Sam Decero holding Tag Team belts with Mike Anthony

Before Shoot Interviews: Sam DeCero (part 2)

Part 1 of this interview ended with Sam DeCero’s career-ending injury due to a mishap during his regular day job as a laborer.  Read on to learn about the next steps that DeCero took to remain a force in the Chicago pro wrestling scene….

DeCero:  So I figured, “How am I going to stay in the business? I can be a manager maybe, a referee maybe, but, naah, I’m smarter than that. I’ll start my own business.” I got out of the hospital, and between my parents, my brothers, my best friends, and my boss at work, I rounded up investors. I got a good amount of money put together, started Windy City Wrestling, and this is our fourth year now.

I started the training school on the South Side in an old barn. In the winter we had to use a torpedo heater just to keep it warm. Air was coming through the wooden walls. There was no siding. Now, we’re in this beautiful 1,500-square-foot cement building, and we’re opening up a second school on the South Side. We’ve had over eighty shows. We’ve done fundraisers for Toys for Tots, Muscular Dystrophy, Maryville City for Youth. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless show we just did at the Amphitheater had 4,000 people there, and it raised a lot of money for them. So we’re getting recognition for doing charity work.

Plus, we have, as far as I’m concerned, the best wrestlers in the business. These guys work their asses off. I mean, seriously, they really train hard. And they’re not like anything else you’ll see on TV. What’s on TV now, as far as I’m concerned, is bullshit. What I brought back into the business is what used to happen years ago at the Amphitheater with the Bruiser and the Crusher. Ours is real. Their’s isn’t. WWF is a circus, carnival crap. You have to see our show to know what I’m talking about. We use chairs and blood. We’re giving people their money’s worth. That’s why we’re attracting so much attention now. Magazines are picking us up, newspapers. We were just on Channel 32.

DeCero shaking hands with Duck
Image Credit:

Our television show has been on the air for three years. It’s a half-hour format. We’re on five markets now. I edit it, produce it, and direct it. I’m even the cameraman on some of the parts. I didn’t go to school for any of this, I just fell into it. When I went into music, I had to learn how to play music. When I went into television, I just picked up a camera and started rolling, with a few pointers on how to focus and color balance and things like that. I picked it up instantly. I just did my first music video. It came out real nice.

We’re trying to give the fans, not only their money’s worth, but a different show.  I’ve just about had it with people saying how phony the business is, because it isn’t. The WWF’s phony. You can see it. They don’t hide it. They say, “Yeah, we’re phony. Come and see us anyway.” But now the people have just about had enough of that. They’re not drawing big crowds anymore. Hulk Hogan’s practically dead. He might be a big movie star now, but the wrestling part of it is over. The NWA’s practically out the door already. They have nothing. They don’t even have a leg to stand on, anymore, really.

I met Mike Gretchner when I was in my first year in the business, and he helped me get around and meet people. He became my number-one investor when I decided to start this business. Now he’s General Manager and my best buddy.

To attend the wrestling school, you have to be eighteen years or older, and you have to pay the tuition fee of $2,500. Then we make them a pro wrestler. And they don’t work until they are good like I want them to be. We have divisions, we have lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. We’re the first promotion to ever do that. So anyone can come in. If you weigh 169, you can be in the lightweight division. If you’re 260 and over, you’re in the heavyweight division. Anywhere between is middleweight.

Sam Decero holding Tag Team belts with Mike Anthony
Image Credit: Mike Anthony, Facebook

If a fundraising organization buys a package from us, we supply the print material, posters, flyers, etc. We get them tickets, so they have tickets to sell, plenty in advance of the show. And then Mike does the booking. He puts the matches together, he contacts the talent and makes sure they are there that night at a certain time. We supply the organization with television advertising on our show, get press releases out, and the rest is usually on them. They have to hustle tickets, make sure the posters get up. And then the night of, we bring the whole show to them. We bring the talent, sound, everything.

Right now we are under the impression from our peers and other promoters in the country that we rank fifth. Fifth in the country. The WWF’s number one, the NWA’s number two, and we’re the fifth. With our goals and what we’re trying to accomplish, I think we’ll be number one at one point in time. The WWF, I think they’re gonna go in a different direction. The NWA, like I said, are on their last legs. Portland is ready to close. So I think we can take over.

Thoughts from 2023:  After promoting shows and training wrestlers (including Ace Steel and Christopher Daniels) for around 20 years, Sam DeCero retired in 2008, and Windy City Wrestling closed down in 2010.  However, Windy City Pro Wrestling seems to be back, with a series of shows planned for the remainder of 2023.  Check it out if you are in the area!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.