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Sunday, May 1, 2005

Housekeeping note - I decide to try to post this like a BLOG... with all the previous posts on the same page, below the most recent.

Preamble - I still believe in AWE's potential, potential.... or their potential upside, as it were. Even though I may have a few harsh words for brainchild geniuses and the like, I still would like to see the project meet it's initial expectations (translation - make it to air)

Now to start & honestly… the “rib” thing is fucking childish. I don’t give a flying fuck if it was Hank Ross, Ross from "Friends", or David “I fuck the Spice Girl that you’d like to” Beckham.

Just for clarification, being a fucking drunken idiot, then saying it was a rib makes you look like more of a fucking idiot. A rib is something that even the mark, with time, will find humorous or at least say “you got me”. I don’t give a shit who it is or how funny your friends think you are. Instead of saying “you can’t take a rib” take a step into the real world, admit you made a mistake and apologize.

Anyway.....

The last couple of weeks were pathetic and had a lot to say about the people who think they’re in charge of the local wrestling business.

PCW has what I consider a hot opportunity coming up. Other than Andrew posting updates and hype there is virtually no mention or open discussion of it. I honestly think this is the style of show that on a consistent basis could rebuild the “territory” without blowing huge amounts of other people’s money. Unfortunately if Andrew gets anything building people will be destructive and try to sabotage it.

Essentially this is saying “I don’t want the Winnipeg scene to succeed unless it is me being the savior, because unless it's me, it is not successful”. I don’t think there are a lot of people who don’t subscribe to this train of thought in Winnipeg and it is probably why the business gasps for air most of the time.

Look at Wayne. Biting his lip. Selling off RCW to the Prez. Selling his soul, yet being a part of the CWF during it's most only successful period. I'm sure, stripped down and barebones, Wayne realizes that he played a part in that success (he did) and he's proud of it. Biding his time? Sure. But it was a helluva run for a short period of time where there was "cooperation" for the betterment of the busienss.... well in a sense I guess. Maybe an Utopian outlook, but for the sake of argument.... Wayne seems to be able to put personal shit aside for the betterment of the business. He has done it a few times. He might come out swinging late and it is usually for a short period and he is always scheming and thinking of his next move, but he seems like a really good guy for those few days...And the really cool part is that if he pisses yo off you can always bring up the hot tub shit and think you have a one-up on him!!!

Bratt had HTM doing the rounds – I love this but there wasn't much of a discussion when there should've been. Good spot show, good opportunity to follow up and build if it were looked at as anything other than a spot show/tour. I personally think he should’ve stuck with the Wayne/AWA/RCW link but it illustrates the fundamental problem with the local scene.

Cooperation. If it doesn't kill me it will make me stronger. If you don't get it in this petty little scene, step back for awhile, get past your gripes and take a long look at how the real world functions outside you little bubble.

Bobby, after being fucked up the ass a few years ago by people he gave an opportunity to, without the aid of a personal lubricant, Bob was willing to help out with a loan for a few dollars and a spot on the show. In the aftermath, it is apparent he was essentially used and unappreciated all the while being essential to the show even taking place.

What Bob did in this situation and what Wayne did with Ernie is what is missing from the local scene. Unfortunately the aftermath of both situations is basically a manual on why you shouldn't bother trying to help anyone else.

AWE, supposedly, will air a PPV at some point in this new century but the original air dates have come and gone and nothing concrete has been secured. Even with all the shit flying around I’m still hoping they pull their grand plan off but it is getting to the point where I'm not holding my breath for another show or airdate.

Still, quite a bit for a shitty little Prairie town. More than most places minus D'Amore and the PPV from Weiss.

When you consider the population of Winnipeg is about 650,000, Toronto is about 2.5 million, 5 mill if you count the Greater Metropolitan Area, & Calgary is around 1 million… Van, Montreal, Halifax, etc – The Peg has quite a bit going on that could be deemed positive on a per capita basis. Many before have burned the hell out of the potential crowds with their dick-waving contests over the years. AWE recently got over 1000 so it’s not all doom & gloom. It can be a helluva lot better than 20 people at a CC. The potential is there and could grow with the right plan and vision.

