I want to tell you a little bit about this past weekend.
I had an extremely busy weekend that I was not, in many ways, entirely prepared for. I hosted a wrestling show on Friday night, I volunteered to emcee Radio Cult’s performance at Joelanta on Saturday night, and I hosted a toy panel at Joelanta on Sunday afternoon. Oh, and we also recorded an episode of Earth Station Who Sunday night, which may not seem like much, but that involves an hour (or so) of recording time as well as the time it takes to watch whatever story we’re reviewing (in this case two hours and thirty minutes for “Invasion of the Dinosaurs”).
As much as I love all of the things that I do and appreciate the fact that I can do them, they take time and effort and there’s only so much of me to go around. I think I pushed it a bit this weekend, especially after such a lengthy hiatus from public performing.
Wait – make that hadn’t.
Yeah – the weekend was tough.
First things first – the wrestling show.
You might notice that I haven’t been referring to it as a Monstrosity Championship Wrestling show. As many of you may know, I am the host of MCW. I don’t refer to myself as a ring announcer because 1) I have too much respect for those guys to include myself with them and, 2) I do a lot more than those guys do. I announce matches and wrestlers, but I also introduce bands, handle raffles (BLARGH), and fill up the time when things don’t quite go smoothly. Which in MCW is often. Like, between every match. I have to improvise a lot. And while I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m great at it, I do think I have a talent for it that would develop into something impressive if I had the time to focus on it.
Friday night was not an MCW show. MCW was part of the show, but the show was being run by another promoter. And he does not do things the way that MCW does things.
I will admit to making a critical error in judgment. I have long dreamt of dancing out to the ring to Prince’s “Partyman”. It has been my favorite Prince song since I first heard it in 1989 and I have always thought it would be excellent entrance music, even though my actual entrance music is “Procrastibate” by Le Sexoflex. I’ve never been able to do this in MCW because I am always opening the show and coming out to whatever the MCW theme music of the week is. But this was a show featuring three different promotions and I would technically be hosting the whole thing, so it seemed like a fun opening was in order.
There were two problems with this idea.
One – I am in terrible shape right now. I haven’t been walking because I’ve let myself use the excuse that, “It’s so COLD outside!” because I am a whiny baby that hates exercise. So I’ve been putting on weight and not doing anything because my job is to sit at a desk for 12 hours a day.
Two – the promoter that was running the show hates fun.
The show was at The Masquerade, which is a place that I am always excited to perform in. I arrived to a scenario that was very different from what I usually see at a wrestling show. There was a ton of recording equipment, lots of extra personnel, and a very weird atmosphere. A certain amount of tension that had never been present at MCW shows before (I was still mostly thinking of this as an MCW show at that point because I had no idea that somebody else would be in control of the whole thing). I had also been told to arrive about an hour later than I should’ve, which didn’t help things at all. The fun wrestling show vibe that I was used to was totally absent.
I got my music (and MCW’s) to the DJ - who complained about how late all the music was – and told him to hit “Partyman” at 8:55. I had been told that the show would start then and I am a proponent of things starting on time. Especially when there are nine matches and a freak show performance scheduled. I am used to starting the MCW shows whether everybody is ready to go or not. I enjoy the challenges involved in filling time, especially at the top of the show when you’ve got the audience’s attention. I think it’s better to send your dancing monkey (me) out than to make people wait.
The other promoter approached me prior to start time to discuss the opening. I would go out and announce what the show was about, talk about the websites (Wrestling With Pop Culture and Needless Things), put over the raffle (BLARGH), and talk about the promotions that were part of the show. Then I would introduce the non-MCW promotions’ (AWE and ROAR, a promotion featuring women) ring announcer, a very talented guy name Jonathan Feltner who would introduce the opening segment. Good enough. I was ready. Then at about 8:53 Other Promoter told me six more minutes. Okay. Whatever.
Sometime after 9:00 “Partyman” hit and I started dancing to the ring. It was fantastic. People were laughing and smiling and holding their hands up for high-fives. I went around the ring once and then ascended the ring steps to dance around the apron, then hopped down and went up the other ring steps (I am used to having not two, but zero sets of ring steps – I wanted to make the most of them). The whole time Mr. Feltner was giving me funny looks and attempting to distance himself from me, as we had agreed beforehand. So of course, before I finished I went over and danced at him for a bit.
Finally I stopped and realized I had been absolutely right about one thing – I was out of shape. And I was also out of breath. But I forged ahead. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if the wireless mic had worked. But it didn’t. So I yelled for a minute (the same way I had at the first MCW show) while Mr. Feltner got the wired mic from the stage. Then I got that and just as I started to feel better and get my bearings music hit and the opening segment was standing beside the ring. I hadn’t even introduced Mr. Feltner.
