Politics and Wrestling: It’s Still Real To Me

If one lights a fire for others, one will brighten one’s own way. -Nichiren

2017 was a hell of a year for me and for Bet Wrestling. Just over a year ago I began writing for this website after a pretty long hiatus from the wrestling world. As many before me, and many since, I had become disillusioned with the world around me, and needed a break to see what I was missing in “real life”. During my time spent in pro wrestling, I missed weddings, birthdays, holiday gatherings, and all kinds of other events, but such is the life of an entertainer and/or athlete, as if you do not take that call when it comes, you may never get another chance.

Last year when I began writing for this site, I was in the midst of a protest, actually living on the street in front of Los Angeles City Hall in a tent with at least a dozen others, and a few dozen part-timers for 2 months. This was not even my first time staying at city hall in protest, I actually have spent more than 100 days in total at city hall in protest encampments. The last time was in protest against the lack of prosecution of killer police officers in Los Angeles. To be honest I know this is extremely hard for most people across the country to understand, as they could never imagine someone getting blasted for nothing, but here in Los Angeles its a regular occurrence, and for black and brown people its a fear they must face daily, even if it just rests in the back of their minds.

In the past few years, I have met countless grieving parents and family members who often never find out what really happened to their loved ones. The lack of accountability and the racist social structure often fails these families blaming the victims of police violence, instead of critically looking at the actions of the police who killed these persons. In order for this genocide to end, the public needs to be educated about what has really led to this, what the history of policing is, and how in 2018 we still live in a nation where black and brown people are not free, as they face imprisonment or death at a 60% higher rate than their white counterparts. As someone who has a mixed heritage, that was erased by whiteness, I can use my perceived privilege to inform others, and I do this in a variety of mediums.

I was told recently that there was no place for this in wrestling, but I disagree. Wrestling is and always has been a social commentary. Pro wrestling has a history rich in racism, sexism, and right-wing political leanings that carry on today. Linda McMahon is the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, a woman who’s mega-corporation WWE has bought up almost every major competition they have seen over the past 20 years or bought out their video catalog after the company died off. Kane is running for Mayor of his home County in TN. The President of the United States is a WWE Hall of Famer, yet many people want to pretend that wrestling isn’t political. Well here is a huge news flash, it is!

About two months ago the radio network I have been working with finally came to fruition and announced that we would be doing our beta launch. The next day my comrade Brandon said he wished there was a show about the history of wrestling in California, and I said: “let’s do one!”. That’s how our radio show Hollywood Jobbers was born. From the very first episode on, we had some sort of politically motivated commentary, as I met my co-host through the local protest scene. We have similar politics, and we both have a love for wrestling. Most of my politically active friends either don’t watch it at all or only watch the big shows, not the territory or independent level wrestling. Our network we are hosted on is a social justice radio network called RadioJustice.org and we are currently the only “sports” show on the network. Our hopes for the show are to educate and entertain, giving our own commentary on the past and present of pro wrestling from our point of view. So far its gotten great feedback from my friends in wrestling, as well as from those who listen to our network and are just discovering it, whether its non-fans or folks who haven’t watched since childhood.

We quickly realized that our show would have a bigger audience if we switched nights, as east coast folks reached out, and asked us to change nights so we were not on the radio against RAW on tv in their time zone. We have recorded 8 shows in the past two month period and most of the feedback has been positive, except for one hater who based his decision on one show. Our shows have included interviews when we could get them, as due to our original studio backing out after the project began, we have had to struggle to find quiet places to record, and times that work for us and our guests to get them on the phone, rather than in studio as we had originally planned. Despite not having a studio we have consistently produced content for the network as we promised. In 2018 we plan to cover more topics, continue to bring you fun interviews and hopefully, our networks goal of building our very own studio will come to fruition.

Those are just two of the many projects I have been working on. Since Digital Media Management is my main gig, I work with over 50 companies, organizations, and people to help maintain, or run their pages, and to create or build content for them. It’s such a wide range of products, services, causes, and people, its a ton of work to keep it all together, hence why for many of them I am a team member, or mainly a consultant. I get pages started and teach their owners how to run them. Then they decide whether they want to operate them or pay me to do it. I am hell bent on organic reach and think most paid advertising has proven to be useless for the majority of those interested in online marketing. I instead implement and teach ways to target the direct audience people want to hit, which is the most important part of online marketing, knowing your audience.

