Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Opinion: Ideas of Just a Wrestling Fan

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When I go to a wrestling event personally I ask for two things from it’s wrestlers and promoters, only two things, entertainment and excitement. That’s it, I believe it’s something that every wrestling fan is entitled too, you pay your money to witness the show whether you do it via On:Demand or live, you should get those two things. As a result when you get those things it’s a win/win on both sides. Job Done. But it isn't always that simple, as wrestling fans we have this desire to know more than the action inside the ring we want a story, even if it isn't our business, we demand to know.

As wrestling fans we love to know what happens behind the scenes, for that we rely on social media and the dirt sheets. Oh those magnificent dirt sheets they provide us with the sacred insider knowledge of who hates who, who said this, who said that and who can predict what’s going to happen later on. It’s a nice dance that goes on, it’s been happening for years and will continue to happen for many many years to come. Now that’s great, it really is, but at some point, some disputes border on schoolyard nonsense, “You said said this”, “No you said that” it normally starts with a promotion bragging or boasting about something they really shouldn’t or alluding to something that should really not be on social media.

There will be gossip, and thanks to the glory of social media, everyone (including myself) has an outlet to voice their own opinion on matters they believe they know about or want to take credit for something they believe they created. This promotion took credit for this match, took credit for that wrestler being a success, took credit for the way the industry is today, to quote the late great Gorilla Monsoon, “Give Me a Break”. 

There is a lot of negativity in the wrestling business, a lot of bullshit and people talking a lot of shite that just isn’t needed.(I’ll admit I talk some shite, but your reading the column and faults on you for that one) There doesn't have to be though, here’s a point, a few weeks ago I went to a wrestling showcase event featuring students of established wrestling schools Source Wrestling, Premier British Wrestling Academy and Glasgow Pro Wrestling Asylum. Three big rival companies, let’s boil it down to what it is, wrestling is a business, now think of how important that statement was by the those three promotions uniting, who also have links to other promotions in Scotland. Not just uniting for a major show, let’s say for example Insane Championship Wrestling at the Hydro in November where there are wrestlers all across the UK involved, but a showcase show featuring the development of future stars in wrestling. Those young wrestlers were learning other methods to how they have been taught, a way to broaden their wrestling experience to further their development in their career. SSW and W3L have done the same before helping to develop new talent and looking forward at the future by uniting with other promotions to once again further the careers of young wrestlers and building a stronger name for themselves in the process. 

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Now, I mentioned the Showcase event earlier, and it was an entertaining show, I hope the first of many joint ventures of promotions across Scotland, and the rest of UK for that matter.  Admittedly individual wrestlers working for multiple wrestling promotions across the UK isn’t something new because there isn’t any exclusivity on wrestlers because for the most part, full time wrestlers are exactly that full time, they don’t have the luxury to say I’m only going to wrestle for that promotion. It’s got to be said that if you want exclusivity to wrestlers, your going to have to raise the wages that they get paid, because if you're running a show once every two months, or once every month, that’s six or at least three weeks worth of jobs they aren't getting paid for if they agree to work for one promotion.  

But back to my point, uniting promotions for a joint venture would benefit all companies involved. Gone are the days when fans say I’m only loyal to this promotion, but in a situation of a joint venture a promotion would have to use their creative abilities and social media know how because if this idea ever came to pass it would set up interesting matches, engaging story lines for individuals to wrestle for, friendships could be strained, in doing so being other promotions would be brought into the fold and would set up a damn good reason for more fans to become invested in coming to the shows as well as drive up traffic on your social media accounts that will in turn get the word out more about those promotions. A win/win. That scenario was only an idea, by a fan who loves the wrestling industry, an idea that was inspired by the events at the Showcase show. 

The aftermath would establish a better relationship between companies and promoters, the nonsense of false credit or behind the back chatter would be replaced by shock horror, trust. I know many promoters have that now, relationships built on respect and trust and it's damn amazing to see.

My next point is about the negativity over social media regarding wrestling is directed at some fans, I say some fans because I’ve met some of the best fans, I’ve met some of the most passionate fans, I’ve met some of the craziest fans that had me fearing for my own life at times and I’ve even heard a handful of fans chant “Polo Promotions!” against over 1000 detractors, who said they suck. But I say this to the keyboard warriors who always want to rain negativity on any announcement. Recently I went onto one of those wrestling forums, I don’t know why but I did, and some fans were complaining about the setting of the recent announcement of Insane Championship Wrestling event, the Sixth Annual Square Go being held next year in Newcastle rather than Glasgow. Now I don’t get the problem here, yes it’s not in Glasgow but guess what, Glasgow has had five years of the Square Go held there, also it has had almost every ICW event held in Glasgow bar the UK tours since it’s inception. ICW is growing, fans are travelling far and wide to get to shows now, fans from London, Plymouth, Aberdeen and parts of Europe are traveling to get there and Glasgow isn’t always the best option anymore and it’s not as if the company hasn’t given you enough time to get ready for travelling, so it’s time to “Buy the Ticket and Take the Ride”, this time the ride is in Newcastle.

I want to say one thing though, a massive congratulations to the ICW Fans Podcast, regardless if you have heard of their podcast of not, they held a charity fundraiser over the weekend and raised over £2000, with special guests appearing, that is damn incredible stuff. 

Wrestling his incredible at the moment, I mean that look at the excellence we have at the moment: 

  • WWE - RAW & SMACKDOWN producing good quality shows and giving new Title opportunities for SUMMERSLAM. Ambrose versus Ziggler, Rollins versus Balor, who would have seen that coming a few weeks ago?, In your dreams maybe. The CWC is ridiculously fantastic.
  • TNA - Is being talked about positively by the mainstream fans for the first time in years.
  • ROH - With excellent tag team wrestling and credible stars vying for the Championships. They are reminding fans that other mainstream promotions in the US exist.
  • SHINE. SHIMMER, AAW, CZW, FIP - They are credible alternatives to the norm and reward fans with great action.
  • NJPW - Consistently delivering on every level.
  • UK Wrestling as a whole - Go and see a show don't take my word for it, 116 promotions in the UK alone, you be the judge.
  • WxW and MCW - Representing Germany and Australia, (I say these two promotions, yes there are many others in those countries but I've said these so pipedown) I've checked them out and they are superb, seriously worth a watch.

So If you want to keep up bitching, go for it, just remember it wasn't always this good.

All content - Craig Hermit 

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