Photo Credit: Pat Buck

WrestlePro’s Pat Buck On Bringing Wrestling To Alaska, Booking Zeus From No Holds Barred, Promoting A Balanced Event

WrestlePro promoter Pat Buck recently spoke with Wrestlezone’s Kevin Kellam. The two discussed putting together a balanced event card that tries to appeal for everyone for Buck’s WrestlePro promotion, having ‘Zeus’ on this weekend’s No Holds Barred event, booking an event in Alaska next April and much more. You can read a few transcribed highlights and listen to the full interview below:

Buck comments on what he hopes for independent wrestling in 2019 following a successful 2018: 

It’s healthy. It’s still not at a point where I think a lot of smarter fans think that it’s—the word around wrestling is fantastic. I think we’re in a buzzworthy period with social media and people being aware of what’s going on all over. I don’t think we’re at a point yet where we’re in like a financially rewarding time period, but I do feel like that’s just on the horizon and that’s what I hope this leads to. As prevalent as independent wrestling’s going right now with popularity and really launching a lot of careers and some cool things I see out there, we’re still not at a point where enough guys are getting, I feel like the payment and the reward and the jobs and the careers that they deserve. I’m hoping that with this popularity of independent wrestling that 2019 brings upon some, uh, some healthy companies and careers for the boys.

Buck comments on booking Tommy Lister as ‘Zeus’ for this Friday’s No Holds Barred event in Rahway, New Jersey: 

If people are aware of WrestlePro, they’ve kind of seen over the years that we do a lot of random stuff and—even though independent wrestling is really booming, there’s not a whole lot of—to me it’s always been about the poster. So if you had the history of WrestlePro, you look at any of our posters, I want to put something that attracts a smart fan, a casual fan, a fan of the eighties, someone that maybe only likes women’s wrestling. I’m not a particular, one-dimensional promotion that only focuses on a certain element, which if you do that, that’s great. So we kind of always done that, and a lot of the independent acts that get very popular very quickly, they get under contract; you can’t book anyone from Ring Of Honor.

It’s hard for me to get ahold of any New Japan talents. WWE has stolen a lot of people and a lot of people have returned to the roster or, it used to be they would release people every now and then. They don’t really release anybody anymore. So what do you do as an independent promoter that puts on these high profile shows? So randomly I’m an outside vendor that is bringing Zeus to The Big Event that’s happening the next day (in New York), asked if [I] want him on the [WrestlePro] show.

And of course I want him on my show and I’m paying for Zeus, so I’m probably paying a pretty penny. I don’t know if it will even work out. I don’t know if they want to meet Zeus, I don’t know if they want the autographs, but what’s important to me as a promoter is that anyone that sees that poster that’s a wrestling fan goes, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me! Zeus?’ So that affect, to me, is where the value of booking something like this happening is. So he’s agreed to do a promo. He’s agreed to sign for two hours and meet the fans and sign merchandise as Zeus or Z-Gangsta. And I just thought it was a different spin on something. So that’s what I rolled with.

Buck comments on putting together a balanced event that offers something for everyone: 

The in-ring work matters to me the most. I have pride as a trainer, I have pride as a wrestler. There’s a mix and match on the independents where they focus on one or the other. They either have insanely good independent wrestling work and they don’t really care about names or TV stars. And then there’s other ones that have only TV stars and don’t really care about the in-ring work. And I want to have a meet and greet where people walk in and go, oh crap, I can meet—WWE’s Tyson Kidd’s going to be there—and random stuff like Duke Droese is going to be there and Scarlett Bordeaux is on IMPACT now.

All these different things that you can—a lot of people come to the show, they go to the meet and greet and they leave—they don’t want to see the show. Then I have other people that don’t care about the meet and greet and they want to show up and see from 8 pm to 10:30 really good wrestling action. We have some killer matches on the show as well that I want something for everybody. So, I have a lot of pride in that.

Pat Buck comments on booking an event in Alaska next April we ‘The North Will Remember’ and how it was put together: 

It’s a mix of different things and a lot of questions I still don’t know the answer to. The truth is that I’ve been running shows in a couple of states, so far I’ve done New York, I’ve done Florida, I’ve done Connecticut. I’ve done Jersey obviously and Pennsylvania as well. I kind of had this notion, ‘All In’ I was very motivating to the spirit of pro wrestling. Not being a guy that has a lot of super, and I thank you for saying this before I do have a lot of credibility, but I don’t have the indy buzz. I want to do something different. And I, and I thought about it for a while and said, you know, there’s so much wrestling going on, you can go to three different shows in a night in New Jersey or New York.

There’s always something going on. And I’m like, what if I can take my brand or, or these ingredients, my regular roster mixed with stars from television and Hall of Famers, whatever, and let me try a different part of the world and let’s see what happens. KM from IMPACT has always been my right hand man. He helps book these events, he’s built a lot of the stuff. We’ve been best friends since we’ve been 17 years old and wrestling. So he’s like, what about Alaska? You know, they ran a show up there 15 years ago. It was near sell out and they had like two or three names on it and a bunch of local guys and I think they had former ECW acts as well. They had Road Warrior Animal and they did very well.

And I said, let’s look into this. So, it was cost effective. The travel is not cost effective—that’s going to make me sweat, I’ve got to figure that out—we’re hoping for sponsorships, but I’m hoping that, I’m kinda bored and I’m always looking for that next thing and we’ve been getting great feedback up there.

And I think a lot of our regular fans and a lot of our crew is going to go up there. There’s been a lot of workers last couple of days hitting me up. I mean television guys going, ‘hey, if anything happens, I’d love to be on the show. It’s the only state I never wrestled in.’

I’m trying to spring wrestling. There’s been a couple of countries, ironically two or three European countries that had never had wrestling before and I’ve actually spoken to them about certain things. So I don’t know why, but that intrigues me. I’m so pumped for November 9th with my home, which is Rahway, but to bring wrestling to an area that never gets to see anything and put on a really killer show… I think WWE goes up there once every five years. I’m looking to do this maybe once a year and then I kind of want to hit every—as a promoter and be selfish—I want to work every state. I’m going to try to hit every state if I can, maybe within the next 10, 15 years. So Alaska is the first one.