“Never put yourself over at somebody else’s expense” ~ Prime Time Amy Lee
I remember that quote really well, not because it came from someone who I have a tremendous amount of respect for when it comes to indy wrestling. I remember it because it’s ethical. Unfortunately the pro wrestling business has never been a place to develop any sense of ethics.
Allow me to introduce you to a Facebook group called “Bad Wrestlers Exposed”.
On the surface, I have to admit that there are a lot of bad workers on the indys. I’ve been to enough shows in my lifetime to openly admit to that. To be honest, I’ve even booked guys who sounded impressive when they were hired, only to find out that they didn’t have what it took.
So again, admittedly there are a lot of people who should be in the seats rather than be in the ring.
If you’re a long time wrestling fan, you know that pro wrestling tends to move in cycles of popularity. Unfortunately a lot of kids came into the business at its height, and then found few places to work, since there weren’t promoters making a lot of money. As a former promoter (not a great one, but not a horrible one by any means), I took a step back when I decided that I liked my money more than my ability to tell people that I was promoting pro wrestling. The down cycle lasted almost a decade, and it sort of pushed pro wrestling into almost an underground position, in my opinion. So, if you weren’t working for one of the bigger indy promotions, you likely weren’t working.
What happened as a result is that lots of those students who couldn’t get work started their own promotions and in some cases, schools. Some of them weren’t really qualified to do that, but that’s less important to the story here. It’s not for me to determine how that’s going to impact indy wrestling long term.
Somehow however, the person who runs this Facebook group decided that they were a greater judge of talent than the fans who show up at weekend wrestling shows. Nearly daily, they post pics of people they feel have no business being in the ring.
That’s fine, and you’re entitled to your opinion, but I have some issues with the way you go about it.
First, I have to think that your knowledge of the indys is limited, as you seem to focus on wrestlers/promotions from the NY/NJ/PA areas. I’m assuming this is so because you don’t follow wrestling from outside of this area. Maybe you should, because some of the wrestlers you’ve featured would put to shame workers from other parts of the country, but of course you wouldn’t know that, would you?
The other part of this is, some of the workers that you’ve put on your page are people that I’ve worked with over the years. These people were trained properly, and have put their time into the business. Granted, many workers get better over time, some don’t, but the fact remains that you shit on people far more talented than you realize. Same is true with the promotions that you shit on. Some of them have been in existence for 20+ years, and have survived the pro wrestling drought when it was in the down cycle. So my question is, have YOU ever run a promotion? If so, what’s the larges crowd you’ve drawn? Are you still running shows? I can tell you that while I’m no longer running shows, I’ve drawn 1200+ plus in Atlantic City with my former partner Tommy Cairo when we promoted under the Outlaws of Wrestling. We also constantly drew 400+ (in the down cycle, I would add) with the original Force One Pro Wrestling.
Here’s where our major difference is, however. I agree that there are people in the business that don’t belong.
I don’t talk about them, because I’d rather focus on all of the great workers and promoters that are making contributions to independent wrestling as it emerges from the down cycle, whereas you prefer to shit on it, thinking that you’re really “exposing” the workers/promoters that you think don’t belong. It accomplishes nothing, and says more about you that you’re prefer to focus on the negatives of a business rather than all of the positives.
I’m sure that the people who run Coca Cola know that there are companies that don’t belong in the soft drink market because their products aren’t good. I don’t see Coke setting up pages to diss these companies. What they do is let the market take care of itself. That happens in indy wrestling every weekend. Except, the FANS decide. They buy the tickets, and if a worker/promotion does a bad job, those fans ain’t coming back, and you should know that….
The biggest issue that I take with this is that the person running the page(s) does it anonymously. My guess is that they do it for a couple of reasons:
1. It’s safe to do this from behind a keyboard
2. They are afraid of being exposed as someone who doesn’t know shit about the business
3. Some of the people they’re “exposing” may be friends with them IRL or on social media, and they don’t want to have to face the music when it’s found out who they really are.
So, if you’re a worker, announcer, ref or promoter, how do you stop this bullshit? First, understand that it’s their right to have this page. What they’re doing isn’t libel or defamation. It’s free speech, but you sure as hell can slow them down to a point where it’s too much of a hassle to do this.
1. Watermark your photos/videos. If you have a website, post these videos there, and not just to your social media pages. It then becomes your digital property
2. When your material is posted on these pages, you have the right to contact Facebook and file a notice that you’re the owner of the picture/video and it’s being used/shown without your permission (make sure that you have a disclaimer on your website saying that these pics belong to you, and can’t be used without your permission.
3. Learn what a DCMA notice is, and learn how to fill one out. It will become your best friend if you want to piss this idiot off.
4. Most important, be careful who you add on Facebook and other social media. They may be following you and stealing this content right from your pages, and you have no idea they’re doing it.
Other than that, keep doing what you’re doing. Indy wrestling is having a renaissance these days, and it’s better to focus on that rather than a sphincter who continually draws on the negative.