Panache, “The Warriors” & Pro Wrestling’s Best Future
Xenophon, Anabaxis, Luther, and yes, Cyrus, too…
Can you count, suckers? I say, the future is ours… if you can count! Now, look what we have here before us. You got the Saracens sitting next to the Jones Street Boys. We’ve got the Moonrunners right by the Van Cortlandt Rangers. Nobody is wasting nobody. That… is a miracle. And miracles is the way things ought to be. You’re standing right now with nine delegates from 100 gangs. And there’s over a hundred more. That’s 20,000 hardcore members. Forty-thousand, counting affiliates, and twenty-thousand more, not organized, but ready to fight: 60,000 soldiers! Now, there ain’t but 20,000 police in the whole town. Can you dig it? Can you dig it? Can you dig it?! Now, here’s the sum total: One gang could run this city! One gang. Nothing would move without us allowing it to happen. We could tax the crime syndicates, the police, because WE got the streets, suckers! Can you dig it? The problem in the past has been the man turning us against one another. We have been unable to see the truth, because we have fighting for ten square feet of ground, our turf, our little piece of turf. That’s crap, brothers! The turf is ours by right, because it’s our turn. All we have to do is keep up the general truce. We take over one borough at a time. Secure our territory… secure our turf… because it’s all our turf!
1979 cult classic film The Warriors traces its creative lineage back to Anabasis, a Greek story written by soldier/author Xenophon in 370 BC that is referred to as “one of the great adventures in human history.” The tale is not just his retelling of how he failed at leading an army of 10,000 Greek troops into and through the Battle of Cunaxa, during Cyrus the Great’s overthrow of Persia in 401 BC. Rather, the story also involves how, after Cyrus was murdered in battle, Xenophon led the troops back through an arduous and violent trek from Persia, through Mesopotamia, and back to the Black Sea. Intriguingly, given that the term anabasis refers to an expedition from a coastline into the interior of a country, Xenophon — though ultimately victorious and the writer of an epic tale that’s seven books long — used the wrong title. Ultimately, the Greek term that should’ve entitled the books was katabasis, a term referring to a trip from the interior to the coastline.
Thus, for nearly 2500 years, we’ve been doing it wrong. Yes, anabasis is difficult. However, maybe it’s time that we gain the intellectual and executive panache that a desire for longevity and excellence provide. In doing this, we seek anabasis, or a journey deep into the heart of what’s right. In life and probably pro wrestling right now, we need to be strongly considering.
In my last Capitol Wrestling missive, I noted that there’s 1,000 active-to-semi-active non-WWE promotions in business around the world, and probably 15,000 pro wrestlers attempting — at various levels of relative success — to ply their craft worldwide. These numbers compare well to the 100 gangs with 60,000 members that Cyrus was talking about in The Warriors. Intriguingly, if you look at what has happened and is happening in Capitol Wrestling’s literal and digital backyard within a 30 day cycle, we’re one direct gunshot-as-ridiculous action away from Luther shooting Cyrus-as-someone or something stepping up as the most sound alternative to what many view as a frustrating leading vision of where pro wrestling is best headed.
Soon, whomever steps up as “Luther” in this scenario will claim that “The Waaaaarrrior dddiiiid it,” and set Raw, Smackdown, NXT, Progress, and the alphabet soup of promotions running and grapplers grappling within an hour car or public transportation ride of Hoboken, New Jersey in a 30-day cycle into a mad cap dash inside, outside, and all around the tri-state area on a mad-dash to get to the Coney Island-as-what? A nod of respect from a McMahon family member? A check from a third-party investor willing to play the role of 21st century Ted Turner? Or, will it just be, as stated in The Warriors’ Wikipedia entry, that “Swan, Mercy, and the rest of the gang walk down the beach, illuminated by the rising sun.”
OK boppers, here’s something to consider. Though they’re inherently entertaining, there’s no panache in any of The Warriors epic fights along the way to Coney Island. The Turnbull AC’s try to hit The Warriors with a bus. The Warriors combat an attempt at being humbled by The Orphans by stealing The Orphans’ leader’s girlfriend. Some of The Warriors get killed by cops or arrested for soliciting prostitution. Soldiering on, there’s a fight with the Baseball Furies, the Punks, and yes, even as highlighted below, the all-female and ostensibly bisexual Lizzies.
Though they do not directly encounter them, there’s also The Hurricanes, The Electric Eliminators, Saracens, Jones Street Boys, Savage Huns, Satan’s Mothers, Boyle Avenue Runners, Moonrunners, Van Cortlandt Rangers, Panzers, and Gladiators out there, too. All of these gangs, not unlike Luther’s Rogues, are all very much down with wanting the Warriors to “come out to playyyyy” in the most ominous manner possible.
There’s nothing panache-filled about a scruffy psychotic maniac banging bottles together and wanting to kick your ass. But in so many ways and on so many levels, that’s where we’re headed right now, and it doesn’t need to be this way.
Panache is having the imaginative flair to avoid bottle-banging maniacs and instead sit down at the table and promote the right match at the right time. Panache is also having the in-ring polish to execute and deliver the match as needed, to the standard required. Panache is also having the awareness to realize that 2500 years of history has literally asked people to move backwards to get ahead. Though Xenophon title didn’t match his content, he’s correct in noting that the best journey is anabasis, a journey to the center of things. Similarly, Cyrus wanted 60,000 people in 100 gangs to run New York City. Both Xenophon and Cyrus were the kind of leaders who knew what the panache required to navigate that journey was all about.
Can you count, suckers?
I say, the future is ours… if you can count!
Now, look what we have here before us. We’ve got 1,000 promotions and 15,000 wrestlers here and nobody is wasting nobody. That… is a miracle. And miracles is the way things ought to be.
One gang could run this city! One gang. Nothing would move without us allowing it to happen. WE got the streets, suckers! Can you dig it? The problem in the past has been the man turning us against one another. We have been unable to see the truth, because we have fighting for ten square feet of ground, our turf, our little piece of turf. That’s crap, brothers! The turf is ours by right, because it’s our turn. All we have to do is keep up the general truce. We take over one borough at a time. Secure our territory… secure our turf… because it’s all our turf!
Meaning? Flamboyant confidence of style or manner. Synonyms? Flamboyance, confidence, self-assurance, style, flair, elan, dash, verve, zest, spirit, brio, éclat, vivacity, gusto, liveliness, vitality, energy.
OK boppers, I can dig that. Can you?
Purchase tickets for Capitol Wrestling’s October 14 return to Hoboken at tinyurl.com/CapitolIV!