Sunday, March 22, 2015

I helped to oust the Nain Rouge from Detroit, let the city and region prosper for another year.

I was among the thousands of Metro Detroit denizens that helped to oust the Nain Rouge from
Detroit on Sunday.
No I didn’t have a physical interaction with the little devil, but myself, a couple of friends and thousands of others banded together, marched down the street and tossed the vile creature out of the city.
SLIDESHOW: Photos from 2015 Marche Du Nain Rouge
That’s part of what makes this region great, fantastic local events that simply couldn’t happen elsewhere. The Nain Rouge is very much a regional folk tale, people outside of Michigan have rarely heard of him.
I’ve lived in Michigan most of my life, and until last March, I’d never heard of him. Over the course of the year I’ve done some research, written a couple of stories about a novel and a comic book released by Josef Bastian about the creature and decided that I just had to take part in the tradition of escorting the creature from the city.
During this year’s parade, a couple that had met at the parade in a previous year got engaged. The surprise engagement was worked into the story telling to help oust the evil spirit from the city and welcome in good tidings for another year.
If you haven’t checked out the parade before, it’s definitely worth the time next year.
What is the Nain Rouge?

The name is French for “red dwarf” or “red gnome.” The myth is thought to have it’s origins in Normandy, but rose to infamy in Detroit before the city was even founded.
The creature is said to be a “harbinger of doom,” and appears to people prior to major disasters in the history of the city.
The legend says the Nain Rouge was a protector of the lands that Fort Pontchartrain du D├ętroit was eventually founded on in 1701. The founder’s, including Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac and 51 others allegedly were rude to creature and forcibly removed it from the confines of the fort. That sleight caused the creature to curse them all, and their descendents.

The creature allegedly attacked Cadillac when it was being removed from the fort, that scene in a slightly altered version is depicted in the graphic novel.
According to “documented sightings” the Nain Rouge is about the size of a child. It has red skin and is almost always wearing red or black boots and has been described as having “blazing” red eyes and rotten teeth.
That is similar to how Bastian and illustrator Patrick McEvoy depict him in the graphic novel.
Sightings in history
Bastian said the character, which had been largely forgotten about until about five years ago, has popped up several times in the last 300 years.
After being tossed out of Detroit in 1701, the creature didn’t appear again until July 30, 1763, the night before the Battle of Bloody Run. During the battle 58 soldiers were killed by Native Americans. The creature was allegedly sighted dancing on the banks of the Detroit River, which ran red with blood for days following the battle.
In 1805 the creature was sighted by several people in the days leading up to the fire that destroyed most of the city.
Gen. William Huff filed a report about a “dwarf attack” just prior to surrendering during the War of 1812.
In 1872 reports in the Detroit Free Press talk of a creature that had “"blood-red eyes, long teeth and rattling hoofs,” that appeared to Jane Dacy, a resident who suddenly became bed-ridden.

There were a handful of other reported sightings happening days or even hours prior to some of the worst events in the city’s history.
In 1967, the day before the famous 12th Street Riot the Nain Rouge is said to have appeared and again in 1976 when a pair of utility workers allegedly saw the creature just before a large ice and snow storm.
Only one reported sighting has happened in the last 20 years, though the creature has remained a source of local folklore.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rhino reflects on 20 years as a professional wrestler

Terry Gerin didn’t set out to become a world famous athlete, at the start he was just a 12-year-old boy that loved to watch professional wrestling.
It was back then that the man who would become known as Rhino, or Rhyno “with a Y” on the professional wrestling circuits, used to walk from his Dearborn Heights home down Van Born Road to the Kmart in Taylor to watch Saturday morning wrestling.
SLIDESHOW: Photos from Rhino's 20th anniversary show
“I would stop in the front of the store to buy a slushie,” he said. “Then I’d walk back to the TV’s and change every channel to wrestling. As a 12-year-old I thought every TV was a rating. So I’d look to make sure no one was looking and switch every TV to wrestling. I understood if they didn’t pull a high enough rating it would be cancelled. I was trying to contribute even back then.”
Flash forward a few years Gerin, now 18-years-old, attended a local wrestling promotion in Taylor put on by Gary Woronchak. That was the night his life changed forever.
It was at that show where he picked up a business card for a wrestling school in Lima, Oh, and another for a school in Canada. Ultimately he’d head to Canada for training.
“If it wasn’t for that show, I wouldn’t have become a wrestler,” Gerin said. “I wouldn’t have picked up the information on the school.”
A few months later He was done with the training school and wrestling on the independent circuit all over the country, including for Woronchak’s promotions.

