Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thoughts on Lexxus, Pro Wrestling & The Economy, NECW - The Best NE Promotion? and NECW TV Celebrates 4 Years

As my schedule lightens up this week, I finally have a chance to catch up on things like this blog.

The big news from Friday's Mouthpiece Wrestling Show, which you can listen to if you missed it by clicking here, is that NECW/WWW star Lexxus will be changing her ring name due to a threatened legal action by Toyota Motor Corporation. Toyota consider the ring name "Lexxus" an infringemment of their Lexus automobile brand. I'll be posting the story here on this blog for you to read, but collectively, NECW and the wrestler currently known as Lexxus, have to just take this situation in stride. As I said in the story we released, this is actually more of a compliment to us than anything else.

Oh, and just one of the reasons NECW is the top promotion in New England is that no other local company received such a letter from Toyota's law firm. That alone should tell you how a multi-national conglomerate views things from the outside. More on this later in this post.

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Two weeks ago on The Mouthpiece Wrestling Show, we scratched the surface of a discussion of pro wrestling and how the current economy will affect it. We've already seen roster cuts at WWE after a recent stoockholder's report citing a 37% decrease in revenue for the company. I have heard of numerous promotions around the country citing major drops in business.

So exactly how bad is it going to get for pro wrestling? Is there a silver lining to the dark cloud that is our nation's current economic condition?

During the Great Depression, pro wrestling more than held its own for the most part. Historically, during down times, sports and entertainment tend to suffer the least.

Today, however, the world has changed. Where local pro sports franchises used to thrive off the average fan and a family trade in decades past, today pro sports tickets are largely consumed by corporate and well-to-do clients. The average working person tends to be frozen out of that end of the marketplace.

Pro wrestling was always at the lower end of the spectrum of pro sports and entertainment ticket prices. However, with today's high arena costs, even WWE and TNA are charging relatively high prices for house show tickets.

Also, society has changed. Today, more families see both parents holding jobs. People are busier. Entertainment options are far more plentiful, and many of those options, like DVD movies, cable TV and the Internet, are consumed at home.

In short, people are far more selective about their entertainment choices than they ever were before, simply because there is so much more to choose from. Boston, in particular, has far more entertainment and leisure options than most cities.

Do I think pro wrestling is going to be hurt by the current economy? To some extent, yes. We have seen a big drop in PPV buys for WWE, and that may well be because there are too many PPV's and fans are just picking and choosing the ones they will go out of their way to spend money on. The same thing applies to house shows. TNA did record business when they brought a PPV event to the Tsongas Arnea in Lowell, MA. But a regular house show a few months later, died at the gate.

A company like NECW operates on a different philosophy. Regular, low priced events, with quality content and good continuity have kept our business relatively strong. I see the future of independent wrestling as one with future potential for solid operators like NECW. I don't think the rash of newcomers to promoting in this area have any chance at all to succeed. They just aren't going to be able to do a better job than anyone currently in the area using the same talent pool.

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A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an article recently in a leading wrestling publication which shall remain nameless that claimed that a certain CT based promoter was the best promotion on the independent scene based on the fact that he bases his shows around big names and generally draws big crowds.

To say that this individual is the best independent promoter in the country is buying Fool's Gold. Don't get me wrong. This guy is great at what he does. I give him props for running that particular business model successfully.

But dig a little deeper and put what he does in perspective. He draws houses based on name talents that were built by major promotions. Most of his shows are fundraisers and the local sponsor is responsible for selling the tickets. In very few instances does he run a town regularly. His shows have no storyline content. You are paying to see the stars and the local guys are just filler. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with this, and the man does an excellent job doing what he does.

But it's not a wrestling promotion. It's just putting on shows. If you took the stars away, he'd be done.

On the other hand, NECW has never used big names to draw. The company runs consistently with top notch show production, is storyline based, produces weekly TV and draws respectably month after month after month. No company in this area gets local talent over to where they are legitimate draws than NECW.

Are we perfect? No. There are downsides to our way of doing business. But if you look at what NECW produces and the effect it has clearly had on the local scene, it's hard not to give us props as the true leader in the area. But hey, that's just my opinion!

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This coming week, probably Tuesday, will see the posting of the 4th anniversary edition of NECW TV. Four years and nearly 150 episodes of television distributed worldwide via the Internet is a pretty impressive achievement.

NECW TV was a true pioneering effort. The first long form wrestling show produced specifically for the Internet, it currently gets between 23,000 and 30,000 views per week worldwide.

The shows have matured to where it is a consistently solid product and the best showcase possible for our talent. It's a real source of pride for us and it has been a real priviledge to be able to have shared so many great matches and moments with fans all over the world. We are very grateful for your support of this great experiment we call NECW TV.

One day, people will look back at what we did and realize how far ahead of its time it was. NECW TV was here before YouTube and iTunes.

Thanks for watching... and listening... and reading!

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