Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"The Rise and Fall of RWA" by owner Frank Martin

What happened to the RWA? From the very beginning the RWA was for the workers in this area to have a place to work and display their talents. I told everyone who worked for the RWA that we would take it as far as they wanted to take it. The RWA was started when Handsome Jimmy and one of his students told me that they both thought Jonesboro would support a wrestling promotion. Aaron Polston and I talked and we agreed we would get it started. Aaron thought that he found the building but 6 months prior to that I had talked to Ken Wilson about the building and the diesel shop in it was moving but he did not know when because the person was building his own shop and was renting the building from Ken on a month to month basis. When the building came open Aaron and I moved in. Aaron and Rotten Randy and The Loose Cannon and Tim Daniel's did 90% of the work and I bought all the supplies. Aaron was to book the first show and he wanted to operate the concessions stand. Aaron had a person that promised to back him and get him the money he needed to stock the concession's. The person lied to Aaron and put Aaron and myself in a bad spot. After the first show things did not workout as Aaron wanted and at the time he was not feeling well and he wanted out. I gave him that opportunity and bought what he had in concession's and took it off what he owed me in getting the concessions stand ready. As everyone may know at the time Rik Burton or The Sanfransico Treat was the booker. He did a good job and always put the show first and had story lines in place for 6 weeks at a time. Now Rodney Mack and Jazz were just working for the RWA from week to week. It cost them a bunch to come over from Miss every week and Rodney wanted to start up the Dogg Pound Training School. I allowed Rodney and Jazz to live with my family while they were doing all of this. I allowed Rodney to use the building anytime he wanted to train and to workout. I never charged Rodney any rent or utilities to run the school. I just want to see the RWA and the training school to do well. The rent on the building was 1200 a month and the utilities were running 75 to 100 dollars a month for lights. The first 3 months January and February and March cost me 2500 dollars in gas for heat alone. Insurance was 80 a month and the dumpster was 65 a month and for the first year I spent 100 a week in advertising on the radio. The fliers I printed on my own. At first I paid Rodney and Jazz 300 a week and some of the guys got 20 and some got 30 and the rest got 10 to work. I bought a Gold's Gym weight set and put in a bike and an elliptical machine for the guys to use to work out with. When the workers wanted a belt and felt that the RWA had reached a point that a belt would be used correctly I bought a belt. Rodney approached me about being the booker and stepping up the talent and story lines. Rik then left because of personal reasons. Rodney and Jazz and myself would sit down and start story lines and I would put together the run sheets and would hand them out on Saturday and the show would go on. Rodney came to me later and told me the guy's wanted him to do all the booking and take care of all the wrestling. So I stepped aside and let that happen to a point. There would be 20 guy's in the dressing room and 8 to 10 matches on the card when I would get there on Saturday afternoon. Yes I did step in and tell Rodney to cut out matches and shorten the roster. Running shows from 7 until 10 or 1030 was not something I wanted to do and I watched people walk out of the shows at 9 and 930 because the show was just to long. The guy's did not like it and I really did not care if they did or not. It was my business and I paid the bills so it was my right to tell my booker to take matches off the card and to shorten the roster.

Now Rodney was honest with me and came to me and told the guy's did not like it and did not like me telling him what to do. We talked about it and I told him I would let him run it but keep the payroll down. At this point Rodney and Jazz wanted to move over here after they had the twins. I gave them the money for deposit on their place to live, I gave them a washer and dryer and helped them all I could. Why? Because I wanted to and felt like they wanted to really help the RWA. Rodney wanted to run road shows and I did not, with the economy being what it was and gas prices what they were I just did not see how running road shows within 30 minutes of Jonesboro would help the RWA. I told Rodney to run the shows if he wanted and he could run under my promoter's license. He did and never pulled more than 30 people and shortly stopped the road shows. Everyone wanted to be on TV and I thought it would be a good thing to do so I did what I promised the guy's I put them on TV. That cost me personally 800 dollars a month that I paid out of my pocket every month. At this point Rodney and Jazz came to me and told me they needed more money and we talked and my wife and I paid him another 100 dollars out of our own money. I told him if we did this he would have to do some work besides wrestling so we could show he was working for the company. I asked him to mow my mothers yard for the extra 100 dollars and he agreed to help her because she is a widow and lives alone and Rodney just wanted to help her. That meant a lot to me and he did just that, so at this point he was getting 350 a week because after Jazz stopped wrestling his pay dropped to 250 a week. Now Rodney trained every night except Friday and Sunday either with the guy's or alone just to stay in shape. On Saturday's he would have everyone who wanted to train with him show up at noon and workout until 4 and would charge them their PO for Saturday night. At this point all was going well and I was still putting money in and I understand that it would be 5 years or more before I would see any money out of this investment. So, as far as this point I was just a horrible person to work for according to the guy's now. I mean I can see that, look at what I did. I put a company together for them to work for. Provided an 18 foot ring with 2 inch rubtex padding, real ropes, 30 thousand dollars of lights and sound equipment. Theater style seating for the fans to sit in. Allowed them 24 hour a day 7 day a week access to the building to workout in and asked for so much in return, show up on Saturday night and wrestle. I did not twist anyone's arm to take the amount of pay they took. I did not ask them to give their pay to Rodney to train. That was all their decision's, if they did not like the pay they could have left and went to work in all the places they told me they had to work at.

