wrestling, an Albuquerque-based wrestling organization, and each one of them has reiterated one point: It looks like it hurts because it does.

Hendrix’ face looks like it hurts. The All Star Wrestling Champion is grimacing and it’s not because of his ultra-tight Speedo. Despite the punishment, there’s no place Hendrix would rather be than here--a ring supported by a few two-by-fours of plywood with a half-inch of padding to cushion his falls. “The fans keep you going,” the Las Cruces native explains when asked how he endures the pain.

Tina Larkin

For 30 years, New Mexico fans haven’t been able to see pro wrestling-style matches on a regular basis. But All Star Wrestling founder Alex Walls is changing that.

From Wrestler to Ringleader

Walls grew up in Fayetteville, N.C. He was a quiet super-jock in high school, participating in everything from tennis and football to track and field. A lifelong wrestling fan, Walls didn’t consider making the sport his career until he found a flyer for a wrestler training program on his car in 1999, when he was 19 years old. Walls chuckles as he recounts his parents’ reaction when he told them the news. “My dad told me I needed to bulk up, and my mom said I was going to break my neck.”

Walls studied under former Continental Wrestling Association Champion Timber and, after learning the ropes, went on to wrestle in venues all over the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic region.

JC Hendrix goes toe-to-toe with Awesome Andy at Cowboys.
Tabatha Roybal
JC Hendrix goes toe-to-toe with Awesome Andy at Cowboys.

Although he was a newcomer to the sport, Walls became interested in the promotion side of wrestling. He started to learn the ins and outs of scouting wrestlers, booking venues and promoting shows.

Walls knew he wanted to start his own wrestling organization, and Albuquerque, where he moved in 2000, was an especially attractive locale because of its rich wrestling history. "Back in the '70s, 10,000 people would come Downtown to see wrestling every weekend," Walls says. "Knowing that there was a heritage here made me want to be one of the people who helps bring that back."

Walls began the arduous process of convincing wrestlers from around the Southwest to come to New Mexico. Even though he was starting from square one, Walls was determined to be choosy about the wrestlers he brought to the Land of Enchantment.

Pretty E tries to enforce his will on Dillon Stone.
Tabatha Roybal
Pretty E tries to enforce his will on

Dillon Stone.

Finding wrestlers was a painstaking process, says Walls, that required many hours on the road traveling to various venues throughout the Southwest to scout. Walls found plenty of interested candidates, but most didn't meet his stringent standards. He started with just three trusted competitors, but over time Walls built up a group of 15 hungry warriors who he believed were skilled enough to put All Star Wrestling on the map.

The Wrestling World

Whether they're fighting for millions or the chance to make a name for themselves, all wrestlers are faced with three constants: Playing characters who are either loved or loathed by the crowd; facing questions about their profession's authenticity; and being wary of making wrestling seem too violent for children.

JC Hendrix returns the favor to Awesom Andy.
Tabatha Roybal
JC Hendrix returns the favor to Awesom Andy.

The wrestling world is split into two clear-cut camps: Good guys (baby faces) and bad guys (heels). Some wrestlers play both types of characters, depending on how the fans react to the competitor’s individual style, explains wrestler Dillon Stone. “The crowd is usually what turns you,” he says. “If they aren’t feeling your moves, you turn your back on them.”

For Stone, either role has its advantages. “It’s cool to get along with kids and have them cheer you on,” Stone says. “But it’s also fun to be a total douche bag.”

Josh Hunter sports silver, Super Chaos is in blue and black.
Tabatha Roybal
Josh Hunter sports silver, Super Chaos is in blue and black.

While they admit the characters they portray in the ring don't necessarily match up with their real personalities, all of the All Star wrestlers make it clear that what happens between the ropes is genuine. “Wrestling’s real and we have the injuries to prove it,” Hendrix says. “When people tell us wrestling’s fake, I ask them to get in the ring with us, and they always say, No thanks.”

There’s no doubt wrestlers get hurt, but none seem willing to talk about whether match outcomes are ever predetermined. “Wrestling fans love it for what it is,” Hendrix offers when asked about bouts being fixed.

To build a base of fans in New Mexico, Walls wants to attract a broad demographic to his shows. That means making sure parents, grandparents and kids watch his wrestlers. Walls says he’s intent on making sure his shows are family-friendly. He tells his wrestlers not to curse, and he says he’s glad J.C. Hendrix (a baby face) is the All Star Wrestling Champion, because it’s a positive moral lesson for kids to see good triumph over evil.

