In sports you have great major events, the World Series, the Superbowl, The World Cup, and the Olympic Games and so on. In the world of pro wrestling, the most recognizable main event is WrestleMania. Casual and hardcore fans around the world gather to watch the spectacle and watch their favourite stars or in some cases, celebrities rumble in the squared circle.
It is an exciting time for fans this year as WrestleMania marks its 30th Anniversary, and an even more exciting time for US Radio Personality Michael Pearman or better known by his presenter name Mike Knoxxx, whose successful blog talk radio show is celebrating five years of broadcasting. So we go inside the mind of Mike Knoxxx as he shares his secrets to his success and his relationship with God.
One doesn’t simply want to become a journalist as a child. Yes these days children are bright but a journalist won’t be their first choice, so what did Mike dream of being?
“As a child I wanted to be a baseball player. Ya’know, You have child dreams of what you see on TV and, being a black kid growing up in a… you know pretty much in a white world, baseball was still my favourite sport, and the best athlete at the time to me in baseball, you know like Darryl Strawberry (pre-drugs) and guys like that so I thought that I’d actually be a baseball player, up until my senior year in high school I thought I was gonna play baseball, I had no doubt in my mind besides in my senior year around about the time (the film) Jerry Maguire came out, and I began to think oh – I could do something in sports as far as talking and things like that but I didn’t react on it, I was too much in the streets at that point…”
You wouldn’t think that a simple film such as that would actually plant a small seed in the mind of Knoxxx that would grow and manifest into the success he has become now. As babies we don’t remember a lot and it’s not until around our 3rd birthday that our memory cells fully develop. The same holds true for Knoxxx’s career change.
“I don’t where it (the career change) came from, you know what it is, it came to me working for a glass company, and I did a lot of driving around, and all I would hear was Sports Talk Radio, you know what I mean? I’ve always debated; I’ve always had the gift of gab, but listening to these so-called experts, knowing their background they are getting paid millions of dollars a year, like I’m talking about some of the best in the world, people like Jim Rome, who I admire a lot, not slaying their credentials, but mostly Philadelphia sports talk people, I hated how they talked about me as a fan, you as a fan, that you got no intelligence to the product that we’re watching on television and they would make fun of us, so I say well, who are they to do that? So I’m gonna do a show to give to people like myself to have a voice.”
Listeners of Mike Knoxxx’s shows will tell you that it sounds like a hilarious debate in a barbershop and you have a slight fear that the barber will mess up your hair because you all there in so much laughter. This is the unique reason that keeps the interest of listeners. Generally listeners have a short attention span, and in wrestling, the stars usually have gimmicks. So Knoxxx explains how the barbershop gimmick came about and breaks down the initials B.D.S.I.R.“There’s an American sports show, called the ‘Best Damn Talk Show Period’. They had like Rodney Peete was on it, NBA player John Salley, Tom Arnold was one of the hosts, and I actually loved the show, and I said well ‘damn that was the best damn sports show’, so I’m gonna be the Best Damn Show In Radio, so the initials B.D.S.I.R. came from that…” Realizing that the more known sports shows covered wrestling on Monday nights or Tuesdays, Knoxxx took a calculated risk to begin airing his shows on a Saturday evening because he thought that was missing in the market. It could make or break him but with passion and faith he would succeed. “I’ve always had the passion, to just talk and do sports and to me that’s what sports talk is and that’s what wrestling talk is –it’s a bunch of your friends talking like you’re in a barbershop and if anybody’s familiar with ya’know going into an urban barbershop, if anybody has seen Coming To America with Eddie Murphy you will see that the conversation that was going on was in the barbershop, and if you saw the movie ‘Barbershop’ so that’s how my people talk, so I decided to make a show just like that hence the acronym ‘Where Barbershop Meets Talk Radio’ came into play because that’s who we are, we on the radio but it’s a barbershop feel and so it became a career choice, no longer a hobby once people told me I was getting good at it and I look to a way to make my wife proud to do something in my life, you know most people decide ‘I’m gonna be a rapper’, or ‘I’m gonna get into real estate’ or ‘I’m gonna make a barbershop’ but hey – I decided I’m gonna do what I’m good with, and that’s using my mouth, no broke-back…(laughs)”
With that passion and a loving wife, those were the main driving forces for Knoxxx to keep going and work hard. The responses he got from the people made him look to study and get the qualifications he needed to become as great as his idol Jim Rome.
