Grab some popcorn and get ready for another edition of “Wayne’s World”. After traveling to so many different regions and meeting guys and girls with different backgrounds, I’ve come to the conclusion that pro wrestling is as hot as it’s ever been…just on a different scale.
As a kid, I would sit upstairs at the Mid-South Coliseum with Jerry Jarrett and others, watching the matches in front of several thousand wild fans. It was more than a decade after the weekly sell outs but business was still booming in the early 90s. It was around this time, that the business was evolving. ECW was becoming a big deal and Memphis was soon to have Kurt Angle, the Rock and others come through before becoming megastars. Depending on who you ask, the business was falling apart though. It’s been this way for years, one generation remembers how it was when they started and the next generation has their own ideas of what it could be. The weird part, is neither generation is wrong on how they feel.
There was a time when tv ratings and viewership was the main indication of success. Sure, house shows and main towns needed to draw, as well. But companies based which towns to run on the numbers their tv did in that market. This was the tv era and arguably the hottest wrestling has ever or will ever be. Stars were being created before our very eyes and everyone was making a real living. My grandfather bought a brand new Cadillac and paid cash, just from one week’s worth of business! This is the era that many of today’s purists refer to as the right way and only way that pro wrestling should be presented. It was an era of tough guys that for one reason or another only fit in to the wild and crazy world of pro wrestling. Could you imagine Bruiser Brody, Missing Link, or the Fargos doing anything else?! Like anything, this would all change.
Like tv, radio, movies and music.. everything changes. The foundation of pro wrestling is still apparent in most situations- a technical contest or fight between trained athletes. What has changed the most during this “evolution” is the presentation of pro wrestling. There was a time when pro wrestling was meant to be as realistic as possible and anything else was frowned upon. There was also a time when Tv ratings were the most important thing to a company(i.e. “Monday night wars”) Over the years, and with the internet and social media being so dominant, this has changed as much as anything else. This isn’t to say that ratings don’t matter, but there are now multiple avenues to view pro wrestling than tv alone. There are also now multiple brands of pro wrestling than ever before. With these different brands naturally come different styles of something as old as time. Cause ya know the Romans wrestled naked, maybe we should go back to that model..
The best part about pro wrestling today is that there are big shows and small shows every single day of the week. Most of these companies have a great online following so whether there are 50 paid fans or 5000, there is more of a reason than ever to stand apart from the next person. Decades ago, not everyone could claim they were a pro wrestler and now, anyone can be trained and find a place to wrestle. This means good and bad things for wrestling purists. In most cases, the new generation is likely poorly trained, through no fault of their own. After all, pro wrestling is fake and easy…anyone can teach how to do it. That’s why we all have to learn more patience with these type of guys because they have to learn. The way this business was is gone. It won’t come back because the next generation is different from the guys and girls before them. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a fact of evolution. The best part, poorly trained or not, is the generation of guys and girls willing to do anything to be taken seriously. Whether it’s crazy and "uncalled for" spots or driving insane miles just for an opportunity…most of them WANT to be successful.
Success means different things to different people. Today’s society has created stars out of nothing(cash me ousside, how bout dat?!) So why expect anything less from pro wrestling? Whether it’s in front of thousands and someone is getting dick flipped or it’s in front of dozens and it’s a crazy bump. Why does it matter? The purpose of pro wrestling is to entertain the people that pay to sit or stand and react to what they find entertaining. Pro wrestling today can be absolutely as serious or comedic as we want. It can be in a small packed bar on a Sunday or in a big venue with lights and fancy sets. That’s what makes pro wrestling so incredible! It’s one thing that can unite everyone of all races, sex, and lifestyles. After all, where else will you hear a “He sucks dick” chant followed by “Equal rights”?
Follow Eric Wayne on Twitter @MrWatchTheLeft for updates and for booking information e-mail BookEricNow@gmail.com