Independent Wrestling can be a tough world. Whether you're a promoter or worker, you're more often than not going to deal with a fair share of bullsh*t. From shady promoters who are looking for every possible way to screw you, to veterans who will take almost anything as an excuse to "teach you a lesson," wrestling at the independent level has its issues. Working at this level, oftentimes without a guarantee of pay, never knowing who or what you may have to deal with, is a pretty stressful thing. It takes a special kind of person with a pain and stress threshold many of us could never imagine to be a part of this world, and for most wrestlers, it’s the only world they will ever know in their careers. Most of them will never have a contract for guaranteed money with a major wrestling organization. Most of them will never be on television or pay per view, no matter how good a performer they are. Meanwhile, most wrestling promoters will never know the success that Vince McMahon has had, no matter how hard they work, or how good their products actually are. It's a reality that can honestly drive you insane. Not insane in the way it gets bandied about here, as a euphemism for "silly", but legitimately out of your f*cking mind, willing to kill yourself and others insane.
Fans of Independent Wrestling, in the meantime, keep seeking out those that they believe have managed to rise above the petty back-biting politics, shady business dealings, and outright unprofessionalism that takes place throughout the Wrestling Underground. We build up these Wrestling Folk Heroes, guys who've stuck to their guns through adversity, who put match quality over cheap marketability, and built up a fanbase by working harder than everyone else to earn their accolades. Guys such as Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Austin Aries, Sara Del Rey, the Briscoe Brothers, Colt Cabana, and Davey Richards, those who've refused to bow to pressures to change their look or in-ring style just to appease some higher power in Stamford or Nashville.
Then, one day, everything changes. Finally, the corporations come to their senses and hire the Folk Hero of the Independents. Finally, things are going to change in the Wrestling Mainstream... except, it never does. Even when CM Punk is the longest reigning WWE Champion since John Cena, and Austin Aries holds the TNA World Title, and Daniel Bryan is a bonafide Main Event Player, and Sara Del Rey may or may not be coming to WWE to single-handedly save the Divas division, it's all really still about the Cartoon Superman, his god-awful merchandise, and a gaggle of 40-somethings who get paid millions only to wrestle 3 times a year. Nothing changes. Nothing ever changes.
But, for some of the Independent Folk Heroes, things change when they suddenly show that maybe, they weren't the honest, hard-working, reliable folks you thought they were. Maybe, because they jumped ship to a mainstream company without doing the right thing, and dropping their title before showing up on someone else's TV show. Maybe, the hero we looked up to dicked around with a local promoter, demanded his money up front, then skipped town before performing. Maybe they let the corporate powers change everything about them, from their name, to their gimmick, in such a way that they're virtually unrecognizable from the wrestler they once were.
For most, though, the real change sets in when we, as fans, realize that the only reason many of our Indy Folk Heroes are where they are in the world is because the Corporations simply don't want them. They're not here fighting the good fight for the Art of Wrestling, necessarily. Sure, some of them are, but even among those, if the Corporate Powers ever decided to change their minds, you'd see them sign on in a second, not only for the steady paycheck, but because they too believe that their presence in the Mainstream will actually change things in Pro Wrestling.
Until, of course, we're all proven wrong. Because no matter how much we want it, or the wrestlers want it, Pro Wrestling in the United States, and as it's generally seen around the world, will continue to be dictated to us by a handful of Suits in Stamford and Nashville, bending over backwards to appease investors and TV networks who have no clue who wrestling fans are or what they actually want, nor care in the slightest.
So, why do we do it? Why do we, as fans, keep doing this? Why do we continue to seek out and build up these Wrestling Folk Heroes, knowing that neither we, nor they, have any real hope of changing the things we most hate about what Pro Wrestling has become over the last 30 years? Why do we continue our attempts as fans, wrestlers, and promoters, to keep the Art of Wrestling alive in spite of its ever-continuing de-evolution into "Sports Entertainment"? Why not just give it all up and accept that wrestling is dead?
Because this abomination that calls itself Sports Entertainment is nothing more than a self-hating entity that refuses to acknowledge its once proud tradition as the Art and Sport of Professional Wrestling. Because we are sick and tired of everyone in and out of this business rolling over and dying because "that's just the way things are". We allow the dishonesty and criminal activity of a handful of people to taint the entire business, and bend over backwards to suck the proverbial dick of a company who hasn't produced an honestly good wrestling show in over 10 years, just because they're the ones who could buy and sell all of us. Since when the hell does merchandise sales and ad revenue have the slightest thing to do with the quality of a show? Saying that a show is good simply because you've managed to get enough people to pay attention to it is like saying momentary internet sensation Rebecca Black is a singer on par with Adele, or a performer on the level of the late Michael Jackson, just because she managed to get half the population of the universe to watch her stupid YouTube video! It's simply not true.
This past Monday, in three hours of Monday Night Raw, we were treated to 4 different recaps of an over-blown, long, boring talking segment on the show a week prior between two guys who only care to work a handful of dates a year for an absurd salary. One guy all but practically runs the company, anymore, and the other was a former college athlete who never respected the business that allowed him to become the rich man he is today, who ran from the business screaming after three years because he didn't like the schedule. Sorry, but I couldn't possibly care less about Triple H's need to swing his dick over a bitch that never wanted to be in this business in the first place! Yet, instead of giving this TV time to people who actually work virtually every night for this company, who literally bust their ass just trying to get even the smallest fraction of the career Brock Lesnar had handed to him, then pissed away so he could go play football, they give it to Vince McMahon's son-in-law and the former ungrateful bastard who translated all of WWE's marketing and branding work put into him into a successful UFC fighting career. Yes, because WWE put all that work into making Brock a star so Dana White could profit off of it...
