We have tossed the idea of tackling this issue for a long time. The article was originally going to be directly tied to an alleged incident a week ago, however it left us wondering, Does this still happen? Of course, not just here, but everywhere. So therefore some of the following submissions have directly addressed the incident and others have not. If you want your voice to be heard, email any of us contributors at the emails under the Contributors Section.
The following commentaries are from workers who are offering opinions on what they would do if exposed to situations described in the title of this article. It in no way supports or discredits any situation this article may make reference to, directly or indirectly.
What would you do if a promoter stiffed you/worker assault you?
Two separate questions… And different
A lot of promoters, especially today, are Vince McMahon wannabes. Plain and simple. They have no clue how to put a show together, much less how to put a payroll together.
If a guy like Killer Brooks or any old timer whose now a promoter calls for work, we figure on something loosely. In other words he may ask what my fee is, or he may not. Whatever it is, if for some reason it’s not met, that’s fine. I know he’s gone thru the same thing when he was working, and doesn’t feel comfortable being short. I know I don’t.
Guys that are trying to be promoters want to play high roller, and talk about guarantees and big money, but once the show comes around, they start sweating. Ive been ‘stiffed’ a few times. What can you really do? You can choke, threaten, strip the guy, take his ring, but all your doing is putting yourself at risk for going to jail yourself. Or you can never work with that guy again. And pass it around.
And it goes the other way as well. Promoters, don’t guarantee indy guys anything. I know this is gonna raise some eyebrows and probably piss some people off, but guys should get paid according to what they draw. If guys are asking to be guarantee $50 each and you have 12 guys and a referee, that $650. Plus rental of the venue and advertising. Are you gonna at least break even? I can understand the ‘glory’ of being Mr ‘rasslin promoter, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business. If a guy is asking for a $50 guarantee, ask him, ‘can you guarantee me 5 fans at $10 a ticket, are coming to see you’
If I’m a wrestler and I want to work, I’ll work, and make the promoter and fans see my value, and once I’ve done a few low end pay shows for the promoter, THEN I’ll come back and say ‘hey buddy, we need to discuss my payday a little’.
This also gives your crew an incentive to work as a team to draw in more fans. Which is one if the main problems with the business… Guys going into business for themselves. Screw that. We’re a team.
I have never been assaulted in the ring by anyone. Nor have I assaulted anyone either. Why should I?
I’ve seen it happen. To me that is the epitome of lack of respect to your opponent, and to the business.
The days of tough guys and so on are long ago.
There are no Stan Hansons or Rick Rudes, Hakus or Rick Stieners anymore. Which is why it’s not really a good idea when someone says wrestlings fake, and we use the ole ‘get in the ring and I’ll show you’. Chances are the fan will beat that guys ass, or file a lawsuit the next morning.CBut that’s another blog all together.
Guys step into the ring thinking of being entertaining, putting on a good show, not always a good match, and getting their shit in. And thru the years, that’s what the fans have been programmed to accept. It doesn’t mean it’s right, but it is what it is.
But then there’s the ‘tough guy’ that wants to be stiff, or be the ‘veteran’ and teach the other guy a lesson. Show him how it’s supposed to be done, and they beat the heck out of their unsuspecting opponent. There’s absolutely nothing cool about that. Nothing. And it’s garbage.
If you want to ‘teach’ him, do it in the back, and do it by really teaching him something by explanation.
We Are The Teachers Of This Business- Black Bart
Bart said that while talking about the younger guys of today not understanding. Fans come to a wrestling. Show to see a pro wrestling match. They know what it’s about. They know its not real. I have seen several instances where guys go in the ring with the intention of ‘shooting’ on their opponent. And what was the result… Fans walking out. Anger. Disgust. They didn’t come to see a UFC fight. Thats Dana Whites department. The fans know. And if anyone thinks they don’t… your stupid.
Being stiff. That’s something else altogether. A guy that’s been around knows when a guy is stiff, or if he’s intentionally trying to hurt you. There are guys that are stiff. I’ve been with a few. And you need to adjust your work a little to be able to ‘survive’. lol
Sometimes in the heat of battle, guys do get careless. That is true. But all it takes is ‘hey brother, loosen up’ and the problem is fixed. Or even a solid forearm across the chest. I wouldn’t nail a guy in the head. Contact to the head has become a very touchy issue.
A green guy will make mistakes. I made many. But Luke Williams, Eric Embry, Tim Brooks and the list goes on, NEVER beat my ass into the ground or embarrassed me. They worked around me, and corrected me in the dressing room. The ring is not a place to show how ‘tough’ you are. Go do that in the bar. Or your back yard. The ring is our work place. Our office. Don’t disrespect it.
Samoa Joe vs Low Ki did a match for Ring of Honor a few years ago. When both boys came to the back, they were covered with hand marks all about their upper chest and back. They beat the tar out of each other. That was between them. They weren’t shooting on each other, one guy wasn’t trying to injure the other. That was their match.
Back to the green guys. If a guy screws up or forgets in the ring, a true pro will walk him thru the match. If green boy forgets what to do, a kick in the face isn’t going to make him remember. It’s just going to take him completely out of the match. Then you’ve lost him. I had a couple of guys in my early years tell me ‘you got lost for awhile there, but we got it back on track’. And today I’ve told guys ‘you got lost their for awhile, but we got back on track’. A true ‘pro’ can work with anyone. ANYONE.
