Every promotion is reacting differently to the coronavirus pandemic as some are still running no-crowd shows while others have gone dark. Ethan Page of The North revealed how Impact Wrestling is handling talent at the moment when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"Personally, I have nothing but good things to say during this entire thing. We had three events cancelled that we got paid for and we didn't even have to leave the house," revealed Page. "In my contract it says if I don't perform, I don't get paid. But I didn't perform and they still paid me. That just shows a different character than most companies in this situation and I'll be happy to pay that forward, maybe even just telling you how good they're treating us might be able to help them out."
Page added that you are definitely seeing people's true colors during these trying times and he has nothing but good things to say about Scott D'Amore.
"Last week we did end up filming something for Impact that we got a full day's pay for and it probably took 2-3 hours out of my day. So, they're going out of the way to make sure that the people are still doing work for them are still being taken care of. It's almost a work from home situation," stated Page. "We're stuck in Canada but we're a big part of the show as tag champions and they're making sure that we're still able to be a big part of the show."
Not only does Page wrestle for Impact, but he also runs his own promotion Alpha-1 Wrestling. He was asked when he thinks shows can start up again.
"It's up in the air and honestly, I try to stay out of the news as much as possible. Things change so much that you're not really getting a proper reading of the situation. So I'm just waiting to get a tap on the shoulder where I'm told it's okay to go back outside," said Page.
"As far as Alpha-1 goes, I'm just waiting to hear some kinda legal change where we can have large groups of people in one area, even if it's just 200. I'll keep the limit down and still provide wrestling for my hometown. That was a big creative outlet for me that got taken away and I can't wait to go back to it."
Page said that liability-wise he may ask the talent to sign a waiver in order to compete but he'll cross that bridge when he comes to it.
The one perk about these extraordinary times is that with more people staying home, they get to spend more time with their families. Page discussed being able to be a dad more over the last few weeks.
"I'm extremely appreciative. This is a time period in my life I'll never forget as I potty-trained my daughter. Last night she told me she loved me for the first time," revealed Page. "I've been home for so many things that I'm sure I would have missed while being on the road."
This period is also allowing wrestlers to spend more time on social media to interact with fans. Page talked about how fans are still supporting him online.
"My social media numbers are through the roof. My live streams are profitable and it's helping my family so much. My Pro Wrestling Tees is top sale record this month so things are going very well. It sadly doesn't supplement the income of missing out on pro wrestling but it does help the family a lot. Seeing the growth and support from the fans is extremely appreciated, so it's heartwarming," said Page.
"It was a joke between my wife and I that I would do a stop motion action figure thing. One of her favorite rappers – Bad Bunny – put out a Stay at Home PSA with his Toy Story toys. So, we were joking around about that and I figured I could get someone to animate it with animojis because it automatically animates people's faces. I could put those on the wrestlers' heads and it all spawned off of that," said Page.
He publicly sourced an animator on Twitter and ended up finding a good one that helped put everything together in just seven days. Page was then asked if it took lots of persuading in order to get everyone on board.
"I thought I'd have to beg way more than I did but everyone was super-receptive of the idea," stated Page. "I put a doc out on my YouTube about the making of it and it included people's cellphone videos of them selfie-videoing their lines for the cartoon. But there was content I didn't even use because it didn't fit but guys were doing reshoots for me so people were very helpful."
Page also has some other ideas for unique and original content and he shared those.
"I'm gonna choose to not vlog from my house because once my living space becomes my work space, it creates too many problems. So, what I'm gonna do is change the vlog from what's happening in my life currently to what's happened in the past," said Page. "So, I'm gonna do retrospective music videos…
"The vlog's gonna turn into me telling stories of things I've done in my past, kind of like a resume of my past. But I'm gonna dive into where I was in my life, what my relationships were like, if I had a kid then and why I was so fat then. It will still give a part of my life to the audience but we're all just sitting in our house. I could interview everybody like everyone is doing on Zoom or try to create something different and more unique to me."
In these times, wrestlers connecting with fans on social media is paramount for their brands. Page was asked how important it is for wrestlers to be creating content right now.
"I'd say it's the most important. This is the most my social media has grown in my entire career," revealed Page. "I don't know if I hit the tip of the mountain and the snowball is rolling down; I don't know. I think it's because everyone is sitting in their house and staring at their phone, so content is becoming more immediate instead of set forward. Twitter and Instagram stories are instant, so those are the things I've seen grow the most and it's pretty wild.
"If you're not putting content out right now, you're definitely gonna miss the boat and miss out on an opportunity on making a lot of new fans that might not have paid attention to you while everything else was going on in the normal world."
Follow Ethan Page on Twitter @OfficialEGO. Ethan's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.