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AS I SEE IT – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

The “bad” comes from this adventure in independent wrestling out of Tennessee, sent to me by “Mad Conservative Crimefighter”. I can’t even embellish this, so I’ll let it speak for itself:

“‘In yet another one of those ‘only in Indy wrestling’ stories, officials of a wrestling company based out of Spring Hill, TN known as All Star Wrestling are furious with the Facebook pages known as ‘Trash Bag Wrestlers’ and ‘You Are Not Getting Booked” While the page owner of Trash Bag Wrestling is not publicly known, YANGB is owned by promoter Tony Givens of NWA Smoky Mountain.

YANGB has been highlighting the bad and worst on the Indy scene for the past two years, frequently posting links to bad and embarrassingly awful matches online, but also states what won’t get you booked. Givens clearly has been successful over the past ten years, as he has drawn fans in the four-digits to his events recently, and has made available an eBook on promoting wrestling. TBW, inspired by YANGB and started in 2013, has a more narrow focus on the appearances of wrestlers when they step into the ring. The disclaimer on TBW says they aren’t considering one’s ring work, credentials, or character just their gear. The overwhelming majority of the ”talent’ featured on the TBW page wear street clothes, don’t have the body of a wrestler, bad promo pics, have really oddball gear that doesn’t make them credible, or costumes brought at Wal-Mart during Halloween. TBW is usually spot on 95% of the time, though they do get it wrong every so often.

ASW was blasted by Givens in late March when they announced in April they were going to hold a ‘non-pro battle royal’ where practically anyone off the street with no training whatsoever could pay $10 to enter it and sign a waiver. They justified this idea by claiming many local organizations including Jeff & Jerry Jarrett held such contests for decades. I’ve found no evidence to verify this outrageous claim however. Fans who read about the idea protested loudly and justifiably so, some wrestlers even entertained the idea of entering the thing undercover to embarrass the promoters. Chandler Anderson defiantly stated though that they needed no one’s approval to do this. It is not known if they actually went through with it.

When members of the ASW roster were featured on the TBW site, Chandler Anderson, who is listed as the general manager of the ASW promotion, started his own FB page in response to the two anti-bad wrestling pages, called oddly enough ‘You Are Not Getting Trash Bagged’. The rational was that TBW was unfairly smearing its talent and YANGB unfairly smearing its promotion. Since I haven’t viewed the talent in question perform in the ring, I cannot judge the skill levels of the talent in question. But the pictures that have been featured on TBW of certain ASW members aren’t exactly stellar. Looking at past show flyers, TNA talent have been brought in to work their shows with the local homegrown roster.

Fans of TBW proceeded to come to the defense of the page, but ASW officials wouldn’t have any of it, and proceeded to delete and block almost EVERY opposing viewpoint on YANGTB’ed. Many have posted well-reasoned, polite statements, but those were deleted as well. ASW officials claimed those who posted opposing views were only deleted and blocked for using foul language, which I can tell you is an outright lie because yours truly was booted for simply posting ‘You Fail.’

The behavior of ASW officials can best be described as overly defensive, self-conscious, and aimlessly offended. Chandler Anderson however, when confronted stubbornly held firm and was completely unapologetic about their actions.

ASW officials say they are gearing up their legal team over the page, but if a lawsuit is ever filed very likely it would be thrown out as completely frivolous. Just ask Bruce Tharpe when he tried suing Jerry Wiseman over his reporting. Frankly, I’m wondering how their legal team would advise them that a holding non-pro battle royal was a smart move. As of right now, the YANGTB page has not been accessible on FB.”

Then, there’s the ugly. Really ugly.

For those who weren’t aware, this past week the Delaware Senate became the 11th state in the United States to legalize marriage equality, allowing for the marriage of gay and lesbian couples.

While I’m a supporter of marriage equality, I understand the strong feelings on the issue. Further, if you know Jay Briscoe and the family apart from the ring, no one would confuse them with being a group of card-carrying liberals. But that’s America and free speech is protected.

However, it’s also said that free speech ends at the other person’s nose.

But this outburst was embarrassing to Ring of Honor, and Sinclair Broadcasting on Twitter should not only embarrass ROH management, but also the whole wrestling industry.

His exact quote, which you can see a screen capture of above:

“The Delaware Senate passed a bill yesterday that allows same sex couples to get married. If that makes you happy, then congratulations!!!!!!

… try and teach my kids that there’s nothing wrong with that and I’ll f#@king shoot you”

It isn’t his first time going off about this issue. He tweeted two years ago, when Ring of Honor held a show in New York City on the same weekend as a Gay Pride event in town this little gem:

“Damn there’s a lot of fags out in New York today #WhatTheF#@k”.

Disagreeing with the Delaware vote is one thing. But threatening violence against those “who teach there’s nothing wrong with that” is another thing altogether.

Jay, if I were your teacher’s child, and discussed about it in a civics class or similar place, I’d teach them that. Wonder if you’d shoot me?

After some hours that day, Ring of Honor issued the following statement regarding the homophobic Tweet by its Champion Jay Briscoe who, after the state of marriage became the 11th state to approve marriage equality; threatened literally to shoot anyone teaching his children that marriage equality was acceptable.

Their statement:

“Ring of Honor Wrestling respects and appreciates every fan regardless of age, gender, race, religion or sexual preference. The recent post by Jay Briscoe does not represent the views or opinions of Ring of Honor Wrestling, its owners, management or employees.”

He has since also taken down his Twitter account.

Ring of Honor indicated Friday that Jay Briscoe will be making apology from the ring for his remarks at the Saturday Ring of Honor house show in suburban Pittsburgh (Belle Vernon), PA.

Briscoe “agreed” to donate his checks for his next two Ring of Honor dates to the Partners Against Hate organization, a collaborative project of the (Jewish) Anti-Defamation League, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, and the Center for Preventing Hate.  Saturday night, Briscoe came out in Belle Vernon, PA before the beginning of the house show started, and apologized for his comments on Twitter.

Briscoe said the redneck character he plays on TV is different from who he really is than Jay Pugh, the real person. he also made the statement that “he doesn’t raise his children to grow up knowing hate”. He claimed responsibility for his actions, knows that he represents Ring of Honor. The COO of Ring of Honor, Joe Koff greeted him afterwards.

This would have meant more had he not made the previous statement 2 year ago. It might have meant a lot more had the apology not sounded written in part from Sinclair Broadcasting. It also might have meant more had Briscoe been required to do some work with LGBT people, or even listen to the stories of LGBT kids who have been bullied, some to the point of attempting suicide. It’s still something he can do on his own. One option would be the It Gets Better project at Itgetsbetter.org.

We’ll end on a happy note: with the good. Michael Morrice from the UK, now a teenager, who I’ve mentioned in this column since 2011, did receive his kidney transplant recently. He also had a birthday, one he shares with me yesterday (May 12).

He’s a kid who is a wrestling fanatic, and has had a large number of UK independent wrestlers, US Indy wrestlers, and occasional WWE talent reach out to him.