For the first time in public, I’m going to talk about ideas I had for SCU wrestling shows (that won’t happen).
How the idea of an SCU wrestling show first came about
Since 2001, SoCalUncensored.com has been a website about the SoCal wrestling (and in recent years, MMA) scene. Outside of having the site’s name attached to some shows, including ones that have featured year-end awards and SoCal Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremonies, there has never been a show booked or promoted by SoCalUncensored.com. That’s not to say there haven’t been thoughts about them or pitches from people to do one in the past, but that’s as far as it went.
Then last year, Steve told me SCU was approached about possibly sponsoring a wrestling show. I won’t give out any names or say what this show was, but I will say the people running it weren’t experienced promoters. After he told me about it, I jokingly told Steve something along the lines of “it’d be better to have that money go towards an SCU show instead.”
Not too long after that, I started to think “what if there was an SCU show?”
A few days later when I was bored, I looked into how much it would’ve cost to run a show. Then I thought about what would’ve been needed to make it successful. I wasn’t sure why, but I thought it was extremely possible to run a successful SCU wrestling show. Once I had a solid idea of what I needed to do to make this work, I asked Steve for his blessing to use the SCU name if I did go through with my idea. He did, but he also asked that this thing not be a complete disaster.
When it came to producing a show, I wanted to do something cool, fun, and interesting. I didn’t really care about having the most innovative or original concept for a show, but I did want to create unique twists on things. While I thought of ideas for the first show, I started coming up with ideas for other shows. These were mostly hypothetical concepts that could’ve been looked more into if the first show went well. However, the odds of them actually happening now is highly unlikely. Still, I figured I’d share these ideas with you all.
What SCU wrestling shows could’ve been like
Late December 2019/Mid-January 2020: Kumite
I feel like SoCal has been lacking in one-night tournaments in recent years. PWG has the Battle of Los Angeles, but that is usually a three-night tournament. Other promotions have done (or attempted to do) multi-night tournaments, and others have done one-night tournaments to crown champions. Aside from those examples, there haven’t been many notable one-night tournaments in the SoCal area in the last few years. When I realized that and thought about how one-night tournaments are usually popular among wrestling fans, it seemed like a good idea to look into making this SCU show a one-night, eight-person tournament featuring the best workers in SoCal.
My idea of doing a tournament showcasing the best SoCal workers wasn’t something new. A few years earlier, I talked to a few people about the possibility of producing a one-night tournament. There was interest in making it happen, but things never panned out. Either way, I had a concept: The Kumite of Los Angeles (or Kumite of SoCal if the show was held outside of LA). The name itself was meant to be a tribute to PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. Then I figured that some people probably would’ve gotten the wrong impression and thought it was a shot at them. That’s when the SoCal Kumite became the second idea I had in mind for a show name.
There were several venues I had been looking into for this show. Some were around Los Angeles in areas such as Downtown LA, Pasadena, and near Hollywood. I was also thinking of a venue in Orange County, as well as something in San Diego.
One thing I wanted to do was make sure I had lots of time to promote this hypothetical show. I was been looking to hold it sometime in late December 2019 or early January 2020 with the goal of announcing it in mid-August 2019. This would’ve given me plenty of opportunities to do various things to help promote the show, such as getting people together to pass out flyers at larger events in the SoCal area. WWE held several events in the SoCal area during that time, and NJPW ran a few as well, so I definitely would’ve had people passing out flyers at those events. I also would’ve gotten people to pass out flyers at local shows as well to make sure word got out as much as possible.
My biggest priority would’ve been to make sure I had all the money I would’ve needed to pay off all expenses related to the show before it even happened. Once I had the money for every single expense, I would’ve made sure I had an extra $1,000-$1,500 in emergency funds just in case I needed it. That is something I’ve always said I would’ve made sure I’d do if I ever ran a show.
I feel like it is very important for promoters to make sure all things are covered financially before their show even takes place. I’ve seen too many promoters try to run shows without all the money in place because they think they’ll make enough at the door. Instead, they end up losing their asses and can’t afford to pay people. If I ended up running this show and others, I would’ve done everything in my power to make sure that didn’t happen.
Anyway, I wanted to do so much with this show concept. From video promo packages for each wrestler to having an opening ceremony that would’ve given the event some pageantry, I wanted to make this show be more than just another independent wrestling show. Not everything would’ve been original when it came to the presentation, but I would’ve tried to do things other promotions in SoCal don’t do, which is create a unique experience for the audience.
When it comes to the booking of the show, I wanted to do something where the matches would’ve built up lots of intrigue. Everyone I would’ve tried to book would’ve been credible enough in the eyes of fans to win the tournament, and I would’ve booked those performers in matches where nobody would be able to figure out who’d be going over. On top of that, I also felt that fans would’ve been very intrigued by all the possible matches that could’ve occurred in the tournament based on the people I hopefully would’ve gotten. Not only was I looking to put on the best matches possible in terms of in-ring work, but I was also looking to put together a show with the most interesting matches.
While there were so many things that were coming together nicely, the show ended up not happening because of real-life commitments. Since I wouldn’t have been able to give this my full attention, I decided to scrap the idea. Oh well.
My main goal with this show wasn’t to make SCU a full-time promotion, but there would’ve been at least one follow up regardless of the financial success of this show. If this show ended up being a financial success, I probably would’ve been open to running some SCU branded shows occasionally or collaborate with the right people from time-to-time. If the show failed or didn’t happen, I would’ve still been 100% in on this next concept I had in mind.
March 13th, 2021: The SCU 20th Anniversary Show
SCU was born on March 13th, 2001. When I realized that SCU’s 20th anniversary was going to be on a Saturday in 2021, I told Steve “we have to do a 20th-anniversary show.” Steve laughed because I said this in like July 2019. “That’s so far away,” he said.
