LOUD & PROUD Preview on TAPinto.net (December 2018)
IWF FIREPOWER June 10 Preview in Nutley Sun
IWF LOUD & PROUD
Featured in Nutley Journal (April 2018)
IWF LOUD & PROUD
Featured in Nutley Sun (January 2018)
LOUD & PROUD Featured in Nutley Sun (April 2017)
IWF LOUD & PROUD
Featured in Nutley Journal (March 2017)
IWF Featured in Nutley
Journal Newspaper (December 2016)
in Pioneer Times Newspaper (December 2016)
for Cub Scout Pack 141 in Nutley Journal (June 2016)
IWF Event for Cub Scout Pack 141 in Star-Ledger (May 2016)
IWF Wrestling Preview in Nutley Sun (March 2016)
IWF Wrestling Featured in Nutley Journal (March 2016)
Kevin Knight in NUTLEY NEIGHBORS
Magazine (Jan. 2016)
LOUD & PROUD in Nutley Journal (May 2015)
IWF LOUD &
PROUD in Nutley Sun (May 2015)
IWF at Nutley Community
Expo - Nutley Journal (March 2015)
IWF at Nutley
Community Expo - Nutley Sun (March 2015)
IWF and Relay For Life in Nutley Journal (March 15, 2015)
Nutley Journal: IWF LOUD & PROUD Preview (Feb 26, 2015)
Nutley Journal: IWF
at Relay For Life Kickoff (Feb 12, 2015)
IWF's Michael Cammett in The Observer (August 13, 2014)
Local Celeb Wrestler Keeps It Real, Offers Chance
Kevin Knight is already famous,
but as anyone around here knows, this well known wrestler has kept his roots both humble and local here in Nutley. Now,
Knight has decided to share his love of wrestling with local kids, and has opened his own wrestling school right on Franklin
Avenue, in his own home town.
Knight is a
renowned member of the Independent Wrestling Federation (IWF), and though his stage persona is beyond wild and rebellious
- with a “me first” attitude - in reality this local star is all about doing good deeds for others, all the time.
Knight is involved in numerous charities, and performs at fundraisers year round
to help others. His most recent fundraiser was a wrestling event for Nutley’s Relay for Life, which helped raise
over $75,000 this year for the American Cancer Society.
Now, this wrestler and educator has come back home, to share his fitness skills with residents in town.
The IWF Wrestling Training School was formerly
located in Woodland Park/West Paterson, but Knight said he was waiting for an opportunity to bring his business back to Nutley.
“I had a school in there for 12 years, and
we were there from 1999 -2011,” he said. “We closed it though it was very busy, and I wanted to be closer
to home. I always said I would do it again only if the perfect opportunity ever came up.”
Turns out that opportunity presented itself right
in Nutley, complete with a 7,000 square foot property and a large parking lot.
The school, owned by Knight, teaches wrestling year round, for anyone 18 years
also is offering something very cool: summer youth wrestling clinics for kids ages 13 - 17.
“We have regular training for 18 and older and also have clinics for the
kids for the summer,” said Knight.
Since it opened on May 1, Knight said he has already become very busy.
“We have 23 new students from all over. North and Central Jersey, Staten
Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx,” he said. “And, we have 2 females.”
Since the clinics for children and trainings for adults are offered during the
week, Knight is taking full advantage of his large space so he can host live exhibitions on weekends.
“I plan to do these twice a month,”
he said. “These are open to the public. This way the students can wrestle in front of a live audience.”
When asked if wrestlers ever have stage fright,
they get over it very quickly or they don’t make it,” he noted.
Knight said they also host children’s birthday parties, where the kids get
pizza, juice and cake and also get a show, complete with live wrestling matches.
“After the last match we bring the birthday child up in the ring,”
added Knight. “He gets to pose with wrestlers and hold the champion belt and take pictures.”
As per the adult students, this training actually
may lead to a career in wrestling.
“For adults, the goal is to go into WWE monday night for the Raw program or Smackdown television program,”
he explained. “This school is like minor league baseball. We have had in our previous 12 years 31 of our
guys who received tryouts with WWE and 11 who were signed for full time employment.”
And, since the space is zoned as a performance gym Knight will also will do special
Zumba and fitness classes, fitness demos and nutrition classes.
Upcoming wrestling exhibitions open to the public June 13 at 8 pm and June 29 at 5 pm. Zumba Master Classes
June 28 at 10 am and 6 pm. Youth wrestling clinics July 15-17 and August 12-14.
IWF Featured on NorthJersey.com (March 1, 2014)
IWF LOUD & PROUD in Nutley
Sun (February 27. 2014)
IWF LOUD &
PROUD in Nutley Journal (February 27. 2014)
For Life & Kevin Knight in Nutley Sun (Feb 27. 2014)
Kevin Knight in Nutley Journal (April
Posted: April 26, 2013
IWF LOUD & PROUD Photos
in Nutley Sun (April 25, 2013)
Posted: April 25, 2013
IWF LOUD & PROUD Preview in Nutley Sun (April
Posted: April 4, 2013
IWF LOUD & PROUD Preview
in Belleville-Nutley Patch
Posted: February 18,
IWF Relay For Life Fundraiser in The Observer
March 14, 2012
For Life Event Featured in Nutley Sun
Relay For Life Fundraiser in Nutley Journal
Kevin Knight in Nutley Sun (August 4,
IWF Wrestling School in Nutley Sun (October
IWF Wrestling School in Nutley Sun (October
IWF in Passaic Valley Today (August 5, 2010)IWF in Paterson's Italian Voice (August 5, 2010)
Feature Story on Kevin Knight and IWF
Photos courtesy Brian C. Reilly
A Perspective on Kevin Knight:
"If you want anything done right, do it yourself."
March 29, 2010 at 7:54PM
By J.D. Mowery
When the average fan
of professional wrestling thinks about the industry, two main brands come to mind: WWE and TNA.
these two brands the only ones that are recognized?
Well, that comes down to many things: corporate sponsorship,
primetime air time on television stations, pay-per-view time, pyrotechnics, ratings, merchandise, appealing to a broad spectrum
of an audience, and other issues.
Has professional wrestling changed with the times?
