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The greatest cons in wrestling history


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#21 Marty

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 01:07 PM

Paul Heyman/ECW cons everyone about everything: Heyman cons the wrestlers into working for free for extended periods of time. Heyman cons Chris Candido into charging $100,000+ in plane tickets onto his personal credit cards. Heyman cons Vince McMahon into funding him. Heyman cons Vince McMahon into being so deathly afraid of him going anywhere else that he'll never be fired. Heyman cons the fans into believing that ECW is something sacred not to be sullied/violated/whatever by The Big Show or the Boogeyman. Heyman cons Vince McMahon into bringing back ECW as part of the invasion. Heyman cons Vince McMahon into bringing back ECW as the third brand. Heyman cons the fans into believing that the Eliminators and Public Enemy were the best teams in the world at various points. Heyman cons the fans into buying tickets for shows that he knew would never take place. You can go on and on...


There is a lot you can add, but my favourite Heyman con is somehow convincing Dave Meltzer in 1994 that Sabu is a better worker than Bret Hart. He pulled the wool over Meltzer's eyes there.

Very cool thread, guys.

#22 tomk

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:08 PM

Not sure exactly how we’re defining con here as entire point of wrestling is that it’s a con. And some of this seems like more delusion than actual con but whatever.

The Jarretts/TNA con Panda Energy:


Does this even make Jerry Jarret’s top ten cons? Top five cons?
I always loved the story of the point where Jarrett got workers to pay him for opportunity to get TV exposure as jobbers. Didn’t pay the actual talent for doing TV + got paid by the jobbers= amazing wrestling con.
Also I think he purchased World Class for less money then World Class was contractually guaranteed for I think TV advertisements. After he made his profit, he closed shop. Which again is pretty awesome.
When TNA first started up, Keller kept repeating his talking point of how Jarrettt is one of the few promoters who actually understands how to make a profit in wrestling. The toa folks mocked this by pointing to the collapse of USWA, and World Class. At time I pointed out that the point everyone was missing is that Jerry Jarrett knows how to make a profit in the wrestling biz, he may not know how to make a promotion make a profit….but he personally will walk away in the black. And really that’s what makes him a REAL wrestling promoter and not a money mark promoter.

But don’t think TNA is anywhere near his top schemes.

The nation of Japan and geek popular culture con Ring Of Honor:


I’m completely unsold on this being the con that you think it was.
Original plan was supposedly for Joe v Sasaki and Joe v Tenryu, when Joe was no longer available you still go through with show. Once logistics and groundwork are laid out, probably worse move to back out then it is to go forward with lesser show. ROH (for better or worse) is completely built around your long tail theory where future of retail is built around "selling less of more". ROH was built this way before every music/entertainment markting seminar was built around talking point that "future of retail is having lots of niche products for sale, instead of one or two really succefull across the board products" and myspace stuff. They have kind of cornered their niche market in US, it makes sense to try to grab onto the Japanese niche fans. My impression is that the 6/17 show drew a big gate. Are their any numbers on DVD sales from those shows? Getting 1000 Japanese fans hooked on buying your DVDs, means more than GregH flying to Japan.

Vince McMahon cons Vince McMahon into thinking that Ted Turner is out to get him:


Ok this interests me a lot. Because I didn’t realize Vince actually believed this? Does he? It makes sense to call out Ted Turner as rival as it elevates Vince’s stature to be at war with Turner. “Turner is out to get me” makes for a nice rallying the troops talking point for Vince’s fans and workers to get behind. While rallying them to “I’m being beaten by Verne’s old errand boy” kind of does nothing. I mean there is a reason Shane Douglas and Tazz didn’t do shoots calling out Mike Rapada. “Ted Turner is out to get me” is a good rhetorical device but I always assumed that Vince knew it was nothing but rhetoric… this is the first I’ve heard of it being an actual Vince delusion. I want to hear more.

