Inductee # 1
L.A. Smooth - Lloyd Anoa'i
The official announcements have begun! When I make an NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame induction announcement, I like to do a brief write up to explain the reasons why they have been selected. It is now time to begin the Class of 2017 NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame induction announcements!
Lloyd was one of the first friends I made in the business. I met him when I did some advanced training at his father's Wild Samoan Pro Wrestling School about 29 years ago! We spent a lot of time in the gym and ring together, and it was the one on one work I did with Lloyd that helped me improve tremendously. It was about 15 years ago, when I was running NWL/HoPWF events on a very consistent basis and Lloyd started coming down to our shows with his brother Headshrinker Samu. Together, they brought back the "Samoan Savages" tag team from ECW days. Our shows were very hard hitting and hardcore back then, and L.A. Smooth did more than just fit in with our style of work. He brought out the best in our younger talent and helped them learn, the same way he helped me learn many years ago. The name L.A. Smooth also brought credibility to our league, which is very important for a league to establish the fact that it offers top skilled talent with excellent reputations. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, Lloyd Anoa'i!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 2
The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff
Last year, I said that we would start phasing in NWL talent that worked for the league prior to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN era. There may be some talent our newer fans will not recognize, but that is not the case when it comes to our next former big time TV superstar inductee!
Ivan Koloff was one of the first big name stars to headline NWL events back in 1989. The first ever NWL Heavyweight Title Match was John Rambo vs Ivan Koloff in Keyser, WV., a match where WWF superstar Ivan Koloff put me over like a true professional and I walked away the first ever champion of the NWL in 1989. We continued to work each other on the NWL South Pacific tours Dick Caricofe promoted in 1990. There was a particular match on the island of Palau where Ivan nailed me in the head with his steel chain. It was my fault, I forgot to duck and it opened a big cut and a whole lot of blood! The show sponsor was running around the ring in a panic thinking I was seriously injured while we were laughing inside the ring. Ivan made sure I was okay before we continued with the match and finished it 10 minutes later. You hear a lot of stories about old-timers who would help out the new talent and give them pointers and advice. Some of the best help I got was from Ivan Koloff. He was featured on too many NWL events to list, and he definitely earned his spot into our Hall of Fame. We hope this award also lifts Ivan's spirits a little bit during the difficult times he is going through with his health. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall of Fame Class of 2017, Ivan Koloff!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 3
Kevin "The Truth" Casey - Keven LaVerdad Casey
We're going old school NWL manager with this next selection!
Neil and Dick Caricofe begin running NWL events in 1989. At that time they were using a lot of talent from the Baltimore and Virginia areas. There were only a couple leagues running Maryland back then, and NWL was the place where many Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia talent got their experience and exposure. Some of those talents rose above the rest and really added that extra touch to a live event with their personality and charisma. There was no better heel manager at the time than Kevin "The Truth" Casey. He was an excellent bad guy manager and he knew how to really work up fans. Especially when he donned his suit, tie and golf club! I met Kevin in 1989 while working on the NWL shows and we had some fun times in and around the ring. When I took off for my seven year stint in the Pacific Northwest, Kevin remained with the NWL entertaining the fans and giving his all for the league. He definitely earned his place in NWL HOUSE of PAIN history and tradition. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, Kevin "The Truth" Casey!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 4
Dave "The Wave" McCallister
One more NWL throwback very deserving of being the next referee inductee!
Just like our last inductee, Dave McCallister would travel in from out of town to take part as a referee on the original NWL events. Dave actually refereed many of my early NWL matches and he was also on the first NWL South Pacific tour. I still have photographs of Dave sitting along side Mick Foley in Saipan, next to Tom Brandi in Hawaii and in the ring with the Bounty Hunter and myself during an NWL Heavyweight Title Match in Guam. We where even featured in an excellent drop kick action photo that was published on the front page of the Guam Tribune newspaper! Dave had a great look for a professional wrestling referee and he understood the business well. It was always a pleasure working in the ring with Dave, his professionalism added to the great positive atmosphere we all helped build at the NWL shows. And the fact that Dave was able to tolerate and last four weeks in a hotel room throughout the hot and humid South Pacific with the Iron Sheik is enough to earn him Hall of Fame honors! Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, Dave "The Wave" McCallister!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 5
"Chippendale" Tom Brandi
Before he was a WCW or WWE star, our next inductee was honing his skills at NWL events!
