“The Boys are back in towwwwn!”
Chances are, if you’re a wrestling fan and you know that phrase, then you’re most certainly a fan of the DEADLOCK Wrestling Podcast. Described as a “professional wrestling lifestyle brand that celebrates wrestling through entertainment and apparel”, DEADLOCK has been going strong since its inception in 2019, with a popular podcast spinning out of it not long after.
Featuring the talents of James Darnell, TonyPizzaGuy, and John Blud, the DEADLOCK Podcast has become one of the most popular podcasts for wrestling fans to enjoy. And now, this passion project takes the next level with its very own wrestling promotion set to make its debut.
This Saturday, DEADLOCK Pro Wrestling becomes a reality with the launch of DPW Fire in Jacksonville, North Carolina, highlighted by the massive tournament to help crown the first-ever DPW Worlds Champion.
I recently spoke to James Darnell about DPW’s impending debut this coming Saturday, the promotion’s origins, and what fans can expect for DPW when it takes off.
How did the DEADLOCK Podcast get its start?
James Darnell: Good question! The DEADLOCK Podcast has grown into something so much more than we had ever imagined when we started it. Of course, the podcast is just one part of DEADLOCK and that is how we viewed it when first starting the brand but it has taken a life of it’s own.
Myself, Tony, & Marcus Stephenson got together in 2019 and we decided to make a “team.” Tony & myself had been solo YouTubers forever but we were super interested in making branded content with a team of people for others who just enjoy wrestling. We had known Marcus forever through our time working with THQ & 2K and it was just a perfect match. We thought at the very least this brand could be a little different than any other one out there just due to how out there the 3 of us were. Adding John Blud to the team at the end of 2019 solidified just how out there this group really was.
Where did the idea for DEADLOCK Pro Wrestling come together and how did go from concept to reality?
JD: When we first started DEADLOCK, the idea to start a promotion was always there. How realistic it was to actually start one might not have always been clear, but it was an obvious dream goal for everyone involved. It was very obvious in 2020 with the growing success of our brand that DEADLOCK Pro-Wrestling was absolutely happening but with COVID, we just wanted to be very careful. With our continued success into 2021 & promotions starting to run shows again, we thought it was time to pull the trigger.
When it comes to putting things together, we have built a rolodex out of friends we have made in the wrestling business over the years & they can’t be thanked enough for helping us start the promotion. I am also training to be a wrestler, so I knew a lot of local guys including my trainer running a promotion in Eastern NC which has proven invaluable to our success starting DPW.
On the podcast side of things, what has been your favorite moment to record with Johnny and Tony?
JD: This is a really hard question! We record SO MUCH STUFF. From the almost 3 hour pod every single week covering at least 3 different wrestling shows to SGH LIVE & Watch This! on our Patreon, it all starts to blend together sometimes. I definitely think the live podcast when we all got together for AEW All Out in 2021 was my personal favorite. I love these dudes like you wouldn’t believe and being able to spend the week with them and record the show live was just the best. I hope we get to do it every year.
What can fans expect when DPW debuts this Saturday with the first DPW Fire taping?
JD: I think they can expect a good time! DPW Fire will be available for free on YouTube in a weekly format leading into our show, DPW You Already Know, on January 8th on PPV. I won’t sit here & puff it up like we are gonna revolutionize the wrestling business or anything; I will say that you can expect some kick-ass wrestling with some amazing wrestlers that will hopefully be easily accessible for as many people as possible.
With the Worlds Championship Eliminator Tournament set to kick off at DPW Fire Vol. 1, who do you think has the best shot of being crowned the first DPW Worlds Champion?
JD: Oooo, there are so many good names in the DPW Worlds Championship Eliminator. Obviously if you want to look at tenure: Andrew Everett, Rosemary, Calvin Tankman & Kevin Ku are the most traveled of everyone in the tournament. I will say this much, do not sleep on the other 4 in this tournament. Bojack is a complete monster, Diego Hill will blow your mind with the stuff he can pull off, Josh Fuller is a sleeper hit, and Donnie Ray is unbelievably smooth. It truly is anyone’s game when it comes right down to it.
What’s one dream match that you and The Boys would like to book for DPW if given the chance?
JD: We have probably 100,000 dream matches we would like to see haha! While we all 3 are known for the certain style of wrestling we enjoy, we usually watch all that stuff together! We are big fans of pretty much everything which opens the door for a lot of matches. I think it would be very cool to have Konosuke Takeshita or Yuki Ueno in DPW and guys like Violento Jack & Toshiyuki Sakuda and even when it comes down to it working together with promotions like SEAdLINNNG & Gatoh Move or maybe even working with a new group like Prominence. We are open to so much and we all are huge fans of so much wrestling that I think the possibilities in DPW are truly endless.
DPW begins its run on Saturday with the first DPW Fire tapings in Jacksonville, NC with a full slate of matches taped, including the Worlds Championship Eliminator Tournament. Next month will see DPW You Already Know take place in Raleigh, NC. Tickets for both events are available on dpwtix.com. Fans can also support DPW and DEADLOCK as a whole on their Patreon.