Yup, another year has come round and I have time to review another year as a professional wrestler and see if there is anything that I have learnt along the way, there is a lot that I have done so there is a chance that I may have.
I think the one thing I have noticed is that the longer I am a pro wrestler (yes, I do get paid for you who are reading this to find something to whinge about) the less I have to say, perhaps there is a reason for this, as all the Smart Marks and the noisier wrestlers like to state, Kayfabe is dead.
Sometimes I feel the mindset of a wrestler and a fan are two completely separate entities and rightly so. However, this means that both sides can never fully comprehend what the other thinks.
There have been so many times where I have been personally disappointed about a match, up to even recently where I completely blanked, but strangely, people have commented on how good it was.
How good it was??? It was the biggest pile of crap I had ever produced and I was really upset about it, but somehow it became good.
So perhaps the thing people who think they’re in the know lovingly refer to as Kayfabe isn’t dead.
Let’s face it; the fans didn’t know I had a stinker did they? How many other matches have there been where a muck up becomes a great performance I wonder? The fans will never know what was meant… therefore, no matter how clued up they claim they are, kayfabe will always exist.
I guess another reason for having less to say is the massive amount of politics that is played in wrestling. There is a huge emphasis on respect and experience as well.
With this is mind, I have always tried to get a balanced opinion from talking with wrestlers I have met and see what I conclude from their opinions. I must admit I haven’t really had time to do that of late with the running of a Promotion.
However, until you become a promoter you will not be able to fathom the amount of sheer hard work that goes into making a show.
Politics however distracts from that and I have to say that I have done my utmost to not get myself involved in any politics other than the decisions I make as a promoter.
The biggest problem is that everyone thinks they can be a promoter (which funnily enough, they can) and that their ideas are right, this is the reason why a federation is created every week. The problem is that now it is too easy to start your own promotion, name yourself and put on shows with little or no experience.
I know that for established promoters this is a bugbear that they have no control over; wrestling is at utmost a business so competition is always going to be a part of it.
However, it is how you treat your competition that matters.
There is so much backbiting, bitching and commentary in the backroom because there are people who feel threatened.
This generates an “it’s alright” feeling as we Brits don’t like to give it all away!
I’ve really tried my best this year to be open and honest with whatever I say and actually tell people if I think they are good.
That been said, I think that as a wrestler you will have to be able to take criticism, I’ve seen too many up and comers ignore the advice of people who have been there longer than them, in some social circles that is seen as one of the highest disrespects.
Then again, it is their careers and I reckon that in the end they will learn it for themselves, I can appreciate that people want to help people avoid the pitfalls of wrestling, in fact I had one with the wearing of lycra.
Over the three years, I have slowly become an advocate of wearing Lycra to the ring. This has been modifications to my gimmick, as regular readers will know, I started off my career as Saracen, I wanted to wear regular trousers and a t-shirt to the ring because frankly I was ashamed of my body and I didn’t want the public humiliation of figure hugging material.
As within KSW that wasn’t an option, I went for the baggy pants (yup, fat people’s obsession with baggy clothes confuses even me, but it’s a comfort thing) and a singlet top from M&S. As the pants were made for my exact size, they were perfect for the job and it also covered several gimmicks.
However the shirt kept riding up and I remember watching myself wrestle in a lycra singlet I was lent and thinking just how good I looked. So up until this year I was wrestling in a singlet and baggy pants. However, with the change to my Staxx gimmick and my bad guy attitude, the pants were beginning to become a bit of a chore.
One day I just decided that I couldn’t be arsed to wear the baggy pants anymore and went out in the singlet. Interestingly, I felt much less restricted and everyone said I looked good.
But the Staxx gimmick could go further, furs were added for my entrance prop to make me look more animalistic and today I took stock of my new lycra that’s a little bit more colourful.
People shouldn’t be wrestling in anything but lycra, sorry, but in my experience it looks better and as a few have discovered, safer.
But that isn’t the only way criticism can affect a wrestler, we have t’internet to give people who want to criticise people an anonymous outlet to have a go, this is something to take on the chin because frankly, they are talking about you, which means that you have affected them, affecting people is what you’re supposed to do as a wrestler.
Sometimes your critics have a point.
Ok, the general advice given to me about internet criticism was “ignore it, they pay a ticket and then criticise, then you listen”, however, when I met Blue Meanie, he described similar stuff at the American pro circuit too, people who know a little too much love to spend their time ripping into you.
Sometimes your critics are wrestlers who bear a grudge.
So perhaps just getting on with it is the way, or perhaps when you find out the person has a face, you confront them person to person and usually the glib comments vanish.
Sometimes your critics won’t say what they think of you to your face.
I have had my fair share of internet criticism, that’s fine, some from an ex-KSW member from years ago about my ability be a promoter, meh, you have to start somewhere and I’m learning from my mistakes on that one.
I’ve had criticism of my gimmick, that’s fine too, I just run with whatever the promoter who pays me is asking me too do, because I feel it is important that I am there as a wrestler in that promotion, be it KSW, FCW, LPW, MPWA, RPW or UCWF I am that federation’s wrestler and I will do everything in my power at the time to see to their success.
I’ve also had a fan criticise me too, that’s more than fine, but make sure that your opinion is genuinely yours. Wrestlers work hard to entertain and they take failure to do so seriously, so if you’ve got your opinion from someone who say dislikes that wrestler for whatever reason, make sure you back up your comment with fact.
Yup, somehow I’ve come full circle back to politics!
So I’ll focus more on my promoting experience, it’s also been a year since I was asked to book shows and I have to say it was a steep learning curve and I still haven’t got it perfect.
It’s certainly given me a lot of respect for those that spend their time organising a group of people and factoring in logistics, budget and insurance, be it wrestling or any other event.
The best part of it is the amount of new people I have met within the industry and the web of friendship at so many levels, one thing about wrestling is that it is full of characters.
The worst part? That has to be the regular occurrence of the last minute crisis, they do my nut in!
I have chilled a bit now I am used to the pressure, ask any KSW roster member, I always had to apologise at the start of the show if I shouted at them, first few were nailbiters for me and it was my only outlet.
I’ve found out that now there are two promotion models going out there and it is up to the individual who runs the show to decide which one to go for.
The first is the traditional model where a company usually begins training individuals for those to become the roster of a federation, the promotion grows slowly and build up a fan base and venue size.
The second, hire a hall, hire a ring, hire some wrestlers who the promoter thinks are draws, calculate the ticket price, hike up the cost of the front rows to pay for the “star” draw and sit back and roll the money in.
I’m not going to spend my time going into each style, just to say that the first model can easily be destroyed if “egos” get in the way, don’t worry, you tend to be able to spot the egos because they are the first to complain about egos. The second model is purchasing its talent and usually feeds off the first model for seasoned wrestlers. It’s also a quick fix and a bit of a cash in, but wrestling is business, though I’m not sure it is one that can be maintained.
We will have to see what happens.
Well, I’m sure that some or all of my comments will be in another “I can’t believe he said that” thread out in internetland, if you’ve got nothing better to do, knock yourself out.
No, I mean it, use a hammer or something!
For those who read this just to read my thoughts have a great day!