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   Tue, January 30, 2007



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Wrestling Society X: The Photo Gallery


Vampiro and Kevin Kleinrock
Photo by Mike Lano, WReaLano@aol.com
ON TO THE GALLERY!

Tonight is the official debut of MTV's Wrestling Society X. It's something a little different for wrestling fans. To get you ready, longtime photographer Mike Lano has shared some photos from the tapings he attended in Los Angeles.

WSX is the work of Big Vision Entertainment, and one of the people behind it, Kevin Kleinrock, has gone on record explaining the goal of the new TV show.

"It's a way to present wrestling in a way, this is not only going to appeal to wrestling fans but trying to bridge that gap, how we as a wrestling community get more people to see wrestling, and to see a style of wrestling that is more modern and is more entertaining in our opinions and that's hopefully going to translate well to the general MTV audience in addition to the wrestling fans who will hopefully find the show as is," Kleinrock told the Live Audio Wrestling radio program.

The press release announcing WSX was full of hype, needless to say. WSX "throws out the glam of wrestling and piles on the grappling action every week from an undisclosed bunker where danger is never far away" it trumpets.

"It has what I feel has been lacking in the national spotlight for some time. It's a major national television show focused on young, underexposed, talented wrestlers that are not household names," Cody Michaels, an associate producer, writer and creative team member, told journalist Mike Mooneyham. "It's a show that will focus on their in-ring skills, with a production focus and quality that is in theme with the feel and attitude of the targeted demographic."

Airing at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesdays (with repeat airings during the week), WSX features many well-known names to wrestling fans, and introduces a host of new ones as well. (Note to Canadian fans: It won't be on MTV Canada quite yet, but word is the main network and owner of MTV Canada, CTV, is considering airing the show.) An additional 30-minute show, WSXtra, will be on the WSX website each week.

As for SLAM! Wrestling, our own Amy Lawson will have the weekly reports, with the first coming after tonight's show.

The top tier heavyweights are Vampiro, 6-Pac and Puerto Rico and AAA star Ricky Banderas.

The smaller contingent is made up of Ted Hart, Jack Evans, Jesus Aaron Aguilar, Alkatraz, Mat Sydal, Lizzy Valentine, the former Alter Boy Luke (now Luke Hawx), Human Tornado, Ruckus, Babi Slam, That '70s Team, Team EMO/DIFH (Do It For Her) and many others star.

Musical guests will include Black Label Society, Three 6 Mafia, Sparta, Clipse, Jibbs, Good Charlotte, Quietdrive, Pitbull, Styles P and New Found Glory.

Mike Lano shared his thoughts from the tapings he photographed:

"I covered both Wrestling Society X's single-taping pilot show last spring, as well as their full-fledged week of taping in November. There was quite a group of good hardcore fans like Tino Angleas and his friends who go back with me to the early '60s Cal Eaton/Jules Strongbow Los Angeles territory days. And yes, there were some paid extras but remember, this is a TV product. Everyone was encouraged to clap and boo at the appropriate moments unlike at more traditional wrestling tapings.

"Once Teddy (now Ted) Hart, Jack Evans, Human Tornado and more began doing their incredible highspots, even the outsourced went nuts. With MTV-friendly bands like 3-6 Mafia, Zack Wylde's Black Label Society, My Chemical Romance and more, the wrestling folks there had an added treat. The bands typically played two to three songs in their entirety, but all that's edited down to just a few seconds to start the actual show. Zach is Ozzy Osbourne's longtime bassist but like the members of 3-6 Mafia, he's a lifelong wrestling fan and old friend of Vampiro.

"I had full access, and I haven't experienced a locker room that was so jazzed with women and men ready to give 200% since the real ECW days of the '90s. Vampiro and the wrestlers labored over the moniters with MTV execs giving a full team feel. Lizzy Valentine, an experienced female wrestler couldn't wait each taping to go on. Nor Mat Sydal, the former Alter Boy Luke (now Luke Haax) or any of the athletes. The common thought: 'We're all hoping this really takes off, because it will mean more work for everyone, no matter how big or small you are.'

"From the creator Kevin Kleinrock and his Big Vision Entertainment execs on down; everyone high-fived after each match. We weren't aware at any of the tapings the show would start as a compressed half hour because each show taping was three to five full matches, interviews and angles. Even though the soundstage for the pilot episode (airing tonight) had considerable effort put into giving it that underground gritty arena bowels look; it was like watching "fight-club" matches inside a Disneyland ride. I've never experienced anything like it in 41 years of covering puroresu.

"The primary announcers are joined each episode by that day's bands who were picked to have members who actually dig wrestling. They call the action from about 80 feet above the ring on a Blade Runner-type scaffolding. If you think the show's atmosphere looks off the hook, it felt even moreso in person."

We're pleased to be able to share Lano's work with the SLAM! Wrestling audience. Lano has been a wrestling magazine writer/photographer since 1966, and is the official photographer of the Cauliflower Alley Club. He is the host or co-host of five wrestling or MMA radio shows each week, including Evan Ginzberg's WBAI NYC wrestling radio show and CBS Radio's Wrestling Professor show.

It's an unique look behind-the-scenes of the show, both the pilot taping in February 2006, and the series go-ahead tapings back in November.

And Mike lives on feedback. Shoot him an email at WReaLano@aol.com.

On to the gallery!

RELATED LINKS

  • WSX.mtv.com (Official website)