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OPINION COLUMN: The Self-Promotion of the Modern Independent Wrestler

by on May 12, 2011

By Thomas Green

(Note: If you want to comment on this opinion article, positive, negative, or just to expand upon a point made, either leave a comment on the blog or hit me up on Twitter @tomisnotgreat.)

New. Fresh. Different.

Those are all attributes that most wrestling fans who still watch the current product want, whether it be out of the promotions they watch or the wrestlers themselves. With freshness and difference comes change and change in wrestling usually revolves around new talent cycling in and out. In 2011, there are more venues than ever before for a young wrestler to show up on the independent circuit and bust out from the pack. Yet, compared to even five or six years ago, while you have a crew of guys who have broken out to a degree, but haven’t gone to the degree that the indie stars of the mid-00’s really achieved. Why is this? What are these guys doing to cut in front of the line? What can these guys do to ensure that this isn’t just a downward trend?

“Information travels faster in the modern age”, as the Death Cab for Cutie song goes. It’s an incredible benefit, as it’s given everyone on the face of the planet the ability to share their opinions and promote whatever they want to their heart’s content. However, when EVERYONE is doing something, it ends up being a ton of white noise usually. If you jump on your computer in the morning and within seconds are bombared with practically hundreds of promotions (whether it be someone promoting their opinion or their product), that’s a LOT to comprehend.

Straight off of the bat, I want to make it clear that I’m absolutely not anti-Internet or anti-Youtube or anti-Twitter. I love the tubes that intertwine to make this wonderful web, but a LOT of guys think that just throwing their stuff online or getting a Twitter or Facebook fan page to promote themselves will instantly be seen by every single eye they need in order to get further or become more fond in those people’s eyes. Just like with wrestling at any other point, you really need to be something different in order to take the steps forward that everyone else that just think that putting their food in the grocery store means that people will buy it in mass quantities.

But, there’s also a fine line to walk. As much as most folks who love wrestling speak constantly about new things and change, change really scares most people. If you do something TOO out there or use a wrestling style that’s too different, absolutely expect an immediate backlash. While part of it could be because you’re trying something different and exposed yourself to too wide of an audience before you perfected it, there’s also that human instinct to reject anything different from yourself or what you’re used to.

If you’re a flier, you better have a couple of moves that no one else has EVER seen before, but if you go out doing eight hundred new moves, expect to get blank stares or instant dismissal after one person “discovers” you and tries to get the word out to new fans. Look at A.R. Fox. He got some minor buzz for highlight videos he put on Youtube where he did a tope con hilo (flip over the top rope to the floor). It’s a move that most wrestling fans have seen thousands of times, but the difference was that he did it higher and further than most anyone had ever done in pro wrestling. Combat Zone Wrestling brought him in for the three-way dance at their February 2010 event after that. Go back and watch that match. Fox did some nutty, new things, but it wasn’t non-stop AR Fox insanity. Yet because he did the coolest things and he did them few and far between, he got the attention and momentum.

If you’re going to count on your personality to stand out, don’t be so darned weird that people just cast you off as being a gimmick. Look at Jon Moxley. If you can give me the exact number of guys who’ve tried similar personas to Moxley’s in pro wrestling during the last twenty years, I’ll pay for you to get some sort of human interaction since that would take ridiculous amounts of time to calculate. But, Moxley tweaked little things, threw himself into the persona and didn’t shove himself too far down anyone’s throats. Unlike most guys, he did nearly none of his own online publicity. It was all other people, whether it be promoters, fellow wrestlers or just random fans finding his stuff themselves.

Let me end this by saying this: I know nothing. I’m just a kid with a wife and a comforter blanket from Indiana. I’ve done nothing. But, I like to think I have a brain in my head. Those are just my observations from following the art closely for as long as I have. Like I said at the beginning, hit me up on Twitter @tomisnotgreat or comment on the blog if you think I’m completely off-base. Of course, I’m also more than welcoming to people who agree with me and love me since I need constant gratification…

-TOM.
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