Control Your Narrative
CYN The Awakening: Dallas
March 31, 2022
Southside Music Hall At Gilley’s
Dallas, Texas

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“Getting fired,’ Tyler says, ‘is the best thing that could happen to any of us. That way, we’d quit treading water and do something with our lives.”  Chuck Palahniuk

The Internet is 90% someone imagining a guy, tricking themselves into believing that guy exists and then getting mad about it”- 21st Century folk saying.

What exactly is CYN? And what does it offer in terms of a wrestling product in 2022? In one respect this seems to be a continuation of the Free Your Narrative shows from last year. The shows, broadcast on FITE, were almost art-house pro-wrestling, featuring gorgeous cinematography and instead of commentary, narration. With the general idea that wrestlers are more than the characters they are told to be, it made sense that one of the best matches from the shows was Matt Cardona vs EC3. They are definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re a fan of the more avant-garde side of wrestling, like DDT, Kaiju Big Battel, or the Final Deletion style cinematics, you might find something to enjoy there. On the other hand, there’s certainly a dollop of pretentiousness to the early shows and while the idea of wrestlers controlling their narrative is certainly a laudable one, the endless beards, muscle and grime aesthetic eventually got a bit too over-saturated.

It’s unclear whether CYN will bring any of the cinematic elements to their live show but what they have done is make a list of rules for the promotion which, like Pro Wrestling Terminus, helps to give a flavor of what to expect. Perhaps the most lampooned and discussed is the sanctioning of superkicks, Canadian destroyers and tope suicidas, a meta-comment at modern wrestling’s stylistic shift towards the bombastic. While clearly there’s an audience for moves-centered wrestling there’s also an audience for wrestling that uses big moves more sparingly too. Punctuation more than grammar if you will. In his Reddit AMA, EC3 hints at this and suggests that such moves may yet play a part in the promotion: “Superkicks are sweet. Tope suicidas are rad. Canadian destroyers rule….But they are overdone and watered down. By “BANNING” these moves, they suddenly have meaning again. When they are executed, the reaction will be profound”.

What about the card? Well from the looks of it, we could see a lot of meaty men slapping meat. This might be CYN’s biggest weakness, is that on the face of it, it’s a bit samey and it remains to be seen how the card can offer some variety. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, but what if you had that pudding every night for a year. Still, to give them the benefit of the doubt, there’s undoubtedly some talent here and it will be interesting if they are motivated enough to silence their doubters.

“The Titan” Adam Scherr and EC3 vs. REDBEARD and Damo

On the face of it, this feels very much like the sort of match your typical indie promotion would throw together to cash in on the ex-WWE name value. Indeed it’s been marketed as “Family Values”, playing up the kayfabe relations between Erick the Red and Braun. Almost certainly this will be a slow match, but whether it will be plodding or a psychological thriller remains to be seen. Nevertheless, if all four are sufficiently motivated it could be much more than the sum of its parts. Could end up being something quite special if the stars align.

Austin Aries vs. Westin Blake

Now it’s interesting that CYN has banned topes, because Austin Aries has one of the better ones in the business. Will that play into this match? Will bananas be involved? I’m not familiar with Westin Blake, but apparently, he used to be in WWE as a Forgotten Son. He looks very generic, so I hope that CYN can deliver on its premise and give him the opportunity to show his personality. This will certainly be the paciest match on the card, but will Aries be able to control his narrative?

Flip Gordon vs. “Dirty” Dango

I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. Flip Gordon as an indie darling working angles with The Elite. Dango beating Chris Jericho at WrestleMania. C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.

I have to admit the description of Dango as ‘former ballroom dancer turned degenerate scumbag looking for an easy score’ popped me.

Killer Kross vs. Vincent w/ The Righteous

Kross has certainly been on a journey in recent years, joining a long list of wrestlers who jumped from Impact to WWE and then were completely underutilized, he’s someone who’s been around for a while but has yet to have a career-defining moment. As someone who didn’t watch ROH, I’m only briefly familiar with Vincent through his recent work in Impact, but he strikes me as someone who can work. Zero expectations with this one.

And finally…

It’s almost impossible to talk about this promotion without addressing the veritable shitstorm of controversy that surrounded them.

I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but what appears to have happened is that some dude on Reddit posted an entirely fictional (which is a formal way of saying bullshit) story that the promotion was being funded by right-wing backers, and that possibly Donald Trump was involved. Part of this involved playing up the links to New Jersey as somehow indicative. This lie, with the highly academic source of ‘dude trust me’, was allowed to stay up on the front page of Reddit’s Squaredcircle sub for a good day, being seen and then retweeted by a large number of people, before the moderators finally decided to pull it. By that point, the damage had been done and it didn’t really matter what the facts were, people had a narrative (oof) and they were sticking to it. In the following days, people just simply accepted that not only was the promotion kinda goofy (a fair charge) but that it was an active far-right hellscape. Indeed such was the vigor that this line was pursued it almost seemed as though people wanted the story to be true more than anything, as it would confirm that persistent fallacy in the wrestling fandom that body-guy wrestlers are more likely than most to be bad people.

Now, I know what you’re thinking here. Wrestling fans being credulous marks who lap up anything that fits their preconceived notions? Surely not. Making things better, EC3 popped into Reddit on Wednesday for an AMA and handled himself pretty well in front of a hostile audience, confirming that CYN’s politics stretch no further than “we liked fight club” and also refreshingly affirming his support for trans rights and anti-racism. He also announced his intention to be the first promotion that offers healthcare to its wrestlers, which would go a long way to changing the narrative of the wrestling industry as a whole. For better or worse there’s going to be a lot of interest in this show, so let’s hope they make the most of it.