Rubbish Wrestling is Rubbish – By Richard 

It was hard to come up with that title without swearing, and I am a writer who feels I can fully articulate myself, most of the time, without having to do so. But this is something that has been on my mind all week after going to an independent wrestling show that left a bitter taste in my mouth, the same way a WWE Raw house show (or is it “Live Event” now?) did at the back end of last year. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the lower leagues of professional wrestling as well as the UK grappling scene. But this particular event featured little to no entertainment value and a roster devoid of any real wrestling ability or the knowledge of working a crowd. Now ultimately I appreciate that the guys involved in this particular show are chasing their dream and for that reason I am not going to rip into anybody or disrespect anybody by name as I respect the fact that they take risks to entertain their fans. What I am going to be discussing today is the fact that as much as there if a clear gulf in class between WWE and promotions such as RoH and PWG, the same can be said between good independent wrestling promotions and poor ones.

Now this particular promotion have, in the space of 6 months, held both the best and worst wrestling shows I have ever seen live. Think about that. The best wrestling show I have ever seen in person as well as the worst I have ever seen in person. Based on this, some may say that they are ‘a bit hit and miss’, but the reality is that when they wanted to they promoted and executed one hell of a show then chose to simply ‘phone in’ one of their smaller shows. The results of a small wrestling company, relying heavily on local fan’s loyalty, adopting this approach are surely a recipe for disaster. I left that first show with a feeling of wanting more, as well as remembering why I fell in love with professional wrestling in the first place. It had been an emotional rollercoaster of excitement, hilarity, hatred and joy. In stark contrast, this past week I found myself having to entertain myself with twitter, smarky jokes, spotting lookalikes (with Beefed-up-Tim-Krul being my favourite) and most importantly, feeling like I didn’t want to come back.

The clear difference between the two shows was the amount of time, money and effort invested in putting on a good show. The first show featured a wealth of fantastic young wrestlers from all across the UK such as Noam Dar, Lionheart, Kidfite and Mad Man Manson as well as importing a bona fide international star in the shape of El Generico. This meant that the live crowd got treated to a very high calibre of in ring action. The kind that can usually only been seen either on television or over the internet. The most recent show however was made up entirely of local talent, to the point of reusing some of them under a hooded gimmick later in the show. This hurt the show immensely as the workers in the ring had no real grasp on how to manipulate or work a crowd. Much like Dave Bautista’s opinion of The Miz, many of the wrestlers didn’t look like they could beat somebody up due to their lack of any kind of physique. One of the ‘luchadors’ looked like he had just taken his school uniform off and put some tights on. For this reason I was left unable to suspend my belief and buy into the show in anyway, having absolutely no reason to want to invest in any of the characters. Put this in comparison to say Kevin Steen or Claudio Castagnoli and I know who I would rather right, and it’s not the one who loves coffee.

Obviously no independent wrestling promotion can compete with the grandeur or production values of WWE, or to some extent Impact Wrestling, but physical appearance can make or break a show. I have a friend who watched WWE over WCW because he felt that WCW’s railings at ringside looked cheap compared to WWE’s thick black barrier. It is this sort of detail that can make a smaller company look more “big time” with lessons being learned from the way companies like ECW, RoH and PWG have made small crowds seem larger due to the intimacy of the settings. Both of these companies do not have the financial resource to invest heavily in the aesthetics of the show, but instead make do with what they have to create a unique feel.

I am in no way claiming to know how to book, promote or produce a wrestling show but what I do know, as a lifelong and dedicated fan, is what I have seen work and what I have seen fail time after time. I firmly believe that these low end wrestling shows take away from the good work done by some fantastic promotions that are on the independent scene and even their own good work in the past. Much like the argument for WWE to run less frequent pay-per-views, I feel that much can be said for the concept of local promotions holding off the temptation of running a half mast show in favour of pooling money and resources together to put on less frequent shows that are more likely to draw in a crowd AND send them home happy. Financially it may cost more to run these shows but if the end result is more people coming (attending, no funny business) and spreading the positive word afterwards, then surely you cannot put a price of that. From where I am sitting, the proof is in the pudding. After that first show, both myself and Maffew, of Botchamania fame (can somebody pick that name up for me please, I seem to have dropped it), were publically vocal about the high quality of the show. Yet there most recent show has been the inspiration for me writing this article which, to me, says it all.

Anyway, that’s that out of my system. My next article, as requested by a pal of mine, will be looking at something positive about wrestling.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts so drop me a line, leave comments and keep checking for the most diverse wrestling opinions on the internet.
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Cheers – Rich x