THE NEXT LEVEL #3 - By Kit Steel
The first thing you must do in starting or repairing a federation is seeking out and stating your goals. Do you plan for your federation to become a part of the independant scene and someday cut a profit? Are you looking to gain wrestling experience in a professional-type environment and springboard yourself to the big leagues? Or are you happy simply joking around with your pals in the basement? There's nothing wrong with any of these, but if you have big plans for your federation and you're surrounded by people just looking to have a good time and put themselves over, you're gonna have to call a serious meeting with everyone involved. Get the whole federation on the same page or you'll be faced with frustration and difficulty at every turn.

But first you'll need somewhere to wrestle. The GXWA, which I am a part of, wrestles at a local youth centre on gym mats, and to be honest, its the best set-up you could hope for short of actually having a ring. I recommend this to all would-be promoters - give the youth centre a call. This situation is also good because it limits idiot wrestlers from being able to get too 'hardcore.' They'll be out on their asses as soon as a light bulb gets broken, and they won't be back.

If the youth centre turns you down, the trampoline is an option, but this more often than not looks like shit. You're limited in your movement and the bouncing is a flat out joke. Wrestling on the ground is not recommended. Firstly, most moves look like crap because nobody wants to kill themselves or each other. Secondly, they're killing themselves and each other anyway, because there's only so many times you can take a hard fall on a hard surface before damage is done. And one stupid accident could result in death. If you want a future in pro-wrestling, stay off the ground or you'll kill your career before you've begun it. Actually, make that stay off the ground if you want a future - period.

The best thing you can do it make a ring yourself. You'll have to pump a good bit of money into it, but its worth it if you want a decent federation. There's plans all over the internet or, with a bit of common sense, you can figure out something yourself. If you can't get this together, I'd recommend just getting a bunch of cheap matresses together and sticking them in the backyard.

Now you'll need a roster. Now, if you're looking for workers (to start your federation or add to it), first you'll want to ask any personal friends who might be interested. Next put up posters at local schools or in wrestling stores if any are around. Spread the word. If you already have a fan base, no doubt you'll have people knocking your door down. Use them. If enough people find out about your fed, you'll definately get the numbers you need.

There's a general rule in professional wrestling that relates to running a federation: never let a wrestler or wrestlers do the company's booking. Even on the much smaller backyard scale, this holds true. Everyone has an ego, and wrestling is notorious for bringing out the big guns in people. All your workers will want to get over, and letting a handful of them run the show will result the guys with power working the main events and the guys without it buried in the undercard. And the guys with power won't necessarily be the guys with the talent - look at the collapse of WCW if you don't believe me. An impartial booker (or even better: booking team) is very important - but often impossible in the backyard. Everyone wants to fight, nobody wants to be behind the scenes. This can often become a big problem, so do everything in your power to secure an impartial, COMPETANT booker and make sure your workers will obey him/her.

For those of us who aren't able to do this, you'll just have to take a hard line on the egos and reward the guys whom everyone agrees have talent. Be honest with your workers: if a guy wants to headline a show and you don't think he has the skill just yet, you have to tell him this and offer advice on how to improve. Give the world title belt to the a guy who is well-liked, talented and most importantly, willing to put people over. Let him hold it for a while. This should send a message to all the little bitches on the roster; company guys are going to succeed in this fed. If you can't get a talented non-wrestler booker, make your booking an exercise in which the whole federation can participate. Avoid the elite handful syndrome.

That'll do it for this edition. I'll be back real soon with some of the finer points of booking for your federation. Keep it safe and be good to each other.

- Kit Steel

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