I’m a wrestling snob. There’s no doubt about that. Just like music snobs, food snobs, theater snobs, etc. I enjoy my professional wrestling when it’s done by the best in the business. When it doesn’t insult my intelligence, and when it’s hard hitting (strong style) and as serious as can be. I also prefer that it be left to those who can do it well, more often than not, that being those who do it full time. Does that mean that there are no full time wrestlers (those who earn their living by ONLY wrestling) that aren’t any good? No it doesn’t, as I am certain there are many that earn their living wrestling that aren’t real good. However I do believe it’s more difficult to stink up a card if you’re employing your skills full time than it is if you aren’t. So, does that mean that I believe any wrestler that only wrestles part time is terrible? Absolutely not, as one of my favorite wrestlers out there today only wrestles twice a month, if that. Eddie Smooth however is a prodigy. A guy that just has it. A guy that can get away with part time work and still go toe to toe with anyone in the business. If you can get in the ring with A.R. Fox, or Shane Strickland, and bring the crowd to their feet, and go hold for hold with them for 20 minutes or more, no one can complain about your skill or ability.
Those part timers are rare though. Few and far between are the Eddie Smooth’s of the wrestling world, and it shows. There’s nothing worse for me than going to a show and seeing guys like Smooth, AR Fox, JT Dunn, David Starr, Shane Strickland, Josef Von Schmidt, and Sean Carr to then also have to sit through matches featuring guys so out of shape they are completely gassed in five minutes, their t-shirts, drenched in sweat, clinging to their out of shape torsos. I shudder watching talent like Façade, and Jon Gresham steal the show on the mid-card, so the local weekend warrior can defend the company title against a guy that works down the road from me in the manufacturing plant. I may like those two guys in the main event personally, I may call them friends, pals, buddies, etc. They may go to my church, or have kids in classes with my own, but that doesn’t mean I want to see them main-eventing professional wrestling shows. Those two guys in the main event may draw a lot of their co-workers, and high school buddies to watch them “wrestle,” and they may sell 40 tickets each, thus bringing in 1/3 of the crowd, but I don’t care. As a fan I don’t care, as a journalist I don’t care. I care about the integrity of the wrestling business, I care about what makes sense, and I care about presenting a product where those that are the best are rewarded with the main events, titles, and “pushes.”
I know, I know…someone is going to say “the most talented (over) guys don’t “need” the title belt! Yes, there is a strong element of truth to that. That being said though, it’s just embarrassing when your champion is so far below the talent levels of the mid-card performers. I understand that local guys that sell tickets deserve a spot. I just believe their spot has to be in the opener, or pre/post intermission. They can’t be presented as being as legitimate as the guys on your card that could wrestle circles around them, while blindfolded, and running a 105 degree temperature. Please understand though that the talent that you do have, the Eddie Smooth’s, Red Scorpion’s, Laszlo Arpad’s etc. do indeed need to be shown as having the ability to go toe to toe with the best in the business. Of course it’s smart to get some local guys on top, but it has to be local guys that have the skill to be there, it has to be guys that if placed on the cover of PWI would look “legitimate.”
If you wrestle on weekends for fun, to please the local fans, and have a good time, I have nothing against you. I’m not out to besmirch you, or challenge your right to do that. I’m just saying your dedication to the craft should match your placement on the cards you perform on. I consider myself to be a good writer, a good broadcaster, and believe I have a good eye for wrestling and wrestling talent. I don’t however expect that I should be placed on par with Sports Illustrated, nor do I believe that I should, or would, get equal promotion as a commentator for a show, if Kevin Kelly came in to commentate with me. I love being involved as much as possible, and I believe that I work damn hard. I promote, sell tickets, and have gotten local companies numerous fans from HOURS away. I give a lot of my free time to independent professional wrestling and am happy to do so. I do not however consider myself a star, or believe I’ve earned anything other than common decency and respect. All I ever want to do is get the wrestlers, their wrestling, and the companies I support more “over.” I don’t have a cute nickname for myself, a “gimmick,” or an angle. When I talk about “wrestling done right” I am absolutely being “legitimate.” I’m scouting for the biggest stars, and the best performers in the world. When I run into less talented performers, that will never be any more than a weekend guy, I don’t hate them. Just don’t put them on a show that’s way above their pay grade and tell me it’s “wrestling done right.”