Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Todd Keneley
Your Host: James Walsh
Todd Keneley is the voice of the United Wrestling Network and has been a part of them, off an on, for years and years with a few slight breaks to join Impact Wrestling and Paragon Pro Wrestling. With the UWN about to debut their weekly PPV series, we thought it was the perfect time to welcome him back to our show for the first time in 6 years. And, we get some scoops on the upcoming PPV series PRIMETIME LIVE starting September 15th… TONIGHT!
For more information about the United Wrestling Network including Primetime Live, visit their website www.UnitedWrestlingTV.com.
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- Click here to Check Out our September 2020 Interview with Todd Keneley!
- Click Here to Check Out our December 2014 Interview with Todd Keneley!
- Click Here to Check Out our May 2013 Interview with Todd Keneley!
On the upcoming UWN Prime Time Live PPV Series:
“Prime Time Live is a new concept. It is an hour and a half weekly and 100% live. It is going to be shot out of Thunder Studios in Long Beach, California. It is a huge entertainment studio. They shoot all kinds of movies, TV, and commercials from there and they’re currently creating a really cool space for Prime Time Live. It is going to be a really coll show. We recently went back to production on Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. We did 2 days of tapings and shot 6 episodes. The first of those episodes aired last weekend. You can still find that episode on United’s YouTube page and on FITE. Aron “Shooter” Stevens (Damien Sandow), who you may know as the NWA National Champion, came in and was involved with creative on that show as well and it really showed. A lot of new debuting talent, a lot of talent, a lot of things shot outside of the ring. And now, we’re going to try to take that momentum and put it into Prime Time Live.
On the UWN’s relationship with the NWA:
“Speaking of the NWA, we’re going to try to leverage the relationship that Dave Marquez has, and has had, with the NWA over the years. With William Patrick Corgan (Billy Corgan) bringing back the brand, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood was a big part of the early 10 Pounds of Gold filmed out of Ocean View Pavillion. The first Nick Aldis versus Tim Storm was filmed there which resulted in them doing their own thing with NWA 70 and then Powerrr. But then, the world came to a close for a while. Powerrr had become such a phenomenon. It was a throwback and it had such a great spirit about it. But, a big part of that was the fan base at the George Public Broadcasting studios, the GPB. Without that, I don’t think the NWA wanted to return with that program without fans in attendance. But, this is something that has been brewing for a while to re-ignite that relationship between the United Wrestling Network and the NWA. So, that will be the driving force for Prime Time Live. You’ll see stars from Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, Championship Wrestling from Arizona, the NWA, but really, and Dave Marquez has said this, it is really an open door policy.”
On some of the matches set for the PPV:
“I think it is going to be the first match out of the chute, is Alexander Hammerstone defending the West Coast Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, you might know him as the MLW National Champion, incredible talent! He’s going to be facing EJ Sparks who is a United Wrestling Networks tar, 3 time Arizona State Champion and has wrestled on both our Championship Wrestling from Arizona and Hollywood shows. Hammerstone has wrestled for Championship Wrestling from Hollywood but not for a long time. But, I think that just goes to show that you will see talent you’re not necessarily expecting to come through. Especially if you look at the main event for the 10 Pounds of Gold!”
On the expansion of the UWN, namely Championship Wrestling from Hollywood:
“Yeah, it really has come a long way. We’re now in so many different markets – I think we’re now in 130 different markets and now we’re doing regional versions of the show such as on CW30 in Memphis with Gus and Maria hosting but then the matches are that week’s Championship Wrestling from Hollywood matches that air. So, it almost has a Prime Time Wrestling feel with studio hosts. They do a great job. We have a similar broadcast up in the Northern California Bay Area, another in Amarillo, Texas. Now in Tampa! In the pandemic era, where it forced all promotions to sort of present some form of studio wrestling where there weren’t live crowds, I think our program really held up to even the biggest companies because, you know, Marquez has done studio wrestling for decades and we’ve really dialed in Ocean View Pavillion – I think it really looks great to where Impact Wrestling has shot there, New Japan Pro Wrestling is shooting there now – They shot Lions Gate Collision, they’re shooting Strong out of that venue which was really just pieced together. (laughs) When we first started, it had these Roman Coliseum like columns and these red curtains and we’ve really pieced it together to where there are now TV monitors everywhere and it really looks great. Dave leveraged us against the WWE running out of the Performance Center with no fans, AEW before they really were running out of Daily’s Place – I think they (AEW) have really done a good job with their presentation, and even Impact running out of small venues. It was really hard to decipher which were the big budget shows versus what we were doing. But, I think this (Prime Time Live) is a really big step! 100 live! The NWA involved!”
On the debut PPV’s big main event:
“This is a really interesting match with Nick Aldis defending against Mike Bennett. I think the story going in and the emotion of Mike Bennett’s story. I hate to say the words “under dog” because Mike Bennett has been a great performer for years. But, with what he’s gone through, it almost has that Cinderella Man James Braddock type feel coming to take on the seemingly unbeatable champion. I think what the NWA did bringing back the 10 Pounds of Gold was great getting a good look at each man. I’m really excited to see that match and excited to call it!”
