A few months ago, Larry Csonka invited me onto the 411wrestling podcast to review WrestleKingdom and look ahead to the NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool show. Deep down, a big part of me was excited.
411mania was perhaps the main website that I looked at for my wrestling coverage, back when I was at college, University and beyond. While other sites cycled through reviewers, Larry was a constant, and one 0f many wrestling fans’ “go to” reviewers. Especially in the more recent years, when “mainstream” wrestling was losing interest, Larry would cover everything, to the point where most mornings, the first thing I’d do would be to look at his overnight reviews. Raw, SmackDown, NXT, AEW… you name it, if it was broadcast on TV somewhere, he probably watched it. Even those 205 Live clip shows that seemed to be being created to wind him up. So yeah, I was thrilled to be asked to podcast with him… and to be asked back multiple times (even if the final time was on my wedding anniversary to go over 16 Carat Gold).
It’s no shock that Larry was a huge inspiration, and a major influence on my writing style (along with CRZ, but there’s no way anyone’s typing out promos verbatim these days!), and over recent years, we formed a bond. Invariably over stuff almost nobody else covers: like all those “Road to…” New Japan shows and NXT UK. It’s oh so easy to default to over-the-top cynicism when you you watch and review absurd volumes of wrestling, yet somehow Larry managed to temper that cynicism and yet not veer too far in the opposite direction while maintaining and build credibility. Even if you don’t watch stupid amounts of wrestling, we’d all do well to be more like that.
In the hours since his passing was announced, the number of wrestler, promotions and fans who’ve mourned is a testament to how beloved he was by all of us in this pocket of the Internet, and just how big of a hole his passing leaves behind. Even if wrestling seemed like the number one thing to him, really his top priority was family. As we all had to make adjustments to daily life, Larry managed to juggle home schooling his kids with watching everything from empty arenas (and the remaining stuff that still had crowds). All that on top of the very public health scare he went through last year.
I’m going to miss those Thursday nights watching NXT UK, going back and forth with Larry. I’m going to miss the stupid o’clock weekend morning starts with New Japan shows, greeted by that Walking Dead GIF.
My condolences go out to those who Larry worked with every day on 411, and of course to his wife, children and wider family. Godspeed Larry, for this time.