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Andre Baker commits suicide

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MariaS View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16/May/2010 at 20:53
from pwtbs:

Posted on 5/16/110 by Bob Magee

Fred Rubenstein sent me the following late this morning:

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I convey the news of former NWA member (and all around good guy) Andre Baker’s death via suicide. I awoke to a message from our former President Howard Brody telling me of this tragedy.

Baker ran the British NWA-UK Hammerlock promotion; and trained many top UK wrestlers including Doug Williams, Jonny Storm, Jody Fleisch, Alex Shane, Fin Martin, former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Gary Steele, and NXT's Wade Barrett.

Baker was 45 years old.


I don't know who this is but maybe some of you do. 
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badguy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/May/2010 at 07:11
My thoughts and prayers go out to Andre Baker's family and friends.
 
Another big blow to the wrestling world as another young wrestler/promoter has been taken away from us.

RIP Andre Baker.


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Mr Wrestling NO.3 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mr Wrestling NO.3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/May/2010 at 13:23
Agreed, clearly a man who did a lot for the sport RIP.
Lifes what you make it.

I choose to out think people, who are too dumb and pick on the rich.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19/May/2010 at 10:31
British wrestler and promoter Andre Baker passed away over the weekend at age 45 reportedly after committing suicide. Baker founded a promotion called Hammerlock in 1993, which later merged with the NWA as an affiliate, which has helped the careers of several top UK wrestlers including TNA's Doug Williams, WWE's Wade Barrett, former Diva Katie Lea, among many others. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way over the years but should be remembered for helping to regenerate the UK wrestling scene back at a time when business was virtually dead.


(credit: The Wrestling Globe Newsletter)


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Phylth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/May/2010 at 23:11
Taken from thesun.co.uk, wrote by 1 of the best commentators & managers in british wrestling - Dean Ayass

ANDRE 'SLEDGEHAMMER' BAKER - who died at the weekend aged 45 - was the man who gave me my first ever opportunity in the wrestling business.

That's a sentence that one hell of a lot of people can also say.

I first met Andre in the summer holidays of 1993 when I joined Alex Shane to travel to the Hammerlock School of Wrestling in Folkestone for a trial training session.

After five hours of training in the ring, and five subsequent days of being unable to walk properly, I decided that physical wrestling wasn't for me.

However, Andre evidently saw something he liked in me and kept in touch. By the end of 1993, he was putting on trainee shows at the gym and I was his nervous ring announcer.

The school grew into an actual wrestling promotion, in actual wrestling venues, and flourished.

One-off shows became mini tours. Mini tours became events with ex-WWE wrestlers as the star attraction. And everyone on those shows grew as wrestlers, as performers and as people, all under the overseeing eye of Andre.

Back in the early 1990s, the wrestling world was very different to what we know today. There was no internet. There was no free exchanging of information like there is now. And the wrestling business was very much a closed shop.

There weren't hundreds of small promotions running one venue twice a year or scores of training schools looking for students.

But Andre ensured that Hammerlock was the first to really reach out, and people grabbed hold of that opportunity from all over the country.

Andre Baker was a pioneer.

He grabbed British wrestling and dragged it into a new, modern time.

Hammerlock Wrestling gave fans wrestlers they'd never seen before, doing moves that weren't typical of the time. This was a time when a moonsault was virtually unseen in Britain.

During that time, I was a tape trader and Andre saw a few ECW tapes from the mid 1990s.

Inspired by this, he started to incorporate frying pan shots, table spots and chair assisted flip planchas into his matches. It was something that most fans at the time had never seen before.

He was also the first promoter to recognise that bringing in ex-WWE stars could be lucrative. While All Star and Joint Promotions had used up and coming international stars for decades, Andre went to the opposite end of the spectrum and brought in established stars like Adam Bomb, Jim Neidhart and Jake 'The Snake' Roberts for shows.

The American import business has boomed in British wrestling in recent years. Andre Baker started that.

He was also very protective and proud of the business. He insisted that all trainees got themselves some training in shoot wrestling on a mat before they spent a lot of time in the ring itself.

Not only did it make matches look more realistic, but if a fan decided to jump in the ring, he knew that the wrestler could handle himself and not embarrass the business.

When I somehow got talked into agreeing to an angle where I would have a singles match with Jonny Storm, I still had to go through the shoot training first.

And I've got to say that I'd never been fitter in all my life than when I had three months of training with Hammerlock.

He also gave me my first opportunity to book shows, put the matches together, the timings, the running order and so on. And what always sticks in my mind is that he let me make mistakes and then picked me up on them afterwards, because making mistakes is the best way of learning something.

I learned so many little things about the construction of a wrestling show from Andre that I took with me for years afterwards and have passed on to others since then.

Andre's house would often be full of wrestlers, staying with him while we did a mini tour.

After a show, we would have what I used to call "the post mortem", where we would look at what worked, what didn't work, and what needed changing.

If we did one-off shows, Andre would often call me, or I would call him, to discuss things. He made you know that he valued your opinion, and you always knew where you stood with him and what he thought of things.

But what I'll remember most of all is the out of the ring stuff, especially his wicked sense of humour, and I mean wicked in the literal sense.

Andre and I both shared a love of finding humour in the most inappropriate and distasteful things. He was always playing ribs on people, like delaying my good friend Mike White, who was our referee, from getting changed until the last minute and then putting itching powder in his shirt so he spent the first match scratching himself like crazy and then bolting for the dressing room as soon as the bell went to end the match, leaving me, as MC, to fill in for five minutes.

And you daren't fall asleep in Andre's front room before he went up to bed. If you did, you might wake up with a new haircut, a missing eyebrow, shaving foam around your face, or on one occasion, one of the promotion's top babyfaces had a very rude word written on his forehead in permanent marker pen. He spent all day the next day scrubbing it off, and by the time he came out for his match, the writing was gone, but he had a red raw forehead that made him look like he'd been attacked with a Brillo pad.

When any of these things happened, Andre simply had his characteristic wry grin on his face, where one half of his mouth turned up and he raised his eyebrows. I can picture it as I write this and I've got a smile on my face as I think about it.

So what is Andre Baker's legacy, apart from everything I've written above?

Oh yeah, that list of wrestlers who he gave their first opportunity in the wrestling business to. You may have heard of some of them.

International stars like TNA's Doug Williams, New Japan's Prince Devitt, former WWE superstar Katie Lea Burchill, Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch. Not to mention domestic stars like Alex Shane, Johnny Moss, Jon Ryan, Justin Richards, Majik, Conscience, Zack Sabre Jr, Scott Parker and of course the only ever British NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Gary Steele.

So rest in peace Andre. It's so very sad that you left us so early, but your legacy will live on in the work of those who you gave a start to. I, like so many others, went from a rookie to a pro, and from a boy to a man under your guidance.

You won't be forgotten.

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