In order to appeal
to the growing fan base, the WWE and TNA are forced to move away from a pure idea of wrestling and turn professional wrestling
into a male sitcom that appeals to older men and young children.
One person that this has become extremely evident
to is Kevin Knight. Kevin Knight is the founder of the IWF, the Independent Wrestling Federation, based out of West
Paterson, New Jersey. Knight started his love of wrestling was he was 10-years-old. The first match that he remembered
as a child was the Iron Sheik vs. Sgt. Slaughter in the Boot Camp match in 1984 at Madison Square Garden. Although as
a child he told his older brother that professional wrestling was fake; this match launched his dream to push academics to
the backburner and placed wrestling on the forefront of his attention.
When Knight made it to college, he was
a DJ on the college campus station. The independent wrestling promotions gave tickets to the station, he would give them out
to the students, and he would also find his way to the shows. Promoters at the venues noticed his talent to work the
crowd and shortly after that in 1996, Knight found himself in the middle of the squared circle doing what he had always dreamed
While training for his professional career, Knight realized that there was something flawed with the
ideas and fundamentals of the training that he was receiving. In doing this, he decided to found the IWF wrestling school.
In doing so, he not only made a standard for New Jersey professional wrestlers, but he continued to gain knowledge on his
own career as well as knowing how to teach the future of the industry.
How the IWF differs from other schools
is that the IWF not only brings in legends to impart their knowledge onto the students, but they have been around since December
of 1999 and have gained the respect and attention of the WWE and have had 21 graduates of the school have opportunities to
go mainstream with the WWE.
In comparison, this differs extremely from The House of Hardcore that Taz ran in the
glory days of ECW because they had two graduates that ended up making it in ECW as legitimate hardcore guys that appreciated
Going along the lines of different, the IWF is one of the purest forms of entertainment in the minor
leagues of wrestling. IWF has no microphones in or around the ring while a match is going on. There are set interview
times before and after matches to set the stage for the current match. There are no feuds or verbal beatings that happen
in the middle of the ring. Everything else is strictly wrestling. All of the entertainment and storytelling is
done in the ring. Now that WWE has moved back to drawing the ideas and attentions of children, Knight feels that this
has helped out IWF in its successes.
“You can’t build a company or franchise without young fans.
During the ‘Attitude’ era when the WWE was competing with shows like Law and Order and CSI Miami they felt that
they needed to have edgier content. Kids are always going to be drawn to wrestling because of the larger than life super
heroes that kids can follow and understand the story lines. WWE needs to be responsible to censor what is shown,”
Knight does his part to maintain this status quo. The IWF throws birthday parties for younger
children on top of their normal live shows once a month. This allows for the younger generation to enjoy what Knight
himself enjoyed when he was young watching professional wrestling in the mid ‘80s. This atmosphere allows for
the athletic competition and the characters in the ring to be the focal point and does not allow for types of matches and
sitcoms to overcome the psyches of the fans.
As UFC has hit the mainstream of popularity, there are dominant contrasts
between both. Knight feels that there are “two different genres” that gain the attention of the same classification
of sports. UFC is solely fighting and training for said fights. Professional wrestling is more about performing
a storyline that involves a certain level of athleticism. Both of these premises do however follow the same formula:
good versus evil, fighting it out in the ring. Knight presents the similarities through the idea of the Ultimate Fighter.
Both coaches face-off in team battles until the ultimate finale where the finalists of the tournament face-off and then the
coaches face-off to dispute feuds that happened throughout the season.
Now that Kevin Knight has given everything
back to the business and has been doing the same thing for over a decade, he says that he has accomplished everything that
he wanted and that he really has no other goals in his career that he would like to achieve.
“As long as
the parents keep booking the parties and as long as you keep waking up and wanting to keep learning, you keep doing it until
the people stop showing up.”
“If you want anything done right, do it yourself,” and “the
day that you wake up and think you have learned it all, you are done,” are the best pieces of advice that Knight would
give to those aspiring to become a professional wrestler.
While going back over the tapes of the interview, I
have come to the realization of the quote that Knight gave at the end of the segment. Not only did he take his own advice
and decide to start a better way of training, but in doing so furthered his legacy within the business without ever having
to step foot inside a WWE or TNA ring to make him known amongst the mainstream.
His brainchild has grasped the
attention of superstars of yesterday and has ignited them to impart their knowledge on the new generation and this has in
turn allowed for Knight’s students to make it to the WWE. Through them making it to the primetime, so has Knight.
Sure, he may not be able to have his own entrance music or entrance video played on the Titantron for all the
endearing fans to recall when they come home from a live event, but Kevin Knight will forever go down in the history books
as the guy that gave the future of the industry their opportunity to make it big and become stars.
is given that opportunity to lead the future to the “promised land,” but I honestly feel that through the help
of the legends of yesteryear and the open-mindedness of his own desire Kevin Knight will be as successful as any other professional
wrestler as long as he maintains the same drive and passion that he had when he first became hooked on the drug that is professional
PHF WALK RAISES $30,000 AS 300 PEOPLE WALK TO “FUND
A CURE” FOR HYDROCEPHALUS
NJ – Over 300 people took part in the 2009 PHF WALK & Family Fun Day September 13, 2009, as the Pediatric Hydrocephalus
Foundation, Inc. raised over $30,000 in their signature event. 2009 PHF WALK Honorary Chairman, Bill Evans from Channel
7 Eyewitness News, predicted clear and sunny skies and he was correct, as the day couldn’t have been any nicer.
United States Congressman Leonard Lance, (NJ-7th), gave an uplifting and emotional speech as the WALK’S Keynote Speaker,
and was also the recipient of everyone’s gratitude for his work and leadership on the passage of H. Res. 373 this past
July, which designates the month of September as “National Hydrocephalus Awareness Month.”
to the 2 mile WALK around Roosevelt Park, guests were entertained by a live DJ, kids had their faces painted courtesy of Izzy
Entertainment and everyone was treated to visits by the Professional Wrestlers from the Independent Wrestling Federation
and the New Jersey Devils Dancers. PHOTOS: IWF @ PHF Walkathon, Edison NJ, Sept 13
To view photos of the PHF WALK or for information for all future events, please go to: www.HydrocephalusKids.org.