On Prime Time Live appealing to traditional wrestling fans:
“We certainly hope so and believe so. I think NWA Powerrr did a tremendous job presenting a traditional wrestling program. But, Powerrr was a whole lot of character and promo and Prime Time Live is going to have the emphasis on bell to bell.”
On the girls being in action:
“Kamille will be back in the ring on this pay per view against Heather Monroe, the Queen of Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. She was recently on AEW where she faced Shida. That will be interesting. (Dave) Marquez has said this is going to be like an All Star Game, a Calvalcade of Stars. Of course, Dave is like 47 going on 87 using a word like cavalcade! (laughs)”
On his time with Paragon Pro Wrestling from 2015 to 2017:
“I enjoyed it. It was an opportunity that took me away from the United Wrestling Network for a time. But, obviously, i would come and go as I left for a while to do Impact Wrestling and came back to Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and left again to do Paragon. Paragon was a blast. It was shot out of Sam’s Town Live which is the perfect venue for televised wrestling. Impact, Ring of Honor have shot there. And, I got to reunite with a lot of people. D’Lo Brown was working backstage as an agent on that show (Paragon) and he and I were really close during my time working for Impact so it was great working with him again. And, I got to work with Gangrel, David Heath, a veteran who I have so much respect for. Obviously, he (Gangrel) had one of the best entrances in the Attitude Era of WWE. But, I don’t think he ever really got to show what he was capable of in the ring. He’s a little long in the tooth, pun not intended or maybe very much intended, in the fang! (laughs) But, look at him. He’s got his own wrestling school – Gangrel’s Wrestling Asylum in Florida. He’s in the best shape of his life. And (in Paragon), he would give back so much to the talent. We had a lot of great talent. Hammerstone was one of them. Hammerstone would eventually become a Tag Team champion with Alex Chamberlain. Jessy Sorensen… We had a stacked roster of talent!”
On the problems with Paragon:
“Our debut episode wasn’t as strong as the show became after a few weeks. It really gained legs as the show went on but I think a lot of people maybe saw our early episodes and never came back to give it a second chance. But, the fans that discovered it later or maybe stuck with it really found it to be an enjoyable program and I certainly loved calling it.” He continues, “It was an expensive show to produce, flying everyone in. But, it was just one of those things. We tried everything we could to make it work but eventually we got the word, “Hey, that’s going to be it.””
On the play by play team for the UWN Prime Time Live PPV series:
“I will be doing play by play. It will be 100% live, flying without a net. Everything I do, though, I call “Live to Tape” and I call it like it is live. But, live, what you say goes out and I’m excited for that! Initially, I will be joined by Alyssa Marino who was recently with (WWE) NXT. She will be joining me for at least the first couple of weeks – She lives in Florida. But, I think eventually I will be joined by my Championship Wrestling from Hollywood partner Blake “Bulletproof” Troop. Dave Marquez will be doing interviews, Adnan Kureishy will be doing the ring announcing. And then, Joe Galli will be checking in from his home in San Antonio with some interviews and news. While this does not have to be episodic TV, obviously, there are going to be some hooks! “Tune in next week for what is going to be coming up and what talent talent is going to be coming in from the NWA!” I’m sure Joe will be bringing us that.”
On his clear influences from the 80’s wrestling scene:
“I grew up in the 80’s and I’m glad that I did. It was such a golden era – Hogan, Piper, Andre… Larger than life characters. And, on the other side, you had the NWA with Ric Flair, Harley Race, and Ricky Steamboat. You really had the best of both words. I always talk about this but I loved the little spots where you’d have the Royal Rumble, “Lets go to some of the participants!” And then, there’s Earthquake for 15 seconds talking and stomping around, then there’s “The Model” Rick Martel and he’s got the sprayer of Arrogance, and then there’s Mr. Perfect, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan ranting and raving. It was like, everything under the sun! All shapes and sizes! To me, that’s wrestling!”
On how modern wrestling compares to the classic 80’s era:
“There is certainly something to be said about today’s wrestling and incredible athleticism. I think you need to find a good mix and we’re starting to see that again with more big guys. I think, if you look at NWA Powerrr, for instance, they found a good mix. They brought back guys like the Rock & Roll Express who are legends but still went out there and performed. Guys like Trevor Murdoch who is a throwback if there ever was one – Trained by Harley Race. And then, great new talent like Caleb Konley, Ricky Starks when he was there. And, Zicky Dice like when he won the NWA TV title. And, that is the way our Championship Wrestling from Hollywood show is going. That is also the way AEW is going with having Tully Blanchard out there and guys like that bringing in older names and stories into the show. But, for my taste, it has been going in the right direction. I’m having fun watching again!”