“It’s actually been a long grind, this Saturday will be 5 years since we started, and it just started on Justin.TV just talking to people on Facebook saying hey go do a half time show, I think the (L.A.) Lakers were playing the (Orlando) Magic in the play-offs, and at that point in time, as I was making a career, taking the steps to make my family proud and make my wife proud, my mother proud, I thought that the best idea was either school, or there’s a program out here called the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, is where instead you go to college for 4 years, you go to learn this trade on how to do radio talk and talking to a lot of people I get a lot of different advice on which one to take, both needing to be done than rather putting one before the other, I thought OK, at my age I don’t have time to look at a lower entry job. If I can have a degree, or once I do make it and it gives me more money because they see a degree, then that’s the one I’ll have to take because that’s what my family needs, I can’t I can’t start off at 30, $50,000 a year, I gotta start off with somewhere between 50 and $75,000 a year, so that’s why I chose to get my degree. Now turning it into business just sorta happened because people became fans of the network and it grew to such a big thing at the time, one show wasn’t enough. And as I sit here like I said, coming from the streets, having a family, wanting to provide, who better to lead than me? I always use The Rock’s words ‘Know Your Role and Shut Your Mouth’, if you Know Your Role, you could play it very well. If you Shut Your Mouth, you can listen to people that’s around you and do what you have to do to get by, and you go by that things will happen so turning it into a business it has been a slow grind, it’s been a steady grind, at one point having nine shows on the network to now we have four, because of people having a passion for what I do. People like Smack Talk Centre in the UK, I think they are coming up to their second year, and that’s impressive, just guys who have a passion to do it. So at this point just getting my degree, and doing what I have to do like you see with hip hop artists and actors and actresses, I gotta start sending demo reels to people, I gotta do the necessary steps to get myself out there. If B.D.S.I.R. blows up it’s great but Mike Knoxxx needs to blow up bigger.”
In those five years, Knoxxx has conducted interviews with some of the most high-profile wrestlers in the business such as Bret Hart, Tully Blanchard of the 4 Horsemen, Rikishi and Ahmed Johnson. Some of which were so controversial it found its way into top wrestling media outlets including the Bleacher Report. Knoxxx gives his praises to the most high, puts it down to fate and admits to being positively arrogant… “I like to say that I’m the above the intelligent wrestling fan. So to put that in radio terms – I am above the intelligent radio personality, I am more – I’m not 16 years old, I’m not 25 so I have to do different things. I have become friends with these guys, so finding them through social networking; I became friends so I’ve been highly blessed by God to get those interviews.”
Can anyone just go on radio and present a show? The real answer is not really. There is an art to this. Just as any career path, Michael Pearman had to endure obstacles. It was more trying to find people of equal passion as him to help run the network and not take it as a hobby. Mike takes pride in what he does and keeps striving. “I take this seriously, and like Shawn Michaels I lost my smile for a second there, (referring back to when Shawn controversially relinquished the WWF title in 1997) but I got my smile back, this is not Summerslam, Street Fighter – this is REAL LIFE, so if y’all think five years has been good, by the next five it’s gonna be even greater.”
On subject of the next five years, Pearman is not one who puts out long-term goals. He goes day-to-day, week to week, month to month, year to year, but as a Christian and a firm believer, he puts all his faith in the hands of God. Ideally he wants to be living out in California, and further expand the network. Knoxxx celebrates his five years on the network by recognizing a woman’s worth in announcing the annual Top 25 celebrity women on Saturday March 22 6:30 EST which he calls the Instagram edition because of the craze of ‘selfie’ photos. Knoxxx makes a bold claim: “I will be as big as the pictures I picked off Instagram that gets 157,000 likes just because a girl bent over…! How about that??!!!”
