In his career as a backyard wrestler, Anthony “T-Phoenix” DiIorio has faced challenges from cults, masked men, and a scoundrel named Dirt Deville. But shortly after the Phoenix featured his Renegade Wrestling Alliance (“The Renegade Wrestling Alliance Goes Raw,” February 3), the 29-year-old squared off with a villain that made the Iron Sheik look cuddly: the town of Cumberland.
Because the town has nothing better to do than be white and fawn over Rocco Baldelli, it decided to pull a classic wrestling sneak attack on the RWA in an attempt to shut the league down. In a letter sent to DiIorio and the property owner he rents space from, Cumberland Hill Fire Marshal Claude Laflamme (a fantastic name for a heel, by the way) requested the league cease all wrestling activity until fire code violations are corrected.
Fire code violations. In wrestling-speak, Cumberland was victorious by technicality, like when a guy wins as a result of a count out or when “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase used to buy off his op-ponents at the Royal Rumble.
Laflamme wrote that he was under the impression the building was being used for wrestling training purposes only, but after visiting the space, “chairs for an audience, an additional stage, and production equipment for a local cable access television show were found.” Good thing he didn’t find the first aid kit they keep or he might have accused the RWA of running an illegal hospital too.
This wasn’t the first time DiIorio’s league has run into problems with a town that wasn’t too keen on a bunch of guys fumbling around in their pajamas on camera. In 2008, North Providence Councilmen Raymond Douglas and John Zambarano (yes, the same Raymond Douglas and John Zambarano currently facing extortion charges) complained that DiIorio’s wife had misled the City Council when she explained the wrestling ring in her backyard.
At the time, some of the DiIorio’s neighbors complained that the people attending the RWA shows were taking up parking spaces and causing a disturbance. They also questioned whether the RWA was charging for admission, which of course, would have been a nice reason to shake down the league.
But DiIorio says the RWA has never turned a profit. He says his wrestlers, even the ones who drive in from out of state, are expected to help pay rent for the space they wrestle in and the cost of pro-duction. He has never even made back the $2600 initial investment in the ring.
All hope has not been lost, however. Just as every wrestling match has a series of stages, where the baby face (good guy) goes from invincible to nearly-defeated only to come back for a victory in the end (think every Hulk Hogan match ever), the RWA’s saga continues.
DiIorio’s landlord promised to help find the league a new location where the show could continue. Late last week, DiIorio received the good news. The RWA is heading back to a slightly less corrupt North Providence.
“Moving into a new place March 1st,” he writes in an e-mail.
The good guys win again.