Paul T.’s Rant

Disclaimer: As I will say later in this column. I am not claiming to know all, I’m not claiming to be perfect myself. I realize I still don’t know shit about this business, few do. Also, Gary Yap, this is going to get crazy but read this until the very very end….it’s the most important part.

At one of the EPIC shows someone said to me, “Bro, you’re so lucky. All you have to do is speak Japanese and you get to be involved in wrestling.” Funny. Funny because when I got my foot into this business, that’s exactly what I thought too. Then I learned very quickly that nothing in wrestling is what it looks like on the surface. As a fan nowadays you get to see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes so you get ideas like “Man if it were me, I would just do this and that. The fans will love it, the workers will love it, and we’ll all make money.” Unfortunately, once you are involved you very quickly realize that 9 times out of 10, shit that seems so simple goes wrong.

I’m sure wrestlers have their own version. I can’t speak for wrestlers since I’m not the one that spends hours training and putting my body on the line for something that might never give them an honest payday, so let’s take what I do for example. Like I said above, it seems so easy. “Wrestling? Shiiiit, piece of cake I’ve been following it forever. Promoter wants to use international guy A and gives me a price. I call international guy A. Guy A agrees. Guy A gets plane tickets from promoter, shows up, wrestles a 5 star match, gets paid. Everyone is happy except one deathmatch fan named Highrollar who wanted to see someone eat a light tube and have a weedwhacker shoved up his ass.” I wish it were that easy.

I have been lucky and unlucky to be involved in some wrestling deals. Not huge deals as I consider myself still an amoeba on the wrestling food chain, but international wrestling deals nonetheless. One of the first I did while I worked for my first wrestling company was this hilarious debacle called NWA Women’s PPV. This American promoter wanted to run a big women’s show in Vegas using a bunch of American and Joshi women. So the promoter asked my former company for help so my company let me do it since it was small time project for my former company. So I got all happy like all marks that just got in the business do. Thought I would just send some faxes, make a few calls, mark out for some joshi wrestling, hang out in Vegas, right? Looking back at this shit, ahahahaha god damn I didn’t think it was possible to be greener than I currently am, but I was.

If some promoter came to me today with the same idea, my first question would be “Bitch, how the fuck you going to sell a PPV in the US with workers that nobody knows?” Second would be, “Why the fuck you pay for an NWA membership to run a women’s show?”. While I’m at it I’d probably add a New Jack style promo too like, “You stupid muthafucka! I’m a half-breed from Japan that never gave a fuck, ain’t gonna give a fuck about your LSD flashback fantasy JoshiPPV in the US unless you pay the workers upfront.” Lol.

Anyways since I didn’t know better, I got to work. Promoter set the price, I faxed various joshi companies. I translated contracts and sent them. I got the promoter deals with some of the top joshi workers in Japan. All that’s left to do is get them the plane tickets and get ready for partying in Vegas right? Here’s where wrestling gets fun. Promoter calls to tell me he’s changing venues to different state because of the athletic commission. What the fuck, ok well no big deal I guess I’ll just send the message. I relay the message and the Japanese are cool with it. Then the day that plane tickets are supposed to be sent, promoter says he’s changing the dates. Mind you, that by this time the Japanese have already altered their schedules to fit this show in. This was just one of the many things that got messed up one after another. Anyways, to make the long story short, the show didn’t happen and I had to call up each joshi company and apologize which was a lot of fun.

Not to mention some online journalist having a fucking field day with my ass and now that I think about it, rightfully so. Shit, I’d have been laughing at my ass too. 😉

After a short while I realized that, for me, this is no way for me to make a living. This is something I learned through my short experience and respect for the people who truly give up everything for this business. I decided a few years ago that I would get a steady job and just do this on the side and float as long as I’m allowed to on my own time. I’ve had deals that went smooth, many that got fucked one way or another. If I get compensation for my work great, if not yeah it’s frustrating but I consider even being allowed to be around wrestling a privilege. I try to just take the bad with the good. I’ve already been lucky enough to do more than most people ever get to do in wrestling so if I get blackballed and it ends today, I’m satisfied.

It sucks when fans get screwed because they are the reason we exist. But out of bias after seeing what these men and women go through, what makes me livid is when the wrestlers I am privileged to help get screwed by promoters, because the wrestlers are the ones that risk life and limb with little compensation for our entertainment. Whether you’re a wrestler or a middleman or however you’re involved in wrestling, after a while you learn little by little to avoid the pitfalls and cover your bases. You only learn through experience. I’m not giving the few things I learned away in this column because I had to get fucked sideways with an anvil a million times to know what little I know now. I also realize I still don’t know shit compared to those who’ve been around so I will get screwed many more times. See, I thought I had the bases covered yet I still couldn’t protect my guys from being screwed this past weekend at EPIC. I can’t even imagine how bad Martin must have felt for Ultimo Dragon (who BTW was a class act about everything). Some things you just don’t see coming, or you do see it coming but don’t know how soon it will hit you, or you see it coming but have no choice so you just hope.