#23 Jingus

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:49 PM

The Jarretts/TNA con Panda Energy:


Does this even make Jerry Jarret’s top ten cons? Top five cons?
I always loved the story of the point where Jarrett got workers to pay him for opportunity to get TV exposure as jobbers. Didn’t pay the actual talent for doing TV + got paid by the jobbers= amazing wrestling con.
Also I think he purchased World Class for less money then World Class was contractually guaranteed for I think TV advertisements. After he made his profit, he closed shop. Which again is pretty awesome.
When TNA first started up, Keller kept repeating his talking point of how Jarrettt is one of the few promoters who actually understands how to make a profit in wrestling. The toa folks mocked this by pointing to the collapse of USWA, and World Class. At time I pointed out that the point everyone was missing is that Jerry Jarrett knows how to make a profit in the wrestling biz, he may not know how to make a promotion make a profit….but he personally will walk away in the black. And really that’s what makes him a REAL wrestling promoter and not a money mark promoter.

But don’t think TNA is anywhere near his top schemes.


1. IIRC, the old Memphis pay scheme was that the regulars did TV for free, but the jobbers were indeed paid, like $40 or thereabouts.

2. Oh yeah, TNA is one of the original Double J's biggest cons ever. He made more money and gave more fame to Jeff than in any other point in history, and yet still walked away in the black, due to selling out to Panda.


I mean there is a reason Shane Douglas and Tazz didn’t do shoots calling out Mike Rapada.

Random Colorado Kid reference, now THAT'S funny.

#24 Bix

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:52 PM

Not sure exactly how we’re defining con here as entire point of wrestling is that it’s a con. And some of this seems like more delusion than actual con but whatever.

The Jarretts/TNA con Panda Energy:


Does this even make Jerry Jarret’s top ten cons? Top five cons?
I always loved the story of the point where Jarrett got workers to pay him for opportunity to get TV exposure as jobbers. Didn’t pay the actual talent for doing TV + got paid by the jobbers= amazing wrestling con.
Also I think he purchased World Class for less money then World Class was contractually guaranteed for I think TV advertisements. After he made his profit, he closed shop. Which again is pretty awesome.
When TNA first started up, Keller kept repeating his talking point of how Jarrettt is one of the few promoters who actually understands how to make a profit in wrestling. The toa folks mocked this by pointing to the collapse of USWA, and World Class. At time I pointed out that the point everyone was missing is that Jerry Jarrett knows how to make a profit in the wrestling biz, he may not know how to make a promotion make a profit….but he personally will walk away in the black. And really that’s what makes him a REAL wrestling promoter and not a money mark promoter.

But don’t think TNA is anywhere near his top schemes.

He was going to go personally bankrupt if Panda didn't step in. If they didn't, he would no longer be Jerry Jarrett.

The nation of Japan and geek popular culture con Ring Of Honor:


I’m completely unsold on this being the con that you think it was.
Original plan was supposedly for Joe v Sasaki and Joe v Tenryu, when Joe was no longer available you still go through with show. Once logistics and groundwork are laid out, probably worse move to back out then it is to go forward with lesser show.

Apparently, the Joe dream matches were kaput before he even had to leave, as Sasaki and Tenryu were too expensive to book.

ROH (for better or worse) is completely built around your long tail theory where future of retail is built around "selling less of more". ROH was built this way before every music/entertainment markting seminar was built around talking point that "future of retail is having lots of niche products for sale, instead of one or two really succefull across the board products" and myspace stuff. They have kind of cornered their niche market in US, it makes sense to try to grab onto the Japanese niche fans. My impression is that the 6/17 show drew a big gate. Are their any numbers on DVD sales from those shows? Getting 1000 Japanese fans hooked on buying your DVDs, means more than GregH flying to Japan.

If they tried to do this and were successful, then it's a better idea. I'm not sure if this was going through their heads. The original idea with the dream matches involved them losing a hell of a lot of money and making it back on increased DVD sales from the dream matches.

