On The Ropes: Backyard Wrestling

Martin Daniels

On The Ropes: Backyard Wrestling

Welcome to another edition of “On The Ropes” by yours truly. It has been a good week this week, and as far as feedback goes, I literally had hundreds of e-mails sent to me by various people from around the world. We’ll touch on feedback a little bit later on in the column. But, one thing has been bothering me this week. What is it with wrestling and backyards? Will backyard wrestling ever be completely abandoned? Ladies and Gentleman, please get ready, as I am about to put you “On The Ropes”.

On The Ropes – Backyard Wrestling

Before the column starts, I would like to say that I don’t, under any circumstances, encourage backyard wrestling, watch backyard wrestling or approve of backyard wrestling.

Now that I have made my feelings of backyard wrestling known, I would like to begin with a story. I was sat at home about 3 months ago and I was all alone in my house. It was quite late really, but I didn’t care because it was the weekend and plus, my girlfriend was working late anyways. I was reading various columns by different writers and I was answering a lot of my e-mails from my fantastic fans. The time went by ever so quickly, and when I turned around to look at my clock, it was past 2am in the morning. I couldn’t believe it. I was usually well asleep by now. I switched on my television and searched through the stations for some wrestling and in particular, I was looking for some UFC to watch, as I was really getting into UFC at the time. I flicked over to the station which showed the UFC and the synopsis said “wrestling”. I thought to myself quietly, about what sort of wrestling would be shown on the station. Suddenly, my eyes lit up and my thoughts raced in my head. I had suddenly realised that ECW used to be shown on this station. I sat up proudly, turned my cap backwards Paul E. style, and sat abrupt at what I was about to see.

The programme started, as two males stood looking at the camera. “Ladies and Gentleman, what you are about to see is wrestling at its best” A smile sprawled across my face as I started to think of Van Dam vs. Lynn and Tazz vs. Sabu. “Ladies and Gentleman, this is one of the best sports in the world” I nodded ever so proudly at the screen “Ladies and Gentleman, this is BACKYARD WRESTLING!!” The male screamed. I sat there motionless for the next five minutes, as I watched two teenagers hit each other with chairs, kendo sticks and baseballs bats and proceed to set each other on fire. It made me sick, it made my stomach fold.

I switched over the television after about five minutes. I wasn’t watching that. Everything about it was tasteless. It was horrible. It was truly horrible. You see, I can’t understand why they do it. Why do people put there lives on the line for the sport? To me, it doesn’t make sense.

Of course, I have heard of backyard wrestling in the past, but the pure brutality and hardcore type gimmicks involved in these matches is beyond belief. The “superstars” adrenaline rush, isn’t seeing Triple H face Randy Orton or seeing Chris Jericho one on one with Chris Benoit, there adrenaline rush is influenced by Foley’s dive off the Hell in a Cell and most of all, by ECW and CZW.

ECW was the innovator of hardcore violence in professional wrestling and somewhat put wrestling in the twentieth century, with its hardcore influenced brawling. CZW is the modern day hardcore experiment, which has yet to fill the boots of ECW, but it continues to use thumb tacks and other weapons to hurt other opponents. Backyard wrestlers tend to follow this style more. As half the ECW roster states on “The Rise and Fall of ECW” DVD, what they did on the events was very dangerous and could have seriously got out of hand at times. Using things like fire as a weapon is very dangerous, which will eventually backfire. This makes me fear for the backyarders’ health, as one day, something bad is going to happen to these kids.

The WWE uses various weapons on its product. The tables used on the WWE are supposed to break with the most minimal force. They are designed like this, so that as soon as the slightest thing touches the surface with a little force, it will break and will minimize injury because the table has already broken as they hit it (it is broken by a fraction of a second). The chairs are 100% real, but WWE wrestlers use there forearms to absorb most of the injury. Note that WWE wrestler use the “fleshy” bit of there forearm, because the chair is actually hitting fat. The ladders in WWE are also real, but spots on ladders are practised for weeks before the actual spots in front of a live audience. The blood in WWE is also real, but the wrestlers will blade themselves with a small penknife about 2 inches long, and by blade, I mean to peel there first layer of skin back on there forehead. Peeling it back will make the cut much easier to stitch, rather than a big gash on the head.