Unfortunately for those involved a simple understanding of the wrestling business (on their own personal terms of importance) does not suffice and does not equal a successful business model. It always seems to be one scam to the next with a pretend long term plan that never comes to fruition, mainly because nobody seems to have a follow-thru even though they talk a good game.

It’s about trying to draw thousands, or bringing in a bigger name to consider yourself successful. It’s like believing that Kroc started serving a billion burgers 50 years ago from the first McDonalds restaurant. It is a grand plan but it shows that people involved in Winnipeg wrestling, generally, are good with their mouths but lack the business acumen to really make anything fly. It is essentially “I know the wrestling business better than anyone else so anything I do is automatically and inheritably better, actually the best, and it makes better booking sense because I’m a genius and people who don’t buy into it are stupid mark idiots who will never work for me because other people won't let them.”

SIDEBAR: I love when Red on “That 70’s Show” calls someone a “Dumbass”. It is always so well deserved.

By the way, no knock meant but comparing AWE to ECW is a fucking joke. Sorry, I didn't drink the Kool-Aid that day. If the locker room really buys all that shit, get a compound, get a few wives and start breeding. Seriously, stop concentrating the effort on working the workers and get the fucking product out there already.

QUESTION: Two days prior to the big “eat off” at Boogies I was driving up north Main and spotted the sign with “AWE Star Rikishi” or whatever on it. The FIRST thing I wondered was whether there was clearance to use that name. I thought maybe there was because I remember reading a few guys were being released and granted permission to use their gimmick name. I then wondered what they would call him on commentary. I also wondered if “Fatu” had clearance to use the name “Rikishi” and even if he did would he have the clearance to use it for a nationally televised PPV, whether for AWE, TNA or at a car show?

This was all within a minute or so while stopped at Redwood heading north at the red light. Why didn’t anyone in the AWE power structure, immersed in this beyond a red light, not think of this and investigate/get releases, etc to ensure their interests were looked after? Funny how bragging rites over potential WWE lawsuits are being used as a badge of honour. OOO....OOOO... Vince noticed. Now I'm important.

SIDEBAR: I love when Red on “That 70’s Show” calls someone a “Dumbass”. It is always so well deserved... oh yeah, and Mila Kunis is a hot little bitch.

NOTE: A guy like Foley would draw big. Foley would cost too much at this point without a human ATM on the roster. Foley is 6’-4” and will dwarf 99% of the roster of “Peg superstars” you’d be trying to build. What good is a ref (Foley won't work) that makes the wrestlers look tres petite? It's the teacher supervising the playground and make the workers look bush league. Why don't geniuses book guys who will enhance their roster AND draw... or push guys who might at the very least fit the role when standing beside someone of that stature.?

My point to all this is this:

The most pathetic thing about the local scene is that with all the positives that are on the horizon or occurring as you read this, why has all the focus in the Winnipeg wrestling scene been on childish ribs, bounced cheques and the same general crap everyone fixates on?

The Grande Finale Sidebar du jour: Royal Fork should be a yearly thing, or at the very least a quarterly event whereby the champ defends the title. It was the most positive thing to happen to the local scene in years. Congrats Fairlane. Personally I think it would be a good idea to do it again if AWE brings in Rikishi "next time" and have an eat-off between Fairlane & Fatu - purely for the boys entertainment.

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

I’m excited about a few things and disenchanted by others. I may be blunt about stuff today but everything really slides into the shit quick around the flatlands.

I think it is great that HTM is coming back. Repeat offenders to the local scene is a good way to build. I also think it’s hilarious that HTM will be hosting karaoke in Portage. Rikishi----oops I mean Fatu, in an eating contest – HTM in karaoke….good stuff guys. It is that type of cross promotion that’s needed to build.

I’m confused as to why the initial Doubles show would be run under Wayne’s banner of AWA/RCW, yet the new poster has “IWM Wrestling” listed as the promotion. Unless “IMW” is going to be running regularly, why not use a “brand” that is somewhat recognized, especially the “AWA” part?

