On this special edition of Real Talk, I give the SoCal Wrestling State Of The Union, and I discuss the possible retirement of some overly dramatic guy. Plus the Match Of The Column. Screw Flanders.
SoCal Wrestling State Of The Union
2016 has been a solid year for professional wrestling in Southern California. There has been growth in many aspects of the scene.
In the past year, the San Diego area has became a small hotbed for independent wrestling action in the Southern California area. With Finest City Wrestling, Baja Stars, SoCal pro, and OWA running consistently and building a fan base, and special events such as Lucha Underground “En Vivo” and Viva La Lucha featuring Rey Mysterio Jr. and John Morrison/Johnny Mundo in the main event, a very solid foundation has been built in San Diego. Los Angeles continues to play host to a big events from promotions like PWG, Lucha VaVoom, Lucha Underground, and the recent NXT Live event at the Hollywood Palladium. The variety of shows in the Los Angeles area are also vast, and the returns of AWS and Santino Bros. Wrestling events in the later half of 2016 has boosted the area. Other parts of the SoCal scene, from the Inland Empire with plenty of EWF events taking place multiple times a month, to the High Desert, to Imperial Valley, all the way up to the Santa Maria area see a good amount of events for the size of their areas.
While SoCal has many strengths, there are still plenty of weaknesses that need to be fixed. One aspect is the vast amounts of areas in SoCal where there is no wrestling Orange County is an area that could use more consistent events. With the debut event for the “Real Fucking Wrestling” promotion (real name, not making that up, ish) looking as if it isn’t going to be happening in April, the only shows in the area are OCCW events made up of mostly students and unknown talent, along with the occasional local Lucha show. Aside from the occasional WWE event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Orange County is a bit of a dry market.
Los Angeles has seen plenty of events in the past year, but at the same time it is a market where too many shows are happening within a short distance of each other, with the Underground Auditorium in East Los Angeles, CA even playing host to about six different promotions off the top of my head. Six promotions are running in one venue, while about 100 miles of Los Angeles county is mostly being unused and targeted. From the westside just before the South Bay, to the Pasadena area of the San Gabriel Valley, to the San Fernando Valley just before Simi Valley where MPW holds weekly events, and everything in between. The only promotions running this area aside from the aforementioned MPW are hard to get into PWG shows in Reseda, Lucha VaVoom in Downtown LA, KnokX Pro in Sun Valley, random Lucha events, obscure shows, and the infamous Xtreme World Wrestling. Much like Orange County, there is a large area of LA county that could sue a little saturation. Everything in Los Angeles is too concentrated in one general location, and this does nothing to help boost the scene. It hurts both promoters and wrestlers alike while also watering down the local market.
When it comes to talent, 2016 has been a year that show how much potential and promise the scene has. With new talents coming up such as Douglas James, Eli Everly, Mike Camden, Andy Brown, Adrian Quest, Nate Coy, and D’Marco Wilson to name a few, Southern California has a very strong core of talent that the scene will be able to build around for awhile. This is important and vital to the scene, as it’s not smart, nor is it beneficial, for promotions in SoCal to build their shows and promotions around big name stars and fly ins. The only promotion that can get away with it is Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and that’s because they’ve built over 13 years of goodwill along with a great reputation among fans. Simply put, Southern California promoters need to build around talented local prospects, not expensive stars who are 15 years past their prime.
While the amount of talent looks to be promising, promoters in Souther California need to make sure they’re doing all that they can within their power to make sure local talent can become stars that can draw an audience, as well as helping their promotions grow at the same time. When I went to the NXT Live event at the Hollywood Palladium, the only promotion I saw doing any sort of advertising before and after the show was Championship Wrestling From Hollywood. This was a huge missed opportunity for many promotions to try and gain a few dozen fans that could’ve brought in some much needed revenue. Some promotions in the area have been doing a good job at embracing technology a lot more this year, with some streaming events live via Facebook and Periscope, and others using sites such as Youtube and Vimeo to put their products out there. Others are releasing DVDs, Blu Rays, and Digital Downloads to make their products more available to a wider audience.
For the first time in its history, SoCalUncensored.com has created a new set of ranking designed for female wrestlers in SoCal, just like their male counterparts. In the second part of the year, women’s wrestling saw a mini-boom with the reemergence of AWS featuring a strong women’s division, the return of WOW, and the start of Sabotage Wrestling, a project by Thunder Rosa’s husband. Not only that, but 2017 will see the debut of midwest wrestling promotion RISE in January. It’s safe to say Women’s wrestling in Southern California has been stronger than ever, and also shows potential for more growth.