Through lack of experience, Gary Yap tried to go big fast and failed. In the process, purposely or not, he screwed people. I’m sure he had good intentions and I don’t doubt that at all but good intention or not doesn’t matter at this point, he made promises and didn’t come through. Just because he has done good so far does not mean he is allowed to burn people, intentional or not. Nobody has forgotten all the good that he has done since June. But it is his sole responsibility because he put himself in this position. Gary Yap decided to take the biggest gamble of all in wrestling – to be a promoter. I don’t care whose money it was, I don’t care what happened, the responsibility to the workers and fans lies only with the promoter who in this case is Gary Yap.

Here’s where it gets rough. It disappoints me that a grown adult can bring up the “let me know real quick that those who I THOUGHT were with me, weren’t anymore” factor at this point. Newsflash, sir. Nobody owes it to you to stick by your side at this point regardless of what you’ve done in the past. If they do I commend them, but they don’t owe that to you. Your first priority should be to make it right for them. You think you know the game because you turned down wrestlers who asked for work? That statement only made you look more amateurish. The fact you knew you didn’t have money (in hand) and had the nerve to complain about a wrestler doing another show knowing you didn’t have compensation for him is a joke. Had you been honest maybe something could have been done to avoid this situation being as bad as it is. See, Gary, as promoter if the money is not in your hand it means nothing. Had you been honest and had I known you didn’t have money at that point, I would have handled that situation different so you nearly dragged my name through the mud. And if you did I wouldn’t care because there are wrestlers who put more on the line for you.

You lied to a certain wrestler who left another promotion because you said to his face that you could run EPIC for a year regardless of what happened. That’s a false promise and a LIE since in your column you admitted it’s not your money so how can you make that promise? Same wrestler is out two weeks of work thanks to you. On Sunday, he and the others including Ruckus and Sabu waited at the hotel until 1:30 AM that night because you said you’d be there. And worst of all, how dare you take a shot at Excalibur who invested his time into the website and countless other things for you. I hope you know that there are many who wouldn’t have thought twice about your fantasy ideas to begin with if it weren’t for Excalibur and Disco. Despite all the arguments you and Excalibur went through, he stayed by your side on Sunday longer than I did. I’m sure everyone has their stories and I’m sure you can come up with shit about each of them, and me, but you owe them not the other way around.

Yup, we all should have seen it coming. Many in the business looking at this situation will probably say, “Oh well their fault for being suckered.” That’s unfortunately the standard in this business. But are you going to leave them hanging like most promoters would, or are you going to do what’s right? Or are you going to continue writing columns?

If you have time to write an excuse column, write a check for the workers who lost pay and fronted their airfare Sunday, and to the fans that paid for your undelivered merchandise. You gambled with someone else’s money, but you must suffer the consequences of playing in a business you knew too little about. The predicament you are in is something many people around you warned you about from day one and many times after.

I still don’t think Gary Yap is a bad person. As matter of fact even though he wrote obscenities at me after I sent him an email of utter disgust about his column and demanded my workers’ compensation (nothing for me, mind you), I still don’t think he’s a bad person. I don’t blame him for being frustrated because I would be too. I can understand he feels that people are deserting him. Well, he needs to understand that he is lucky people followed him despite the fact he didn’t spend one day in this business prior to EPIC.

Here’s the most important part.

Much of what I said is harsh and some might even consider it overboard. Some will say I’m only being one-sided and only looking at the workers’ perspective [for the promoter’s perspective, read Rick’s column which whether you agree with him or not, at least he actually has the right to talk]. Some will say, “Oh Paul is trying to get himself over”, fine. Many will say it’s unprofessional. Some might say I’m playing the almighty and kicking a guy when he’s down. I probably am kicking him when he’s down and I’m not perfect either but he owes these people more than an apology, I don’t. You already apologized enough and you told us your side of the story. We all know none of the bad was intentional and I doubt anyone considers you a bad-hearted person. You simply made bad mistakes. Don’t expect a war of words from me because you won’t get one further than this column.

Here is what others and I want from you:

I want you, by your corrective actions not your words, to FORCE me to take back everything I said in this column. I will be more than happy to write or speak publicly to give you a public apology once you make good on your promises to the workers and fans. The point of all this to sum it up, in the words of Adam Pearce, “Gary should set a precedent and step to the plate as a man.” I would like to believe that from what I know of him so far, that he already has started to try and make things right.

Paul T