A Knight’s Tale
by: Derek Pivko 6/6/09
University of Arizona
WEST PATERSON, NJ-- Name any town in New Jersey and Kevin Knight has probably left some blood, sweat and tears behind.
A 14-year wrestling journeyman, Knight got his start while at William Paterson University promoting
local wrestling events on WGHT-AM.
The radio station was given tickets to local wrestling
events and it was up to Kevin to get in the ring and “hype up the crowd” before the events. Promoters saw
something in Knight as he brought a certain energy to the crowd. Knight finally found his life goal: to become a professional
Knight traveled the East Coast wrestling in events anywhere he could get booked.
It wasn't until 1998 when he and a friend started their own company, Independent Wrestling Federation.
“I started Independent Wrestling Federation with Commissioner Rich Ross in 1998 because most of the independent
wrestling promoters who ran the events I wrestled on were inept. The events were not family-friendly, and the talent
was poor. Here we are 11 years later and the IWF is bigger and better than ever. And all those old inept wrestling
promoters and that poor-quality talent are long gone. IWF stands alone in the Northeast. Unfortunately, the corrupt
Commissioner Ross now runs the IWF and I am under-paid,” said Knight.
Wrestling Federation currently boasts a roster of 40 hungry wrestlers who compete in over eight shows a month at IWF.
For those who enter the squared circle, they are living out a dream in hopes of becoming the next Hulk
Hogan. Although you don't become Hulk Hogan overnight, it takes a serious commitment to become a professional wrestler.
And the path to becoming a professional wrestler isn't any easier.
Knight has body slammed his way into broken noses, broken fingers, broken ankle, separated shoulder, sprained knees,
hyper-extended elbow and chronic lower back pain. Throughout the pain, he has only missed 10 matches due to injury.
“Just tape it up and be a man, baby,” laughs Knight.
laughs aside, Knight has kept busy at IWF. Since 1999, Knight has trained hundreds of prospects willing to step in the
ring with him. The prospects have come from 20 states and nine countries, some were wannabe's and some had a dream.
But for 21 gifted individuals including Kevin Knight, they have competed at the highest platform in professional wrestling:
World Wrestling Entertainment.
Recently Fred Sampson, who was trained by Knight signed a
developmental contract with WWE. Sampson is living in Tampa, FL training at Florida Championship Wrestling in hopes
of making it to the main roster one day.
It was no surprise to Knight when Sampson gave
him the big news.
“I knew from day one in 2002 when he joined the school that Fred
Sampson would make it. He has the desire, dedication and passion. You can't teach that...you have to have it in
your heart. And he does. Fred was the youngest man to win the IWF Heavyweight Title. No idea if he will make it
to the main roster, but anything can happen. If there is any justice in the world, he will. He is an old-school
type of wrestler, and WWE is getting back to that on their programs now,” said Knight.
other job in America can you punch your boss and get away with it? At Independent Wrestling Federation, they bring the
fantasy to life. Do you have what it takes to become a professional wrestler? If you do try stepping in the ring with
Kevin Knight, and by Knight fall you'll have Knight mares for days to come.
IWF Wrestling School teaches hopefuls all the right
(WEST PATERSON, NJ)- How in the bruising blazes is Tony Torres ever going to
stuff the enormous and glowering Franciz into that thin white body bag? Assuming Franciz doesn't stuff Torres there,
"He's gonna die!"
Torres is calling, and Franciz answers with a forearm to the Adam's apple. The referee, Barry Delaney, is, literally,
holding the bag, looking at both of them from beyond the ring, waiting for a cue, while a pro-Torres crowd jeers and chants
from folding chairs, "Franciz, you're FAT!" and, for Torres in his Dominican-flag-toned singlet, "Lah-tee-NOH!
This is the evening's last match, the
big finish to the first night of the Independent Wrestling Federation's Winter Warfare Weekend. Outside the ring, the
room, the building, a car sits at a curb on Willow Way in West Paterson. A mother, Giselle Roberts, waits. Her
son, Jason, 17, is inside, coming off a tag-team match, shedding his satiny green singlet, daubing a little blood from his
mouth. His shoulders and back, he says, will be sore in the morning. The car engine is running, exhaust pluming
a wintry dark. "That crazy lady that was screaming all through his match," his mother says, "that was
A few spectators had left the IWF Centre on this
Saturday night in mid-January at intermission, declining snacks and souvenirs, skipping climactic battles for belts and the
concluding body bag. Early departures included two women displaying major cleavage and their escorts, in athletic jackets.
A few come to show off, maybe as an audition for a female manager's role. Most come to ogle and shout and stay to the
end, and some get louder as the night goes on. Family members cheer and worry. They know better than most what
the ring demands.
Michelle McDaniel knows, too. She's
a photographer, now, but not long ago she enlisted briefly in the IWF Pro Wrestling School, foundation of the enterprise, and a standard drill of butting arms and shoulders raised bruises and welts from collarbone
to elbow on her left arm. The wrestlers make the combat look easy, McDaniel says. It isn't.
Now she is taking pictures for the IWF Web site, WrestlingIWF.com. The
wrestlers keep her clambering and dodging for camera angles around the center's roped-in ring.
With attacks coming in furious flurries and bodies flying through and over the ropes onto
blue mats on the floor, even onto sharp wood stairs and into poles, capturing the action is tricky. Capturing the essence
of this enterprise is, too. Across six matches, a simple question of who wins and who loses ravels into far more dizzying
questions of costume and character, of risk and reward, of fame and fortune, of identity.
IWF's ringmaster Master of Chaos Kevin Knight is riding the mike for the opening matches. Here, dual roles seem central. On the one hand, Knight is the enterprise's
calm administrative center, directing and guiding, keeping the accounts. On the other, he is flying through the air
bare-chested, in Spandex. After intermission, he steps into the ring himself, defending one of a host of IWF titles.
He is, friends say, living his dream. He and buddy The Boss Richard Ross (now playing the role of the IWF's corrupt, power-mongering commissioner) were radio guys in the '90s, students at William
Paterson University, and they loved pro wrestling and pranks and show biz. After Knight started the IWF, 11 years ago,
and its pro-wrestling school, nine years ago, a co-owner bowed out. Knight kept putting in the hours, putting his body
at risk in the ring, and working the circuit, sending stories on his stable of wrestlers to radio and TV and hometown papers,
inviting scouts from bigger circuits, delving and dealing among the three-lettered world of pro wrestling, the WWE, WCW, ECW.
