CAC 2016 Seminar #7: Expanding the Wrestling Business

By Paul Stratoti, Contributing Writer & Lifetime Cauliflower Alley Club Member


The first time that I ever recall seeing Sinn Bodhi he was performing for the late JT Lightning’s Cleveland All Pro Wrestling where on November 9, 2003 at Turner’s Hall in front of 250 fans. Julio Dinero defeated SINN.

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On January 18, 2004 at Turner’s Hall during CAPW’s “New Years Revolution” Ray Right defeated SINN (from NWA TNA)

Just before the April 2016 seminar, I caught up with Sinn (aka WWE’s Kizarny) who offered his comments to me for publication on his memory of Blackjack Mulligan who had recently passed.

“I never got to meet Blackjack Mulligan but Barry Windham took care of me quite a bit on the indies and so did Mike Rotundo. I broke in/I had Bo Dallas’ first couple of matches and I really helped influence Bray Wyatt into his character. I’m proudest to know that I was able to contribute back to the family with whom I always respected. Barry Windham told me so many different bits of advice that I just picked his brain until he got sick of me bugging him. He was so cool about it.

“IRS was my agent when I was on the road. Mike Rotundo was always always cool, was always giving me ideas and was always open minded to cool ideas so… Thank you to the entire Windham family and I give my best wishes to everybody.”

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Morgan Dollar opens up the seminar…

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“ I don’t know what you want to call it but I can tell you that Sinn has been all around the world, Sinn has done all kind of stuff, stupid stuff…”

[Class laughs]

“But damn, if that stupid stuff wasn’t fun as he brought wrestling to a different level! Sinn, come on up here, man!”

[Class claps in unison as he makes his way to the podium]

Morgan: “You know, a couple of years ago … I’m probably going to get emotional over this because this is my brother. A couple years ago when he first did a seminar Bob Leonard, God rest his soul, I’m shootin’ with this ‘cause it ain’t no joke; I said Bob, look at that damn fool! What kind of seminar can he do? He does this crazy Kizarny gimmick with the clowns and the wrestling shows with all this crazy stuff. That’s one of the very few seminars that I say I got it. The next day I walked up he was getting ready to watch somebody else’s seminar I stopped him I got choked up like I am now. I told him I said, man, I judged a book by kits cover and I apologize for that. You look at him. I’m a redneck from North Carolina. You look at him and he’s a freak from who the hell knows where! Pose upside down

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…We’re brothers in this business. We love each other. It was him after my 13 or 14 years in this business who taught me not to judge a book by its cover. So, Ladies and gentlemen, my brother, Sinn Bodhi!”

[The class erupts in clapping]

Sinn: “Morgan Dollar’s words were a book by its cover. He just looked at me and said ‘I thought that you were going to be a fucking clown but you know shit!

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[Class laughs]

“That’s what he said to me, so, thank you my brother. I love you very much.

“I’d like to bring out some fellow brothers who are very, very alternative and way in the outer rim using a Star Wars reference. I’d like to bring my brothers from Hoodslam. I do Freakshow Wrestling and these guys do a very, very cool show up in Northern California. Come on up Sheik and Drugs Bunny!

[Class claps]

“I’m not old but I’m not young either so since I’m aging I’m just going to sit and listen in metric dog ears if that’s Ok.

“I just want to start by letting the cat out of the bag right away. This is totally off the fly because these guys were nice enough to come and fill in AJ who just had an emergency that he had to leave for today. So I hope that everything turns out well for him.

“Alternative wrestling is not at all different from pro wrestling. It’s simply letting those books by their covers be seen in all different characters and situations. I think that it is all one in the same in the sense that whether it’s Boogeyman or AJ Styles it’s all about characters. It’s all about performing in front of a crowd and doing interesting and unique things in the ring and promoting shows that are very similar. I think this hour you will get some out of the box insights on how to put over shows. .. I think that what we do as far as booking may seem different yet one in the same such as playing chess over checkers as far as what fans are expecting and investing in. They are more sophisticated and we are there to keep them on their toes.

