Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wrapping Up 2006, FAQ's & More

Apologies for not being more faithful to this blog. Trying to cover all bases isn't easy and I don't suspect that's changing any time soon.

2006 is in the record books and it was a great year for NECW. Between the merger with PWF Mayhem and the launch of World Women's Wrestling, it was a triumphant year with so very much to look forward to in 2007.

This has also been time for those end of the year awards you see on many of the major wrestling web sites. The oldest and most respected awards list in our business is Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Awards. These are voted on by readers and Dave does a great job presenting these in his newsletter.

While I am very fond of Dave and have the utmost respect for his work, I have lost some respect for the Observer Awards this year. The reason is that mixed martial arts and pro wrestling are voted on together in many categories and they are clearly two different things. MMA should not be compared to pro wrestling in this way. Have MMA awards and pro wrestling awards, but don't mix the two. When Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock win "Feud of the Year," that's just plain wrong.

The Burning Hammer, which is a message board that caters to New England based wrestling fans, had its annual Best of 2006 poll, voted on by it's readers. I wish they had put Ring of Honor in a separate category from other local independents, because ROH is not local, nor are they the same kind of independent as others. To their credit, they are a category unto themselves.

A message board awards are bound to have controversy because many of the posters are workers, promoters or staff of local promotions. An early point of heated discussion in the voting was that our own Nikki Roxx had received a large number of the early votes for "Wrestler of the Year."

Bryan Danielson of ROH finally won the category, but as great a year as Danielson had as ROH Champion, Nikki Roxx record of accomplishment is singular and historic. No wrestler - male or female - was a bigger draw in New England than Nikki Roxx. As the first woman to actually be the focal point of an independent promotion, she not only proved her worth as an attraction, but shattered a lot of myths about what does and doesn't draw.

Nikki did win "Female Wrestler of the Year" and deservedly so. Ariel also is deserving, as her feud with Nikki, culminating in the August title unification match, was a major reason that World Women's Wrestling got off to such an auspicious start.

Jason Blade was voted "Breakout Wrestler of the Year." Blade is a top flight talent (poorly booked by ROH, but their loss is our gain) and someone who has paid the dues along the way.

In my own opinion, if you talk about "Breakout" wrestlers, you cannot ignore NECW Triple Crown Champion, "The Human Nightmare" Evan Siks and D.C. Dillinger, both of whom were not considered top level talent by many a year ago, but have proven themselves to be main event players with drawing power.

"Die Hard" Eddie Edwards has also developed into an elite worker and a top star in the region. Mark my words, Edwards is someone who will be a major player in pro wrestling in the years to come.

NECW kicks off 2007 this coming Saturday night with SNOWBRAWL at the National Guard Armory in Quincy, MA. I'm excited about the show and excited about the year ahead. We have a tremendous collection of talent, great booking and we're just warming up.

Taking a page out of Jim Ross' playbook with how he does his blog, here are some questions I get frequently asked:

When is World Women's Wrestling going to tour?

Right now, we have committed to 11 dates at Good Time Emporium for 2007. I am hoping we will have at least two more dates, both of which would be in other venues. This is a promotion and concept that will develop over time. I do expect to spread the WWW joy around to other areas, but we will do so cautiously.

When are you coming out with more DVD's?

This is a tough one to answer specifically. We have very limited staffing and we do a tremendous amount of work just promoting 3 or more live events per month and producing the weekly Internet TV broadcasts. Those things by themselves eat up an enormous amount of man hours from a very few people. We are primarily a house show business, but we are working on ramping up staffing and ways to get DVD production to the point where we have regular releases. It is a priority for us and we are taking steps to resolve that situation. It will take us time before it is implemented.

Are you ever going to do shows outside of New England?

Not with NECW. World Women's Wrestling is another story.

I am often asked about specific talents and why they don't work for us. I don't like answering those questions, because in many cases the answers would involve a personal issue that does not need to be made public or a non-issue that doesn't need to be made public. However, I do have some rules of thumb that might answer some of those questions, without getting into specific cases.

First rule is that we generally avoid booking another local promotion's champion. We take titles very seriously here - both ours and others. It is a disrespect to the wrestler and the promotion they represent as champion to job them out. Even if I disliked another promoter, I would not job out his titleholder and cheapen the worker or the other members of the locker room he represents. That's petty and unprofessional. Promoters who think that gets them "over" another promotion when they job their champ are small thinkers and probably won't last over the long haul. Talent need to understand that titles are to be considered a serious responsibility. A championship means you are the focal point of the promotion and the one person that leads the charge in main events. You are the asset being sold. Don't let yourself be cheapened.

Second rule is that we expect the talent we book on a regular basis to make our dates a priority. We are a character and angle driven promotion. If a wrestler can't make regular dates for us, we will be hesitant to use him or her. There are exceptions to this, but by and large we have a roster that is pretty much a regular crew and that is by design.

Another thing I get a lot of is people who write to me looking to work for us in a non-wrestling position. I can't tell you how many people who write in and say, "I want to write your scripts." WWE uses scriptwriters because they have 4 hours a week on prime time TV between RAW and Smackdown and it is treated like an entertainment show more than a wrestling show. Independent companies don't use scriptwriters, unless they are complete marks.

After 6 1/2 years of doing this, I have concluded that the best thing with people who want to work with us that aren't wrestlers is to start them at the bottom so they can see and understand what it is that we do and appreciate the degree of difficulty involved in wrestling and more specifically, the promotion of a company like this one. No one in any business starts at the top.

For the wrestlers who want to work for us: I hate those mass e-mails that you send to every other independent company saying things like, "Looking for workers?" I always want to write back saying, "Yes, and if you know of anyone good, send them our way!"

It's late here, so I'll wrap this entry up by saying that I wish you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year. More thoughts soon!

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