TV Killed the Wrestling Star

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TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Adam D on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 1:13 pm

http://v2wrestling.com/5/post/2015/04/tv-killed-the-wrestling-star.html



On the recent v2 podcast, we hosted a section which was tentatively called “quick fixes”. It was meant as a way for the panel to suggest a way to improve the current product that is put on our collective screens.


Most of the suggestions revolved around the screen time given to each show and how it was a hindrance – in the case of WWE too much time and for TNA not enough. And from this discussion, an idea was born.


Historically, mainstream wrestling has fought tooth and nail to get exposure, mainly through television deals. Basically, the more programming that made it to air, the bigger the promotion.
 
WCW had Nitro, Thunder, Main Event, Worldwide etc and WWE/F has their own RAW, Smackdown, Heat, Velocity, Main event, Superstars etc. And for the main part, these shows were just filler to supplement their flagship shows. But that didn’t matter – people watched.


WWE continues to work with this strategy, as does TNA with their Explosion show which only airs internationally.


And still to this day, TV exposure is the key to success. Or is it?


When I was growing up in the UK, TV was a very different beast (3 channels for a start!). But when a show came on, it was a battle to book the telly to watch it live (and by live, I mean broadcast time not an actual live event). Videos helped alleviate this problem but the television was still a place where we gathered for major TV events. But its changed dramatically in the last 5 to 10 years. In the late 90s early 00’s, when wrestling was close to its boom period, the thought of being able to watch anything I wanted to, on my phone at any time, was just incomprehensible.   
TV viewing habits are different now. But the grab for TV wrestling time is the same as it always was. TV exposure is king in the eyes of McMahons and Carters.


Now before I suggest my idea for a quick fix, I also want to revisit another concept that will make my idea come together – the NWA.


Now for those who have heard the term but are not familiar with the actual history behind it, the NWA is the National Wrestling Alliance and was formed in the days when the wrestling territories still existed. The concept behind it was to act as a governing body for all the small regional promotions and to have champions that would defend the belts across their respective federations. It was effectively a union with a title holder, who defended the belt in cross promotional events.


With the rise of WCW and WWE on national television, and these promotions buying up the smaller indies, the NWA became a lesser known attraction and although it is still in existence in NJPW, the NWA members are much fewer these days. 


Television destroyed the territories and effectively made the NWA redundant in a business they helped create. And television is that key word again.


Well the internet is killing television as we know it. But still, TNA and WWE (and every other promotion) is still holding on to the television exposure model.


So how do these two seemingly un-associated topics come together?


Well firstly, TNA is suffering from having only two hours (+explosion). Which means they have about 80 minutes of actual TV time once adverts have been taken into account, each week. They currently have 4 belts (Heavyweight, X Division, Knockout and Tagtitles) which are competed for. They also have a roster that is underused due to lack of air time.


But this is only a problem if it is looked at within the confines of “TV air time”. Being on Destination America has given them a lifeline but it is unlikely that they will grow their own following unless DA itself grows. But as already stated, TV is no longer the same as it was. And here is my recipe to take TNA to a new audience.


Take 2 cups of internet, mix them with the NWA and add a pinch of Gut Check.


TNA should form a new version of the NWA. And by NWA, I mean its concept. An allegiance with smaller wrestling promotions to feature an internet only belt. Call it the TNA Internet Open Belt. Have the belt defended on a 30 minute internet show, available to all, each week.


Feature the belt on Impact and have reference to the last match and the next match. Talk about the next contender from whichever indie promotion it is that week. Use this 30 minute show/ match as the new Gut Check style try out but in this case, actually make it a proper Gut Check to scout new talent.


TNA gets the rub of indie fans tuning in to the internet show and hopefully promoting it at their events. It also gets the benefit of sharing talent and getting buy in from local fans when they come to town. The indie promotions get exposure on national television and through the social media of TNA.


