In this edition of Real Talk, I ramble about hypothetical WrestleMania in SoCal stuff, I think the scene is stale, and I talk about Maverick Pro’s new spending strategy. Plus other stuff. Yay!
Shameless attempt at piggybacking on WrestleMania Weekend hype
This weekend, the professional wrestling world will flock to New Orleans for WrestleMania weekend. Aside from events put on by WWE, there are tons of independent wrestling promotions running. If you haven’t seen the number of shows taking place, here’s a list of some shows not promoted by WWE going down there this weekend.
Thursday,, April 5th (Today)
- Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport (GCW), WildKat Sports, Evolve, the WrestleCon Supershow, and Beyond Wrestling.
Friday, April 6th
- The Crash, Progress, RevPro UK, Evolve, WWN Supershow, Impact vs. Lucha Underground, and Joey Janela’s Spring Break (GCW).
Saturday, April 7th
- Pancakes and Piledrivers II: The Indy Summit (presented by Rockstar Pro Wrestling, Wrestling Revolver, AAW, and Fight Club PRO), Progress, CZW, Main Event Mania (presented by Main Event Pro Wrestling, IPW UK, and Championship Wrestling from Louisiana), Simmer, ROH, Style Battle, House of Hardcore, and Kaiju.
I’m not even sure if that’s a complete list of shows and promotions running, but that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that WrestleMania weekends have become loaded the last few years. These days, tons of promotions flock to wherever WrestleMania is taking place, trying to capitalize on wrestling’s biggest week of the year. Along with the wrestling shows, there are several live podcasts, appearances, and so much more going on. There is pretty much something for everyone during WrestleMania weekend. Oh, and none of this takes into account the amount of events WWE holds during WrestleMania week.
One trend that I’ve noticed with WrestleMania weekends has been that more and more promotions are venturing away from their local bases to take part in the weekend’s events. This year, international promotions like Progress, RevPro UK, and The Crash will be running during WrestleMania weekend. There are also conventions featuring super shows and top independent promotions holding events. ROH also still holds their annual Supercard of Honor events as well, and this year’s event is shaping up to be the highest attend ROH event in the promotion’s history.
Needless to say, there is no shortage of variety when it comes to shows during WrestleMania weekend these days. It is crazy to see how much independent wrestling has grown over the years. Shit has seriously changed since the days of ROH being the only promotion that ran in town during WrestleMania weekend.
So, WTF does this have to do with SoCal?
Okay, I’ve rambled on and on without talking about SoCal. Mostly because I wanted to establish the point of how loaded WrestleMania weekends can get now.
In 2020, the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood is scheduled to open. Many people are speculating that WrestleMania could be held in LA shortly after the stadium opens. There is no doubt that if WrestleMania returned to LA, the rest of the wrestling world would follow. We’re still a few years away from the opening of the stadium, but that isn’t stopping people in the area from talking about “what ifs” and various possibilities.
While WrestleMania won’t be here this or next year, I personally couldn’t help but to wonder if the current SoCal landscape would be able to handle a WrestleMania weekend if it were held here this year or next. Hypothetically speaking of course.
Outside of PWG, I think local promotions would have a hard time drawing in fans who are in town for WrestleMania weekend if it were held in SoCal. Mostly because (if the trend continues) some of the top promotions in the world would overshadow the local offerings. Would that matter to SoCal promoters? Probably not, as some would probably run anyways and most likely get about the same amount of fans they usually do. Plus I’m sure one or two would end up holding an event in conjunction with one of the major conventions taking place. Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that there would be too much competition for the local promotions to handle if WrestleMania weekend were in SoCal.
From a SoCal fan’s perspective, I think it’d be great if SoCal were to have promotions from abroad running during a hypothetical WrestleMania weekend. Even if it were at the expense of the local scene, it would be cool to have a variety of unique events here. Joey Janela’s Spring Break and the WrestleCon Super Show are two examples of events that would be awesome to see in SoCal. Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport show concept would also be a great thing to see in Southern California. I’m sure fans would also be excited to see ROH return to LA, or promotions like Beyond Wrestling or UK based Progress make their SoCal debuts.
Who knows if or when WrestleMania returns to SoCal. It might never even be back for all we know. If it did comeback however, I’d really like to see SoCal host big events. The people in New Orleans this year are very lucky to be having so many amazing looking events taking place this weekend.
The scene has been stale lately
The first quarter of 2018 has ended. So far we’ve seen PWG run at a bigger venue, locals debut in PWG, and NJPW’s return to Long Beach. Those have been the only standout highlights of 2018 in SoCal I can think of. Lucha Underground also held tapings, but their hype around them has died down so drastically in the past year. They’re really not a big deal anymore.
While there has been no shortage of events to attend, 2018 has felt underwhelming so far. Nothing seems to be standing out as unique or different.
