If you haven’t read the first part of this post you can find it here: https://thewrestlingpirate.wordpress.com/2019/12/03/cactus-league-wrestling-is-ran-by-carnies-and-wrestling-fans-are-sick-of-it/
We are moving on to the next part of the story momentarily, but first I do want to touch on some things.
- Firstly, I want to cover some of the things that have been spread about me (particularly from CLW’s management). I am just a fan. Simple as that. If people want to paint me as a hater, go ahead. The one thing that I hate is fans getting shafted so that people can play wrestler and pretend like they are big shots. If you don’t think that happened or is currently happening with Cactus League Wrestling, then you are either delusional or lying to hide the narrative. The first post on here was nothing that couldn’t be found with a couple of hours of time and access to Twitter and Reddit. No claims that were presented can be construed as constructed because I made sure to cover my tracks as much as possible. I don’t like doing this stuff. It isn’t fun or productive, and it isn’t the reason I started this blog. I started it so that I could write about wrestling and express my thoughts on it. If you want to attack me for being honest, go ahead, but know that I get literally nothing out of it. No payments, no publicity, no nothing. One could argue that my readership has grown, but I call BS on that, because the only post I get any traffic for is the CLW one, and if people think that is expanding my readership, you are mistaken. Most of the people reading this could give a rat’s behind about my thoughts on Ice Ribbon.
- There were wrestlers who defended Adam on a personal level. There weren’t many, but it would be disingenuous to say that every piece of info that came out about him was negative. But, and this is a huge but, none of these people could defend the way he ran his company. These people also stated that they didn’t want their comments released publicly, which I am honoring, as they didn’t want to “lose a booking”. I completely understand that, as much as it annoyed me because I don’t want wrestlers to go without getting bookings and I don’t want wrestlers to be painted as snitches. But at the same time, the reason that things have progressed to this point is because of people supporting CLW regardless of how they treat people. That’s really sad.
- Roman Alexander has made it a point to bury me and call me a hater specifically after I went through great lengths to give him the benefit of the doubt. I know Roman didn’t read what I wrote, because if he did he would find a person who was a pretty big fan of his who was wondering how he could have gotten involved with Adam Dobres. Instead of owning up to their mistakes, CLW decided to control the narrative and paint me as someone who has an agenda. I honestly don’t. The only thing I want is for Adam to either change the way he promotes shows or just step aside and let adults actually participate in the wrestling scene here in AZ. Acting like adults isn’t attacking fans who feel slighted by your business practices.
- I want to send a huge, HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who helped out with this part of the blog. This one is going to probably be substantially longer, as after I hit publish on part one, I had a huge outpouring of comments and statements from people who have interacted with CLW as fans and as employees. Even before that, there were people with enough guts to come forward and give me timelines, their thoughts, as well as their own reasonings for why this has gotten as bad as it has. It’s unfortunate, but those are the people who often get overlooked, and really, they are the ones that deserve a lot of the credit that people have given me.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s continue with where we left off.
From what I have gathered, Adam first showed up in Tucson around 2014. He approached High Impact Wrestling looking for work, and he informed the booking office there that he was trained out of Vegas. The only issue was that after seeing him work, the people there were unimpressed. They stated to me that Adam looked like a cartoon while working, didn’t know the basics of being a ref besides counting pinfalls, five counts, and ten counts, and also wanted to be a focal point in many of the matches he worked.
Another issue that keeps popping up around this time is that Adam didn’t seem to show any respect towards people he deemed beneath him. There are numerous stories I have gotten where Adam refuses to shake veterans’ hands when he meets them for the first time. He does this until he finds out their roles in the company, and then he will decide if he will be friendly or not. This happened back in 2014 with one of the wrestlers in the office of HIW, as Adam met with one of the newest members of the booking team at that time and ignored him until that same person ended up agenting the matches Dobres had that morning. How embarrassing that you would disrespect someone that badly only to have to take instructions from them a couple of hours later. But Adam didn’t seem to care, as from my understanding, this behavior has persisted to this day.
Adam ended up working for HIW one more time. This time Adam approached the HIW booker at the time, Lewis Feinman, and informed him that he was going to be leaving the show early. He asked Lewis if he “wanted to do something with it”, which Lewis found confusing. When Dobres stated that they could possibly turn it into an angle, Lewis scoffed, stating that there wasn’t much they could do with a program involving a ref. Adam stated this was okay and informed Lewis that he was fine with the decision.
