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Paying for your own flights to get exposure - Where do you stand.


IANdrewDiceClay
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Just listened to Andy Quildan and Andy Simmonz's podcast and the subject of paying for your own flights came up. Where do you stand? Finn Balor, Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews are examples of people paying their own way to the States to get in and around the scene and now look at them. Finn Balor especially went out to get himself around the New Japan scouts and they signed him. The argument on both sides is worth discussing. I can see both points, in that paying your way to further your education is pretty much the norm in any other area. And I can also see how someone paying their own way could dilute the market, and make people go "well if he's willing to pay, why pay for someone else?"

Slightly off the original topic, but Jonny Storm mentions on Cabana's 'cast that when the British guys got booked to go to ROH in 2002, Alex Shane had spread it around they were paying their own way, so everyone would bury them and scupper their chances of leaving the UK permanently. So it's fair to say opinions have changed somewhat.

Anyway, what's your thoughts?

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Paying for flights and then being paid to work on a show or just paying to fly somewhere and then staying in that place to work long term?

The latter is a bit iffy because I figure if you've got enough of a name that a promotion outside your own country thinks you're worth booking and will help draw the house then the promoter should be paying for the flight. If it's the latter, that doesn't seem like a problem.

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1 hour ago, SpursRiot2012 said:

The latter is a bit iffy because I figure if you've got enough of a name that a promotion outside your own country thinks you're worth booking and will help draw the house then the promoter should be paying for the flight.

Only a fraction of the talent on a card are going to bring in punters. The rest are there to make up the numbers, and hopefully put on a performance that impresses those punters enough to remember their name. Promoters aren't flying lads from the second group across oceans, so the only way they're getting that shot is to book their own travel.

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I view it as a busman's holiday, pretty much.

Go abroad, have some fun, make a bit of money while there. For those guys, the added exposure is great.

I sing in cover bands, blues mostly. Last time I was in the States I visited Memphis partly with the view of finding a band who'd let me sing a set with them on Beale Street. I did, it was a memorable experience, and they gave me a cut of the tip bucket. I fulfilled something of a dream and it was great, even without bringing in the exposure factor for these guys. All power to them I say.

(That said, anyone who asks my band to play just up the road for free to get "exposure" is getting told to fuck off, so I can see elements of both sides).

And for those of you of a age who are now reminiscing about the 80s ITV gameshow Busman's Holiday, you're welcome.

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It’s standard business practice as far as I’m concerned.

As a musician I’ve performed free for promoters with the view of getting booked to play decent paid gigs. It worked. It 100% depends on who and why it is. The free gig in question lead to a paid gig with Del La Soul, and a North East Festival.. both being incredibly lucrative. You have to understand the potential of what’s on offer and the reality/likelihood of it coming to fruition.

Even with the Grapple Arcade stuff, I’ll host some events for free, with the potential that some of those will lead to paid bookings, again it has worked so far.

It’s not so different from the speculate to accumulate concept. Pay out in order to potentially receive more. That model is fine in theory, however, the issue lies with expectation and self realisation.

I think a number of people lack self awareness and believe their own hype and don’t have a bloody clue how to ‘weigh up options’.

Some look in the mirror, like what they see, but aren’t prepared to put the graft in and believe they are owed fame. That unfortunately comes as common practice with social media, reality TV and YouTube stars (anyone can make it). The sheer volume of kids who come to my college who not only hope, but believe they won’t need jobs as they are going to be YouTube personalities is truly frightening. They mishear the word (anyone) can make it.... for... (everyone) can make it.

I assume this approach is likely to be the same with wrestlers flying out not only hoping to be signed, but assuming they will be.

Don’t get me wrong, If you’re an established wrestler on the Indy circuit, have had spells in Europe, Japan, have been showcased on large stages & have a good fan base, then yeah, why not speculate.

Or, if you’ve have made your name elsewhere (American football/rugby etc) have a look, are fit and have cross over appeal, then again yes, it might be worth a go. Even then I assume it massively helps if you have a contact/friend on the inside.

You might even be that 1/1000 who is in the right place, at the right time, speaking to the right person, without any background whatsoever. If you are, best of luck, but fuck me, that’s some self belief. Just don’t be surprised if you’re one of the 999/1000.

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I don't mind it at all - I've seen some promoters, and some wrestlers, slag people off for doing it, but if it works, so what? Pete Dunne, Damian Dunne and Mark Andrews flew themselves out to the US to work for CHIKARA, and got ridiculed for paying their way by a few (then) better known UK wrestlers who had turned the gig down because they refused to pay for their own flights - I'd say they did pretty well out of it, as it was one of the shows that started getting them on people's radar. 

On occasion, it can be because of shitty promoters wanting to get away with paying talent less than they deserve, but performers have to weigh all these factors against each other and work out if the booking is worth their time - and they should be doing that with any booking they take anyway. There's also the argument that wrestlers agreeing to pay their own way effectively undercut workers who won't, but I don't buy that on any real scale - if a promoter wants a wrestler badly enough, they'll pay their flights, if they don't, they won't. And if you fall into the latter category, it's because you need the gig more than the promoter needs you, and it's on you to change that around.

And then there's wrestlers working in places that don't have much of a scene to speak of. Cesaro wouldn't have made it to WWE just by slumming it in Switzerland and never working anywhere more high profile than WXW - flying to the US gave him a career. There's a bunch of Australian and New Zealand talent in the UK right now, because they had a better shot at "making it" here than if they'd stuck around in Australia waiting for the phone to ring. Sometimes the best way to get noticed is by working the scenes that people are already looking at, and if that means forking out for plane tickets, that's an investment in your career.

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Slightly off topic but this thread reminded me of this pic that’s been doing the rounds of all the European guys from BOLA 2016. It must really suck for that poor guy in the middle, whoever he is. Everyone else bar him has made it.

8372502B-04DB-4420-8C11-EBED8C0FD16F.jpeg

Edited by Supremo
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I'd have to disagree there John. "Making It" in wrestling these days is pretty well defined as wrestling for WWE. If any of those guys were asked what they did for a job by someone who didnt know them and they said "Pro Wrestler" the question back isn't likely to be "Have you been flown all over the world in the last year and do you have an Important match coming up at Wembley?" It will be either "what, like Big Daddy?" Or "in the WWF?" That's making it. 

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