November 12, 2009
Flatliners still very much alive
By "Bloodthirsty" BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling
This weekend, Ring of Honor Wrestling makes its return to the Greater Toronto Area, holding a show on Saturday at the International Centre in Mississauga. While fans are anxiously awaiting the company's return to the Great White North, perhaps the two people looking most forward to the night are Ontario's independent mainstays Asylum and Matt Burns, collectively known as the Flatliners, who will be squaring off against the Young Bucks as part of the event's main card.
The match is a return engagement for Burns and Asylum (real name Nick Foti), after they made their ROH debut in a preliminary match at the July 25 Toronto show. Based on their performance that night, they were boosted to the main show this time around.
"We actually had our first discussions with ROH earlier this year," Burns told SLAM! Wrestling, "at an earlier show in Markham. We attended the shows, and talked with the bookers, gave them a DVD with matches, and they said they'd keep in touch."
Their appearance, which saw the duo and partner Ethan Page take on Alex "Sugarfoot" Payne, Bobby Dempsey and Andy Ridge, was a hit among local fans, familiar with the Flatliners from indy appearances. So, too, for the team.
"It was a great experience," his partner agreed. "Everyone seemed really happy with the results."
Moving to the main show will hopefully help pave the way for a longer-term relationship in the future, and the team is hopeful of the chance.
"Eventually," said Asylum about that idea, "we would love to wrestle all of their teams."
The partners certainly have had a breadth of experience facing teams on the indy circuit, having teamed up for the past four years after meeting each other in wrestling school. Their ascension to tag team prominence has been something they've worked hard on.
"When we started training together, we started thinking about what there wasn't a lot of in Ontario," recalled Burns. "And we both thought that it was tag team (wrestling). So then we started coming up with ideas of what to do, character, and things. We just clicked -- it seemed like a really good pairing."
"We liked that we were both about the same size," Foti agreed, "and that we both dressed the same, and we started from that visual and played up off of that. We came up with a bunch of different names, different moves, a lot of which came from just working together regularly at different shows."
"There are a lot of tag teams that are just two singles guys thrown together with nothing else that establishes them as a tag team," added Burns. "We had the benefit of having been trained together. We were able to get in a ring together and try out new things, pitch ideas, and modify things."
While the team dynamics were quick to develop, there were some challenges in initially getting booked.
"Nobody wanted to spend that much for one match," explained Burns.
"Add that to the fact that there weren't a lot of teams that we could be booked against," added Foti, "and it was very frustrating. But it worked out in the end, because now there seems to be an increase in tag team wrestling on the indy scene. We now can have matches with a lot of companies."
While Ontario has offered the team many opportunities, both men are hopeful that they will be able to showcase their abilities on a larger stage in the future.
"We want to work wider markets," confirmed Burns. "Around Ontario, I would say we're pretty well known. We want to go a little more south over the next year. We'd like to travel a lot more."
"Hopefully, we can continue doing things with Ring of Honor," Foti added. "We'll just keep doing what we're doing, and hopefully something will happen."
"Bloodthirsty" Bob Kapur almost never forgets to write something here. This time he did. Scold him at email@example.com.