Ernest Shell was arrested in his home state of West Virginia after not paying the boys or the security who were working for him on an independent wrestling show. Shell was placed in handcuffs and removed from the building after security was alerted that he was possible ready to bolt since he did not have the ability to pay. Police arrested Shell mostly for his own safety because many of the boys cornered him allegedly threatening to “beat their money out of him.”
Shell also faces charges in Kentucky for making arranging the bookings in that state with many of the wrestlers who agreed to appear on his show. In all Shell is looking at more than 10 counts of obtaining services on false pretenses and as of this past weekend was still being held on $50,000 bail.
Shell made several promises he could not keep including paying for hotel lodging for some of the boys as well as helping to pay for air fare for some of the workers who flew into town including Jim Neidhart and Dallas Page. Off duty Sheriff’s Deputies were hired to provide security for the event and they were not to be paid either and ended up arresting Shell.
Bad weather hurt ticket sales, one of the biggest pluses for a promoter but also the evil unknown factor when it comes to making sure all the bases are covered. All told Shell is facing 19 counts total due to this fiasco which puts a bad light on independent promotions everywhere.
Although many things can happen that can force a promoter to come up short on pay at times, something like this is egregious. “Hustler” Rip Rogers said “make sure you have made your money before you open the doors or do not open them.” Dr. Jerry Graham Jr., who has been promoting and managing for years has stated that “if a promoter does not have enough money to pay the bills before one ticket is sold they are not a promoter they are pathetic.”
While not defending the wrongs done by some promoters there are extenuating circumstances, whether right or wrong, there is a wrestling mentality that sometimes takes over and often leads to doing the wrong things just to prove a point. When a worker or workers bad mouth a promoter and booker after the show and there is someone along on a scouting mission under the guise of “helping out” one tends to feel worked himself.
So when a promoter strikes back one of the only ways to do so is through the pocket book and when you have a worker who appears on your show in a main-event status and allegedly takes gimmicks from a vendor and never pays for them even though many promises to pay are made, it makes the whole promotion look bad. So, there are two sides to each story and even though Shell worked everyone, it may not have been purposeful and he panicked because he did not know what to do at the time. Everyone does stupid things when they are faced with little other choices and this may have been Shell’s fight or flight reaction.
Not paying the boys is the wrong thing to do regardless the circumstance and there are circumstances that cannot be avoided at times. The true professional will find a way to make things right regardless his reputation, which can always be repaired and make sure the next time it is a cash only operation. Knowing some of these guys live hand to mouth though makes arrangements even more difficult but not impossible to procure.
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–The March OWA show will feature a tag team tournament as well as some other great matches and info will be available soon about that. Defiance, OH will be the place so hold onto your tickets.
–“Superstar” Billy Graham is in the hospital for unknown reasons but is expected to be at WrestleReunion next week.
–Bob Barker will be part of WrestleMania 27, oh joy.
–From the you will not believe this department, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff reportedly took pay cuts from TNA.
–From the like you did not already know that department Kevin Nash is negotiating with TNA about a return.
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–Pro Wrestling Ohio is on Facebook, check them out, one of the best indie promotions going.
–My buddy Nick Dinsmore was on ROH TV recently and looked pretty good. He will be part of the OWA show at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.
–The Fabulous Freebirds are being mentioned for the WWE Hall of Fame.