His business cards these days read "Actor, Model, Pro Wrestler" and also "Owner, IWF."
"I always tell my students," he says, "in this business, in life,
keep trying, because you never know."
While living a
dream, he is also selling one: entree to the realm of professional wrestling, one that harks back to Gorgeous George, villainous
wrestling sensation of the '30s, '40s and '50s with his preening strut and long blond locks; to the great Santo in Mexico
and Abe Coleman, the "Hebrew Hercules"; to road shows still migrating from armory to bingo hall in small towns,
to Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin of the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE) and
TV and movies. From the start, pro wrestling, attacked as "fake," offered fan-grabbing storylines, often feeding
on feuds and vengeance, cruelty and triumph, heroes and villains.
"In the wrestling world, this is the entertainment direction," Knight says. "Same as figure
skating, or 'Dancing With the Stars.' There's costumes, there's music, there's routines, there's choreography, but there's
also training, there's bumps, there's bruises."
best gauge of the IWF wrestlers' desire is the bottom line: Aside from chump change for occasional out-of-town appearances,
they PAY to do this. All of them started as students, paying to learn the basics over nine months (to graduate),
and now they have moved on to performing. They live, they say, in hope of bigger things, and also in the moment.
"Being in that ring, in front of that crowd," Knight says, "is an incredible rush. Although it can be
painful when they're silent."
Just now, the rush is
on Biggie Biggs. The tag team of Justin Corino and Frank Scoleri have both jumped, illegally, on the amiable big man,
whose partner is stranded in the ropes. The crowd erupts in booing. The passion felt by long-time fans such as
Andrea Weingard of West Orange, shouting and brandishing signs reading "Nerd!" and "U Suck!," comes clear:
In this mix, the crowd seems to throw itself from ringside right into the action.
"I never miss one of these," Weingard says. "I LOVE these guys!"
The bell sounds for the next match, and Knight in his best radio voice intones,
"Scheduled for one fall, first, from Puerto Rico, weighing 192 pounds, An-TO-nio, Ri-VER-a!" Applause, shouts,
music pounding from the sound system. "And his opponent, from Point Pleasant, weighing 215 pounds, a member of
the Ross family, Travis BLAKE!" The bell clangs three times.,
Cacophony ensues: Howls, moans, screeches. "Trav-iss sucks!" "Lah-tee-NO!" A
little boy shrills, "You STINK!" The crowd answers each fall, each reversal of fortune with widely nuanced
noise: "YYeeeeahh!" "OOooooooh!" "BOOO!" Every fall rattles plywood planks
under the ring. "Who's the MAN?" Blake crows, and when Rivera finally falls for the count and the announcement
comes, "The winner, Traavisss BLAAAAKE," onlookers drown the between-matches music in a prolonged choral scream.
The enterprise, billed as family entertainment, dances a fine line. Wrestling
traditionally skews blue-collar and young, though many of the feistiest fans are older. A newcomer might not hear the
word "sucks" this often at a vacuum cleaner convention, but more deeply purple profanities are held in check.
They dance another line, too: the normally dangerous line of the politically
incorrect. As much as anything, professional wrestling is an outlet, a way to uncork emotions bottled elsewhere.
Which is where Cameron Matthews comes in. He's just down, he tells the
crowd over a handheld mike, from the great state of Maine, and on the trip he could smell New Jersey from beyond the New York
border, 20 miles away.
He is also prancing around in a pink
satin vest and pink headband, and he pulls off sweat pants to reveal a pink Speedo flocked in white frou-frou. "Hey,
freak show!" somebody yells from the crowd. "Get outta the ring!" Later a chant goes up, "Clean
my pool! Clean my pool!" The word "fruitcake" is called into play. His wrestling is more
emphatic, and the far more imposing Kevin Knight takes the full 20 minutes to put him away.
With every match, crowd-baiting comes standard. Insults to a state or ethnic group or
gender might work. Telling a spectator to get bent works, too. Spectators usually snap back.
In an era rife with concerns about violence to women, a newcomer might be jarred
by the next match: the winsome and statuesque Jana in combat with roguish Chris Steeler, who mocks her womanhood and
hisses in her face (she nearly always fights males). Jana is, from all appearances, taking slaps to the head and kicks
to the ribs, being body-slammed and elbow-hammered. "Damn right, that's the way I treat a woman!" Steeler
On this night, Jana ends her match curled
in a far corner, seemingly unconscious, and Travis Blake's illegal intervention gives Steeler the victory. Sometimes,
the woman wins. "The men get it back, and they get it stronger," Jana had said, earlier, sitting in the IWF
office across the lobby. "It's not one-sided. She fights back, and the women in the crowd are, like, YEAH!"
Her mother, learning five years ago of her wrestling plans, threatened to kick her out of the house, objecting to the violence.
Jana started her training in secret.
For fans, the spectacle,
despite its violent staging, carries a cartoonish weightlessness. "As an adult," Knight says, "we can
say, 'This is all phony, but, boy, they make it look so real!' Part of the fun is seeing how well they can do it."
The risk, he says, is that a pretended elbow smash missing by six inches can sap a crowd's spirit. One that actually
lands can pump it right back up.
For wrestlers, the preparation
and process can be all too real. All of them, sooner or later, work through injury. As she sits, talking, Jana
from Hackensack, pushes at her knees, first one, then the other, coaxing kneecaps and tendons back into line. "One
of my bones was misplaced," she says. "I had surgery." One advantage of pro wrestling, she says,
is that opponents know and respect each other's injuries. They take care of each other.
Each wrestler must sustain not just physical health but an alter ego, a character sometimes
built against type. Frank Scoleri portrays a know-it-all bookworm, Justin Corino an egotist, Chris Steeler a cheat.
"My character is me times 10," says Antonio
Rivera. "In real life, I'm a real quiet person. When I'm in character, I'm just over-the-top. My character
helped me, gave me confidence. And for promos (a wrestler's sometimes-contentious ring diatribes to the crowd), I started
speaking Spanish, and that helped me to get my Spanish better. Now my mother's proud of me. She says, 'Oh, you're
speaking good Spanish!'"