Andrew announced the tourney and I honestly think it could be the bright spot of the local scene if he can follow up and create a buzz for PCW.

Big shows aside (because really they are one-offs the way everyone structures them) - if you look, really look, at who the most successful promotions were locally (in no particular order) over the last 5 years it would be:

CWF – For a short run at Le Rendezvous.
IWA – TV tapings with high-end production, names, big budgets and radio show to keep the buzz.
TRCW - Big run at The Palladium
PCW – Big run at The Strat.

Wayne has had draws of 200+, free or not, but I’m looking at shows in the 350-400+ range and with some degree of longevity.

The point is that the most successful periods were when a promotion did not have a hard time outdoing themselves (booking a huge venue and promising the world) and had an easy time keeping the fans coming back because the next show was within planning distance for the fans agenda…. a weekly/semi-weekly venue. Thus building the venue, not the product/brand.

What PCW has with this show is an opportunity to bring some extra people to a show and possibly interest them enough to bring them back by presenting a helluva product. The venue holds what could be considered a reasonable expectation for a string of back-to-back “sell-outs”. If he can draw 400-500 then maintain a crowd of 300-400 for a few months, that would be more impressive than any 1000-1500 one shot draw to me. Who gives a fuck if it’s in a bar?

The key is to capitalize on the situation and keep all or a portion of those new patrons. That is something that nobody has seemed to be able to do locally. I don't think it's a market problem either.

Quick Shots:

- Bounced cheques and broken promises will sink you and kill your credibility. Pay your debts.
- Lockdown –Six Sides of Steel – Did TNA "steel" Ernie’s idea of having every match in a cage??? Is the Prez wielding influence? Will the Main Event see a Kahuna run-in?? Hope not, but stay tuned.
- Speaking of “The Prez”, I feel bad that Ernie was being left alone until I brought the CWF up in my first post. Now he even broke his silence and posted on Manson. There are Ernie stories being told. Shit is starting to fly….. OH THE GUILT.
- When the hell is the AWE PPV going to air??? This is starting to look like Ernie’s big TV announcement that we are still waiting for (37 years later). At least the CWF got to air a pilot...
- Dalton – tell the fucking garage sale story already. It’s classic and you have that knack that makes it even funnier.
- Congrats to Saxon & Stardom on the upcoming nuptials. I forgot how classic Brother Midnight was. Someone give this guy a spot!!! I would love to hear Bro Midnight do the CJOB news some time...
- Saw the AWE puff piece on Shaw... finally. (I'm late bloomer) What exactly did it do to sell the product? I appreciate the effort but if you’re gonna have that kind of spot, do something with it. Stay up late, watch a few infomercials. Learn how to hard sell things. THEN make your puff piece. Quick reminder – insider shit does not draw the casual fan because it is not an aspect they will experience at a live show. It pops the boys and that's about it. It’s been done in the big time and failed to enhance their product…. and any “insider crap” at our level exposes us as incredibly bush.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

I'm disappointed that PCW did not have a show tonight. I understand the mentality regarding the long weekend but not having to work or go to school the next day is a great party atmosphere.

Firstly, my motivation is this: I love wrestling and I love to intelligently discuss all aspects of it. Whether it is laying out a storyline, laying out a match or discussing how pathetic the big time is due to the nepotism that spawns triple initials like JJJ or HHH.

I’ve never been crazy about Puro but I have the utmost respect for guys like CyberTranz who seemingly live by it. The one thing I’ve noticed is that more fans seem to be educated on Japan than most of the boys. Maybe it’s where we are and the Prairie style that we’ll probably never escape. I’ve always had a bone of contention for Meltzer for yapping endlessly about the superiority of Puroresu. It has taken an extremely stale North American product for me to truly appreciate that most of what happens here happens there about ten years before.

I think it is important to first take an unbiased stance on any view when initially analyzing it. That is always important in deciding whether your opinion is based in fact or emotion/opinion. An important part of debate is to always anticipate your opponents’ response and be ready with a strong and infallible counter.