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“I’m from Oakland, California where it’s about doing a full show top to bottom for every fan who bought a ticket. There’s so much accessibility to Netflix and a range of things that entertain people by. Our product keeps people coming back to wrestling… They want to see something new and local.

What separates alternative wrestling are two things that make it scary for other companies. Being in that scary zone is good, dangerous is more risk and it brings more reward.

“My favorite era at the time was the Attitude Era. It was what people hated and thought was garbage but now seems golden with storrylines that were off the wall and the risks… People don’t remember the little things. They remember the most important things as being provoking and shocking and bringing out all their emotions. Alternative wrestling is something with more flavor that they can’t get on TV. Professional wrestling is evolving. I’m not particularly sure when kayfabe evolved out. It’s like once you reach a certain age Santa Clause isn’t real anymore. You don’t pretend he is and you find other ways to enjoy Christmas more. Hoodslam, Freakshow Wrestling and other similar organizations bring something different and add spice.

“I’m a drug addicted rabbit named Drugs Bunny; highly addicted to cocaine, am from the 1920s and I’m also a rabbit.

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[Class laughs and claps]

“I have a great time, the performers have a great time and if the people are having a wonderful time then the audience is having a wonderful time. As soon as I put this (bunny nose) on the people started having a little more fun. We’re something new. Alternative wrestling is something new and I think that this is something that the business needs. It’s different. It’s innovative and refreshing.”

Sinn: “When we were kids and we watched Super Friends it was a whole bunch of heroes in costumes against a whole bunch of bad guys in costumes. Heroes did good stuff because it was just their good-guy obligation and the bad guys did bad stuff because it was their bad-guy obligation. That was as in-depth as it possibly got. Then as an adult our palates Are much more sophisticated and we want to know everything; Green Arrow was a bachelor, Flash is the goofy guy, Wonder Woman was the debutante and Bruce Wayne is this rich douche. … Classic wrestling hides itself quite simply in alternative wrestling or other good quality style of wrestling on a normal seminar all the old school cats with think… A true heel should be just that. If I’m the bad guy and I’m wrestling the Sheik who is the good guy…I’m getting more and more offended and when I’ve had enough that’s when I’ll stick a thumb in an eye because I feel morally obligated to. If I’m wrestling Drugs Bunny, he is throwing his cocaine all around and his rabbit ears are twitching and everybody loves him.

Wrestling always should evolve to keep its audience on its toes. Come to Freakshow Wrestling where I’ve got a lot of weird, former WWE guys come on. I had John Morrison dress up like Jesus and wrestle against Santa Clause. … All these guys like John Morrison and Boogeyman and all these different characters come on our show and they see themselves in a different light. We present an absurd situation that works. A big compliment and eye opener for me was having Dr. Tom, Jake the Snake and Kevin Sullivan on our shows and they all said the same compliment. Aside from the scariness, sexiness, craziness and ridiculousness of our show your psychology is on point. Kevin Sullivan would joke, ‘You don’t just have a guy in a monkey suit fighting a guy in a banana suit, you have a monkey fighting a banana.’ I don’t want the same ol’ thing. I want to see a vampire wrestle a vampire, a lawyer wrestle a lawyer or a stripper wrestle a stripper. … I think that we deliver that which is something that I see missing today in mainstream wrestling.

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“Living your gimmick is an extension of you. That works very well. At the same time you can take a character that you cannot necessarily relate to … like you’re really not a drug addicted rabbit but it works and people out there will believe it if they want to. The fans want you to put on a show and to be entertained and you have to take them for a ride. The way to do that is to make the characters come to life. You are not a rabbit or a monkey or Madonna but wrestle like that one time and the people will enjoy it because it is all about the story telling. It’s all about taking them on that ride. A good book, TV show, movie or wrestling show – it’s all the same; you get heat, false finishes and come back. Find the shine. Find the heat and break it down.

