Monday, August 8, 2011

What's With The Independent Wrestling Promotions of Today?

I am not talking about the two big promotions you see on TV today, but rather the smaller independent ("Indy") shows that are popping up everywhere today, I haven't heard of any here in Mississippi in a while, but there were a number of them that tried over the past years. It's really sort of funny because I had a couple of different guys call me after we stopped promoting and ask for my advice on starting a promotion. The two things that struck me were; #1. "If you have all these questions and want my advice, how do you figure you have the basic knowledge or background to start a new promotion?" I never asked them this question because I would never want to come across as rude or intentionally insult someone's ability. I would listen to them, but this question was always in the back of my mind. #2. "If there were still good money to be made promoting and you had the wrestling talent to draw big crowds, do you really think I would have just walked away from it to leave the door open for someone else to step in and take over?" Now this question I did ask them at the end of the conversation. I wanted them to really think about that. I never told anyone they could not do it. I just wanted them to know it would be a tough road at that particular time. Back when we were promoting you had different territories and the promoters would pretty much respect that, and would even swap some of the wrestlers back and forth. You did have the occasional promotion "easing into" a neighboring state or territory, maybe because their TV overlapped and was seen there, or they were just wanting to expand, or maybe even out of spite. But, these issues were usually settled fairly quickly with no major battle or war. Then things changed. Vince McMahon, Sr. passed away and Vince, Jr. took over. He had millions, and threw the mutual respect out the window. He was determined to take over and had the money to offer the top talent from the territories to come with him. Whether they agreed with the way he ran his promotion or not, the money talked. Maybe more on that in a different post.
So, back to today. I keep in touch with some old friends from the wrestling business that live in different areas and I keep hearing the same thing. Wanna-be promoters trying to run towns with wanna-be wrestlers. The 'promoters' really do not have the background in the wrestling business and the 'wrestlers' maybe bought some boots and tights off the internet, practiced in the back yard with their buddies, maybe even had an actual wrestler train them a bit, and now think they are professionals. Ready for the big-time, trying to fly around the ring imitating the WWE. I am not faulting these guys for wanting to do something big, but the problem I have is that they are not representing true wrestling and the fans can clearly see this. I do not fault any of the guys in the big groups either. They are making big money. I wish them all well and hope they make zillions. But, they are not representing true wrestling either. They are entertaining. However, I do applaud WWE because they actually seem to be trying to get back to some of the basics. Very little, but it is a small step.
On the flip side of all of this, do I feel that the wrestling fans in Mississippi and other states will ever have the opportunity to once again see a return of "old school" wrestling  and quality promotions in their towns? There may just be a return. There may just be some good things brewing out there. Stay tuned for more on this subject in my next post. As always, thank you for stopping by and, your comments are welcome! Gil