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Monday, April 12, 2010

One thing I'll never understand about wrestling fans...

...is why they go to shows and simply sit on their hands.

To wit: This past Saturday night, I went to the debut show of the Power Wrestling Federation in Bridgeport, CT. A buddy of mine, who has a usual group of 6-8 guys that watch WWE pay-per-views together and go to random local independent shows, recruited me for the trip.

Now, being the journalist that I am, shows like this rarely faze me. At the risk of sounding jaded or arrogant, I get how the business works. As opposed to “bigger” or more regional indies, shows like the one I went to are always the same: a handful of green rookies and part-time guys who love the business (and want to be a part of it) mixed in with a handful of “names” who have a symbiotic relationship with the indies—the promoter has the paycheck they want/need to keep their career alive, while they have the name the promoter wants/needs to draw in a crowd.

It’s the wrestling equivalent of, say, single-A baseball; 75% of the guys you see won't ever make it any further, but love the game too much to quit.

I, personally, go to these shows to have fun. Sure, I’m “wise” to the business, but in essence, it’s also a good reminder that just about every great in the industry started their career in a spot like this—and as guys like Matt Borne and Danny Doring show, many who never reached those heights still do these shows to hold on to the one thing they love doing.

So we went, and there were good moments, bad moments, and funny moments—the latter mostly courtesy of guys like Doring and Borne who get the psychology of wrestling—but you’d never know it.

Why? Because of the 100 or so people at the Shehan Center, about 15 of us made nay noise at anything all night…and outside of my group, the other handful that seemed to care we quickly pegged as people who know and/or are related to at least one of the guys on the show.

Sure, there wasn’t anything on the card that really classified as must see wrestling (unless you’re attracted to Daffney or particularly enjoy Abyss). And yes, because it was the first show, there were bound to be guys who nobody but their mothers had ever heard of.

But did I really sit there and watch almost the entire crowd not pop for a single thing until the main event?

As confirmed by my friends, I did. So my question, then, is if that's going to be how you spend your night, why bother going?

Guys like Smith James, Mike Magnum, and “The Fabulous One” Flames (who oddly looked a lot like a grown-up version of a dude I worked with at my first job in 1996) may not be and may never be household names.

And sure, Matt Borne may be well past his prime, Danny Doring may never have had a prime and the “Monster’s Ball” Match was less hardcore than your average Black Friday line at Best Buy.

But for those first three—who fought Doring, Amazing Red and Abyss respectively—these matches may be the highlight of their career. I’m sure that at least a few of them watched Danny Doring on TV when he and Roadkill were the ECW tag team champions, or grew up hating clowns because of what Doink did to Crush at WrestleMania IX.

They obviously have passion for the business and are living their dream…but I’d imagine it’s hard to maintain that passion when your dream turns into a nightmare in front of 100 people who might as well have been at a funeral.

Those guys may never get to step foot in Madison Square Garden without a ticket, or experience even an atmosphere like the iMPACT! Zone. A quasi-high school gym in a bad neighborhood might be the best they ever do.

But at least give them that, and give them enough respect to show them your appreciation in some way.

Given what I know, I can explain away almost every psychological pitfall from that show within reason…except that one.

PWF returns to Bridgeport on June 5, with Chris Daniels as the headliner. If you’re in the area and go to that show (or go to any very small indy show in your own local area), please, I beg you, prove me wrong.

At the very least, the boys will appreciate it.

-Louie Dee
Contributing Writer

6 comments:

Pro Wrestling Illustrated said...

I think a lot of the younger fans who are going to their first small indy show are underwhelmed. They see the small building, which probably looks just like their school auditorium, not the Wachovia Center or MSG, two rows of folding chairs set up around the ring, a lot of talent cavorting with fans before the show. I think those elements all add up to a disappointing experience that can affect a crowd. As you said, being "wise" to the business, i'll "pop" for some things, out of respect for the boys (or girls), but little kids who know only what they see on Monday nights, have no clue what a hot or dead crowd means to a show, nor should they be expected to. The talent needs to give them something to pop for-beyond throwing out fuschia glow sticks to the crowd.
Frank Krewda
Editor-In-Cheif

Pro Wrestling Illustrated said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pro Wrestling Illustrated said...

It's one thing to have a dead crowd at a small indy show; what about WrestleMania?

Once the wrestlers made their entrances and the music stopped, the fans (at least those visible on camera) looked like they were from the cast of "Night Of The Living Dead."

Which brings to mind this trivia question: What wrestling personality appeared in the horror classic "Night Of The Living Dead"?

Stu Saks

J\/\/ said...

That would be none other than Chilly Billy himself, Bill Cardille.

Pro Wrestling Illustrated said...

Good job, JW!

Please send your email address to pwi@kappapublishing.com

(No, there is no prize!)

Stu

wrestling schedule said...

Interesting.. but really i never be a dead crowd:)