By Kim Artlip, Columnist
After seeing the title of this week’s column, do I now clearly have your attention? Ahem. Let me clear my throat so you clearly hear/read what I’m about to talk about today. It’s time for us to break the mold and step out from behind the stereotypes and company models that we all know. It’s time to be unique.
Your voice will be heard and you can get your voice out there but you don’t need all the theatrics, bullying, coattail riding and other tactics. We need to take a step back as promoters and wrestlers to fight for what is right in our business. We have too many people who have no focus or vision or they are being bullied around by others who want only one way of running the indies.
Guess what? We don’t all have to have the same vision, the same wrestlers, the same promo styles, etc. Do you know why? We are our own separate brands, businesses and no two are the same. We aren’t WWE, IMPACT or even ALL IN. We are our own brand and with that we have the awesome task of creating something unique that just us. Why else do you think I hashtag my social media with #weareignite? Because we are our own entity apart and separate from our peers. Each company bringing their own special spin and voice to the sport, no two alike.
You may not know this but I wrote an ebook that is published on Amazon called One Woman Army. It spoke briefly about this but when I was in the creation and research steps of launching IGNITE Wrestling I received some fairly shitty advice. Suddenly people came out of the woodwork with all these ideas and suggestions how IGNITE (at that point it wasn’t named that yet) would be the RAW of the east coast and have a certain style. But it didn’t feel right to me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Monday Night Raw but why would I want to be a bargain basement version (budget-wise) of something I would never have the resources to become. Before long it was apparent that everything suggested was just the same shit different day. No one could see anything other than being an ECW ripoff or PWG clone. I don’t want to be Whatever Wrestling Version 2. I wanted to be something that mine and not just pretending to be the FL version of something already out there.
Which brings me back to the title of this week’s column again. It totally get it that there are people that won’t ever or are afraid to dream or imagine something past what has already been done. That’s your path but don’t crap and kick out at people who don’t want to be on that particular journey. At the end of the day, we are small businesses and each one is different.
I totally get that we are all riding high on the aftermath of ALL In and we are all excited about what we can do but why does it have to be an imitation. Just look at all the posters and play on words similar to ALL IN out there right now in the indies. Why aren’t we looking for something individual that will give us an edge in our area? Seriously, how many havoc, haunted and madness events do we have to have all in a 100 mile radius this week using the same poster template?
We have a gazillion fast food restaurants and while many may seem familiar such as burger, mexican, chicken, pizza and seafood – each is its own brand. They have their own hashtags, color schemes, logo and way of doing business. Just like indy wrestling. Every company should be putting their own spin on their business to stand out.
We need to as promoters, managers, and wrestlers to stand out and find our voice. Work on your graphics, make your gear unique and take time to develop a gimmick. You don’t have to be generic copies of each other. Your company is as unique and individual as a snowflake so let the world see it. Evolve and change your look as you go. You don’t have to stay in a rut but you can grow and develop into your vision.
It’s not ego, it’s not even being selfish to focus on yourself as a wrestler or company. You are a small business and you need to break the mold and do things your way. There are no rules that say you have to follow a specific timeline, have certain titles or even have champions if you choose not to. It’s your company. It’s your dream. It’s your vision, no one else’s.
Hopefully now you will think hard about how you are going to march to the beat of your very own drum and create something that is yours and sets you apart. Till next week, ignite your fire, and follow your dreams.
Owner + Promoter