On January 14, 2018, the US indie scene bore witness to the birth of a new promotion based out of Providence, Rhode Island, as Wrestling Has A Tomorrow (WHAT!) Wrestling opened its doors for it’s inaugural event. Main evented by ECW Original Tommy Dreamer facing JT Dunn, the card was impressive for a first event, including matches with AR Fox, Matt Tremont, Sumie Sakai, Dan Maff, Teddy Hart, “All Ego” Ethan Page and much more. They turned up the heat on WHAT II, their February follow-up, that featured a knockout match between Teddy Hart vs AR Fox, not to mention Lance Storm returning to the ring to ref a match between two of his star pupils, Tenille Dashwood (formerly Emma) vs. Rachael Ellering, and a main event of JT Dunn teaming with Jimmy Jacobs against Tommy Dreamer and Matt Tremont. In only a couple months, WHAT Wrestling became a buzz on the East Coast, with its blend of top flight indie stars, legendary names, and up-and-coming local area performers.
This Sunday, WHAT! Wrestling is back for it’s next event, WHAT III, featuring ACH vs. ECW Original Super Crazy and JT Dunn facing indie legend Low Ki, amongst other great matchups. We had the pleasure of talking to WHAT! co-owner Jerry Mascolo about this brand new promotion, about WHAT!’s past, present and future.
LWOPW: WHAT is the new kid on the block in the current indie boom of pro wrestling. What prompted you to start up WHAT now?
Jerry Mascolo: I was involved with a promotion based in my home area of Northern New Jersey (Pro Wrestling Magic); Rich and I have been friends for a few years now and he had actually referred some of the wrestlers from the New England area to me in Jersey. We had the idea to start something for a little bit, and after an opportunity arose to work with the great people at Fete – we jumped on it.
Who makes up the ownership and direction of WHAT?
WHAT! is owned and operated by myself and my business partner Rich Schiappa.
It’s an interesting promotion name, Wrestling Has A Tomorrow. Where did the name come from?
The name actually came from Rich. We didn’t want to shackle the promotion with a geographical name; while tossing ideas around with Frankie (the owner of Strong Style Brand, who we’re incredibly proud to be working with), Rich pulled a list of maybe six names he came up with after listening to a bunch of podcasts for a spark of inspiration. On one such podcast the topic of how the older generation used to purposely misguide younger workers as a way to ensure they never lost their spots came up. The Bruno Sammartinos, the Hulk Hogans, so on, they all had their time, but wrestling will always be here, wrestling will always have a tomorrow. Something about that phrase “Wrestling Has A Tomorrow” really stuck out to him. Quite the serendipitous moment for sure.
It can take promotions years to build up a strong buzz, yet you guys seemed to be hot coming out the gate? How has it felt like so far? Were you surprised by the strong reaction so early?
It’s always such an amazing feeling to be so welcomed in such a short time. The fans in the New England area, especially Providence, are incredible. They’re some of the most passionate out there. I wouldn’t say we’re surprised, but relieved to be accepted.
You guys put your shows up for free in full on YouTube shortly after they run? What was the thought process behind that decision?
The decision was made early on, that the first handful of events would be streamed for free as we wanted as many people as possible to experience WHAT!
Do you plan to continue to release full shows free ongoing or will this eventually move to something like Twitch, a Network like Highspots or Powerbomb.tv or an On Demand like Pivotshare?
We’re currently looking into and reviewing our best options for a streaming service
Your first two events have had some of the indie’s biggest names already and had some special moments like the reunion of Impact Players after Lance Storm reffed a match between two star pupils in Tenille and Ellering. Is this momentum going to be easy to keep going now or does it challenge yourself more?
I wouldn’t say easy, but it is attainable. In addition to providing some of the best match ups possible, we love the opportunity to create special moments that will hopefully stick with people forever.
Who would say is the core group for WHAT wrestling, the men and women who are going to be regularly featured?
Danny Maff, Matt Tremont, Rachael Ellering, Private Party, Ethan Page, Sonya Strong, Teddy Hart, JT Dunn that’s just off the top of my head. As long as scheduling permits, they’ll always be welcomed.
Are there plans to introduce titles at some point, or will WHAT be more like Beyond and be more exhibitions than about titles?
We will be introducing championships into WHAT! in the future.
This Sunday’s event has some interesting match ups. ACH vs Super Crazy is intriguing – how did this match come about?
When we set out to plan an event, we try to build it around “what would be a lot of fun to watch”. I also really love blending new and old school together, this match I think is the best representation of that.
There’s two heavy hitting matches, one being Homicide vs Matt Tremont, the other Brody King vs Dan Maff. Which one do you think is the most dangerous?
Homicide and Tremont is definitely going to be a war, but I can’t wait to see how Brody King fares against Dan Maff in his east coast debut.
What match on the card is your darkhorse? As in, people may not expect it to be a standout match but may just steal the show?
I think this card is set up in such a way that every match could be a main event and every match could be a show stealer. Though if I had to submit a match as a “dark horse” I don’t think people are fully aware of what they’re in store for with the women’s triple threat.
Any scoops on any plans or ideas for WHAT IV?
Well it does happen to fall on Mother’s Day, so we may have to get a little sleazy.
Have a great show on Sunday and thanks for the chat!
Thank you so much for taking the time to ask us these questions.