Monday, April 8, 2013
Monkey Flip: NOVA 4/8/13
Part of what worried Alex about the news that he’d be dropping the kendo championship was that part of him saw it as a sign that NOVA would be like many of the other wrestling promotions he’d worked for. Sure, part of it was selfish. He liked having the title, liked how it gave him immediate prestige in the eyes of the fans.
But there was also that constant fear. For whatever reason, though wrestling itself was reliably good business, wrestling promoters were just as reliably bad businessmen. They had no idea how to run their companies. They maximized profits by limiting the flow of money. Sometimes Alex would work on the weekend in the early days for nothing but a promise of pay, and sometimes even when it came it wasn’t nearly what he’d been promised.
The worst example he could think of was Red Carnage Wrestling. RCW’s fans thought the company was the best wrestling promotion in the world, and for the fans it absolutely was. Owner Brandon Pope was also clearly passionate about wrestling and he could easily get anyone to work for him, and get some completely devoted to him, but any objective viewpoint clearly saw that there was a fly in the ointment. Pope could make a small number of people completely rabid about his product, but only in a way that made it impossible for growth. Any company without real growth was always doomed to failure. The only way to fake it was to fake profitability. In other words, Pope would have to be a bad businessman who actively further engaged in bad business.
It was worth considering that Alex knew most businesses ran that way, but he knew it best in the world he knew best. He only worked for Pope a handful of months, and that was all he could afford. The benefit of working RCW was that it attracted the attention of other, more respectable and stable companies like Ring of Gold and Pro Wrestling Incorporated, both of which were still around when NOVA made its debut, which was not the case with RCW, which was one of the more famous example of the periodic implosions that affected any economic sector generally run poorly (which would be all of them).
If Alex had any sympathy for Pope, it was his young son Joe, whose fortunes as a wrestler were constantly affected by the decisions his father made. Alex liked Joe, thought he had a great amount of potential, but of all the wrestlers associated with Brandon Pope, it was Joe who benefited the least.
It had become easy to assume in the giddy early months of great success for the budding NOVA that Alex wouldn’t have to worry about any of this again, especially with his own fortunes rising so clearly with the promotion around him. His struggles seemed to at last be behind him. Yet whether it was his own pessimism or reality getting ready to slap him in the face again, there was a new cloud forming over Alex’s head.
He tried not to let it show. Scotty always had his back, regardless of what was going on around him, but he was also completely honest, so Alex asked him point blank what he thought was the prognosis, whether NOVA would even survive the year.
Scotty scratched his head and thought about it for a moment, and surprised Alex with his answer. “You and me have seen a lot, buddy, but the one thing I’ve seen that you haven’t is you. It’s true. I’ve taken to using you as my barometer, and I’ve never seen you perform better under pressure. This is the best we’ve ever had. We both know that. And you’re the one who’s made the most of it, and look how far you’ve gone. This is just the way things go. Very few champions have long reigns. You’ve seen the ones who do. It messes them up. They start having all kinds of weird ideas, and it’s not just them, but the promoters. Promoters are screwed up enough to begin with. They don’t need the help.
“Put it this way: if you held that belt for even one more month, even I would have been pounding Carson’s door for a title change! Sometimes even a poor substitute like me is better than someone better like you. Know what I mean? The fans don’t always appreciate what a champion brings to a title. Sometimes it’s not about the prestige. This is not the beginning of the end. It’s the end of the beginning.”