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"I'm OK, You're OK, Somebody's Lying Their Butt Off..."

"I'm OK, You're OK, Somebody's Lying Their Butt Off..."

Postby Shaka » 29.03.2010, 05:10

Before I get started, I want to do a posthumous shout-out. Charles 'Mask' Lewis and Andrew 'Test' Martin lost their lives just before St. Patrick's Day of last year. I never had the opportunity to meet Mask but I did a tour in Ireland with Test the year before, so when I last saw him alive it was the day after we celebrated his birthday on St. Patty's in Kilarney. He died just shy of his 35th birthday. I don't know if he and Mask ever met, but seeing the closeness of time in their respective passing, I figure that there had to be a connection somewhere. Anyway, I just wanted it known that some of us among this particular plane of existence still remember you both.

With that being said, I have some venting to do. Wait, I'm always venting, so why should this time be any different than any other? Might be due to it being on the heels of WrestleMania 26, but it's not. To be honest, I don't give a flying Philly crap about it. Some of you may think low of me to say so. Fine. Go ahead. It's not the first time I've gone against the tide. If I had an extra damn to give I still wouldn't give it. Some of you may think ill that a wrestler would utter such blasphemy. Rewind that statement to 'wrestler'. There you go. I'm a wrestler. Why don't I care about the biggest Pay Per View in WWE? Because it's NOT wrestling anymore. Sure, it has the word 'wrestle' in the title, but let's be adults for a minute - Vince owns the copyright to the name of the show in question, so in the business sense, that's more money in his pocket for a product he's hawked for more than a generation, but it doesn't mean that you'll actually see any wrestling going on.

While I'm on a roll here, I'll go as far as reminding folks that Uncle Vince disengaged himself from the wrestling community 8 years ago when he referred what he did as 'Sports Entertainment'. Actually, he was already disengaged from wrestling, but he decided to on record with it. You can do that when you major sponsors and public stock, not when you're a struggling promoter on a shoe string budget, because oddly enough, independent promoters tried to follow in Vince's example by declaring themselves as Sports Entertainers. Here's the flaw with that plan - Vince coined that phrase 2 decades, too. Considering the many media pies he actually has his fingers in (his top guys getting movie deals, guest spots on TV shows, commercials, the broadcast people getting their feet wet. Case in point - remember Sean Mooney? He landed an anchor spot in NY years ago.).

I'm going to try to say this once - Vince J. (Vince Sr. to the uninitiated or clueless) warned Vince K. (the Vince we all know) after he took over the reigns against going nationwide with the show. Vince found out why the hard way what his dad meant. When you decide to take over an entire market, you better bloody well be ready for the headache of paying for it when you're not wealthy enough. For those who still think pro wrestling isn't a sport never had to deal with state athletic commissions. In Vince's case, he had to deal with every regulated state in the 48 state Union that makes up the mainland of the United States, which meant as the promoter of the then World Wrestling Federation, he had to cough up licensing fees and update bonds and since he's paying the guy on contract, they have to update licenses, too. Anyone who has to go through that know what I'm talking about. To Vince, that translated to more money, more problems. Small wonder he decided to go to the press and basically say, 'look, we're not really athletes. It's mostly show and predetermined, just stop hitting me up fees and let me make paper in peace."
Worked well enough, since even the quality of his product (or lack thereof) has shown through ever since. It even resonates here on the independent level and the kicker? We're supposed to be 'independent' of the horseflop that's on television.

Still wanna call me a heretic? Be my guest. In the decade I've been in pro wrestling, I can even tell you that former employees of the 'E' have even confessed that they can't or don't want to see the product that's replaced them, and I know why - they can tell how plastic it's become, because half of these guys actually did compete as athletes at some level before people go to know them as the colorful, larger-than-life minor gods they revere. I still go to locker rooms with these guys in other countries and I have the passport and frequent flier miles to prove it and to top it off, I actually decided to supplement my grappling knowledge not just for the ring but for the octagon as well. Call me crazy if you want, I call it resilience.

When I broke in nearly 12 years ago, I was sure that I part of a generation of change. I was right about one thing, just not the degree of the changes. I vowed to myself that before I stopped wrestling that I was going to help bring about an evolution in the game, and I meant it. If I have to beat it into people, so be it. If that's the case, the beatings will continue until morale improves...


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