Ten Years Later: TPW vs. SRPW
By mid 2004, the Tulsa wrestling scene had two major feds. Tornado Pro Wrestling, the fed for which I wrestled and Steel Rage Pro Wrestling, our rival. The TPW main players were myself, Sonny C, Romero (Russ), Anthony Jackson, AWOL, Brian Lakewood, Michael Faith, Butch Dalton, and Draven Cross. Of course we were led by Rocco Valentino as our booker and promoter. The SRPW roster’s top guys were Luc Lapointe, Dexter Hardaway, X-Cal, Beau Dalton, Kenny Campbell, Brandon Groom, and Prophet. That fed was owned by Sarah Harmon.
Reports at the time were that Sarah was spending a lot of money trying to keep SRPW going. How much exactly I don’t know. Rumors were that she had blown through her inheritance and was into her 401k. She had spent money bringing in a few names and renting out some larger venues that did not produce any crowds. They had managed to land weekly gigs at Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs over the Tulsa area. Even though it was just “play fighting,” some people were spending a lot of time and energy on their product. This made things get more serious than they should have.
The war between the two feds also played out a lot on message boards all over the internet. I had a message board on www.JustinRules.com where I would get the occasional “SRPW Rules and you suck” post. I would just go delete it and block whoever’s IP address it was posting it. I was also the webmaster for TPW’s website so I did a pretty good job of censoring most of them from getting on our board and talking crap. I had certain words triggered to automatically turn into other words when you posted them. For example, any combination of “SRPW” or ”Steel Rage” would usually convert to “Boys Across Town.” But we also had a few connections over at their fed and we had access to their “staff” board that they weren’t aware we had. Most of their crap talk was directed at Rocco. Looking back, it’s funny to think how seriously we all took ourselves.
More recently at that time, SRPW had a rookie named Timmy J (aka Tim Rockwell) join their roster. Timmy was related to former OPW wrestler Bernard Funk and former World Wrestling Empire owner Flamon Raymon. I remembered that Timmy used to come to the OCW shows and help run the camera equipment. Timmy didn’t waste time getting into the mix and started making all kinds of threats directed at TPW via the internet. Russ, Sonny, and myself noticed something very peculiar about his posts. Every time he would tell us how bad he was going to mess us up if we ever showed up to his ring, he would say “I’m gonna kick your /ass.” He always had a backslash randomly inserted into his messages. All these years later I still don’t know the explanation why. But it became kind of an inside joke for us. We would always threaten each other or random people that we were going to go “backslash” crazy on them and kick their “backslash” asses!
Meanwhile Rocco was having a campout one night at the compound (his house). As I recall it was myself, Russ, Kitty, Rocco, Sonny C, and Mitch Carter. Rocco’s fiancé and a girl I was just starting to date were also there. We had heard a rumor that Brent Albright was in town from Kentucky (where he was wrestling for WWF Developmental). He and Stephanie (his wife) were staying at a hotel right down the street from Rocco’s. We also found out that they were hosting a party for all the SRPW guys. In our minds we had drank enough to imagine they were sitting around loudly boasting of how they were going to beat up TPW guys and if we were there they would show us who the #1 fed is. At this point Rocco and Brent weren’t on the best of terms. Rocco was still deeply hurt that Brent chose to wrestle for SRPW the year before. Rocco considered Brent one of his best friends at one point and him leaving to go work for a company that constantly bashed Rocco was rubbing salt in a wound. Rocco was seriously thinking about giving Brent a piece of his mind. If only we knew what their hotel room number was.
It just so happens that I had a friend who worked at the hotel. I called her and begged her to get me the room number and eventually she gave in and told me. Her only stipulation was that if I got arrested, I could not say how I found out the room number. By about midnight we had made up our minds. We were going to crash the SRPW party and give them a chance to back up all that smack they talked about us on the internet. I remember the most amazing moment was seeing Rocco pull out his wallet and credit card, handing it to his fiancé and telling her that she may need this later for bail. He wasn’t kidding. That is when I knew this was about to get serious.
To be continued……