The Indie Corner: Low Ki's Endgame

Low Ki courtesy of Scott Finkelstein

Low Ki is playing a character in EVOLVE. There is no doubt about it. When he says he wants to take his profession back after being "lost" in WWE, he's big-timing the roster that had been doing it since he was still in FCW. When he tells El Generico that he's "not as good as he thinks he is", he's an arrogant jerk running down a fan favorite for not being as "intense." When he's complimenting Jigsaw after wrestling him with words like "when are you going to stop with the lucha libre and start doing real wrestling", it's damning with faint praise. Low Ki is a jerk, a heel. Some might say that it's an extension of his real life persona, but at the same time, those are the best characters.

Still, whether it's tinged with reality or a really good act, it is an act. It's going somewhere, and whether it's sooner or later, there is going to be a payoff. However, it's fair to ask what that payoff is going to be. Or more specifically, it's fair to ask whether Low Ki and Gabe Sapolsky see the character the same way I do, and whether the payoff is going to be something that people other than the hardcore existing audience of the promotion is going to like.

There are two ways that this can go. The one that most of us might not like is that Low Ki "takes his profession back". He becomes King S**t of F**k Mountain, wins the rumored EVOLVE Championship and is a mythical figure who ends up losing his first match to some guest star of large stature. EVOLVE has set out to be "different" than other wrestling promotions, and this is a way to do it, by having the guy on top be that larger-than-life arrogant prick who is the draw, the appeal, is something different I'd say. Basically, it's the Terrell Owens corollary. A polarizing figure that gets all the attention is one that equals good business.

But the thing about the Owens archetype is that there's just as much cache in that person falling on his face as it is to see him succeed. Pro wrestling is built on that model when building a heel. Someone the fans despise is only as marketable as the guy built up to defeat him, to knock him off that mountain. If that's the endgame, then it's a tried-and-true one. As a fan, I want to see a guy like Generico or Jigsaw knock the taste right out of his mouth. However, that's traditional. That's not changing the game.

But does the game need to be changed? In a way it does, but I guess the better question is is changing the game in this way something that's going to work? I'm not sure that it is. Wrestling is not a sport. It has elements of being a sport and all the trappings, but in the end, there has to be a story told. Generally, stories that have unsatisfactory endings drive customers away. So, if the fans at large think of Ki as a jerk, they'd want to see him lose.

That being said, everything above is really speculation. We don't know where they're going, and that kind of uncertainty is good. There's also the possibility that the TO-style storyline could be a big thing in indie wrestling. That being said, they need to tread carefully. It would be a shame if a promising independent promotion fails because it's putting all its eggs into becoming a vanity project for a bitter ex-WWE employee looking to act out his frustrations.

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