When I first told Steve my idea about doing an anniversary show, it was a half-baked one. I didn’t want to put much thought into it until March of this year, but I ended up coming up with an idea for this show after going to UFC 241 at the Honda Center on August 17th, 2019. The prelim fights at UFC 241 began at 3:30 PM. The main card pay-per-view broadcast began at 7:00 PM. Just like with other major MMA events, most of the crowd didn’t show up until the featured prelim fight began, which was around 6:30 PM. When the first prelim began, the Honda Center was (at most) 1/4 full. Once the main card began, the place was packed.
As I was sitting in the crowd that night, I wondered if it would’ve been possible to do a variation of this format in pro wrestling. I know a lot of people reading this dread the idea of sitting through a long show, but I think that is only because of how marathon shows have been presented. Shows that last longer than three hours usually feel more like an obligation to watch rather than an event to enjoy.
Not everyone wants to sit around for hours watching wrestling, so why make them? At the same time, nobody can deny that there is a portion of the wrestling audience who are into the idea of spending many hours at a wrestling show as long as it was good. That’s when I came up with a possible idea that might not have worked but I was willing to consider.
The SCU 20th Anniversary Show would’ve been one of two things. It would’ve either been a five-hour show with nine or ten matches, or almost three hours with five or six big matches and no filler.
Had the show format been the former rather than the latter, I would’ve tried to have done it in a way where it wouldn’t feel like a chore for the audience to sit through by having prelim matches and a main card. The first four matches on the card would’ve been the prelims of the show. Those matches would’ve gone from 5:00 PM until 6:30 PM and streamed for free on YouTube to help promote the main card. Three of those matches would’ve been with prospects, while the featured prelim match would’ve had a well-known performer facing a prospect. The main card would’ve started at 7:00 PM and had five or six big matches with well-known performers.
Different ticket purchasing options would’ve been made available for fans who wouldn’t have wanted to sit through the entire show or pay to only watch some of it. General Admission ticket buyers would’ve been able to either buy tickets for just the main card portion of the event, or tickets for both the prelims and main card for about $5-$10 extra. People with tickets in the first two or three rows would’ve been allowed entry into the event during the prelims.
When I was thinking about this idea, I kept going back and forth on it. Part of me felt like this could’ve been a concept that some people embraced. Another part of me felt like having a three hour show format would’ve been the better option. In the end, the coronavirus pandemic killed all chances of this show happening so it doesn’t really matter now.
Hypothetical show in mid-2020: All In Together Now
Whether this show happened or not depended on the success of the first show. SCU All in Together Now wouldn’t have been a follow-up though. It would’ve been a completely different thing. The name of the show I had in mind is an homage to the Wu-Tang Clan’s roots. Before Wu-Tang Clan was formed, future members GZA, RZA, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard started as a trio known as Force of the Imperial Master in the mid-1980s. Not too long after, they became known as All In Together Now and performed on local shows in New York City.
This show would’ve focused on spotlighting the best prospects in SoCal. I also would’ve tried to have made this a collaborative effort by trying to get a few wrestling schools in SoCal involved. The show would’ve had about seven matches. If I did get some wrestling schools involved with this, there would’ve been two or three matches to represent each school that might’ve been involved with the project. The main event would’ve had an established worker who has notoriety going against a prospect who is on the verge of breaking out.
The biggest goal of this show would’ve been to help create hype around lesser-known prospects who were coming up in the scene. This show wouldn’t have been about doing something “big” by local standards, but rather to do something that would generate some buzz for the people who will be the faces of this scene in five years.
Hypothetical show in mid-2020: The Submission Only Invitational
This was a pretty wild idea I briefly thought about before the pandemic hit. The idea for this show was to do a legit grappling tournament. Every match would’ve been a shoot grappling match featuring pro wrestlers who are trained in various grappling styles such as Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, various forms of wrestling. The only way to win would’ve been by submission (or DQ). If a match ended after the 20-minute time limit expired and there was no winner, then a winner would be determined with a modified version of the EBI Overtime Rules. A cash prize also would’ve been up for grabs for the winner. That’s pretty much it.
Other stuff about these shows that won’t happen
When it comes to SCU promoted shows being streamed live, I would’ve made this a major priority. Promoters in SoCal have failed to draw attention from wider audiences because they aren’t streaming their shows live. Some have tried, but don’t have the resources to stream every show live. Others have tried to and failed. In this age, streaming wrestling shows live is more important than people realize.
I would’ve looked to avoided all that by bringing in Justin Naranjo to produce the stream. He knows about streaming video and has expressed interest in doing something like this. The guy would’ve been the MVP of this project had it gone down. I also would’ve tried to have gotten the shows streamed on a well-known platform to give the shows more exposure. These things would’ve been crucial in whether or not SCU shows would’ve succeeded.
There are so many other things I had in mind when I was coming up with ideas for these shows. One idea involved utilizing a business practice done outside of pro wrestling that could help workers make more money. Others included things like pre-show entertainment, hiring a medic, and getting a mobile bartending service to serve alcohol. I was even going to look into the costs of getting posters printed to give away for free to fans who purchase tickets in the first two rows of shows we would’ve done. My ideas were ambitious, but I also stayed realistic on what would and wouldn’t work.
With the current coronavirus pandemic going on now, there’s no chance of these shows happening. I’m not know if I’d have any interest in doing these shows if/when the pandemic ends. Everything would depend on the way things are going. What I do know is that if I ever run an SCU show, I wouldn’t rush into it. I would make sure everything was done right.