STAN SAXON REVIEWS THE SAFETY STUDY MEETING
["Suicide" Stan Saxon built his reputation as a top heel and booker in Manitoba and performed for a number of promotions, including WFWA/IWA in Manitoba, for Emile Dupree's Grand Prix and others in the Maritimes, and elsewhere from 1990-2002. The respected vet now works in the media and came back to Winnipeg to attend the Wrestling Safety Study meeting with the Manitoba industry. Here are his comments.]
June 24th, 2003 was a pivotal day in my existence post-Pro wrestling- the first in a series of industry forums on the safety issues that exist in the mat world in the Province of Manitoba.
It was an evening, like so many in the business, having the potential to be really good or really bad. I think it fell somewhere in between. However, I do have a number of observations. I will do my best to leave out any names. Those in attendance know whom Iím talking about, and the way gossip travels in Manitoba- will leave no secret.
I thought the presentation was professional and well organized. Considering the attention span of some of the locals, the use of video could have compensated for some of the juvenile minds in the house. Iím not sure the resources were there.
Further to the above, to see alleged pros minds wander as the history of regulation in the province is explained, why and how the study came about and where it may lead was particularly disheartening. Those caught giggling, ordering drinks or picking their fingernails during the presentation are on my list of non-pros.
I found it perplexing as one promoter seemed to attempt to swerve his way from under the studyís microscope, but was glad the forum chair was prepared enough to communicate the Province is defining pro wrestling by the nature of the activity rather than whether or not a promoter pays his "workers".
The highspot of the evening was when one performer said, PUBLICLY, that drinking or getting pilled up before a match is acceptable. This is where the jabronies (who bestow upon themsleves the term worker), with no grasp of the fantasy/reality blur being let into the business becomes dangerous.
Did the young man imagine he would get over with the veterans of the game, addressing a practice that some feel has gone on for a long time? I donít know if it has or not- I suppose the study will tell us. But I do know a real worker knows what and when to kayfabe.
I had a conversation with the safety consultant in attendance- who has done workplace safety and health assessments for The City of Dauphin and other jobs- recognized by the Province. He was very troubled by the intoxication issue.
It was disappointing to see some players on the provincial scene elect not to participate. Understanding people have their own lives and such, Iím not going to pass any judgment. However, it would have given more legitimacy to the study had everyone showed. I wonder if that was the reason for some absences.
But I want to share my observations and embarrassment on what is really a simple issue- but it goes to the deeper problem in the business.
This study has had some media coverage across the country. Radio and newspapers, but what if there were TV cameras at the forum. My God you guys!
If there was ever any doubt about the lack of professionalism in the Province, it was erased on June 24th.
The number of people that showed up looking at least half professional can be counted on one hand. Torn, grease covered jeans, ball caps on backwardsÖWWF caps no less- hardly makes us look like weíre there fighting for the industry that is our livelihood. Itís a freakiní embarrassment! One that makes me glad I now live in the real world.
Letís talk about the drinking.
Drinking, getting hosed at an event designed to help you guys!! This is not acceptable in the real world! Civilians see that and it confirms in their mind what theyíve always thought -"wrestlers are just a bunch of uneducated lowlifes who are out for glory to compensate for their unemployed or unemployable status". I know thatís not true for many. But who can look in the mirror and tell themselves they didnít add to it.
I had a conversation that night with someone whom I have a mild amount of respect for. That respect level has drained to virtually nil after understanding just how hosed he was.
The sign of being a good worker is to be able to understand any given environment and adapt. Just like calling a match on the fly- first, you get an idea of the kind of house your working, then be prepared to Ďread and reactí.
Those in the sauce displayed their lack of understanding of the real world and perpetuated the stereotype. Those who were noticeably intoxicated at the meeting have no idea of what it is to be a worker, and I hold my head even lower after seeing it.
The notion of "well, why was it held in a bar?" is so juvenile I shall not address it.
As I left the building, I heard the presentation on the idea of a wrestlerís association. Iím told the house received it coldly. Why? Just about every activity out there has some sort of guild. Thereís a National Barbershopperís (singers) Association, but the idea of a group looking out for the boys it not popular?
In my view, itís because on some level in just about every participant in Manitoba (excluding the few true pros), lies a disinterest in any organization because it may threaten their playland.
Crux of the story is this. A pro would be for it, a jabronie is not- I promise.
This safety study has the capacity to help the business return to itís business status, IF we take it seriously.
The status quo for the Manitoba wrestling scene will continue to insult what few pros the Province has left.
And please remember, gentlemen, the Provincial government is watching.
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from the boys:
Ed Moretti says "Okay lets see...they did twenty high spots, chairs, tables, chains, outside interference, and juice...what's the rest of the card gonna do"?