RUTHLESS PRO WRESTLING Co-Commentator Travis "Stoney Schiavone" Roberts Gives The Goods On Upcoming IWTV Show

Independent Wrestling Television is live-streaming eight Ruthless Pro Wrestling matches next month and in order to learn more about what to expect from the event we spoke exclusively with a co-commentator!

Independent wrestling has managed to make it through the pandemic for multiple years. That's due primarily to deathmatch wrestling and those passionate enough to keep it going.

Some companies keeping the independent sport alive are ICW: No Holds Barred, Flophouse, H20, Ruthless Pro Wrestling, and more. The latter has continued to bring people to live indoor and outdoor shows on IWTV, and we were lucky enough to exclusively chat with one of the co-commentators, Travis Roberts, AKA Stoney Schiavone. Here are a few things he had to say, starting with a very educational and passionate quote as to why wrestling isn't "fake."

Literary Joe: How do you react when people call wrestling "fake"?

Travis Roberts: "I like to educate people on professional wrestling and change the narrative a little about how they're perceiving it to get them to think, 'well, maybe I am kind of approaching this the wrong way.' 

Here's the thing I think wrestling gets caught on. Because it is an athletic sport and because it is athletically based, the second people get hip to the fact that it's predetermined or whatever the case may be for the storylines, the initial reaction that a lot of people get is "oh, it's fake." Still, once you divorce yourself from that and you realize we are just taking athletes who also are good at performing in a way to advance the storyline. We're using them in the capacity to come up with creative stories and angles that you can only really tell in this medium.

I would also counter this - you have to have a certain level of suspension of disbelief to buy into what you're taking in. So I'll akin it to a Marvel movie. Everybody knows that Iron Man doesn't actually exist. There isn't a billionaire out there flying around in a suit fighting crime. But nobody goes to the movie calling it fake.

You watch something like WWE, and you watch a character like Bray Wyatt, who was a supernatural-esque character. Everybody knows that there are not spooky dudes that every time they get into a fight, red lights come down and fill the area they're in, and they wear masks and do supernatural stuff. The second you see that you should know that what you're watching is not based in reality. Once you can get past that fact and divorce yourself from it, you can find ways to enjoy the product without being cynical about it.

You can find performers or different genres. Just like any other entertainment medium, you have different styles within the wrestling medium. You have your high-flying mucho libre style for fans of more athletic style. You have big hoss wrestlers who will pummel the hell out of each other for people who liked The Mountain on Game of Thrones. You have a little bit of something for everybody. You just have to get past that inaugural suspension of your disbelief, which shouldn't take long. Just watch a little bit of the product, and you'll find a reason to suspend your disbelief."

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Literary Joe: What's the difference between indie wrestling like RPW and pro wrestling?

Travis Roberts: I'd say for most general discerning fans, the main differentiator would be TV. Your independent wrestling organizations are generally owned by themselves like it's a solely owned entity, which isn't necessarily true because WWE is no longer a privately owned company; they're publicly owned. At one point when even so, when they were the biggest game in town, they were still a privately owned entity.

Initially, I wanted to say budget. (Laughs) Trust me; I wish we had the budget that some of the bigger household promotions have. But your WWEs, your AEWs, your brands that have been established on TV like Impact Wrestling or Ring of Honor, and your brands that have been established for a while kind of escape that indie moniker. 

And then you have your indie scene. Which is almost a rekindling or a spiritual successor to the old territory days, which is the way wrestling used to be before the cable boom erupted everything into the mainstream into the way that it is. So yeah, budget would be the primary thing.

I also liken it to how football fans see collegiate-level football as professionals. At the collegiate level, you have guys who are essentially trying to get to that next level and playing what someone would argue harder because you want to get drafted and to an NFL team so you can get that big contract.

If you're an independent wrestler and involved in independent wrestling, generally speaking - some people will tell you otherwise - but a good blanket of independent wrestlers will tell you that the idea is to get noticed and begin your step up so that you can make it full time and make it your taxable career. I think that would be the biggest distinction. 

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Literary Joe: Do you think you RPW will ever bring in different types of wrestling?

Travis Roberts: We will literally book any type of wrestling that appeals to us. One of the cool things is we are in the type of position where we try to angle ourselves is that I feel like we can be a platform for more than just deathmatch wrestling in the midwest and in our region. So not only are we showcasing something that would be considered by a lot to be a lot by to be an outlier of professional wrestling or one of the more further extreme parts of deathmatch wrestling, and that is a very heavy emphasis for us, but we focus very heavily on a lot of stars who don't necessarily fit that niche.

Our world champion Justin Kyle, who actually just surpassed one year with the Ruthless Pro World Heavyweight Championship. He does death matches, and he's dabbled into the world, and he's definitely got himself a resume, but in our world in Ruthless Pro Wrestling, he has very seldom dipped his toe into the realm of deathmatch. He's just a straight-up monster of a man that runs through a man like a mack truck.

Some people would argue otherwise and are really into wrestling, the physicality of it all. But personally, I like the story a lot, and I like to see a lot of continuity from a brand. So hopefully, we're hitting that, and you'll see a lot of continuity from our past shows and in our upcoming show. So there will be overlap, but you can check out the past episodes on IWTV and see the story that's led us up to this point that we're getting into."



 

In this episode, we're joined by a wrestling expert, which is a good thing because I know absolutely nothing about the sport. In promotion of next week's upcoming Inked In Blood 2: Dead By Dawn match, Travis Roberts, AKA Stoney Schiavone, steps in to help us understand the differences between indie and pro wrestling.
 

We talked about the scripting process, how many hats everyone wears to get a single match set up on a monthly basis, and that a lot more time is tasked up behind the scenes than on the camera. A commentator for the indie wrestling company Ruthless Pro Wrestling in Northwest Ohio, Travis talks about how he got to where he is and his particular love for the career he has chased for years. Needless to say, I learned a lot.


Ruthless Pro Wrestling's Inked In Blood 2: Dead By Dawn takes place this Saturday, July 2nd, in Maybee, Michigan, while it streams live on IWTV; be sure to check out past Ruthless Pro Wrestling matches on IWTV.

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