Vince McMahon cons Vince McMahon into thinking that Ted Turner is out to get him:


Ok this interests me a lot. Because I didn’t realize Vince actually believed this? Does he? It makes sense to call out Ted Turner as rival as it elevates Vince’s stature to be at war with Turner. “Turner is out to get me” makes for a nice rallying the troops talking point for Vince’s fans and workers to get behind. While rallying them to “I’m being beaten by Verne’s old errand boy” kind of does nothing. I mean there is a reason Shane Douglas and Tazz didn’t do shoots calling out Mike Rapada. “Ted Turner is out to get me” is a good rhetorical device but I always assumed that Vince knew it was nothing but rhetoric… this is the first I’ve heard of it being an actual Vince delusion. I want to hear more.

The Hogan/payola stuff is in today's WON. Dave seems sure that this is what Vince actually believes.

#25 kjh

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:54 PM

Perhaps more accurate would be Vince McMahon cons Vince McMahon into thinking that the mainstream media is out to get him?

#26 Bix

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 03:05 PM

Perhaps more accurate would be Vince McMahon cons Vince McMahon into thinking that the mainstream media is out to get him?

That is closer to a natural reaction. I think Vince McMahon knew at some point on an intellectual level that Ted Turner wasn't out to get him, but I don't think he knew in the same way about the mainstream media.

#27 tomk

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 03:06 PM

1. IIRC, the old Memphis pay scheme was that the regulars did TV for free, but the jobbers were indeed paid, like $40 or thereabouts.


Yeah but supposedly there was a point where Jarrett started charging jobbers for TV time which I always thought was one of greatest cons ever. Better than a wrestling school con cause you dindn't even need to put together the infrastructure of a school.

I should point out that my favorite wrestling school con game was when KC James was going to work Corino in James' fed. James said Corino would run a wrestling seminar where students would pay James to submit video tapes which Corino would handle deliver to Hashimoto. I don't remember for sure if James actually even bothered with advertising a seminar so much as just said if you pay me to give Corino the tapes, I will. Fucking brilliant and really between that and his IWA Puerto Rican racist sotherner with black manservant Karlitos, get the sense that James understands wrestling better than majority of the WWE locker room.

other fun wrestling school hustle: http://board.deathva...p...c=26733&hl=

#28 Loss

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 03:12 PM

I don't know what tops Kevin Nash becoming a millionaire by framing an elbow, dying his hair, getting wasted and standing around making funny faces.

#29 Jingus

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 03:31 PM

I should point out that my favorite wrestling school con game was when KC James was going to work Corino in James' fed. James said Corino would run a wrestling seminar where students would pay James to submit video tapes which Corino would handle deliver to Hashimoto. I don't remember for sure if James actually even bothered with advertising a seminar so much as just said if you pay me to give Corino the tapes, I will. Fucking brilliant and really between that and his IWA Puerto Rican racist sotherner with black manservant Karlitos, get the sense that James understands wrestling better than majority of the WWE locker room.

Well, James learned from the best, actually being Rapada's replacement as Bert Prentice's top guy/alleged mancrush. And Prentice is the carniest carny who ever carnied. The Tennessee indy scene is full to the brim with stories like that.

I don't know what tops Kevin Nash becoming a millionaire by framing an elbow, dying his hair, getting wasted and standing around making funny faces.

Kinda like Andy Dick... except Nash never had Jay Sherman kick his ass.

#30 Bix

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 03:40 PM

I don't know what tops Kevin Nash becoming a millionaire by framing an elbow, dying his hair, getting wasted and standing around making funny faces.

Kinda like Andy Dick... except Nash never had Jay Sherman kick his ass.

So Nash is to the NWO as Dick is to Newsradio?

That works.

#31 Guest_KCook_*

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 04:24 PM

Not sure exactly how we’re defining con here as entire point of wrestling is that it’s a con. “Ted Turner is out to get me” is a good rhetorical device but I always assumed that Vince knew it was nothing but rhetoric… this is the first I’ve heard of it being an actual Vince delusion. I want to hear more.


McMahon (per today's WON) told Dave that Turner was paying wrestlers and writers to trash him, and wanted to know if Dave would write this story when the truth came out. Dave just told him that Turner was not actually doing this, which Vince appears to have taken as proof of Dave's lack of integrity or balls or something. Seems like normal cokehead stuff to me.

