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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ron Niemi BTR Interview

Courtesy of Adam Wilcox:

Between The Ropes
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
ESPN Florida AM 1080 and AM 1060
Simulcast online at BetweenTheRopes.com

Independent wrestler, manager, and promoter Ron Niemi appeared as a guest on Between The Ropes this past Tuesday to discuss the two-night 2008 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup tournament taking place on September 26th (Port Richey, FL) and 27th (Brooksville, FL).

Niemi noted the diversity of wrestlers participating in this year’s Jeff Peterson event, which consists of ROH regulars to lesser-known grapplers. “You kind of get a mixed bag as far as opinions each year. And I’ve actually had a few wrestlers that have approached me this year and said, ‘This field just doesn’t quite look what it used to look like.’ And I kind of had to remind these guys, ‘You know what? That’s what people said five, six years ago when they were seeing names like CM Punk, Colt Cabana, Matt Striker, Homicide’ … There’s so many guys - I could go on forever - that came through Peterson Cup that are just major stars now worldwide.”

Niemi has a large hand in assembling the Peterson tourney each year and spoke of the process to determine the participants. “If we had everybody in the tournament who wanted to be in it, honestly, we could run the tournament for a couple weeks and it wouldn’t accommodate. I’m talking top guys, too - everybody wants to be in … It took a few months and there were some hurt feelings and toes that were stepped on. There were probably a few promises made early on to some guys that we really did intend on putting in there. But after further review, some of these guys just did not cut the mustard. We tried to bring a little bit of everything to the Peterson Cup, but you’ve got to be able to get in there and go. You’ve got to be bringing your “A” game to every single match. And we feel that the field this year is as good as it gets.”

The Florida indy scene has struggled to maintain the recognition that Northeastern promotions enjoy, despite the Sunshine State’s reputation for producing national and upper-independent stars. Niemi feels that Florida wrestlers themselves are largely to blame for this problem. “They just simply will not work together or band together or travel together or do what it takes to establish themselves as independent stars. We’ve got some of the greatest fans that you could ever find on the independent scene anywhere in the world, but seems like every time you hook a new group of fans, somebody comes along who decides that instead of putting these fans in their seats … next thing you know, these guys are in the back or they’re working as managers - take your pick of however way they get smartened up. That same person that would be on the Internet going crazy about what we’re doing down here in and spreading the word and doing everything they can to establish this scene, they’re all of a sudden just as bitter as the bitter workers that are on these cards, and it really destroys what everyone’s trying to do.”

Niemi closed the interview by reminding listeners that all proceeds from this year’s Peterson Cup will benefit Devin Deschaine, a two-year old Port Richey boy currently battling a rare form of cancer.

For more information on the 2008 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup tournament, please visit www.jpc2008.com or www.floridawrestlingfans.com.

To hear this interview in its entirety - including discussion on Niemi’s career and his opinion regarding the difficulties which face TNA hopefuls residing in Florida - visit the show online at http://www.BetweenTheRopes.com, where you can also become a site member and access hundreds of previous BTR broadcasts and interviews. Join Brian Fritz, Vito DeNucci, and Dickerman for Between The Ropes every Tuesday night from 6:00-8:00 PM ET on ESPN Florida AM 1080 and AM 1060 or worldwide on BetweenTheRopes.com.