After Dobres finished his last match for the evening, Lewis, who also helped with live commentary at the time, was on the mic using the buffer between matches as an opportunity to hype up the main event of the evening. While he was talking, Dobres began to scream and throw a tantrum while sitting on the ring apron. He grabbed his gear bag which he had packed before the match and then proceeded to stomp off, stating that he was quitting. Lewis, unaware at first what was transpiring, felt blindsided. It was then that it dawned on him that Adam was going into business for himself, pushing the angle that Lewis had struck down only a couple of hours before. Before Adam could leave the venue, Lewis got on the mic and stated that Adam was fired and that it was a shoot. This story was relayed to me through multiple individuals, and it was also confirmed that for the months after this show, Adam was the brunt of a rib in the locker room where people would bring up the time Feinman fired someone during a live show.
So already, in just a couple of months in Tucson, Adam had shown a disregard for superiors, a disregard for the shows he was working, and also, a lack of knowledge and common sense for the wrestling industry. I know that I have never stepped foot in a ring, and I know that I am probably being seen as a dumb fan who knows only what I have read about, but holy crap, one of the main things I always see is how unprofessional it is to go into business for yourself like that. I know everyone has their own opinion for roles in a company, but if you are a green ref who just got out of wrestling school, then you don’t need an angle. You just need to go in, work the match, and count the three. That’s how you get over as a referee.
The other point of contention is if Adam actually finished wrestling school. Numerous individuals have stated that Adam has no real knowledge of booking a card, staying in shape, ring psychology, locker room etiquette, or how a company office needs to be run. Many in Tucson consider him a wrestling school washout, which is a term that guys in the business use to refer to someone who maybe did a couple of days, even weeks, of training and then were told that they probably would never make it. Some workers, the strong ones, work through this and try to do their best to prove people wrong. Unfortunately, a fair amount leave where they train and then move across state lines to convince others that they know what they are doing because they can do some rolls and flat back bumps. This seems to be the case with Adam.
Another topic of discussion from 2014 is an infamous show that was run out of Palo Verde High School. This is one I actually considered going to because of the big names that were being advertised, but after reading about what happened before and during the event, I am glad I skipped it that week.
RWF, or Rowdy Wrestling Federation, has been running shows in Tucson since the early 2000s. They had entered into an agreement with Dobres about copromoting a show that would feature Brian Cage. They even went so far as to print out huge glossies of their posters to promote Cage being in town, but about a week before the show, Adam and RWF split ways.
There were two main rumors that came about why Adam split off from the RWF office. The first one states that Adam noticed how horribly ran the company was and also found out that they were running without being insured. Once Adam found this out, he left and didn’t want to have anything more to do with RWF, as he cared about the safety of the boys and the fans. But, the second rumor actually sounds a lot more realistic. The second rumor is that RWF found out that Brian Cage had never intended to work their show, and that Adam had promised him without being able to come through with the booking.
Now which one of these scenarios sounds truer to life, that Adam would quit a company because he cared about the fans, who he constantly works for his paychecks now, or that he promoted a wrestler who he never intended of actually getting to work for him? You be the judge of that one.
Adam didn’t find much work after that. He seemed to float around and ref where he could, but the boys in Tucson seemed to dismiss him as someone not worth their time. It was also told to me that Adam was only about eight-teen or nine-teen at the time when he first came around, so I think a lot of his behavior was brushed off as him being young and ignorant.
Adam was spotted here and there for the next couple of years. At the same time, Roman would grow frustrated with his role in High Impact Wrestling. While he was able to get bookings in other promotions and grow his own brand, he was flustered with his home promotion’s lack of vision. Sure, HIW was doing pretty well compared to years before, but it wasn’t enough for Roman at that time. He wanted something bigger to call home.