In traditional wrestling you really want to believe that they are really fighting each other. I would prefer that we are known as performing artists and damn good ones at that too because we try to bring the larger than life aspect at least of the character back. You want to suspend your disbelief at shows like that not only because you have to but because to enjoy seeing Jesus VS Santa you have to suspend your disbelief in seeing Christmas VS Easter, alright? … I don’t go out there to make people believe that I’m actually a rabbit, they know it to be true.

I’m not a guy in a rabbit suit, I’m a rabbit. I’m from the 1920s. Don’t ask how I got here. I don’t even know the story but I think there was a time machione involved and I’m addicted to cocaine….”

[Interruption] “That may or may not be true.”

DB: “I’m addicted to the character. I love playing the character, going out there, doing shows and putting smiles on faces. I also do all-ages shows. I leave the drugs at home and kids love a random guy in a party outfit. It works! There needs to be something on the card. Traditionally, every card should have a little bit of comedy and ridiculousness as it is a variety show. In every match every generic wrestler is trying to steal the show getting in as many kicks and flips as they can. It got stale. You need the Rock, the Santina Marella or the R Truth.

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“I love wrestling and all this. Whether it is a regular show or our Freakshow it is all one in the same… It all entails great athleticism and great psychology and if you apply both every single time it will all work.

“I rent out every week and I drive or fly some place to a show and I’ll wrestle. If wrestlers just like bookers know who to put what, where and when that’s what helps the story line. When you see all a bunch of moves it falls flat. Whether you are doing an alternatives show or a regular show you want to see all ther oooohs and ahs.

…You need to be taken on that roller-coaster ride. How many guys that we saw Sunday night and Monday night wearing blue undies, black undies, etc. Some were really great but some were guilty only of being green and not knowing what to do at the right time.

being only guilty of having great athleticism without great in-ring know how. I really enjoyed the shows the other night except for how long the matches were. During a 5 star match people got sleepy. On top of that, I’ll be honest with you, I think the fans are very afraid to freak out and scream because they’re exposed and it’s public speaking not just jumping around in a silly costume because being in normal mode clothes jumping up and screaming it’s very hard on those fans psychologically. We are being shameless performers while everybody else is paying hard earned money where the fans can cheer and boo, so when the bright lights are on not only do we look less sexy or scary. The more bright light the less sexy I look. I think if you see me or Boogeyman in dark lights for movies then it puts you in nightmare-land or dreamland.

…That kind of ambiance just kills the story…

“Atmosphere is the #1 important thing to sell. We’ve announced a card with no matches and still sold out. It’s because they know that they are going to have a good time. It’s a party event where the fans can lose their minds, go off the wall and have fun. We have very dark lighting’s outside of the ring…There’s no chairs or guardrails and the fans know that there’s going to be some good concerts along with great wrestling. All of it combined with alcohol makes for a great party, not a sporting event and it needs to be one sim bionic performance, not 10 parts per 3 hours. …

Sinn: “It’s good to see you. You look well, my good friend. Thank you!”

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“They know that we supply the music and serve alcohol. All of it combined makes a party. They know that there are going to be silly costumes and have no-names but we sell out as all of it makes a party. They sit, clap lightly, stop,clap again. So, hand out flyers at the local bars. There’s always people somewhere. You just have to go do it…. Put your name out there.

“When in action, do as much as you can. Poetry slam and talk about how much you hate your opponent… Do things that are weird and silly but are fun. I think that a big word that I like to use is shameless.

If it is a younger guy still trying to figure himself out I’ll say, ‘What are you doing? What’s your shtick or character?

