of a wrestling fan
Cottage Industry or Big Business? by Greg Tingle -
9th June 2004
Why do I like professional wrestling?
a question I have been asked many times over the years,
but something I still have an internal struggle with.
are many aspects to the mat game that I find very
appealing, and then again, on the other hand, there
are some angles to the "sport" that I don't
fully understand, and the odd thing about this soap
opera for men (and some women), that I don't like,
and I've been a fan for over 2 decades.
Wrestling (and specifically AWF Pro Wrestling "Aussie
style") is just what wrestling king-pin, Vince
McMahon enthuses - "It's sports entertainment".
had been a few years since I had attended a real "Aussie"
pro wrestling card at the club. Sorry, World Wrestling
Entertainment (WWE) doesn't count, despite the fact
they drew close to a full house in Sydney and Melbourne,
and AWF in comparison drew a few hundred.
the raw, grass roots, built like a proverbial brick
*hit house (and occasional fly-swat), hamming it up,
without the glitz and fireworks we are all familiar
been looking forward to the AWF Pro Wrestling card
at Wollongong for some time. Many things were rushing
through my mind coming up to the card, and especially
on the 100km trip down south, with my life partner.
Fortunately, Yvette was "pre qualified",
as I had warmed her to the pro wrestling concept thanks
to our friend "FOX Sports", and my salesmanship.
Sports nut, writer and all round "fitness freak",
Dane Crandon, also joined us for the occasion.
see, I'm a promoter, not just on the periphery of
pro wrestling, but in the entertainment, sports and
media sector as a whole. I make a living from this
promoting and media "stuff", with the assistance
of a government grant. (I made a believer out of them
this particular wrestling card on a cold Sunday night
in the Gong', the boys (and girl), under the tutelage
of Greg "TNT" Bownds, really turned up the
heat. The ring action (and risks) were quite spectacular,
as was the commentary provided by Curtis A. Hughes
(A for a-hole), whose comments about the Gong's thriving
"kiddy" industry and "the captain's"
SMS-ing tendency will not soon be forgotten.
who actually attends these "Aussie" pseudo-sport
whole variety of people. There were the hard-cores
and die-hards, identified in AWF, (WWE and ECW apparel),
wearing slogans like, "Want A Fight" (ah,
no thanks), mum and the kids (mum into it more - perhaps
it was the leotard trunks), the odd drongo, piss head,
sports lover and the family and friends of the wrestlers.
Even "The Captain's" cricket crew were in
attendance to support him, decked out in white and
chanting the name of their modern day super-hero of
the grassy knoll and squared circle. Bottom line,
pro wrestling attracts an eclectic mix, catering for
all demos of the populace.
was hard to miss the blondes and groupies in attendance,
that looked to be there to score a 3-count or a strangle-hold
submission of their own, or maybe even play tag-team
with an AWF ring warrior.
where is this "Aussie" modern day athletic
Shakespeare-like show heading?
on last Sunday's performance - right to the top of
Australia's entertainment industry. The McMahon's
WWE need not worry yet.
what's missing? Big "cashed-up" sponsors,
TV time, and video games. To Bownds credit, with a
little support from yours truly, AWF enjoys the occasional
write-up in the "local rag" (thanks Illawarra
Mercury), the odd radio spot (Wave FM and friends),
and superb Internet presence (check-out www.awfwrestling.com.au
We hear that more mainstream media coverage is on
the way. Stay tuned for a whispered upcoming "doco"
via ABC, SBS or FOX; on the glorious history of Australian
do these hard working folks deserve not only the fans'
ongoing support, but that of the media moguls and
advertising campaign "gurus" everywhere?
AWF Pro Wrestling is the future of professional wrestling
in Australia. Heck, some of these guys are even good
enough to deserve spots on the roster of the biggest
showcase in the world - the World Wrestling Entertainment,
as syndicated on television networks around the globe.
pro wrestling is somewhat of a cottage industry in
Australia at present. However, I will stick my neck
out (don't clothesline me), and predict that AWF Pro
Wrestling will continue to grow, and prosper. It is
indeed a matter of time until AWF gets TV time, and
Bownds and friends are working on a series of documentaries
for TV and DVD consumption. (The video cameras at
ringside were not just for looks or hype). This footage
is "gold"; just waiting for the right merchant!
(Scoop - Team Tingle, an off-shoot of AWF Pro Wrestling,
has a few serious "name" wrestling legends
and big time acting talents based in the US, working
on some wrestling promos, that back up the huge business
potential of Australian professional wrestling. More
specifically, an AWF - Media Man - US connection tie-in.
AWF has brought in U.S, Canadian and Mexican "imports"
previously, and next time they expect to have the
sponsorship backing of an airline and beer company).
you may not be convinced of the AWF's business viability.
This stuff is perfect for Reality TV. I can see it
now, AWF Pro Wrestling and Media Man Australia present,
'Pro Wrestling Is Real', screened every Monday night,
straight after 'The Apprentice'! Return of the Monday
ring announcer spruiks, "Tonight, one man will
be eliminated as part of this 12 week series".
to live action, you want names of the headline-grabbing
players! TNT, Mark Hilton, The Captain, "Mad"
Tony Kebab, Sinister Technologies, PC Virus, Cletus
Blood, Future Shock, Spike Steel, Billy Flyswat, Kid
Dynamite, Krackerjack, Webmistress and more. Surely
these names and characters are more than enough for
an enduring TV series and interactive video game!
to immediate reality, I should point out that TNT's
family owns and operates a sign writing company -
what's to stop you becoming a financial sponsor of
this attention grabbing sport. Perfect for sports
stores, drink companies, sports nutrient makers, video
game developers, introduction agencies, "rugged"
light truck manufactures, magazines like 'RALPH',
fashion labels (hello Adidas, Nike, Everlast - anyone?)
AWF also have access to the venue PA system, and rumour
has it that it won't be long until those in attendance
at the clubs will be hearing the name of "X"
wrestling figures, wrestling DVDs and you get the
point. Yes folks, this is a very receptive audience,
and they're in the mood to buy, and support the boyz
and the biz.
AWF Pro Wrestling ever attain the absolute pinnacle?
Yes. AWF has been established for 8 years, and has
consistency drawn decent crowds in New South Wales
and Melbourne. Bownds understands "what works",
namely merchandising, publicity and work ethic. There
is a strong hard- core and casual fan base, and they
understand the publicity and promotions business enough
to get media. Most importantly, AWF understands and
delivers what the public demands. Who won and lost
on this most recent wrestling extravaganza? Folks,
there were no losers. All wrestlers aka "workers"
and fans were big winners.
wrestling fans "down under", the good news
is that professional wrestling will once again catch
"on fire", and rest assured that AWF Pro
Wrestling will be leading the charge. What can you
do to assist? Call your local club, call and write
to FOXTEL. Heck, Mr Kerry Packer got behind World
Wrestling Entertainment a few years ago (in the form
of a ringside seat), so there should be no stopping
"punters" and moguls alike. Book your ticket
today, for an evening of real entertainment that you
will never forget.
the late, great Jack Little always said, "That's
all there is folks. There isn't any more!"
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