Some things I may associate with, may not be perfectly politically correct, yet even then I spent much effort to use the platforms I can to socially education and motivate others. Many have tried to shut me up over time, including the government, but I am still here, and still getting published, and most importantly still watching my numbers and hits grow.  In one year my content on this site alone has gathered over 150,000 hits, and this site has seen over a quarter of a million unique visitors this year, and almost a million visits! That doesn’t account for the other sites I write, or create content for or manage, this is just one place, where I can spew out my thoughts in an editorial commentary and not worry about censorship even when the point I make may not be agreed with.

And yes, that is your right to disagree with me, it’s your right not to listen to me, or read my ramblings. If you don’t like what I have to say, that’s OK, as not everything is for everyone. When I create media on my terms, it is on my terms, love it or hate it. And before you say “no one wants to hear what you have to say” maybe you should make sure you aren’t saying that to a person who’s actually getting more hits on their hobby then you do on your passion site… just saying.

2018 is gearing up to be an awesome year, and I would like to thank all those who have supported my return to wrestling through writing and media. It’s been awesome to see how many folks are truly supportive of what I do. And thanks to the Owner of BetWrestling for standing behind my work, and allowing me to express freely what I feel needs to be said, even when it’s an unpopular opinion. Thanks to all those who have uplifted my voice, or stood behind me, it means a lot to have your support.

When a Wrestling Match Becomes A Fight

I’ve been reading the articles on Sexy Star vs Rosemary incident. I would like to note that I do not know either woman in person, nor have any relationship with either of them online, as far as I know. (I have a lot of Facebook friends, maybe one of them is on there?) I know who they are because I follow Shimmer and AAA. You can watch the incident here on PWmania.com if you haven’t seen it already.

While there is hype from both sides as to whether or not Sexy Star was responsible for Rosemary’s injury, is there more hype because it was a major show, or because it is part of a storyline, is the question that has been asked again and again. “Shooting” in wrestling has happened since the beginning of the sport. Former NWA Champion Lou Thesz was a well known shooter, as back in those days it wasn’t uncommon for a shooter from another territory to come in and try to beat the champion, to discredit the other, and try to prove their territory was better.

One of the shoots I most clearly remember seeing, which I won’t lie and say I didn’t cheer on, was when Daniel Puder shot on Kurt Angle, and put him in a kimura (arm lock) and nearly broke Angles arm. This was after Angle himself had shot on another tough enough contestant and declared an open contest. Well, Puder cashed in and nearly broke the former Olympians arm, to make a point that Angle let his power go to his head, and shouldn’t.

One question I have to ask, is where is the outrage for all the other women and men who have been shot on, both on the professional and independent level, and been injured by the shooter? This has happened to not only myself but many other wrestlers I know. Should we have fought back? Should we have “complained” to bookers and fellow workers? Some people did and were ignored, fired, blacklisted, harassed, etc.

I struggled with what happened to me for a long time. It caused me to lose trust, and to have a hard time building it with other wrestlers, as well as constantly made me question my own abilities, despite knowing I had more than put in my time. My life was made into a living hell by a woman who spent years attempting to destroy my character, for what purpose, other than jealousy, I cannot see.

So what do we do with these bullies in pro wrestling? Do we stand up and use the same tactics against them? Do we complain to the wrestling universe about these folks? Do we demand they are ousted from their roles in companies, and who decides, “what side is right”? I mean even if our sport is “a work” it’s still a fight, and maybe that is something we should all keep in mind.

wrastlemania podcast betwrestling

An Interview with Liz Savage by Wrastlemania Podcast!

This week I got interviewed by the Wrastlemania Podcast with stand-up comedians Brent Terhune and Brad Scott. It’s been a while since I have been the focus of an interview, so its a little choppy at first, but I hope you enjoy it. I talk about my stalker, my time in independent wrestling, this website and more! Check it out, and I hope you like it!

Make sure you follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wrastlemaniapod

Wrestling Promoters: Be Accountable to Your Talent

This article reflects the thoughts and words of Liz Savage, not www.betwrestling.com if you have issue with its content, she says you can GFY.

