A Legend’s Tale (Volume 1)
“…And the book of LEGEND was opened up at the page marked TotalWrestling!”
I just figured since this IS a wrestling site that I should begin all “promo-like”.
So I guess the first thing I should do is thank everyone at TotalWrestling for inviting me on board and giving me the opportunity to push and bury all I can in print. In the recent past, I have been doing a radio show with Woody (also now with TotalWrestling) reviewing DVD’s and interviewing many of my contemporaries in the biz. I don’t know if it’s possible or has been done already, but I’d love to have the interview archive up here at TotalWrestling so everyone can listen in on the thoughts of guys like Raven, Steve Corino, Nigel McGuinness and others that have been so good to share their time with us.
I’ll see what I can do.
For those of you who don’t know me, here is a brief synopsis of my time in the biz…
-17+ years working steadily
-Worked with WWE from 1999-2001 (worst gimmick in wrestling history!)
-Worked with TNA in 2003 (waste of my time, BIG heat there!)
-10 tours of Japan
-Canadian, but living in Germany now (German wife, twin German son’s)
-Currently working in roughly 25-30 countries worldwide
-Booked as “World Champ” in 4 countries
-Have had a column on my website (www.legendwrestling.com) called “Diary of a Mat Man” for about 4 years now (feel free to check it out for a decent little bit of my history, including the reasons behind the TNA heat)
-One of the few wrestlers in the world who makes a full-time living at this without a secondary job
-Trained and assisted in the training of many of the current top stars in the biz (Edge, Christian Cage, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Petey Williams, etc.)
-Had a “Reality TV series” in the UK called “Celebrity Wrestling” along with D’lo Brown and Roddy Piper (not well received, but I had a great time, made good cash and how many wrestlers can say they had their own TV show on a MAJOR network?)
There is a TON of other stuff I could go on about, but you get the gist of it all. But to illustrate the fact that I’m possibly the most international wrestler working today WITHOUT a major contract, here are some of my destinations for the rest of 2008:
-Canada (3 week tour)
-Germany (sporadic dates and promotions throughout September)
-Ireland (one tour for 8 days, another tour and promotion for 9 days)
-France (1 week)
-Portugal (2 or 3 days)
-South Africa (TBC)
Along with a bunch of other “one-off’s” around Germany and the UK to fill in the blanks. I hope this give you a little idea of my unique perspective on the biz and well as my qualifications to comment with some insight on the state of as well.
So, enough about me. This is supposed to be about the wrestling business and not just my minimal contributions to it.
However, I’m not really sure what the best topic is for a first column. It’s not like we’ve JUST had a WrestleMania to comment on or a “HOLY CRAP” moment like Kurt Angle jumping ship to TNA to anylise in the past week or so.
So, I’ll leave it to you. I’ll throw a couple of ideas in to the mix and see what gets the most response and we can move on to a discussion regarding the one with the most pepper on it.
-Chris Harris gets the elbow from WWECW after only a few weeks on TV. Could it be possible that TNA knew how to use someone better than Vince? Or has his publicly derided weight gain been the deciding factor? Was it his work or his look? Will this inspire more “on the fence” talents to take a chance against the wellness policy to try and protect their jobs?
-The great TNA debacle. Everyone complains about them, everyone makes fun and puts it down, yet the ratings stay fairly steady? Not making any headway, but not really losing ground either. What is the hold up regarding progression in the ratings? Everyone believes they have the answers to make things watchable for TNA, but their office as their own ideas and without a serious loss, why would they change tactics? What would YOU do to increase interest in TNA? I’m not just asking for the usual “more time for matches” answers, I’m talking about a long term business plan that would ACTUALLY make them a valid #2 and not just the competition by default.
-What’s the deal with Ring Of Honor? Will they EVER make it out of “cult status” and in to the mainstream? If they do, will that be the final nail in the coffin? Is it “cult status” that truly defines ROH and they should just be happy with what they have? Should they reach higher or deeper? What are your thoughts?
-Comedy in wrestling, good or bad? In most reviews of TNA, comedy seems to be reviled, but is that just a few of the louder “smarks” mouthing off or is it the general consensus of good/bad booking. Glen Gilberti (Disco Inferno) is a backstage assistent for TNA (I’m not sure of his actual title within the company, but when there is blame to be placed, he claims to not be in a position to have made whatever decision has been made but still defends the decision, none-the-less) so he defends their product/ his paycheck with a reasonable amount of passion. He believes that ANY reaction is a good reaction so comedy works just fine. Keep in mind that he has spent his career as a comedy act and it has worked out decently for him, but do you believe that a full comedy show is the key to business success in wrestling? Do you believe that serious, no-nonsense fighters beating the tar out of each other is the answer? Or is it somewhere in the middle? I’m open to arguements on all sides on this so please, let me hear about it!
WWE going PG, is it a good idea? After more than a decade of “Attitude”, are we in store for “Doink 2008”, or something worse? Better? Is it the pushing of the envelope that draws you in as a viewer or character work? Is it a series of monsters “playing a role” that intrigues you or do the smaller, “stunt man” style workers defying gravity as well as death the ones who draw you in? Will you continue to tune in or will it be too “kiddie-show” after so much “adult entertainment”?
Dawn Marie is trying to set up some money making events for retired wrestlers who are broke. Do you feel for these guys or do you think they “made their bed and now are lying in it”? Did they spend it all on unnecessary luxuries and are now paying a price for their irresponsibility or do you believe that the wrestling business kept them in such a unique way of making a living that they don’t know how to turn a buck after their bodies have been broken making money for promoters who cast them aside when younger talents took their spots? Or do you think they were simply foolish with their cash and don’t deserve any more of yours?
Ric Flair is gone from WWE. What now for “Naitch”? Will TNA go DEEPER in to debt to try and get Ric on board and if they do, will he make that money back for them at his age? Will his star power be able to outshine his in-ring limits that age and “wear and tear” have put on him and will he be the missing ingredient to FINALLY bring TNA over to casual wrestling fans who believe WWE is the only game in town? Will Ric do what almost every other ex-WWE employee has done and bury Vince and his product on TV to show loyalty to TNA, or will he simply try and move forward without having to spit on his recent past to get ahead? What do you think is on Ric’s agenda? Would he expect a TNA title run to close the deal? Would that draw or kill business?
I have my own opinions on all of these subjects but I would really like to read up on yours first before going head first in to my thoughts on line. Perhaps you have ideas or angles on these subjects I haven’t considered. This would give me opportunity to mull these new ideas over and give a better, more thorough opinion on the given subjects.
So I guess that’s where I’ll leave it for now. I really want to make this interactive so let’s hear from all of you. I never discount anyone’s opinion and will gladly give credit to anyone who I believe has brought something valid to the table.
In other news, if you want to check out an event I’m performing on, check out my website (www.legendwrestling.com) and look at the calander page for listings of my upcoming appearances. Also, check out my site column (Diary of a Mat Man) as I’ll be trying to update that a little more often (I’ve been REALLY preoccupied with my new twin son’s) with more personal news as I’m trying to keep this column more about the state of the industry and the other about the state I’m in!
Looking forward to hearing from all of you.
All the best and God Bless.
Joe E Legend