So I went to a Christian wrestling organization this weekend for the first time. I was going to do a full blog talking about all the wrestlers, their work, their promos, their booking, etc. But am I going to criticize the guy who shared his testimony for a promo? How about the whitebread babyface tag team that bored me but is it cause they had no mic time? Or the fact that all the wrestlers broke kayfabe during the invitation to circle the ring and pray with those who received Christ? Everybody worked really hard, nobody phoned it in and my wife and I really enjoyed the night. Plus, I got to see AJ Styles live for the first time and meet him. (Wrestlers, if you want to know how to treat fans, watch AJ Styles.) And yes, I acted like a 10-year-old girl meeting Justin Bieber.
But there is one really important thing this company lacked. And that, you don’t really realize how important it is until you see it done wrong. And that is the ring announcer. Now I went to MPX wrestling last month and the ring announcer wore shorts and a backwards hat. Well, there was no air conditioning in that arena, but the gym in Rockwall did. It wouldn’t have been hard to look like you planned ahead of time to be the ring announcer.
The first thing is to dress appropriately. PCW (Arlington), NWA-Southwest (wherever there is wrestling), WWE, from the biggest company to the smallest, it is important for the ring announcer to look well-dressed. Maybe not all Michael Buffered out, but it wouldn’t hurt.
The announcing should look professional. You shouldn’t be reading off an index card when you’re telling us to cheer. And unless it is part of your gimmick (Like Maria Kanellis when she had the bimbo gimmick), there is no excuse for you to ever chew gum on the microphone for any reason whatsoever. This is Announcing 101. Anybody who has ever taken a high school Speech class knows this. It should be up to somebody to tell this announcer, “You look bush league when you do that.”
Another thing is a wrestling company giving me rules. I understand that most of them were important. “Don’t touch the wrestlers.” “Don’t throw things at the wrestlers.” But this is where it got me. He told us to “Cheer for the good guys and boo the bad guys.” Ok, I know this was church but wrestling matches instead of worship choruses. But I paid my $5. I’m going to cheer for the wrestlers I want to cheer.
He would then tell us who the bad guys and good guys were. When I went to the MPX Wrestling show last month, Viktor Tadlock came out to the ring first. My sister-in-law who knows Viktor from her friendship with some local wrestlers, cheered, “Woo-hoo, Go Viktor.” Tadlock, working as a heel looked right at her and said, “Shut up. I don’t need you.” The point of this is that Wrestling 101 is that if the crowd is cheering for you, there are ways of convincing us to boo for you. All these wrestlers at the Christian wrestling show were very good at identifying themselves as heels or faces without me being told what they were. And if I were a wrestler/manager, I would be insulted if the crowd was told whether to boo or cheer me.
The other thing is that you do not use “insider terms” at your show. Telling us to go for the good guy is bad enough. And then you refer to him as a babyface? On the mic? On Lost, when Jack went down to plug the hole, did Matthew Fox stop and say, “Hey JJ Abrams, what’s my motivation?” Certain things belong behind the curtain, on dirt sheets and out of the public eye. Insider terms is most certainly one of them.
Wrestling companies that read this: This is such a little thing, but it makes such a big difference. I’m not asking you to be Howard Finkel. Just show up and be professional.