So the other day I saw yet another post about an independent wrestler being stiffed by a promoter. This time after flying across country for a show! Fed up with excuses and bullshit, he took to social media to warn other workers about this con artist, and posted what I thought was a pretty well thought out statement about why screwing over talent was wrong, that this affects not only his personal income, but his family as well. (Yes, some folks can make a living off independent wrestling if done properly, and work is put in)

 

The next day his Facebook and Instagram posts were taken down, they were reported, because he tagged the promoter, Jose G. Alaniz in the post. This man runs a company out of San Diego called “Oddity Wrestling Alliance” which from looking at their Facebook page, seems he also books himself as the “owner” and has a starring role in the company.

Here is the poster from the event my comrade was booked to perform on:


On April 28th they had put up this post on their Facebook page: (Note, you can BACKDATE Facebook posts to pages, and this is the only mention, all other materials and events had been deleted at the time of this posting)

It is interesting to see this on their page, with no details as to when the show was originally planned to happen. It seems he knew the show was not going to happen, as the venue he planned on running in could no longer accommodate them. Why if he knew this, did he buy this worker a one way plane ticket cross country on May 3rd, if he knew there would be no show? What kind of fuckery is this? What could this “promoter” be hoping to accomplish? And why did he vanish, and stop replying to messages and phone calls from workers booked on the show, who flew across the US to be there?

At the very least if you are cancelling a show you should be doing it with enough time that no one has already flown in, and if you are cancelling that late in the game you owe it to your workers to make good on their pay. Time is money, and they put their time aside for you, and dismissed other potential workers to be on YOUR SHOW. You owe it to them to cover their pay, even if you cancel. Its the right thing to do. Running and hiding with your tail between your legs will get you publicly shamed, and hopefully will spread the message to both wrestlers, venue’s, and fans, that you are unreliable and cannot be trusted. Sadly this happens far too frequently. If you have a bad promoter story you would like to share, feel free to contact me: LizSavage@betwrestling.com

Watch out for not only yourselves, but each other as well!

Will Wrestle for Peanuts: The Reality of Independent Wrestling

Many folks dream of one day becoming a professional wrestler. This has been the dream of young men and women since wrestling became a thing. Only in the past two decades has wrestling become so much more accessible to the average person. With a slew of wrestling schools spread across the U.S. it seems like a new one is popping up every day. With all these schools there are an influx of independent wrestlers out there, all trying to get a piece of the action, many of which are disappointed by the reality of the industry.

There are so many things to look at when choosing a wrestling school. You want to see what former students have made it to the big time, who the trainers are, the amount of classes you take, the structure of the classes you take, the location, and of course the price. Just because you pay more, does not make it a better school. Just because they have been around longer does not make them a better school. It takes a lot of leg work on the part of the student, to find the right school to fit them. You generally want to find a school that doesn’t take more than 2 hours to drive to each way. You want to find a school that teaches in levels, but also has open rings for you too practice with those with more experience. You want to find a school that wants to build well rounded students, who look, work, and speak as a wrestler should. Most of all you want a school that is honest with students about their potential to make it as wrestlers, and who are willing to build them into the right roles within a company.

Remember these schools still have a bottom line, and that’s to produce money. Yes there are a few schools that aren’t about capitalizing per se, but it takes money to run a wrestling school, and few if any are doing entirely out of their pocket for the love of the sport. A lot of these schools are wrestler mills, and will take anyone’s money, slap them in a ring, give them some training and throw them on student shows. Too few of these schools, and the instructors in them are honest with student’s about their chances in making it, and what it really takes (in most cases) to make it big time. All schools should be offering a variety of courses to teach students the valuable skills of the wrestling industry. For instance, if you are not physically capable of wrestling, you may find you fit in as a manager, referee, ring announcer, commentator, or even in production. There is often no side education in the wrestling business, yet there are a ton of positions to fill. Remember wrestling school could cost you anywhere from $2500-$5000 just to get your beginner training. Many schools charge that for the first year, then a gym fee after.

