Being a former wrestler on the Indy’s, a current referee, and just a fan of the product since the age of two I have seen plenty. Without getting in to specifics by naming people (it’s not the professional thing to do anyway), I have seen plenty of people stand out but I have also seen a lot of the same ol’ song and dance if you will. What gets you over in this business? What gets asses in seats? Being original, getting yourself noticed, going outside of the box. I’ve seen plenty of companies where their champion not only was original and thought outside of the box but have put asses in seats as well.
How? It definitely wasn’t going on Facebook saying “Hey, I got plenty of tickets available so yea come buy them from me and maybe I can get on the show.” Those guys worked their asses off doing things the traditional way. Train in the gym, set up rings before the shows, take them down afterward, work the bottom of the card, work their way through the card, selling THEIR OWN gimmicks, and eventually got to the top of the card. There are people I’ve followed and seen who have done just that. Some champions I’ve seen with legions of their own fans with signs for THEM! It is kind of hard to do that when you’re someone who happened to slip through the other side of the guard rail and happened to be “working” in the ring!
Now listen, I don’t have a problem with anyone who has the dream to be a professional wrestler. It was a dream of mine forever and I am grateful that I was able to not only fulfill my dream but continue to live it through my different involvements in this business. Here in lies my problem; you’re a champion representing a big player of the independents and you’re walking around with a WWE t-shirt. Ok, that’s cool and all outside of the four walls of the arena you’re working for. But when you are inside of those four walls of that said arena, you are slated to work for that independent company’s colors and banner not the “machine”.
It is an insult to your promoter. In my first week of training, I wore an RVD shirt. I was given a lot of crap for it and was forced to either take the shirt off or turn it inside out before I continued training. I turned it inside out and from that point on I never wore a wrestling shirt while training ever again. The point I’m getting at from this is it’s a shame that nobody makes others accountable for that stuff. These guys walk around with those colors shining free without a care in the world. It’s a shame that these marks are going on the other side of the guard rail to “work” these shows that the fans are paying their hard earned money to see. There are also those companies who can’t draw flies to a pile of horse manure on their best day. So in a way it’s good that the fans don’t see the mark show a lot of these companies are becoming.
Plus not only are these “performers” marks outside the ring but inside the ring as well. They don’t pay attention to what the other workers are doing out there so a lot of these matches are basically repeats of one another. Where is the fire of “I want to steal the show”? Don’t get me wrong even though these marks exist there are plenty of those who not only want to steal the show but put forth the extra effort to make that show stealing match happen. You never saw guys like Adam Cole, El Generico, Kevin Steen, Smith James, Sami Callihan, etc. get where they are now by doing the same old, same old. They got themselves over by working hard, thinking outside of the box, reinventing their style repeatedly to make themselves better and
There is a difference between working hard and working smart. You can also work hard while working smart. But there is also a time and place to floor it on the gas pedal. I’m not perfect and I am not saying I would do any better if given the chance. However, I would like to think I know just enough to know what I would like to see not only as a fan but someone who is putting an independent wrestler on my card.