EXCLUSIVE: Gene Swan Shoots: Comments on Cyrus, Todd, Royce, Jay and RCW Valets and MORE
A longtime fixture on the Central Canadian wrestling landscape, native star Gene Swan has emerged as one of Canada's most respected trainers and a locker room leader. The competitive and divisive tactics of Winnipeg scene is one of the most controversial topics around, and Swan, disgusted by it all, commented last month (before the announced closing of TRCW and the CWF supershow) on promoters and bookers politics, his commitment to proper training and of professional relationships with venues and Indian reserves, in this exclusive shoot interview.
" A lot was made by my jump from Top Rope Championship Wrestling (TRCW) this summer. There was a lot of problems there. Bobby Jay originally committed to a good deal but then he stopped booking me out of town and was using my trainess he didn't have to pay. He used them and had me sit. Now look at it- he said Chalmers is for green guys and the road shows for vets,
and his practice is the reverse. I had no real program, I went from semi-main and main events to carrying green guys before intermission. Brian Jewel and I were being buried.
That is in part because Robbie Royce reneged on his retirement match stip and every time he showed up, suddenly the card was changed. Even though Bobby said he was booking, and not Royce, we got buried and Royce got a bigger PO (payoff) and a push out of nowhere.
Then Jay dumped my trainees on Rob Stardom. Rob is not qualified to train. His classes are based on an old Chris Adams video and I have seen it, that is a good way to get hurt. Then before they are ready they get used on shows and pushed and the whole deal disrespects the business. And Bobby has no commitment to training. He uses Chalmers CC when they set-up there or the River City shows when they set up his ring and use his insurance. That is no way to train.
I was also worried about honesty. Nelson Mayer (moneyman behind the Indigenous Wrestling Alliance tapings) made a deal to split a training facility with Bobby 50/50 and was commited to pay $500 per month, so the idea was for a $1000 facility. Instead Bobby wanted to get a $400 shack and charge the boys $25 a month. So my perception is Bobby was trying to pocket $100, profit from the fees off the boys and use a dump to train. He was not committed to a $1000 facility and Nelson was.
(EDITOR's NOTE- Bobby Jay, in response to this interview, characterized Swan's comments as "lies" and said he did not want to be drawn into an internet war of words.)
Then Ernie Todd called me this summer. There was a big controversy that you covered on this website(www.moondogmanson.com/wrestling/index.php?target=articles&id=0000000241) and Ernie called and apologized for repeating hearsay about me. I was quite surprised.
We met for about 5 hours and in the end, the Canadian Wrestling Federation (CFW/NWA) is the only group here with a legitimate training centre. That is the foundation of a good promotion.
In learning of his own ancestry Ernie has a genuine concern for the shows. He wants to ensure that they portray good role models to the native communities and that is my big cause. He saw the tapes of my talks to the schools and believes in that approach of giving something back to the communities and not just taking the gate to the bank.
Hey on a reserve kids slip through the cracks. Life is a struggle and the kids deserve better than sniffing gas or drinking beer, with positive role models they believe in themselves. We have to help.
Also besides the trouble with the story, there was no big heat when I left CWF last time. The money was always good, but there were no good opponents left and I was getting stale. Guys getting stale- that was part of the reason for the interpromotional fead between CWF and TRCW. Now why that blew up is another story of politics.
Marty, in BC lately the ECCW/NWA booker, a guy from here I respect, Vance Nevada, is in the opener getting to put the talent thru their paces. No trouble. But here, well Ernie absolutely will not be having Robbie Royce telling him what to do. Bobby Jay lets Royce call the shots even when he says it isn't happening. Royce has a lot of heat. His walking out after Ernie got Steve Corino to drop the #2 belt in the NWA, 2 days before Corino won the NWA World Title- fans maybe don't understand how unprofessional Royce was to Ernie, walking out without losing the NWA North American belt. He was unprofessional to us all.
Ernie gave me a second chance because for one, I didn't screw up a program, never mind the belt.
Royce is a shell of his old self- Marty you remember how he was always complaining about being hurt? To this day, it's his hip, his wrists, his arm, he always has an excuse if his match isn't good. He only works guys he
can dominate. He picks and chooses his work to suit himself and not what is best for the shows. Last time out he wanted to get up from our (Swan and Jewel's) finisher and pin Ryan Wood to win the title. That is disrespectful to Ryan and us. And Royce is still looking to go to PCW on top of it all and ruin their locker room too.
The local market is saturated and we have a lot of cultural problems. Ten years ago 80% of these people in the ring would barely be carrying bags. A large majority no respect for the wrestling business and have no idea how hard it is. River City Wrestling with their 11 valets thinking they are something special?? Let me tell you why the opposite is true and why this hurts the business and these kids.
