You wake up from a sound sleep after a fifteen-hour drive to the sound of a portable alarm clock. That clock has shown you the time in all four time zones in the Continental US and you have seen the time fly by. That clock shows you what time you are to get up and ready yourself for a show. A show that you arent confirmed on being booked to.
"Hopefully, the pay will take care of the gas money," you think. "Otherwise Im in deep trouble."
You wearily stretch out of the sleepless slumber you had just had on your best friends couch. As you get up you notice that he is running around trying to ready for the same show you are wrestling on that night.
"About time you rolled out of bed," he says, as you finally think of emerging from under the ragged covers on the second-hand purchased couch. The popping and the creaking of your body is too much to bear.
"Rolled is about right. Need to see the doctor about that back," you say. "Hopefully the insurance will kick in on the wifes policy,"
"It would be nice, but that will never happen," he says with a smile. "You know well never see normal insurance."
"True, but I can dream." Just at that time, the cell phone in your bag rings. "Its gotta be that call."
"Keep dreaming buddy, keep dreaming."
Each of the wrestlers in the wrestling business do not see insurance from their promoters.
Over the past several years, this writer has seen wrestlers hobble around the locker room and put on a brave face and run out to the ring. But after a solid twenty-minute championship match, come back to the locker room and have tears in their eyes. The tears do not stream from their eyes for the match and the belt they had just won, but the pain and agony of the injury that had just progressed from a minor pain in the knee, but a squealing pain that needs surgery. But these surgeries can not happen. No insurance to cover them. Even if their normal job accepts their extracurricular activities, they would look down upon them, as any injury was to take them from the job.
You say how much you love this business when you are in front of the cameras, but at times, especially on the long drives, you sometimes wonder if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life. But of course you do, its been your dream. The lights, the cameras, the fame, not the pain, but the glory; always the glory has entered your mind.
That glory will get you the money and the money will help to fuel the passion. You have to have that passion to make it through the independent circuit. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity to make it to WWE or to NWA: TNA. Most of the independent circuit knows how lucky they need to be to make it to the "Show".
The show does not guarantee help for when youre in a bed with a broken neck or healing from broken vertebrae in the back. Many people have wondered why that has happened, and unlike actors or actresses, who have their collective taking care of them, the wrestlers do not have a union. They pay at times three or four times the premium that others do, in some cases more.
Many different wrestlers have contemplated the idea of a union, but what would it comprise of?
A separate union for separate regions is one possibility. That would mean each section of the nation or the world would have its own union board. This would be something similar to the old territories. Move from one to the other; however, how welcome would one wrestler be than the other?
The fees would also constitute part of the whole deal. How much would any insurance agency give a wrestler? Look at the situation. Boxers, basketball players, football players, etc., have the similar problem. Their line of work can put them in direct harm. The premiums would be through the ceiling. They have just as much opportunity to hurt themselves or others as any other physical sport.
Who would the benefits cover, the wrestler or the whole family? That would constitute a rate hike if the family would be added. Whether it is medical, dental, optical, and/or life insurance, the rates would not be as normal as it would be for the average Joe or Jane on the street.
Things like this would have to be brought up for the wrestlers, plus who would sit on the boards and who would govern the body.
All these things may be the reason why a union hasnt been set up. Name a wrestler that has time to help setup a union behind closed doors to try and get more for them and their families with the promoters and bookers looking down their backs.
But this dream will remain a dream until people can come together and figure out what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. A dream is still a dream, but will the realty surface?
More research will be done on the subject at a later date.
As for this column, it is finished. New developments have been surfacing here with this writer, including but not excluding new wrestlers met and new experiences had. A friend once said to stay away from your subjects if you are writing about them. Observe only. But that observation turned into curiosity. A look inside wrestling is what all writers want to do. Fortunately, this writer has a very unique view on the wrestling world itself.
With all the new writers that Patty has brought onboard, I figured that this column would not be missed. I am hoping to write more than before and bring more perspective to how wrestling has progressed.
I have done this before. If there are any questions, any comments or any suggestions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website at www.belleofthebrawl.com
All are welcome!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of the readers, the writers and Patty for all the patience in this great time of change in my life. I hope to write more and give a few more opinions on what I have been seeing on the screen, as opposed to what I see in front of me during an in-ring match. I know that this year hasnt been a banner year for this column, and I may not be defending my Columnist of the Year Award. But as one of my friends says, "Gotta take the good with the bad, even though it suck sometimes." Gotta love the optimists.
Thank you and have a wonderful day! Stay safe!