IWF's Kevin Knight featured in Nutley Sun Newspaper (May
2 edition) at Relay For Life Fashion Show
May 2, 2013
IWF's Kevin Knight featured in Nutley Journal Newspaper (April 18 edition) at Relay For Life Fashion Show
Posted: April 26, 2013
'n' PROUD Event Photos featured in Nutley Sun Newspaper (April 25 edition)
April 25, 2013
'n' PROUD April 13 Event Preview featured in Nutley Sun Newspaper (April 4 edition)
Posted: April 4, 2013
IWF LOUD 'n' PROUD
April 13 Event Preview featured in The Observer Newspaper (Feb 20 edition)
Posted: February 20, 2013
'n' PROUD April 13 Event Preview featured in Belleville-Nutley Patch Newspaper (Feb 18 edition)
Posted: February 18, 2013
IWF Relay For Life Live Event Fundraiser Featured in The Observer
March 14, 2012
IWF Relay For Life Live Event Fundraiser
Featured in Nutley Sun Newspaper
IWF Relay For Life Live Event Fundraiser
Featured in Nutley Journal Newspaper
Nutley kicks off Relay for Life fundraising
Friday January 27, 2012
Nutley holds its annual Relay for Life team kickoff
on Wednesday at the Parks and Recreation Annex, 65 Bloomfield Ave. The relay takes place May 18 and 19 at DeMuro Park. Interim
Mayor Mauro Tucci poses with an Independent Wrestling Federation championship belt belonging to professional
wrestler Kevin Knight of Nutley, second from left. Also pictured, from left, are Christina Rivera, Katie
Segall, Mary Perotta, Jessica Jurhden (front), Katie Lalama, Dominick Pereira and Filomona Cifelli.
Kevin Knight in Nutley Sun Newspaper
(August 4, 2011 edition)
IWF Wrestling School in Nutley Sun Newspaper (October
28, 2010 edition)
IWF Wrestling School in Nutley Sun Newspaper
(October 21, 2010 edition)
in Passaic Valley Today Newspaper (August 5, 2010 edition)IWF in Paterson's Italian
Voice Newspaper (August 5, 2010 edition)
Feature Story on
Kevin Knight and IWF Wrestling School
Photos courtesy Brian C. Reilly
A Perspective on Kevin Knight:
"If you want anything done right, do it yourself."
Monday, 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.
Why are 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.
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
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 of doing.
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 the business.
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,” stated Knight.
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.
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
Not everyone 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 wrestling.
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 Sports Journalism
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 wrestler.
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,”
Independent 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.
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.
tape it up and be a man, baby,” laughs Knight.
With 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.
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.
What 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, first.
"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 me."
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.
ringmaster 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
The 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.,
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 crows. BOOOO!
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 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!'"
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."
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.
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.
William Paterson Alumnus Wrestles With New Career
By: Matthew Sommo, Pioneer Times, Issue date 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.
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.
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.
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!"
Knights career 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
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.
Wrestler Stars in Burger King Commercial
The Observer Newspaper, 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.
Knight auditioned 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.
Here’s 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.
From Emcee to Businessman, Nutleyite Trains Wrestlers for Big Time
Job Leads to Career as Wrestler, Wrestling School Founder for Nutleyite
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.
Knight has 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.
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 Observer Newspaper
Posted: May 18, 2005
(Bloomfield, 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.
While 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.”
With such pro wrestling
personalities as Hulk Hogan, and The Rock segueing into the movies, wrestlers are becoming a “hot commodity” Knight
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,” Knight
Copyright © 2005 [TheObserver.com]. All rights reserved.
Twist and Yell:
Friday, February 18, 2005
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.
IWF 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.
Students can 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,
Copyright 2005 NJ.com. All Rights Reserved.
Hulk wannabes eye 'Smackdown'
Where aspiring wrestlers go to learn
Monday, 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 Centre.
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.
Though 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
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
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.
"You just want to focus on having fun, getting better, as much as you can,"
Copyright © 2004 North Jersey Media Group Inc.
Meet and greet: Wrestlers meet with Middletown Cub Scouts:
Published in the Asbury Park Press 5/05/04
THE JERSEY SHORE'S LARGEST NEWS SOURCE
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.
Kevin Knight & former WWE Diva Dawn Marie
during her first-ever match after training @ IWF Wrestling School (Feb 2001) Courtesy: Star-Ledger