WWE fans are a passionate bunch. We watch the events, debate the Superstars of the day and argue over the hottest storylines, all while sharing our mutual love of the business.
And we usually have a blast doing it.
One such group of fans are known as The SmackTalk Centre. For these men and women, it’s not just about enjoying the WWE product. Rather, the real focus is on the good times, the camaraderie and working together for a good cause.
The following interview was held by yours truly with Jazz Kumar, leader of The SmackTalk Centre.
Jazz, what is the history of The SmackTalk Cenre? How did this all come about?
“It started in 2009-2010 when it dawned on the WWE fans that the product had entered its PG Era. Fans were used to the outrageous storylines, the brutality of the matches and the scantily clad divas. But that was diminished in favor of more family friendly audiences, and became more 'image conscious' as Linda McMahon entered politics and John Cena became the poster boy of WWE. Long time fans began disliking this new direction, John Cena's character development, and started reminiscing back to the Golden Era and Attitude Era of Wrestling. The group's creator, Jamie Maverick Shields, was one of those fans, and so he decided to make a Facebook group dedicated to those times and his favorite wrestler/sports entertainer of all time, The Rock. This was originally just a fun group, but then it became evident that members were more than just Rock fans and started posting all things WWE. The Smack Talk Centre started in the UK and has now spread worldwide. We decided to hold gatherings at the major pay-per-view events, and so it has brought us to this day. We are a non-profit organization and we will remain that way, as members don’t need money to join us, but time, and that’s to enjoy good discussion, memories, news and reviews from the wrestling world.”
When did your connection to the group first begin?
“I joined the page in early 2010 but my full involvement did not start until last year, just before the WWE Royal Rumble 2012. Many page members organized a gathering to go and watch the event live in the city. I saw the posts on the page and then I took it on myself to invite all members to my bar. The idea of this was so I could get to meet the members in person, share some laughs and jokes over a few drinks. It was definitely a turning point for the SmackTalk Centre, as I never knew that there were so many pro wrestling fans that lived locally and all so good to get on with. This is when I started to become a lot more interactive with the STC and began contributing, eventually becoming an administrator. Many members were introduced to the page through myself and this included legends and superstars of the pro wrestling world. I was beginning to be recognized as I was being friend requested by many people involved in the sport from America and worldwide. This lead me into starting up a sister page for the SmackTalk Centre called PowerBomb Pro Wrestling News. At Powerbomb PWN, I provide all my daily news blogs, breaking news and wrestling related stories. I'm currently in the process of interviewing different wrestlers from the world of pro wrestling. During my time with the SmackTalk Centre, I have took my interest in video editing to producing professional video intros for independent wrestlers and promotions such as Cueball Carmichael, Travis Shirk and Mia Svennson. I have also worked alongside Pride Promotions and Ring Wars Carolina which are both established promotions. The SmackTalk Centre now nears a member count of 5000 and it's a great achievement from 243 members 10 months ago.”
Tell fans about the events that The STC gets involved with.
“Every major pay-per-view—SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble & WrestleMania—The STC come together at a venue to watch it live. Our main location was my bar, which I have now sold so now all PPV events are shown at my uncle’s pub, Billas Bar. We held a charity event at Survivor Series 2012 in aid of Cancer Research and raised money for them as most of us know, or know of, someone who has had to come to terms with losing a loved one from this disease. Our goals are to start attending live WWE, TNA and indy wrestling events here in the UK and possibly worldwide with our respected overseas members. Right now we are looking forward to the big one: Wrestlemania 29.”
What promotions or other pro wrestling outlets have you worked with in the past?
“We are currently involved with Michael Pearman at BDSIR Network, which is a well-established radio station in America. They discuss pro wrestling with passionate and intelligent fans, and we have our own slot which will be aired every week. The BDSIR Network also holds great live interviews with current and former wrestlers, like Tully Blanchard and Shad Gaspard, to name a couple. We are also working with Ring Wars Carolina who are an independent wrestling promotion in North Carolina. With the TNA GutCheck Challenge going on, we are working on trying to get Desiree Snow, aka Mia Svennson, who works in Ring Wars Carolina, her own shot at TNA. I have produced a promotional video for the campaign and we are all giving it a strong push on Facebook and Twitter, too. The owner of Ring Wars Carolina, Eddie Brown, asked for an assist and suggested the ideas which we were more than happy to help with. I'm sure we will work together on many more projects in the coming future. I never had much of a feel for independent wrestling, due to it not being so popular in the UK as it is in other countries, but that has changed thanks to working with established wrestler, trainer and promoter, Cueball Carmichael. I have got to learn a lot just from reading his stories of the near 30 years of experience in the industry. An inspirational motivational monster. I'm currently in-charge of his YouTube channel and all video material for training and promotional purposes. Ring Wars Carolina has got a few big events coming up, which I have produced some promotional video work for also. With plans of visiting America this year, who knows what's in store for us.”
What stars have been associated with the STC, from its beginning to the present?
“Well known people and wrestlers have been part of the STC for a while. Steve Rosen, The Headbangers, Nelson Frazier Jr and his wife Cassandra, Tatanka, Chris Masters, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Boris Zhukov, Tully Blanchard and Leilani Kai are just a few to name.”
What is the ultimate goal of the STC?
“Ok, our long term goal is to be the most elite, best, most informative and interactive pro wrestling movement on Facebook. We are growing daily and we now have somebody working on a fully interactive website for us which should be ready in a couple of months. We are in talks of setting up a weekly training session for people of all ages who want to learn to wrestle in our hometown of Wolverhampton, England. We also have friends which we have made through the STC who are willing to affiliate with us and open up a training branch in the States. And eventually, we want our own Independent Wrestling promotion here in Wolverhampton, England. We are in talks with some wrestlers from America who are willing to fly over and offer their expert advice and help us with the marketing and set up. 2013 is going to be a hard-working busy year for a lot of us.”
For more on The SmackTalk Centre, check out their Facebook page and the links below: