Written By: Todd Eastman
I know the narrative put out there, that the only reason people like myself and our podcast WRA & Welchy with On the Turnbuckle etc rallied against DMDU is because we hate Deathmatch Wrestling. It’s an easy narrative to tell, like Christians against rock ‘n’ roll and “why can’t they let us just have fun, we aren’t hurting anybody”
Well here’s the truth… I don’t like DM wrestling, I don’t, I think it’s people maiming themselves without rhyme or reason for a “hotdog and a handshake” with diminishing returns. In my opinion the idea of professional wrestling is to make it look like they’re killing each other while telling a story, not actually do so for a cheap pop.
But guess what, that’s just my opinion. Flavours of ice cream and all that crap people say. It didn’t stop me from helping promo DMDU when it originated or having Joel on the show then to talk about it, we debated about DM but I enjoyed some of the regular matches they were putting on and hoped they’d succeed as a company with the ethos they were promoting as it seemed to connect with a portion of the community that needed to feel connected and that they were family which is great.
Then the stories started coming out, quiet at first like people not being paid, people with less than reputable pasts or current situations on the roster despite the company’s very public ethical stance. It seemed from the outside like a very “condemn them if they aren’t a mate, hide it if they are” type of a deal.
So we started raising concerns, all of which were fobbed off with a “just let us have fun we aren’t hurting anyone you just hate DM”
You had founders leaving under clouds of mystery again somewhat against the company’s “open doors” policy. One became two became three originals leaving. All the while as stories persisted about people not being paid and attendance looking spotty at best. Then DMDU decided they would try and raise funds for their own building, not through a GoFundMe or Kickstarter or another reputable fundraising site with protections but just through their own website with a “trust us” mentality which seemed to prey on the community they have built and had trusted them.
They raised 14K, people trusted them despite all the stories, all the lack of transparency to donate enough that they’d hit their target. The wheels fell off more, while outwardly projecting things were going along fine things were in fact not. Because they didn’t do their due diligence they had been scammed & it was the biggest non secret, secret in Australian Wrestling. I’d heard it from three different people in the space of a day, so if I knew it and multiple others knew it, people in the promotion had to have known it too which is even more damming that it took a year for them to come clean about it. They announced the venture had failed and that refunds were coming and people waited…. and waited…. and God bless them didn’t really complain, in public that is. In private they’d message me, message others who using our platforms with the podcasts had raised concerns from day 1 about this. Now here’s some thing we now know for certain
APRIL 5 – They announced publicly the venue wasn’t going forward not mentioning what was happening with the money as we now know it’s because as they now claim they were scammed out of the lot.
JUNE 21 – Over 2 months later they announced they would start the refund process in another 3-4 weeks
It then took 3 months for word to come out that some were getting their refund and really it was only the people that actually went public made noise and chased up finally for the right thing to be done and I won’t even go into the charity saga that has happened recently too as it’s just another example.
Which brings me to this past week where DMDU admitted to being scammed finally and going so far as to say everything we’ve been saying for the longest time was factual. Following it up with Joel Bateman stepping away from the management and putting a new team in place, and I saw a lot of congratulations which to me looked like congratulating a new captain of the Titanic after it had already hit the iceberg… the damage has been done.
Here’s my problem, nothing has changed but the names. The ownership is the same, endeavoring to pay more people back with profits from shows is a fine notion if you actually make money from them, they don’t and they’ve damaged their reputation to the point where other than the hardcores & the DM podcasts who supported them the whole time, never calling out their transgressions looking the other way and continuing to hype them, no other fans will or should feel safe to even want to trust them again. I understand the new team probably have the best of intentions but at this stage if the promotion was a horse they’d have put it down out of mercy.
So here’s my challenge to you, the wrestlers, the front of house staff not involved in the whole saga beforehand, if you love DM wrestling that’s great, start something new. Something that doesn’t have the foul taste that DMDU has left in the mouths of Victoria & Australian Wrestling, make your own mark instead of trying to fix the stain left by others. I believe they’re good people wanting to do good things and I beg them to not try to progress with that anchor tied to you.