Saturday, June 07, 2008

Response to Comment

Anonymous writes:

I agree with you to a degree. I've promoted shows in the past, present, and future. Don't you think that bringing in "Name" talent sometimes works as long as you do the right thing with that talent? If you pay $1000 for someone to come in and they sell approximately $2000 extra in tickets, isn't it a wise investment? No one in TNA is going to bury your talent unless you let them. Now, in my opinion, no one in TNA except for Angle, Booker, or Christian Cage is really going to draw big numbers but as a "once in while" thing couldn't you promote your champion facing Samoa Joe in a "World Title Match" similar to the old days of Brisco, Funk, or Race? I mean, the local guy could really get the rub if he has a knock-down drag out 15 or 20 minute match with The World Champion and loses. You could even do a DQ. I think you can make it work, but I see your point as well.

Anonymous (great name by the way), there are many ways to promote wrestling. The old "big name main event, local boys as filler" method worked well for decades. It stopped working in the mid-90's when WWE stopped third party bookings of their talent and WCW was on fire and their talent was unavailable. ECW talent showed up on limited independent dates, but they were a rarity. That formula, in certain situations, may well be valid.

The key sentence in your response was, "Don't you think that bringing in "Name" talent sometimes works as long as you do the right thing with that talent?" The truth is most promoters don't. Most of the time their view is "the stars draw the crowds," so doesn't it stand to reason that you set yourself up for not being able to draw without those stars?

There are many exceptions and variables. If you are in an area that is starved for live wrestling, the "big names" formula may be the way to go and you may not care about building up local talent.

There is a certain promoter out there, whose name I will not mention, that has been called "the most successful independent promoter in the country." His shows are dominated by name talent. That is the whole selling point. And right now he's doing great with that business model, because that name talent is available to him. But if you took those names away, I would bet you he wouldn't draw 100 people.

The point I made in the original post is that you are walking a slippery slope if you are 100% dependent on names that are contracted elsewhere. There have been instances when TNA has pulled talent off independent dates if they needed them for TV or a PPV. How would you like to be the promoter who has rented a venue, sold tickets, advertised TNA talent, only to be told "Sorry we need those guys elsewhere?" Do you think TNA is going to reimburse you for the ad money and building deposit you just lost, or the posters you just printed or the time you just wasted? As the late Gorilla Monsoon would have put it, "Highly unlikely."

You also say, "If you pay $1000 for someone to come in and they sell approximately $2000 extra in tickets, isn't it a wise investment?" The answer is that depends. If you are looking to make a quick $1,000 maybe. But if you intend to run regularly, you are now at the mercy of talent not contracted to you, that may be booked elsewhere when you need them, or booked against you by another promoter in the same area.

Another consideration is what type of operation you run. If you want to sell a DVD of your show that could be distributed to retail stores, TNA won't let you use their talent on the DVD. If you do TV, you won't be able to have those names appear. And at that point, there goes your upside. If you just run live shows, there's no problem, it may be worth the risk. But there IS a risk.


Josh Ray said...

Mr. Goldberg hit the nail on the head. I have been looking forward to my first show by planning it between now and two Octobers from now. The one thing I am not willing to do is have "name talent" pull out of my show after being advertised. I'm very reluctant to put people from WWE Legends or TNA on my show at this time because if they pull out, it'll be much more harmful to my shows than anything else.

For the record, I plan on putting together one tournament or big show each year. It makes more sense for me to put more thought into how each individual show goes.

Anonymous said...

The only reason I was anonymous is that supposedly we "have heat" and I didn't want to reveal myself as emotion might take over.

Good points. Most WWE Legends show up and do a great job. I haven't heard of too many (Lawler, Duggan, Tito, even Snuka) that show up and don't work hard or don't give the fans what they want.

TNA can be a different animal. The only thing you can do is book them on an off-day or make sure they're not running a house show that day.

Excellent debate, though. I personally think some people use the names well and other's don't. But I still contend respectfully that you can use the names well as long as your guys stand tall with them at the end.


Anonymous said...

The problem though can often happen with the "contracted talent" ie "stars". I recently read a story written by a promoter in Canada who had pushed Kenny Omega, who I have heard awesome things about, as his company's top draw. As a special attraction and draw he brought in Samoa Joe, before the TNA Title was on him. Joe dismantled Kenny in the match like it was a squash match and in essence killed 12 months of investment the company had put into building Omega by showing the fans that he was not able to hang with the "top guys".

From what the promoter said, Joe was upset because he wanted to work with Alex Shelley who was also on the show and this was his way of protesting. I've never dealt with Joe, but have heard similar stories of "name talent".

I guess we've been lucky in the PWF days when we would occasionally bring in guys like Chris Daniels, Tony Mamaluke, Mikey Whipwreck and others who were cooperative and helped come up with ways to help generate more business after they left.

NECW is built on a different model, not relying on stars and instead making the local guys the draw. Some other local companies seem to "get it" in using stars to give steam to their talent. The companies that DO get it ARE quite rare though.