Wrestling: Mirade "Hammered"
Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
My "Love It Or Leave It" column sure evoked a lot of reaction. . .my only real complaint was that some found the need to copy and paste it instead of putting up a link. . .not to stroke my ego, but I'm always generally curious as to how many people read what. . .so be kind, link. . .
Someone I think very highly of did not like the column in the least, and may have misread parts of it. If anyone feels I knocked Killer Kowalski, they are mistaken. The quote that began with "Killer Kowalski's wrestling school spawned cheap, piss poor immitations. . ." was not a knock on the man, his school or his training. It was directed at those that sadly followed in his footsteps, in the mindset of "geez, I know how to wrestle, I can have a school, too." I have always thought highly of Mr. Kowalski and his school (which I went into great detail about in the column, as well). . .
After receiving that first piece of feedback, I said to myself "am I really the asshole? Am I wrong?" So I forwarded the column along to those that were around before the business went ka-boom, and I was really happy with the response I got. Each and every person that read it and actually paid their dues to EARN a spot in this great sport thought it was a solid, strong piece of business. I respect those individuals opinions greatly, and as one of wrestlings all time greats said to me "follow your heart."
One response I got said that the good old days aren't coming back, we just have to find a way to make todays independent scene better. Tremendous, valid point. Many have accused me of pointing out how things used to be instead of coming up with a positive solution for 2008. That's a tricky one. Trying to come up with a decent analogy, did you see the Dawn Of The Dead remake a couple of years ago?? I liked it, and like indy wrestling in New England today, there are way more zombies than there are survivors. Could the promoters in this area band together and create some kind of committee to police the business?? In reality, no. How could anyone prevent a Sparta from false advertising The Undertaker, Piper and the Dudley Boys and presenting Halloween costume verisons of them in person?? How would a committee shut down the mentally retarded individual I wrote about in the first column, who is raped out of his money by con men, when all he wants to do is gain the friendship of those involved with something he enjoys a great deal?? The only way it will ever happen is if the government gets involved, and lets face it, they don't give a s**t in the least. Half of the superstars of the 80's and 90's have died in their 40's and they couldn't care about it unless a sexy media subject comes up like the Benoit murder/suicide. The state athletic commissions, sure, they care about it. They love to send down a representative to tax live events that are making next to no money and charge indy wrestlers a fee for a license. If that license actually meant something, I would see it as a positive. But ANYONE that shows up at the building claiming a wrestler can get one. It's like those membership cards they give away to kids at Burger King. You don't have to have any talent, skill or qualificiation to get a license, all you have to do is SHOW UP AND SAY YOU'RE A WRESTLER. The state takes the money with a smile on their face for doing absolutely zero work. Imagine going down to the registry of motor vehicles and saying "I'm a driver, here's the money for my license." No test to pass, just taking their word for it. And now we have, unchallenged and unproven "wrestlers," "trainers," and "promoters." If the government ever really did get involved, like most things the goverment does, they would try to get too involved and no one would be able to afford to run indy events (take a look at the original bill that was going to be passed in Georgia recently that would have killed wrestling in the state). . .
Wrestling fans are the ones that have been hurt the most by this. When they spend their hard earned money on entertainment and in return see advertised superstars not show up and untrained, pathetic wrestlers, they're not going to want to come back again. It is a damn proven fact. Look at what we were drawing in the 1990's. Look at what the average event is drawing in 2008. Need I say more??
Those that don't belong in a wrestling ring or the proverbial "thanks, dad" bookings (friends/family of wrestlers, promoters, etc) that get to become "referees," "ring announcers," "bodyguards," "managers," etc. are only pissing on something that they truly love. While not everyone deserves the honor of being part of the sport itself, there are a ton of other ways to contribute. Ring crew, event set-up, street team, that kind of help is always needed and (should be) appreciated. That's an in to the business where you can still be a part of something you love. No, you don't get to come out like Steve Austin to get a pop in front of 30 people, but you're not embarassing a business that has been whored out to the max, and you get to be a part of a second family. . .
Another sensative subject. . .in those proverbial good old days I love to write about, it felt like being around a second family. There was the usual BS politics and people trying to take your spot, but in the grand scheme of things, there was a sense of loyalty and people that had your back. I don't sense that like I used to. I would go to hell and back for a lot of the guys on the MWF roster. . .that's the way I was broken into the business. . .those are my beliefs. Like Al Snow said when he came to the MWF last year, we're all in this together. . .
It's easy to say stay away from garbage shows run by inadequate promoters who run for self serving purposes. It's easy to say that if these promotions and schools don't have anyone in them, they'll cease to exist. But there will always be a bunch of naive kids who fell in love with the business and want to be a part of it. . .who want a taste of it. I can't fault them, because it's the greatest drug in the world. . .unfortunately, it's too easy to get high off of it. Imagine if every baseball fan in New England showed up to Fenway Park and said "I want to be a major league baseball player" and they were allowed to! My tone might seem harsh, but I believe that the majority of the people currently involved in wrestling or hope to in the future are decent people who want it for the right reasons. I'm not attacking them personally. I love this business, I want great success for every professional and every quality organization in it. . .
What scares me the most is that it will never change. . .that it will never get better. . .and, if anything, it will only get worse. . .