AS I SEE IT - 8/18/2002:
Deception as an Artform... More on XPW
by: Bob Magee
Before this week's column, I'd like to welcome two columnists on PWBTS.com:
- John "Freakboy" Brodigan - one of the driving forces behind Al Isaacs's SCOOPS website, and is currently writing for
SMARKS, Pro Wrestling Columns and Wrestling Bytes.
- Sister Midnight - reporter for such sites as Gerweck.net, will do a monthly column for PWBTS involving a variety of topics.
Welcome to these two well-known online writers from all of us at PWBTS.com.
Now to this week's column...
The soap opera involving XPW's attempt to run a wrestling show at the ECW Arena on August 31st continues.
Rather than use online media to get free publicity to break in to a new market, they've attacked three online writers who've reported on them, including Phoenix Championship promoter and 1wrestling.com writer Donnie
Bucci, and Socaluncensored.com's Steve Bryant. I've even had a crude graphic dedicated to me that was substituted for the original graphic of the surety bond XPW was to use for its 8/31 show, the bond later reported by The Hartford to have used a falsified address.
The promotion has also had at least one (and possibly two) examples of cold feet by the Delaware County (Pennsylvania) based independent Heritage Wrestling, the promotion that appears to be permitting XPW to use their license to run the August 31st show...to the extent that XPW Vice President Kevin Kleinrock flew to Pennsylvania this week to again meet with officials of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission to attempt to secure XPW's own license.
Further, to show the lack of confidence that XPW has in their ability to draw with their lineup on August 31st...they've been involved in the following dirty tricks with Philadelphia area promotions over the last few weeks:
- XPW started rumors that Northeast indy (and recent NWA:TNA) regulars, the SAT, would be at the 8/31 show, wrestling Mexico's Most Wanted (Damien 666 and Halloween).
When PCW promoter Donnie Bucci, (who already had the SAT booked for the same night on his Russ Haas Memorial Show in Toms River, NJ) asked one of the Maximo Brothers about this possible double-booking, Maximo's response was "Who are they?"
- XPW has also offered comp tickets to anyone presenting a ticket for the CZW Ultraviolent Tournament of Death scheduled for the same day in Dover, DE.
This is hardly the first time XPW has given out widespread comps. For example, on XPW flyers for January 12th's "New Year's Revolution 2" show, XPW advertised that the first 500 people to bring that flyer to the show got in free...meaning that 30-50% of the crowd was comped in.
I suppose it's true that XPW could get a few CZW fans with tickets to stay around in town, rather then make the trek to Dover, DE. Then again, there are better odds of Yassir Arafat being named to the Knesset and sitting with the Likud Party alongside Ariel Sharon.
- XPW spread a rumor among New York City fans (through individuals organizing a bus trip to the show from New York City) that Wifebeater "and one other CZW wrestler" were to be surprises on the show. This appears to be news to
Wifebeater, the CZW lockerroom, and CZW management.
- Sources within CZW do acknowledge that XPW made an effort to get the Backseat Boyz to work the 8/31 show, and were turned down. They then tried to get Kashmere individually, thinking he would jump alone, and were turned down. Two months ago, XPW had also attempted to get CZW Heavyweight Champion Justice Pain and Ruckus, and were turned down by both wrestlers.
- Within the last month, XPW tried to get several people from the Ring of Honor lineup and were turned down by all of them. Given that a number of the wrestlers have Japan deals, or work for NWA:TNA (some under contract) or are major independent stars who would not limit their dates to any one promotion, this is not a surprise.
- Within the last week, XPW called a ticket outlet for Philadelphia area independent 3PWrestling, claiming that 3PW was working with XPW in an attempt to get this outlet to sell XPW tickets. When this alleged relationship was discovered to have been non-existent, XPW was refused.
There's nothing illegal with trying to get talent from competitors that aren't under contract...hell, it's almost traditional in the wrestling business. It may violate concepts of loyalty, but it isn't illegal. However, if any of those individuals
were under contract, that's a different matter.
As for the CZW talent, if XPW actually advertised any of these wrestlers publicly, they committed fraud. If they merely spread a rumor that they "might" appear on the 8/31 show, they played dirty pool with CZW... and more importantly, played dirty pool with fans.
As for the issue involving 3PWrestling, there would seem to be little doubt that trying to commit misrepresentation by alleging a relationship with a competitor in order to get them to sell tickets... is against the law.
Now let's say that you're a reader of this column...and you don't care about any of the above. You don't care about behind-the-scenes machinations, State Athletic Commissions, or promotion vs. promotion fights.
What about paying your money, and not getting what you were advertised?
Lord knows XPW wouldn't be the first to do this. Many promotions play games with fans; ranging from the promoter in England who claimed that the WWF/E talent he falsely advertises at his shows were only "tribute" shows... to the tried and true "transportation problems" (which do happen on occasion, but not as often as claimed).