Let’s say you make it through a school, even a mediocre one, and are ready to take matches in outside promotions. Then what? Are you ready to promote yourself as a full time job? Are you ready to pay for gear, and merchandise? Are you ready to build a recognizable name for yourself across your region? Do you know how to put a package together for the promoters you want to work for, to impress them and get a booking over 1000 other guys or gals on the scene? Then you do get these bookings, and you must worry about gear, gas money, travel buddies, missing events such as birthdays, weddings, and other moments your friends and family may really be angry you dipped out on. But if you cancel the show you may be ruining a story line, losing a belt, or even losing your place in the company. What happens if the promoter doesn’t pay? Do you have a spare tire? Are you prepared to drive 5 hours with 5 people in a compact car, to work in front of a crowd of 10,000 or 10, for 10 minutes, then drive home? These are all things to really think about before you get involved in independent wrestling.

Then once you get established are you ready to build a relationship with fans, so they buy your merchandise? Independent wrestling paydays often range from nothing to maybe a few hundred dollars if you are lucky. And you spend more than that in gas. Not to mention if you need to also get a hotel room, or pay for other travel expenses. Are you willing or able to take time off your day job to travel to shows that are further away but may be a better opportunity? What is your plan in case of injury? Do you carry personal insurance? The other expenses you will incur includes but isn’t limited to; new gear, tanning, gym dues, supplements, eating vast amounts of “clean calories”, which not only costs you money, but time to prepare, and consume as well.

So if you plan on getting involved in independent wrestling you have two choices, take it very seriously and think about all I have written about, and the things that pop into your mind that I haven’t, and take it on full bore. Or get involved as a hobby, find one spot you feel happy with, and don’t bitch about lack of bookings. Wrestling is still a competition. Know and understand the level you want to compete on. Know your limitations. Embrace what you are good at, and figure out what really suits you in the industry. And don’t get fooled by any snake oil salesmen along the way.

My first trip to Wrestlemania

So as I write this I am sitting at the airport, and my plane has been delayed. But I have to say I am super duper stoked for this trip!

Update:
The delay wasn’t so bad, and despite being miffed they ended up making me check my carry on, it all worked out.

We rented a place by a lake for the week, so its incredibly quiet and perfect for work when we aren’t out and about. Since I live in LA, I got used to hearing helicopters, sirens, car alarms, and other nonsense all night, out here its just us and the crickets.

We officially get started tomorrow, and have events lined up all day. First we will be headed to PromoterCon, then we are headed to WrestleMania Axxess which is like WWE’s version of a wrestling convention, and then I hear we may hit the ROH show up, which would would be great first day out. We plan on hitting quite a few of the independent events up that are happening including “Brian Christopher’s Too Sexy Wrestlemania Party” On Friday night.

The WWE events we will be attending this week are Axxess on Thursday, Hall of Fame on Friday, Wrestlemania on Sunday, RAW on Monday, and Smackdown Live on Tuesday.

To follow all the fun, make sure you follow us on social media @BetWrestling on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat! Feel free to hit us up to hang out!

Facebook Contest Win a Bayley Bear!

Find our post on Facebook featuring the Bayley Bear, and share it publicly on your Facebook page (so we can see the share) make sure you are following our Facebook page as well! Winner will be announced when we reach 500 followers on Facebook!

Visit: http://www.facebook.com/betwrestling

BETWrestling is Seeking Content Creators and Submissions!

We have worked hard to build throughout 2016, and our platform is growing significantly! To build on this growth we are looking for a few good content creators!

Do you go to local independent events, and want to submit show results, or photos?

Do you religiously watch televised wrestling, and want to write up weekly results?

Do you draw, and want your wrestling artwork featured?

Are you interested in making Top 10 lists?

Do you want to write editorials on the state of wrestling to have your opinions heard?

Do you play wrestling video games and stream it live?

Do you own a promotion/school and want to have upcoming events listed on our site?

We are looking for all this and more, so if you have ideas for content you would like to create, please let us know! Right now we are looking to do a 3 month internship with no pay, if we like what we see after 3 months we may be able to offer a small stipend per piece. This is not a full time job, nor will it make you, or us rich, but will give you experience to build on, and a platform to voice your opinions, get your artwork seen, and as a building block for your resume that we know you will submit to be a WWE staff writer, someday. In the meantime, cut your teeth as part of our team!

So if you are interested, reach out to lizsavage@betwresting.com, as I will be conducting initial interviews, and taking idea submissions!

1 2 3