“He paid like $25 for a show,” Gerin said. “Back then that was really good money for a local show. He paid better than the rest.”
Gerin’s first show was March 10, 1995. He recently celebrated his 20th anniversary in the sport with a show at the Veteran’s of Foreign War post in Westland.
Woronchak, now the Wayne County Commission Chairman, escorted Rhino to the ring as his manager for the night.
Woronchak called Gerin “one of the best” professional wrestlers to come out of the Metro Detroit region, citing his time spent in the Extreme Championship Wrestling, and World Wrestling Entertainment promotions.
Also known as “The Man Beast,” Gerin was the final heavyweight champion and television champion for Extreme Championship Wrestling before it folded. He then spent several years in the World Wrestling Federation (World Wrestling Entertainment as it later became known), winning the hardcore championship three times and the United States championship.
After his time with those organizations, Rhino moved on to Total Nonstop Action and competed for several years before returning to his roots in the independent circuits.

Getting his start
Gerin was an All-City wrestler as named by the Press & Guide Newspaper while competing for Annapolis High School in Dearborn Heights, and spun that into his start in the the professional wrestling world.
“I wrestled all four years in high school,” he said. “I got to districts, but never put forth the effort needed to excel. I didn’t put forth 110 percent. In a way I’m glad that happened, because when I started wrestling professionally I knew not to make the same mistakes.”
He went to wrestling school at the Can-Am training academy in Windsor, Ontario.
His first match as a professional was March 10, 1995 in Canada, but within months he was back in Taylor wrestling for Woronchak.
Later in 1995 Gerin was signed to perform in a World Championship Wrestling pay-per-view event, and ended up in the locker room with Hulk Hogan, his childhood wrestling hero.
“When I first met him I was 19,” he said. “In school I was told not to ask for autographs and stuff, so I just sat and stared at him across the locker room. I couldn’t help it.”
Gerin said he never brought it up to Hogan when they worked together years later.
“He saw me staring at him,” he said. “We ended up becoming friends in the wrestling business. I got to be in the ring with him one-time for TV.”
After the deal with the WCW, which he was paid for but never participated in when his opponent didn’t show up, Gerin returned to the independent circuit to perfect his craft.
He did make two more WCW appearances in 1995 and one on the WWF, all losing efforts. He was brought in as a “jobber” intended to simply be beaten up by the established stars in matches that would air pre-taped on weekend shows for the two promotions.
He wrestled under the name Terry Richards in his early appearances with the WCW and the WWF.
“Three months in I thought to myself, ‘I’m never going to get this,’” he said. “The moves came naturally, but learning to tell the story. I just wasn’t getting it.
“A few months later, I put in the effort and told myself I wasn’t going to (quit),” he said. “Then it clicked.”
Staying in the independent circuit, Gerin wrestled in the Detroit area and also in Canada, where he often performed with friends and future WWE stars “Christian” and “Edge.”

Going overseas and trying out with the WWF
In 1997 Gerin signed on a multiple month deal with a promotion in Germany where they travelled from city to city putting on shows and tournaments.
“They would run a town for 40 to 60 days and do tournaments,” he said. “I was signed for two of those towns.
“I came back in 1997 and got a tryout with the WWF,” he said. “It couldn’t have gone worse.”
The tryout in Cleveland actually went ok, with Gerin being invited to “camp” for an extended tryout. It was at the camp that the wheels fell off for him.
“Christian was at the same camp,” he said. “He got hired and one other guy, the rest of us didn’t.
“It was a little discouraging. In life we all have failures and setbacks. I was already scheduled to go back to Germany, it was a blessing in disguise.”
The timing just wasn't right for him, his storytelling still needed improvement and he was working to clean up some of his moves, which was all evident in the camp tryout, he said.
It was while in Germany that he adopted the name Rhino Richards, and earned his first professional title. Along with “XL Legend,” they teamed to win the Catch Wrestling Association’s Tag Team title.
He stayed with that promotion through January of 1999 when he signed on with the ECW.

ECW and making a name for himself
From early 1999 through 2001 Gerin became a star in the ECW and got national exposure every week on TV.
From the onset of his time in the ECW he became “Rhino,” dropping the Richard moniker and truly becoming the “Manbeast” that made him famous.
“On January 20, 1999 the ECW came to Michigan,” he said.
His start with them almost didn’t happen, with owner Paul Heyman watching Gerin hit one of the worst moves of career.
“Right as he turned to look I hit a terrible closeline,” he said. “My grandmother could have hit a better clothesline.”
That was Heyman’s reaction as well. Gerin was told that Heyman thought he “moved pretty well,” but needed to “tighten up” his clothesline.
After a second workout later in the weekend Heyman offered Gerin a job after the show.
At 23-years-old Gerin was joining the then-third largest professional wrestling circuit in the country.
Within months Gerin was one of the most popular wrestlers in the promotion.
Eventually he was rewarded with the ECW Television Title, and became the only wrestler in the show’s history to unify that with the heavyweight title.
When the promotion shut down in early 2001 Gerin still held both titles, making him the final wrestler to hold either.