This is around the time where Rebellion Pro first was formed. Rebellion was formed by HIW send offs as well as other guys from Arizona who wanted to have a different product than what HIW offered. Adam also took note of this new company and decided to show up looking for work as a ref again. He ended up working one show, and he used the time to try to get into the ear of management while he was there. Adam had a plan, this time. He would start his own company, and it would feature a mix of Vegas and Tucson talent, as well as a who’s who of nationally recognized stars. Lewis, who had also joined the new company, distinctly remembers this conversation. He stated that he informed Adam that they weren’t bad ideas, but that they as a company weren’t ready for them. Lewis was more interested in establishing themselves as a different product and brand than anyone else in Arizona at the time, and he planned on doing that with the roster they had. One thing you can notice, though, is that the image that Adam had formed back then was very close to what CLW had attempted to turn into later on.
Roman was between a rock and a hard place in Rebellion. After feeling slighted and looked past in High Impact Wrestling, he was starting to feel the same way in his own company, Rebellion. I recieved differring accounts as to what happened here again, but it appears that Roman had decided to quit and go back to working for the promoter he had been employed by previously. He was let go officially from Rebellion Pro after missing a meeting regarding the company’s future. Understandably, the Rebellion boys were pretty upset that they were left high and dry. Roman wasn’t only an office member, but he was considered to be one of their biggest draws. While Alexander could still work pretty much anywhere he wanted, Rebellion was left trying to figure out how to replace the fans that may have left when Roman quit.
But Roman wasn’t done with being in management. It appears that in 2018, Roman was interested in starting yet another promotion. Learning from the mistakes that he made before, he decided that this time he had found the perfect partner who shared the same vision he had for his promotion, Adam Dobres. Roman also was able to convince his long-time friend and another local wrestling star, Chris Evans, that entering a partnership would be for the best. Adam had come in with new financial backing, a very impressive ability to upsell their product, and a hunger to be involved in the wrestling business. The years away from Tucson appeared to put a drive in Adam that Roman nor Chris had seen before in Tucson. They even decided to throw HIW a bone, and in May of that year, they made a Facebook post commemorating the new start. The post specifically tags HIW Owner Ricky Flash, Chris Evans, Adam Dobres, and himself, and it also speaks of new beginnings. They booked the Marcana, an indoor soccer stadium close to the downtown district, and began getting backing for their company. One of the initial men who was sold on Cactus League Wrestling was Chris Click.
The Chavo Show
It was pretty clear that the boys were not ready to run at the level that they had intended to right off the bat. Growing pains happen with every company, but CLW’s came fast and hard.
The first show was announced in June. At the time, Ricky Flash and HIW seemed like they would be onboard to help out with the show. HIW had agreements with almost every person who worked in Tucson. No one I spoke with was able to elaborate on the exact specifics of what happened one month after that show was announced, but on July 28th, HIW posted an update on their Facebook page stating that they would not be affiliated with Cactus League. They stated that their talent would work the show, but it would not be a co-branded show, and their HIW Title would not be defended.
Flash and HIW were ahead of the curve on this one. My assumption is that what happened with RWF also happened with HIW, and Flash didn’t want his company looking like RWF years before. Once Adam had left that show, it turned into a nightmare. The ring was broken to the point where the locker room was told not to bumb in it, the bigger stars were upset at the working conditions, and RWF was never able to bounce back after it. HIW probably saw the writing on the wall and cut their losses before the bleeding got really bad. The bloodletting really was only beginning then too.
One week before the show, Chavo Jr. sent off the infamous tweet that I wrote about previously. Luckily, the other big names had been sewn up, but Cactus League was already starting to lose face in the Arizona wrestling scene.
At this moment, Adam, Roman, and others could have been honest. They could have owned up to their shortcomings and I feel like people would have been forgiving. The first show for a new company, of course there are going to be big problems. But, it seems like Adam was more concerned with the perception of CLW, rather than the truth about it. When fans and wrestlers arrived that day of the show, Adam and the staff informed anyone inquiring that Chavo had been held up in the hurricane that had been plastered all over the news cycle that week. People bought it, as well. They trusted guys like Roman and Evans. They knew that they had a relationship with both from years of independent shows as well as interactions on social media. There was no way that CLW would lie to their fans knowingly, right? So the fans and everyone else involved took the hurricane story at face value.
The other thing about the first show is that as soon as the first bell rang, all the problems and stresses seemed to melt away with the lights above the ring. From all accounts, this show was really fun and everyone who did come out did their best to get the crowd their money’s worth. I think all in all, even the Chavo mishap, Adam, Roman, and Evans could consider this a win.
