January 25, 2004
At some point in the life of a child, Disney has a magical effect. Whether you grew up on the classics such as Cinderella, or Snow White, or Fantasia - or the new classics such as the Lion King, or Aladdin, Disney has always been a companion for the young.
There comes a time when the young grow up, and become old and embittered.
Disney Corporation has assumed control of the Fans Wrestling Organization, something that appears to have been a probable inevitability from the moment they showed an interest last spring. At first, it was a harmless gimmick - the fWo shows were broadcast on ABC, the buffet spreads in the back were massive, and everyone got their own personal assistant.
Whether we wanted them or not.
No, that's also not fair. For the most part, the personal assistant was a nice touch. At the very least, in my case, Lil' Miz Robo-Perk was an efficient errand girl that got me my coffeesludge when the catering spread only stocked fresh. At most, no less an authority than KVC used his assistant a source of on-the-road poon. And yes, there was a lot of amusement to be had from James Sunderland and his crusade against the Internet Title, but the Cocky One and I shut that down in a fairly nonspectacular way.
It was December 18th, 2003, that we heard the news. Disney had officially purchased the fWo from Tort and his board, and Silver Fox was given complete creative control over the direction. Joy. Rapture. Nirvana. Things were great. Not only was Fox the man, but Fox had named his successors in the event of death or departure. Who has Fox entrusted this promotion to? We don't know. The instructions are sealed and secret so as to keep any and all of us from trying to influence him one way or another. Smart. But even still, Fox was destined to remain part of the fWo for a long time to come.
The way I understand it, the letter of the law has thrown the promotion into a tailspin. Fox isn't dead, and Fox hasn't left the company. Therefore, his instructions cannot be unsealed. Therefore, Disney has appointed several people to oversee and run the fWo in the interim. Unfortunately, these people do not have a sense of the professional wrestling business, these people do not know how to run this company. A wrestling promotion is not a typical corporation - a wrestling promotion must be run in a completly different way. None of these people seem to be aware of this.
Case in point - when a typical wrestling fan hears the name Poison Ivy, the fan will think of this column, the fan will think of biting commentary and off-color promos. The fan will think of me, standing in somebody's corner with a big wooden stick. The fan will think of the times I have been at the broadcast table, holding my own with the most educated minds at the table, and have been holding my own with the most sarcastic minds on color.
Why, then, am I actively turning down a photo shoot with Maxim magazine? Why, then, am I told that I am suspended for two shows due to my standoffish attitude instead of simply being listened to? Why, then, does the man that is supposedly in charge in the backstage area so uninvolved and so disinterested that he will listen to anyone who makes a suggestion?
What happened at Countdown to Oblivion was a tragedy. And while we can never replace Silver Fox, nor Twitch and Sam, Ted Tallison and I are both well versed in the intricacies of the wrestling business and could easily handle the day - to - day concerns of the fWo, if only we were given the chance.
That's the biggest problem I have with this entire affair, without question. The fact that we were never even given a chance to fail. We were never even given the chance to succeed. Knowing these people as well as I do to this point, they saw an opportunity to make money with an existing successful venture, but did not know how to maintain its success. Had they simply stepped back for a month, a week, a moment... but they couldn't let it go. They had to have complete control over this company and its product.
Every cubicledweller in the world could tell you the same thing: micromanagement is the work of satan.
I have seen the onscreen and backstage employees of this company treated like less than human beings. Treated like less than circus animals, even - which is usually the best a wrestler can hope for.
We've been spoiled in the fWo for a long time now - spoiled by promoters and bookers that actually cared. In the time I have been employed by this company, Chris Universal was a former wrestler who knew the stress we faced. Fox, Smooth, Twitch, and Tallison were all former wrestlers who knew the stress we faced. Beaven, for all of the month or so that I knew him for, treated everyone in this company like family. For some of us, it goes back even farther. Chad Merritt has never treated me as anything but an equal. Craig Miles runs his NFW promotion like a commune - everyone works, everyone plays.
But there have been other promoters. J-Smooth. Lecompte. JW Locke. Teri Fucking Melton. The Super Sports Network. People and organizations that I, and others, have had to fight tooth and nail for the respect we deserved. People that didn't get it, for one reason or another. People that will have to be taught the hard way, that this business is made up of people, not property.
I look around this promotion and I can tell, there are some people that will not survive this Disney Incursion. There are some people that will crack under the pressure of the way this Disney regime has and will treat us in the days to come. Kristen Jacobs is already on the edge under the direct report of Jane Blanchard. Our ambiguous director of marketing has already dealt with the red-hot rage of Craig Miles, among others. The staff shrink is still a student, and a lousy one at that.
There's rocky times ahead... which will be incredibly entertaining for the doomsday prophets that populate the Internet, but it's going to be tough for those of us who have to live it.
One thing to remember - I *am* the Psycho Bitch.
And I won't give up without a fight.
This is Ivy.