I am not interested in painting someone into a corner. I would like to throw out ideas, and have people respond. It seems that there is a lot of fire in discussing things locally but the forums seem to degenerate into bash fests with the majority of slanderous opinions coming from anonymous posters. In doing this, I guess I am essentially no better but I will maintain my anonymity. I am sure that the most of those locally will eventually figure out who I am. I’m sure there are some who already have me figured out but I haven’t let on that I was planning to do this. It’s not an invitation to play a guessing game. I would prefer you think about what I write as opposed to being obsessed with who the writer is. I don’t think I have a superior opinion or a deeper knowledge – I just care enough to take the time to write it down. I have a life. I don’t live in my Mom’s basement with a jar of Vaseline and I just wanted to try this blog thing and this seemed like a good subject. I got somebody to show me how to update one of these free sites and away we go ~ ~ ~ ~

If you want me to stop, ignore me and I’ll go away and start discussing horticulture and piss off the geeks and old ladies.

I got a few emails after my inaugural effort and I also followed the threads on the boards which discussed what I had to say, albeit briefly. There are a few things I’d like to address as follow-up/clarification.

The first thing involves a passionate email that came from the only person I guess I wasn’t fair to. I said at the top of this that I wanted to present an unbiased opinion and I did not give Ernie Todd a fair shake. I am publicly apologizing but will take this opportunity to write what I should have the first time, minus the generalizations.

I made claims that Ernie’s tours were not what he claims them to be and questioned his integrity due to what I stated was “empty hype” or “broken promises”.

To stand back and look at this subject in an “unbiased” way can be difficult. Being part of the local picture inevitably means you at some point get rubbed wrong by Ernie. In fairness, it is his promotion and his money that is putting you in the ring and whenever you work at a job you do as the boss asks or you leave. When you agree to work one of Ernie’s shows, or tours, by now everyone knows that you are agreeing to do things Ernie’s way. Barebones - there is nothing wrong with that. If you accept a job at Domo, you’ll have to wear that ugly fucking jumpsuit. You know it going in. If you don’t wanna wear it, you don’t work there.

As a fan, and we all are or we wouldn’t care, you always want to believe when a promoter promises a “big/huge announcement”. Andrew is announcing it for his next show. Bobby said there would be one at Doubles this Saturday. Ernie has had a string of promises, hype, or whatever you want to call it that hasn’t panned out. His TV, Internet TV, Jeff Jarrett, Sabu, Ring Warriors, etc, etc. With Sabu, I definitely cannot fault Ernie. I know it was in good faith. When it happened I think it was a pretty big thing all across North America and gained quite a bit of attention, and not just from Ernie raising a stink.

Honestly, I think Ernie’s main problem in the past has been that whenever he had something on the go that could be a “big thing” he just had a hard time keeping it quiet until all the pieces were in place. I think Ernie gets excited. I think people get under his skin. Then he lets the cat out of the bag as an “in-your-face” type thing and it blows up when it doesn’t pan out.

One thing I have noticed is that since he has seemingly dropped out of the Internet bullshit slinging, he seems to be doing well. In his email he corrected my written blunder. According to Ernie he has been quite busy this year and the dates listed as “private functions” and “TBAs” have either happened or are being booked. I am assuming it to be fact therefore quoting the number of paid shows at 16 so far should not anger him. I’m not copy/pasting an email here.

If I were to do some quick math, totally lowballing numbers:

1 show @ $2500
Minus 6 guys@ $100

That would leave a total of $1900 x 16 = $30,400. Let us not forget that any and all expenses count toward tax deductions. You can legally deduct pretty much everything if you have a good accountant. I am also assuming my numbers are low but this would place the CWF in a pretty good profit situation. It would also lend a lot of support as to why Ernie doesn’t bother bringing in names at thousands per shot. It would also make him, based on revenue, the most successful promotion.