I'm sick of it. I'm sick of watching people at every level piss and sh*t all over a business I love and gave a significant portion of my life to supporting, not only as a fan and a contributor for this website, but as a small-time promoter in my own right. I'm tired of people accusing me of having, quote, "sand in my vagina," because I dare have an issue with the almighty WWE spending more time figuratively jacking off to insipid fan Touts during their three-hour bore-fest than they do towards building a comprehensive tag team or women's division worth a damn. I'm tired of companies wasting my time with glory hogs who will only work a handful of dates a year taking precedent over the current Heavyweight Champions and their top contenders. I'm tired of listening to a Cartoon Superman get booed out of buildings week after week after week for over FIVE YEARS, shilling T-Shirts instead of having quality matches, and listening to idiots on the Internet actually try and defend his continued top-billing and babyface role that clearly isn't working, because WWE somehow can't afford to lose a couple bucks off the dumbass kids who'll just go buy Rey Mysterio merch, instead! I'm tired of seeing guys I'd otherwise look up to and endorse scamming local promoters and stealing their money without living up to their obligations to perform, because they're "big TV stars" and apparently can. I'm tired of hearing tales of wrestling TV stars having to work 9 to 5 jobs just to make ends meet, and I'm equally tired of hearing stories where these same people take advantage of their positions by forcing girls looking to get booked to give them blow jobs. I'm tired of people disrespecting the business and treating it like their own, personal playground.
But mostly, I'm tired of the apologetics. I'm tired of the weak-willed, weak-minded folks who try and excuse all of this crap. The people who try to justify why a wrestler will threaten a promoter, demand money up-front, then skip town without wrestling. The people who congratulate a guy for taking a job for a larger company, ignoring the fact that they didn't do the right thing by their previous employer and drop the title they were holding, first, before debuting on someone else's TV. The people who'll excuse WWE's pointless Social Media obsession, who'll try and convince us that Kelly Kelly actually deserves to be taken seriously as a wrestler for some reason, who'll get mad at you when you point out the obvious notion that WWE may not even know who their Tag Team Champions are at any given moment. The people who don't have the slightest problem with guys who only work 3 days a year getting pushes over guys who show up on RAW and SmackDown every goddamned week, the people who accept the crap TNA books on a weekly basis and say that Impact is actually a "good" wrestling show nowadays, simply because it's better than it was this time last year. The people with absolutely NO standards, whatsoever, who'll accept whatever is shoveled out at them because "that's the way things are" and we should be "grateful". These people are, perhaps, the greatest insult of all to the sport and art form I spent almost 10 years of my life associated with, in some form or another, because they're the ones who accept the laziness, the unprofessionalism, the incompetence and the selfishness that permeates every level of the business, these days. They're the ones who eat the crap life gives them and never thinks anything of it, who actually believe that wrestling is just a silly little hobby for internet losers with no life.
To think, I spent 10 years, writing wrestling shows, promoting wrestling shows, reviewing wrestling shows, building companies, building up midcards and creating new Main Eventers, trying desperately to give the folks in my area a decent wrestling show we could all be proud of, dealing with ego-maniacal prima donnas who thought they were big stars, just because they wrestled in front of 50 people once in their lives, attempting to motivate people into giving the company their absolute best, and praying, every f*cking day, that someone, anyone would care as much about our little hometown promotion as I did. And after 10 years, having, for the most part, left the business behind, choosing instead to provide insight and commentary for this website, one of the better wrestling-related websites out there, in my personal opinion, I'm just angry. I'm angry at so-called fans that will sit back and accept any old crap the Mainstream gives them. I'm angry at those behind the scenes who refuse to put their all into their work, and put together wrestling shows people can be proud of. I'm angry at the workers who think they can do whatever they want to whomever they want in this business, just because they've been on TV. I'm angry at veterans who abuse their positions instead of use their knowledge to build a generation of workers who will love, respect and take care of the business, they way they were expected to by those who came before them.
But mostly, I'm just tired of the business I fell in love with as a teenager, so much so, when given the opportunity to be a part of it, I jumped on board, no questions asked, not respecting itself. We're not just some silly past time for internet geeks and children to obsess over while locked in our parents' basements. Pro Wrestling is a Sport, an Art, and a Way of Life for many. There's a code of conduct, an understanding that we're all in this together, that we only make money because all of us are making it together. Wrestlers shake hands before shows, call each other "brother", and do so for good reason. It's because of the brotherhood that's formed by being in the trench, together, to pull this thing we call Pro Wrestling off. It means that we try and remain civil, that we carry ourselves and act in a professional manner, that we live up to the promises and the obligations we make, and accept the consequences when we fail to do so. It's something that all of us, in and out of the business, need to embrace - that we're all in this together. Nothing in this business will change until we are each willing to look in that mirror and declare to ourselves that in all things, we must first be men and women of honor and integrity, who refuse to just accept things as "just they way they are". Without that, all we are is a Den of Thieves in a Temple, defiling a Holy Sacrament for profit.