Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Short Note about Being Fresh

Super No Vacancy
Photo via Drew Cordeiro

The above photo was taken at Feté Music on Sunday for Beyond Wrestling's sold-out Americanrana '14. The company is by-and-large producing some of the freshest professional wrestling in the game right now, and over the last year has built up a loyal audience at the Providence, RI venue with tons of nationwide buzz. Inspire Pro Wrestling is packing them in similarly down at the Marchesa Theater in Austin, TX, and that company is following a similar plan. Produce great wrestling with talented performers forging your own identity. The best non-WWE promotions in America, the ones that pack houses, all follow similar formats. Whether Chikara or Pro Wrestling Guerrilla or whatever local promotion in various areas around the country packin' 'em in, promotions that, by and large, try to make their own names and forge ahead with either innovative stories or their own, unique spin on classic wrestling tropes and angles are the ones that draw.

Meanwhile, TNA is in dire straits right now. No one goes to live shows, and the company is being threatened with losing its television deal. It is not surprising that the company's stories have been largely recycled from promotions past without any hint of changing them up while pushing people based on their cred from WWE, ECW, or WCW. The company at its peak provided a better plan through pushing the X-Division and Knockouts as main drawing points. Those legs were deemphasized, and various people in charge of booking pushed the homegrown guys like Robert Roode and Magnus too late to matter.

The above examples are certainly anecdotal. Innovative concepts and takes flop all the time. Lord knows nothing Pro Wrestling Syndicate is doing in New Jersey is original, fresh, or in any way built by their own ingenuity or work, but that company is one of the biggest draws in America. However, it's always better to strike out on your own rather than fail using someone else's sloppy seconds, even if it could be argued that wrestling is built on unoriginality. Even if the best ideas are borrowed, the ones that usually come off best are the ones that are tweaked in some way. It should come as no surprise that the companies doing the best, either critically or at the box office, tend to be the ones who aren't sucking off someone else's teat. Maybe if TNA survives and gets a new television deal, Dixie Carter and her braintrust will learn that lesson and use their near-death brush as valuable life experience.

Then again, I doubt it.