I was fucking pissed. I may not be a professional ring announcer, but you don’t cut me off. Especially after we had gone over in some detail what the opening segment was going to be. I handed Mr. Feltner the mic and left the ring, heading backstage to find the MCW promoter. I ran into him on the way, handed him the list of raffle (BLARGH) stuff, and told him I was done. He was confused and said he had no idea what had just happened.
Side Note: I believe him. And I didn’t think he had anything to do with the situation in the first place. This was the AWE portion of the show and Other Promoter was clearly in charge.
At this point the AWE promoter approached me and said that he was sorry but he really just wanted to get to the opening segment and hook the crowd in. He apologized many times over. And the funny thing is, I agree with him. I feel like a wrestling show needs to get underway. MCW is a different beast. But at a regular wrestling show I think you send the ring announcer out and start a match ASAP. But you plan to do that in advance rather than sending someone out and cutting them off in the middle of the segment that had previously been agreed upon.
I could have done many different things at this point. I could have left. I could have made a big scene. I could have been disruptive and unprofessional in so many ways. But there was no point to any of that. I told Other Promoter that I saw his point and that it might be good to do all of the promotional stuff after the opening segment, which was an interview with Teddy Long. He said that was exactly what he was thinking.
So after the Teddy Long bit Mr. Feltner and I went back out to the ring and I started into my bit again. Almost as soon as I got going and before I could introduce Mr. Feltner, there were two wrestlers standing on the apron, gesturing. Clearly they had been sent out to cut me short. I handed the mic to Mr. Feltner and got out of there.
Side Note: That ring was weird. The bottom and middle ropes were super high and tight and I squashed my balls every time I got in or out. Maybe you didn’t need to know that. Also there was a huge hole in the padding under the mat, leaving a large circle of exposed plywood. I would hate to land on that.
The evening wasn’t going well, but there were a few bright spots – I had some friends there that I got to hang out with a little bit. I asked them what they thought about the situation and nobody thought I should leave. I found Mr. Feltner and told him to handle everything and that I’d get back in the ring when it was time for MCW. I didn’t want to have anything further to do with Other Promoter and definitely won’t work a show he’s involved with again.
I don’t say that with any kind of anger or bitterness – purely in a practical way. I don’t have time to deal with that sort of nonsense. If somebody doesn’t appreciate my act, that’s fine. I’m not here to convince people to like me. I mean, obviously it’s great when they do (and most seem to), but I’m not climbing my way up through the business or something. I’m doing all of this for fun and relaxation. If it starts to feel like a job or causes me undue stress, I’m out.
So I hung out with my friends a bit and watched some matches.
Side Note: I’m not commenting on the quality of any of the matches because I decided not to do that with shows that I work. It doesn’t seem right, somehow.
After Other Promoters’ matches were done it was time for Captain Stab Tuggo and Maybelle. I was very excited to be introducing them because I’ve been a fan of their work for a long time. I actually got to speak with them a bit that night and they’re awesome people. I’m planning to have them on the podcast once I get past the backlog of episodes that I suddenly have.
Since they weren’t wrestling, I’ll go right ahead and comment on their performance – it was wonderful. They have an amazing chemistry together and an electric charisma. Their act is a mixture of fun and discomforting sights that were an experience to behold. I used to love seeing the Jim Rose sideshow, but Captain and Maybelle have a sense of playfulness that made their performance more endearing and – to me – engrossing. These were sweet, funny people doing horrendous things to themselves. It made it simultaneously easier to watch and more disturbing.
After that it was time for Monstrosity Championship Wrestling. I can’t say I was as energetic as I would’ve been if it had been an MCW show all night, but once I got going I felt good. The crowd was good and was buying my stuff. As out portion of the show went on I could tell I was getting more comfortable and back into the swing of things – it was the proof that I need to find some way to perform more often and keep those entertainer muscles working.
The whole point here was to talk about somebody not digging me for the first time (that I was aware of) and the fact that I think it was good for me. I’ve never really outright bombed before and while I wasn’t really worried about it, I was very curious about how it would affect me when it happened. Granted, this was one dude and not a whole audience, but it was a dude in a position to mistreat me and potentially damage my performing esteem. The latter didn’t happen, so I’m all good.
I’ll cover the finer points of Joelanta (another new and interesting experience) in my show notes for the toy panel, which will comprise an episode of the Needless Things Podcast in a couple of weeks. Before I get to that one I’ve got the first episode of the Phantom & Gary Show and our big WrestleMania special, which will be part of Needless Things’ week-long celebration next week.
Stay tuned, Phantomaniacs!