By Kim Artlip, Columnist
It’s been a long, hot minute since I have attended another promotion’s show. So, I hopped in my car and made the two-hour plus trip down to a promotion I enjoy near Fort Lauderdale, named Ronin Pro. If this company is not on your wrestling radar – wake up, and check these guys out. Solid shows, great venue, so much fan interaction and just such a positive attitude over all.
I will admit that I attended for selfish reasons. I honestly missed hanging out and talking to several wrestlers who have been unable to work for IGNITE due to scheduling, but will always be part of my wrestling family. Serpentico, who I have mentioned in previous columns, is one of my favorite indy lucha wrestlers and I have such mad respect for him. He’s just taken off, and is holding titles and headlining events all over the company so booking him has now become quite the adventure.
Being the Florida indy scene, we do share several wrestlers such as our champion Aaron Epic and our tag champions, TECH. So for me it is a chance to see old friends such as Angel Rose/Diamante, talk to amazing out-of-state talent Zane Riley and Caleb Konley and meeting people that I have followed on social media such as Aerial Monroe. That’s what I love about several promotions is that I can hang out, see people I know and enjoy a fun show.
But the part I enjoyed was getting back to basics. I was able to step into just being a fan for a few hours. Sweet sweet enjoyment.
I think people forget when we step into owner/promoter roles about what we loved about the sport in the very beginning. Now suddenly we are dealing with payroll, venues, vendors, merchandise, bookings, logistics, wonky sound systems and personalities galore. We are lucky some shows to even watch an entire match let alone set and cheer/jeer/boo/clap to our hearts delight. That was something my psyche needed last night. I needed to put on my fan hat and just enjoy myself without knowing who was going over, the finishes and all that. Yep, I just kicked kayfabe in the teeth there… But hey, it is, what it is.
But do you remember your first show/shows? Do you remember the first time that you saw someone do moves, take hits and just lost yourself in a match? I did but I had let that be overshadowed with adulting, and running a company. I needed a reboot and to remember what it’s like to watch for the sheer pleasure of it all.
So, last night was about simply enjoying matches, meeting new people, eating junk food and yelling till I became hoarse. Watching the children who had the chance to interact with some of the bits during the show. There is absolutely nothing like the look of sheer joy when a child sees someone defy gravity and do moves that don’t seem humanly possible. One of my favorite parts was watching an elderly woman who had never seen lucha wrestling pondering out loud about how Serpentico could wear a mask and be able to wrestle. She spent that match screaming and covering her eyes but at the end she was clapping her hands and hopping in her seat in pure unadulterated joy.
And the end of the night, I felt invigorated about wrestling. I had gotten back to the basics of just enjoying the show, meeting the guys and chatting with the fans and it was just the shot in the arm that I needed. If I was a doctor, I would prescribe healthy doses of wrestling shows for everyone. Just unplug from life, forget about your worries and stomp, clamp and cheer till you lose your voice. It is the perfect solution to nearly every problem you might have. So check out Phil Stamper on Facebook and find the indy wrestling calendar that he puts out. Get your bad self to a show and just enjoy everything that makes indy wrestling unique. Until next week, ignite your fire, and follow your dreams.
Kim Artlip, Owner + Promoter
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