The Hart Grapevine – Looking At Today’s Crop Of Independent Wrestlers

I wonder sometimes if today’s crop of independent wrestlers ever wonder why wrestling converted from being a legit sport to being a worked form of entertainment.

For those wondering, which I assume is nearly everyone working the independent circuit, the reason was to make more money. By controlling the outcome of a contest and building controversy, gates were able to be increased, which thus allowed for better payoffs. Wrestlers still wrestled and the product was taken credibly. This was ultimately the conventional formula until Vince McMahon usurped the competition in the 80’s and converted the product into a mainstream television commercial.

I watch independent wrestling today and see no semblance of the sport I was raised in. 120 lbs. Kids are now going to the ring in front of packed crowds of 50 people in trackpants, wifebeaters and running shoes to flip around like acrobats for 10 minutes, after which they are paid $20 if anything only to run to the nearest social media outlet to proclaim what a huge superstar they are and that this is their career.

Meanwhile they subsidize their time and income with a McDonalds job or living in mom’s basement, waiting for that faithful call from the WWE, when they get to live the dream.

I don’t mean to trample peoples dreams, but this isn’t what was envisioned by the forefathers of our industry when the change was made.

I have to chuckle at the thought of Toots Mondt approaching Ed Lewis and Jack Taylor to suggest they do a tables match or bump into some thumbtacks. Can you imagine Jack Pfeffer asking Argentina Rocca and Lord James Blears to compete in a TLC match for $20.

I don’t mean to come like a crusty old-timer, but if this really is your dream apply yourself. Learn your craft inside and out from a true professional. Fundamentals never grow old. Go to a gym and get in good shape. Buy proper ring gear and look like a professional. Be original with your ideas for your character and personality but stay within the realms of reality. But before you even entertain the notion of a career in sports entertainment, develop and build a viable plan B.

I don’t expect a return to the sport of my father but for the life of me I can’t understand the appeal to putting your time, health and welfare on the line for the sake of 50 people and $20.

Perhaps if the wrestlers in this business started to take it more seriously rather than live in a fantasy world with delusional beliefs of grandeur, perhaps the fans may take it seriously as well.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.


  • C-note

    Interesting look on how one should be raised up to perform their craft in professional wrestling. While I do agree that people should use the fundamentals to build a solid base, using unusual methods to try and get noticed has worked before. Hence the biggest example is Mick Foley.

    The likes of Abdullah The Butcher and The Sheik also made legendary names for themselves while the Hardys, Edge & Christian, and The Dudley Boyz made their name off of the TLC. All parties involved in that came out to the better. While its good to stick to what works to some extent there always a need for something extra to keep a spark in the business.

    As far as the indy kids claiming to be big stars, it never hurts to have a healthy ego and its all about exaggeration of who you are and your talents in order to have a successful character. If you don’t believe you’re not a superstar then it’ll be tough for others to accept you as such as well.