But wrestling matches are driven by aggression--whether it’s in the form of a body slam or a chair to the face--which begs the question: Is wrestling too brutal for the little ones? “Nine times out of 10, we’re not going to have any props, unless it’s a high-stakes situation like a title shot,” Walls says. “It may, at times, seem like it’s not family-friendly, but in All Star Wrestling, we don’t overdo it.”

The Life of an All Star Wrestler

Walls and his wrestlers aren’t living like their counterparts in the big-time promotions--Total Nonstop Action or World Wrestling Entertainment are the largest. The 15 men on Wall’s roster have to travel hundreds of miles, three or four times a week, to West Texas, Arizona and Colorado. When they’re done wrestling, many have day jobs to get back to.

By night, Hendrix is an adored hero in the ring. By day, he works in retail. "It's tough because you've gotta hold down your 9 to 5 and live the wrestling life at the same time," he says. "It's like being a superhero. You lead your normal life and then you gotta put on your cape and roll."

When they arrive at venues, wrestlers may have just a few minutes to acquaint themselves with their opponents before they’re thrust into the ring together. Once the match starts, the only thing they can count on is pain. How each wrestler deals with the inevitable—bumps, bruises, concussions and occasional broken bones—depends on the competitor.

Exodus (aka Manuel Chavez, Jr.) welcomes the punishment. “I actually look forward to getting hurt,” Chavez Jr. says. “If that happens, then it means I was up in the air, high-flying and doing what I had to do.”

Others, like Hendrix and Awesome Andy (aka Andy Palafox), grit their teeth through injuries to satisfy the fans. “If you get hurt, you want to finish the match for the people who came to see you,” Palafox says. “You don’t want to let them down.”

A Few Good Men

So what makes a good wrestler? “He needs to look like a wrestler,” Walls says, referring to bulk. “You don’t want somebody two rows back to be bigger than the guy in the ring.” Other than that, making the All Star Wrestling cut comes down to training.

Who the wrestlers have been trained by is the best litmus test for legitimacy. “If someone tells me they were trained by Joe Smith and I’ve never heard of Joe Smith, I’m gonna ask around,” Walls explains. “If nobody I’ve talked to has heard of Joe Smith, I’m not going to bring that wrestler back to New Mexico.”

While he asserts that better-schooled wrestlers (with at least two years of experience) create a higher-quality production for the audience, Walls’ guidelines for selecting his crew are also designed with safety in mind. “If you put people out there who have had zero instruction on how to properly execute moves, it makes it incredibly dangerous,” Walls says. “In training, people learn things like how to counter moves and, most importantly, how to protect themselves.”

An Uphill Climb

Since wrestling hasn't existed in New Mexico for three decades, building a following is no simple task. Walls says it isn’t made any easier by the New Mexico Athletic Commission, which regulates wrestling. “The commission is set up for companies that have millions to throw away on fees and licensing, and I don’t have that kind of money,” Walls says. “If you want to be a professional wrestling promoter, you have to pay a fee, and if you want to use a professional wrestler at an event, you have to pay a fee again.”

While he stresses that his team is made up of real wrestlers, they can’t be called “professional wrestlers” because they’re not licensed. Wrestlers are discouraged from getting licensed because promoters like Walls, who lack the funds to pay commission fees, can't afford to work with pros. Walls also can’t legally cut them a check because only licensed wrestlers can get paid to throwdown.

Besides passion for their work, the only thing that keeps the wrestlers coming back for more is the hope their talents will catch the eye of a pro wrestling scout from one of the major wrestling organizations—a chance at the big time.

Once he's got his talent lined up, Walls faces the challenge of finding venues that can accommodate a match. “The biggest problem is finding tall ceilings,” Walls says. “A 10-foot-high ceiling won’t work because the ring is three feet high, and if the wrestler is six feet tall, he can’t even bunny hop.”

Despite all the obstacles, All Star Wrestling’s popularity is growing. At its most recent event at Tingley Coliseum last December, 1,500 people watched Hendrix become the champion. “The wrestling fans in New Mexico deserve a more regular outlet for wrestling,” Walls says. “We want them to come away from the match feeling like they were a part of the action.”

Wrestler Profiles

Awesome Andy

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 210 lbs

Years wrestling: 5

Trained By: Hurricane Hector Rincon

Other Facts:

Awesome Andy has wrestled in eight states across the country. He’s fluent in American and Lucha Libre (Mexican) style wrestling. His favorite moves are the German and Northern Light Suplex and his signature moves are the Straightjacket Piledriver and Awesome Stomp.

