SOUL SURVIVOR VI: EXPLANATION OF ROAD DOGG'S NO-SHOW
by Dan Mirade
Monday, April 26th, 2010 * 4:29AM
There are dozens of great, positive stories coming out of MWF SOUL SURVIVOR VI Saturday night, but one story I feel needs to be shared immediately is that of Road Dogg BG James non-appearance at the event. I personally take the bullet for this one.
A little history. Road Dogg was an MWF original, competing on our first live events in 2001. He had some "personal demons" go on in his life, but the company supported him in his real life battles, and booked him to appear at our October 2002 SUPERSTAR GRAHAM BENEFIT in Wakefield, MA. On MWF television, he swore on his children that he would be there to give the fans an action packed match up. In the end, he did not live up to his word, no-showing the event, fearing being around alcohol on the plane. Odd, considering where he lives in Florida alcohol is sold at every supermarket and corner store around. He screwed the promotion out of money, an airplane ticket, pre-paid hotel room and most important, good will with the fans. I believe his actions were cowardly, as when when a friend in WWE was able to provide me with a working phone number for him, I called Thanksgiving weekend, where he claimed he was en route to some sort of family gathering with his family (leftovers?). Never heard from him again.
In the summer of 2007, the Millennium Wrestling Federation helped in the live event promotion of the first four TNA house shows in MA, RI and NH. At the events themselves, we taped promos with some of their stars that we had booked for our upcoming live events. Rhino was originally booked for SOUL SURVIVOR IV, and to be polite, was a jerk when speaking to him about it, telling us he forgot to tell the TNA office he had a wedding to go to and didn't seem to care we were left hanging in the least. The following day I personally called the office, who knew nothing about it and said he was good to go; by weeks end, I guess they got his message about the wedding and was off our event with about a month to spare. Very frustrated that most of the talent we were interested were in were booked for a TNA house show in Kansas the same night as our event, they sent along a limited list of athletes available, which for the most part were high priced talents they don't send to non-televised events to keep them profitable or undercard guys. However, Road Dogg BG James name was on that list since Billy Gunn was booked out on another independent event and they were teaming as the James Gang at the time. I debated it, talked it over with our inner circle (prior to John Cena Sr. becoming President) and after a long discussion with TNA, we put together a deal to bring Road Dogg back to the MWF after nearly five years of him screwing us. Booking him through TNA provided a level of comfort.
On a hot August morning, I remember being a little anxious waiting for him at the airport. Once he got off the plane, he looked at me with my cane and orthopedic boot and said "it's been a long time." It was if nothing happened, and to his credit, he was great that night and every other time he appeared at one of our events.
Going back to November, we had quite a situation with Terri Runnels that I believe I'm still banned from talking about publicly. I could do a shoot interview on that weekend with her and use four letter words in ways you've never heard before. As a result of that it was my strong belief that - unless it's a close friend that has appeared for us before - we spell out the booking requirements, in writing, before confirming it. While I might not be President or on the Board of Directors, I wear many hats in the MWF, one of them is doing a lot of talent relations / negotiations.
As one half of the MWF Tag Team Champions, having Road Dogg back at our biggest event of the year was a no-brainer. He was unable to appear in November due to his work as an agent with TNA but has since been released from the company - this was our first "direct" negotiation since 2002. He was very happy to come in for this and other future events as he was out of work on the national scene. On January 8th, a letter was mailed to him from MWF Headquarters spelling out date, time, description, travel, hotel, etc. January 19th he sent us an email saying "all sounds good to me." On January 21st, a $457 round-trip ticket on Delta Airlines was purchased for him to and from his home airport of Pensacola, FL.
We had gone back and forth on setting up a promotional interview for the event, but was unavailable on some of the Sunday's that were emailed to him.
Going back a couple of weeks, he left a strange voicemail about needing to change his ticket because he was booked on Friday, April 23rd. To his credit, I am one of the worst people in the world to get on the telephone due to the nature of my schedule. I did however email his flight information again - under any circumstances, the Canadian promoter that flew him in should have flown him to Boston, just like we had purchased a round trip ticket for him for our event. Cut and dry.
During the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion last week, I received word that he had called and he wanted the MWF to pay to not only change his ticket but the substantial change to fly him in from Winnipeg. We've been doing this for over nine years, not nine days. In this day and age where everyone that wants to be can say they're "in the wrestling business" might have fan fever talking to a former WWE/TNA superstar, but that doesn't impress me in the very least. While on "vacation" and dealing with medical issues, I wasted my time trying to reach him via phone and sent along a email reminding him what our agreement was. On Wednesday, I received a message from another superstar booked on the event that Road Dogg and his wife were trying to reach me (this while something extremely positive and exciting was going on behind the scenes that you'll be hearing about shortly). I had to waste my time at a pay-per-computer to receive an email from his wife telling me we needed to fly him in from Canada to make the event, and that he'd be gracious enough to use his frequent flyer miles to help cover the four digit cost. His business in Canada was none of ours, he needed to be responsible and be a man of his word. She said he was already in Canada and his cell phone was broken. I explained to Mrs. James, who seemed like a nice woman, that we bought the ticket he told us to buy - if it needed to be changed, it was his or the promoter in Canada's responsibility to get him here. The next day began my 19 hour plane trip from hell so I was out of the loop until Friday as the world's most underpaid babysitter.
At 8:37AM Saturday morning, I received another email message from Mrs. James stating she was finally able to reach her husband and he was very sorry about the miscommunication about the Canadian tour. He didn't realize a day had been added to the tour and he would not be able to make it to Boston. He had planned on coming home to Pensacola on Friday and flying to Boston Saturday, but he wound up "stuck" in Canada, where he worked another event for them. He was again really sorry about this. At that point, on about three hours sleep with a hundred things to do to get ready for our big event that night, we rushed to get something on our web-site and Facebook quickly, and printed a sign hung at the front door so fans that purchased them that night were aware he would not be there.
It's odd the story changed so many times. How / when did he get home from Canada?? Did he look at his calendar when he was contacted about that appearance and not see that he was booked for SSVI since January?? When setting up his transportation to and from that event, why didn't he ask to be flown to Boston?? Did he ask us to pay over $1,000 to change his ticket the week of the event to come in from Winnipeg so we'd cancel his appearance?? How did it go from something he needed to something he forgot about in a matter of days??
Our fans are our lifeline - without you, there is no MWF. We absolutely hate to let you down and have gone to great lengths in the past to clean up messes made by some of these "superstars," let me tell you. We don't like to be lied to either, or waste financial and promotional resources on someone who simply is going to choose not to show up after he gave his word to us. In nine years, we have never broken our word to any of the stars that have appeared at one of our events. Ever.
I personally like Brian James. He has a great mind for the business coming from such a strong wrestling family, which is beneficial to the younger athletes in our locker room. When he returned in 2007 and it got over so strong, I was pleased - people have problems in life and most deserve a second chance. We gave him one, and he stiffed you / us for a second time. To anyone that was disappointed, we sincerely apologize. Barring an act of God, you will never see Road Dogg at an MWF event again, which is sad as there's a lot of positive things he could contribute to the sport.