Most high spot-kateers selling is either more wooden than George Washingtonâ<80><99>s teeth, or they look deader than Courtney Loveâ<80><99>s eyes after an armful of China White. Disco is right, though, just like speed, lack of selling kills. And what it kills is credibility, which if he were to follow his own train of thought, before it went off the tracks, he would realize that if selling were placed at a premium, like his argument goes, so would believability. The more believability, the more interest from fans. And the more interest from fans, the more money drawn.
This is not the only key to drawing money but it is a hell of a place to start, long with being trendy and current, but that is another article, hell , thatâ<80><99>s a book. The wrestling business is littered with mullets 15 years out of style, and zubaz pants long past expiration date. Aaaargghh, anyway, look at the old timers who were on top. They were always kick ass and believable. It is not a leap of logic, then, that if wins and losses and title belts had credibility which means no ping pong title belts, or giving belts to someone because theyâ<80><99>re the bookerâ<80><99>s friend or b/c itâ<80><99>s their turn, or most egregiously because the booker believes the belt to be worthless anyway. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and if a bookers financial interests were beholden more strictly to a companyâ<80><99>s finances, as in if the company doesnâ<80><99>t make money, they donâ<80><99>t make any money, and if the company loses money, they lose money, they would certainly view things from an entirely new perspective.
Every sport garners interest and revenue for title fights or championships. It is the nature of the beast. While Disco will argue that you donâ<80><99>t need title belts to draw (no shit, Sherlock, what was your first clue Colonel Mustard, the murder tipped me off) just look at the example of Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton. They were only going to draw so much as opponents, but they certainly drew more than they would have without the title belt at stake.
Non title fights can be huge draws but add the prestige of the title, and buy rates will go up. Especially if you have a champion fighting some tackling dummy who everyone knows he can beat. The title is gonna give you a level of interest, some jabroni challenger couldnâ<80><99>t garner and will definitely increase the prize purses. Interestingly, for such a manly sport, why does the winner get a purse? Do matching shoes come with? Note to self: check with Kanyon on this later.
My theory behind this is a combination of prestige, glamour, excitement, and because on any given night, the title can change hands and you can witness and be a part of something special. There is always the hope that you will be there to see it live or order the PPV and watch history in the making. Not just because itâ<80><99>s history for the sport, but because youâ<80><99>re a part of it. You saw it. You felt the excitement and now itâ<80><99>s the water cooler talk that you and your buddies bullshit about and thereâ<80><99>s nothing like re-living that moment over and over again with buddies. You can tell your kids about it, your grandkids. I mean, who doesnâ<80><99>t remember their grandfather talking about how the Giants did something at Ebbetts Field or some horseshit like that. Hell I canâ<80><99>t remember what gramps was talking about, but you listen to him talk and that meant the world to him. Itâ<80><99>s bonding. On a male primitive level.
I was one of the lucky ones who saw the following happen on a cold night in February, 1997. It was possibly the greatest upset in sports history as a no-name journeyman fighter with unlived potential who had made a bed side promise to his near death mother that he would wrest the title from an unbeaten, unstoppable, bipolar wrecking machine. In a country an ocean away in front of a people who didnâ<80><99>t speak his language Buster Douglas climbed the peaks of greatness to carve his name in the rock face of immortality for one shining moment as he knocked out the most dangerous man in the world, an inhuman juggernaut who at the time looked to be not only the greatest fighter of his time, but the greatest of anytime â<80>” Mike Tyson. The future told a sad and different story for both. But that night the sky split open and the stars aligned and all the drama that one could imagine or aspire to was encapsulated in this sports spectacular.
19 years later, a legend in MMA retired, but a combination of a hollow heavy weight division (even though he was a natural light heavy weight) and the chance to make the big money his peers were making, as well as an unquenchable desire to compete, lured him back into what many deemed suicide. He was a forty-three year old man and his opponent was a 6â<80><99>8â<80> giant who had knock out power to spare and more impressively, a chin to match. In his previous fight, Tim Silvia was caught and one punch KOâ<80><99>d yet his recovery was so instantaneous, they could not stop the fight and all it did was spur him on to a first round knockout victory. Randy Couture, Captain America, was giving up 50 lbs 6-8 inches in reach, and his specialty was getting inside and imposing his will except how do you get inside a guy with limbs like Silviaâ<80><99>s?
The fight at five rounds certainly had to be in the favor of the younger Silvia because what kind of cardio could a forty three year old man have compared to a guy fifteen years his junior? Well, anyone who saw that fight wonâ<80><99>t soon forget it. Except that, really, it wasnâ<80><99>t that great a fight. I mean if Couture wasnâ<80><99>t as over as he was, or Silvia like he was, it wouldnâ<80><99>t have been as big a deal. But what really made it special â<80>” nay, monumental â<80>” what made it transcend the quality of the match itself was that here was a man on a quest at age 43 to win the world heavy weight title in a match he couldnâ<80><99>t possibly win. The audience couldnâ<80><99>t have been more electric than if everybody had been told they had just won the lottery. You could feel it through the TV set.
