Monday, July 29, 2019

Caveat Emptor, or Maybe The Parks and Defy Are Better Off Separate

Los Parks are in hot water, but was it all their fault?
Photo Credit: Justin M. Knipper
Defy Wrestling held the first of two shows for its Super 8XGP tournament Friday, and on that show, Los Parks, LA Park and El Hijo del LA Park, took on the team of Warbeast, Jacob Fatu and The Almighty Sheik. The match was said to be a hard-hitting war, with Warbeast retaining, but it made headlines for what happened after the match. Los Parks took their frustrations out on the referee, Benjamin Roberts, beating on him and pouring water down his pants. At the time, it didn't seem like a big deal, because it's something they do with referees wherever they go. Folks thought Roberts was in on it, and that it was just an angle to get more heat on the team. You can see the video below:
I mean, it looked super innocent to the naked eye, but apparently, it was less than a collaborative effort. Apparently, Roberts was not in on the joke, and thus it came off as more a shoot humiliation attempt. The reasoning is unclear, whether he lingered too long and the Parks took the opportunity to do their signature post-match thing, or he tried to leave and they were mad they couldn't do it. However, it was bad enough that Defy went ahead and made public their intentions not to book the father and son duo ever again.

Several years ago, Chikara fell into a similar situation where Feníx loudly said "fuck" during his quarterfinal King of Trios match. Chikara is well-known to its fans and the wrestlers it regularly uses as family-friendly, so Mike Quackenbush was furious with him for uttering that particular word. However, not only was Feníx not a Chikara regular (his first round match was his first match in that company), but he also spoke exclusively Spanish and without the aid of a translator may not have gotten the gist of what Chikara was. Hell, he may not have even gotten a primer. Lack of communication was the issue there, as it is in this situation.

You would think that booking Los Parks should come with due diligence. Hell, booking ANYONE comes with due diligence, but especially someone like these two, who wrestle in a different culture than what Defy normally operates in. The ref bullying thing is standard operating procedure. If they had known about it and condoned it, they would, or at least should, have given Roberts a heads-up. If they knew and didn't condone it, then maybe we can heap a major part of the blame here on Los Parks. I don't want to fully absolve them, because attacking a non-participant, no matter how much of a work you think it is, should be something that comes with explicit consent, and if they didn't know it was okay, they should have held back. It's not an entire situation where you need to blame fully the promoters, although I do agree they deserve a lion's share of it for not doing their jobs. Still, you expect that going in that everyone's on the level. If not, then whose fault is it really?

The thing about wrestling promotion is that if the people running things want to command the attention that their so-called authority and the share of the purse they pull in dictates, they need to put in the work making sure everything goes off without a hitch. When Sexy Star shoots on someone because, uh, reasons, you could probably chalk that up to plausible deniability, although when she went in on Rosemary, Lady Shani, and Ayako Hamada, it wasn't the first time, and thus the CMLL bookers probably knew that was a chance going in. Then that deniability gets a lot less plausible. In this situation though, how can it be considered as anything but a total failure of the people putting the show together? Promoting and booking entails a lot more than telling the ref and "the boys" what the finish of the match will be. If you want respect as a manager, then manage your talent, manage your show. If managing means watching more than just one match of the person you're bringing in, then do it. If it's making sure you have a Spanish translator around for your Mexican and otherwise unilingual wrestlers, then so be it. But you have to do something. You can't just throw combustible elements out there and then shrug when things go pear-shaped.

That being said, cutting ties with Los Parks was probably the best thing Defy could have done. It has to come with the lesson though that you don't book someone that you don't know without doing your homework. It's a shame the great fans of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in general now will not get to see Los Parks, but there's probably nothing you can do to repair the situation. Even if Defy bit the bullet and took the L, I don't think either LA Park or El Hijo are in the mood to make amends.

And then, of course, there's the entire chance that this is a work, which, congratulations everyone, y'all fed into the bullshit idea that Jim Cornette puts out that you have to believe it's real at all times in order to be valid. People are in on the joke nowadays. You don't need to work them that bad. But what do I know? Worked shoots are terrible, as referenced by WWE using them all the time and them failing hard. Defy is an indie wrestling promotion on the cutting edge, at least they should be. When you're in the position where WWE takes ideas from you, maybe you shouldn't take their half-baked ideas to poison your own well, okay?