March 11, 2007
A message to those ruining the business
By "Hotshot" JOHNNY DEVINE - SLAM! Wrestling
Recently a good friend of mine by the name of Chi Chi Cruz posted a blog on his MySpace (here) about undercutting and poor business practices being used by young inexperienced "wrestlers" -- and I use the term loosely -- in getting bookings and work on the indys. His rant was justified.
It was also brutal and laced with profanity. But it hit a nerve in the indy wrestling world and has received a lot of press and interest from some websites and internet news sites. There are a lot of opinions and valid points being thrown out there as far as to the whys and wherefores, and who's to blame. But I don't think enough emphasis has been put on what to do about this or how to handle it when it happens to you or someone you know.
There was a time in wrestling where not everyone could be a wrestler. Size mattered. Talent and ability were required. As well as a strong body you needed a strong mind to take the ribbing and abuse you would receive as a rookie.
It is not that way anymore.
Now the world has guys calling themselves wrestlers who can't lock up properly or give a decent headlock take over but paid their money to some douche who also paid some douche a year or two ago to learn how to perform badly. This vicious cycle continues, and houses and crowds dwindle from town to town because these "wrestlers" get in a ring and butcher what used to be an art. With no one to teach these guys how to get heat or work an audience they rely on getting a reaction by trying to kill each other or themselves by dropping each other on their heads or unskillfully flipping off of whatever apparatus is available. Then when they think they are ready for more they head out into the indy market and undercut guys to get on shows or show up and work for free cause "they need to get experience somehow."
These guys in truth cannot be blamed for doing things the wrong way. It falls on the guys who trained them to teach them how to do things properly. But when these "trainers" don't know how to do things properly themselves, how are they supposed to teach others?
A kid from a city I used to work in all the time posted on a message board recently "why aren't these vets offering to help the younger guys?"
I am sorry, what? Since when was it a veteran's responsibility to ensure you are properly educated? Do teachers from schools and colleges come to your house and say "Hey kid, I am here to ensure you get a good education"?
I am dumbfounded by this statement.
But it is an accurate portrayal of today's youth in that they expect to be handed crap on a platter and not have to work for anything.
Now, of course, there are exceptions and they are the ones who stand out in the crowd. They are the ones who succeed and are to be commended. But for every one of the hard workers there are 10 lazy douchebags who will do the minimum required and wonder why they haven't gotten more out of wrestling. Here's a news flash you, pukes, you get out of wrestling what you put into it.
Cheech was justified and valid in a lot of his rant and he deserves mention for making a stand, however small, against what is wrong with wrestling. I wish it were possible to police the business like it was done in the old days, back when the boys handled things when they got out of whack. Now you can't say anything or, God forbid, do anything to try to rectify a serious wrong without risking a lawsuit or charge of some kind.
Perhaps I live too far in the past but I would love to see a resurgence of a wrestling business that made money on the indy level. Back when guys used to make up to $1,000 a week or more going from territory to territory. I know it's not possible, but a guy can dream can't he?
For those of you reading this who are on the other side of this and other rants and promos take a step back and go find a reputable trainer and start over if you love wrestling. You "workers" know who you are, you are the guy that works for free or next to nothing and offers to drive yourself three to 20 hours for next to nothing but the "experience." Look at yourself in the mirror and know that you ARE harming the business you want to be a part of. You are what is wrong.
If your trainer has never been anywhere or done anything, stop for a second and say to yourself, "Do I want to go somewhere or do something in the wrestling business?" If the answer is yes, then find a guy who's been there to train you. You wouldn't learn to be a lawyer from guy who has only sat in courtroom would you? If you answer no, and are happy just doing weekend shows with your buddies for your family and friends, please stop. Quit. Buy a ticket and support the guys who want to do it for real because every time you step into a ring we who want to make a living off this lose another fan or two who could have helped us make it.
Chances are most of you who read this and are the problem will continue to delude yourselves that what you are doing is good and you are not killing the business. But if I can reach a couple of you and start a ball rolling then the effort of writing this is not wasted.
I say it every week, but it means more this week -- support your local indy.
In the mean time and in between time, that's it. Another edition of Devine Intervention.
EDITOR'S NOTE: "Hotshot" Johnny Devine's column will run on Saturdays (or whenever he delivers) on SLAM! Wrestling. Be sure to visit each week!
For more on Devine's career, see his biography in our Canadian Hall of Fame.