At this point Rodney and Jazz and I talked about doing PPV's and worked for a company in Texas that was doing this and making money. Rodney thought we had the talent to pull off PPV's and make money so I went to work on doing just that. This brings us up to this point. What happened to bring about an abrupt end to the RWA? Well hear is the truth and you will see I did not handle myself the way I should have and I am to blame for some and others are to blame for the rest.

Keep in mind I own the RWA and I had at this point over 70 grand in equipment and TV and all invested. Now in the meantime Rodney got a contract with the Electric Cowboy to put on wrestling on Monday night's. Rodney brought me the contract and wanted me to sign it. I would not because I did not read it. After reading it I found it to be the standard MMA contract and there were clauses in it that did not apply and would actually be bad if they tried to enforce it on us Rodney assured me it was ok but still I would not sign it until I crossed out all I was not willing to have in a contract and let the manager initial the same places I did. Shortly after this Rodney told me the manager did not want to do business with me because I had a bad reputation. Funny thing is I don't know the manager and the only one I knew was the old manager. I met him when the midgets were there and the Arkansas Athletic Commission asked me to be the commissioner that night and make sure they all had licenses and the 5 % was taken out and sent to them. I did exactly that and the manager thanked me for taking that off his plate and for having the ring there and out so the club could open and dancing could continue. That is the extent of my involvement at the Cowboy I have never been in the place again. Come to find out the manager did not know me and had not said those things but just wanted to do business with Rodney because the manager is a mark. I mean the guy has a WWE belt behind his desk so that was good for Rodney in this case. Rodney also got a job bouncing for the Cowboy. So now DCW is doing the Cowboy show's.

Every time I told Rodney that things had to be done down at the building Rodney always said that is what he and the boy's were there for just ask. When we started to build the railing around the ring Rodney found the particle board for it. I bought the 2x4's and anchor bolts and screws and Rodney and Tim Daniel's worked on it and put it together. Tim would make repairs on the building like lights and moving switches and things like that and I would always' pay him for his work. The Saturday before the blow up Rodney told me the ring was broke and needed to be fixed. He showed me the broken support and I asked him if it was safe for that Saturday night and he assured me it was.