Cracks In The Armor
Chris Click had been duped, and he wasn’t happy about it.
Early in the CLW run, they had approached him for a partnership that seemed like a no brainer. Cactus League was ran by younger guys, but they also came across like they knew what they were talking about. Not just that, but they were able to get some really big names for their first show. Clearly they had something different than what the previous companies in Tucson had before.
That was before he started getting calls. Chris was well known in the local scene. Click is a lifelong wrestling fan, and back in the late 90s, he hosted a show on public access where he discussed everything about wrestling, from the dirt sheet rumors to the local wrestling scene. When he got older, he worked with wrestlers from all over to come to do meet and greets in Tucson. He worked hard over the many years he had done this to build a reputation among the boys who would travel through Arizona that he could be relied upon for legit bookings and good money, so when he started hearing rumblings about the CLW crew, he was understandably upset.
False advertising was the main concern from most who contacted him. The Chavo Jr. stunt left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. It was one thing to have something come up that would prevent talent from coming in, but to outright lie to paying customers was something that made Chris pause before wanting to continue his partnership.
The only problem was that Chris had already supplied Adam and Co. with merchandise. They had worked out an agreement where CLW would sell Click’s merchandise and split the profits, but this was also coming up as a hassle more than anything else. The biggest issue came when Chris went to terminate their partnership, as Adam and CLW did not return the merchandise that was given to them. Click has already gone through legal avenues to fix this issue, and the amount that Cactus League owes him is $40,000 worth!
Click wasn’t the only one who had seen the problems early.
After the first show, multiple fans contacted me regarding CLW completely botching their second show.
CLW did such a good job that many fans contacted me stating they bought tickets early for the next show. The only issue was the venue. Fans showed up to the venue and found out that CLW had forgotten to inform the owner of the builing they were running. That’s right, CLW advertised a show in a building where they actually hadn’t booked the venue! The other ceveat of this show was that his was the show to make up for the Chavo debacle. If fans showed their original tickets they would be supplied with new GA tickets to make up for the booking error. I can’t even imagine how a company would do this. You would almost have to try to be this amateurish. I can honestly say that I have never heard of a show before or after where the company forgot to inform the owner of the building of a show taking place.
The other HUGE issue with this show was it had John Morrison, PJ Black, Matt Cross, and Luchasaurus all booked to appear. When fans had dug a bit deeper, they found that CLW never even paid a deposit for the building. When they were contacted for refunds, they told the fans that the card was subject to change, so no refunds would be issued…
Full stop right here. Let’s look at this objectively. CLW advertises a show where they don’t even book a building that is going to have nationally recognized talent. When the fans ask for refunds, they say that the card is subject to change… They, unfortunately, they didn’t tell the fans that building rentals are also subject to change.
This fan who sent me a DM about the show in detail actually had to go through their bank in order to get refunded the cash they spent on Cactus League tickets. You can see how frustrating it must be for a fan to go through this kind of trouble, especially one who is excited to attend a second show after being impressed with the first one.
I think if we take a step back and look closely, we can see that Adam and Co tried. They really did. It wasn’t as bad as RWF before. It was a genuine attempt at starting something great. But when those missteps took the forefront and it was time to be the adult in the room, Adam just pretended like it wasn’t on him. Well, let me tell you something: when you are the face and owner of a company, and you make mistakes this big, then you do have to make it right. I’ve worked in customer service jobs. I know the customer always being right isn’t always the case, but when you mess up this badly then you gotta own up to it. Chavo being lied about is only part of the problem. The bigger issue is that fans who want to spend their hard-earned money for a product that they enjoy are footing the bill for a vanity project above all else.
Numerous people have claimed that Dobres either comes from money or received a huge inheritance that allows him to afford these wrestlers on the top of the card. I guess the most confusing thing about this is that if it is someone who comes from money, why is paying out wrestlers a fair wage such a huge obstacle.