But how about having it happen again and again and again?
XPW has made it into an artform.
Let's look at several examples:
- 9/6/2000 - 2 promises were made, including one announcing shows in San Jose, San Diego, Modesto, and the Inland Empire, none of which ever happened; and an "invasion of the East Coast in 2001" that never happened.
- On 10/17/2000 and again on 11/11/2000, angles were done with "Atsushi Onita's gang" attacking
Sabu. This was supposed to lead to a Sabu-Atsushi Onita match. This match never happened. XPW's excuse was "due to the legal situation between ECW and XPW, the Exploding Ring Match [would be] put on hold."
- 2/24/2001 - Vic Grimes vs. Messiah was pushed as the main event. Fans were greeted with a "finger poke of doom" finish ala Kevin Nash instead of the advertised match.
- 4/21/2001 - Konnan and Shane Douglas advertised for a card that they weren't able to make, owing to the minor matter that they were still under Time-Warner contract.
- 1/12/02 - XPW had hyped a major surprise for two months at "New Year's Revolution 2", claiming that a "former WWF/WCW champion" would appear.
No "former WWF/WCW champion".
This wrestler was widely rumored to again have been Shane Douglas, with the two reported reasons being that he was still under Time-Warner contract at the time and thus unable to appear; and by other reports that he had gotten his release, but didn't appear because he hadn't gotten agreement on getting 100% booking control for XPW.
XPW blamed it on the heel faction "The Enterprise".
If that wasn't bad enough, the promotion had brought extra attention on itself with a "challenge to wrestling journalists" two weeks before the show, "daring" them to cover the show.
- The "Buck Naked Match" at Freefall 2/3/02 - This was a match where it was claimed that either Lizzy Borden (wife of Rob Black) or Veronica Caine would be stripped naked.
To hype the match... it was claimed that WWE's "bar and panties" matches were worthless because "in the end, they always look stupid."
Needless to say, when the time for the payoff came, and Veronica Caine took her clothes off...the lights mysteriously went out, and when they went on, Caine was covered up, to an angry crowd chanting "bullshit"... a chant which then turned into "refund". Heel faction "The Enterprise" came back out and cut a promo on how they "@#$@#ed the fans once again."
XPW to this day advertises this match on their online tape catalog, an ad which you can find here as featuring that "...One of them will be bare-ass, buck naked before the end of the catfight."
You'd think someone would have edited that reference out by now...if it weren't intentionally left there to sell tapes, that is.
Then there was likely the most disgusting attempt at an angle ever, one where it was fortunate that Rob Black didn't deliver...the "puppy angle" of February 17-22, 2002.
Rob Black decided that it would be good publicity for his wrestling promotion to state that he was planning on feeding a dog to a snake live on a membership-only portion of the Extreme Associates adult website on February 22nd.
While most people assumed this to be another one of Black's angles... it backfired on him, as people assuming Black would be sick enough to do anything just for publicity, including killing an animal... made a reported 1000 calls to the Los Angeles Police Department, and to West Hollywood Animal Care and Control. He even got attention from the animal rights activist group
Needless to say, Black didn't live up to this stip either...fortunately for once.
Because of a column critical of this angle, Black also decided it'd be good publicity to attack a columnist for PWBTS, Jay Bower, with this lovely little tirade:
"..Today I came in and Kevin Kleinrock, general manager extraordinaire, informed me that we've been getting inundated with calls from Animal Control and the police department. On top of that there's wrestling websites reporting on this. There's this one website by this Jay Bower, a columnist. He's a @#$&%$ #$#@$@$@$. I want to go on record and say that Jay Bower is a @#%#%# @$#$ And let me tell you something, Jay Bower. Your mother @#*$# #!@#. That's what your mother does. She &@##$ $#."
And people think Vince McMahon is crude?
After the "puppy angle" bombed, Black put up a fanciful account of an incident (conveniently staged and taped for sale at Extreme
Associates.com) where he had his "company's door driven in by LAPD 'Gestapo'", and showed himself being beaten to a bloody pulp (read: he bladed for the camera) before being "arrested for assault" and placed in the Los Angeles City Jail.
So for any of you who don't care about interpromotional politics or State Athletic Commissions...perhaps those examples of non-delivery on stipulations (up to and including animal cruelty angles) might get your attention.
Give that some thought when you decide what to do with your time, if you're a wrestling fan in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic areas on August 31st.
Next week, I'll review the two other options that are available to area wrestling fans for that weekend.
For any readers who do care about the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission allowing this promotion to run this show, despite clear violations of State regulations, you can call Greg Sirb at (717) 787-5720 or e-mail the Commission at email@example.com.
If any readers would like to offer their opinions on this matter to Joe Blackburn, promoter of the Heritage Wrestling Association, the promotion renting its license to XPW, they can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by
e-mail at email@example.com)