Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cheap Heat- The slow painful death of the pro wrestling business by Gene Jackson

----Gene Jackson with an edition of Cheap Heat.
Ok....so despite my current lack of internet access as promised I've made my way to the local McDonalds to post a column because I just can't let what I saw Friday night go without reporting. I'm gonna warn this is long AS HELL...but hopefully worth your time. Everyone knows I love wrestling but I really haven't been to a lot of shows in recent years so now that I have a fiance' that's willing to go with me to shows I've intended to start back going a bit more often. While I do enjoy a good wrestling show I have to admit I do like to seek out a bad one every now and then just for curiosity's sake....lucky for me I'm in Alabama so BAD wrestling shows are NOT AT ALL hard to find. The last time Rosey and I went to Mississippi I noticed as we passed through a small town called Snead that there was a sign at their indoor flea market that said "WRESTLING EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT", it was spray painted and looked pretty poor.....that stuck in the back of my mind for a couple of months untill last Friday when we really didn't have anything planned for Friday night. We were in the process of what he had jokingly dubbed our "white trash weekend" of going to get lottery tickets, eating at the pizza buffet, and going to K-Mart so "Flea Market Wrestling" sounded like a no brainer, I asked Rosey if she was up for it and she said the words she'd later regret, "sure, why not."

So Friday night we head out to Snead and when we get there we noticed the old painted sign was now replaced by a professional looking printed sign....so we thought that maybe this isn't gonna be as bad as we first thought.....then we went to the door. Ticket price was $5 each.....we buy our tickets and the lady tells us to "enjoy the show". We go on in and see what has to be one of the saddest excuses I've seen for a ring in quite some time......of course as is the standard, there's 10 kids in the ring taking bumps and bouncing off the ropes and such (this would be the height of the workrate for the evening).....the ring is in a corner of the building with walls on two sides of it.....NO CHAIRS....just homemade bleachers with 4X4s to sit on.....if I thought my ass hurt after paying $10 for us to get in....I hadn't seen anything yet. God, these things were uncomfortable. We sit down and notice that we stick out like sore thumbs.....just think every stereotype of "southern rasslin' fans" you've ever heard and these people were it....all 25 of them....from best I could tell us and maybe 4 other people weren't related to the "rasslers".

Finally, it gets to be bell time and they herd the children out of the ring and start to play the national anthem until the CD starts to skip so bad they have to stop it....yes the CD was skipping we're off to a fantastic start....then we're having issues with the "sound system" so the announcer/ticket lady/promoter/whatever gets a megaphone to announce with. Now there's only a couple of names I was able to understand all night but that's irrelevant. AC/DC "You shook me all night long" plays as the first two "wrestlers" make their way out to the ring. . The first guy I see coming down the "aisle" is wearing a pair of hiking boots with a pair of what appears to be his mother's leopard print stretch pants on with a white t-shirt with "WHO DAT" written in black sharpie along with the number "65" on the back...his name is apparently "Sling Blade"....ok. Now HE looks like a million damn bucks compared to his partner....who looks as though he got off work at the factory and came straight to the ring wearing.......dirty tennis shoes....dirtier blue jeans.....and an Alabama Crimson Tide t-shirt that sells for $5 at Walgreens...and his name.....THE PIMP! I shit you not...this man was THE PIMP and he looked like Randy Owens on crack.(we'll come back to him....it gets better). The referee looks like he just got off a short bus from "special class" as he's sporting cut off blue jeans with knee high gym socks and a sweet ass folex watch he has to hand out to the ring announcer before the match starts.

Unbeknownst to us this opening match was some kinda 6 way #1 contender's match for the "UNITED STATES TITLE" as people just randomly kept coming out....there was a little guy in biker shorts and hi-top tennis shoes named "Little D"......a kid who was painted up like Sting....I never caught his name so we just called him "Low Budget Sting"....then "You shook me all night long" plays again and apparently the "top heels" in the "company" come out with toy looking belts...one guy was looked to be about 40 something his partner looked to be about 16 and they were sporting some fresh ass 'MMA Elite' shorts that you can buy at Wal-Mart along with some tennis shoes....these guys cracked me up cause they ended up coming out like 5 or 6 times during the show and they'd get their asses handed to them then they'd walk out again to AC/DC 2 minutes later with this hard ass swagger with their toy belts like that shit didn't just happen....strangely despite their multiple appearences I never once was able to decipher their names, so we'll just refer to them as "the champs". 

So anyway six guys end up in the ring and they just break into a melee with people suplexing folks into each other and knocking each other over......there were like 5,000 clotheslines thrown throughout the night and about 200 waist high dropkicks....I've seen MUCH better wrestling on those old Backyard Wrestling videos (and better rings). Anyways...people start randomly getting pinned til it's down to two and then's theres this convoluted finish with a chain that the ref acted like he didn't see then realized he was supposed to see so he called for the bell....just painful to watch...you could hear crickets chirping as the crowd had no idea what had just happened or why the "match" was suddenly over....which then led to a long drawn out mic..err... megaphone spiel which no one knew what the hell was being said but "Low Budget Sting" said it with about as much charisma as Dean Malenko on anti-depressants...next match.

