AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
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Now, more on last week’s topics.
A bill that would revamp the section of the Georgia code related to pro wrestling was introduced in the Georgia Senate on February 6. The legislative action comes only days before the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission meets to reconsider the controversial wrestling regulations proposed in November, which has resulted in statements from numerous independent promoters that they would close their doors in Georgia.
Additionally, WWE has stated that if the regulations are enacted they will not run shows in Georgia; potentially costing the state of Georgia almost $2 million in tax revenue (WWE figures from 2007 shows).
Senate Bill 413, sponsored by Eric Johnson, President Pro Tem of the Senate, appears to be daring WWE to do just that, as the bill specifically removes the provision in current regulations that exempts World Wrestling Entertainment.
Johnson’s legislation would specifically give the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Committee authority under the Georgia code to impose regulations including the following:
A commission approved physician at ringside for every show at the promoterâ€™s expense.
An ambulance available on site throughout the show.
A 5% tax on gate receipts.
$1,000 licensure fee for all promoters.
Up to $1,000 permit fee per show.
A commission appointed inspector at every wrestling show.
Medical clearance by the physician for all wrestlers.
Mandatory drug tests if the physician suspects that a wrestler is under the influence.
A requirement of a $50,000 surety bond for all promoters.The proposed bill DOES remove the provisions in the initial Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Committee regulations regarding pro wrestling matches that treated them as if legitimate athletic events.
As a wrestling fan, you need to contact Kelly Farr, Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission Executive Director at [email protected], and let him know that as a wrestling fan, you do not want regulations implemented that will kill the business you enjoy within his state.
Tell him that if any regulations are to be implemented, they should be the version that promoters have worked on so that the business can be regulated, but in a way that will allow promoters to continue to do business in Georgia, including WWE.
Here’s an update on the CHIKARA Pro Wrestling King of Trios…which is very definitely, the ‘good’ of our column:
CHIKARA Pro Wrestling presents a weekend of trios madness beginning Friday night, February 29th, and continuing on both Saturday, March 1st, and Sunday afternoon, March 2nd. Half of the participating teams will wrestle on Night 1, the other half on Night 2, and the survivors will clash on Night 3. All three days of the tournament will be hosted at the New Alhambra (the former ECW Arena) in South Philadelphia.
Here’s an updated list of participants:
The Colony (Fire Ant, Soldier Ant, and Worker Ant)
F.I.S.T. (Gran Akuma, Chuck Taylor, and Icarus)
The Golden Trio (Incoherence, and Helios)
The Order of the Neo Solar Temple (UltraMantis Black, Hydra, and Crossbones)
The Fabulous Three (Mitch Ryder, Larry Sweeney, and Shayne Hawke)
Tim Donst, Drew Gulak and Andy Sumner
The BLK Out (Eddie Kingston, Sabian, and Joker)
The Osirian Portal (Ophidian, Mecha Mummy, Amasis, the Funky Pharoah)From NWA Upstate
Brodie Lee & The Olsen Twins (Jimmy Olsen & Colin Olsen)From Ring of Honor:
ROH Grads (Shane Hagadorn, Alex Payne, and Rhett Titus)
Sweet n’ Sour, Inc. (Tank Toland & Bobby Dempsey & Sara Del Rey)From IWA and CZW:
Naptown Dragons (Drake Younger & Dustin Lee & Scotty Vortekz)
From Elite Professional Wrestling:
The Soul Touchaz (Acid Jaz, Willie Richardson, and Marshe Rockett with C-Red)From Minneapolis’s F1rst Wrestling:
Team F1rst Wrestling (Arik Cannon, and The North Star Express)From Hawaii’s Action Zone Wrestling:
Team AZW (AkuA and The Immortals)From the UK:
Team IPW:UK (Martin Stone and The Kartel of Sha Samuels and Terry Frazier)From Canada:
Team BSE (Super Xtremo, Kobra Kai, and La Sombra Canadienese)
Team IWS (El Generico, and Super Smash Bros.)From Memphis:
The Southern Saints (Shawn Reed, Marcus O’Neil, and Chris Styles)From WWF’s past:
Team WWF (Demolition Ax, Demolition Smash, and One Man Gang)From Japan independents:
Team Japan (KUDO, MIYAWAKI, SUSUMU)
Team El Dorado (Mototsugu Shimizu, Go, and Michael Nakazawa)From Kaiju Big Battle:
Kaiju’s Sea Amigos( Call-me-Kevin, D.W. Cycloptopuss III, Unibouzu)From Mexico:
Las Chivas Rayadas (Chiva II/Chiva III/Chiva IV)
Los Luchadores de Mexico: Lince Dorado/El Pantera/IncognitoTickets are available online at the CHIKARA US online store, CHIKARA international online store.
Saturday’s events will also feature an afternoon fan conclave, with tickets $5.00 each, ONLY sold at the door. The event consists of separate autograph sessions with the Technicos and Rudos, a 30 minute Q&A session, and an opportunity to play Fire Pro R with the ‘CHIKARA company Playstation’ hooked to the ECW/New Alhamabra Arenatron.
To repeat my concluding remarks from last week, independent promoters are under pressure to survive from all sides, from MMA, other forms of entertainment, online and home videogaming, and State athletic regulating agencies (and now Georgia state legislators). Independent wrestlers struggle to make a living from the craft they love. More than a few go home from a show after driving hundreds of miles with nothing more than a thank you and and empty pay envelope.
At the same time, many of you write to me and post hundreds of messages on message boards bitching about Vince McMahon and WWE or Dixie Carter and TNA.
Well, if you want an alternative to WWE or TNA, its time to put your time and your money where your mouth is. In Georgia, you soon may not even have THAT option. If you don’t put your time and your money where your mouth is, more independent promotions will disappear…even your favorite ones. Hell, even Ring of Honor has had to make cutbacks in talent fly-ins for the coming year. If that doesn’t drive the point home to you, I don’t know what will.
When a State Athletic Commission tries to implement regulations that will shut the doors of promotions, do something about it. E-mail, call, and raise hell.
Think it doesn’t help? When enough people bitched to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission and the Pennsylvania Governor’s office two years ago about the blatant hypocrisy of allowing Vince McMahon to advertise a No Way Out barbed wire match (at that time illegal in Pennsylvania), but banning CZW and others from running the same matches, something was done about it.
When CHIKARA puts on a weekend in Philadelphia like King of Trios, get your ass in a car, your friend’s car, or carpool with someone you don’t know except for a message board (CHIKARA’s message board to start asking around is at CHIKARAFans.com). Save a few bucks and fly in (Southwest Airlines and other low-cost airlines fly to Philadelphia), take a Greyhound bus, ride a bicycle, or use whatever means you have to, in order to get to the ECW/New Alhambra Arena on February 29.
Don’t tell me ‘you’re busy’. Don’t tell me it’s ‘not your type of promotion’. Save your money far enough in advance to get to at least one of the weekend’s shows. If you don’t come to one or more shows at a weekend like this and make this King of Trios tournament profitable for CHIKARA, such a weekend won’t happen again.
Until next time…
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