Okay, so going back to show number one, Roman and Evans did their best to recruit the bottom of the card. In fact, they did such a good job that almost the entire group of guys who wrestle in Tucson regularly came out for the show. In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, the office for CLW decided to have an “open tryout” for the local guys. They made them all get in the ring before the show and do bump drills and run the ropes. Many who contacted me thought this was a slap in the face. They had already worked with people like Roman and Evans. They had already “paid their dues” for years upon years in Tucson and Phoenix, and now they had to prove their worth again? The other thing that disturbed some was that there wasn’t even a cut for the weaker talent. Everyone who showed up and bumped for Adam that day got a spot in an opening match battle royal. The match wasn’t even taped, as it was considered a dark match. This is the show that Cody Baker tweeted about that I included last time. From my understanding, Cody was one of the lucky ones. When some of the boys asked for a payout, they were told that they just got to work a show with nationally recognized stars on it. They were also told to accept the hotdog and a handshake and let things lie. Most did exactly that. I know that working for free is seen as a badge of honor in the wrestling business, but this group included people who had been working and traveling to shows for years. Cody Baker has been working shows for at least 10 years now. I saw him at RDPW eons ago. For Adam and Co. to try to shaft him for a $20 payday that they didn’t even have in their pockets is kind of pathetic, especially when Cody had been working shows alongside Roman for so long. I know not everyone is going to agree with my sentiment, but I don’t care. It’s a slap in the face to those who helped get you where you are. Roman would have never got to where he is without the Tucson boys helping him out. It’s really disturbing that he allowed his “friends” to be treated like livestock at a county fair rather than treat them like humans and tell them that he wasn’t interested in paying them for the night.
If you think that the big stars are not subject to being jerked around, then you have another thing coming. Going back to the November show that wasn’t actually booked, Matt Cross insisted on being paid for that show. Which he should be, in all honesty. They used his name, his likeness, and it is very common for wrestlers of his caliber to be compensated even if a show doesn’t materialize. Cactus League barely paid Cross this past November for that booking. He had to wait almost an entire year for his pay. Imagine having to chase down an employer for an entire twelve months.
The Wake Up Call
Chris Evans was starting to realize that he had made a huge mistake. Although CLW struggled through the first half year they had, the second half of the year picked up like crazy. Adam had an eye for big-picture production, and his set and lighting made everything sparkle once the opening bell rang. I do have to give it to the guy. The CLW shows you see, especially compared to RWA and HIW shows in Tucson, look really amazing. The clean presentation and the bigger names on the card were enough to entice a lot of wrestling fans. There were so many nights where people would text me or call me and say they had gone to a Cactus League show and that I would love them. I would get videos from The Rock (a local concert venue in Tucson) and it looked so cool to see the stuff CLW was doing, but at the back of my mind, I couldn’t shake the Chavo situation.
But it is pretty clear that even with the big crowds and the positive buzz, CLW was struggling. If they weren’t, then they probably wouldn’t still be advertising wrestlers that weren’t going to ever show up. This pattern was shown in the last post, and I don’t want to have to cover old ground, so from now on I am going to cover some of the few other things that have been talked about.
Evans Has Enough
Evans wasn’t happy with how things had gone. Chris, unfortunately, suffered an injury on an HIW show last year that put him out of commission for a long time, a broken leg. It appears that once that happened, Chris decided to use his time outside of the ring to focus on Cactus League. The problem was that things seemed like they were going in the wrong direction.
I had very little correspondence from Chris. He seemed like he had moved past everything and only stated that most of the information that I heard was probably true. He did verify one thing that I heard, and that will be included soon enough. But most of the boys that I talked to put Chris over as the guy who was trying to hold things together while Adam ran amuck. For one, Adam would constantly push back on Evan’s efforts to get some of the local talent time with the bigger names. Chris understood that if they could get local guys over, then they wouldn’t have to always shell out big money for big names, but Adam and the rest of the office thought it was a waste. The Tucson, Yuma, and Phoenix guys were lost causes. Roman and Chris were and would always be the cream of the crop locally. Why put in that much work?
The other issue seemed to come around Cactus League Wrestling’s championship scene. Adam didn’t understand that a champion of a company was supposed to be the draw. He had spent so much time buying bigger talent that he didn’t realize that he needed a centerpiece for the entire company. When the decision came down to who would be the first monster heel of the company, the locker room let out a collective groan, even if it was under their breath. Adam chose himself for the role. You can even see this sight if you look up early Cactus League shows on YouTube. You have to remember that Adam possibly didn’t even finish wrestling school. The only reason that he would be where he was coming down to who was paying out the money. This didn’t sit right with Evans, and he started making his issues known.
