Monday, September 30, 2013
Has it really been that long? Was the last thing I wrote on this blog a full report on last year's Wrestlemania event? Have I not had a clear thought or interest in the world of pro wrestling since then?
Did I need to re-introduce myself to the industry again with a clearer sense - one not tainted by the bitter taste of swallowing "sports entertainment"? Was it time for me to let go of a thirty-plus year intimate and loyal relationship that I had with psychology, or did I need to sell my soul to the devil and realize that at the end of the day, the profits of the almighty dollar spoke in a much louder and deafening tone that artistic value and tradition?
Was it time for me to evolve emotionally and intellectually? Did I need to jump on the train for the greater good? After all, as a former promoter myself, isn't success measured by growth of the product?
Was it time for me to conform and play by the NEW rules of the game? Was it time for me to realize that we were now in 2013 and not in 1985? Shouldn't I be embracing the WWE's trail-blazing accomplishments in achieving the impossible and turning itself in to a multi-billion dollar empire when everyone said it couldn't be done?
Maybe it was time for me to realize my place in the business, ... or lack of.
Maybe it was time to look in the mirror and realize that I wasn't the same person I was when I broke into the business in 1992. Maybe the reality needed to set in that the last time I ran my own show was in the beginning of 2007. Perhaps it was hard to swallow the pill that MY best days in this business - whether it be meetings in the WWE offices, writing for the "Apter Mags", working behind-the-scenes in WCW, pioneering the first ever interactive pro wrestling radio and television show, "...And Justice For Brawl", or trying to help TNA Wrestling grow an audience as booker of a small northeast promotion called NWA Cyberspace - were far behind me?
Maybe I looked out into the independent circuit and realized that I don't recognize any of these names anymore, and none of them have any clue who I am. After 20 years in this business, my friends are few and far between, and my credentials are as old as the paper it's written on. I can walk into any indy show and not a single person will know my name or any of my accomplishments. They have no idea the years of experiences I carry with me, as I'm just another blurred face in the crowd.
How does this old school guy stay relevant today? A guy who broke in at a time where he helped protect kayfabe. A guy who earned his stripes the hard way, long before the technological and social media age - when business was conducted by talking and sealed with a handshake. When the strength of your networking abilities and passionate work ethic determined how far you could go in this business. When only a few and chosen were invited to be a part of the "secret society".
Maybe it's time for this guy to move on? Sit back and enjoy the show for what it is...and I have. I've watched it through the eyes of my seven-year old son. I see his passion for it. I wrestle with him on the floor and see glimmers of myself at his age. My dream come true was never to work for the WWE, but to share those moments with my own kid.
But as he gets older, he gets more curious. He hears the stories. He hears people refer to me as "DieHard". He finds the old photos. The scripts, the tapes, the articles, ... the WORK I put into the business. Not only does he want to know about those days that I worked with the n.W.o., but more importantly to him, he wants to know why I don't do it anymore.
And I really don't have an answer. Did I really walk away? Did the business use me for all it could and spit me out like so many other forgotten names and legacies? Did I run out of places to go, or money to throw away on an event where it would be impossible to even fathom breaking even? Why do I no longer have a relationship in a business where I dedicated 20 years of my life?
Because in reality, just as Vince Russo warned me on so many occasions, there is NO FUTURE in pro wrestling.
How many indy workers have you seen that should be on TV and aren't? How many talents gone to complete waste? How many workers who have lost their true perception of reality thinking that one day they'll get "the call"? They hold onto that dream forever and refuse to let it go, meanwhile they've lived an entire life in denial. And for anyone who knows me, knows I'm the last person to tell anyone to stop chasing their dreams. I'm the poster-boy for never giving up. After all, where do you think the name "DieHard" came from?
But this is the pro wrestling business, and the only reason anybody spends their life chasing this dream is because they are in a fucking coma! It will NEVER happen. It breaks my heart to see so many talented guys and girls working on getting noticed for a business where nobody is looking. Try-out camps have become a part of the business. When the fuck have you ever heard of "sport" who takes money from prospects just to get looked at? This isn't a real sport where you have 30 teams in a league, and the minors, with high school and college scholarships. There's ONE team with a small roster, and it's a traveling circus. And if you don't make that ONE team, then all your hopes and dreams have died in an instant. And I say one team, because the other one is doing so financially bad, they might be out of business by the time this little rant is posted.
Holy shit, I really wasn't planning on writing this much...
Long story short, I don't hate the business nor what it has become. I miss it, but I understand it... NOW, I "get it". But it's been a really long time since I wanted to work for the business. I've been there, and done that. Yet I've recently realized, that my new goal is... having the business work for ME!
There may only be one team to play for, but there are always going to be millions of fans to entertain.
I don't have a full plan yet, and anything I do is going to be treated like my "side bitch". This business doesn't deserve my full dedication anymore. I've already given it 20 of the best years of my life. But the next time my son asks me about my involvement in the wrestling business... I'm gonna have a much better answer for him.