“You have to respect the business.” This is the phrase uttered by every talentless hack that calls himself a professional wrestler today, in order to protect him or herself from any kind of criticism. While I agree that wrestling should absolutely be respected, the problem is that we’ve allowed people into this business that by their very existence disrespect professional wrestling. Now some of you are going to ask “Who is this guy to say these things?” so let me answer that for you. For years I was a green, ignorant, goofball that thought he knew and understood wrestling. I paled around with, and “trained” with some “professional wrestlers,” or so I thought. I believed I was part of the business, because I had been in the ring, bumped, and knew guys that did it in front of 30 people in a venue that was falling apart, and smelled like cat piss. I really thought I had it made when a promoter told me I was going to “go over Doink!” Then I met Dusty Wolfe and Ken Timbs. If you don’t know who they are, then you really need to freshen up your wrestling knowledge. Granted, I only met Dusty and Ken online, during the height of American Online, and message boards, but those two helped me more than anyone ever had. I got to the point to where Ken and I were talking on the phone, planning a show together to rock Pennsylvania with “Wrestling Done Right!”
You see, Ken and Dusty could have laughed at me (and likely did some) when I told them how I was a wrestler, when I told them that I went over Doink the clown (Dusty legit played Doink for Vince in the WWF for years) and when I tried to come across like a real “worker.” Instead, they re-taught me. They were patient, and told me everything I had been taught was a joke, and how too many guys that claimed to be “wrestlers” were poorly trained, or even self-trained, and many simply went and purchased a ring and held shows for their friends and family. I was shocked, and felt like a fool. They then handed me off to Bill Moody, better known as Percy Pringle III, or Paul Bearer. I helped Bill run his message board, moderating it for over a year for him. I was excited to be “in the business” but anytime I got too wrapped up thinking I was, Bill would say to me “Adam, you can’t work a worker!” It used to annoy me back then, but I now understand what he meant by it. It was his way of saying “you’re not a worker yet, calm down.” Ken and I kept discussing the big show we wanted to put on, and I secured a nice venue. Sadly, before it could happen Ken fell ill, and shockingly passed. Dusty continued to teach me online. He told me everything I preach today about gear, looking good, getting paid, training right, and not allowing anyone that doesn’t do those things to get into the business. He taught me that anyone that didn’t do those things, didn’t respect the business, and weren’t really “workers.” He taught me that the absolute worst thing that could happen to wrestling would be if those kind of people got in, and were really considered “legitimate” pro wrestlers.
Some have told me since that time that the battle has been lost. Jim Cornette has made a small fortune making “shoot videos” saying that battle has been lost. I’m stubborn though, and I love wrestling so much that I don’t want to give up on it like Jim has, like so many old school guys have. Yet as I “worked” in the indy business, to some degree or another, over the last few years, I’ve learned that the battle has been lost. People that have no right to have been allowed into wrestling have no only been allowed in, they’ve been heralded as important, worthy, and good for the business. Even when I found a home at places that didn’t promote or book nonsense, they have to “respect it” out of some kind of fear, some kind of worry that not doing so will cost them something. I’m not even saying it wouldn’t cost them something. Maybe it would? What I’m saying is that I can’t respect things that I know (yes I said know) are garbage. I can’t look at some of the stuff out there today and say it’s as worthy as those, and that which are worthy. I can’t write garbage off as “just someone else’s flavor.” I can’t look at guys like Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Nick Bockwinkle, Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, and others like them, and then look at some of the utter and complete nonsense out there parading around as “Professional Wrestling” and say that they are of the same profession. I certainly can’t say that the same “respect’ is due to them both. I rest comfortably absolutely KNOWING that many workers, legit, real, workers agree with me. The problem however is that they aren’t allowed to say so. The keys to this industry have been given to those that don’t have the first clue about wrestling, about working, nor about “respect.” All I can do is hope that somehow, magically, sanity prevails one day. That somehow the silent supporters of “Wrestling Done Right” will win out in the end. Right now those that are the most vocal, and control much of the “voice” on independent wrestling are hurting it, by insisting that it’s all “worthy” in some way, even when I know many of them know damn well it’s not. When those who know better refuse to be “shushed” and step up, then wrestling can be done right again all over the place. Until, and unless that happens, you’ll just have to keep searching for it here, and there, appreciating it when you find it.
I’ve had my fill of the “indy” scene. There are great workers out there that I can’t wait to see really make it one day, but there are far too many snakes, far too many talentless goofs, far too many under trained nobody’s getting on cards for selling enough tickets, and far too many guys that are laughable, being pushed as legitimate physical threats, for me to take indy wrestling as serious as I’ve tried to take it over the past numerous years. Today you don’t have to look good, you don’t have to talk good, you don’t have to look imposing, all you have to do is kiss the right people’s ass, show up for training, and never, ever, ever, question anything, and you’ll eventually get a “push.” It doesn’t matter how good you are either because no one can question that, because they would be “disrespecting the business.” Sorry, but there are way too many “wrestlers” already doing that just from someone, somewhere, green lighting them to get inside a ring. Finding “wrestling done right” on the indy scene has gotten to be far much too work for me, so from this point forward we’ll be about NXT, Ring of Honor, New Japan, and Lucha Underground. Four places I know get it right more often than not. If these four companies want to comb the “indy” scene for guys they feel are “worthy” at least the guy doing that is getting paid to sit through the bullshit, I’m not, so I’m done. I’ll watch where the workers already are, and maybe actually and enjoy wrestling again.