I’m sure by now, if you’ve read my blog at all, you know I like to watch a little pro wrestling here and there.
As much as it’s cool to watch all the big names and such, I still don’t know if there’s a better bang for your buck for entertainment than independent professional wrestling. There are so many more people out there who participate in this “sport” than those you watch on television every week.
And what these people do to their bodies night after night for payouts of, say, 50 bucks, is crazy.
Anything to put on one heck of a show for the fans.
This past weekend, I had the chance to go see two shows put on by 3DW, a federation based out of the Binghamton area. The first show was at the one Legion Hall in Binghamton, where I’ve seen the federation 2CW perform before.
Having the chance to watch 3DW gave me that old-school feel of professional wrestling. It had everything, too. Bad wrestling (just being honest… some of the early matches were pretty rough). Then better wrestling. Finally, the last three matches of the night were off-the-hook good. Starting with an eight-man tag match, then to the tag-team championship match and ending with a tables, ladders and chairs match to crown the first Television champion.
The next night, they went to a roller rink in Sidney. There were far fewer fans (I got my ticket at the door and it was number 85) and the action was a little better overall that night, with the normal slower matches starting off, and ending with several stellar matches. The main event featured a no-holds-barred match to crown the first United States champion with the winner being a local guy from the Sidney area. Kind of cool stuff.
Now, for those who might be reading who could possibly be steamed over the “bad wrestling” comment, allow me to clarify.
I loved it.
When some friends, who are somewhat into pro wrestling, asked me about the two shows, I refer to it as cheesy wrestling. Now, if any independent wrestlers happen to read this post, please don’t take that as an insult. In fact, it’s more a term of endearment. See, when I think cheesy wrestling, I think how it used to be in the old days. Crazy crowds. Some wrestling is good. Some is bad. But the entertainment factor is through the roof.When I say cheesy wrestling, in my eyes, it’s a good thing. It’s not all pomp-and-circumstance. It’s old-school.
To me, that’s how my 3DW experience was.
There were things I could have done without, to be sure. Namely, the over-excessive swearing during Friday’s show (there were a lot of kids in the audience). I realize there was some sort of rival promotion present (I think), which might have made the 3DW guys a little more rowdy, but lets remember that kids don’t need to hear that.
… or do they need to hear some of the items that were said Saturday, though it was quite a bit more tame.
When one thinks of the WWE, or to some extents, TNA Wrestling, it’s more of a story. These federations have weekly shows, and in the case of the WWE, several weekly shows. When you work the independents, there’s not much for TV. There’s the internet and some federations are lucky enough to be on local channels, but many of these promotions only hold a few cards a month, at best.
That means from night to night, the crowds are going to be different.
One example is Friday night when the crowd was behind one tag team that apparently were supposed to be the “bad guys.” When they won and the crowd showed their appreciation (for the record, it was an excellent all-around match), the one member of the losing “good guy” team yelled to the crowd “We’re supposed to be the baby faces. Just saying.”
For the record? If you are supposed to be the baby faces and were getting booed? You weren’t doing the job of a baby face.
But that’s the beauty of independent professional wrestling.
Some of the guys who were good guys Friday were bad guys Saturday. And vice versa. It gives guys the chance to be on both sides of the crowd, which is funny. One wrestler who drew incredible and legit heat Friday night after taking a bite of someone’s pizza was seemingly different Saturday and had people in stitches with his funny antics.
Considering there’s really only one “big-time” federation (WWE) and one middle-line promotion (TNA), the odds of these guys making it to the big payday are slim. It’s no different than professional baseball for a minor leaguer. One in how many make it to the Major Leagues? Exactly.
But that doesn’t take away from what these guys do in the ring every night.
A championship is still a championship, no matter what the federation. It still shows that said federation sees something in you to make you represent it (it also likely shows your loyalty and willingness to come back to said promotion for its cards).
In the end, let us remember that pro wrestling is a form of entertainment. It’s a show. But those people out there are still doing some crazy stuff. They take incredible risks with their moves (remember, too, that these people have regular jobs and need to work), they’ll bleed when necessary (which doesn’t happen as often anymore in the “big leagues”), and they’ll sometimes push the envelope with the crowd to the point where it becomes risky (I saw a show several months ago where a fan swung at a wrestler).
But every bit of the independent scene is worth the money you pay.
It has drama. It has athleticism. It has showmanship. It has humor. It has seriousness. And in the end, it has entertainment.
Which is what it’s all about in the first place.
I’ll gladly shell out several bucks to watch the 3DW again (especially because it’s so close). And I’ll look forward to seeing which of these guys might be able to crest this level and maybe reach the bigger time.
For those that don’t, keep living the dream. You’re doing something you love and entertaining people. What more can you ask for?
I encourage you to check out my wrestling photos I’ve taken at independent cards. I have them linked below. Graphic warning — a couple of the shots in each of the sets show blood.
3DW on April 23, 2011: Flickr set
3DW on April 22, 2011: Flickr set
2CW on Sept. 24, 2010: Flickr set
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com.