"My parents," Scoleri
says, "HATE this."
Scoleri, 22, of Wayne played
offensive tackle in football and wrestled the mainstream way at Wayne Hills High School (a single star on his maroon-and-white
singlet recalls his team's state football championship), and he says, "This is as intense as any other sport I've ever
played." It also gives them, they say, discipline, exercise, training in teamwork and time management, and, dare
they say it, poise.
"I'm so much better at school presentations,"
Jason Roberts says.
Scoleri sees a more immediate benefit. "For the time I'm out there,"
he says, "I'm just free from everything. No worries about my next paycheck, no worrying about exams. This
is now. Nothing else matters." His dream, he says, is to wrestle, just one time, in Madison Square Garden.
Knight wrestled there, once, in 2003.
Biggs also has performed
in larger arenas. On this night he worked out front taking tickets, jawing gently with each newcomer. When a long-time
fan popped up suddenly at the ticket window, he clutched his chest and moaned, "I have a heart condition. You can't
do that!" Nearby, Andrea Weingard laughed at the sight and said, "It's always fun with him around."
His tag-team match would be less fun for Scoleri. A head-bounce when Biggs
slams him back-first to the mat leaves Scoleri woozy. In one group melee match, he was knocked cold. "They
can't stop a melee," he says, "so I just lay there. Everybody stepped over me."
They have all endured months, even years of training, some of them still working out four
hours at a time, three nights a week while balancing day jobs and class time and home lives. Some can flash national
credentials. Biggie Biggs and Fred BoneCrusher Sampson, for instance, have wrestled in WWE events, on television.
Some show even more surprising resumes. Jana, for instance, is majoring in English at NYU and also works full-time as
an administrative assistant in corporate real estate. Rivera works as an office assistant for a gasket company.
Scoleri is majoring in history at William Paterson University. Jason Roberts is a senior at Passaic Valley High.
In a sense, Knight says, we ALL create ourselves, or re-create ourselves. "You
think business or politics aren't scripted?" he says. "Isn't the winner in a lot of political races chosen
beforehand?" People come to life in taking action, he suggests. They are rarely just what they appear to
be. A red blot near his left eye looks like an abrasion. "Actually, it's a birthmark," he says, with
the slightest smile.
Want to call this "fake?"
Brace yourself for an IWF forearm-shiver. "I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to slap a person for that,"
"And what REALLY gets me is seeing kids
get publicity for backyard wrestling. Without knowing what you're doing, without training, that's stupid and dangerous."
The night's action certainly looks dangerous. The match that ignites the
crowd most that night involves the tattooed, black-leathered Bryan Harley, in a tag team with Evan Schwartz against Jason
Roberts and Nes Lopez and their manager, Kristina. Long-and-scraggly-haired, ham-hock-armed and malevolent, Harley provokes
high emotion. At one point, cadres of fans on opposite sides yell "You suck!" at each other, and the whole
Kristina, last name Butler, age 17 and
a student at Clearview School in Wayne, is newest to the business, and she says, "I'm still becoming my character.
I want to be the person who doesn't take any crap from anybody."
As the night wanes, Franciz and Tony Torres continue to thrash each other in bruising point and counterpoint, each
straining to wrestle the other into the body bag, and three young boys at ringside with their dad continue to taunt Franciz
with "F for FAT!" and "Franciz is fruity!"
your mouth!" Franciz snarls at a kid, and the kid, about 1/20th his size, yells, "You shut YOURS!"
They have no idea, Kevin Knight says, that in real life Francis "Franciz" came
into the IWF a full 100 pounds heavier and worked it off in four-hour sessions, four and five days a week; that he keeps working
through pain and showing up. Scoleri, the football lineman, says, "This is by far the most challenging thing most
of us have ever done."
Franciz and Torres have been pummeling each other for nearly 20 minutes, and several times
the body bag has been thrown into the ring for one or the other. Now, finally, with a last spinning knee drop and elbow
smash, Tony Torres flattens Franciz and bunches him into, or at least under, the bag. Torres exults, sweat-sheened,
as his opponent is helped up and staggers away. The crowd, moments before shouting, "We want blood!" and "Use
the chair!," seems to have spent itself, too. A few still sound catcalls. Most step back into the chill smiling.
This kind of wrestling, Knight
says, is not about wins and losses. It's about creating characters and performing moves that people remember.
That takes imagination and toughness, too.
With some of the crowd lingering, snagging last autographs and decompressing
with family and friends, Jana finally breaks her character, bursting from the locker room and dashing across the lobby to
the bathroom. "I have to go SO BAD!" she says, over her shoulder.
Knight takes a last moment to promo the next big events:
a fans' fantasy wrestling clinic and matches April 16 through 19 with former WWF star The Honky Tonk Man, and Pro Wrestling
Youth Summer Clinics in July and August. As he talks, Knight is picking litter from among the folding chairs.
Unbending from the car, outside,
Giselle Roberts hugs her son. Jason winces and smiles. "This has really helped him to grow," his mother
says, and Jason says, "I felt a little beat up afterward, honestly. But I'm fine. I don't know where this
will take me. Right now, I'm just having fun." The next day he will watch the second set of matches as, among
other things, Franciz wins and Knight loses. The day after that, he will go back to high school.
Paterson Alumnus Wrestles With New Career
By: Matthew Sommo, Pioneer Times 3/22/06
Never in Kevin Knight's five years at William Paterson University did he ever imagine that
he would be where he is today.
Knight, who attended WPU, was a communication major, and involved in the department
as a volunteer.
Knight is now associated with the IWF (Independent Wrestling Federation), based out of West Paterson.
Knight runs the wrestling school and also wrestles for the company where he has held the IWF Championship title.
Before getting involved in the wrestling business, Knight worked as its sports director, then as operations manager for
WPSC-FM, the university radio station. These jobs entailed doing sports and news updates, play-by-play for WPU football, baseball
and basketball games, and also DJ work.
Knight also worked for the university television station as the sports
director, and a news and sports anchor on "Newsline". He did play-by-play for WPU football, baseball, basketball,
soccer and volleyball games for the station.