The other thing is that listing things as “private function” might not be a bad thing. Ernie said it is his client’s wishes but if it were me, and knowing how everyone locally likes to fuck with yer stuff, I wouldn’t mind keeping my clientele list private either. The only thing that sucks about that is I wonder if wrestling historian extraordinaire Vern May is getting these shows for his lists? It could end up being a chunk of history that we will forever be in search of like the Holy Grail. Dan Brown’s offspring will write a novel about it. Steve Yohe’s great-grandson will take a trip to Winnipeg and discover a dusty old record book under an 80’s LJN Hulkster doll in the basement of a rundown bi-level crackhouse in Central Winnipeg (formerly known as Amber Trails). For some reason the page listing the Todd-Severn match results is stuck together…..

Ernie has found his niche. Ernie is the President of the oldest governing body in wrestling history. I’d like that position even if it doesn’t mean as much as it once did. I’m honestly a mark for that. Even if the NWA is nothing close to what it once was there are still a lot of people who respect its heritage and even many who respect where it is at now. Ernie has dropped off the radar and seems to want it that way. I am only assuming this but I will respect it and I will not discuss the CWF or Ernie Todd unless he re-enters the local landscape. One thing I will add is that I think when Ernie throws his 10th anniversary show it would be interesting to see it be a big deal whether you personally hate Ernie or not.

The other thing I discussed that got a response was the positioning of Shane Madison as the “base” of AWE.

The one thing I will say is that it is too bad that Madison does not want to work full time. I think he is the perfect guy that once established could have a good run as a top guy against all sorts of independent talent. Andrew stated on the PCW website (rib) “Madison is a capable guy to have as the centre piece of AWE”. I fully agree. My point was that if they were going to go with Madison, bringing guys like Mr. Ass to oppose him was not wise due to the size difference. They should protect him by placing him with guys who make him look big and guys who can carry him (not meant as a negative) to incredible matches. I think Madison should be the guy. There are intelligent ways to establish him as the top guy without facing a “name”. Since Madison is seemingly not in it for the long haul as an on-air personality, my point is moot. I wish it wasn't.

Feel free to email or discuss. Also send me your links if they are not listed.

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Monday, March 21, 2005 - General Observations and Opinions to start.

“The Action Wrestling Entertainment PPV taping on 3/11 in Winnipeg drew 1200 fans. The major names on the show were Billy Gunn, Jim Duggan, Rikishi and Jamie Noble.”
Wrestling Observer Newsletter - March 21, 2005

That was pretty much the extent of the coverage in the major industry trade. Big wave in Winnipeg, not much notice given anywhere else. It isn’t a knock, just an observation and it isn’t surprising as at this point AWE is pretty low on the food chain of the big picture.

AWE held the “big show” just over a week ago. I’m taking a wait and see approach to most of it and wonder how long it will last and/or what success they will generate. I anticipate at least two PPVs, maybe four but I think it will end there. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if I’m wrong. I think it’s great what they’ve done to this point but little cash flow has a way of putting an end to this type of venture.

Good press, good attendance, name wrestlers and another taping slated for PPV. The upside would be a local company with national (international?) exposure. The downside would be a crash and burn with Jeff Dyck becoming the next “mark” turned promoter while Davidson putters around looking for his next big idea. That might not be a bad thing either considering he (Dyck) seemed to have draw more corporate support than any other wrestling a show in recent memory.

The one thing missing from local wrestling was someone who understood “business” not understood “the business”. I think the one thing that holds wrestling as an industry back is that the people in it often think they know it all and there is no reason to bring outsiders in unless they payroll the strokefest. I think “Johnny Millions” had the right idea. He was seemingly being a dickhead in many ways but he knew how to pull in the reigns. I think he likely just realized that at that time the industry was dying. Recently there has been a slight resurgence (in North America) but nothing that could be considered a pre-boom.

