Respect a good lesson from Wrestling Reality
"Hotshot" JOHNNY DEVINE - SLAM! Wrestling
|"Wildman" Gary Williams
I have always been an avid Fight Network watcher -- it's my favourite channel. But I've been watching more than usual because of one show: Wrestling Reality.
If you are unfamiliar with Wrestling Reality, it showcases of the lives of a select few indy wrestlers in the Maritimes. Created by Pete Smith, better know as Kingman or Brody Steele, and Rick Doyle, better known on the show as Trash Canyon, it's a behind-the-scenes look at a tour that happened in the spring on the East Coast. At times it may seem a bit contrived ... but then so is the world of pro wrestling.
The last episode struck a pair of nerves for me as they are near and dear to my heart. The episode I speak of centered around respect for the business and the guys you travel with, and the lack of said respect that a lot of the young guys coming up now just do not have as it was never taught to them properly. Now, I am not going to go into a "back in my day" kind of speech here, as if I did I would be dating myself horribly, but I will speak out on the punishments doled out and reactions to those punishments.
For those of you not lucky enough to get the show, three of the young guys on the tour were supposed to be at a certain spot at a certain time to load a van and drive to the next show but were very late and unapologetic almost, for not being on time. In most jobs around the world this kind of behavior is intolerable, but when it's a bunch of hungover, angry wrestlers who you are pissing off, it's downright dangerous.
There was a time these three would have been left behind to find their own way to the next show and if they had not made it been fired ... and maybe worse. But, alas, those days are gone for good now that we teach our children it's okay to be failures and mediocre and instead reward them heavily for just getting by in life. I think back to my time in the army and wonder how it would have been handled had I just decided not to show up for a timing and gave the excuse "no one else woke me up."
As it was these guys were given the wrestler court (more on this later), standard punishment of a mile and a case of beer each, and had to be "young boys" (Japanese term for green or new wrestlers still earning their stripes) for Pete and carry his bags. I personally think this punishment was WAY too light but then again I am a noted asshole.
But this kind of behavior is rampant in the wrestling business now as more and more young guys learn the craft from less and less credible trainers. I know I bring this up a lot, but in truth it is the trainer's responsibility to make sure these guys understand what they are supposed to be doing and what they represent -- the trainer himself. I would be mortified to the point of near homicide if one of my students acted in such a manner. And were I to find out about one of mine acting like that the punishment would be very severe. I am sure guys like Lance Storm and Killer Kowalski, or Dory Funk Jr. or the Dudleys would agree that the student reflects on the teacher.
It's unfortunate that these kinds of things are never going to change back. In fact, they can only get worse as time progresses, but such is the way of life. I hope any young guys who happen to read this who are training, or the trainers training these guys, take note. In major companies the guys who matter, like Johnny Ace, Terry Taylor -- the guys who do the hiring and firing for the big two -- are VERY old school as far as respect goes and it is noted every time a potential hire screws up in any way. This is a very small business as far as word of mouth goes, everyone hears everything. (Believe me!!) So you should always have that in the back of your head. Even when you are out partying your brains out after a show well done.
* * *
While I have to say I have really enjoyed Wrestling Reality
thus far, Lance Storm, well, not so much. In one of his latest columns (www.stormwrestling.com/112707.html
) he gives a little rundown of his thoughts at the end of the piece and is brutally honest: "I saw one episode of this show and was horrified."
On a certain level I agree with him, but knowing a bunch of the guys on the show, and behind-the-camera, I will disagree only on the following: I don't believe they are trying to come off as all-knowing but only stating what they do know. I agree that the average wrestling fan will enjoy the show but hope the workers/wrestlers and young guys watching the show know the difference in what Lance is trying to point out is that there are differing levels of stardom/making it and it is a night and day kind of a difference.
Gary Williams (Gallant) I have known for many years and have wrestled many times and I can say from first-hand knowledge that this is a guy who should have and still can go a lot further. He just needs a break. Timing or choices being what they are, the cards didn't fall for Gary. He is a top hand, with a great attitude, look and ability, and I really hope he gets more from the business, as I know some of what he has put into it. Best of luck bro, if you read this.
* * *
For those of you who don't know what it is, Wrestler Court is kind of a kangaroo court of your peers when you screw up. It is truly a lost treasure here in North America as it's not brought up near enough. But in England and Europe it's still holding strong. Basically an offender is brought up on charges, in this case missing a appointment and pissing everyone off. The ranking wrestler in the crew (most time in) sits as judge and the next two ranking crew act as prosecutor and public defender. Although the defender really has no desire to help the client. The judge then hears the case and decides on a sentence, the usual being running miles in under so many minutes, or cases of beer, but they can range to the obscure and embarrassing depending on the crime. I have seen naked karaoke and streaking as sentences. It really depends on the judge. I hope any companies or workers reading this remember it and start using it at their promotion as it's a great fun motivator but also a way to keep guys in check. As long as its all in "good fun" for the guys watching the sentence.
For those of you with the Fight Network I urge you to check out the show Tuesday nights and judge for yourselves. For those of you without it, well I guess you are S.O.L.
As always comments, concerns, queries or quandaries, questions and booking inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the mean time and in between time, thatís it. Another edition of Devine Intervention.
EDITOR'S NOTE: "Hotshot" Johnny Devine's column will run whenever he delivers on SLAM! Wrestling. Be sure to visit every day to see if he's come through!
For more on Devine's career, see his biography in our Canadian Hall of Fame.