Tom Brandi and I go way back to the start of our careers! We worked various independent shows together across the Northwest region and we both ended up as NWL mainstay talent. We were referred to as the "young lions" of the business back in the day and we put butts in the seats! Tom was also a part of the first NWL South Pacific tour and continued to work numerous NWL events while I was out west. Tom had the look and the charisma that was needed for a baby face to get over, and he was definitely over. I have worked many tag team matches over the years for various promotions with Tom and it was always a lot of fun. Our friendship carried over to a good working relationship. Not only did Tom play a big part in helping to build the NWL, he also played a big part in helping to build a solid reputation for the HoPWF. The star power that his name brought to a show was definitely an enhancement for the fans. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, "Chippendale" Tom Brandi!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 6
Gustin Uberstud - Dustin Lawyer
By far, the BEST ever showman I've ever trained! I demand a drum roll for this selection!
Theatrics is such a major part of professional wrestling. If you cannot act or speak on a microphone, you will not go very far in this business. And when it came to acting and speaking nobody was more of an original than Gustin Uberstud! Beyond a doubt, the best all around entertainer to ever come out of the NWL's Superior Pro Wrestling Training Center/HOUSE of PAIN. Before Gustin started his professional wrestling career, he study theatrics in college and was even featured on television throughout the state of Maryland in a Maryland Lottery commercial. There are some wrestlers who will sell tickets through their skill and ability, while there are other wrestlers who have to actually hustle and sell tickets to people to come see them. Gustin always brought fans to a show due to his talent, something that separates the hobbyists from the real professionals. Gustin was our tag team champion, our heavyweight champion and one of our NWL HOUSE of PAIN Lord Of The Rings/Neil Superior Memorial Cup champions. He was also one half of the Killer Studs, with his partner Mr. Xcellence Brandon Scott. Undeniably, one of the best ever tag teams to come out of the NWL SPWTC/HoP! That basically sums up how much a stud the Uberstud was in the squared circle! Close to 5 years ago, Gustin hung up the boots and tights to pursue a filming and acting career in sunny Los Angeles, CA. He's doing very well for himself and when the rare opportunity arises, he jumps on a plane and comes back east for a match. Just as he did with our last NWL HoP LOTR/NSMC event this past September. I have a feeling the fans are going to get to see the Uberstud at this year's induction ceremony! Congratulations to one of my most favorite students of all time today and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, Gustin Uberstud!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 7
King Tut - Brian Tutwiler
When I would hear the words "professional wrestling," I used to always immediately think of big giant men in a ring beating on each other. That was old school wrestling! Our next inductee was and is a giant of a man and he wasn't afraid to hit anybody!
It might not be as important today as it used to be back in the day, but a big man in the ring will always look impressive to the fans. King Tut stood 6 ft 5 in and weighed in well over 300lbs...of muscle! A former University of Virginia offense tackle, Brian Tutwiler possessed the size and strength that left our fans in awe whenever they saw him perform at an NWL/HoPWF event. Brian would travel every week from Pittsburgh to Hagerstown round-trip to take part in the Tuesday night HoPWF matches. He no doubt played a huge role in making our product much different than the other local organizations. Brian was always a true professional in and out of the ring, and anybody who knows me knows that is something I appreciate very much. It adds class to a show and the league. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, "King Tut" Brian Tutwiler!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 8
Sexy Shane Shadows - Shane Heimberger
Anything is possible, and dreams do come true! Such is the case for our next inductee. Who says we're not fair to those who respect their roots!