On Wed night myself and a friend who actually built the ring went down to the building and looked over the ring. There was more wrong then just a broken support. As we peeled the canvas back and the padding and wood, we found that all but the outside supports were bowed 3 inches in the middle. This had to be fixed because I felt this would cause more problems and possibly get someone hurt. Now, ask any of the guy's that worked there when Gary Diamond and Mike Austin had the hardcore matches I was the one cleaning up Gary and putting Steristrips to close the cuts and made him go to my house to shower to clean up. If someone got hurt I took care of them and did what I had to do I know the guy's have shoot jobs and I did not want anyone getting hurt or not being able to go to their jobs come Monday morning. I knew I had to replace the steel supports under the ring. I called Rodney that night and told him this." Hey dogg there is more wrong with the ring than just the broke support. The supports in the middle are bowed 3 inches and need to be replaced." Rodney agreed and said if we did not replace them it could cause someone to blow out a knee. That's when I asked this question." I found 20 gimmick chairs that the guy's have thrown under the ring, along with broken wood and crutches and cookie sheets and a mattress and other things. Are you having training that Thursday night?" Rodney said it was a training night. I asked him, "would the guy's mind taking the last row of wood off the ring and cleaning up the chairs and other items under the ring so we can start cutting steel and welding?" His response to me was "that's what we are here for dogg." I told him I would see him at the building and he asked if I could make him a DCW flier and I told him I would. When I came to the building I was driving my f350 diesel truck, it has a triple phase bully dog programmer on it and is set for the sport setting giving me about 450 hp. When I pulled in on the gravel I hit the gas and the truck fished tailed and threw gravel. So the guy's assumed I was upset and or mad I got out of the truck and was running late. I gave Rodney the flier and asked him if it was ok and he said it was great. I walked past J.D. Kerry and went straight to the ring. Ron Rage and Robert Smith and his family were there. Rodney followed me in the arena followed by Kerry. Kerry was the first to say anything seeing the ring tore up. Kerry said what the fuck! Rodney asked me what needs to be done and I told him again take off the last row of wood and clean up under the ring so nothing catches fire and we can cut steel and weld. I went out the front door and got on the phone calling my friend who was coming to weld and fix the ring he was also running late. At this point we were 2 days from a show since it was Thursday night at this point. When I came back in Rodney came to me and said can I talk to you. I said sure and we walked up towards the front door away from everyone. Rodney told me the "guy's said they would not help me, they would do it for him but not for me and they said fuck Frank". I said well I guess then we are out of business because they do work for me I pay them and if they are loyal to you, the RWA is closed. At this point I told Kerry if he didn't want to help fine and he told me the biggest problem was I walked in tonight and did not say hello to him. I said is that what this is all about? I didn't say hello to you? Excuse me for caring more about the fact that you don't have a ring to wrestle in Saturday night. Forgive me for caring about the ring being safe for you to work in Saturday night, that is more important to me then saying hello to you. So you think Fuck Frank no J.D. Fuck you! with out the ring you have no place to work, fuck you J.D. without a place to work you don't have shit! So no not Fuck Frank Fuck You! Yes I lost my cool but having a 16 year old kid say those things to me pissed me off yet as the adult I should have not went off. But I did because I just spent $600 in steel to fix the ring. Not to mention that J.D. Kerry has never paid dues unless you consider practicing paying dues. Rodney ran 6 road shows at this point and on 2 of them Kerry refused to setup or tear down the ring. He has never set up chairs at the arena he has never set up the ring at the arena nor has he ever done any work. I asked him that night "J.D. have I ever asked you to do anything for me? He answered no. I asked him what is the first and only thing I have ever asked you to do to help me in this arena? He said tonight is the first time. So I told Rodney that's it we are closed and Rodney said so that's it fuck Rodney? No I did not say that and I will take care of you. Ron Rage came in during all this and said I don't need this I can work somewhere else Saturday and walked out. J.D. then went off saying I treated the guy's like niggers and treated Rodney as a messenger boy. I asked Rodney right in front of J.D. if I did treat him that way and he said no. J.D. went off saying I treated his parents like shit and made them clean the building even when the new baby they had was at Children's Hospital I called them and demanded they come clean the building. My wife showed up at this point and called J.D. parents and asked them if that happened and they said no J.D. did not know what he was talking about. J.D's parents and grandparents and cousin are the greatest people you would want to meet. His dad Steven help work the door, his mother Jeannie helped in the concession stand, his grandmother also helped in concession We always told them they did not have to do anything but they wanted to help and help J.D. J.D's cousin would stand outside in the cold and in the heat holding a sign for passing cars to see. No one asked him to do that and he never asked for money or anything else he even helped with security. You cannot asked for better people and I am proud to call them my friends. J.D. forgot that on the 4th of July the baby he was talking about his cousin has a lot of problems. On that night the baby quit breathing and was turning blue. The person holding the baby freaked out and threw the baby at me screaming he is not breathing and is turning blue. I took the baby and started to message his chest and got him to start breathing. I held him with his face in the wind so he would get air forced into his nose and mouth to make him take his breath's. I told his mother and J.D.'s mother and grandmother to take the baby to the hospital. The mother did not do this and stayed at the show. The other child they have was dropped on his head on the concrete after the show and they brought him to me to look at. He had bit his tongue and was ok but something told me to tell them to take him to the hospital right now. They did and while they were there the other baby quite breathing again and the Doctors told them if they had not been at the hospital the baby would have died. They shipped the baby to Children's and with every test and when the doctors would talk to the family they would call me and ask me to explain things to them. I did this and did not mind I really care about J.D.s family so all this about me treating them like shit as he said was a shock to me. I say all this to tell everyone I cared about everyone as a person and treated them as good as I could. I have an old van that is the RWA van to carry equipment to road shows. Ron told me the night of the blow up that his wife's car had a problem and stopped running. I told Ron the van is here and it runs just take it and keep it as long as you need. He thanked me and told me it did not sound to bad and he thought he could get the car going. I did the same for Gary Diamond when he was without a car he used the van for 2 months and then returned it. So as for me not caring for the workers I think that I did but maybe I didn't if that's their opinion they have that right. At this point I told J.D. he was fired and I did not want to see him at the building again. J.D. left and as he left he told Ron Rage well I just quit too! Ron said what do you mean you quit too? I did not quit I just said I could find another place to work I did not quit. After Rodney and I talked I told him I tell you what we will replace J.D. and everyone who said they were loyal to you fire them Saturday night and I will open up the check book and bring in anyone you want. Rodney said ok and left to go to work. Robert Smith and his family stayed and cleaned under the ring. Which I greatly appreciated. Robert left with me to go get a 3 ton jack to hold up the supports. I think people need to know I cannot pick up anything over 35lb's. I have a spinal cord stimulator attached to my spinal cord. If I pick up something heavy it could move and cause more damage. Plus I have had 7 hernia's and all of my large intestine removed. So doing a lot of bending and lifting is out. That's why I pay people to do the work that I would normally do.