Another thing that scares me about the kids is that, wrestlers on television are actually trained. I can’t count the number of times I have walked into pro wrestling schools and saw the head instructor, and I ask the guy “Hey, how long have you been wrestling?” and the guy, in his mid twenties says “Well, about 4 months”. That is pathetic. This guy is still as green as the grass; yet, he is teaching people how to wrestle. This guy is running up the top rope and doing a twisting 360 moonsault, yet, he can’t even lace his boots proper. This is the same guy who is teaching five or six college dropouts how to wrestle. I have been watching wrestling for fifteen years, and I have come across this several times when I have been in different places in the country and I think “Hey, I’ll go and check this school or that school out, and I’ll go and watch them wrestle”. Yet, when I get there, I see these kids paying two hundred and fifty dollars to get in there, and the first thing I do, is see these kids running up the top rope and doing swanton bombs and 450 flips. That isn’t cool. These kids haven’t even practised taking bumps, and there already doing something which they shouldn’t even be thinking about doing for another seven or eight months.

Of course, somewhere on the internet, a backyard wrestler will be reading this and be thinking “Man, this guy is talking crap…I’ve never been injured”. Now, I’m not saying that everyone gets injured, not at all, but in my eyes, you are very lucky. Look at WWE New Years Revolution. In a World Tag Team Title match, Nick “Eugene” Dinsmore suffered a knee injury, despite wrestling in a “proper” ring with appropriate lighting and padding. Dinsmore, who has been wrestling for a number of years, will be sidelined for at least 3 months. Again, look at Lita, who performed a simple Lou Thesz press and suffered a torn ACL, and is now shelved for a minimum of six months. Superstars such as Edge, Chris Benoit, Rhyno, Steve Austin, Jesus, Kurt Angle and many, many more have suffered broken necks in the squared circle, in one of the best rings in the world. Some superstars have even been paralysed in the WWE (like Darren Drosdoz) despite being a professional wrestler for a number of years. Backyard wrestlers may think I am complaining now, but look at this, if WWE wrestlers (who are supposedly the best in the world) can suffer injuries, then so can backyard wrestlers. If Mick Foley can suffer a broken nose, a concussion, a separated right shoulder, two teeth knocked out, a fractured left shoulder twenty seven stitches, a bone chip on his elbow and a broken jaw in the hell in a cell match, by falling twenty feet onto a table and some thumb tacks, then an un-trained backyarder is going to do a whole lot worse when they are thrown off unsafe scaffolding onto a burning table wrapped in barbed wire. Luckily, Foley had been wrestling for seven years and more prior to the King of the Ring match with The Undertaker inside the Hell in a Cell

Indeed, it’s easy for me to criticise those that hit themselves with garbage cans and baseball bats. I have never been there, and I have never been hit with a chair wrapped in barbed wire. But, it’s about time common sense prevailed. When fans ask me what I think of backyard wrestling, I cringe, because backyard wrestling scares the hell out of me. It gives me nightmares when I think of a fifteen year old school kid jumping off a flaming table onto his “best friend” wrapped in barbed wire, I cringe and cry when I think of school kids breaking bones for entertainment and it makes me angry when I think of supposed “trainers” who have been wrestling for a mere two months training new talent. I have stuck by a lot of WWE motto’s in the past, I have stuck by the “Have a Nice Day” and the “Austin 3:16” legendary trademarks. But the one that has the most effect on me is simple, “Please, don’t try this at home” could not be any clearer. For the sake of yourselves, please don’t try this at home kids, because no matter how badly you want to be the next “Mick Foley” or “AJ Styles”, you will never, ever, get there, by being a backyard wrestler.

Got any thoughts? What do you think of backyard wrestling? What are your thoughts on the column? E-Mail themaneffect@hotmail.com The columns’ best feedback will be featured in the next column, so please remember to put your name and/or location on your feedback.

Last week’s best feedback came from Vignesh Vijayakumar from India. Vignesh spoke openly in his e-mail, discussing his love for wrestling and his passion for the sport. Comparing wrestling to Cricket, Vignesh states that “After 2002, the craze for wrestling has declined and in India, the most popular sport is Cricket, something I hate. Now if anyone asks me about sports, I say I hate cricket and like wrestling and for that simple reason, I get laughed at.” Don’t worry Vignesh, there were literally dozens of people who shared your thoughts, and indeed, it can be sometimes hard to admit you are a wrestling fan. I would like to thank every single person who sent me feedback to the column and a particular mention goes to Christopher Shipley, who made me laugh with his e-mail. Finally, I would like to thank every single one of you who sent me an e-mail. You guys are the best.

I would like to thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a great week. I am looking to expand greatly, so if you would like me to write for you site, please get in touch. I appreciate all the feedback sent to me and I read every piece, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Finally, I would just like to wish you guys a good few weeks. My next column will be published in about 2 weeks, but until then, thanks for reading and take care.


Martin Daniels


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