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For those who did not know him, who was Tiger Khan?
Khan was a world class indie wrestler who toured everywhere from the
Mid-East to Europe to a year or so run in Calgary with the Harts. He was
also a very kind, introspective person interested in motivational speakers
and such - always looking to improve himself and follow his dreams. He was
well read and a seeker of knowledge. I once brought him down to MTV for a
tryout on a show when they were looking for a wrestler and they said,
“You don’t sound like a wrestler.” Ironic.
What was your involvement with him?
of my closest friends. I met him while doing play by play and publicity
for a local NYC indie group, UCW.
What was your involvement with the movie just released?
am co-producer. I also promoted the Tiger Khan Memorial Show along with
Mambo King and Total Mayhem Pro Wrestling, which got us all his friends and
much of his family in one place which enabled us to get much of the
interview material and wrestling footage we needed to do the film right.
Is this the first film you ever dealt with?
I’m associate producer of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler
starring Mickey Rourke and have a speaking part in it and appear in the
trailer with him. I’ve also been in several documentaries and am
currently working on Alive Again - the story of singer Theresa Sareo
who lost her leg as a result of someone drinking and driving. She talks to
soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan who are also not the same
as they once were; it’s powerful.
Do you have more products of this nature planned?
actually like to break away from wrestling projects which is why I’m
doing the Sareo documentary. Same thing with Legends Radio which I
host - we’ll get 3-6 guests a show and they’re not just wrestling.
You have edited the Wrestling Then & Now newsletter for many years.
Tell people about it.
an old school zine. Primitive graphics, but a lot of heart. We talk
primarily about the wrestling of old, before McMahon turned it into the
circus it is today. Interview legends. Rare clips. Do memorial issues when
friends like Kowalski pass. That sort of thing. We also cover today’s
indies as they deserve - at least in some cases - our support.
You prefer older styled wrestling as opposed to the modern times?
Funk vs Jack Brisco and Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair was art. Today’s
wrestling for the most part is geared to appeal to the lowest common
denominator. When you watch a TNA wrestling show there’s MAYBE 30
minutes of actual wrestling. WWE’s along the same lines. It’s
predominantly bad comedy, skits, promos with stilted dialogue, endless
commercials, and mostly models posed as lady wrestlers. Hell, I grew up on
Moolah - she was a wrestler - nobody would mistake her for a pin-up. So
I’d rather invest those 2 hours in one of my projects or watching a good
movie than the wrestling of today.
What has the fan reaction been to the film thus far?
emotional. I loved the guy like a little brother, but we wanted to show
how “the wrestling lifestyle” did him in. We didn’t whitewash it. We
did a Q&A and people didn’t leave the theater until midnight so that
was a good sign that people cared so passionately about it.
Have you thought to cross market it to other areas or strictly to the
it. We get into the whole steroids in sports/wrestling debate. We want as
many people as possible to see it. If it’s just Tiger’s
fans/friends/family it won’t accomplish what we want - not just creating
art, but scaring the hell out of some kid who is considering sticking a
needle in his ass. Tiger thought he could “cycle on, cycle off.” And
he went to sleep at 33 and didn’t wake up.
What are some of your memories while making this film?
the day I die I’ll never forget his mother walking into the dressing
room and the wrestlers literally making a line to hug, kiss and console
her. Guys were crying. It was devastating. And guys like Eric Adamz and
Ruffy Silverstein going to great lengths and expense to be on the show
because it meant so much to them. Class all the way.
Several writers have commented on the alarmingly high death rate among
wrestlers in the past few years. To what do you attribute this?
recreational drugs, alcohol abuse, etc. The wrestling lifestyle if
you will. You don’t have to be a doctor to figure it out. 150 or so
since the 90s and one was among my closest friends. You can’t even
imagine the pain it causes so many people. To the average person, a pro
wrestler is like a comic book character and the exaggerated bodies
probably don’t help dispel that image. But I know any one of these good looking corpses was someone’s son, friend, husband, father,
brother, etc. The pain is just unbearable.
Do you think the case is valid about so many wrestlers dying or is it just
chance and blown out of proportion?
numbers don’t lie. 150 or so. Just watch an old video or Madison Square
Garden Classic and there’s a whole lot of dead guys there entertaining
How might Tiger's destiny have changed if he really made the big time,
like say the WWE?
can’t imagine it being much different. He told me many times he felt he
had to be big to make it there.
You also run a radio show?
Radio every Sunday 7-9PM EST on www.legendsradio.net
Archived 24/7 at these sites and featuring some of the biggest names in
not only wrestling but the arts.
Your business also includes representing or booking several people for
appearances at autograph fests and the like?
I book Lanny Poffo, Jimmy & Johnny Valiant, Nikolai Volkoff, Nicole
Bass, various musicians and other top acts.
Do you still represent the old porn star, Seka?
Yes, and we’re finishing her autobiography as well. Amazing story.
Anything you would like to share about your work or experiences that we
very excited about the positive buzz on Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler
and am honored to have been so involved with the project. He
turned indie wrestling into art with the film and you may never see a
better performance than Mickey’s. And he got much respect from the
wrestlers as well as Afa did a great job training him. Check it out Dec. 17 when it opens.
Where might people contact you?
and drop me an e-mail.
art. Follow your dreams. There’s more to life than that 9 to 5 which 84%
of Americans hate. Or just sitting in front of that large screen TV. When
you’re out there amazing things happen and I wouldn’t trade my
experiences for anything in the world.