AS I SEE IT - 1/09/2002
Inter-promotional wars are nothing new in wrestling. They were occurring
decades before Vince McMahon and Ted Turner went at it on a national stage.
If you go to Wrestlingclassics.com, you can read stories of the wars between promoters in Georgia, Tennessee, or any one of a dozen other territorial wars in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Kayfabememories.com also has some nice stories about the creative methods for members of a certain State Athletic Commissions to make a few bucks, back in the days of Vince McMahon, Sr.
Well, here's yet another example of inter-promotional warfare...and the fans wind up as the losers.
The following was sent to various wrestling media by Ray Sager of Jersey All Pro Wrestling after the abrupt cancellation by the Woodbridge School District of the JAPW show scheduled for January 19th, that was to feature Eddie Guerrero vs. Low Ki.
JAPW has stated privately that they believe a rival promoter that runs shows in northern/central New Jersey may well be responsible. They have not listed this person's name, as legal action is pending against the School District and potentially others:
Here is a description of what occurred with this show:
"...[Since] everyone is asking, here is a brief chain of events of the Woodbridge incident:
It seems to me there are a lot of shady underhanded tactics being used on the independent wrestling scene in New Jersey and it is the fans and the wrestlers themselves who suffer. I hope whoever did this is proud of their actions.
While I can not 100 percent confirm who initiated these actions that caused the Woodbridge NJ show to be cancelled, I can 100 percent confirm that an outside person did call the school board, and a complaint was lodged about Jersey All Pro Wrestling.
On December 6, 2001, Jersey All Pro Wrestling entered into an agreement with the Woodbridge Township School Board and Woodbridge High School.
On December 10, a check written by Jersey All Pro Wrestling was accepted by Woodbridge High School as a deposit for the rental of the high school gym.
Between December 10 and January 4, Jersey All Pro Wrestling spent time and money promoting this event. Business were lined up as sponsors to sell tickets. I had contacted the parents group that supports the high school wrestling team and a portion of the ticket money that they sold would go directly to them. The school store in the high school was going to be provided with tickets and the money they made was going to be donated to them directly.
On January 4, I received a phone call saying that the school board had cancelled the event. Right away, I went to the principal and he told me to go visit the school board acting superintendent Vincent Smith.
After a few hours, I was able to get a meeting with Vincent Smith who is the top guy in Woodbridge for the school system and makes all the final decisions.
Here is what was said.
I straight out asked why was the show cancelled, he responded saying that he received a phone call and mentioned to me all the problems in Bayonne and the Extreme Laws and blood. At first, I was relieved as I could easily explain us out of this problem.
I informed him about that law and that we do not run Extreme Events since 2000 in New Jersey, in fact this event we would be running was a suitable for all ages show and that their would be no cursing, no blood, and no exploitation of women.
It is funny that this 50 year old guy knew about the Extreme Law and was quite thorough in our history.
After I explained he then began to run in circles and now find a valid excuse. He then brought up that the floor can get damaged, then was worried about the fans... then said it needed to be sponsored by a high school group... then was worried about the women on the show after a wrestling show 2 years ago from another organization in another high school in the town received complaints about half dressed women and their actions. I followed up and answered every concern he had.
The floor would be protected from the ring and chairs after I spoke to the school janitor and took precautions.
We had hired Woodbridge Police and our own security, and I mentioned in 6 years we never had a incident with a fan or fans including any type of fights or riots.
I had secured the School Store as a ticket location and they would get money in return for the prom committee and the parents group for the high school wrestling team would get money.
As far as being sponsored, a few years back ESPN had live boxing from this same gym without any sponsorship.
I told him that our show would be a family show suitable for all ages and once again reiterated that their would be no blood, no cursing, and no exploitation of women on the show, and in fact it was even in writing from my part on the application that was approved. I said how we can guarantee that in writing as well an another form.
So later that day I was given a letter explaining the school board's cancellation of our event and simply put they used the excuse of not being sponsored by a school group.
Well now I can say it is time for the lawyers, we have a signed and legal agreement from Woodbridge High School, clearly stating approved and money was deposited to the school, so clearly they are in a breach of contract and that's all I can say on that as our lawyers are working on this matter.
It is a shame that some underhanded promoter had to do this. How can I say this for sure, as a graduate of Woodbridge High School, I still know some people, and asked point blank what happened and 2 of them specifically stated something about a phone call.
To whoever called I hope you are proud of yourself. I can't say for sure who it is and would not do that in a public forum as this. However, I have a good idea who it may be, and I probably will find out down the road as people in this business like to talk and like to brag so eventually I look for it to get back to me in some way.
I hope you are proud now that about 30 workers will lose their payday.
I hope you are proud you cost the PAW group (Parents Around Wrestlers) in the high school money.
I hope you are proud you cost the prom committee money.
I hope you are proud for giving independent wrestling another black eye that we sorely do not need at this time with the current state of wrestling and the economy, some groups are actually trying to improve their reputation and put on fun and exciting shows.
Ray Sager (Glenn Strange)
Jersey All Pro Wrestling"
Another recent example of local promoter(s) involved in inter-promotional wars involved the attempts to prevent the December 15 ECW Arena debut of Combat Zone Wrestling from taking place. Many readers have no idea of all the behind the scenes politicking and attempts at interference that went on during the month prior to the show. This included individual(s) actually setting up a website to encourage people to lobby Pennsylvania State legislators and members of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission to prevent the show from taking place; with outlandish claims made against CZW, its workers, and employees.
Some of the things CZW was forced to do for this show to occur, as a result of these efforts, was sickening to see from the viewpoint of an informed observer. I heard comments from a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission testifying to one of the things I know they had to do.
Let me speak from the viewpoint of a fan.
I'm getting tired of these childish games that are going on in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey/New York area.
There are promoters, who well know who they are...and may be surprised to know that more than a few others know who they are.
Their swollen egos seem hell bent on ruling their little fiefdoms of shows run they run once or twice per month; and ruining it for someone else who runs another promotion, perhaps a different style...or is just a competitor.
More importantly, they ruin it for the workers who get a payday (albeit a small one) from these shows. They ruin it for these workers, who lose chances to practice their craft. They ruin it for people like me who simply want to see a show on a weekend.
When will promoters start learning that the name of the game is to make a buck by putting asses in the seats through producing an entertaining wrestling product and doing the work necessary to promote it, whether they run family-oriented or hardcore style products...and not by spending their majority of their time trying to cause problems for their competitors?
Why will they not attempt to find creative ways to promote their product that will draw more to their shows, as opposed to making phone calls to School Board Superintendents, or members of Athletic Commissions?
The time will come soon enough when the names of these promoters start being made public, with evidence to back up what is said.
I don't draw a paycheck from any wrestling company (despite the delusions of L. Brent Bozell to the contrary), so I've no personal interest other than wanting to see this nonsense stop...and see workers and promoters I know, and many others that I don't...get to work and promote without this continual and childish garbage getting in the way.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)