Knight learned a lot from his time with the university stations.
"I learned more during my hands on training at WPSC-FM and WPC-TV than I did in the classroom, as there is no better
learning experience than on-the-job training," stated Knight. "It's tough to learn about radio and TV broadcasting
on a blackboard…you need to be on the air!"
Being on the air is what led to Knight being where he is
today. "With running the IWF Wrestling School in West Paterson, having the communication background comes in handy with
having to also market and promote the school," added Knight.
Knight didn't pick wrestling; it picked him.
Knight interned at WGHT 1500 AM in Pompton Lakes doing news and sports updates, and eventually worked there full time. When
the local wrestling shows came to town, WGHT received tickets to give away and Knight went to the shows to hype up the crowd
and give away freebies. "I made friends with some of the wrestlers and promoters who liked my personality and who saw
I was tall (6'4") so they persuaded me to give it a try, so here I am 10 years later!"
in wrestling has taken him beyond the IWF ring. He has been involved with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and lists
his greatest moment in wrestling as competing on the "WWE Velocity" television show in Spike TV from Madison Square
Garden against A-Train in June 2003. He also served as a druid for the Undertaker from MSG during "Wrestlemania XX"
in March 2004. His favorite opponents include WWE Hall-of-Famer Tito Santana, and former WWE and WCW superstar the Patriot.
Knight's future goals are to continue to make the IWF the best it can be. The school, which has been open
for seven years, is where more than 250 wrestlers and managers have been trained by Knight to compete across the world.
Besides the radio and TV stations, Knight gives credit for his success at WPU to two other big figures on campus.
"President Arnold Speert and Baseball Coach Jeff Albies were very helpful to me when I was at WPU and involved with WPSC-FM
and WPC-TV, they gave me unlimited access, interviews, and I learned a lot from them."
Knight still keeps
close ties to WPU. His camp is only five minutes from campus and he brings his students who are in training to the track to
do running exercises.
As far as advice to the students at WPU, he says to "learn as much as you can in the
classroom, and take advantage of all the extracurricular activities, no matter what your major is. Get involved in the radio
and TV stations, the newspaper, athletics, student clubs and organizations. Get involved."
Wrestler Stars in Burger King Commercial
The Observer, National News at a Community Level
Posted: March 15, 2006
(WEST PATERSON, NJ)- IWF Wrestling Champion Kevin Knight appears in the new
Burger King TenderCrisp Chicken commercial airing nationwide.
Life-long Nutley resident and Independent Wrestling
Federation Champion Kevin Knight recently participated in the filming of a new Burger King television commercial, which began
airing nationwide the week of March 6.
Filmed in February in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Knight plays Burger King’s
new TenderCrisp Chicken mascot. Knight is a Nutley High School graduate, attended William Paterson University, operates the
IWF Wrestling School in West Paterson, and performs periodically for World Wrestling Entertainment.
for the part in New York in January, as the Hungryman Production Company sought a 6-foot 4-inch, 240-pound wrestler to don
the chicken suit.
Knight won the part and was flown to the legendary Stan Winston Studio in Los Angeles for a
costume fitting, then traveled to Brazil for a week of shooting.
“It was 104-degrees the first day of shooting,
we were in the middle of a sweltering valley in Rio and I was in a chicken suit that weighed 20 pounds and had a 4-foot 5-inch,
80-pound midget stuntman strapped on my back ... now that’s entertainment,” Knight said.
the commercial premise: On a chicken ranch, a group of cowboys are crowded around the fence of a rustic coral excitedly taking
in some serious dust kicking action.
Suddenly we see the commotion.
A rider flies out of the bucking
chute, but he’s not aboard a bronco or a bull. The rider is struggling to stay on something with feathers. The baddest
chicken anybody has ever seen. The TenderCrisp Chicken leaps into the air and the action is wild as he attempts to shake his
rider with a series of hilarious moves until finally the rider is thrown and lands on the cowboys. That’s one big buckin’
chicken! The only way to beat it, is to eat it!
“Working three, 12-hour days in a row in brutal heat, plus
the rehearsal day, was grueling but the commercial is hysterical, I hope it will long be remembered,” Knight said.
Knight has appeared in several other television commercials, most notably the WWE’s Survivor Series wrestling
commercial in 2003 and Bubba’s Place commercial in 2001.
Knight has owned the IWF Wrestling School in West
Paterson since 1999, training WWE hopefuls ages 16 and older four-days a week. Knight also instructs a fun-filled youth summer
wrestling clinic for kids 12 to 17 for three sessions this June, July and August.
Copyright © 2006 [TheObserver.com].
All rights reserved.
Emcee to Businessman, Nutleyite Trains Wrestlers for Big Time
Part-time Job Leads to Career as Wrestler, Wrestling
Nutley Sun Newspaper, Thursday,
July 7, 2005
by Brian Smith
(NUTLEY, NJ) - While the moves in wrestling leagues such as the WWE are
staged and the outcomes predetermined, the effort and training a wrestler must put in to arrive on wrestling's biggest stage
are anything but easy.
With approximately 100 wrestlers on the WWE's roster, professional wrestling is one of the
hardest "sports" to break into, real or fake. One place a wrestler can cut his teeth with the hopes of making it
to the big-time is Nutley native Kevin Knight's IWF Wrestling Training Program in West Paterson, NJ.
operated the program for six years and in addition to training wrestlers, he is also the owner of the Independent Wrestling
Federation that has events in its home center in West Paterson and other high schools and recreation centers in the state.
The IWF has belt holders within its federation and holds from 28 to 30 events each year.
Knight got into wrestling
10 years ago and like many people, used one job as a springboard into another. Knight was a radio and television major at
William Paterson University and while there he did sports and news for WGHT 1500 AM in the mornings. The station was given
tickets to wrestling events similar to the ones his IWF now holds and it was Knight's job to "hype up the crowd"
before the events. While Knight enjoyed watching wrestling, he never thought it would lead to a career in it.
promoters saw the enthusiasm I had in getting the crowd involved, saw I was relatively tall and asked me if I wanted to get
involved," Knight said. "I said 'sure' and there is where it all started."
