Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coach's Corner XXL "Passion and Common Sense" by Brian Tramel

----The new edition of Coach's Corner

----It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at the RRO offices with the site being on fire with hits, because of various reasons.  I have read and listened to a ton of people on all the controversial topics.  I have had texts, calls and e-mails in almost record numbers.  What I consider a hobby is sometimes more of a part-time job when weeks like this happen at the site.  After taking a week to absorb everything that I read - Sir Mo to David Walls to EPW to Jeremy Wood to Jeremy Moore to Eric Wayne, I remembered the passion that this sport births.  It is like a disease in the blood.  Or it has even been compared to the mafia before – you can say “I quit,” but you can NEVER leave.  Passion can sometimes equal a huge success and at other times can equal you climbing out of a window when someone’s husband comes home.  That passion, though,just reminded me of the steps that some of us have gone through just to be part of this business.

----First let me tell you about this kid I once knew.  He was around 19 years old and he wrote for the old kayfabe sheets.  He always loved wrestling and his new found awareness of what was going on backstage, just made him want to learn more.  He was a major source for the top wrestling kayfabe sheet in the business – Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  He was Dave Meltzer’s Memphis source.  He also contributed to Yearbooks and was very critical of Memphis Wrestling. Well, one night after Jerry Lawler had read some stuff he wrote, he called him into the dressing room to threaten to kick his ass and tell him that he was a piece of shit.  He told him that he would never wrestle and never be anyone.  That kid dropped about 30 lbs, trained in the gym and then trained with another guy to wrestle at least one match.  In his mind, if he could wrestle just one match, then he would prove to Lawler that he could wrestle.  He wrestled that one match, and then went on to work for about 18 months as a wrestler.  An untrained, unskilled, fat, horrible wrestler.  After taking a weekend to look over his matches, he made a decision – he sucked in the ring and was just an embarrassment to the wrestling business.  Lawler was right – he would never be a wrestler.  His passion got him this far, but his common sense told him he should not be a wrestler.

----Let me tell you also about a guy that in his mid 30s decided he wanted to be part of the wrestling business.  His friend was a professional wrestler and was training a few guys.  After the training was over, he decided to help the guys and then decided to manage them.  He got to live his dream by just watching them in the ring.  They could do things he could NEVER do.  He could not train a guy on holds or moves.  He could not tell them exactly what to do in the matches, but he could help them.  He watched as many matches as he could get his hands on, and he would help them with psychology.  He would book them shows.  He would help write their storylines.  He traveled up and down the roads with them for almost five years.  He bumped in almost every match. He would come out with every one of them and make a bunch of noise.  He would try to be the center of attention.  After a long look at his matches and such, he finally realized that even though everyone was tooting his horn, he was not a great manager.  He won awards voted on by the fans – Manager of the Year for two years.  But, after listening to a few people, he decided his brand of managing was not as affective as it could be.  His passion got him this far, but his common sense told him that he was nevergoing to do anything big in the business and his body was taking too much punishment.  He decided to hang it up.

----This other guy I know, he was also in his 30’s when he decided he wanted to be a wrestling promoter.  He took a crew of guys – most of them very green and ran local towns with them.  He wrote his own storylines and booked the shows around the talent that would work for him.  He enjoyed his shows and he saw some success, but nothing major.  He ran shows for almost two years and even to this day the guys that worked for him are still his friends.  The guys have nothing but fond memories of their time spent with this promoter.  Ok, maybe he was an asshole sometimes, but most of them will admit – they learned something and would work for this guy again.  Did he pay well?  Nah.  Did he do everything perfect??  Nah.  Did he keep himself out of the ring and let actual wrestlers work?? Nah.  Well...ok…most of the time – he honestly worked only a few matches and at times managed some of the heels.  Did he put his wife in the ring and push her when he should have??  Yeah.  Did he want to do everything his way?  Yeah.  Was he good at what he did??  Not really or he would probably still be promoting.  He ended up going through a nasty divorce and selling the ring.  His passion got him that far, but his common sense told him that he was not a great promoter, so he better stay out of it.

----Finally, let me tell you about this last guy.  He had toyed with the idea of starting a web site for a few years.  He was a former wrestling kayfabe sheet guy, wrestler, manager and promoter.  He was not highly successful in any of those things, but he honestly loved the wrestling business in this area.  This guy was closing in on turning 40 years old and it was time for him to either say goodbye to his childhood fantasy of wrestling or do something to help this area.  He is not always right.  He has at times done stories that he is not proud of.  He has had to cover deaths of guys that he has been fans of his whole life.  And deaths of friends.  He has had to write about fights in dressing rooms.  Fights in the crowd by wrestlers or wrestlers’ wives.  He has been threatened. He has been told everything about his site from “you do a great job” to “you are piece of shit.”  In one night he can have a legend say he does a great job and then turnaround to hear another one tell him he doesn’t know what he is talking about.  He has made friends, but none of them are ABOVE the site and he has lost a few because of that.  Above everything he tries to make the guys in this area seem to be a big deal.  He wants them to mean something.  He wants them to succeed, because even though he might be accused of being bad for wrestling, he loves this business.  He has published books because of the site – something he always wanted to do.  His common sense sometimes tells him to stop spending so much time and effort on the site, but his passion keeps him doing it.

----For those still with me for this XXL edition of Coach’s Corner, you have probably already figured out that all those stories are about one person – me.  My passion for this business has not made me a rich man, but it has given me memories that will stay with me for life.  Many people grow up wanting to be something.  They want to be a rock star, a fireman, a policeman…or like me and many people reading this – I wanted to be in the wrestling business.  And, I can honestly say I have spent the better part of my adult life feeling like a part of this brotherhood.  For people like me that have a passion for this business, it is hard to hear the word “No” or be told “you can not do that” because you want it so bad.  If you are a promoter or money mark, then promote and do what you can.  But, please stay out of the ring.  If you are not a trained wrestler, then don’t put anyone in the ring and try to train them – send them somewhere to get properly trained.  If you can honestly watch your matches and say they are as good as what you have seen on TV, then stick with it.  Please use your brain and if you suck – do us all a favor and throw those tights away that don’t fit you anyway.  And, please, put on a damn shirt so we don’t have to look at your skinny ass body!!  There is a place for everyone in this business with desire.  You can help set up the ring, sell popcorn, take pictures, ring announce, rent a building, work the front door or even start your own web site.  Let a lesson be learned here though – don’t let your passion make you lose your common sense.

Edited by Misty - Thanks!!