On the trip to my house Robert Smith who is a sponsor of the R WA told me he wanted to tell me something but just didn't know how. Then he told me he was backing Rodney with the DCW. I told him I knew that and that he would not get his money back. The economy is just so bad that people do not have the disposable income they used to have. He told me he put 300 in the Harrisburg show and 300 in the Newport show and lost it all. They had 22 at the Harrisburg show and 11 paid at Newport. He had 750 in for the Trumann show and I told him at 10 dollars a ticket I just did not see him getting his money back. The first show at the Cowboy had 15 people paid and 3 of them were playing pool.

That Thursday night I txt Rodney and asked him why he did not step in and tell J.D. he was out of line? His response was that J.D. was not out of line he had the right to express his opinion just like everyone else. I told him he did not ,number 1 he is 16 and number 2 he should not even be wrestling he filled out an application and did not put his birthday on it. Rodney then called me and the discussion began. I told Rodney this was his student and he should have told him he should not talk to any adult especially the owner of the company that is giving him the opportunity to wrestle and live out his dream of being a professional wrestler the way he did. That's when I was told I did treat the guy's like they were servant's and that I didn't pay them shit. So I told him well let me cut your pay to 50 bucks so I can pay the guy's. Rodney said now your playing with my money motherfucker and that's not going to happen you never paid me what I was worth and that I should have done more research before starting the company and that I was a dumb fuck for paying the bills and everyone knows I am the owner and my job was to sit back and shut the fuck up. I told you how to make money and I was too fucken stupid to do it. I told him everything he told me to do cost more money to do that was not an option at this point. He said everyone knows you own the company Jerry Jones, He told me he was the coach and I should let him run the team. J.D. put asses in the chairs and so he was right. I told him I didn't care if J.D. did put asses in the seats he was fired, Rodney said that remains to be seen. We exchanged a few more words and then hung up on a positive note. I told him he gave me a lot to think about, he told me I should not be in this business and so I told him I would think about all of that and see him Saturday night.

Friday went buy and nothing happened we fixed the ring and had it ready to go for Saturday.