It wasn’t long until Evan’s words got back to Adam. The firing of Chris came shortly after, but the details of the matter are what are the most troubling.
Chris was reportedly voicing his concerns with Adam to some of the other wrestlers in Arizona. Chris clearly had some viable gripes. Even if we were to ignore the issues with the advertisements, Chris Click being defrauded, and the debacle with the renting of a building for a show, just looking at Adam’s decision to put himself on the top of the card alone is a reason to bring some critiques to the table. Apparently, Chris had thought that his conversation was between two parties, but this wasn’t the case. One individual there decided to record what Chris was saying on their cell phone, and then take it to the Dobres family.
Let’s think about this for a second. One party records another party without their consent and then presents it to the person’s employer. This just sounds scummy on so many levels. I know people will probably mention that Evans shouldn’t have been talking behind his boss’s back, but come on. This isn’t how the real world works. If people get frustrated with their place of employment, they are allowed to vent about it. Another possibility is that Chris had already said these things to Adam and they went ignored. Many wrestlers who pointed me to Evans spoke very highly of him as a person and as a wrestler. He doesn’t come across like someone who would hide his opinion either, as the younger wrestlers who pointed me to Evans stated that he wasn’t shy about his opinions on people’s work, and he always seemed like he was trying to make shows better. No one, and I mean no one, had one negative remark about Chris Evans. That is saying something considering the level of seediness that has already been found out here.
So what did Adam do with this information? Did he pull Chris to the side and talk about the issues? Did he make some compromises in order to keep all parties happy?
No. Adam Dobres waited until the start of the next show. When Chris showed up and as fans were taking their seats, Dobres fired Evans in front of everyone. Chris described it as embarrassing, to say the least. Here was a man who paid his dues, worked his butt off, traveled all over the southwest United States, helped Adam and Roman start the company, and here he was now, being let go in front of his own fans for speaking his opinion about the company that he was helping to run.
Once Evans left, things just seemed to get worse.
Ellsworth, Teddy, and Yuma, Oh My!
James Ellsworth was in a bad spot. He had recently been involved in a huge scandal that was eating into his ability to get bookings. Sure, he had been a really big character on television recently. He was able to wrestle AJ Styles and be involved with Carmella in a pretty popular program. But now that he was out of the big leagues, he saw his places to work narrowing down pretty significantly.
That was until he was contacted by Cactus League. Since his first booking, Ellsworth has been one of the mainstays in the company. He has even had title runs while there. The only problem is that people have never really gotten over the allegations of him sending nudes to an underage teenager.
Many of the boys have said that James is nice, funny, and approachable. He makes jokes about his time in WWE, and he has a charm about him that people genuinely like. But, the boys still wonder about those allegations. The other concerning thing is that CLW advertises themselves for children’s birthday parties. For a fee, you can have an accused pedophile to come to your house and hang out with your children while he sips punch and has a piece of cake. The level of ignorance here is not surprising at this point, but it is still worth mentioning.
From my understanding, when there are few of the boys around and it is mostly the office guys alone, they will make jokes about the accusations about Ellsworth and try their best to make light of the situation.
Ellsworth isn’t the only person who is seen in a questionable light as well. Teddy Hart was only released from MLW yesterday, and people are speculating that it has to do with a Samantha Fiddler case that he and Chasyn Rance both seem to be involved with. The issue that I see with this is that Teddy has changed his story numerous times already and while most companies are distancing themselves while the facts get straightened out, Adam and Co. seem to be doubling down. They even posted pictures to social media of their office with Teddy while Hart has a chokehold on his new girlfriend. Not exactly tasteful while someone is involved in a scandal of this sort.
It comes across to me after looking at the advertising, the people he keeps around, and the way that he treats his friends and coworkers that Adam just has a very small moral compass and that he will do anything for his own image.
One sad thing about the wrestlers that contacted me is that none of them wanted to have their names released. Not all, but many said that they didn’t want to be seen as a snitch and lose bookings. Some were new to the wrestling business, but most had been around for some time and had established names. Almost all told the same story.