Joining the WWF/E and becoming a superstar
Within weeks of the ECW shutting down Gerin was signed to the WWF, which later changed it’s name and became the WWE.
When he debuted with the WWF, the spelling of his name was changed to Rhyno and he was reunited with close friends Edge and Christian whom he had broken into the sport with.
By mid 2001 Rhyno was a worldwide phenomenon with wrestlings top promotion and was rewarded with winning the Hardcore title on three separate occasions that year.
Later in 2001 he also won the United States Championship, but was forced to lose the belt to Kurt Angle in a stunt to get himself “suspended” from the sport to cover for him needing surgery to repair two herniated discs in his neck.
After more than a year out with injury he returned to the sport and his star continued to rise. He was featured heavily in championship matches and on pay-per-view events.
He stayed with the WWE through mid 2005 when he was released from his contract.

TNA Wrestling and a return to the independent circuit
After several months on the independent circuit Gerin signed a deal with Total Nonstop Action wrestling to join their promotion, which was also nationally televised.
He was popular enough with the fans that he served a time as the heavyweight champion for this promotion as well.
“Being the champion is about so much more than having the talent to do the moves,” he said. “To be the champion you have to be the face of the organization. You have to be able to tell the story, get reactions out of the fans and put on a good show.”
He returned to the traditional spelling of Rhino, and continued to entertain the fans, working with some of the biggest names in the wrestling world.
“One of the best things about the TNA deal was that they allowed me to keep doing local shows too,” he said.
During his time with TNA, he also did shows with the Juggalo Championship Wrestling promotion and many others across the country.
In 2011 Rhino competed on the first New Japan Pro Wrestling tour of the U.S.

Return to the WWE
In February of this year, Gerin made a surprise return to the WWE, appearing on the newest TV show WWE NXT, where many of the young up and coming wrestlers are learning the business. The show airs on the WWE’s own network.
“It’s a great deal,’ he said. “I’m not under contract, so I can still do local shows when we’re not filming.”

Reflections on his career
“It’s all about the fans,” he said. “We couldn’t do what we do without them.”
Gerin cites the second proudest moment of his life happening as a result of being in the WWE.
In December 2003 the WWE was invited to perform a show in Baghdad, Iraq for the members of the military
“This is the biggest achievement of my wrestling career,” Gerin said, holding a letter of thanks sent to him by a military general. “It was by far the second greatest experience of my life after the birth of my daughter.
“They would send guys individually over there, but this was the first time we did a show.”
Gerin said it was a volunteer situation to go, but he was still one of the first to sign up.
“It’s an honor to perform for them,” he said. “Going over there and seeing behind the scenes of what they go through, it’s life changing.
“I could win the world title, or main event Wrestlemania, but nothing will compare to meeting the troops.”
After 20 years in the industry, and at nearly 40-years-old Gerin has no plans of hanging up his boots anytime soon.
“I’d like to go at least another 10 years,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to stay healthy and in shape. I don’t want to quit just yet.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Westland VFW to host former WWE wrestler Rhino for charity event

It has been 20 years since Dearborn resident Terry Gerin had his first professional wrestling match. Starting off using the name Terry Richards before becoming more widely known as Rhino, the Dearborn Heights native worked his way through local wrestling promotions on his way to national prominence and the WWE Hardcore Championship.
Rhino is still wrestling and winning all over the country, appearing most recently on television for the WWE’s NXT division.
His 20-year anniversary as a wrestler will be recognized at pro wrestling exhibition to benefit the VFW, to be held Thursday, March 12, at the Sgt. Romanowski VFW hall at 28945 Joy Road, east of Middle Belt Road, Westland. 
Doors will open at 7 p.m. with matches to start at 7:30.  Admission is just $5.
Rhino’s 20th anniversary match will be the main event, with his opponent being Tyson Dux, another seasoned competitor who has also performed in the WWE and with the national Ring of Honor promotion.
Rhino has asked Wayne County Commissioner Gary Woronchak to accompany him at ringside for his milestone match. One of Rhino’s first matches when he was starting his career 20 years ago was for a wrestling promotion that Woronchak ran in Taylor. Ringside manager Truth Martini will accompany Tyson Dux at ringside.
The tag-team co-feature will match the Scarboni Brothers, who are also managed at ringside by Truth Martini, against the team of D.B.A. and Malcolm Monroe III.

