I spoke at length last night to Joseph Rogers who promoted his first wrestling event as EWA in Butler, PA last Saturday, and event that did not go so well as reported here.
Mr. Rogers received an education in the wrestling business for sure. His lack of experience was the key. My feeling is lots of folk added to the problems this show had and Mr. Rogers was not experienced enough to prevent it, nor fix it. That’s not an excuse, just likely what happened and it’s why people who want to promote need to get experience helping with other promotions, ideally with someone honest, to learn what to do and what not to do. Some folk that hover around wrestling are like sharks and see 1st time promoters like Rogers as chum, and feed freely and with abandon.
Like many Pennsylvania "promoters" Mr. Rogers used Rockin Rebel’s Pennsylvania Promoter’s License so I guess technically, at least as far as the State Of Pennsylvania goes this was Rebel’s show. I wonder how many shows he is the promoter of record each year in the State as his is the "go to" license for sure.
Mr. Rogers says Balls Mahoney showed up impared and was drinking vodka in the lockeroom with Rebel at the show, and "was a mess".
If this was the case then certainly the "professionalism" light was not shinning so brightly this night. Obviously, all wrestlers should respect the business and themselves enough to show up sober to shows and stay sober. And if the wrestlers involved are veterans they should acts as leaders at shows not reflect the "don’t let this happen to you", Randy The Ram, aspect of professional wrestling. There are way too many stories of impared wrestlers at Indy shows and there is no excuse for it…none. If any of the wrestlers at this show were impared certainly they were in the wrong, and they should be ashamed. And Promoters should just stop booking Wrestlers that repeatedly show up places impared, and if you do book these guys understand in advance the risk taken.
Mr. Rogers says he was approached by an Aaron Lester who said he had been "financing" NWA East, and wanted to partner with Rogers and pay for stuff. Long story short, that did not happened, yet Mr. Roger suspended disbelief and says be believed and counted on Mr. Lester up to showtime and to he end, but was left to fend for himself once the show drew poorly, which he could not do given the poor gate.
Mr. Rogers hired some guys from Absolute Intense Wrestling to tape his show, rented their ring etc. As they note in the statement they made they were using new video equipment and saw the show as a place to practice, while getting paid, and while they did get $100 in advance and $200 at the show, but they feel they are still owed $600 and plan to keep and market the video from the event.
“We (Absolute Intense Wrestling) rented our ring, entire show setup and were doing the video production for something called EWA (http://ewaonline.net/). One of my partners made the deal, mostly to try and test new equipment. We actually gave the dude a break in price, because we were just using it as a trial run on stuff. When we got there, I knew something was up, as the guy seemed shoot mentally handicap. I was totally expecting another Bryan White by the end of the night. Anyway, we were supposed to get a certain amount up front. We ended up getting a $100 MoneyGram. We were given another $200 out of the gate, after the promoter delayed for hours on payment. He still owed us the entire $600 for production. We kept an eye on him the entire time. Once he was seen puking and crying about not having money. A local ticket seller was booked on the card, and as the guy was closing the gate, 30 people walked up. Joe Rodgers, the promoter, had all the money from the tickets. He then was seen giving a little to other people. He then left thru the front door. My partner and I followed while he had money in his hand. We were on the street about 100 feet away and he dipped around a corner and disappeared into thin air. Rockin Rebel and Rob Noxious did their best to keep everything under control. Balls Mahoney was totally ripped off and in this YouTube video that somebody put up today was seen going to his house. We also checked if he was home and he wasn’t. Needless to say, he likely did the best thing ever in disappearing and not sticking around ala Bryan White.
We will be selling the DVD of this shoot, plus behind the scene footage and all of the shoot promos at AIWrestling.com soon. If and when we cover our debt, we will be figuring out ways to help pay back some of the workers stiffed”
Let’s remember the show ended up drawing only a little over $1000, and lots of folk had expectations of making decent money off this show and Mr. Rogers. Was this realistic? Were lots of people lining up to get paid by a first time promoter who did not know better? Did anyone really care about this show?
Certainly, everyone wanted to get paid, that’s one thing you can take to the bank, or in this case not so much.
Joseph Rogers sent the following statement to me after we spoke at length:
I will make this short and sweet… Saturday March 7th show in butler pa I got blind sided from a parntership from some one local wich I guess it was a lie or to screw me over from day 1 . I will make sure all parties that is owe any money will get paid what they have coming.
Joe D. Former EWA promoter
So who is at fault?
My feelng is that the blame for this can be worn by quite a few folk. But that said, Mr. Rogers is the one left holding the bag, and the one that has to man up and accept responsibility, and learn from the experience. He made the mistakes no matter who helped. Hopefully, he won’t repeat the mistake again, and were he to promote again he do so a little smarter and with his eyes wide open.
Trust me this won’t be the last story like this, as there are always new virgin promoters, ready to bleed money, and prepared to swim in the shark infested waters of professional wrestling. Expect more feeding fenzies.
And we will be here to report it.
So tune in to wrestlerzone.com, next Bat Time, same Bat Channel.