Apparently, there are people who wrestle for a living and who don’t work for Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment. Unlike WWE superstar John Cena who reportedly earns $1.7 million a year, some of these nameless grapplers make as little as $25 a gig at lucha libre shows (lucha libre is a high-flying, quickly-paced, Mexican style of wrestling). And sure, these small-town shows attract less than 1,000 fans per week while WWE events consistently sell out arenas with 20,000 plus seats. But hey, these local guys are just as good at pretending to wrestle and verbally abuse each other as anyone working for Vince.
And the WWE knows it. One of the more popular luchadores from Piraña Promotions tells the Phoenix New Times that he’s been tapped to participate in Wrestlemania-related events in the week leading up to the WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of the year. He may even be a part of the big show! And this wouldn’t be totally new for the WWE: Rey Mysterio, a wrestler who embraces the lucha libre style, is one of the wrestling franchise’s biggest names.
In Nashville, United States Wrestling Organization wrestlers travel several hours every week to perform at the Stadium Inn to a whopping crowd of 200 fans. So few weekly attendees may not bode so well in terms of making a profit, but it does make for a much more intimate experience – the matches are wrestled within 10 feet of the audience. But the gimmicks of the big league wrestling organizations aren’t lost on the USWO. Their biggest attraction, Jeff “The Crippler” Daniels, is described by NashvilleScene.com as: “a grizzled middle-aged heel, the Crippler sports a helmet of dyed black hair — destined to inspire a lawsuit from Gene Simmons — matched by a goatee of intimidation that frames his villainous smile.” Yup, that about covers it.
Wrestling fans love watching huge men (and women in their bras and panties) beating the crap out of each other with steel chairs or putting each other through flimsy tables, but that doesn’t mean they have to wait for WWE programming to catch exciting wrestling!
Why pay up to $250 for front row seats to one of the WWE’s several weekly televised events? If you’ve seen Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler,” you know an intimate gathering around a ring in a dark room with mysterious smoke swirling can be a ton of fun.
It’s easy enough to find local wrestling organizations without being forced to watch storylines involving an 87-year-old Mae Young strutting around the ring naked and giving birth to a bloody hand. Yes, that happened.