They seem to have a good production team in place. Scott has been floating around for awhile. On the Media Circus website there is a TRCW clip which looks average, nothing special and I’m not sure where that was ever used. I don’t recall Bobby being in the running for TV at anytime unless maybe it was in Brandon. There were shots of the Bulldog in there so maybe it was Brandon cable? When I first went to their website there was also a clip for “Warpath Wrestling”. With that name I assume that is Nelson Mayer, but the clip is gone for some reason. They also list “Canadian Wrestling Federation- Live Event Production” so I guess they had some involvement with the CWF pilot which was pretty good production –wise. In short, these guys obviously bring the mix of wrestling knowledge and business knowledge to the table so it should be a good combination.

When it comes to the actual AWE product, I don’t think Madison is who they should build around if the first show can be an indication of where they’re going. It’s not professional jealously. Let me explain. He is too short to be pushed as a heavyweight if they are going to bring in names like Billy Gunn to oppose him. Billy is huge. If Madison is the one, Mike should be thinking about names that don’t make Madison look like a “white midget” who happens to have a tan. Mike should pay more attention to the size of the guys in the ring with Madison. The ref, the ring announcer, his partners in tags, etc. When they first appeared on A-Channel back in January Mike looked bigger than Madison.

If AWE is going to bet the bank on Madison they need to protect him. If he had faced Noble it would have done more to build him. Noble is probably too small for the role but Madison would need someone slightly smaller with the ability to bring a great match out of him. Noble could likely make him look incredible in the ring, as well as make him look big. Sure he pulled a great match out of Woody but that match should’ve opened the card and the night should’ve been built around Madison vs Gibson. It would’ve done more than a throw away tag that was disjointed in the whole lead-up & execution.

Speaking of the tag, I think Spyder’s showing at the AWE show really exposed him as being all hype. I remember watching him during his hardcore stage and thinking he was great at what he was doing. Then he started to become a “serious wrestler” when everyone left for TRCW and it was pretty obvious then that he had a way to go. But it was indy and everyone is like that, right? He traveled, got the big top push from Ernie, lotsa NWA stuff, and was really starting to look good. This time out he seemed awkward in the ring and you can tell he hasn’t worked much in the last year or two. Don’t get me wrong. Spyder is a great guy and seems to (at times) have a real heart for the business but he needs to take a step back and maybe get in front of a crowd more often. Given his size & presence he could be a good nemesis for Madison and wouldn’t break the bank ifd promoted properly. Spyder would probably be best suited to have a manager to do the promos and believe it or not I think Ernie should do that. He’s annoying as hell but he can talk pretty good. I assume he’d be better if given direction and a storyline to bite into.

Is Ernie even promoting anymore? His site always lists shows but it is always “private functions” or “TBA”. We all know his ten listed dates on a tour usually turns out to be 2-3 tops.

His site says he is planning a big 10th anniversary show. I can’t believe he’s lasted this long but when you consider his top success period (2000-2001) and where he is now I guess the level he is at is no surprise. The King of Empty Hype and Broken Promises. Whatever happened to his TV, or Internet TV? Where are all the TNA stars he promised? Kind of shows how much the NWA has been diminished when you think that as President of the NWA he is in the same position previously held by Geigel, Crockett, Tunney, Muchnick, Von Erich, & Eddie Graham. Can you imagine Ernie sitting at a table with these guys and Vince Sr.?

I’m never really sure what to think of Wayne. His crew usually consists of the bottom feeders and under-trained. Add under-aged to that list and it should round out most of the crew. Right? He gets a good deal of press which some argue could cause more harm than good to the business as a whole. If casuals go to see an RCW show they get treated to a hokey, but usually entertaining show. They must think that is all there is to wrestling in Winnipeg, right? The quality of the matches, gear, and just about everything screams bush league and Wayne excuses these shortcomings by admitting them and not claiming to be anything other than that. It is really a hard call. RCW shows are generally fun. The crowd, even when there is press and a couple hundred people seem to be mostly regulars and kids who wouldn’t know the difference.

Then vets like Jewel, Mike Stone, Bobby, etc have no problem throwing themselves in the mix.

Sometimes I think if Wayne had the resources and crew that PCW or AWE had/have, he could out-do everyone.

Well, that’s all for now. I haven’t touched on PCW, RME, or a few others but I will next time.

 


   
 
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