Lessons From Lita

Nick Paglino

I was booked to appear at the Legends of the Ring Convention in Monroe, New Jersey and when I looked at the other names I was booked with, I said “oh boy…”. A great list of names and at the top was Lita. First time I would see her since I really zinged her here on Wrestlezone back in 2005. Would she stab me? Curse at me?

As it turns out, neither. Either she didn’t know, care or had forgotten about it and we sat with Terry Taylor for a great chat. Lita and Terry shared stories about their aches and pains from the years in the ring and we talked about how Lita has moved on since leaving the WWE, what she did to prepare for life after the ring, etc. It was then that Lita said something very insightful.

“They always told us to save money but no one ever told us how. There should be classes or instruction on what to do.”

Damn right! Great idea, Lita… Not just wrestlers but all of us can use some instructions on how to take care of money.

1. Get a doctor – What does a doctor have to do with money? They have somebody who watches their money and they’ll be happy to recommend “their guy” to you. If your doctor can’t help, find a local business owner and seek out the same advice. FIND SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE AND DO WHAT THEY DO.

2. Just because you make it, the money is not yours – Your accountant that you now are working with will tell you one thing… pay your taxes. In that recent piece on Grantland.com about Ric Flair and his money troubles, one thing you have to say is Flair was in control when he didn’t pay his taxes. How do you do that? Money you come home with, take 30% and put it in a separate account. Oh, and get receipts for everything. Give them to the accountant.

3. Everything is a write-off – Gym memberships, tanning, cable TV, internet, supplements, everything! Until Washington DC rewrites and simplifies the tax code, take advantage and write off everything. Even if you aren’t an independent contractor… itemizing my tax returns has saved me thousands since the late 90’s.

4. Get an emergency fund together – What if the car breaks down? Do you dip into the 30% you have set aside for taxes?  Regardless of your business, you better save some loot, squirreled away just in case. Financial guru Dave Ramsey recommends an emergency fund of at least $1000 and an eventual savings plan that has 3-6 months of income set aside to cover expenses if the worst happens. Easy to say but tough to do… lean on your accountant for assistance.

5. If it sounds too good to be true, it is – Don’t make the mistakes that many successful people have made regarding risky investments or things that just sound too good to be true. A Roth IRA is about as risky as I get… and just because you have money, don’t think you are all of a sudden smart. Ask your accountant and listen to what he/she says.

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Russo vs Prichard in TNA

Big news this week was word from TNA that Bruce Prichard is now the creative catalyst, shaping the big picture going forward instead of Vince Russo. Russo will continue to write the shows but Prichard will lay out the grand direction. What is the big difference? First, Bruce is a “big picture” guy while Russo is someone who lives and dies by the quarter hour ratings. Both can be successful in their roles.

I worked with both in the WWE and Bruce is great at playing “big shot”… making everyone think he works hard, when he doesn’t. He plays politics very well and can listen to the alleged “big names” in the company, taking credit for the good and passing the heat for the bad.

Bruce and Russo were close friends when I knew them in the WWE. Do they still have a good relationship or will it be strained going forward? Can Prichard be the filter that Russo hasn’t had since he worked for Vince McMahon?

The big question remains… will it make a difference? To be determined…

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Thoughts on Legends of the Ring

So not only did Lita not stab or curse me at Legends of the Ring but I had a great time. For those of you who don’t know, fan conventions are fairly common and most are an abortion. However, if you see “Legends of the Ring”, you will get your money’s worth. The promoters are James Soubasis and Terrence Brennan and they treat both the fans and talent with respect and appreciation.

An eclectic group for my session… George “the Animal” Steele, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Terry Taylor, Nicole Bass, Jamison, Mickie James and I welcomed over 200 guests at the Crowne Plaza in Monroe, NJ. Vendors had some legends of their own signing autographs in the next room as well as offering some great memorabilia, DVD’s and more. Lita, Barry Windham, Dan Severn, Gangrel, TNA’s Winter and others were a part of the morning session.

All in all, it was a great experience and I strongly encourage any fans to check out the next “Legends of the Ring” event.

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Steve Jobs, Al Davis and Vince McMahon

When Steve Jobs passed away this week, I thought of how Vince McMahon will be remembered when he dies. Will he be praised the way Jobs has been? Is it fair to compare the innovator of Apple Inc. and the innovator of the WWE?

Then, when I heard that Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis passed away, I thought about comparisons between Davis and McMahon. Al Davis made famous the “Commitment to Excellence” and “Just win, baby!” Davis began as a scout before moving into coaching, management, and eventually becoming the owner of the NFL franchise. He fought authority, defied conventional wisdom and did it his way. Deep down, Davis was a passionate man, who cared about those who played for him.

So, is Vince McMahon closer to Steve Jobs or Al Davis and how will the Father of Sports-Entertainment be remembered upon his passing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Email me at kevinfsu90@yahoo.com or tweet away @RealKevinKelly.

Thanks for reading and to Lita for not stabbing me…

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