The Show Must Go On
An MWR Special Report
by Joshua Ray
“The Show Must Go On” is a special report by MWR covering the corruption of a promoter and his wrestling organization, while describing the fight of those trying to overcome the negatives to put together a great show.
On July 12, 2008, nearly 200 wrestling fans attended what appears to be the last pro wrestling event under the International Wrestling Conference/The New Foundation (IWC/TNF)banner in Chillicothe, MO. Those fans were not aware of the problems faced by the individuals bringing them pro wrestling. All they knew was that there was supposed to be a good show. They were not disappointed.
The IWC/TNF problems stemmed from the owner of the company, Steve Scott. Missouri Wrestling Revival’s Brian “Flair” Kelley interviewed him in the March 5, 2008 edition of his “Your Trip to Space Mountain” column. In the article, Steve Scott (whose legal name is Steven Schonfeldt) made bold claims for IWC, including ODB and Sandman performances, globalization of the company, and nearly thirty events for 2008. Schonfeldt and IWC seemed too good to be true and -after three shows- proved to be just that.
Legal problems brought ICW/TNF to a close. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon sued Schonfeldt for fraud unrelated to pro wrestling. A July 1, 2008 press release from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office stated that a permanent injunction, full restitution for consumers, and civil penalties were being sought against Schonfeldt and Complete Custom Home Concepts (CCHC), which was owned by Schonfeldt. According to the release, Schonfeldt had operated the business in the Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit areas of Missouri since at least 2006, and scammed thousands of dollars from customers.
One particular couple lost $5,950. Schonfeldt would personally meet with customers and negotiate contracts, then ignore any further inquiries about the work after receiving the money. At one point, he gave one customer a refund check but cancelled it before it could be cashed.
As a result of both Schonfeldt’s arrest and the disappearance of a large portion of sponsorship money, the Chillicothe show was in jeopardy of never getting off the ground. Wrestlers had not been booked, others had been promised money and a lot of people had been left out to dry. Approximately 17 days before the show, some of those scheduled to appear caught wind of the troubles. Rather than letting it shut the show down, they decided that the show must go on.
Stepping Up To The Plate
There were no rumblings about how to get the ball rolling. Those involved took control of the situation and did what needed to be done to get the show off the ground. The sponsor, Big Dog Beverages, was the first to figure out that the show was in trouble. A call immediately went out to pro wrestler and Chillicothe native, Iceman.
“We put the show together in two weeks,” said Iceman.
While most shows take much longer to properly plan and put together, a few individuals stepped up to the plate to salvage a seemingly ill-fated show.
No Finger Pointing
The simple route would be to point fingers at Schonfeldt. After a background investigation, it was found that Schonfeldt had been in and out of trouble with the law since 1992 when he was 20 years old. Charges ranged from landlord complaints, traffic violations and writing bad checks to breach of contract, fraud, felony stealing and adult stalking charges (his only charge of adult stalking was dismissed). He has spent time in jail on more than one occassion as well.
Since 1992, Schonfeldt has had court judgments in excess of $12,000 and had over $20,000 in bonds for the State of Missouri. It is the type of pro wrestling stereotype that contributes to the current independent wrestling situation. It is enough to make some involved with the Chillicothe show angry but, despite Schonfeldt’s past, others find it hard to condemn him. One anonymous wrestler from the show summed this forgiving view up the best.
“Mr. Scott (Shonfeldt) shouldn’t be crucified here, as in this business, how many good promoters are above board?” said the source. He went on to add, “Certainly (Paul) Heyman was a criminal, and Mr. (Vince) McMahon has had his share of legal troubles.”
Others were not as forgiving. Stories of wrestlers being shorted money or written bad checks started popping up on MWR’s radar as early as April of this year. Another wrestler, under condition of anonymity, who worked in the ring and behind the scenes with Schonfeldt was understandably upset.
“The story is that Steve is a piece of (explitive) con artist,” he said.
Others not directly involved with Schonfeldt or IWC/TNF have expressed concerns about the conduct of the organization since early this year. Reports surfaced about wrestling promotions in Kansas having venues canceled without them knowing by individuals claiming to be the promoter. Accusations flew at Schonfeldt and IWC/TNF about these reports, although MWR can not confirm the validity of those claims.
Joseph McDonald, promoter of the National Wrestling Alliance’s Central States Wrestling (CSW) in the Kansas City area, commented on the current situation due to Shonfeldt:
“He’s made it difficult to draw a decent crowd or book venues due to his conduct,” McDonald said.
Wrestlers also made public statements about IWC’s legal contracts and about other underhanded Schonfeldt practices. Some claimed that Schonfeldt and IWC attempted to scam the wrestlers by signing them to “exclusive” contracts. In these contracts, the wrestler would only be allowed to perform for IWC and IWC-approved events and promotions. MWR has obtained a copy of the contract from an anonymous source, and can attest to the “exclusive” part of the contract. It is important to note that the MWR copy of the contract was nearly ten pages long.