But most importantly of all, its something different. It’s taking an old idea and bringing it in to todays audience. TNA stated they wanted to pull back the curtain. Well this does that by talking about wrestling outside of their own universe.


Wrestling needs to change for its own good.


Obviously this is only my take on how to help TNA grow once more – would love to hear your thoughts!

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Samo on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 2:05 pm

I actually like the sound of an Internet Open Champion, they can even use Zack Ryders belt. It would give wrestling a sense of realism, like boxing has with multiple promotions and champions, and would open up the little promotions to new audiences. However, I dont think it'll help TNA in anyway.

I dont think a lack of TV time is TNA's issue. You just need to look at smaller shows like NXT and Lucha Underground to see that less can be more as long as its booked well and has a good talent pool. I think TNA's biggest problem is its been tainted by years of shoddy booking, poor use of talent and incredible mismanagement. Instead of finding its feet it hops from one gimmick to the next hoping to catch someones attention, and by the time they do they change it all up again. Its too late to save TNA and more exposure wont help at this point. You can argue that TNA launching a venture like this is admitting defeat to the WWE and conceding that they will NEVER be at that level.

On the flip side, one of the WWE's 2 biggest problems right now is OVER exposure. 3 hours for a TV show is far too much. It really isnt helped by the fact that the huge staff of writers seemingly cant write worth a damn. For a company that has atleast 7 hours a week - 10 if theres a PPV - to have so many loose ends and unanswered questions is unforgivable. There seems to be nothing driving the undercard. There are always two to three main stories and everything else is just sort of, there. However, 7 hours is still far too much, and even it was booked incredibly it would still drain on you, and would lose its magic eventually.

There needs to be a balance, a balance I think NXT and LU have. A near-perfect little show that showcases its talent and leaves you wanting more.

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Adam D on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 2:27 pm

Lucha Underground is finishing up soon and rumours are that its unlikely to come back, which is a real shame.

Dixie has stated a few times that they are not competition in any way to WWE. They just want to be an alternative at this point. Exposure is absolutely key to TNA existing.

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Prometheus on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 3:22 pm

Adam D wrote:Lucha Underground is finishing up soon and rumours are that its unlikely to come back, which is a real shame.

Dixie has stated a few times that they are not competition in any way to WWE. They just want to be an alternative at this point. Exposure is absolutely key to TNA existing.

I'm really sad if Lucha Underground goes because it is my most enjoyable wrestling show of the week. I just hope that Son of Havoc gets picked up.
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Dr Gregory House MD on Fri 17 Apr 2015, 12:15 am

Prometheus wrote:
Adam D wrote:Lucha Underground is finishing up soon and rumours are that its unlikely to come back, which is a real shame.

Dixie has stated a few times that they are not competition in any way to WWE. They just want to be an alternative at this point. Exposure is absolutely key to TNA existing.

I'm really sad if Lucha Underground goes because it is my most enjoyable wrestling show of the week.  I just hope that Son of Havoc gets picked up.

It just dawned on me today that Son of Havoc is actually Matt Cross, can't believe it's taken 6 or so months to figure it out

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Adam D on Fri 17 Apr 2015, 7:24 am

Son of havoc was in Bros?

Mind blown!

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Prometheus on Fri 17 Apr 2015, 8:09 am

Somehow it seems right for someone from LU to ask, "when will I, will I be famous?"
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by dyrewolfe on Fri 17 Apr 2015, 1:28 pm

Adam D wrote:Son of havoc was in Bros?

Mind blown!

That was Matt Goss, not Cross (and yes I'm embarrassed I remembered that).


Great idea in your OP though. I agree that the internet is the future of visual media...just look at how all the TV companies now have online "on demand / catch-up" content. Not to mention the various phone / ISP companies now have tie-ups with Sky, BT Sport, or other broadcasters, that allow you access to various channels.

