Monday, March 05, 2007

WWW Proves The Pundits Wrong

"I am skeptical of the success of this promotion. History has shown that for a womens promotion to be successful, it needs to be a stand alone promotion so the owner can concentrate on that promotion alone." - Frank Pozen, January 22, 2006

I love proving people wrong. Especially people who have never actually spent 5 minutes in the wrestling business, who post on message boards and purport to be some sort of expert on some aspect of this industry. In the words of that great wrestling philosopher, Antoine Roy (pronounced RU-ah), "Poo poo on you!"

Frank was hardly alone when I made the announcement of spinning the women's division of NECW into World Women's Wrestling as its own promotion. A lot people thought I was out of my mind.

NECW had developed a great track record with women's wrestling. Mercedes Martinez, who was the first woman booked into NECW back in 2000, won her spot due to her extraordinary in ring talent. He booking, was in fact an accident. A no-show at an NECW event led to her getting a spot in match against a guy she had been training with. The minute Martinez stepped through the curtain that night, she had the audience won. The match was another story. She didn't win that, but she got a rematch the next month in Vermont and that match (which is featured on the DVD "Gateway to Greatness," click here to see a trailer and order) cemented her as star in our company and launched her career on the independent circuit.

It also proved that women could be a viable attraction for us. A real turning point was the following May when I got a call from a friend of mine named Shun Yamaguchi, a photographer for the Japanese pro wrestling magazine, Weekly Gong. Shun, who lives locally and covers events in the U.S. for Gong, asked me if would help him book a young lady who was going to be living with him and his family for a few months. Her name was Sumie Sakai, and at the time, she worked for the Jd' Yoshimoto Ladies Pro Wrestling promotion in Japan. Sakai would be bringing a belt and the agreement was that we would co-sanction the title with Jd' and Sakai would win the belt here and take it back to Japan. I got them to agree to a two match program, where Mercedes would win the first match and the title and be defeated by Sakai in the return match. The first match took place the night Sakai had arrived in America for the first time. Though she barely spoke any English, Sakai did something very important that night. She cast a different light on women's pro wrestling as something that could be taken seriously and be effectively featured by an independent company.

Sakai fell in love with America and returned numerous times. She started working with other girls in the area and no doubt had a big impact on the local female talent pool. The number of good women wrestlers in the area was increasing and my interest in expanding our women's division increased with it.

At NECW's 4th Anniversary show, which was a two night event, we featured an 8 woman "Survivor style" elimination match each night. The matches were both well done and well received. At that point my mind was made up that it would enhance our company to take the next step and run an all women's show.

In June 2005, I promoted an NECW event called SUPERSLAM at Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA. SUPERSLAM was a rarity in these parts - a Sunday doubleheader event that featured our regular NECW crew in the afternoon and a first-ever all women's event in the evening. The women's show featured a tournament to crown a first ever NECW Women's Champion.

What I did not know until just days before the show, was that some of our crew at the time were unhappy that the girls were going on last. Some of the guys felt that it was a slap in the face, and that they should have been "the main event" of the day. In fact, that was the exact wrong thing to do. After all, if you are selling something that would be viewed as a novelty, you don't put the novelty on first, because then people see it and they leave. Not knowing what to expect, how embarrassing would it be for the girls to sell out first and then have half a house for the guys? NECW was still the horse drawing the wagon and putting the men on first protected them.

As it turned out, both shows did extremely well, with the women drawing what was our best house in months at higher ticket prices.

Sadly, the then booker decided that he was going to try and ruin it by giving the girls a hard time and deliberately doing things like screwing up the women's entrance music and a variety of other sophmoric stunts. None of it mattered. It drew, and done properly in the future it would continue to do so.

A second SUPERSLAM took place in September of that year, and again, business held up. We had much of the same gripes internally, and more of the same moronic behavior from the booker and his "boys."

After that, I knew that in order for our women's division to live up to its potential, it needed to be its own brand and have its own identity and lose anyone that couldn't deal with it.

After a spilt with the booker a few months later, I announced that we would take a few months off and be back in March with the premiere of World Women's Wrestling. We announced the day of the event that NECW had merged with PWF Mayhem. With management and booking now committed to it's success, World Women's Wrestling flourished from the start. The promotion has received unprecedented local publicity and done capacity or near capacity business at almost every outing.

The women, who finally had a stage that could really show off their skills, rose to the occasion. Nikki Roxx and Ariel, along with Tanya Lee and all the other workers, put on matches that often equalled or surpassed the men on some level. The World Women’s Wrestling product was something fresh and uinque. Nothing had ever been seen like it in this area, and it quickly found a loyal fan base. By November, we expanded the schedule into monthly shows and World Women’s Wrestling continues to grow and improve. While not a perfect product, World Women’s Wrestling has carved out a solid niche and proved that women can be the main attraction in pro wrestling and not just a special attraction.

March 25th will be a special day for us, as we celebrate the first anniversary of a company that changed the business in a positive way. If you are near the area, I hope you will make an effort to join us.


Anonymous said...

Glad you proved the pundits wrong! I hope those morons don't come back to ruin the show again!

Shock said...

I actually had my doubts on Triple W succeeding when I first heard you talk about the concept, but the results say it all. Congratulations on such an incredible product and best of luck in the future with it. I think Triple W will be around for a long time.