Wanna see All Star Wrestling in the flesh? Check them out every Sunday at Cowboys (9800 Montgomery NE, 299-4559). Tickets are $5 for general admission and $7 for ringside seats. The show starts at 7 p.m. and folks under 21 must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.

If you miss a match, you can see all of the previous week’s action on All Star Wrestling’s new show every Sunday at 1 p.m. on Public Access channel 27.

For more, go to www.allstarwrestling.net.

Randy Terrez

Nicknamed: "The Witchking of Wrestling"

Height: 5'8"

Weight: 195 lbs

Years Wrestling: 8

Trained By: Hurricane Hector Rincon

Other Facts:

Randy Terrez is a technical grappler and high-flyer. His favorite moves are the Spell Binder and the Thrill Kill.

Xtreme Bulldawg Rexx Reed

Nickname: Big Dawg

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 280 lbs

Years Wrestling: 4

Trained By: Johnny Timberlake, Bob Wyre, Private Terry Daniels

Other Facts:

Rexx Reed has wrestled WWE’s Rodney Mack and Doink the Clown. His favorite moves are the Rexx Cracker, Blue Thunder Driver, Spinning Spine Buster, Falcon Arrow, Kiropraktor and Rexx Bomb.

Dillon Stone

Height: 6'

Weight: 205 lbs

Years Wrestling: 5

Trained By: Hurricane Hector Rincon

Other Facts:

• Dillon Stone made his debut in El Paso, Texas, wrestling for the promotion "Lucha Caliente." There he defeated Luchador "Skybird" for the Cruiserweight Championship, which Stone held for more than nine months, becoming the longest-reigning Cruiserweight Champion in El Paso history. He's known as one of the premier daredevils in the Southwest. Although he's currently a good guy, he's been known to turn his back on his fans more than once. His favorite move is the Magic Roundabout.

Super Chaos

Height: 6'

Weight: 225 lbs

Years Wrestling: 3

Trained by: Hurricane Hector Rincon

Other Facts:

• Super Chaos started his career tag teaming with his brother, the Texas Outlaw, in El Paso. Currently, he teams with Exodus, who helped him wrestle in a Triple Threat TLC (Tables, Ladders, Chairs) match for the ASW Tag Team titles in December at Tingley Coliseum. Although they were unsuccessful, they made a name for themselves in All Star Wrestling. His favorite move is the Moonsault.

Tabatha Roybal

Jonney Encore

All Star Wrestling Tag Team Champion

Height: 5'10"

Weight: 180 lbs

Years Wrestling: 5

Trained By: Hurricane Hector Rincon

Other Facts:

The self-proclaimed "sexiest man in All Star Wrestling," Jonney Encore won the All Star Wrestling Tag Team Title with his partner Pretty E. Encore is a fearless high-flyer who routinely wrestles against men larger than himself, and he usually comes out on top. He resides in his hometown of Hollywood, Calif., but he says he would like to come back to Albuquerque "for all the lovely ladies."

Eric "Pretty E" Fox

All Star Wrestling Tag Team Champion

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 220 lbs

Years Wrestling: 5

Trained By: Hurricane Hector Rincon

Other Facts:

• Some are quick to call him arrogant, but he replies he's just focused. Whatever the case may be, this man is a force to be reckoned with. He is one half of the All Star Wrestling Tag Team Champions with Jonney Encore. One can only wonder how far Eric is willing to go to satisfy his hunger to be the best and capture the World Heavyweight Championship of All Star Wrestling.

Mo Lightning

The Official Voice for All Star Wrestling

Other Facts: While in the old country (known in fables as "Ohio") Mo helped launch a website that forever changed the Internet: WrestlingAudio.com. Hundreds of shows have been hosted by Mo. His experience led him to call commentary for Hybrid Wrestling shows and now All Star Wrestling.

JC Hendrix

ASW World Heavyweight Champion

Height: 6'

Weight: 235 lbs.

Trained By: Hurricane Hector Rincon

Other Facts: Hendrix has been wrestling for nine years and has held belts with four different companies. He started out in a tag team named the "Bruz Bros," who held tag titles all over Texas. He has a ground-and-pound style mixed with high-flying and matt moves. You never know what he's going do. He won his first singles title at Absolution on Dec. 28, 2007, at Tingley Coliseum. His signature move is the Dark Haze Neckbreaker.

Nathan Sinn

Height: 6'

Weight: 220 lbs.

Trained By: Hurricane Hector Rincon

Other Facts: Sinn's favorite move is the Sincity.

 

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