Lately there have been people in the scene going “SOCAL IS TAKING OVER! THE SCENE IS BLOWING UP MAAAAN!” only because the talent pool has gotten better. The reality is overall SoCal itself is really stagnant. The performers are getting better, but that’s it. We’re not seeing anything creative that is capturing the interest of many fans. Right now it feels like the majority of promotions in SoCal are just going through the motions and not doing enough to create some importance around their events.
The majority of stuff I see being advertised just feels like more of the same in SoCal. We’re not seeing any important or unique matches that involve local talent. Even when promotions try to bring in bigger names to face a local worker, it just feels like a random match. It really feels like every show has the same people having the same matches. Even when workers from nearby territories come to SoCal, things still feel uninteresting.
While I think SoCal has been stale for the most part, there are still some interesting events coming up in the next few months. PWG’s upcoming shows will be highly anticipated (as always). Whether Heroes of Lucha Libre at the Galen Center in June flops or succeeds, it’ll still be something people talk about. Even though I’m not into women’s wrestling, the AWS and RISE double shot will end up being a prominent event for a lot of local fans.
There’s also the Michelada Rumble taking place at Santa Anita Park, and Bumps & Brewses’ return in June. Knokx Pro is also holding a big event in Lake Perris pretty soon. The EWF has also been building up to their annual anniversary event in May, and they usually do something special for those events. Blood Brothers Pro Wrestling will also be having their second deathmatch tournament later in the summer, so there’s something for deathmatch fans.
Aside from the above mentioned, the local scene seems to be full of promotions running basic shows that aren’t offering anything special. There really needs to be more done on the local level to improve things. If promotions don’t do more they’re just going to continue being under the radar, and the scene won’t grow.
Maverick Pro’s Business Plan
Recently, a new owner took over Maverick Pro. Since the new ownership, the company has gone through some noticeable changes. I recently got an inside look into their business plan. Here’s a sample of what they’re trying to achieve:
Obviously I’m joking, but the figurative point is still there.
Since being purchased by Anthony Pastor in January, Maverick Pro has become the most ambitious promotion in Southern California. While the promotion has brought in fly ins and big name workers before, Maverick Pro is making it known that they want to set themselves apart by flying in more workers from abroad. Their next show is a perfect example of this.
So far the promotion has announced fly in names such as Keith Lee, Andrew Everett, J.T. Dunn, The Workhorsemen, Austin Theory, and Jordynne Grace for their event on April 14th at their new venue in Burbank. They also have guys like Brian Cage and Kikutaro set to appear. To say that Maverick Pro doesn’t seem shy about spending money would be an understatement. I mean they’re booking a lot of performers who will be asking for more than a hot dog and a handshake as a payday.
With all that in mind, I can’t help but to wonder what Maverick Pro’s overall goal is. The venue they’re running at now looks like it holds less than 100 fans, so there’s no way they can make enough money at the gate to cover costs if they run there. If their goal is to become one of more prominent promotions in SoCal, they’re not going to do it by just throwing money at outside talent. Don’t get me wrong, improving the roster isn’t a bad thing, but there are so many other things the promotion needs to fix if it wants to become prolific in SoCal.
From better marketing, to utilizing their budget better, to improving the booking, and so much more in between. There are just too many things Maverick Pro needs to improve. Mainly things that won’t be fixed by flying in a bunch of talent from abroad. If they really want to become successful, the people in charge really need to reevaluate a lot of things they’re doing business wise.
Shit not worth writing paragraphs about
I’ve got so many thoughts on the scene right now, but none of them really warrant their own sections in this column.
- Fuck, even if WrestleMania wasn’t here, I’d still want to see Joey Janela’s Spring Break and Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport in SoCal. Make it happen, GCW.
- This sorta goes along with what I said earlier when talking about SoCal needing to do more, but I wish promoters would try to bring in higher-level talent or workers from abroad to work with local stars. I’m not talking about Vegas, NorCal, or Arizona guys when talking about workers from abroad. I’m talking workers who have notoriety and can get fans intrigued in shows they usually wouldn’t attend. There’s really no benefit for the top guys in the territory to keep working the same locals over and over. They simply won’t get better that way.
- You know what else SoCal needs? Intriguing storylines for the top stars in the area. Putting people in random matches over and over again won’t do much to build the scene. Bookers in SoCal really need to step it up big time in this department.
- I spoke briefly about Bumps & Brewses returning in the column. Earlier this week Steve broke the news about their second event. I won’t say much about it, but I will say that I’ve talked to co-promoter Mikey Freedom during the process of putting the show together. He and Marty Hill will put on a really good show. I encourage everyone to keep track of that show.
- MTV JERSEY SHORE IS BACK! T-SHIRT TIME! CABS ARE HERE! GTL!
That does it for this edition of Real Talk. Send all feedback and hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.