With publicity surrounding the WrestleCrap concept high right now, it got me thinking about all the Crap I have put up with over the years, and just how funny, looking back, some of it actually was!
RD Reynolds writes some incredibly funny articles regarding the lower points wrestling fans have suffered over the years due to mismanagement and awful booking. As he correctly and insightfully shows, these low points seem to provide nostalgic humour years later. As a Wrestler, I have suffered at the hands of some pretty terrible decisions and booking. I can remember being livid at some of these blunders at the time, but here I’m going to write about some of these blunders. I’m not going to name names, or name promotions. This is all in good fun. If people find these entertaining I might keep them going as a series.
1) The Baby Face / Heel Disaster. (Booking 101)
One that sticks out as insane booking happened some years ago now when yours truly, the fresh faced and clean-shaven grappler that is Scott Future, was booked against an opponent he has a lot of respect for. The problem? – The way the match was booked.
This one was booked by someone that should have known better, but I guess his brain was somewhere else on this evening. Up to this point in time I had been booked by the same promotion as an up and coming star, popular with the crowd, and usually announced as a local boy. No point messing with a proven formula then right?
On this night, for no apparent reason, it was decided by the higher power that Scott Future, a textbook baby face in looks and costume, would turn heel against an opponent that wore biker gloves, a faded t-shirt, tattoos and had a goatee beard. Now, being somewhat of a traditionalist I didn’t think this was going to work. It was an absurd setup when you consider that we had been building a feud in other parts of the country where the opponent was an ex prisoner and I was the underdog rookie. (Yes, both of us were in the same ring gear as for this match, but this time he was going to be cheered and I was to be jeered!)
I knew it was going to be hard going when my scruffy opponent went to the ring first to a chorus of boo’s! Would they ever cheer for him?
The psychology going into the match? Basically, as it was laid out to me, I was to start as the ‘face’ but would be so frustrated by my opponent’s technical skills that I would resort to cheating tactics. I ask you: When was the last time an ex prisoner, who is announced as the former ‘Prison Boxing Champion’ was pushed for his technical wrestling skills?
My frustration, and consequential cheating, in the hopes of the promoter, would lead to a switch in crowd opinion where they would begin to boo me and cheer the biker. I think there’s some reasoning there… but by some I don’t mean a lot. As you can imagine, this was some task. The crowd immediately hated the biker man, and got behind me straight away. I was probably a foot taller than my opponent, and looked like I could have beaten him with one swift right hand.
A good question comes to mind here… what’s the point in changing me to a bad guy, and a bad guy to a good guy? Apparently there wasn’t one, it was all off the cuff stuff with no pay off.
So, bell time came and what actually happened was that during the match the crowd, so bored by the bikers’ technical showing, were crying out for me to do something. When I began to cheat, they saw it as a more exciting alternative to a 5minute leg lock. I wasn’t the dastardly heel, but rather a ray of light breaking up long submission holds. It was predictable really, and that’s what so baffling.
Realising that the crowd were not going to be cheering the biker in this lifetime, I was told to revert back to being a face (as If id been anything else!) mid match, and in doing so got an even bigger positive reaction. The problem now was that the Biker won the match with, yes you guessed it, a technical move. At this point the promoter had envisioned that the crowd would be upset with me for cheating and pleased that the ex prison champion had beaten me cleanly with another drawn out submission hold. (I don’t know why he thought that… do you? does HE?)
This was not the case. Chants of “you could have beaten him Scott” were heard loudly. At no point had the biker done anything towards the crowd that might have endeared himself to them. Ashamed and sticking with the original plan, I was then forced by the powers to pick up the mic and apologise to my now adoring fans for the fact that Id resorted to cheating (read: making the match more exciting in their eyes).
My reason for cheating? I was “nervous!” (I’m cringing whilst remembering having to make that statement)
You read it right: After coming to the ring as the good guy, and then cheating and trying to get over as bad guy, I was then ordered to apologise to the crowd in order to get them back on side and be back to Mr Goodie Goodie. So, were we both meant to be the good guys now? I haven’t the foggiest!
What I should have apologised for was for being part of one of the most illogical stories ever constructed infront of a non-televised audience.
If that sounds confusing, try understanding all that when you’re wrestling in front of 300 people. The moment that took the biscuit was when a well-known US star, who was in the main event on the same show, took me aside and said, “Why were you trying to play the heel? You look like a face!” When the promoter tried to interject, the US star laughed and told him that I was too good looking and that the opponent was a stereotypical bad guy in his looks. You might be able to understand this whole disaster better if the promoter was a young cyber-geek turned promoter-geek, but this guy had many years under his belt. Still you gotta laugh at the notion of getting an ex convict to be peoples hero, whilst the young rookie is boo’d out of the building for cheating. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry!
If you liked that one, let me know on [ScottF@wrestling101.com] and I’ll let you into some more.