Saturday afternoon came around and my wife and I had decided that it would be the last show and that we were tiered of all of it. Then that afternoon I get a phone call telling me J.D. Kerry was at the building training. That was the last straw I was not going to have someone working for me and not doing what I ask him to do. What part of J.D. was fired and I did not want to see him at the building again did Rodney not understand. Then I thought about him telling me that it remained to be seen if J.D. was fired. So I went down there with my wife and kids and 6 guy's in case something jumped off. Yes 3 of them had guns on them and all of them are licensed to carry and one of them is a licensed police officer. When I got there I told J.D. to get off the property or I would have him arrested. I took Rodney into the arena and explained to him that he used the Owner coach analogy so here is how it worked. If the owner comes out of his sky box and comes down on the field and says run this play then the coach will run that play. If it works good if it does not then the owner takes the heat in that case but the coach better do what the owner says or he won't be the coach long. Rodney said not really the coach does what is best for the team. Well in this case the owner of the team is closing the doors after tonight. I don't have to take this kind of bullshit. I have never operated a business where the workers work for the person that is the manager. In the real world the workers work for the person who pay's them. Then I left. When I came back everything was fine everyone was upset that I was closing the doors but they were working in the ring getting ready. I spoke to Ron Rage for several minutes and said hello to Pokerface and logan and a couple others. Took my computer to the sound booth and my wife took the money to open the concessions stand to the concessions stand. At this point Rodney came up to me and asked why I came down there with all the guy's and all of them carrying guns. I told him because at the time that's the way I was rolling, again I was not going to have something jump off. That's when Rodney went crazy he threaten me, my son and everyone who was with us. My wife call the police when he told my son's girlfriend he would take her outside and beat her ass too he was not above that. When the police arrived Soul Train who is a police officer took Rodney outside. I explained to the police what had happened, Rodney told them everyone had guns and was waiving them around. No one took out their guns and waved them around and the officers checked everyone out. They asked my son if he wanted Rodney arrested and he said no just make him leave. Luke Graham and others were there and were just as shocked as I was that Rodney went off like he did. Rodney and I have had disagreements and argued but that is expected and we always worked it out. The officer told me I could come down and fill out an avadavat and present wittiness and so could Rodney. I paid Rodney his 350 and paid everyone else what they had coming and told everyone sorry and everyone left. Now I have been told that this is how the wrestling business works the workers will tell the promoter and or owner fuck you and they run the show. Well I have talked to 3 other promoters and everyone of them said that is not the way the business works. First the workers should never take sides in the lockeroom the only side they should be on is the one who pays them and owns the company. Funny that each one said this because in J.R.s blog he pointed out that workers who started seeing each other can cause the same situation and the only side the workers should be on is the side of the owner who pays them. So I quess I am not wrong when I say the guy's being loyal to Rodney as the booker is somewhat wrong and not being loyal to me at all is just wrong. All of them will say I paid them like shit. Well I never forced anyone to take the pay they accepted the pay and could have just said no and went else where. Now in some cases some of the guy's should have been paying me to get in the ring and wrestle. That is just the honest truth.

So that is just what happened and I have been getting calls everyday and some have been from guy's who flat told me they did not like me but knew all along that Rodney had been planning to get DCW going and either force me to get out and give him everything or just leave and take everyone with him either way just screw me over. I have had others that don't know who I am and never worked for me and have said these things. Who the hell is this J.D. Kerry? He is just a kid you gave the opportunity to wrestle and what happened to paying dues? Either case they said the same thing I was the owner and I had the right to fire anyone and close the doors if I want but the workers should respect the owner he pays them and pays the bills. Several of the guy's have told me they had worked for owners and promoters that never said hello to them and could give a shit about how they are and just wanted them to wrestle and get out. It was just a couple of months ago Rodney and Jazz worked in the Spingdale area Rodney worked Val Venis and got half of his money up front and the guy stiffed him for the rest. I never stiffed anyone and even when the crowed was down I took the money out of my pocket and paid everyone.

So that's the story and what happened. If you think I was wrong well then I was wrong. If you thing I was right then I was right. Won't change anything, the RWA had a good thing going and would have been successful eventually. I still just wonder why the workers would want to push a show that was starting up for the second time and support the show that was running and on TV and moving towards PPV's. But that is in the past and gone I wish everyone the best and hope they continue to have success in their future.

That's what happened like I said I could have handled it differently and I could have done a better job. But when Rodney told me I should not be in the business I thought about it and decided he was right. The only question I have is this. If Rodney who claims he did not work for me he worked with me, really worked with me why start the DCW? Why not spend that time building the RWA. A house divided will not stand. But if everyone wants to blame me then blame me and I will take the blame. Bottom line is the RWA is closed and I will not ever be in the wrestling business again. I am fine with that I and I hope that everyone has the success they want out of the business.

I almost forgot to add, as of this release the first Monday the DCW ran at the Cowboy the guy's used all the RWA belts. The belts were never returned to me and have been turned into the insurance company as stolen property. Again judge for yourself but what kind of worker who claims to respect this business steals anything from a promotion, this is not the first thing that was stolen from the RWA building. When the ice storm hit this area I bought a genarator for my house. After power was restored J.D.'s parents were still without power and looked like it would be a long time before they got power restored. I let them use the genarator so they would not loose the food they had and would have some lights and basic essentials. They returned it to me and I kept it at the building incase we lost power there. It was big enough that it would run what we needed to have the show. It was stolen out of the building nothing else just that and there was no forced entery so someone who had a key took it.
You be the judge.