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You know, funny story: There’s this craft store called Michaels. Look, my sister knits, and she goes to Michaels. So my sister called me and she’s like, “Oh my god, I’m at Michaels, picking up yarn. You have a poster at Michaels.” I’m like, “What?” She’s like, “There’s a poster, there’s a Falcon poster at Michaels.” I’m like, “Holy s**t!” She’s like, “I’m gonna come and pick you up, and we’re gonna see your poster in this store.” So she picks me up and we go to Michaels.
We go in, and I see the poster and I’m like, “Oh, this is….” She’s like, “I know, I know.” I said, “I’m gonna sign these posters.” I was like, “That would be amazing, you buy a poster and it’s like, actually signed by the Falcon.” Like, it would blow my mind. So I go to the front, I buy a Sharpie, I run back to the back of the store. And she’s like, “I’m gonna take a picture of you signing it.”
I’m in this store and I’m signing all the posters. The manager comes out, he’s like, “Hey, whatcha doing?” I was like, “Oh man, I’m signing these posters so when people buy ‘em, they’re signed.” He’s like, “Well, people are not gonna buy ‘em if they’re signed.” And I was like, “No, no, no, it’s cool. I’m pretty sure there won’t be a problem.” And he goes, “Yeah, but it is gonna be a problem, you’re messin’ up my inventory.” And I’m like, “No, my man, trust me. I mean, I’m the Falcon, that’s me!” And he goes, “Yeah, right. You’re gonna buy those posters.” I said, “What?” He’s like, “You’re gonna buy all those posters or I’m gonna call the police.”
He rolls up all the posters and goes to the front of the store. And I had to buy like 60 Falcon posters that I signed in Michaels."
I’m grilled, my friends. grilled! what a terrible way to begin this article, which isn’t even an article. long story short, since I did NOT want to go to bed this late — on Easter! — is nobody with a working brain understands what I am talking about. Actually, I just solved my own crisis, because the one guy who keeps challenging me on the dumbest of dumb shit, he’s got to be incredibly stupid. If not brain dead entirely.
I’m spitballing ideas on Twitter, for A) a 22-minute sitcom starring some of my favorite indy wrestlers, in this case operating as roommates and tag team partners, only this series follows them in their everyday lives as they prepare for the ring, and B) a “confession booth” type of promo set-up in a wrestling arena/bingo hall, where the wrestlers would enter if and only if they themselves felt personally motivated to cut a promo.
Now, these two ideas each seemed clear as the fuckin’ sunshine beaming from the squirrel’s asshole bright and early in the morning, but fuck, if I am just operating on a different level than this one guy in particular. Nobody else, just this square, narrow thinker. OK, allow me to explain this, idea by idea, and I’ll make it real simple.
The sitcom idea would be a buddy series between a tag team known by Men of the Year. The team features Michael Elgin, a stout, blunt, rather quiet gym rat who is driven by success and his passion for what he’s doing, while #AllEgo, yes, “Hashtag All Ego,” is a younger, loudmouthed playboy who’s a little immature, still learning the ropes of the ring (and life!), and he learns a lot from his roomie. Those are the exact characters they play up inside the ring, I wanted to take that concept-slash-general plot outside it, and write story for these two. Film it professionally, using the same shots and angles and cuts you’d see in a single-camera sitcom like The Office and Parks and Recreation. There’d be a script, there’d be three acts, accounting for commercial breaks, there’d be a theme song, there’d be a stinger, there’d be intro and outro credits, everything. It would BE a sitcom.
This clown suggested that this shit is happening already elsewhere, saying there are people filming series, and I know that. Why do you think I generated this genius idea? Because I saw all those series, and they all fucking suck, and if you get together two actors of even B-level quality, throw them in some hilarious real-world situations, and structure the entire series on comedic timing and the writing, it would be great. Throw in a sense of heart — like, say, a plot where Ego’s girlfriend leaves him, and Elgin has to try and cheer him up, and he goes through all these elaborate motions (completely the opposite of what you’d expect the real Michael Elgin to do, thus creating the comedy, ha ha) to no avail. In the end, you could have a heartfelt moment between the two, who realize they have each other, and as long as that’s the case, everything is going to be all right.
My vision is dynamic, it is impeccable. Best of all, it is doable. Ego himself, not sure if we’re supposed to use his OTHER name anymore, he’s already filmed short videos and edited them together. He’s already cut promos, written for characters, everything. Craft a plot for him and some other characters, tell them where you’d like the scene to go, and just let them improv their way through it for a few minutes, going through the scene maybe 4-5 times, and you’ll keep the best one. It isn’t that difficult or time-consuming if you’re working with people who know what they’re doing.
I would feature a training montage of some sort, with Ego and Elgin visiting the Sunglasses Hut and trying on all kinds of different sunglasses. Ego for Elgin and the other way around. (Maybe add a laugh track, the real, used-on-television laugh track, to the concept.) Lifting weights. Shit, you could probably take those two to the gym and just put a camera on them and tell them to go. Just go, be funny, and if you have someone writing the thing who knows how to write the script around whatever the actors are doing, not so much telling them what to do, then that is a coup. I would write less, and just walk around the gym pointing to things I find funny, or I think would make for a great scene. With this you could do anything.
The concept of “indy wrestler sitcom” would work because of how it would be treated. It wouldn’t be shopped around to networks, contrary to what that goomba said, but it would be on YouTube and, after episode 6 (or maybe 7 or 8) airs, it would be burned to a DVD and sold as “Season 1.” And that would serve as a fossil record for those Men’s careers, something fans of them RIGHT NOW could physically possess and have signed and whatnot before those guys inevitably move on to bigger and better things.