I first met Shane back in January 1997 when I returned from Portland, OR, to Hagerstown, MD. At that time, I was going to partner up with Shane and run Neil's school. Shane was still pretty young and very eager to make a name for himself in the business. And he wanted to do so on his own terms, which is not a bad thing at all. Instead of co-piloting the school together, Shane departed to start his own school and organization. That left me to captain the NWL HoP mothership. But before all that happened, Shane met Neil and began training at the Neil Superior Pro Wrestling School in 1992. Shane was one of the Neil's first graduates and top prospects. Neil taught Shane about booking and running shows, and he also allowed Shane to help out with the training at his school. Sexy Shane Shadows even held the NWL Heavyweight Title while I was wrestling out the Pacific Northwest. There is no doubt that Shane is a part of NWL history. But it does not stop there. Even though we had some differences in the past, Shane and I were able to work through the pettiness and move forward and work together on NWL/HoPWF cards. We played out some creative and successful angles for the fans enjoyment and entertainment, and we did it like professionals. There are a lot of people who probably thought this induction would never happen. But when a person has their roots with the NWL HOUSE of PAIN and they sincerely respect that fact, they have every right to be part of this Hall of Fame if they contributed to making the NWL and HOUSE of PAIN what it is today. Shane Shadows absolutely deserves to be part of our elite group and I have no doubt at all that he appreciates it very much. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, SSS - Sexy Shane Shadows!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 9
Last year, we honored one of the toughest women in professional wrestling when we inducted AmyLee. This year, we honor another woman who is just as tough and got her start in the NWL/HoPWF!
Over the past 20 years, there have been wrestlers who were trained to wrestle but did not have the experience to know how to wrestle. That is where the NWL/HoPWF came into play in regards to their careers. Anyone can spend day after day in a ring learning all the different moves and techniques, but after all that is said and done it is necessary to get actual match experience to learn how to work and tell a proper story. Kacee Carlisle was one of those talents. She started participating on the weekly Tuesday and Saturday practice match sessions at the SPWTC/HOUSE of PAIN in the late 90's as a manager for Brian "Shorty" Smalls. It was Smalls who taught Kacee the basics, but it was the weekly HoPWF matches and the NWL/HoPWF road shows where she learned how to work like a solid professional. As Kacee advanced as an excellent manager, she transitioned over to lady wrestling. And what a transition it was! She instantly took to our hard-hitting strong style that was so much different than all the other leagues in the area. In 2010, I presented Kacee with an official NWL SPWTC/HoP completion of training certificate making her an official graduate of our school. Her toughness in the ring can be compared to last year's NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall of Fame inductee AmyLee. Kacee has held the NWL and HoPWF Ladies Titles while building a very strong fan following during her time with the NWL/HoPWF. The exposure and experience she received from the NWL/HoPWF helped launch her into an extremely successful career. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, Kacee Carlisle!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 10
Chewy - Chris Churovia
A lot of people might not know this, but the first professional wrestling match Gene Snitsky had was an NWL tag team match at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD. Him and his partner Robb Harper were the Twin Tackles, both offensive tackles for the University of Missouri. Our next inductee is not Snitsky, but he was a former offense of tackle for the University of Virginia and a skilled wrestler!
I will never forget the first time I met Chris Churovia. I was teaching a class and I turned around to see a giant of a man standing in the doorway of the wrestling school. 6 ft 5 in and 300 lbs of muscle not flab! Chris had contacted me prior to his visit, explaining to me that he was a pro wrestler looking to gain some much needed experience. I told him to stop by and I would see what we could do for him. That visit lead to the NWL/HoPWF gaining our own version of the Twin Tackles, Chewy & King Tut! As I have stated before, big men in the ring will always impress the fans especially when they can wrestle! Chewy had the skill and ability to do the moves the lighter weight wrestlers would perform. And teamed up with King Tut, there was no other tag team who compared to their size, strength and ability. Chewy was the type of professional wrestler every league would've love to have on their roster. The NWL/HoPWF was fortunate to have Chewy on our line up and we're very grateful for the countless weekly trips Chris made from Pittsburgh to Hagerstown along with his partner King Tut. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, "Chewy" Chris Churovia!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 11
Brian "Shorty" Smalls
We've honored past NWL talent, HoPWF talent, referee and manager talent, and women talent. Now it's time for the hardcore bad boys!