Having a Cyber World (Cyberworld?) Champion and an online-only show would certainly be a way to distinguish themselves. As you said, its the next frontier, in the same way TV was 30-40 years ago. A strong advertising campaign ought to grab the attention of this generation's "net-heads" (and would probably be cheaper than TV advertising too).
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Prometheus on Sat 18 Apr 2015, 2:35 pm

Let's play.

Let's say we could book a show right now and put it up on YouTube:
Briscoes vs Wolves
AJ Styles vs Johnny Mundo
Sexy Star vs Gail Kim
Kurt Angle vs Kazuchika Okada
Prince Puma vs Shinsuke Nakamura

I guarantee you there will be 10% of people talking about that card than the next episode of Raw.

And, I think that's what you are up against. WWE has such dominance over casual fans, that to move that dial is difficult to impossible. And I don't want to be a complete downer on the idea, but one of the things that Vince said in his podcast with Austin was right. It's not about the championship, its about the characters. Because of the level of WWE exposure, even one of their lower card is absolutely more recognizable than top stars elsewhere. Don't forget, WWE just managed to get away with practically calling one of the best known wrestlers of all time, Sting, an unknown before he stepped into their ring.

And the perception is strong that biggest is best. So, most fans will happily dismiss anyone not in WWE, because they are not in WWE. Either they didn't cut it in WWE, or obviously can't be good enough to be there. To bring Son of Havoc into this, Matt Cross is doing some awesome work and has made a massive heel / face turn. But he'll still be mostly thought of as the guy who got cut from Tough Enough.

Honestly, I don't want to sound defeatist about this. But, I think that even if you had the show hosted by SCSA, it would hardly move the dial.
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Samo on Sat 18 Apr 2015, 3:03 pm

Prometheus wrote:

Honestly, I don't want to sound defeatist about this.  But, I think that even if you had the show hosted by SCSA, it would hardly move the dial.  

TNA tried with Hogan and Bischoff and probably did more harm than good.

You're spot on regarding the casual fans. I think it'll take something huge to break WWE's grip on the casual fans. It'll take another Ted Turner to come along, buy a promotion then spend millions to steal WWE's talent away, but after seeing how it went down the first time round, no one is that stupid.

The only thing that will stop the WWE juggernaut is the WWE.

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 20 Apr 2015, 2:44 pm

I wasn't thinking about trying to "steal" WWE fans...more build a following from fans of the independents.

You're right that WWE is too big and too etablished. Their fans will never go for "lesser" promotions - at least not in any meaningful numbers.

IMO if you want to grow alternative franchises, you have to seek out new fans elsewhere and the internet has to be one of the best places (if not the best) to do it, as it gives you access to a worldwide audience for a lot less money than TV time costs.

YouTube is actually a prime example of how easy it can be to get a huge following...just look at all those meme / parody / cat videos, video blogs etc. that give the people in them their 15 minutes of fame.

If average joes (and janes) can get a few moments of fame out of amateur videos of themselves, it shouldn't be that hard for a small (but established) wrestling company to gain a decent following...provided they can produce consistently entertaining content (of course, thats the big IF).

Dunno what advertising revenues would be like, but should net them a decent amount (pun intended). Would probably have to offer a free basic service and charge subscriptions for extra content (interviews, archive material etc.)
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Adam D on Mon 20 Apr 2015, 2:54 pm

I think that internet advertising revenue is too small and not really the point of the article. Its about getting people buying into the product and as Dyrewolf says, getting fans who wouldnt usually tune in.

Zach Ryder is a good example. You can get yourself over with minimum talent (not saying he is bad but hes not great). ANd its not about finding new fans even. If they could tap into wrestling fans from local indies, thats a start. Even small promotions will be bringing in 100s of fans for each event. Start tapping into this market across the world, and suddenly, your viewership online is something you can market to the networks for your flagship show.

Almost sounds like what GFW should be!