Once a student said ‘I’m an ass kicker!” You then look at him and he’s 5’4”… [class laughs]

I’ll be the basketball. We need to have him flow in the sense that if I’m wrestling him I’ll be the strong guy. If I’m wrestling Vampire Warrior Gangrel I’ll be the fast guy and he’ll be the strong guy. It’s all relative.

“When I was growing up I remember Edge and Christian. We were at Mapleleaf Gardens in Toronto watching a WWE show. It was in Dark Match.

He came out in a bleach blond mullet, shook his fists and everybody loved him. It was a time and era when your blue eyed and fist shaking you were the good guy. Everybody knew I was a bad guy. In today’s day and age …That’s why they boo Roman Reigns. Not that he’s a bad guy. It’s that … We play with fire metaphorically and try our best to keep each other safe and be the best of the best. We tangle and hurt each other all the time so it is a very dangerous thing that we do.

It’s shameless to promote these shows because people don’t just arrive at these shows naturally. Whether it’s Hoodslam or Freakshow or WWE… We’ll have Hulk Hogan vs Bill Cosby in the ring and if you don’t advertise for it how is anybody going to know about it?

Best Marketing tool? “You can never underestimate the power of social media… Word of mouth is great and you can see something on social media a hundred times. … I still think that passing out paper flyers are great but you can’t just go to Costco and flyer every windshield. You’ve got to go with targeted, selective advertising. …

“Some may think that I’m too outrageous for wrestling but I’m built for the modern day.

… Rewind 30 – 40 years when a body slam was a finish… When I was a little kid I remember my music and my dad would say, ‘I don’t like that music’. … I’m a very traditional wrestler who uses very traditional psychology but I have modern day thinking. I think that safe is not the way to go. We break the law and give you all what you deserve. We have this obligation to keep you on your toes because you deserve to get the best, newest and craziest.

“The real meaning of the word brother comes in when you can trust someone to post a flyer. They need to pull their own weight and everybody needs to work together. If you dump flyers or somebody says that they will help you but he just doesn’t do it well then that is not good. Take the time to multi-task.

“We’re going to show you tomorrow just what we are talking about. You guys will get a firsthand dose if you come tomorrow night. It is at a great venue and it is our first time being there.

“Sometimes what it comes out to if you bought a wrestler’s T-shirt and soda pop that night he then gets to eat that night. He might be able to add fries to his burger for his meal and it really does help out.

“It isn’t as glamorous as people think. If you all get your tickets, buy merchandise and see the wrestlers we really all want it to be successful so please come to support the art and see us bust our asses.

“He’s got shows in North California, there are shows all over the place. There are shows in just about every city. These promotions aren’t going to stay around unless people come and buy tickets. Pretty soon if you don’t feed that animal then that animal will die. I am very pro live art. Ticket prices at the indie shows are very affordable. Different things are very cost effective.

If you want to take that leap and go and see some fun stuff tomorrow night you get to see us guys from Hoodslam and guys from all over the world

“How about an Invisible Steel Cage Match? A guy looked at me like I was crazy which I may or may not be but we tore it down! We had fun! We had 600+ fans grab on to the cage and shake it. We had 650 fans shaking this cage saying, ‘This is real!’ It was so much fun. We’re like professional Recess players We are trying to entertain you by performing at our best. We try to keep it very clean as far as race, sexism and inappropriate behavior is concerned.

traditional wrestling shows with guys who can collaborate and communicate If you see me on Future Stars of Wrestling you will see me being me in a different situation or scenario against a different opponent than what you would see on a Sheik show or no my show. ‘I would like for you to do a special Freakshow Wrestling match at a Hoodslam event. Hooslam specializes in crazy, off-the-wall matches. We’re like giant kids but we’re professional players.

“I’ll say something mean to this guy. You know, if I beat on one individual person I am probably not going to have him return to my show. Being a traditional wrestler he’s smart enough to know not to single out that other person. That’s one thing where a lot of guys make their mistakes.

Stone Cold

the whole section is being brought into 5151 Bad guys do the same thing. get the proper heat or steam from the good guy.