I have known Brian since late 1997. That is when he, like so many others, contacted me with interest in taking part in our weekly HoPWF matches. And like all the others, I told him "Sure, stop on by. We will get you going." Brian traveled in from Virginia on a weekly basis to improve his skill and work our strong style of wrestling. He fit right into our program and was a natural heel. An important thing to keep in mind when it comes to independent professional wrestling is the fact that there is no money to be made as a performer when it comes to wrestling matches. I do not mean these guys do not get paid, but it is common sense they do not get paid a lot. Your extremely talented wrestlers who are on their way to TV superstardom will make a better payday, but on the average, wrestlers will make enough to cover their gas if they are lucky. The real money to be made is selling personalized merchandise an autographed photos. Otherwise, wrestlers do this for a passion and a love for the business. "Shorty" never cared about the payday, his concern was about putting on a good match at a quality event. And we did put on quality shows, and Brian absolutely did put on quality matches. Brian had/has a love and passion for the business. He was one of the first participants in our hardcore division, which did not start until 1997. In fact, Shorty Smalls took on former NWL/HoPWF mainstay talent Chuckie Manson and Maryland independent pro wrestler Blood for the first ever HoPWF Hardcore Championship. For the amount of matches, years, miles traveled and blood spilled for little money, Shorty more than earned his way into our Hall Of Fame. He helped build the reputation of the real old-school NWL/HoPWF hardcore pro wrestling. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, Brian "Shorty" Smalls!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 12
Switchblade - Trent Zimmerman
This is the last inductee for the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017! A true hardcore HOUSE of PAIN superstar, an NWL old school original!
Trent was a product of the "Neil Superior Pro Wrestling School" era prior to 1997. He benefited from Neil's training as well as learning the strong style pro wrestling that I brought to the NWL in 1997. Trent was one of our top hardcore talent. It didn't matter what type of match it was, Trent would put his body on the line and give 100% each and every time no matter who his opponent was inside the squared circle. He was the NWL/HoPWF's "chair swingin' freak" and was as hard hitting as Axl Rotten when it came to laying the steel down on his opponents! Trent was featured on the early year NWL events and also performed on the HoPWF shows for many years. There was a time when the NWL/HoPWF was very well known for its hardcore wrestling. We mixed weapons and gimmick matches with strong style, extremely hard hitting professional wrestling action. It was action that brought the fans to the shows, and it was workers like Switchblade who helped build that reputation and the attraction! This man played such an important part in our hardcore history, after close to 25 years his autographed photo is still hanging on the school wall today. Congratulations and welcome to the NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, Switchblade - Trent Zimmerman!
~ John Rambo
Inductee # 14
On Monday, June 5, 2017, Kathy Watson passed away after a 2 year battle with cancer. Kathy is the wife of NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2015 inductee Morgus the Maniac. I met Morgus, Kathy and Morgus' parents back in 1989 at an AWF event. In the 30 years that I have been in professional wrestling, I have never met a family closer than the Watsons. They've been one of the most giving and caring families I ever met in the business. They would do anything they possibly could to help not only our school but also the NWL and HOUSE of PAIN leagues. Morgus wrestled, his father and mother acted as his ring managers and Kathy handled the merchandise. If a promoter booked Morgus the Maniac, they got the entire family and it was always a pleasure to have them all at an event. If you were a worker and you new Morgus, you automatically excepted his family as part of the business. I feel it is very appropriate and fitting to induct Kathy Watson into this year's NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Fame Class of 2017 where she'll be remembered and honored along side her husband. With joy and sorrow, I'm very proud to welcome Kathy Watson to our elite family of NWL HOUSE of PAIN Hall Of Famers!
~ John Rambo