#32 Phil Schneider

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 04:56 PM

Do we know exactly how much the ROH show cost to put on? Main added expense would be plane tickets, but Briscoes, American Dragon, Davey Richards, Rocky Romero, Nigel, Jimmy Rave,Sydal and Jack Evans were already on either NOAH or DG tours before or after the show, so I assume trans was paid by the Japaneese promotions. So they flew over Delerious, Strong, Whitmer and some office guys. They drew pretty well in both places, and I assume they sold a bunch of merch, so why do we think they lost much money at all?

#33 Guest_teke184_*

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 05:21 PM

Not sure exactly how we’re defining con here as entire point of wrestling is that it’s a con. “Ted Turner is out to get me” is a good rhetorical device but I always assumed that Vince knew it was nothing but rhetoric… this is the first I’ve heard of it being an actual Vince delusion. I want to hear more.


McMahon (per today's WON) told Dave that Turner was paying wrestlers and writers to trash him, and wanted to know if Dave would write this story when the truth came out. Dave just told him that Turner was not actually doing this, which Vince appears to have taken as proof of Dave's lack of integrity or balls or something. Seems like normal cokehead stuff to me.

Sounds like normal Vince-logic, which does tend to coincide with cokehead logic.


If someone doesn't believe the wild story I tell them, they're on the take.

If they think my story idea sucks, then they're obviously here sabotaging my company.

Putting myself over all the wrestlers is a good idea, even though I only wrestle maybe twice a year.

#34 Bix

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 05:28 PM

Do we know exactly how much the ROH show cost to put on? Main added expense would be plane tickets, but Briscoes, American Dragon, Davey Richards, Rocky Romero, Nigel, Jimmy Rave,Sydal and Jack Evans were already on either NOAH or DG tours before or after the show, so I assume trans was paid by the Japaneese promotions. So they flew over Delerious, Strong, Whitmer and some office guys. They drew pretty well in both places, and I assume they sold a bunch of merch, so why do we think they lost much money at all?

The plan always involved losing money and shit's really expensive in Japan. I had no idea the tours lined up like that, I just had it in my head from the original idea that they'd be losing money.

#35 Phil Schneider

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 07:12 PM

Do we know exactly how much the ROH show cost to put on? Main added expense would be plane tickets, but Briscoes, American Dragon, Davey Richards, Rocky Romero, Nigel, Jimmy Rave,Sydal and Jack Evans were already on either NOAH or DG tours before or after the show, so I assume trans was paid by the Japaneese promotions. So they flew over Delerious, Strong, Whitmer and some office guys. They drew pretty well in both places, and I assume they sold a bunch of merch, so why do we think they lost much money at all?

The plan always involved losing money and shit's really expensive in Japan. I had no idea the tours lined up like that, I just had it in my head from the original idea that they'd be losing money.


Shit being expensive in Japan would include wrestling tickets and wrestling DVD's, so I imagine their gate and merch sales were bigger too.

#36 Guest_KCook_*

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 07:17 PM

Not unless Silkin has business in Japan. The dollar is weak like a clean Rey Mysterio.

#37 sek69

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 08:30 PM

Of course, you would think somebody like Gabe, who worked for Paul Heyman for all of those years, would realize that the ultimate goal of a con is to make money, not live out some mark fantasy. Then again, I'm not sure Gabe realizes how badly he was conned by Heyman yet.



Heyman never seemed to grasp the ultimate goal of a con either.

However you have to admit becoming Jim Jones to the ECW mutants, preaching against the evils of the Big Two companies, all while WWF money kept them afloat has to rank up there with the most awesomest cons ever. I remember being personally shocked when I found out how long Vince was giving them money.

#38 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 10:56 PM

What's the difference between ROH doing a show in Japan and CMLL?

#39 sek69

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 11:23 PM

CMLL could afford it?

#40 Bix

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 11:33 PM

CMLL was also not promoting those shows, just lending their name. CMLL Japan was promoted by Macho Pump.




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