So if this is not is hobby, what is? Some people collect comic books, action figures, rare artifacts, or an addict for sneakers. All wrestling fans have one thing in common: They all wished they could hold a championship belt. But Mike Knoxxx is known as the championship belt king. He is an addict for championship belts. Even wrestlers that are and were in the business wish they had as many belts as Mike Knoxxx. When asked about his ‘obsession ‘ Knoxxx responds like he’s about to jump in the ring preparing to defend his titles… “What do you mean where did it come from??!! Are you not a wrestling fan?!! Were you not a child making cardboard wrestling belts?!!! You grabbed the aluminium foil; once you had a cardboard belt it wasn’t good enough! You put the aluminum foil on there, you won’t believe this but this is a true story – they had gold aluminum foil – I know that doesn’t make sense because aluminum is silver, but it was gold in colour! And that was the next step and as I became an adult I saw people with (championship belts) and I just don’t know how they got em so I thought ‘well they must got some money…”
Jay-Z’s first album was ‘Reasonable Doubt’, which he regards as his ‘baby’. The same holds true for Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Enter the 36 Chambers’, they hold that in regard as their baby… we always remember our first experiences (and in some cases we want to forget them) but Mike Knoxxx’s belt is definitely one to be remembered but a unique one at that… how many people can say their wife brought them a championship belt for Father’s day? Namely – the WWE Undisputed title that was held by the likes of Brock Lesnar, JBL, and the late Eddie Guerrero to name a few.
“My favourite title of all time is the television title from NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) more synonymous with Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Magnum T.A. guys like that, so I’ve always loved belts with colour. I got the Million Dollar Belt, the Intercontinental belt the list goes on and on y’all seen the pictures… I like to collect wrestling belts I know NOBODY that have more belts than me, I know that people do, I’ve just been profiled higher so my love for wrestling belts came from being a wrestling fan…”
They say that the internet killed wrestling, at the same time made it even bigger. While we have things like the WWE Network which initially had its minor bugs at launch, but it has received positive reviews from the fans, at the same time we are in an era where people voice their opinions on the internet, it is clear that wrestling has changed a lot over the years. Mike Knoxxx gives his thoughts on the current state of pro wrestling.
“My state is…. (Pauses) what age are you….??? Are you 6 like my son? He sees wrestling differently, and then some kids I drive on a school bus, that maybe 10-12, think differently from a 15-18 year old, different to the 18-25, and so forth being myself being 39… that’s where wrestling is, wrestling is where you grew up at, how much you can tolerate and much of an adult you can be. How much you can separate, you being what you want, to watching what the package is. I’ve said on my show several times that I am desensitized from wrestling. Wrestling doesn’t disappoint me at all because I’ve seen all the disappointments. All they can do for me is excite me, when they do something That I’m of doing, I’m fortunate enough to have a son that loves it like I did as a child. So it even brings more joy to my heart when I see my little son, as soon as he hears John Cena’s music he runs and get his brawling buddy, you know what I’m saying or not like guys that I want him to like, because he’s not just watching it for me even though he is, I say ‘hey you don’t like this guy? Like Big E Langston?’ I’m like ‘nah you gotta like Big E Langston!’ you know what I’m saying he’s like ‘nah! I like the Big Show!’ things like that so you know wrestling today, people are so angry it’s like; I hate to put it this deeply, wrestling fans is like, the segregation… is like, and that’s how far apart what we call the Internet Wrestling Community Vs what I rename – the ‘Mark universe’… because you got guys like myself who just wanna watch the product, we could care less if this guy gets over or that guy gets over, we might say, ‘hey man that should’ve happened’ but for the most part we’re like ‘well hmmm…whatever..’ You know you got the other guys that live in that ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) world – grew up in that universe obsessed with this guy, it happened to be realistic, when wrestling has always been storyline, if you ever watched wrestling from a child to an adult like most people will have, some become a wrestling fan as a teenager you become a wrestling fan your whole life. So you grow up watching wrestling you realize… what can it do anymore? So for me wrestling is still good. I wouldn’t watch it every week or have a talk show about it, I wouldn’t do reviews about ‘em, you know what I’m saying? I wouldn’t collect belts, wrestling is big as it’s always been but is it what it was? Of course not but I’m also grown now, so It can’t be what it was because it’s years later, you know what I mean wrestling moves through so I say take a chill, erm, they hate us saying this and they know who they are, they hate us saying this: ‘You wouldn’t watch Twilight, because you said, you didn’t like it…’ right I always say to people you saw Twilight, you can tell me if Twilight was bad or not but if you watch a trailer of twilight and say ‘that’s the worst movie ever?’ Then you have no knowledge to have that opinion. People say ‘you cannot knock a person’s opinion’, I can knock your opinion if it’s biased without any kind of knowledge, where’s the knowledge to your opinion. Not just giving me some… ya’know, I don’t like you because you gotta du-rag on your head, that makes no sense – like you don’t even know me but you don’t like me because I gotta du-rag on my head! What if I’m tryna grow waves? What if I gotta head sore? What if I’m Muslim? You don’t know why I’m wearing a du-rag? It’s just on my head, that’s wrestling fans… so I enjoy it through my son and as an adult, I enjoy it! Whereas wrestling, wrestling is always gonna be what it is in my heart… – a male soap opera you know you’re a wrestling fan – how about this: You know you’re a wrestling fan when you’re DVR, and you don’t even watch the matches!!!”
The one quality in Michael Pearman is that he is an optimistic person, to the point where fans may mistake him for a WWE fan boy. He has become someone who can be the voice of reason and can give knowledge, wisdom and understanding to aspiring journalists while he is still a student of the game himself.
“Don’t do what I’ve done, and take time off. In five years, I should have done more, and if you have faith in God you have to know that you have to have faith. My son is six years old and he said, ‘Dad I don’t see God…how do I know he’s there?’ and I said ‘you have to have faith’. You have to know that he’s there you have to talk to God and feel his presence. That’s what you gotta be to me when it comes to your career. It can apply to anything not just radio just have faith, don’t worry about the negatives. If you don’t take the risks, you don’t know nuthin… I take the line from After Earth from Will Smith when he says ‘are you scared? Are you afraid or are you fearful?’ because if you’re afraid that means you’re telling the future, you’re not a fortune teller you don’t know what’s gonna happen, you’re not God you don’t know what’s in the future. So have faith and go all out. Don’t take breaks, and be unique. I say this and it’s the truth, I’m not just saying it, everybody has experiences in some sort of fashion, if you are a leader, I have done so much in five years that’s been ripped off. I know for a fact I was the first person doing promotional ads with other people and having commercials and things like that, that can be played and people have seen it. I was the first one to have a unique theme song not just music ripped off from somebody else. You know what I mean? Be unique, be the next person. And those of you that are tryna be like me, you will not be me because every time you take one step forward, I’ma take three more! So keep that in mind… a pastor came to my church one time and said, ‘you cannot come to my house if you’re not a trail blazer.’ Hence I had a show called Young Trail Blazers once before… I might actually re-hash that show – that was a good show. I’m a walking contradiction – One of the things that bothers me is… I don’t wanna die, and no one come, no one knows anything about me, I haven’t made a mark. Make a mark on this earth, whether it’s in your life, whatever it is, I wanna pass away and give my kids a legacy to live by. My kids have something to tell their kids and so forth and go on. So be somebody, God put you here for a reason. Figure out what that reason is and go for it.”
The BDSIR Network 5th Anniversary Top 25 Celebrity Women guest stars Lexy ‘Twerkout’ Pantera and it airs Saturday March 22, 6:30pm EST, 10.30pm GMT. Download link available on iTunes or stitcher after the show. Click on Lexy (pictured left) to go straight to the link!