Jamie Sawyers is sitting in the UTA television studio, he is dressed in a dress shirt without a tie. He's fidgeting nervously with his clip on mic. Sitting across from him is Ron Hall, the Southern Rebel is wearing glasses, his black UTA Shop T Shirt and a less than amused look on his face. The cord from Ron's clip on mic is barely noticeable.
Jamie: Ron, first I'd like to thank you for taking the time out to talk with me today. I know it's been a long week for you both personally and professionally. The first question is how are you doing? We all saw that hellacious Fury Bomb you took from Mr. Wingate on Late Night about a week ago. The replay of Ron getting planted through the desk by James is shown.
Jamie: The question on everyone's mind is will you be at Ring King on August 23rd?
Ron: Smiles as he looks at Jamie and as calm and cooly as can be. Wouldn't miss it for the world. I've been waiting years for this.
Jamie seems to be surprised by Ron's answer and eagerness for what could be the last match of his career.
Jamie: We all heard Mr. Wingate's side of the story on Late Night. Would you care to comment?
Ron: as he recollects. We'll start with business. It is true that in 2004 me, Jason Blackfront, Scott Bloodwell, Matt Wingate Sr., and Todd Minshew purchased the UTA from the estate of Eddie Peterson Sr. We each purchased twenty percent of the company so that no one of us would have complete control. We all tried to work in tandem to keep the UTA alive and kicking.
Jamie: James talked about the UTA not having TV because the relationship was with Peterson. You were there, what do you recall?
Ron: as he takes a deep breath and sighs. What he left out was that Peterson was the reason we couldn't get another TV deal. He had screwed over the network so badly that no mainstream network would touch us. We had the product and the brand with the UTA, but the stench of Peterson was so bad that we had to do syndication for a year before we were able to convince Fox Sports to take a chance on us.
Jamie: Did you guys think about folding up the tent at that point? A lot of wrestling promotions can't survive without television.
Ron: rubs his temples, leans his head back, gathers his thoughts and continues with We never thought about it. We knew it would be a struggle, but most of us were up to the challenge.
Jamie: When you say most of us, you mean?
Ron: answering Jamie's question halfway through. Of course I mean Matt Sr.! At the end of 2004, he decided it was too much work and he wanted out, so we introduced him to Greg Manix, or as the fans know him, UTA Hall of Famer "G Man". They made a deal for Greg to acquire his stake. About halfway through 2005, Jason wanted to step away to pursue other interest so we got him in touch with Charles Kapur, aka UTA Hall of Famer Mr. Fantastic who bought his shares. From there on, the five of us, Greg, Scott, Todd, Chuck and me were running the UTA. It was the same agreement as we'd always had, each of us holding twenty percent so no one had too much power.
Jamie: Wingate commented about things not working out long term. Your thoughts?
Ron lets loose with a good laugh and clasp his hands together and starts to rub them together. The smile on his face lets you know that's not what happened.
Ron: Long term? By that he must be forgetting that from 2004 until 2009, we ran the UTA. We did foreign tours, we were running PPV's, selling out house shows and we had a weekly Sunday night TV show on Fox Sports that didn't get bumped, preempted, or messed with in any way from 2005 until 2009. We didn't always live the high life, but no one was holding a fundraiser for us either. We were doing pretty well without them.
Jamie: He spoke about Dream in 2008. What was the connection with the UTA?
Ron: In 2008, Wingate Sr. did purchase DREAM, to help him, we had a talent sharing agreement with him. We let some of our talent work for DREAM on tours and shows as professional courtesy to the Wingate family. We kept the arrangement in place until 2009.
Jamie: How did you end up selling to Wingate in 2009?
Ron: Wingate had won the pissing match in court he was having with Jason over who "owned" what, but to have complete control, he wanted, no needed our brand back. He came to us with an incredible money offer, Chuck was looking to get out and pursue business. Greg wanted to be at home more with his family. Scott wanted to spend more time with his wife and daughter Lyn who was turning ten at that point so they all took it and ran.
Jamie: What about you and Todd?
Ron: Todd sold half his shares to Wingate Sr. and kept ten percent back. He held that and stayed on as a minority partner when Wingate Jr. began running his version of the UTA. When Todd retired earlier this year, he sold his remaining interest back to Wingate.
Jamie: Why didn't they use any of what you had built?
Ron: At this point in 2013, the TV deal we had with Fox was long past expired and the few talents we had left under any contract at all were of little to no consequence for Wingate to take on.
Jamie: What about you? Do you have any interest left in the company?
Ron: smiles coily and looks at Jamie tellingly. I do. I did the same thing Todd did. I sold half of my interest back to his father in 2009 but I've still got ten percent of the UTA in a trust my family has control over. I've been a silent partner in the UTA since Wingate started running his shows.
Jamie who is now puzzled to say the least: But why have a stake and not be involved in it?
Ron: I discovered this thing called life Jamie, I did a pod cast, wrote for some web sites, traveled around and did some appearances for friends I still have in the wrestling business, but this was Wingate's show and I decided to stay out of it and let him run it. A lot of people only learn by doing, so I let him learn by doing.
Jamie: Are you surprised at some of Wingate's questionable behavior?
Ron: Shaking his head as he answers, Nope.
END PART 1
- Kentucky Tarzan