Information also leaked out that some wrestlers for IWC cards were not paid. Many cried foul.
One wrestler, under condition of anonymity, stated, “Steve not once came through with things he was supposed to for me. I mean, I got paid but I don’t think anyone ever got paid what they were supposed to.”
The Show Must Go On
Regardless of feelings for or against Shonfeldt, though, people came together to salvage the show. Much of the credit goes to Bob, the man behind Big Dog Beverages. Each person who contributed to the Chillicothe show and this article stated that he was the sponsor, and responsible for all of the cash flow for the event. He paid the staff, wrestlers, and even fulfilled an obligation to pay a band that was booked by Shonfeldt to play at the event, even though they didn’t have the equipment to perform.
Iceman was credited with much of the show’s success, as well.
One wrestler reported, “If it weren’t for the Iceman, this show would not have happened.”
The 10-year pro wrestling veteran took it upon himself to spend many nights coordinating advertisements and spreading the word by mouth and flyers. When all was said and done, between 150 and 200 fans reportedly made it out to catch the show. According to Iceman, at least ninety-five percent of those in attendance paid, with the remaining five percent coming from complimentary tickets.
Iceman said he also helped with booking the matches for the night, although he was quick to point out that at least eighty percent of the booking was done by Western Kansas’ Bad Boys of Wrestling promoter Dan Adams. Between Adams, Iceman, and Big Dog Beverages, the Chillicothe show turned into a success story.
Pro wrestling has been given a bad reputation for years, mainly due to individuals like Steve Schonfeldt being allowed to operate without any real fear of loss. Wrestlers and staff deserve to get paid, whether the promoter makes money or not. If the promoter does not feel he or she can turn a profit without underhanded tactics, that promoter shouldn’t get involved in wrestling.
I do not know all of the facts about this story, but my investigation painted a fairly clear picture. A man with a long list of legal problems for scamming people out of money was allowed to get involved in pro wrestling. People worked with and for him, knowing (or at least suspecting) that he wasn’t completely on the level. There has to be a point somewhere along the way where people realize that by encouraging people like this, it only hurts wrestling as a whole. Yes, a young wrestler can get valuable experience, but at what cost? Aren’t there other, better ways?
What about Big Dog Beverages? By all accounts, this business embraced pro wrestling as a part of the business strategy. If the tour was successful, it could have opened many doors for wrestlers and promoters in the Midwest. Instead, it could possibly have achieved the opposite.
Fortunately, there are still reputable people involved in this business. People who try to do the right thing, not just for money’s sake but because it’s the right thing to do, deserve recognition:
Big Dog Beverages fulfilled obligations to bring pro wrestling to Chillicothe by paying the workers, not to mention a band that didn’t even play at the event.
Iceman worked diligently to sell tickets for the show. He also helped find young, willing talent that could put together some quality matches for the wrestling fans.
Dan Adams of Bad Boys of Wrestling added valuable leadership and booking experience, contributing greatly to the success of the show and the fans’ enjoyment.
Harley Race and World League Wrestling (WLW) provided four solid workers for the event when it did not benefit WLW to do so. They did it because it was the right thing to do and they knew that the talent would be properly taken care of.
The wrestlers, most with less than a week’s notice, came out and did their best to put together an entertaining show.
The damage has been done, but these individuals deserve a pat on the back for salvaging a bad situation and turning it into a positive. There is word of another show from some of these individuals in the near future. Without as many obstacles, it’ll be great to see what they can do!
Here is the final results of the show from Chillicothe, MO on July 12, 2008:
Brian Blade, Kyle King, and Danimal start the show off by running down Chillicothe, MO. They also run down Total Nonstop Action (TNA) and ODB, who is the special guest for the show. The idea is that nobody cares about TNA because TNA doesn’t have the three of them, so nobody cares about ODB, either.
Vash Hartley defeated Austin Storm in a great opening bout.
Anguish defeated Pyro.
Kyle King defeated Mike Sydal. Sydal was very well received by the crowd. King, however? Not so much…
At intermission, ODB came out to hype TNA’s Victory Road Pay-Per-View. She was interrupted by Brian Blade, Kyle King, and Danimal. They cornered ODB, who was saved by Iceman!
Iceman grabbed the microphone, challenging Brian Blade.
Kraig Keesaman & Steve Anthony defeated Brian Breaker & Dinn T Moore. Steve Anthony was injured in the match, and is currently recovering.
The Iceman (with Peaches) defeated Brian Blade (with Danimal & Kyle King) by disqualification. Blade was originally declared the winner after getting away with a chairshot. ODB came to ringside and showed the referee the dent in the chair, prompting him to reverse the decision.
Kyle King should be really sore after being put through an especially difficult-to-break table by Iceman.