Knight trained briefly
and started organizing and wrestling in several events at Nutley High School and the Nutley Recreation Center. While signing
autographs after the matches, children, young adults and even adults would ask Knight how to get involved in wrestling. Knight
was intrigued by the numbers of inquiries and began planning and saving.
"People would ask me how to get started
and most of the schools I knew of were dirty and run by sleazy characters so I started planning to open up a school,"
Knight said. "It took about four years of saving money but wrestling was popular when we opened and we are still doing
Wrestlers are enrolled in a 10-month program with four session each week and aren't required to
attend each session but the ones that are serious will take full advantage. The first stage of training includes basic moves
and falls but after that, Knight and his students focus on building characters and their personalities.
is 50 percent athleticism and 50 percent personality and character development," Knight said. "You also have to
have a positive attitude towards what you are doing or you aren't going to go anywhere."
The characters in
wrestling today area based more in reality because of the boom of reality television shows on the air today. In the past,
larger-than-life figures like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant in the 80s were the lifeblood in the WWE and the trend continued
into the 90s with wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.
While wrestlers today are still immense
in physique, their names and personalties appeal more to the reality-based viewing audience with names like John Cena and
Shawn Michaels. The WWE itself is down in popularity but Knight knows wrestling follows trends like any other sport.
"There is no new big star like The Rock or Hulk in wrestling right now but it is cyclical," Knight said. "The
NBA is going through the same thing with Shaq (O'Neal) getting older and Kobe Bryant running into legal problems, but all
it takes is someone like LeBron James to become the next superstar and basketball will be fine. Wrestling is looking for that
new star too."
Even with the WWE's popularity down, Knight's training programs are still flourishing. He runs
clinics for teenagers, and has events at the IWF's home arena this summer and will have two on the road at towns like Aberdeen
and Medford in New Jersey next month. The IWF's motto is "Quality Entertainment in a Family Atmosphere" and a lot
of what goes into the word family is keeping down the costs.
"We are going to make sure a family will have
a good time at our events but also be able to afford it," Knight said. "That is a big draw for us and what makes
what we do appealing."
A big appeal for prospective wrestlers to enter the IWF training program is a chance
to wrestle in the WWE. Of the 250 wrestlers that have trained in the program, 14 including Knight himself (and Roman, Fred
Sampson, Biggie Biggs, Hadrian, Dawn Marie, Shawn Donavan, Travis Blake, Aaron Stride, Shane O'Brien, Damian Adams, Josh Daniels,
Rob Eckos and Brandon Young) have appeared in some capacity in the WWE. Knight wrestled in a six minute bout at Madison Square
Garden with A-Train in 2003 and other wrestlers from IWF have appeared in WrestleMania XX and events like Raw and SmackDown!
"Any time the WWE is filming on the East Coast they contact us for wrestlers to wrestle or use us as actors in
skits," Knight said. "They know the product they are getting when they call one of our wrestlers and it's also great
for my training program because it gives us the publicity of wrestling or performing at the highest level of professional
With six years under his belt (currently the IWF Tag Team Champion), Knight will continue the
program as long as it is successful.
"I never would have thought I'd be doing this 10 or 11 years ago,"
Knight said. "But I'm always excited to see which direction wrestling will take me and it's been great so far!
Independent Wrestling Federation Takes Hold:
By Michael McDonnell for The
Posted: May 18, 2005
NJ) - Aspiring grapplers got a chance to watch professional wrestling superstars in action at the Essex Manor in Bloomfield,
NJ, on May 14.
Local wrestler Kevin Knight – a Nutley High School graduate who still resides in town –
faced off against such fan-favorites as TNT and the “evil”, 400-pound, Saddam Insane. Odds makers gave the line
to Insane, who along with his wrestling cohort TNT make up the Baghdad Bullies tag team.
Knight paired up with
wrestler Damian Adams plus other locals.
“There are good guys and bad guys, and I'm one of the good guys,”
said Knight, who runs a wrestling clinic with the Independent Wrestling Federation out of West Paterson, NJ.
there are a number of technical skills Knight teaches to aspiring wrestlers, he admitted about half of the training involves
creating an image.
“About 50-percent of wrestling is the theatrical side,” Knight said. “We actually
work to formulate that good guy or bad guy image depending on what wrestler is trying to achieve.”
pro wrestling personalities as Hulk Hogan, and The Rock segueing into the movies, wrestlers are becoming a “hot commodity”
Knight is also running a special summer clinic that encourages youngsters –both boys and girls
ranging in age from 12 to 17-years-old to get involved in wrestling.
“It’s a great way to get active
this summer instead of falling into the current trend of lounging around the house playing video games and surfing the net,”
Copyright © 2005 [TheObserver.com]. All rights reserved.
Twist and Yell:
BY CAROLINA GONZALEZ FOR THE STAR-LEDGER NEWSPAPER
Would-be grapplers longing to piledrive,
bulldog and body slam can make their ring fantasies come true at schools like the IWF Wrestling Training School in West Paterson.
Kevin Knight opened the school in 1999 after a career in public relations and several years knocking around as a wrestler
in leagues around the Northeast. Knight has retired from the ring, but still gets a thrill tagging others in. "People
enjoy being involved in an activity they enjoyed watching as a child," he said of his students.
-- there are currently about 35 active, and 200 have hit the mats since it opened -- tend to have the mild-mannered professions
of superhero alter egos: college students, teachers, social workers, Knight says. The same goes for the teachers. When instructor
Nick Podsvirow, who uses the nom de guerre Biggie Biggs, is not teaching how to head butt without inducing a concussion, he
works as a park ranger in Monmouth County.
Half of IWF's 10-month course is spent on the technical aspect of wrestling,
learning how to perform hair-raising stunts safely, and lots of cardiovascular and aerobic training. The other half is spent
on showmanship, developing a ring persona, learning to pace performances, being able to yell without straining your voice.
"Someone who isn't the best athlete but has a good personality can do well," Knight says.
take classes as many as four times a week. Some train simply to keep in shape, but others hope to become the next Stone Cold
Steve Austin. Roman Zacharko, 24, of Manville, was in Knight's first class and has performed in WWE shows. Pro hopefuls get
instruction in "scientific" holds and moves like body slams (throwing yourself on your opponent to knock him on
his back onto the mat), bulldogs (grabbing your opponent around the neck and leaping onto the canvas head first) and supplexes
(lifting your opponent over your head and dropping him on the mat).
