I have a question for you all. It’s a question that has baffled people for years now.
The question is this: who is the most important person in the history of professional wrestling?
Is it Vince McMahon, the man who brought a regional company from his father when he retired and turned it into a multi-million dollar international corporation?
Is it Eric Bischoff, the first man in years who challenged McMahon’s domination of the wrestling business, actually beating him at his own game for nearly two years?
Is it Paul Heyman, the man who revolutionised the wrestling business with his edgy booking, and who showed McMahon that he was behind the times?
Is it Hulk Hogan, who…..
Screw this. I could go on for ages. If you want an answer to this question get up out of your seat and go and look in the bathroom mirror. I’ll wait here for a few moments until you get back.
Welcome back. Did you get the right answer? If you didn’t, here it is.
You are the most important person in the history of the professional wrestling business. Yes, you. You, sitting there in front of your technical device reading this. You, the person who watches the various TV shows, the person who buys the merchandise and the pay-per-views, the person. You, the wrestling fan.
You are the most important person in the history of professional wrestling, because without you there would be no professional wrestling business.
But if you’d seen what I’d seen in the past few weeks you wouldn’t think people in the business cared about you. Here’s just one example for you.
The name of Len Davies is probably not a familiar one to most of you reading this. Len has been a prominent figure in the British wrestling business for a few years now. He’s the former owner of Real Quality Wrestling, one of the few promotions that have made it onto television since the heyday of British wrestling in the 70’s and 80’s He’s ploughed thousands of pounds of his own money into British wrestling.
By all accounts Len is a very nice chap, often willing to help others out to his own detriment, although there are stories going around that a lot of the wrestlers who worked for him took him to the cleaners a little.
Len now lives in Hollywood, trying catch a break as an actor. He still has another dream though, and that’s to take British wrestling to the masses.
Having spent years accumulating an archive of British wrestling shows he’s now trying to get funds to put together a deal where these matches will be shown on television. He’s taken the route that others have recently and asked for donations on the Indiegogo website.
I first found out about this on the UK Fan Forum. The regulars there weren’t exactly impressed with the way Len was going about things. Many questioned his motives, especially when he said he’d be hosting the show, something he did when RQW was shown on The Fight Network.
Needless to say the debate got rather heated, as is the custom on the UKFF. Some of the comments about Len became quite personal. But rather than take this criticism on the chin and vented his spleen on his blog and on the forum.
A prominent wrestling promoter who will remain nameless also weighed in. Initially he didn’t post on the UKFF. He joined Len in venting his frustrations on his Facebook page, ripping into the fans in an overly aggressive manner. The posters on the UKFF were very annoyed when they saw two prominent British wrestling figures ripping them to shreds.
Do you see what I’m getting at here?
On one hand you have people in the wrestling business always looking for publicity, constantly trying to get people talking about them in the hope that they’ll buy tickets for their shows and put money in their pockets.
On the other hand these same people, whenever someone is critical of them, show that they’re very thin skinned, insulting the very people who are the heart and soul of their company. They risk alienating them and costing themselves money.
It doesn’t matter what business you work in. You could be selling life insurance from an office, flowers from a garden centre, monkey hats from a street market, the Big Issue magazine from a street corner, or tickets to a wrestling show. There’s one thing that everyone doing this should realise.
Customer service in any industry is paramount. If it wasn’t for the fans paying their hard earned cash there would be no professional wrestling business, and it doesn’t matter if someone is being critical about your company.
If you start throwing insults at the fans, no matter what they say, you could end up losing your very lifeblood, and in the current economic climate that could be disastrous.
What happened with Len Davies is just one example I’ve seen recently. Others I’ve witnessed include a wrestler posting a Facebook status about how he and his friends haven’t made the final cut in an annual internet poll. That one’s particularly amusing because those who voted in the poll expressed their surprise that he wasn’t in the final list.
If I could give any advice to anyone in the wrestling business who feels the need to have a go in this way I’d paraphrase a quote from Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: just wipe your nose and move on. Be careful what you say on Facebook and on Twitter. Don’t forget that it’s not the promoters, the backstage crew or even the wrestlers who are the most important people in the professional wrestling business.
It’s the fans, and if you want their money then perhaps you should treat them with the same amount of respect you demand from them.