Also scheduled to appear is Dearborn resident John McFarlin, known in local wrestling arenas as ringside manager Handsome Johnny Bradford.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Local artist to make film debut in ‘Aladdin 3477’

Tony Miello grew up loving toys. One of his favorites as a kid was the Micronauts Space Lab.
Not much has changed for Miello, a Wyandotte resident who is acting in his first movie, he still gets to play with that toy. Just in a slightly different way.
Miello’s eyes lit up for a second when “Aladdin 3477” director Matt Busch pulled out the futuristic handcuffs that would be used in the scene they were filming.
“That’s the Micronauts Space Dock,” he bellowed at Busch. “I loved that when I was a kid.”
This revelation leads the pair off on a tangent talking about toys, and eventually “Star Wars,” for a few minutes before they get back to work on the movie.
Miello, 46,  has a “significant” role in the film that Busch wrote and is directing. He’s on the top of the call list for the day, and the only actor needed on the set. The crew is filming a scene in which his character, Harshad, appears as a hologram to plead for help and the kindness of his captors.
PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of "Aladdin 3477"
“Make no mistake this is all Matt’s vision,” Miello said, “but he’s great at integrating others ideas if it makes for a better take on a scene.
“He’s been working on this for years, and he really knows what it is he needs out of a scene.”
For Miello, acting is just the latest of many ways for him to express his creative outlet.
“I’ve never done anything like this,” he said. “As chaotic as it is at times, everyone is very disciplined and they are all very professional.”
Miello got involved in the project after becoming friends with Busch on the comic book convention circuit. Both are artists by trade and they often frequent the same shows.
“He said to me, ‘hey I’m writing this movie and you have an ethnic type look, you should read for a part,’” Miello said. “I didn’t think anything of it. But then he sent me an email and we set up an audition. I read for like four parts and got this one.

“I was really quite impressed that he gave me such a role. I started shooting on location out in Silver Lake Dunes, and have been shooting here for awhile.”
Busch said he cast Miello in the film initially because they were friends, but he was given a larger role after proving to be a good actor.
“I promised him a role, but I had backup plans to make it a small one if he couldn’t act,” Busch said, smiling. “He’s done really well with the role so far. Tony’s a pleasure to work with.”
For the background of the movie, you have to travel back more than 20 years. Busch was just starting out as a professional artist, and was working for George Lucas himself on some Star Wars related projects.
That’s when the ideas for the project began to develop, though they were initially going to be turned into a graphic novel, not a movie.
Busch was living in Los Angeles at the time, and eventually started working on multiple film and television projects such as “Con Air,” “The Devil’s Own,” “Hard Rain,” Melrose Place,” “Cosby,” “Murphy Brown,” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” to name a few. The film industry had bitten him, and eventually led to his project moving in that direction.
In the 21 years since he started in California, Busch has only fallen more in love with moving pictures, so when the opportunity arose to make a movie he jumped on it.
“My career has never had me busier,” he said. “I love it.”
The project is a family affair though, as his wife Lin Zy Busch serves several roles on the film too, including acting in a role, doing the costumes and makeup and producing the movie to name a few.
The movie itself is based on the “Arabian Nights” story of “Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp.”
Once the familiar plot is established, however, Busch’s version of the story soars to new

Behind the scenes look at ‘Aladdin 3477’ impresses ManChild

Recently I got a chance to watch a few hours of filming on a local Michigan made film “Aladdin 3477.”
It was the first time I’ve ever been on a professional movie set, and the first time since college that I’ve been on a set at all.
The writer-director Matt Busch, who I’d never met before stopping by the set, was extremely gracious and made the experience a truly one-of-a-kind day.
PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of "Aladdin 3477."
I was invited out to work on a story about one of the actors in the film, Wyandotte resident Tony Miello, who I’ve known through various projects since a few weeks after I started at The News-Herald. He’s making his acting debut in the movie, and has a large sized role in the project.
I arrived at the studio, an unassuming building in Macomb County, and immediately thought I was in the wrong place. There wasn’t anything identifying the building other than the address, and the front door was locked. Before giving up, I wandered around back and gained access to the set.
The small studio only has room for one set at a time, forcing the production to take a couple of years, rather than weeks or months like some other projects.
I was given a tour of the place and quickly introduced to the entire crew.
Then it was time to start. After talking with Busch briefly about what they were doing, Miello came out of the wardrobe area and was ready to start.
While they were setting up the first shot I was able to chat with him, and then the filming began.
I stood and took photos and a few video clips of the production, and was quickly blown away by just how fast paced they moved.
They filmed three or four scenes in about an hour, which went faster than most since Miello was the only actor on the call sheet and they were all green screen scenes.
Because of that, I was treated to see Miello’s acting abilities in a raw form, no one to play off of, and not even any scenery to interact with. Yet I felt like I was in the scene with him at times.
During breaks in filming Busch showed me a quick 60 second teaser trailer that was only shown once at a German Comic Con and isn’t available anywhere else.
Then it was time to leave.

I came away impressed at how quickly they moved, and how good the few scenes and pages I was able to see where.
My only complaint now is that it’s going to be a year or more before I get to see the movie.
I can’t wait.