Adam doesn’t pay the workers directly. In fact, who paid the wrestlers varied by who I spoke with. Sometimes it was the bookers. Sometimes it was someone random. Payments had to almost always be tracked down unless your name is Darren Young or Chris Masters. People from Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson all said they had to hound Adam for their paychecks. One stated that it was easier to get Adam to do something for you if you were aggressive, and it came down to him shouting at Adam to not only pay him but the other wrestlers, to which Adam immediately caved and got him his pay for the night. One common theme I kept running into was that Adam only moved quickly if he was scared, so a lot of the boys would just resort to punking Adam in order to not miss any more payouts. This led to Adam booking them for shows and then not following up with them when it came time to travel or confirming call time.
Adam just doesn’t seem to care about wrestlers after he gets what he needs out of them. You hear many stories of promoters treating their wrestlers like they are made for the meat grinder, allowing their rosters to kill themselves while they reap the profits. This seems to accurately sum up Adam to a T. Out of all the wrestlers that I spoke to, even the ones that spoke well about Adam’s character, all stated that Adam was a horrible promoter and the rest of the office was no better. Reportedly at one of the recent shows, CLW’s new booker buried each and every person from Yuma who drove down to the show to work by saying that they were all the shits. He did so while he thought none of them could hear him. When confronted about the statement later that night, he piped down and refused to answer, giving the wrestlers the quiet treatment rather than fess up to his opinion. It’s fine if the Cactus League office feels that way, but it isn’t right to let these guys drive halfway across a state before expressing the opinion, only to backpedal when the same group puts your feet to the fire later on.
If you are a young wrestler who is looking to make a name in Arizona, stay as far away from Cactus League as possible.
The Fans, and One Fan’s Final Rant
I met so many cool wrestling fans while doing this piece. You don’t know how passionate fans are until you share stories with them. I talked to people who wanted desperately to support Cactus League. I talked to fans like myself who drove all over the state to see different wrestlers. I talked to people who saw the same workers I did and had the same level of enjoyment. I met fans of Chris Evans, Roman Alexander, High Impact Wrestling, and Rockstar Wrestling. We all had similar stories. We all had bought tickets way too early for events where the card was changed. We all had met big stars who treated us like we were best friends as well as ones who could have cared less. Most importantly, I met countless people who saw Cactus League and thought, hey, there is some wrestling in my hometown, and I want to support them so that they keep having shows.
Here is an account of the San Antonio show:
This was this person’s first show ever. Imagine if your first show was Cactus League. Imagine paying out a ton of money to meet your favorite tag team and then to have to jump through hoops in order to get a parital refund. Imagine going to a venue and finding out the company didn’t even care enough to pay a deposit.
While researching this blog, I also was contacted by a guy named Ed Knight. Ed “The American” Knight was a guy I used to see all the time as kid. He came up in the business when I was going to wrestling shows in the late 90s. He came out of retirement years ago and wrestled Roman Alexander in HIW at a reunion show of sorts. That was one of the most fun shows I had ever been to. When I told him how I had seen him that night, he thanked me for coming out and it made my whole week. How could someone that I had gotten so much from thank me? All I did was buy a ticket and enjoy a show. It was years ago. But Knight cared enough to thank me.
Guys like Ed Knight and others in Arizona know that fans make the business run. It isn’t just who you book. It is who you book that gets the fans in the door. It isn’t the style of wrestling, it is the style that makes different fans feel different emotions. Guys like CLW don’t get it because they don’t think of the fan. They only think of themselves. They are only worried about how they are perceived, not how they actually treat us as fans.
I don’t judge the bigger names that go to these shows. People have to eat. Wrestling is shady, clearly, and if we picked and chose who worked where because of past issues, there woudn’t be a wrestling business. Jimmy Snuka killed a woman, for God’s sake, yet we still celebrate his life. In the grand scheme of things, Adam isn’t an anomaly as much as a common symptom of the wrestling industry.
But still… YOU, the wrestling fan do NOT HAVE TO! You don’t have to approve of any of this. You don’t have to be nickel and dimed. You don’t have to pay top dollar for VIP tickets and not get who you wanted to show. You don’t have to do any of it. You can just stay home and wait for another show. You can drive to California or Phoenix or New Mexico.
Just please, whatever you do, DON’T GIVE YOUR MONEY TO SELFISH CARNIES!!!!
Now that this is all said, I likely won’t speak on the matter again. Please consider all the things you have read here this week when deciding who you will support locally, and thank you for your time.