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Monday, March 26, 2012

Interview with IZW Play-by-Play Man Big D.A.




“Like most people I grew up a big time wrestling fan.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  I remember the old days when cable companies had the pay-per-view channels that you could tune to and have a scrambled picture but you could pick up the sound.  Many times growing up I would just sit and listen to the shows.  I’d set my tape recorder up so I could record Jim Ross calling old WCW pay-per-views and go back and listen to them over and over.”

Dedication…that word best describes the play-by-play man of IZW, Big D.A.  Most wrestling fans get their weekly TV fix and that’s enough.  For others, they see the action in the squared circle and want to become professional wrestlers themselves.  Still others, see the drama unfold through another lens, like David Alford, (better known to IZW fans as Big D.A.) and want to emulate the man behind the microphone that brings the fans and the wrestlers together… the television announcer or play-by-play man.

While wrestlers like Jermaine Johnson were studying Ric Flair and Chris Jericho, Big D.A. was focusing on the men calling the matches.  “Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon.  The two voices I grew up with as a kid. Jim Ross is the best in the business.  He made every match feel so special.  You understood what he was saying and could understand how important things were.  When I found out that I would be doing live shows I sent him a message asking for advice.  I was amazed when he answered me and I will never forget what he told me.  It was just simple and to the point, but it all clicked.”

Like Ross and Monsoon before him, Big D.A. has his eyes set on commentating for millions of pro wrestling fans.  “My goals are pretty simple.  I want to do everything I can to make IZW the best it can be.  I’ve seen where things were when I started, production, the arena setup, etc., and to see where we are now in unbelievable.  And sometimes I step back and look at what I’ve been able to do and my mind is just blown.  How many people can say then went from sitting in the front row to calling matches on an iPPV or hosting a TV show?  It’s amazing.  And we are just getting started.  The ball is rolling.  The fanbase grows every single week.  Yes, I want to be sitting behind the table broadcasting to millions of people on national TV every week.  But I want to be doing it with my IZW headset on,” D.A. reiterated.

There are very few spots available in any given locker-room and even fewer for those who want to sit behind the announcers’ booth.  Like anything in life and especially pro wrestling, timing is everything.  You never know what the next day will bring and for Big D.A. his wrestling career was one of those things that just organically happened and gradually grew over time.  Big D.A. transformed from a fan in 2008 to one of the centerpieces of the organization in 2012.  “One day I’m driving down the road and I see this building that says Impact Arena here in Lawton.  I was there for the second show when IZW came back to Lawton, and that’s when things really started rolling.  My wife has a photography business and we became a sponsor at the end of 2008.  My first job in wrestling was right here in Lawton with IZW in January 2009, I started doing the ringside photography.  That gave me the chance to meet some of the superstars and start building a relationship with them.  When IZW started to evolve I ended up moving to the video camera guy.  Then one day, I was told they needed a backstage reporter and I jumped at the chance.  The rest as they say is history.  It’s been my home since the first day I walked in the door as a fan.  And I’ve been very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given ever since.”

For fans of IZW, Big D.A. has called the action both inside and outside of the ring for some of the biggest matches and happenings in IZW history and Mid-South wrestling in general.  Asking him to pick his favorite bout is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child, but Big D.A. offered up some of the bigger events to take place during his tenure with Impact Zone Wrestling.  “There have been some memorable feuds in IZW, and beyond that some huge memorable moments.  The main event of our first iPPV, Team Johnny Z vs Team Impact Inc. stands out immediately.  Not only was it the main event for our first iPPV on GFL.tv, but the outcome was something  that nobody saw coming.  [Brent Albright turned on Team Johnny Z and joined Team Impact Inc.] Then there is Aaron Neil and Jermaine Johnson.  What a road those two have been down, and after “March Mayhem” it seems like we might just be getting started.  Looking back on things like Aaron Neil winning the Monsters Bash, and the TLC at “Violent Valentine”, those were two huge moments to be a part of.  And there are so many things that happened before that.  Blk-Out versus Impact Inc., Double D versus Johnny Z, those are moments I really wished I could have called the action for.”

But as anyone in the business will tell you, it’s hard to make it look so easy.  There is a steep learning curve for everyone that steps foot inside a wrestling federation.  You either make the most of your opportunity and run with the football you are given or you take a backseat to someone who will.  Big D.A. has been scoring touchdowns as the IZW play-by-play man ever since he was handed the ball by the IZW brass.

“It really is a tough job.  It is very hard to be creative and entertaining for three straight hours.  And do it once a week.  You have to explain things so fans at home can understand.  And on top of that, it’s live TV.  There are no second chances.  When the show is over you are exhausted, but it’s a different kind.  You’re emotionally drained.  Seeing all that action and reacting to it, I get invested in it just like the fans watching around the world do.  Then there is a whole technical side to the broadcast that most people would never think about.  An example is you are calling a match and in your ear production is telling you after this we are going to cue a video and you take us into it, after that take us to break.  So now I’m thinking two things ahead to where I need to be, but still trying to keep up with the pace that all these great superstars are giving us in the ring.  When I started out I had this giant notebook where I would basically write down talking points.  Things like wins and losses from other events, histories of matches.  But with all this action you don’t have time to look down and read off some stat from three months ago.  You just have to know it off the top of your head.  And I may not agree with him most of the time but I have to thank my broadcast partner Damon Windsor.  He is very talented at what he does and makes my job a lot easier,” Big D.A. said.

Big D.A. and everyone else in IZW are now having their talents seen on a worldwide basis.  Not only is IZW one of  the very few professional wrestling organizations to have pay-per-view, but the fact that IZW shows are  broadcast on Internet pay-per-view (iPPV) means anybody on the planet with an Internet connection can tune in to the weekly free shows and order the monthly iPPVs.
“To be associated with a great company like GFL.tv is pretty awesome.  We are able to take our show to a whole new level thanks to them.  People around the world get the chance to find out how good people like Jermaine Johnson, Aaron Neil, Double D, Rage Logan, Kevin Morgan, Randy Price and Jordan Jacobs are, just to name a few. I could list the entire roster because top to bottom there is so much talent and heart and drive that it’s unbelievable. On the personal side, it’s almost surreal to me when people send me messages saying, ‘Oh I heard the show, you are awesome’.  Deep down I’m still just a fan like everyone else.  But to say I’ve called matches, on pay-per-view mind you, for people like Brent Albright…how many people in the world can say that?  Not many,” Big D.A. continued.

For IZW and Big D.A. the past and present accolades are great, but what really excites the organization is what’s still to come.  “The future of IZW is so bright you might need all of Jermaine Johnson’s shades.  From the talent of all these superstars, to the hard work that the production and support staff puts in, we are helping change the landscape of professional wrestling.  Places like GFL.tv are where the future is.  What other Indy show can you watch around the world every single week on your phone or Ipad?  The list is very few.  We offer something that has been missing from wrestling on TV for a long time, entertainment.  People want a break from the stress of their everyday lives.  They want to be entertained.  And we offer the chance to do that.  One moment you’re gonna laugh and the next you’re gonna be on the edge of your seat because of the action.  It has something for everyone.  And that’s something that has been missing from wrestling shows on TV for a while.  You watch it once and I promise you, you are gonna be hooked and come back for more,” D.A. guaranteed.

Like any good announcer, Big D.A. quickly deflects any praise and compliments and re-focuses the attention on the men and women competing in the IZW ring.

“What an amazing list of superstars we have in IZW.  From the new IZW Tag Team Champs, the Old School Suckas, and their battles with Nemesis.  Those are two of the best tag teams you will find.  Then you have Jordan Jacobs.  Like him or not the kid has so much talent, but he seems to be getting a lot of bad influence from our Commissioner Brandon Bishop.  But I guess you can say it’s working for him because he’s still the Impact Division Champ, even if he had to knock Double D out with the belt to keep it.  And the Heavyweight Champ Aaron Neil, he’s now held that belt an unbelievable 6 times.  Such an athlete, so quick and powerful.  But why would “The Real Deal” want to pull his chair up to Brandon Bishop’s table so to speak.  There are a lot of unanswered questions about his match at “March Mayhem” with Jermaine Johnson.  I just hope we have the chance to get some of those answers pretty soon.  As for Johnny Z, he’s the owner, the founder, and the Natural Born Leader.  He had a vision for IZW and the business mind to be able to put the right pieces in the right places to make it skyrocket.  The bar is raised so high for Indy shows in this region because of what he and IZW have done.  Who knows what will happen when he is healed 100% from his knee surgery and walks back in to the Impact Arena.  With the history between him and Brandon Bishop, things could be very interesting in the future to say the least,” Big D.A. said.

Big D.A. is the consummate professional.  Part of being a great play-by-play man is going unnoticed, delivering seamless commentary to the audience at home watching on TV that blends together smoothly with the action in the ring.  Big D.A. is that good.  He becomes the voice in your head while bringing you informative details and unique tidbits for every wrestler and match and gives each segment greater depth.  The future of IZW is bright on many fronts, one of them being the awesome production value that you get when you watch an IZW event.  Big D.A. is a huge part of that.
   
“Thank you so much to all the fans of IZW.  Without you we wouldn’t be able to do this.  Keep watching, keep coming to the Impact Arena every Saturday night and I promise we will keep giving you the best show around.  And for the new fans out there make sure you check out our YouTube channel IZWOklahoma and our Facebook page.  Go back and watch all our old shows on GFL.tv and see all this great action.  It is my pleasure to be able to entertain you each and every week and I look forward to doing it for a long time,” Big D.A concluded.

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