Podsvirow said wrestling before an audience
is a dream come true for him, and he expects to live the dream for years to come. "If I'm not wrestling, something's
Copyright 2005 NJ.com. All
Hulk wannabes eye 'Smackdown'
Where aspiring wrestlers go to learn
December 6, 2004
By AMY L. KOVAC, HERALD NEWS
WEST PATERSON, NJ - Tucked behind McBride Avenue at 32 Willow Way stands a cream-colored building that looks like
an average warehouse. But don't be fooled by the bland exterior. Four times a week, the building comes alive with the body
slams and faux punches of the Independent Wrestling Federation.
"These guys want to
be the next Rock, Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold," said Kevin Knight, owner and head trainer of the IWF Wrestling Training
The center is entering its sixth year. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the center
held its annual open house, where the public is able to get a glimpse of the athletics and antics of the center's members.
About 35 men and women are active members of the center, and they range in age from 14 to 45.
several members have performed in World Wrestling Entertainment's television shows, including "Smackdown" on UPN
and "Raw" on Spike TV, Knight admits that most will never make it onto television. The training center primarily
provides a place for people to pursue their fantasies, get a good workout and meet others with an interest in wrestling.
Many come long distances to train under Knight and his assistant trainers - some from as far as Brooklyn
and Point Pleasant. All have a love for the theatrics and physicality of wrestling.
Roman Zacharko, an assistant trainer and one of the center's stars, instructed a group of eight young students during a drill
to overexaggerate their movements, to think big.
"Be more aggressive," he said.
"But slow down. A lot of stuff was rushed."
Wide-eyed, the students listened and
tried to improve their moves with each new drill.
Eddy Krayz, 16, of Brooklyn first came
to the training center in June and has been in a show. He depends on his mother and brother to drive him to West Paterson
twice a week for the five- to six-hour training sessions.
"It's something that I want
to do when I grow up," Krayz said.
Though he hasn't fully developed his stage character,
Krayz has purchased a pair of silver tights with a navy blue stripe down the side for performances.
"This place, they're all about wrestling," Krayz said. "They know what to do to help you get where
you want to be."
Three months is the time it takes for new students like Krayz to learn
their first routine, Knight said. If students practice faithfully, they can graduate from the program in as little as 10 months.
Once they earn their graduation certificate, members can still practice at the center to maintain and enhance their moves
and their ring personas.
"Dangerous" Dan McGuire, a West Paterson native, graduated
two years ago from the training center's program and still comes four day a week to lift weights, watch training videos and
practice routines. The 17-year-old senior at Passaic Valley High School said that his parents didn't care for his love of
wrestling, so he works two jobs to pay the monthly fee to participate in the program.
just want to focus on having fun, getting better, as much as you can," McGuire said.
© 2004 North Jersey Media Group Inc.
Meet & Greet: Wrestlers meet Middletown Cub Scouts
Published in the Asbury Park Press 5/05/04
THE JERSEY SHORE'S LARGEST
By MICHELLE GLADDEN, STAFF WRITER
Webelos Scout leader Patricia Gunther placed her index and middle
fingers in the air to signal stillness from Scouts. She welcomed the 50-plus crowd of children and parents who came to ask
questions of, get autographs from, and get pictures with the members of the Independent Wrestling Federation. As part of its
Community Outreach Program, the IWF of West Paterson met Cub Scout Pack 209 at Middletown Firehouse on April 23.
Following The Pledge of Allegiance, IWF co-owner Kevin Knight asked, "How's everybody doing?"
answered the group in a muttered effort, seemingly taken back by his 6-foot, 4-inch, 240-pound stature.
everybody doing?" Knight asked again, much louder.
"Good!" the children screamed.
you ready to have fun?" he asked.
"Yes," they answered, back to their muttered tone.
this the Girl Scouts?" Knight shouted.
"No!" the children screamed.
the five other attending wrestlers, Knight instructed the troop to give latecomer Travis Blake of Point Pleasant a loud boo
when he arrived.
Splitting off into three sections the Tigers, Bobcats, Bears and Webelos (dens within the troop
or pack) scattered to the designated stations ready to fire away their questions and comments at the unsuspecting wrestlers.
"I want to wrestle with them," said Webelos member 10-year-old Christopher Gunther. "I'd probably win."
The wrestlers included "A.J. Sparxx," co-owner of the IWF, "Biggie Biggs," the organizations only
Triple Crown Winner, having held the IWF Heavyweight, American and Tag Team titles. "Fred Sampson," known for his
unique bone-crusher power-slam technique, the 'ornery and reckless' "Shane O'Brien" and current IWF Heavyweight
While some of the cub members were new to the sport, most were ardent fans.
"I saw Shane wrestle in Hazlet," said Sean Smith, a 9-year-old friend of cub member Nicholas Alaia.
like the action of wrestling," added 7-year-old Carlos Zamor.
Ashley Belke, 13-year-old event crasher whose
brother Billy is a member of the Webelos den, proudly admitted, "I'm getting pictures autographed pictures for my friend's
confirmation party tonight."
And the shy but quite serious Kyle Gomez made the rounds with his Disney autograph
book in hand. After obtaining an autographed photo from each wrestler, the 10-year-old asked each to then sign his book using
his Disney pen.
"I watch a lot of wrestling," he confessed.
Soon the room filled with the
slow elevation of "boos" as Travis Blake entered and walked through the crowd. Christopher Gunther later confessed,
"We were just kidding; we were booing you because you were late."
"I figured," Blake answered.
Even den leader Carlos Rivera of Middletown was excited to be there.
"I've been a fan of wrestling
since I was a kid," he said. "I even did it as a hobby for six months as a teenager in Hoboken. "It's fun for
the boys, and they get to learn social skills through a different atmosphere," he added.
Ascone has been involved
with the Scouts for seven years and says that the children need to get recognition not only from their parents but also from
other adults within the community.
Meanwhile, the IWF continues their busy schedule of tournaments, workshops,
charity shows and events.