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Sep 11, 1997
Katy, TX
The Ivy League
First in War... First in Peace...
by 'Poison' Ivy McGinnis

Good evening, sexuals, and welcome to the greatest show on earth. My name is Ivy Lillian McGinnis, and if you need any more information, I suggest you do your homework. Otherwise, you're everything wrong with the youth of today, and I'm against you.

Speaking of being against people... there hasn't been a stitch of backlash at The First for defeating Anarky for the EPW World Championship while under the mask of Dis. Considering how many of his contemporaries were calling Dis a coward, a retread, and a loser for his mysterious ways and his taking the long way around all of his points.

Where's the hatred now? Where are the criticisms? I'm honestly surprised and saddened to see that the only person (as of this writing) who has criticized The First's actions as been the man who was defeated for the EPW Title, Anarky.

That's funny on a completely different level: if Anarky had shown that amount of passion during his title reign, I doubt The First would have ever gotten such a psychological advantage over him.

But I'm serious. I may no longer be a day to day player in the wrestling business, but I keep my ear to the ground and I know how much animosity was being directed at Dis over the past six months. I know some of the boys - including people that I consider close friends and even family - have been pretty specific on what they intended to do with Dis once his (or her, to be fair to the first person under the mask) match with Anarky was in the books.

There was nothing. And it's kind of depressed me, because now I don't have a concrete example to point to as a symptom of the hypocrisy that still runs rampant in this sport, and you just have to take it on faith that I'm telling you that you can all go to hell.

I'm a big fan of The First. Does that surprise you?

The word 'failure' keeps getting associated with the man formerly known as Brian Nadalny, initially because of his repeated attempts to take the EPW Championship from my husband, Sean Stevens. Because Jason Reeves was involved, both in his eventual victory and his loss to Anarky at Unleashed 2011.

So, at worst, The First is no worse than the countless numbers of wrestlers who failed to take the EPW Championship from Sean during his nearly two years of complete dominance over the company. At worst, The First is a man who is ridiculed for being unable to win the EPW World Title from Sean until their fourth title match.

Are we really criticizing this man for his tenacity and his refusal to pack up and go home when he didn't immediately realize his goal? Have things changed that much in the past two years?

Of course, this is nothing new. We're in the age of instant gratification, and anyone who takes more than their first try to achieve a goal is looked at as a failure who succeeded on luck.

Think for a second, on how incredibly stupid that sounds.

Triple X, Sean Stevens, was EPW World Champion for almost two straight years. He didn't do that on luck. It was going to take a supremely skilled wrestler to walk into the ring with him and take his belt, sight unseen. I'd wager that there isn't a wrestler in existence who's that good.

The First wasn't that good, but he didn't have to be. He was smart enough to take what he learned in each match and apply it going forward. What worked. What didn't work. Where did he succeed. Where did he fail.

You can say it was a stroke of luck that he was able to grab Sean through the cage on that fateful night and hold on as tightly as he could until he got the submission, but I ask you - if he really didn't deserve the belt, why was it that nobody else - FOR TWO YEARS - was able to wrest it out of Sean's grasp?

Success in this business has always been decided in part by luck. Why is The First held to a different standard because he took advantage of the opportunities presented to him?

The other criticism I've heard is that The First only wore the Dis mask because he was the only Champion in professional wrestling history whose name didn't warrant a return match. Paraphrased, of course.

But that's the point, isn't it? Why should The First throw his name in for a rematch when it was clear from the start that he was never going to be taken seriously because of the way he lived his life? He could have set the world on fire as World Champion, but his choices and his lifestyle had always painted him into a corner with certain segments of the fanbase, and there was no way they would have bought him coming back for his return match. And that's a shame.

Doubly so, when you consider what happened in his de-facto return match.

In the process of putting on the Dis mask and working anonymously (tag teaming notwithstanding) for enough time to put him in the ring with the man who took his World Title nearly a year ago, The First illustrated the fundamental flaw of of professional wrestling: that is, the tendency for expectations to dictate outcome.

The First was seen as an emo-gothic wrestler who had excellent skills but would never have the tools to carry a wrestling promotion because of preconceived notions. Even as World Champion, he never had the respect that holding the belt should afford.

By stripping himself of everything about him except his ability, The First was able to showcase exactly how shallow the wrestling audience - and his contemporaries in the EPW - have become. In the process, he was able to become only the second two - time World Champion in EPW's history.

Based solely on his abilities.

Anarky's sour grapes should also be taken with a grain of salt: was the fakeout with Muse underhanded? Of course it was. Was the fact that Anarky didn't have full knowledge over his opponent's abilities and tendencies a handicap? Of course it was.

But all that did was showcase exactly how much The First valued the EPW World Title and the way its Champion is perceived. He knew that Anarky would probably not view him as a credible threat, so he did a fairly smart thing, and disguised himself as a wrestler that has a track record of overwhelming success in EPW. It's no different from a wrestler in the NFW - UWA - CSWA - AAWC ring of fire putting on a mask and calling himself El Toro. Mileage may vary on its success but you will definitely be noticed.

The only thing that remains to be said is that I hope that The First enjoys this title reign.

He should; he earned it a year and a half ago.

This is Ivy.

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