The last month or so has been among the worst conditions imaginable for wrestling promotions all over the world. Not just the fact we are in the midst of a global pandemic, meaning many wrestlers are unable to perform and in turn unable to earn a living. Also that some companies will be unable to resume operations once things do open up as the owners try to keep on top of overheads and the financial impact it has on them.
While this is enough on its own to bring many to tears, a far more serious issue raised its head and it is something there is no hiding from that needed to be addressed openly and head-on. The #SpeakingOut movement gained pace throughout the wider world of wrestling. Many brave men and women recanted their tales of abuse and various other allegations against others within the industry. Tales that had previously been ignored or that never came to light through fear of reprisal or being blackballed from the industry and ruining their career.
The hard part for promoters now will be filtering through the allegations with everyone needing to be investigated to the fullest extent with no exceptions. While undertaking this, they will also need to look introspectively and analyze if there was anything they or their company could have done in the past and what they can do in the future going forward.
One company that immediately took matters into their own hands was Edinburgh based Discovery Wrestling. Despite only starting up in 2014 they have quickly ascended as one of the countries top promotions and brought not only top talent from across the UK but also the likes of MVP, Chris Sabin, Colt Cabana, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks from overseas. They swiftly released a statement of investigation and kept followers posted with continual updates. This in itself is refreshing as many companies have posted an initial “we will investigate all matters seriously” post and there has been nothing but silence since.
They have named four UK based wrestlers they have parted company with and those are Jam O’Malley, Christopher Saynt, Kid Fite, and Lewis Girvan. Also mentioned were unnamed overseas wrestlers who will not be invited back to their events. They have also restructured and appointed Julie Miller in a new role as General Manager to allow support for those attending and participating in future events. While other investigations are still ongoing they didn’t just stop there.
Discovery has teamed up with other Scottish promotions, Lothian based Reckless Intent and Glasgow based Scottish Wrestling Alliance (SWA) to agree a joint code of conduct. A statement for all three was released stating the following:
“It is with great pleasure that we announce that Reckless Intent, Discovery Wrestling and Scottish Wrestling Alliance have all come together and agreed upon a code of conduct, not only for wrestlers/staff and volunteers but for fans in attendance also. This will mean that any action taken in relation to any breach of the code of conduct will upheld by all three promotions.
In accordance with this we are delighted to have appointed Robyn Green as safeguarding officer for all three promotions.
Robyn is a qualified nurse with training in mental health, dealing with difficult situations and confidentiality as well as holding a PVG for vulnerable adults and children. Robyn is completely independent and has no affiliation to any promotion within professional wrestling.
Robyn will be available for any roster member/staff to contact in any situation where they do not feel comfortable approaching someone directly involved with the promotions
We feel this is a step in the right direction for keeping Scottish wrestling a safe and inclusive place for everyone.”
This addresses a major concern raised by many fans and wrestlers who have been calling for more independent support free from any form of bias. While Robyn is an independent officer, she has briefly trained in the ring but decided it wasn’t for her but still wanted to be involved in the industry. This seems a sensible use of her qualifications and she will hopefully get any support and co-operation from all involved. The vitally important thing here is we are seeing organizations agreeing to be on the same page in regards to disciplinary action which is a sure way to raise standards and accountability.
Historically the wrestling industry has been heavily criticized for its mentality around keeping everything behind closed doors with most conflicts settled internally. In some cases, this led to those in positions of power or influence to be compromised at times either for their own benefit or the detriment of others. As has been revealed recently this ranges from industry cover-ups to complaints being flat out ignored, not just relating to a minor dispute, but in some cases serious criminal allegations. Now with three companies uniting there is no longer pressure on individual owners to make a disciplinary decision, they now have a forum to discuss such situations and this should yield more positive outcomes protecting those in need and discouraging unacceptable behaviors.
The largest company in Scotland, Insane Championship Wrestling, have yet to reveal any results or what their next steps are beyond recruiting welfare officers and mental health first aiders. This could be due to their ongoing working partnership with WWE with whom they are allowed to share talent. Once there is a response from WWE then we may see further communication from ICW. Owner Mark Dallas has always been a fearless and forward-thinking innovator and hopefully, his passion for excellence will extend to improving conditions for those under his stewardship.
The concern is that if ICW or another company were to book someone who has been expelled by the other three organizations it may cause conflict among the fanbase and reputational damage for the company involved. In the US we are already seeing All Elite Wrestling in the cross hairs for allowing Sammy Guevara to return from suspension, while some fans are happy to give him a second chance others are still not satisfied with his punishment. This could lead to unacceptable abuse being directed at wrestlers during events or confrontations within the crowd. This is something we will not know until we are able to attend shows in person again but by then there should be measures in place to prevent such situations escalating.
Scottish wrestling is in the best position it has ever been in, most independent shows are enjoying bumper crowds at events and we are producing some of the top talent being picked up by WWE, Ring Of Honor (ROH), and IMPACT in recent years. While current circumstances may slow things down, hopefully, they keep moving forward and the roster departures will allow opportunities for the next generation who will certainly learn from the predecessors.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.