My second idea was stupider, granted, but it was another single-camera setup. Imagine a photo booth. Compact, close-quarters. You know where the camera is, you’re staring it right in the face, by gum, but you know you are the only one there. You’re alone with your thoughts, your doubts, your inadequacies. If you choose to hide your insecurities, it will seem more obvious. If you choose to speak from the heart, it will come off more sincere. It’s just you, yourself and you, yo. Up close and personal, being honest as you can.
"But but but but but somebody already did that, or does that, wah, wah," gah, shut up, you little nerd. You’re annoying. If they did, I haven’t seen it, and I haven’t seen it because WWE did something similar to it and has yet to elaborate on it, such as I have, and since WWE sets the trends in the pro-wrestling world, with the independents usually being the second, probably third to respond, I don’t think this concept is being rightfully employed anywhere else. But if it is, good for them.
I think there’s something fake about reality TV shows, with the way they’re filmed. The cameras used to be hidden, but not anymore. Look at Hardcore Pawn; the cameras are right in the customers faces, the producers forcing conversation out of them, and it feels set up almost like a TV show. Even when the cameras were hidden, the actors/people subconsciously knew they were there the whole time, like, they didn’t wake up in a stranger’s bed one morning and not think about why they were there. Just, fuck, think about that. I think about that, and that’s why I’m not a fucking jabroni like the other guy. The guy I’m comedically angry at right now.
"But but but wrestlers use camera phones already to film their promos!" No shit, goddamn you. But this isn’t Adam Cole filming a scene in front of his fireplace or his kitchen table, this would be an on-sight, specific to the venue, room, with one camera, a photo booth set up if at all possible. So the only time a wrestler cuts a promo is when he is personally motivated to do so — motivated by, oh, getting ambushed or screwed out of a match a few minutes ago, or motivated by wanting to send a message to an opponent whom he will be facing in the main event. You have to think of the photo booth as a physical manifestation, because if you think about it any other way, it falls apart. The promos would have their own special setup, their own look, their own feel, their own aesthetic. Like The Shield’s original promos, how they were filmed on their terms, when they wanted to send a message. Exactly like that, only open to anybody. (And obviously only used by a few, you don’t need 10 promos. Maybe give it to 4-5, though, featuring a different range of emotions. Main eventer goes in proud, announcing a stipulation for his match. President of the company welcomes fans to the arena, I don’t know. Wrestler with a grudge goes in there to bear his soul, send a message to scare his opponent. Or rookie jobber announces his debut to the fans.)
It would be insanely hard to get over the confession booth thing, but it might work. It might. It’s all how you portray it, how seriously you take it. Depends on how the gimmick is employed, and how embraced it is upon its debut. How consistent it is featured, how well its uniqueness is promoted. (Do a “best of confession booth” DVD for each year, maybe.) And maybe it all depends on how you look at it, and I am possibly the only person who sees the things I see. And what do I see?
Story. I think story is the next logical progression for independent professional wrestling. I think wrestling like PWG, the mindless, kickout-heavy, cartoon-style wrestling, has reached a tipping point, and it’s time less starts to equal more. The more story you could put behind the characters, the individual wrestlers, the more you could structure a match. The better you could structure a match. Taker and Punk worked a great match because of this, because of each character’s nuances and signatures. Those counters, those near-falls, even in 2013.
The more nuanced your characters, the more story they have behind them, obviously the more the audience can connect with them. Who are the wrestlers getting the most cheers, beyond the Mexicans in a city highly populated by Mexicans, beyond the wrestlers with the sex-themed gimmick? Even THEM? It’s all about connecting with your audience. And if you can’t make that organic connection, putting two and two together like putting Mexicans in front of Mexicans, then try to manufacture one, yet still in an organic sense of the word. (Which is what WWE is and has been doing with Cesaro, pay attention.)
How do you do that? Vignettes, promos, talking. Talking. Talking. Real respects real, and real people, most people, they talk. Just explain who you are. The confession booth helps with this, helps solve this burden of disconnect between half of the wrestlers on any roster and their audience. You need a character nowadays, and it needs to be somewhat nuanced itself, playing on several different emotions all at once. This is why Adam Cole — who talks, constantly — is so successful. He’s PWG and ROH World Champion. And has been for a long, long time. He talks, and he plays up a number of different emotions in the ring. He gets people to love him and hate him. Men love him because he’s good in the ring and they want to be him, but hate him because he’s a coward and an asshole. Women hate him because he’s a pretty boy in a world of bigger guys, or maybe they’re into that, and because he’s a dickhead, but they love him because, well, he’s a dickhead, and they find him attractive. He doesn’t let his ring work speak for itself, but even if that were the case, it would speak at a greater volume than would most wrestlers’ work in total.
Once characters have story behind them, then you could build to adding story to their matches, and this story will have more meaning, it will make sense. I hate when the reason for a match is “Well, I have my rematch,” which is lazy. And terrible. Feuds should be spurned organically, sparked between contrasting character dynamics. Like Steve Austin turning on Brian Pillman, his old friend whom he felt was favoring his bitter rival, the match made sense and had a heat behind it that was more than “first-time match,” “dream match,” or the continuation of a feud in the plain, ol’, boring, traditional sense. That’s how beefs should start, and wrestling should be full of beefs. Full of them. And you know what? Not every match needs to be start a feud. It can go one and done and onto the next one. The matches should just make sense, best as possible. I dream of an indy wrestling company that asks every wrestler to record a quick, 2-minute promo on their phones or MacBook to promote their match. To hype their match. Or would that take too much extra effort? (For a motherfucking savant, who is offering this level of shit to wrestling companies, that rebuff me then turn around and use my ideas, ha! You brash bastards can have this one. Just know that I’ll know. Because I always know.)
Here, listen to this song while you’re here.
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