Wayne Stanton had the right idea, which is to fill a building like Norquay in a hard neighborhood and get a crowd. But there is no veteran leadership. No one who is a true educated vet. Then since these kids are selling $3.00 tickets to their friends they "have to" be on the card. The next thing I know at the Tribute to Caveman Broda show, there is a tag match with Reggie Gallagher and Billy Blaze and 3 valets against a team with 2 valets. Even experienced pros cannot book a match with that many bodies around the ring and make sense of it for the people. How are these kids going to learn, let alone not get hurt? 9 green performers running around. But Wayne doesn't care.
He has 16 year old girls, whom he calls "lovely ladies", one of them was bound at the wrists! That is offensive on a lot of levels. There are content issues being ignored, and all these green girls, (yes a couple are over 18) walking around dressed like they belong on Main and Higgins (a Winnipeg track or stroll), and they can do hurricanranas but have zero ability to work a match at all. ZERO. Then these girls walk around like they are workers, with these big attitudes. Listen, they are goddamn children, demanding respect as "wrestlers" because Wayne lets the inmates run the asylum and their heads are beyond huge.
At RCW refs from CWF are wrestlers, managers are wrestlers, valets are wrestlers. It is stupid. I can't be an Indian in CWF but a white guy in RCW. Valets are not wrestlers. Refs are not wrestlers. Managers are not wrestlers. The public should not be paying for that. This is the wrong way to go and it kills their ability to learn and eventually draw when the ref in CWF finally gets drawn into a feud, or the valet has her first match.
Actually I can't be anything in RCW, Bobby Collins doesn't have to wear a hood, but Wayne said I'd have to wear a hood. Only me. Why? Well I guess Wayne can't be man enough to admit he made a big mistake one year ago at Norquay when he crawled into bed with Mike Myers (Mike Davidson) and reneged on our agreement right in the locker room. We all see how that lasted. Even the guys who are in RCW's locker room remember what Wayne did.
Now Myers (booker for Premiere Championship Wrestling) is hooked in with Jon Giroux of UTW, so Jon has a ring. I left helping Jon this summer because CWF had a gym, but Jon also never ever delivered on his promise of a regular schedule. Jon is a great promoter at moving tickets but he is in over his head with PCW, he is not a wrestling person. Not that Myers is a wrestling genious either. But he has learned from his mentors like Vance and his own many mistakes.
At the other end of the spectrum we have No Holds Barred (NHB) spot shows from Don Callis and Joe Aiello. The shows have a lot of good import talent like Dr. Luther and Jerry Lynn, of course Eddie Watts, but for $25 bucks fans expect something more original than Don's booking. NHB strikes people as being not too creative, and hardcore is dead as a draw now. In Thunder Bay Don/Cyrus was exposed as a laughing- stock. They were catcalling for him to stay out of the ring.
I remember at Club Taboo in the early 90's when we had a big run there for WFWA. Don, as the Natural, would come out, and he had charm and charisma and the fans hated him. He had something special. But now...
Now the fans laugh at him. His in-ring work is beyond rusty and when he puts himself on top and hogs the mic it becomes the Don show. They have seen it in WFWA, IWA, remember the Hardcore Wrestling Alliance TV tape? Always it was the Don show, no matter how much more over Kerry Brown or Chi Chi Cruz or Stan Saxon was, the fans saw it and it made them sick.
The general public is there to see the stars like Shane Douglas shine. They know Don had his shot at the big time and blew it. NHB runs every 3 months and have 1 hour of free radio to plug their own stuff for months as a lead-in till it is sickening. Why have they not done an interview with Caveman Broda, and stop blowing themselves for 5 minutes? They have never drawn 2000 paid yet. Have they ever drawn 1000 paid? Without Joe being on the radio they wouldn't draw nothing. The people don't really care about NHB. There is no attachment which is what wrestling is all about.
I hear this stuff about Don in the community. Maybe so, but can anyone clue me in just which community centres he visits or does he just stay in River Heights, cause wrestling fans are all over this city and they don't tell me they saw him. At least PCW is trying to run the Eagles Hall in the core area, and I bet the people on William Street have never seen Don Callis hanging out down there. But they have met me there, in their community.
Look I care about this business and the fans getting their monies worth and most of all, I want kids to be trained right and respect out business, but the promoters here are creating a situation where trouble may be on the horizon. That is what I see and it bothers me."
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from the boys:
Ed Moretti says "Relax there kid. Who's calling this match...them or us? They bought the tickets to see us, not the other way around".