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Prometheus on Mon 20 Apr 2015, 3:54 pm

I've kind of lost the thread of what this is trying to achieve. Is it correct of me to summarize that the idea is to promote a belt that is contested between TNA and the Indys and can only be seen on-line? And the aim of this is to promote TNA and capture more viewers?

Because I'm really struggling to believe there are fans out there who go to indy wrestling events and they don't know about TNA. But, even if we assume they do. And they hear that their man will be wrestling a TNA guy, okay the watch that, but do they then tune into TNA the next week?

I'm just not getting it. Which may be entirely my problem, but I'm finding it really hard to see this moving the dial.

I just went to YouTube now. And visited what I think must be TNA's channel. It says there are half a million subscribers (WWE has around 6M) and over 600M views. Now, of course they are not all unique, but I gotta guess there are at least 10M people who've watched what TNA has there. And of course, this is not all in the US. But it just feels to me looking at these numbers that people find what they want there, but then don't tune in every week. And I'm not sure how this is going to change that.
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by dyrewolfe on Tue 21 Apr 2015, 12:45 pm

The idea is not about "moving the dial".

I was coming at it from an angle of attracting new fans who weren't previously into wrestling.

Adam (I think) is thinking about banding all the indy promotions together and getting their fans watching all the various franchises, rather than just one.

I think having an Indy Champion might be a good way to go about it...a sort of "best of the best" where each franchise's main title holder competes against the others.

How well it would work as an internet only show I don't know. Internet TV is still relatively new and has a "small time " feel compared to a mainstream TV show...but everything has to start somewhere.

The internet's main advantage is that it gives easy and relatively cheap access to the widest possible audience.

Who knows? If it takes off, they could even start booking arenas and doing a kind of indy version of Wrestlemania! Wink
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Samo on Tue 21 Apr 2015, 12:58 pm

The problem is people who arent previously interested in wrestling arent likely to watch the indies. People generally get into wrestling one of two ways, either going to a live show, or catching the WWE on TV. Everyone says Vince has a hard-on for the big muscle type guys, and its because those guys put butts in seats. A guy who has no previous background in wrestling is more likely to get invested in a superhuman type character like Roman Reigns or John Cena defeating all comers than 2 guys like Son of Havoc and Chris Hero putting on a technical clinic.

Technical wrestling just isnt appealing to the casual fan. They want over the top action, stories, characters, lights, action, bravado and such, something that the Indy scene cant offer on the same level the WWE can. I think the indies having a cross promotion 'internet' champion would only attract interest of fans of particular promotions to other shows, but generally if you're into one smaller promotion chances are you're aware of the others.

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Crimey on Tue 21 Apr 2015, 1:11 pm

I think it's pretty universal that people who watch indie wrestling, watch it after watching WWE and wanting something a bit different. Indie wrestling is the art-house film to WWE's blockbuster. It's very unlikely that somebody will get into films through those types, but can come to like them.

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by dyrewolfe on Tue 21 Apr 2015, 1:25 pm

Samo wrote:The problem is people who arent previously interested in wrestling arent likely to watch the indies.  People generally get into wrestling one of two ways, either going to a live show, or catching the WWE on TV.  Everyone says Vince has a hard-on for the big muscle type guys, and its because those guys put butts in seats.  A guy who has no previous background in wrestling is more likely to get invested in a superhuman type character like Roman Reigns or John Cena defeating all comers than 2 guys like Son of Havoc and Chris Hero putting on a technical clinic.

Technical wrestling just isnt appealing to the casual fan.  They want over the top action, stories, characters, lights, action, bravado and such, something that the Indy scene cant offer on the same level the WWE can.  I think the indies having a cross promotion 'internet' champion would only attract interest of fans of particular promotions to other shows, but generally if you're into one smaller promotion chances are you're aware of the others.