When I wrote my “Making SoCal Great, Again” series last year, I talked about self-entitlement among workers and how it hurt the SoCal scene years ago. These are workers who are now more open minded than before. Others, well, they’re still self-entitled, immature, and are doomed to make the same mistakes other failed wrestlers that came before them made. If you’ve read my reviews, you know that I hold no punches back. No matter what I or anyone else online has to say, pro wrestlers should learn how to grow thick skin, or else they’ll be doomed to repeat history and end up being failures who end up nowhere in their careers. Instead, pro wrestlers need to continue to focus on making themselves better performers while also investing in their looks.
While SoCal has a lot of good going for it, there is still a lot to be improved on. Hopefully 2017 will continue to see growth and improvement so that this scene can thrive in the future. In the mean time, the foundation being built now is one with a promising future, and one I look forward to seeing in the future.
Tell Me A Lie: Sasha Darevko retires, drama ensues, a legacy of bitching and moaning.
This past week, longtime irrelevant SoCal wrestler Sasha Darevko publicly announced his possible retirement on Facebook. In his post, he ranted about the damage his body took for very little money, and expressed lots and lots of bitterness towards the Southern California wrestling scene.
Later on, he deleted his post. Whether this is a retirement of the Sasha Darevko character played by Brandon Rickert (who also use to wrestled under the name Mike Vega) is something that is up for speculation among some who think it could be a cry for attention. If this is truly the end of his career because of said injury, I would like to extend my sympathy towards Brandon and hope his body makes a full recovery. Again, that is if this is genuine, because part of me is skeptical about Brandon’s retirement.
When the post went up, several people sent me texts and Facebook messages with screen caps of not only this article, but also the comments in the post in which various no name wrestlers expressed their frustrations for being overlooked by the Southern California scene. In response, the Twitter account for the local H.A.T.E posted a comedic GIF. This would upset Rickert, who felt he was being targeted and made fun of for his injury, even though he wasn’t. This resulted in Rickert making a post on Facebook claiming H.A.T.E mocked him for suffering a career injury, despite the group’s social media accounts doing no such thing. When confronted about his claims by members of H.A.T.E, Rickert continued to make false accusations and deleted comments that didn’t favor him.
During Brandon’s Facebook retirement drama, it reminded me of the real legacy that he is leaving behind in SoCal. The one of an immature douchebag who trashed anyone who didn’t praise his matches. The one of someone who thought it’d be smart to insult the girlfriend of the scene’s top star on the SCU message board in 2003. The one of a guy who spent his entire career trying to manipulate others into believing he wasn’t a shitty, lazy hack rather than realizing he was never good and should’ve done something else with his life. The legacy of a man who is (now was, probably) the biggest joke in SoCal.
For those unaware, Brandon and I have some bad blood between us. I’ll make no secret of it, I think the guy is a piece of shit. He’s done nothing for the Southern California scene but manipulate people into trying to get himself ahead despite his lack of talent. When I started to review Championship Wrestling From Hollywood again, I spoke openly and honestly about his work. As a performer, he was awful. This would upset him and caused him to try and get me thrown off the site, as well as preventing me from reviewing Championship Wrestling From Hollywood because he couldn’t handle the truth about him. Not only was he awful as a performer, but he was a toxic personality who spread the wrong mindset to others in the scene. His farewell post to the scene made the SoCal scene seem like hell, when in reality he created his own hell inside his mind.
Brandon, I know you’re going to read this. All I have to say to you is, good riddance. Instead of blaming others for your shortcomings and lack of success, take a long hard look at your body of work, and then look at the body of work of guys from SoCal who made something of themselves without leaving. Maybe then you’ll stop making excuses as to why you never amounted to anything in the industry besides some guy who did a job on a low rated episode of Smackdown. You never got ahead in wrestling because you thought complacency was more important than self-improvement. You wanted people to accept you as a below-mediocre performer when you should’ve worked on bettering yourself inside the ring. You were the anchor to the progress this scene made. Your lack of success is all because of you. Southern California would be better off without you. With that said, if really is the end of your career, here are my final words to you:
Shit Not Worth Writing Columns About
- I was recently told about wrestling gossip columnist and faux-journalist Ryan Satin crying on Twitter about the prices of tickets to PWG’s next show. He must be upset that he has to fork over more money to try and get some shitty “exclusive” story for his shitty gossip site.
- I was told B-Boy vs. Tyler Bateman from Championship Wrestling From Hollywood’s December 4th taping was very good. I’m actually looking forward to seeing this match.
- This past week I told Steve that Jake Atlas has potential to be the 2017 Rookie Of The Year. The guy has really set the bar high for this upcoming rookie class.
- Proofreading sucks. I hate writing. I really do.
Match Of The Column
This edition of Match Of The Column features Andy Brown defending the EWF Championship against H.A.T.E member and total scumbag Ray Rosas. This was a very solid match and I highly recommend everyone check it out. Why the fuck else would I put this on here?