Sooo AC/DC plays again and 'The Champs' return along with "Sling Blade" and "The Pimp"...however the pimp has now put on the rest of his "gimmick" which includes a sequined cowboy hat ala Randy Savage which actually looked decent and the greatest thing I've EVER SEEN....a faded...DIRTY.....denim vest with "THE PIMP" written in magic marker and faded to where you could barely make out what it said....I swear this guy had to have had this since high school...it was so bad that it was not only good.....it was f'n awesome cause this guy was rockin' this thing...not to mention he had what looked to be a couple of 15 yr old "HOES" on his arm as he walked out. F'N Priceless.... At this point my night has been made no matter what else I see.. the skinny kid from the "champs" wrestles a kid who is wearing some tights that look like they were lifted from the Fabulous Ones in the early 80's ...black with what at one time was a red lightning bolt but now just more of a dingy orange color.....another match full of low dropkicks, botched armdrags and many...many suplexes and clotheslines.....the match ended with a big run in since almost the entire heel locker room was at ringside.

INTERMISSION- We're encouraged to go hit the "concession stand" for burgers and chicken sandwichs....no thanks....back to the "action"..... We are now about to witness the "WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH"....wow, holy shit the World Title is about to be defended at the Snead Flea Market in Alabama? Good thing we showed up tonight...so of course "You shook me all night long" plays....AGAIN! and the ALL the heels come out AGAIN..."The Pimp", "The Champs", "Sling Blade" and they lead out the World Champion...and it's easy to see why he's the World Champion....he's got wrestling boots!!! That's right he's sporting pro wrestling boots....leather boots that looked like Bruno Sammartino wore them in his very first professional match...but boots none the less....the guy looks to be about 20 years old...he has tights, a t-shirt, and an A.J. Styles-esqe hooded vest....looking very much like a twin of Brian SoFine....yes my friends this is the champ complete with the indy standard figures inc. replica of the "big gold" WCW World Heavyweight title belt...in comparison to the rest of these guys this fella looks ready for Wrestlemania and his name is apparently the "Phoenix", the kid showed a little charisma and was actually the first guy to acknowledge the audience and actually looked down and directed a comment at me...Rosey stopped me from cutting a promo on the guy which probably would have blown all the "heels" mind..lol since they hadn't worked the crowd all night.....then his opponent comes out who actually also looks like a wrestler he has on a purple singlet...the white/black patent leather boots made famous by "Fly Boy" Chris Kilgore, and looks like Buff Bagwell's bloated older brother....we dubbed him "Fluff Bagwell". These two had a decent little match untill....you guessed it...ANOTHER RUN IN.....the heels hit the ring and two guys made the save...a skinny guy in green/purple tights and a fat guy with suede tights and kick pads....again...apparently the better the gear...the higher up the card...good logic I guess.....I digress...this led to another megaphone speil that went on FOREVER with no one in the crowd really knowing what the hell was going on....we did however learn that "Fluff Bagwell" is the man responsible for this abortion of a wrestling show....they are apparently setting up a match with 19 different stipulations...it was a 6 man tag I guess and somebody was gonna have to wear a dress....one was gonna have to eat dog food....I think somebody was gonna have to wrestle with an arm tied behind their back....they went back and forth on if the toy belts were on the line...it was brutal....finally they left the ring.

The announcer tells us they would also have a show the next night in Guntersville....I asked Rosey if she wanted to go and she quickly answered "hell no".... AC/DC "you shook me all night long" played yet again and another match started...involving the same guys in a different variation...my ass couldn't take another minute of the "bleachers" so we decided to call it a night....as we went to leave the announcer told Rosey, "don't leave ya'll are gonna miss the good match"....so apparently they planned on having a GOOD MATCH at some point but we didn't see it. Rosey got treated to me ranting all the way back to Albertville and after we got to the house about bullshit shows like this killing the business we all love. On one hand it's funny to watch and sad at the same time but it also makes me mad as hell to think you've got guys like poor Jeremy Wood in Arkansas who wanted more than anything to be apart of the wrestling business and will let idiots like this try to "train" them and put their life at risk...and the fact their are SO MANY shows like this out there that more and more this is what people think pro wrestling is....and I guess in many cases they are right....this is what it has DE-volved into....any asshole who can piece together something resembling a wrestling ring can set it up and call it a "show"....I guess me going to these things even for perverse amusement and something to write about is counterproductive because I'm sure we doubled their income for the month but I just can't help going and seeing what is out there....and to help me understand the disgusted look on many people's faces when they hear the mere mention of "wrestling." It's understandable why so many people are washing their hands of wrestling and choosing not to be associated with it.

I'm sure if anyone associated with that show was to read this they'd be pissed off and think I'm an asshole for going to their show and writing this (though the likelyhood of any of those folks being able to read or knowing what the internet is, is very slim) but I think if you are willing to charge people to watch bullshit like that and call it a "wrestling show" then you deserve to be called out and made fun of....because your killing the business and your too ignorant to even realize it....you don't see what your doing for what it really is. To all the real promoters out there who strive to put on good professional shows for the entertainment of the few true wrestling fans left, I applaud you.....weather the storm and hopefully wrestling will survive.....hopefully steps will be taken at some point to help eliminate all the crap that's out there...but I seriously doubt it. 

Please feel free to give feedback either on the board or email me at genejackson95@gmail.com, I'd like to hear your opinions and stories on the subject of bad wrestling shows. Also, if you'd like to see some pics from the show described here that I took with my phone check them out on my facebook page, if your not a friend feel free to add me...search 'Gene Chailland'.

as always, thanks for reading,

Cheap Heat is a randomly featured column here at RRO. Gene Jackson is a writer, former (and sometimes current) pro wrestler, radio talk show host, announcer, color commentator, comedian, and all around swell guy.....He has a loyal following of readers and fans but is generally disliked by most due to his smart ass, arrogant, sarcastic, and sometimes unnecessarily mean writings and rants on his bi-yearly radio show. if you would like to contact him to voice your displeasure or heaven forbid say something positive he can be reached at genejackson95@gmail.com.