Ryan’s Rambling On….
Wrestling Twitter and paydays.
Look, I get it, everybody should be paid for their contributions inside or surrounding a professional wrestling ring. I am talking the wrestlers, the referees, the announcer, the camera guy(s), the commentary team, the DJ and the doctor. But that just isn’t how it works sometimes. For most of the people I associate with on the independent wrestling scene, professional wrestling isn’t their “shoot job.” In fact, I would say for most of the local indie scene, wrestling is much more of a passion than a job. I am in no way saying that the wrestlers that go to battle in the fire halls and civic centers are not professionals, but they are not paying all of their bills with the payday envelope they are given from that night. Hell, they are probably not paying much of anything with that. Wrestlers often rely on merch table sales to boost their evening’s profits. What I mean is, most people are not getting rich off indie wrestling. Look, let me stop here and give you some background first:
There was a large twitter exchange the other day between Gabe Sapolsky, the promoter of Evolve and independent wrestler, David Starr. Starr, who called Sapolsky out for not paying his talent on multiple social media sites, got blocked by Gabe on Twitter. Gabe uncorked a series of rather unprofessional (in my opinion) tweets on the matter, going as far as calling David Starr out by his real name (see unprofessional.) There are hundreds of “wrestling journalism” sites you can check out to see the story, this is not one of them.
Now would be a good time to let you know where I come in on this issue. I provide commentary for a few independent professional wrestling companies in Pennsylvania. I have worked in the business for roughly 5 years where I’ve done pre-shows, backstage interviewing, commentary, acted as a General Manager of a show, ringside cameraman and other ring duties. I have worked shows where I have gotten paid and shows that I didn’t get paid. I have never worked a show though, where payment or nonpayment was not discussed prior to the show date. And again, this is just my thoughts and opinions on this topic, no way does what I say reflect any company that I work for, or the 3 Count Thursday podcast, as a whole. Just my rambling thoughts as I sit on my laptop. In fact, it is almost 2 AM as I type this out, can’t sleep. Anyway, I have commentated for over 5 different companies, in 2 states and I co-host the weekly podcast. In the scheme of things, I am small fish, in an overcrowded pond of commentary talent. Me, personally, I would be very hard pressed if I was given the opportunity to have a tryout for a company, such as Evolve, and passed it up because I would not be given a payday. The saying goes, “you can’t pay your bills with experience,” and that is very true, however as I stated at the beginning of my rant, I’m not paying any bills with what I am getting paid. I know there is a different level of indie wrestling here too. My local indie scene is not on the same level as Mr. Sapolsky’s Evolve and has never had a match, let alone an entire show streamed on the WWE Network. But that is the point! If there is a way that I can be featured on a show like Evolve, which has ties to the WWE, why would it be wrong of me to not take a payday for the exposure given to my voice, to potentially be heard on the WWE Network!? By now I am sure you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “Hey Ryan, there is a huge difference between an in-ring worker and yourself.” And you are absolutely correct. I am in no way, shape or form putting my physical wellbeing on the line to talk into a microphone from the commentary table. I won’t argue that at all! But I know how many people can do what I do on the weekends. How hard it would be to take a position in a promotion that already has a crew. Because of that, I will never take for granted my opportunities I have in professional wrestling. And if given a shot for a company like Evolve or (Insert upper level indie promotion here,) I would take advantage of it and get the most out of the opportunity. Unlike a wrestler the caliber of David Starr, there isn’t many people banging on the door to have Ryan Miller come be their color commentary guy. I am not saying I don’t know my worth and I would work for free on the regular, please do not misunderstand that. But I would love to add another promotion or three to my resume. So, I guess what I am trying to say is, yeah, there are instances that I would take the exposure of working for a promotion over a payday…in hopes that my exposure and lack of pay today, will pay off double in the future. Again, this is just my rambling thoughts on the issue. I honestly had no intention of typing anything out tonight, but a late night diner run with my 3 Count co-host James and here I am. Is my opinion wrong? Perhaps. Could my opinion change on this topic? Absolutely! If in a couple months/years I am in a spot where I am working for a promotion like Evolve and I see workers not getting paid, would I feel the same as I do tonight? Great question. Do I respect the opinions of David Starr? More than you know. Do I respect Gabe Sapolsky and what he does for professional wrestling? I sure do. Am I just a “mark” who has always been a wrestling fan, following his dream to work in the business he grew up loving? Maybe. And maybe that is my flaw. Maybe I see myself chasing a dream, a dream that, at the age of 36, is probably a long shot. Maybe that is why I have the opinion that I do. Maybe that is why I see exposure as a chance to do something I wouldn’t normally get.
Anyway, if you are still reading this, thanks. I appreciate it. Again, my ramblings aren’t supposed to solve any problems or make sense to anybody, these are just my thoughts. I am very happy with the promotions that I currently work with and have worked for in the past. I love professional wrestling. There is nothing better than a show weekend for me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Maybe this is something we can bring up on the podcast. Hit me up on Twitter @ryneagle and be sure you are following along with all of the 3 Count Thursday social media pages @3CountThursday.