5200 fan naysayers who say that you are a disgrace to the industry.

There’s 2 companies on stage here and there are a million other companies. Chikara is an alternative where we’re just putting on adult shows for adults.

“Advertise, tweet and share all of this stuff to enhance and people will pay and everybody just gets bigger. We bring more options and more interesting things to the table.”

Stratman: Well, I think this was a good seminar as until recently I was a non-believer of this style. You know, about 15 years ago I first saw you in Cleveland Ohio when you wrestled Ray Rowe who then was known as Ray Right. The first time that I saw you perform I saw a great wrestler among so many others. Then I saw you 5 years ago during the 2011 Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion. When I learned about Freakshow Wrestling recently, I thought to myself, ‘What happened to Sinn?’ Then I checked out your stuff on the Kayfabe Sheets and You Tube and well I’m sold now, man!”

Sinn “Thank you!… We can’t survive with a commission so start saving your money and putting it into production and talent. Try to pay for the red tape that is affordable and at least give the fans that option to come to our shows. A commission is good when it comes to certain things but then there are other times… speaking as an Anarchist I think that any governing body is useful if it is going to be everybody, As soon as they take more than they give ten it becomes not worth it.

“One time they checked me for glaucoma… That’s ridiculous! I’m going to have to go to an optometrist in order to get a license… Call your Congressman.

…” It’s our job to have a sanitary and safe working environment and a safe area. I’ll tear the face off of any wrestler who flies over the top rope and lands on a little boy or girl as you are not realizing that upset him and they are just not going to return. There’s probably going to be a little kid with something broken. Who wants to see a kid get hurt? As a performer as well as a promoter I might as well take the necessary precautions for the people coming to watch the show and make it safe for the performers herein. I have an obligation to set those parameters.

“From top to bottom know your audience and tailor to them. You have to take wrestling in and out of its own context in the sense that if you saw something on Hoodslam or Freakshow Wrestling and say that this is too outrageous but you could laugh just as hard as if you were watching a Will Farrell movie. You wouldn’t think twice so why can’t we do it in wrestling? You can laugh at it on South Park so why can’t you laugh at it at a live show? So I think that wrestling fans just need to take a deep breath and go.

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Now, I did catch up with Sinn a few days ago when I asked him what he was up to in the foreseeable future and if he will be holding any cards during the 2018 CAC Reunion and he simply stated, “Next week I’m in LA, then on to San Antonio and Wichita. No plans yet on the upcoming CAC dates. Can you share this post on the Snake Pit Page and Student Page?”

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Strat: I just shared it with the Snake Pit Pro Wrestling Academy Page but was unable to do so on the basic Snake Pit Pro page as I was not a member. I requested to join.

This is my method of making amends for discrepancies with Jake in the past. Those discrepancies involved my not following his directions to contact his agent which I had refused to do during the time about 10 years ago when I wanted to interview him at the Lakewood, Ohio Phantasy Theater. We were both suffering from our individual demons during that time.

As a CAC Lifer I am here to welcome all people to CAC with cooperation as a modus operandi.

CAC Mission Statement: Financially assisting those that made a living in the wrestling industry that have fallen on “difficult financial times.”

CAC CREED: Let us recognize that the CAC was established in 1965 by “Iron” Mike Mazurki” and has had great leaders that have given their time, talents and personal finances, to carry on this mission: including but not limited to, Art Abrams, Karl Lauer, Red Bastein, Nick Bockwinkel and other unselfish people that have built the business of the CAC. The people from past and present that continue to keep our business moving forward and fulfill the CAC’s mission statement. As board members and associates we will adhere to all CAC bylaws and principles and promise to do what is in the best interest of the CAC with integrity, kindness, humility, and gratitude to all our peers, past associates, members and honorees, as we conduct ourselves with these principles to all.

Transcription and photos by Paul Stratoti

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