The guys that need to be taught a lesson can be taught the best lesson ever. Don’t use them. Two guys got their souls handed to them in a match. Their opponents went into the ring with intent to hurt them. I asked the guy who ordered the ‘hit’ why, and he said because they were idiots and deserved it. They needed to be taught a lesson. My answer… Then don’t use them.
After one of the guys crawled under the ring yelling ‘help’, and ‘they’re really beating us up’, fans starting getting up and walking out. Great job. One of the repercussions of that incident is the promotion no longer exists.
Another guy that needed to be taught a lesson was literally knocked unconscious in the middle of a battle royal. Then his assailant tried to pin him. The referee said he needs to get thrown over the top rope. So the tough guy picked him up and dumped him over the top rope, with blood pouring out if his nose, and his family in the front row watching… with his son. True professionalism.
Again, if he was a problem, why use him at all.
The results of that incident was that promotion could not run in that rec center again, and threats of a lawsuit were flying around.
Your goal in the ring should be to put together a good solid entertaining match. Spot monkeys have their place on a card. Scientific wrestling has its place on the card. HARDCORE has its place on the card. But beating a guy up NEVER has it’s place on any pro wrestling card.
What we do is an illusion. We don’t have stunt men or editing camara angles to get across to the fans that they are watch a fight, or a competition in the ring. WE are the stuntmen. WE are the editors. If you can put a seed in the fans mind, JUST A SEED, that what they are seeing is real, then your doing your job. How do you do that? Training. Work on your punches, kicks, forearms, FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. Body movement. Reaction. Body language.
Take pride in your work. Be the guy known as ‘he can work with anyone’. Don’t be known as the guy that has hurt people.
Rudy Boy Gonzalez
This response is from Frank Martin a 30+ Year veteran of the Wrestling Business. He sheds light on his opinion from the position of a worker and promoter.
Ok my thoughts about what has been alleged in Union City at a wrestling event. First I really hope that what has been alleged is not true because it gives this industry and the workers a black eye. It solidifies what some people think about Professional Wrestling and the people who work in the industry.
The question asked of me was what would I do if I did not have the money to pay the workers at a show? First let me say that I am a business man. I have owned and operated businesses for the past 25 years. I understand that actually by law you must pay the people that work for you. The same is how I operated my wrestling shows. I always had the money to pay the workers personally in my account or in cash on me. Any promoter who thinks that his or her show will always draw enough people to make the pay roll is delusional. In this day and age you never know if your show will draw from one week to the next. A lot of people do not have the disposable income that they use to so they find themselves making choices like wrestling or food or gas for the car. The economy is the factor that a promoter must be in tune with and make sure that he or she is putting on a show that people do want to see.
Now if you find yourself in a position that you know from sponsors and pre sold tickets that you will not make your payroll then you should cancel the show and refund the tickets or reschedule the show to give yourself more time to raise the money.
What would I do if workers did “rough me up!” Simple I would press charges and would not drop them under any circumstances period! I would also file a lawsuit. Now I may not win but I would make sure that it would cost them everything they had to defend themselves. Now I would say that is if I didn’t deserve it. If I deserve it then I would take my butt whoopin like a man and go on! I would say this if there is a promoter out there that does this to a worker you should expect to get a butt kicking. Just because you are a scumbag who probably has done this before. There is no excuse for not paying the workers. These guys put themselves on the line when they get into the ring so pay them.
If there is promoters out there that workers know have a habit of not paying workers then let me say this to the workers. DON’T WORK FOR THESE PROMOTERS EVER! If you do then don’t get physical with them because you knew going in you would not get paid. Run these scumbags out of business and work for the promoters who will pay you.
On the night I shut down the RWA I paid every single worker that showed up. None of the worked but I had booked them so I paid them, out of my pocket. So I say pay the workers if you book them.
I was asked the question, ”What would your response be if a promoter didn’t pay me my money”.Most people who know me, will pretty much know what my answer will be. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll explain. It will depend on several factors, the amount of money, the person, my mood, the circumstances surrounding it, and the distance I’m from home. Last year, I was ”shorted” by a buddy of mine. I didn’t make a big deal, just no more favors for him. Another ”promoter” I’m cool with, came up short, again no biggie, but I dont see me doing any shows for him again unless I get my money wired. If it’s a large amount, and we don’t have any history, I’ll wil dol something strange to that person. I go from pro to ghetto in .25 seconds. Not paying me what we agreed, upon is like stealing, and I hate thieves.
Now by no means are any of us suggesting that you do what has been stated in the opinions above. However, you must ask yourself this question. If you know the promoter may not pay you, is the show worth working? If you know the promoter is not gonna pay out at the end of the show and your already there, should you leave. Absolutely. If the promoter is not going to pay leave. Don’t work and expect something in return. My time is valuable and so is yours! Don’t work for free and then complain because you don’t get paid. Should you take things into your own hands if the promoter fails to pay you. No. If you are getting paid a good amount of money, file a small claims suit against the promoter. If your in a state with an Athletic Commission, file a complaint and they should pay you out of any surety bond they’ve paid to the state to be legal to run a show. Never take it to a physical level. You are risking possible criminal charges if you do. Just don’t work for that promoter again and spread the word of their non-paying ways.
If you would like to know if your state has an athletic commission, click here.