Real Talk 36: History is repeating itself

Remember that time I warned you all about the possibility of Joshua Baroni possibly coming back to the scene? Well, he’s back. This time, with the Royalty Wrestling Alliance.

Joshua Baroni and the Royalty Wrestling Alliance

If you don’t know about Josh Baroni, you should read this article about him from 2017 and this column I wrote earlier this year. Well, you don’t need to read everything. You can skim through it and get a good idea of why so many people think this dude is a shady creep.

Okay, all caught up? No? Well, too bad. We’re moving on.

On November 20th, Steve texted me about a new promotion called “Royalty Wrestling or something.” I asked him where this promotion was going to be running. He told me at the home of OCCW, the De La O Jiu-Jitsu training facility in Stanton, CA. The show is slated to take place in June. Steve also told me they were running Facebook ads to get more likes. I looked up the promotion on social media and came across their Facebook page.

Their “About section featured a poorly written description and listed Dustin Shelton and Thomas Edward Keyes as members. When it comes to the publicly named management figures, Thomas Keyes is a legitimate person and not a catfish persona created by Baroni. As for Dustin, well, I’ll talk about him later in this column.

From the Royalty Wrestling Alliance Facebook page
From the Royalty Wrestling Alliance Facebook page

According to the Page Transparency feature on Facebook, they were originally calling themselves Flex Wrestling Association when the page opened on September 10th, 2019. 9 days later, the page was renamed to Flex Wrestling Alliance. Then on September 24th, they settled on Royalty Wrestling Alliance. Three name changes in the span of two weeks and no shows under their belt. On top of that, their promotional graphics say the show is taking place in “Staton” instead of Stanton. This promotion already seems like a winner.

The Baroni Connection

On November 25th, well known SoCal wrestling fan Ed Alexander made a public post on his Facebook page that implied Royalty Wrestling Alliance was associated with Joshua Baroni. Later in the thread, a fan by the name of Dustin Hardin posted a screenshot of a message sent from Baroni to Hardin where Baroni claimed he and a good friend started up a promotion. He gave a name and date for their debut show: Royalty Wrestling Alliance and June 14th. Over the next two days, the promotion started gaining negative publicity from people in the local wrestling community.

Joshua Baroni of Royalty Wrestling Alliance

When all this was going down, I did some research and found Baroni’s Twitter account, @joshsmooth420. On his account, he’s made a lot of perverted tweets directed to various women from the worlds of wrestling, MMA, entertainment, and porn. I won’t talk about what the nature of these tweets were, but he did ask women such as Miley Cyrus to allow him to perform sexual acts with his tongue on their asses until his tongue went numb. Yeah, the guy actually publicly tweeted shit like that. He must be a charmer with the ladies, right?

To make matters worse, he did this on an account where he was promoting Royalty Wrestling Alliance’s debut event.

Shortly after all this, a Facebook account that went by the name “Jillian Scott” was brought to people’s attention. The account’s handle is “velvet.williams.31.” This page was loaded with content from Royalty Wrestling Alliance. On November 27th at 12:50 AM, the Royalty Wrestling Alliance Facebook page made a post thanking people who were still following them after the recent controversy. 22 minutes later, the account made an incoherent comment on the post that put over the staff, and specifically the booker. When you look at past posts from the account, you’ll notice something interesting.

Account linked to Joshua Baroni of Royalty Wrestling Alliance

That isn’t the only Facebook account that seems to be being operated by Baroni. An account portraying a woman named “Ashley Brooks” has also been sharing Royalty Wrestling Alliance posts on the account. The account also has THE EXACT SAME POSTS that appear on the “Jillian Scott” profile asking people for money and to click cash app links while shilling shows Baroni was connected to. I really wish I could say I was making this up, but I’m not. Much like he did during his SCWA and MavPro days, Joshua Baroni is trying to pretend to be women on Facebook to get money from strangers while hyping a wrestling promotion he’s part of. History is repeating itself before our very eyes.

Account linked to Joshua Baroni of Royalty Wrestling Alliance

It’s almost like there is no effort being made to cover any tracks.

Accounts linked to Joshua Baroni of Royalty Wrestling Alliance

Those poor dogs.

Not only that, but posts on the RWA page are being “Liked” by the SCWA page. As I said before, SCWA is a promotion that Baroni was involved with. It was also run by a guy who was convicted of committing sexual acts with a minor. That’s another can of worms I won’t be opening here though.

Update: The accounts appear to have been deleted.

Now, let’s get back to Dustin Shelton

On Wednesday, November 27th at 12:35 AM, the person who appears to be Dustin Shelton messaged me on Facebook asking about screenshots of Baroni’s comments and actions. Then at 8:57 AM, he messaged me again saying he couldn’t defend the screenshots of Baroni’s actions. When I saw his messages that afternoon, I had no reason to believe this was a real person. Even though I shouldn’t have, I replied to this person.

The person claiming to be Dustin Shelton replied an hour to me later stating they didn’t know why Baroni was making claims he started the promotion. This person also claimed they had not met Baroni in person yet. That’s right. Despite having never met the guy, he trusted him enough to help him launch his promotion’s marketing campaign. Smart business sense, right? Then this person tried calling me while I was busy. After he failed to call and video chat with me, they sent me two videos.

The first video was of a young Caucasian male claiming he was in his basement room in St. Louis and showed his supposed father and brother. He sent a second video of him and who he claimed was his father, stating that his father was the majority owner of RWA. This “Dustin” guy was also pleading with me to “quit associating his promotion with people who catfish people on Facebook.” I had no interest in continuing with this guy and told him I was about to watch AEW. Then he sent me two messages and tried calling me twice before he blocked me. I guess he had no respect for the fact that I wanted to enjoy my leisure time!

What to make of this promotion

Let’s say this Dustin Shelton guy is legit, and that his dad really is the majority owner of this promotion. Why did they entrust their business’ public image with someone they didn’t know? Why weren’t these guys smart enough to at least do a Google search on “Joshua Baroni”+”wrestling” and click on the first link that appears? Are they lazy? Stupid? Did Baroni hire people to pretend to be Dustin Shelton and his dad that are supposedly promoting a show in Orange County while living in St. Louis? No matter how you put it, all of this is suspicious.

When it comes to whether or not RWA will succeed based on its product, I doubt it will. Some recognizable names being advertised for it include Priscilla Kelly, Fred Yehi, Christina Von Eerie, and Dicky Mayer. The rest of the card is made up of performers who work lower-tier SoCal promotions and unknown workers from nearby territories such as NorCal, Arizona, and Las Vegas. On paper, this show looks like it will be lucky to draw 30 people. That’s assuming this show even happens. Even if it does, nobody should support this show at all.

Bottom line though, Joshua Baroni has weaseled his way back into the scene. This guy, who pretended to be a woman to get money years ago while also promoting wrestling events he was associated with, is back. And he’s doing the same shit he did before. When he wasn’t posting under fake profiles on Facebook, he was making disgusting, unwanted sexual advances to various female celebrities. While people say “wrestling is for everybody” and all that shit, Joshua Baroni is a guy who shouldn’t be around the wrestling business at all.

About the Author

SoCal's favorite son. Won 1st Place in my division at the 2013 Gracie Worlds. 2019 East San Fernando Valley Water Champion. Keyboard Warrior.