The camera zooms out. The shaggy one is not alone. Saint, sans beard, skull mask, and belt, is there too. "This guy right here is known as a fire-starter," Saint declares, "a riot-maker, moonstricken with his animal need! A bad seed! The Beast! Brian Brody! And it is not only because he is covered in this fine fur coat! It's because he maims people!"

The camera cuts back to Brody, his disheveled hair covering his furry mug. Brody growls: "I will, I will, I will unleash the beast!"

Saint yanks Brody by his mane, and the pair walk out of the frame.

Three weeks before the Hardcore Holiday mashup, Marquez observes his 20-year-old student Felipe Rodriguez administer "the chop" on a nonwrestling visitor. The move requires a wrestler to slap his opponent's chest with the back of the hand. Rodriguez — a 20-year-old Kendall resident who wrestles under the nom de guerre Ruffio Lionhawk and dons a bird-decorated Mexican wrestler mask over his face — viciously smacks the guest's pecs. "That slap wasn't loud enough," Rodriguez says. "Let's try that again." Rodriguez rears his massive, olive-skinned flesh mitt once again. The visitor exhales. Whap!

The wrestler's victim yelps. Marquez nods approvingly.

Soon, the instructor has Rodriguez and the other trainees run several drills. They practice their leapfrogs, flipping on to their backs from a kneeling position, timing the clothesline without crushing an opponent's sternum, and drop-kicking them across the mat. He also instructs them on how to hold an audience's attention.

Marquez pulls Rodriguez's head toward his body while cocking his own noggin in the direction of an imaginary crowd. The Ecuadorian contorts his face into a scowl. "You want to fixate on your fans," Marquez says. "You want to meet their gaze. Let them know you are putting on a show for them. Let them feel your energy."

Marquez, whose family immigrated to Queens, New York, first felt that energy when he was 4 years old. "I remember my dad taking me to Madison Square Garden to see Bob Macklin versus 'The Russian Bear' Ivan Ko-loff," the pugnacious Ecuadorian recollects. "I've been into wrestling since the 1970s."

But his dad was not happy when Marquez announced he would pursue a wrestling career shortly after his high school graduation in 1991. "He thought I was crazy," Marquez says. "He was dead-set against it." In 1992, when he was 18 years old, Marquez was accepted into ECW House of Hardcore training camp. Three years later, he made his debut under the ring-name El Puerto Riqueño, changing his native identity for career advancement. He challenged for the ECW Television Championship on several occasions but never won the belt.

In 1998, Marquez signed with World Wrestling Federation, a predecessor to WWE, and took on the mantle of Babu, man servant to a wrestling persona known as Tiger Ali Singh, heir to an extravagant fortune from India. A YouTube clip of WWF's Sunday Night Heat shows Marquez wearing a linen kurta, baggy pants, Aladdin slippers, and a red turban, stuffing sardines into his mouth with his bare hands.

Marquez embraced the demeaning role. "One time, Tiger told me I had to bow in front of him," he says. "I did one better. I got on my knees and kissed his feet. I had fun with the character." It was the zenith of Marquez's career. He made three to four grand a week, he claims. "My money was small potatoes to what the big names pulled in," Marquez says. "But it was the most money I ever made in wrestling."

Four months after his debut, WWF released him from his contract, and Marquez returned to ECW, where he stayed until 2003. He left to wrestle for World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, where he won that organization's junior heavyweight championship three times. After working for another Puerto Rican promotions company in 2005 and 2006, Marquez spent a year in Japan before returning to the United States. "I'm pretty much nearing the end of my career," he concedes. "But I don't have any regrets. I'm hoping I can pass on my experience to these younger guys here."

It's about an hour after Marquez's Hardcore Holiday match against Young ended. After weathering a furious onslaught, Marquez had turned the bout in his favor with a series of moves. His drop kick had put Young on his back, but it had inadvertently knocked out the referee, allowing Young and his manager, Scott Hall, to take turns beating the crap out of the little Ecuadorian until the referee snapped out of his daze and disqualified the bullies.

Marquez gazes around the gym's dressing room, surveying his peers. Young and Hall are packing up two boxes with leftover memorabilia and posters they weren't able to sell. The 37-year-old grappler notes that his more muscular foe spent the past four years with WWE. "I never had the privilege of working with a wrestler of his caliber," Marquez says. "It was a pleasure to be out there with him. Too bad this was one my worst matches ever."

Nearby, some of his former and current pupils commiserate over their performances. Among the horde are Brody and Saint, who is sporting a black ten-gallon cowboy hat. For Coastal Championship Wrestling's event, the promoters asked him to play a cowboy gimmick, so for one night, he is Fat Bart. Saint says he has no problem changing characters for a promoter. Being flexible and reliable usually means more gigs, the juggernaut explains. "If I had said no, can you imagine how stupid that would have been?" Saint posits.

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Just watched the video. Can't believe News Times has actually posted it. What a disgrace to a once good newspaper.

IWF Forever
IWF Forever

I see this article mentions Bruno Sassi. The funny thing is that only ONCE in his career was Bruno any good, and that's when he was in the IWF and under the tutelage of Eddie Mansfield. Eddie has the greatest mind and most well respected training program for young wrestlers, and Bruno foolishly turned his back on him several years ago. Eddie is singularly responsible for training and helping a large number of current WWE and TNA superstars break into the business, and Bruno is a total idiot for screwing him. Bruno had a chance with Eddie, but he blew it, and will forever be languishing in the minor, minor leagues.

Anthony DeBlasi
Anthony DeBlasi

Interesting that Pablo Marquez wrestled for ECW until 2003 after he left WWE. Id love to see some of those matches. Theyre probably super rare. Also, this article is so lame that it didn't at least talk about the FL Indy feds that gives these guys work.


are these guys gay?

David Harvey
David Harvey


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