And Then We Wait…
By Jeff “Runz” Miner
October 11th? October freaking 11th!!!? That was my reaction (Ok, maybe there was some more colorful language sprinkled in there) when I was told that the PWG BOLA ‘17 DVDs would not be delivered until October 11th.
Now many of you may ask, “What’s the big deal?” Well, sit back and allow me to give you a glimpse into my life since the weekend of September 1st, and explain why it is a very, very, big, life changing deal. There are only two ways to watch Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. You can either buy a ticket to a show, or you can buy the shows on DVD/Blu-ray when they are released. Tickets sell out in less that 3 minutes and buying one would also require a plane ticket and hotel room since I am on the east coast. Therefore, flying out to a BOLA seems next to impossible at this stage. What a great solution then, that I could purchase any and every PWG show I wanted on Blu-ray and enjoy it in my own living room, right? Wrong. Typically, the results for these shows are out instantly, and the DVD release takes about a month before they are shipped and delivered.
Now, if you’ve ever watched a PWG show you know that it is truly something special and should never be spoiled before you watch it. The best talents in independent wrestling from around the world gather in Reseda, California on a monthly basis to be a part of PWG. Several hundred insane fans surround them and the end result is something absolutely beautiful. The annual Battle of Los Angeles is the culmination of all of this. A 24-man tournament takes place over three days and features the biggest names in Independent wrestling doing things that you need to see in order to believe. These shows range from the most serious and physical of tournament matches to the always entertaining as all hell multi-man tag team matches featuring thumbs being shoved where the sun don’t shine and slow motion wrestling. It is a must-see event every year, and this year was no different for me.
Oh how wrong I was. Over the last year I have followed Independent wrestling closer than ever and suffice it to say this year’s BOLA actually felt a little bit more special to me. Wrestlers whom I’ve had the privilege to watch wrestle and grow less than 4 blocks from my house, whom I’ve had the honor of speaking to for reasons related to our Running Wild Podcast, and many other times strictly because I wanted to buy their t-shirt and ask for a photo, were about to be THE GUYS in this year’s Battle Of Los Angeles. Guys like Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Zack Sabre Jr., Marty Scurll, the Young Bucks, Chuck Taylor, others who I have grown to love even more from watching every PWG show like Trevor Lee, Jeff Cobb, Pentagon and Fenix, Trent?, and again, Chucky T. In my mind, there’s a good chance one of those guys walked out of this year’s BOLA as the winner, but I am doing my best to avoid finding out, and it is driving me crazy!
On September 1st I made the very conscious decision to stay off of all wrestling sites to avoid spoilers and any news coming out of BOLA. Easy right? Wrong again. (Are we sensing a pattern here?). BOLA is a HUGE deal in the wrestling community that we are a part of with the RWP and it was going to be impossible to avoid. What I quickly realized was that due to all of the great fans of the Running Wild Podcast, Twitter was also going to have to cease to exist until I received the BOLA DVDs. Wrestling podcasts? Also gone. While this may not seem so bad, anyone who knows me, or has listened to our podcast, knows how big a part of my life revolves around wrestling. Checking these websites for information, or listening to a podcast, and having conversations with fans on Twitter was part of my daily routine. It didn’t end there though.
This paranoia (or is it the Uso’s?) has crept into my personal life. I have essentially become afraid of my own wrestling shadow. I’ve taken time out of each day to basically sit and conjure up asinine scenarios of BOLA being ruined. I fear that in the most non-chalant, uncaring way possible, someone or something is going to spoil this event that I have worked probably too hard to avoid for the last 3 weeks. I’ve pictured random wrestlers and personalities from other companies shouting out the BOLA winner on Up Up Down Down or Being The Elite, or any of the 684 wrestling podcasts that I listen to. I’ve envisioned sports websites having a piece on the winner and what his success means for the future of wrestling. I’ve stopped opening promotional emails from other wrestling companies just knowing there would be potential spoilers inside. I have forced myself off a vast majority of the internet that I frequent out of sheer terror. However it is not just contained to the online world either. Everyone is a suspect. Cab drivers, convenience store employees, friends and family members, random players on PS4, they’re all just waiting to spoil my hard work. Every last one of them, just clamoring to get their moment in the sun and tell me that “Insert Name Here” won BOLA ’17.
As I was walking to the Mr. Softee truck last night, I seriously considered that the driver might break some news to me that the old WWE ice cream bars were back and then he’d say “hey, did you hear CM Punk returned to wrestling and won BOLA?” My co-host, and best friend, has even begun to make up lies just to see what I will or won’t believe went on in the wrestling world this week for his own amusement. This is my life since September 1st, and apparently until October 11th. I refuse to be spoiled and cheated out of one of the most fun weekends of wrestling all year, even if that means making myself comically paranoid for the 5 weeks leading up to it. I ain’t afraid to drop a Ric Flair style elbow on my own laptop if some spoilers try to get me.