The Indie Corner: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Friday night, the official Women's Superstars Uncensored Twitter account went on a ranting spree, wherein the person behind it went on to shoot some barbs at the other major women's wrestling outfit in the United States, SHIMMER Women's Athletes. While the barbs didn't name the company by name, they did imply that "anyone" can run two shows a year (SHIMMER only runs shows on two weekends, generating four "tapings" for eight DVD releases). While the person behind the account retracted the statement, saying he was talking about Indy Gurlz, a promotion much lower on the food chain but still a competitor, the public relations damage was done with not only the statements, but the ham-handed way criticism was handled.

While I'd like to say this is the first time backbiting in the independent wrestling community has happened, it's not the first time, nor is it the worst instance. Ring of Honor has been embroiled in a pissing contest with former booker Gabe Sapolsky for the last three years, rearing its ugly head again when Sapolsky went on an epic rant against ROH's shoddy feed during its last iPPV event, Border Wars. People are quick to point out that this kind of sniping is not new in wrestling and has been going on for as long as rival companies were in existence. WCW and WWF went back and forth all the time. They were competitors though; they were in the same marketplace, offering a similar product to a nationwide audience.

Sure, it's true that Dragon Gate USA and ROH technically are competitors. They're both nationwide, and they both cater to an audience that wants high-level wrestling matches as the centerpiece of their promotion. That being said, the sad truth is that they're fighting for a market share that isn't exactly the full magilla when it comes to wrestling. With each snipe, each barb, companies that try to compete with each other end up hurting the fabric of the independent community with their grabs for more audience. The fact that ROH is technically not even an independent wrestling promotion anymore makes it even stranger why they'd sweat DGUSA and Sapolsky. They have TV, Gabe doesn't. So why would they work to make sure that they could put the screws or at the very least have public snipe-fests?

I've written about the importance of community and working together in the indies before. That being said, there are some battles that would legitimately cause people to have enmity. I would really never expect Sapolsky and ROH to have a joint show at all, but at the same time, would a little bit of civility hurt? They don't have to say good things about each other, but how about not saying bad things in public?

It's even worse in the case of WSU and SHIMMER or Indy Gurlz or even both. Women already have the stigma of being lesser performers for whatever reason, even as some of the best wrestlers on the indies right now are women outright. Creating this image that reinforces the awful stereotype that all women are catty (with the added insult that the person making the tweets behind the WSU name is more than likely a man) does women's wrestling absolutely no good at all.

Independent wrestling isn't served by having people fight back and forth within the community. Even if wrestlers and promotions don't work together, they'd be better served at least not to become aggressively competitive or vitriolic with each other. My advice to anyone looking to get themselves any kind of press by trashing a fellow indie company, promoter or wrestler - don't. Everyone will be better off for it.

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