WWE Politics on McDonald's Salary
Life on the Independent Circuit
August 25, 2005 by Kevin K.
Life often imitates art. Such is true for professional wrestling. Even if business is down, WWE and TNA put on the best sport or entertainment (however you view it) in the world. Unfortunately, many small independent promotions strive to put on a show of that calibre expecting similar success. It is amazing to me how the independent business is. I am writing this to let any fan or anyone reading this knows how it is to be a mid-card independent performer.
Let me expand on my story. I have been an independent wrestler for about 2 years. I received training at a school that is not run by a former superstar or with a $6,000.00 price tag. I received training for a moderate $1,000.00. I feel I was trained very old-school and basic (in a good way). The focus was on protecting your opponent and giving the crowd what they wanted to see, for their money. NEVER BREAKING KAYFABE OMG !!! I am not a full-time pro wrestler. On a good month, I will have about 6 bookings on weekends as I two other full time and part-time jobs during the week. My goal is to one day to be able to make a living wrestling, but I am no where near that level. I have never won a belt or been in the main event. I had the privilege of working a match with D-Ray 3000 and gotten squashed by The Warlord. Very moderate accomplishments but more then I ever thought I would obtain growing up as a fan. I by no means claim to be a superstar just an average worker with a big passion for learning the business. Just letting you know my prospective.
When I started training I was told there was probably as much politics in an independent promotion as there was in the WWE. I laughed thinking it was impossible. Let me tell you, nothing can be further from the truth. Promoters will book stars then pull them off the card if the ticket sales are down. Fans are left asking you at intermission..."Hey is So & So here... Look at this sign I made for them... it took me 2 hours" or "Man, I drove 5 hours to see So & So... when are they coming out"" I am a fan myself and always will be. How can you look this people in the face and tell them, "Hey your Hero isn't here". But promoters don't care because "Well it says card subject to change does it not". Promoters will cut you from their shows and tell you to your face your body isn't toned enough to work in my promotion when their cousin / brother / friend is 40 lbs. heavier then you are.
Established stars will come in for huge price tags, show up late / drunk / high, complain about the finish, worry more about selling gimmicks then getting the show over with the fans, have a 5 minute match, only speak to the rookies if they want to score some drugs, and leave complaining they only made $1,400.00.
Maybe my outlook will change when I get a name made for myself, but you think when you have been off national television for 4 or 5 years and people are still paying their hard earned money to see you wrestle you would be a tad more professional or appreciative. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of very professional legends / names I have met that go out of their way to make someone or the show look good. Shark Boy once told me "If the crowd is only 20 people, I make sure my bumps harder and I do more in the ring because I don't want other wrestlers to expect me to hot dog it out there and I want to proof I work my butt off no matter what". That is something that will always stick with me as long as I live. But others make me think twice about wanting to make it big for fear someone will see me in that same light some day. The worse thing is you get guys who see the established stars attitudes and think they can act that way.
You would be amazed at the amount of independent workers who think that is the way to act in this business. I have seen guys who have been in as long as I have walk off a show when they were suppose to have a feature match against a former WWE Superstar because the crowd was only 30 people. I have wrestled 4 times in front of 12 people. No not 4 separate times, 4 matches in front of the same 12 people on the same day...and it wasn't a backyard show. Two weeks before that the same promotions drew 400 so it was a professional company. Nevertheless, EGO-MANIA runs wild brother!!! I have friends who introduce themselves to other wrestlers girlfriends or family as their gimmick name or always refer to themselves in third person narrative. A good example is once I wrestled a gentleman who had his friend as his manager because he had just started training about a month ago. After the match, the friend came up to me asking me about how his interference spots were, were they ok, and thanked me for the opportunity. A few months later, they were the tag champs of their trainer's promotions. I was booked on the same show and the friend who only a few months earlier treated me like I was some sort of saint, told me that I was dressing in Locker Room #1 and he was dressing in Locker Room #2. To make a long story short he told me in a nice way it was because Locker Room #2 is where the stars dress and the jobbers dress in #1.
It might sound like I am venting but I am not. I am very happy with my status in wrestling right now and look forward to advancing my career step by step. I want to see professional wrestling reach an apex of success again and I want to be part of that. The fans have to be first priority and leaving egos and personal problems at the door. I believe I have a unique perspective I want to share with good fans like the ones here on OWW.
Please leave responses if you would like to hear some more stories and commentary from my unique perspective.
by Kevin K. ..
Just wanted to say thanks to Kevin K. for a well written, interetsing and
informative article. Made a refreshing change to read about the reality of
being an independant worker. Its a real shame some wrestlers behave like
this, but I guess to some extent its inevitable. In any walk of life people
are going to look up to and choose role models from the most successful people
in the business and if the stablished WWE/F stars behave egotistically, its an
unfortunate fact of life that many others will imitate them because they see
that as the way to get noticed. Lets hope we end up in the future with a
generation of Chris Benoits and Kurt Angles rather than hundreds of Hulk
Hogans and Shawn Micheals! Anyway, thanks again for a great article, would
love to hear more stories from the circuit and best of luck with your future
wow. this is a great article man. i cant believe so much goes on backstage, and on independent promotions! this wrestling business sounds crazy man. well hopefully one day you'll be in the wwe or in tna or roh, good luck w/ the career!
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