I think I could be called a "casual fan" insofar as I don't watch religiously, but like to catch TNA when I can and the odd bit of WWE. Personally the OTT nature of WWE doesn't appeal that much, but the odd match now and again is okay. I can see why it appeals to a lot of younger fans though, with the greater emphasis on panto-style heroes and villains ("larger than life" characters"), but I don't think we can assume thats what everyone wants.

People who aren't watching WWE now probably don't for a reason.

I actually prefer more technical wrestling. Having said that, if its OTT action you want, I can't think it comes much better than TNA's X Division (when they bother to push it). I'm sure others like RoH, Lucha Underground and the Japanese promotions can all bring their own unique flavours.

As you said, current fans would proably already be on board, or at least open to the idea of a combined indy scene. Quite how you'd market it to non-wrestling fans I don't really know, but even without WWE's omnipresence and megabucks, you can still put on a pretty spectacular show...with the right talent and booking (complete with lights, big screens and pyro).
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by dyrewolfe on Tue 21 Apr 2015, 1:44 pm

Crimey wrote:I think it's pretty universal that people who watch indie wrestling, watch it after watching WWE and wanting something a bit different. Indie wrestling is the art-house film to WWE's blockbuster. It's very unlikely that somebody will get into films through those types, but can come to like them.

Heh. Going from WWE's Bladerunner to the indy scene's Metropolis or something. Cool
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Samo on Tue 21 Apr 2015, 2:27 pm

dyrewolfe wrote:

I think I could be called a "casual fan" insofar as I don't watch religiously, but like to catch TNA when I can and the odd bit of WWE. Personally the OTT nature of WWE doesn't appeal that much, but the odd match now and again is okay. I can see why it appeals to a lot of younger fans though, with the greater emphasis on panto-style heroes and villains ("larger than life" characters"), but I don't think we can assume thats what everyone wants.


I was usual casual more in the sense of someone who has little to no wrestling background. Or someone getting back into it after a long hiatus. If you're just a joe random clicking through the channels the sight of Ryback picking up Big Show for a Shell Shock is the most likely to peak your interest.

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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by Prometheus on Wed 22 Apr 2015, 11:32 am

Seems like Adam had a Meltzer-esque spoiler there.

AAA is doing a Wrestling World Cup at the end of May, with wrestlers from TNA, ROH, NOAH and All Japan as well as AAA.

Not sure if it will be an iPPV or watchable over the net.
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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by dyrewolfe on Wed 22 Apr 2015, 1:43 pm

Prometheus wrote:Seems like Adam had a Meltzer-esque spoiler there.

AAA is doing a Wrestling World Cup at the end of May, with wrestlers from TNA, ROH, NOAH and All Japan as well as AAA.

Not sure if it will be an iPPV or watchable over the net.  

Ooh. I hope it'll be viewable somewhere. I wouldn't mind catching some of that.


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Re: TV Killed the Wrestling Star

Post by dyrewolfe on Wed 22 Apr 2015, 1:45 pm

Samo wrote:
dyrewolfe wrote:

I think I could be called a "casual fan" insofar as I don't watch religiously, but like to catch TNA when I can and the odd bit of WWE. Personally the OTT nature of WWE doesn't appeal that much, but the odd match now and again is okay. I can see why it appeals to a lot of younger fans though, with the greater emphasis on panto-style heroes and villains ("larger than life" characters"), but I don't think we can assume thats what everyone wants.


I was usual casual more in the sense of someone who has little to no wrestling background.  Or someone getting back into it after a long hiatus.  If you're just a joe random clicking through the channels the sight of Ryback picking up Big Show for a Shell Shock is the most likely to peak your interest.


Someone with little or no wrestling background would likely have no preconceptions and therefore little in the way of expectations.

Sure, they might like to see big guys picking up even bigger guys...but they might also like the idea of medium-sized guys moonsaulting off the top rope or doing suicide dives to the outside...

All depends what your bag is, Wink Heavyweight matches tend to be slower paced. If you prefer "fast & furious" you're more likely to go for X Division style matches.
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