Please bear with me, this is going to be a long post but a good one.
I make it no secret that I love professional wrestling. I grew up watching pro-wrestling like so many of my friends. We never worried about whether it was “real” or not, it was fun and entertaining and when you’re a kid, that’s all that matters. As I grew older, I knew it was a scripted show, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it at all. I know when I go watch The Dark Knight that it’s scripted too, but you suspend your disbelief to be entertained. But as I began to learn more about the business of pro-wrestling, I learned that it is “real”, in that these guys destroy their bodies doing something that they love to entertain millions. They deal with inter-office politics just like the rest of us. They have kids, they have families and often times being a pro-wrestler can put you at odds with your family. There are successes and there are failures. Triumphs and hardships, both in front of the curtain and behind it. Knowing that gave me a new-found respect for the art. The art of your job being to make 20k fans think you’re laying a hurting on your co-worker, while your number one priority is to not hurt that co-worker. The art of one man making 20k people hate his guts just so they’ll adore his opponent, that opponent being his co-worker and friend. Pro-wrestling has given me a lot of enjoyment over the years, and outside of spending money on it, I hadn’t been able to give much of anything back, but that was going to change.
Near the end of 2010 I left my job to start Takedown Piracy as my own company. This was a big gamble for me, giving up a steady paycheck during a recession is kinda risky. But it meant I could work from home and take my shot at building a company, a lifelong dream of mine. One of the plusses of working from home is that I can listen to assorted podcasts while I work. Marc Maron, Stuff You Should Know, The BS Report – all great listens. And as a pro-wrestling fan I sought out a few good podcasts to listen to. One of the first ones I found was Dave Lagana’s I Want Wrestling podcast. I recognized Lagana’s name and was following him on Twitter so I figured I’d check it out. One of his first guests was an independent pro-wrestler by the name of Colt Cabana. I knew of Colt’s wrestling career from the Ring of Honor promotion and knew he was a charismatic jovial personality, so I couldn’t wait to listen.
Colt had recently started his own podcast and was speaking about it, and his upcoming documentary, the “Wrestling Road Diaries”. It was a documentary about life on the road as an independent pro-wrestler – the long-drives and crazy traveling conditions, wrestling in front of smaller crowds, the brotherhood of wrestlers, the journey of one man on his way to the big show and another who just left the big show. Sounded great, but then Colt uttered these words that I shall never forget:
I’m just worried I’ve put my heart and soul into this movie and it’s going to wind up on Youtube and pirated and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Ever see those skits where the light bulb goes off next to someone’s head when they think they’ve had this great idea? Well that happened to me, not only as a small business entrepreneur but as a pro-wrestling fan. If I didn’t help Colt out how could I call myself either? So I emailed Colt Cabana and offered to help with taking care of the piracy of his movie. Colt was receptive. Colt was exactly the kind of person I wanted to use Takedown Piracy to help. The mom&pop types who can’t afford some outrageously priced anti-piracy service. So we did our best on Wrestling Road Diaries, which was a huge success for Cabana. It doesn’t hurt that Colt has some of the best and most dedicated fans in the world. Fans ready to support Colt in whatever he does. Who wants to pirate and steal from a guy that gives so much to his fans? It made me feel great to see Cabana’s career really take off, his podcast was wildly popular, the documentary was great and the guy is living the life of a self-made man. You gotta respect that.
As a wrestling fan, helping out Cabana was great, but as an entrepreneur I hoped to establish a reputation of getting great results, hoping that that would get my foot in the door with other pro-wrestling companies and individuals.
It wasn’t long before we were told about another pro-wrestling based documentary coming out from Nigel McGuiness. Nigel was taking the approach of using Kickstarter to fund his movie – a heartfelt documentary about his journey and exit in the world of pro-wrestling. Nigel set a goal of raising $30k in 30 days, but could he do it? Well it turns out Nigel didn’t need 30 days, just like 4. Nigel was able to raise $50k because a great wrestler with a great story is bound to have great fans more than happy to support it. I am happy that Takedown Piracy was able to contribute a good amount to the project but even happier to see that over 1000 people donated to help make Nigel’s movie become a reality. And thanks to Colt, I was able to make contact with Nigel and help him out with his movie just like we did for Colt. Getting to know Nigel a bit just underscores why we do what we do. His story is really one that transcends the squared circle. It’s about chasing your dreams and that heartbreak that goes along with that. It’s a man opening up his soul for the world to see. It’s great causes like the ones of Colt Cabana and Nigel McGuiness that allow me to give back to the people and sport that have given so much to me. And seeing the support and great fans that these guys have, not to mention the level of respect from their peers, it’s just a good feeling to play a little part in something so special and unique.
And if you’re a believer in ‘You get what you give’, my story should just affirm that belief. Today as I listened to the latest Colt Cabana podcast, Colt included a talk he and Nigel had after Colt watched Nigel’s movie. Like the great guys that they are, Nigel & Colt thanked the people that helped make their movies possible. And one of those people they mentioned was Takedown Piracy. That alone was pretty awesome, but then today when I opened my inbox to see an email from one of the top wrestling promotions in the world inquiring about Takedown Piracy – that’s getting what you give.
Thank you to Colt Cabana and Nigel McGuiness and all the wrestling fans out there that are supporting these guys. The future is bright my friends.
Order your copy of Nigel McGuiness’ “The Last of McGuiness” here: http://www.nigelwrestling.com/
Follow Nigel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/McGuinnessNigel
Order Colt Cabana’s “Wrestling Road Diaries” here: http://digitalcolt.com/
Listen to Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” podcast here: http://welovecolt.com/
Follow Colt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColtCabana