WWE Hall of Famer Teddy Long and Face2Face Wrestling’s Richard Borger were on a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast where they discussed the current state of wrestling in the pandemic. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked Borger how his school has held up during this time.
“In this industry, it’s really rough because we’re so reliant on being close, touching [and] physical interaction, and so the only thing I can say is it’s a massive learning curve for everybody,” Borger said. “I know there are a number of schools that were open and some of them were thriving even more than us.
“I know that Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall’s place had four or five rings up right now, and they’re going almost all the time. I don’t see how they’re training AEW talent in that facility along with all of the students that they have and keeping them safe. But somehow, COVID hasn’t run through, that anybody knows, up through there. There are schools out there that are still going full bore and have the entire time.
“We’ve just tried to be a little more cautious, and I’m lucky enough that my wife is in the medical supply industry. So we watch the trends nationwide and globally, and we know kind of where things are going and where they’re not and what hospitals and what regions are kind of looking at things. Unfortunately, in Georgia, we’ve been a hot spot the whole time.”
The indie scene has been most affected by the pandemic, but Borger noted that the effect is regional as there are some promotions that are continuing to run without much change. He discussed his plan to hold an event in April of next year to help his local community, and he expressed his hope that things will get better especially with the vaccine that is now being distributed.
“I think it’s regional. I think that what you’re seeing up there is probably different than what we’re seeing down here,” Borger noted. “Everybody down here is running but us. I think every promotion that was running before has been running for a couple of months down here. We’re not going to. We’ve actually — I am the head of a nonprofit that we started right before the pandemic, Youth Development Council of America, and so we’re at we’re actually planning our first event for spring break, which will be April 3, 2021.
“And we’re going to hold it in my hometown, not my hometown, but the city I live in, Villa Rica, Georgia. We’re going to take an entire football field, community football field. We’re going to social distance everything. We’re going to team up with the local hospitals. We’re going to offer a lot of stuff and basically just throw a bunch of Easter eggs out there for kids and put masks on them and let the little kids go out and pick up Easter eggs, and hopefully, by April, when we do, thing’s will at least be clear enough. We’ll have a clear enough picture, and we’ll have a better understanding of where we’re going to be at vaccine wise.
“Teaming with local hospitals and stuff, it’s going to help us with making sure that everybody out there is safe, making sure we follow our own guidelines and still let the communities have some fun. If more people pay attention to doing that, social distancing, taking care of each other and be more thoughtful of everyone else, all the other human beings out there, we’ll get through it. But if people continue like they have been and not masking up and just not caring about other people and wanting to be that one oddball, it’s not going to work.”
Borger continued using the analogy of seatbelts compared to masks. He noted that 40 years ago, people refused to wear seatbelts, but now, you are frowned upon when you don’t wear your seatbelt. He said that will be the reaction in the future when it comes to masks, and he hopes more people will be responsible and wear their mask to help everyone.
“Perfect analogy,” Borger stated. “I heard something the other day about in the ’80s, they used to tell us we had to wear seat belts, and everybody said, ‘You’re not going to make me wear a seatbelt. You can’t make me. I’m not going to do it. It’s stupid,’ and now, if you get in a car and you don’t wear your seat belt, you are stupid.
“That’s how we look at it. ‘That guy wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He’s an idiot. What’s wrong with that guy?’ It’s the same thing guys as it was back in the ’80s with the seatbelt. Wear a mask because 10 – 15 years from now, you’re going to be going, ‘what an idiot. That person didn’t do that, or this person isn’t doing this thing that we need them to do.’ And it’s the same mindset. We just, as society, need to grow and be more mindful of our fellow humans.”
Hausman asked if Borger is a proponent of wrestling taking a break during this time. Borger said that wrestling should have taken a break before, specifically before the holiday season, and he noted that his local state government has been lax in restrictions and has not slowed down.
“I think it’s better. I think that we’re a little too late for at this point,” Borger admitted. “I think it should have taken a pause probably three months ago. It should have never fired back up because it was at a pause and then about two – three months ago, it started firing back up and right at the wrong time leading into the holidays, spreading a little bit more and then if those people make any travel plans, then it’s wildfire.
“And we’ve always had a problem here in Georgia. It’s never slowed down, regardless of what our local government likes to say. The numbers just don’t lie, and so we’ve been wildfire here the whole time. I don’t get why so many people still don’t believe in it. If you look at the states that paid attention, masked up and locked down a little bit, it was a short-lived thing and then they got right back to normal for a while, until everybody forgot about it again.”
You can find out more about Borger’s Face 2 Face Wrestling Academy at Face2FaceWrestling.com.