They were fighting for something far greater than themselves and the people knew it. Titles are important and should be important. If the most important prize in this sport is worthless well that in turn diminishes everything else. If the title is for shit, why should I care about the guy chasing it? And if I donâ<80><99>t give a ratâ<80><99>s ass about him and heâ<80><99>s on top, why give a shit for anybody? Yes, I can care about somebody without the title as Disco will argue, but why leave this key important ingredient out? Pride, value, importance, believability. Everything starts at the top and trickles down. No less than my old friend Roddy Piper told me, â<80><9c>It doesnâ<80><99>t matter what the fans think of the rest of the card, as long as the fans believe youâ<80><99>re real, they will pay to see you.â<80>
Iâ<80><99>ve always taken that to heart. And Iâ<80><99>ll digress for one minute as I shamelessly put myself over because I know it will aggravate the f*** out of Disco, but to this day Simon Diamond says to me that the one question he gets asked most from wrestling fans in general is â<80><9c>Come on, is Raven really like that?â<80> They donâ<80><99>t know. Like Fox Mulder, they wanna believe. To be honest, they really donâ<80><99>t wanna know what Iâ<80><99>m like. They love what they see, or hate whatthey see. Most times, the reality isnâ<80><99>t as interesting, except of course, with me, its moreso, and stranger.
Interestingly enough, itâ<80><99>s worked in reverse for Disco. Heâ<80><99>s played such a rube and a chuckle butt for so long that people think heâ<80><99>s that way when in actuality, theyâ<80><99>re right. Iâ<80><99>m kidding. Glen is an incredibly bright, funny, witty guy, who has much more going on than anyone would realize. His working ability is so underrated , its mind boggling. Its his own fault though, heâ<80><99>s too busy playing the fool. I guarantee if I put a mask on him, and tinkered with his style and got him to work like a serious kick-ass sum-bitch, you would be amazed when he finally unmasked as to who he is. That is the art of working. Not just selling in the ring, but selling a character, or selling the title. Everything revolves around selling. Advertisers sell sex, b/c people like it. People like world titles, they are something to aspire too. Its not a ver hard sell, and it makes it easier to sell all the way down the card.
As Iâ<80><99>m writing this, Iâ<80><99>m actually in the car driving with Gilberti and all of a sudden he starts to back pedal. He tries to steal my pencil, but I tell him to keep his eye on the road or I will throw his Celine Dion CDs out the window. He forces me to read what I have written so far and his barely intelligible response is â<80><9c>Shut up. What are you talking about?â<80>
Well, hereâ<80><99>s what Iâ<80><99>m talking about:
Every time we discuss wrestling, he mentions that title belts are worthless. Now after hearing my article, as he back peddles so perfectly that Buddy Rose would be proud, he says no, no, no â<80><9c>I just claimed that fighting over them and nothing else was ludicrous.â<80> That is an intelligent statement, but that is not the argument he makes normally, if ever. But no matter how much he doth protest, he has in the past on sooooo many occasions said the world title is worthless and is just a prop. Just because at times it was used that way, doesnâ<80><99>t mean it should have.
This kinda sucks as I allow Disco off the hook and he gets to save face in this article through backpeddling, while I on the other hand will probably get hammered in his next one unmercifully. But it just goes to show that by allowing him a chance to be heard, that I am the bigger man than he is. Companies should have story lines up and down the card over a variety of different things from edgy to comical to what have you. But standing head and shoulders above should be its champion (they knew JFK had dandruff, b/c they found his head and shoulders in the bushes). Sooner or later as people finish up their personal feuds they should all aspire at some point to be champion. Very few should get that honour. Because if everyone becomes champion then how special could it be?
Ultimately, the task of protection comes down to the booker and unfortunately for the business everyone must be Roman Catholic because no one has used any protection in years(Catholic Church is against contraception, or protection, for those without comedy skills). I know the Pope is against protection, yet somehow the Popeâ<80><99>s always protected his spot on top, with his Cardinals and Bishops work middle and underneath.
The business today needs a makeover. It needs to be young, edgy, and hip, and a credible and believable champion will not solve all your problems. But it is the perfect place to start. Either that or putting Disco back in his bunny suit where he played to rave reviews in his one shot, tour de force, performance, as the drunk, unshaven, poetry spewing candy-gram bunny, who interrupted the future Booty Girlâ<80><99>s dinner with Evad Sullivan, to tell Evad his bunny had gone to bunny heaven . . .in a pot of boiling water, bwahahahahhaha.
And if that wasnâ<80><99>t spectacular enough, what followed is exactly why believability is so important. Apparently, a new production team decided to bring their own proverbial style to wrestling and when DDP attacked Evad, as he ran out the restaurant to check on his bunny, the production team decided to add sound effects from the old Batman Tv series and every time someone got hit, thereâ<80><99>d be a biff, or a pow, or a guttural laugh from anyone watching. It was a hell of a brawl, ruined by one thing, a lack of believability, b/c of the dumbass sound effects. And the absurd angle, and college educated Evadâ<80><99>s less than Oscar-worthy acting as a simpleton. I donâ<80><99>t care if wrestling progress was sent back to the dark ages, there is an exception to every rule and that was f***ing hilarious.
Stay tuned for Part Three next week!