Friday, September 2, 2011

From the A1 Message Boards: What I'd Do with Unlimited Money and Wrestling Desires

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My top guy
Newish A1 user Rick Rude (great tribute handle, by the way), posted a thread asking what you'd do with unlimited funds re: building a wrestling promotion. Here's his original post:
Imagine a scenario where you have acquired a stupendous amount of money. You are set for life, as well as your children and grandchildren if you have any. You have so much money, in fact, that it's basically impossible for you to ever not have money again, even if you wasted ludicrous amounts on bad investments. I don't care if you won three state lotteries, or were discovered to be a long lost Walton love child, the money is yours to do what you want.

You decide that you might as well be a money mark since you love wrestling so much.

The WWE, as a public company, is out of bounds. Everything else is in play. What would you buy, or would you start up something new? Who would you hire for creative and for on-air talent? What would be your marketing plan? Where would you perform? What about a TV deal? Would you look to take down the WWE empire, or would you prefer to remain low key and simply recoup expenses?
And here is my reply:
I'd head up the booking team, because it's my fed, my vision. My booking team would probably consist of any combination of Brandon Stroud of With Leather, the Fair to Flair crew, Bill Dempsey, David Shoemaker (the Masked Man), jerseyboy (commenter) and/or Linus (Ingoldsby, A1 poster and TWB reader - because I'd have to consider European sensibilities if I wanted to have a following across the pond). Why people I know/writers? Again, something different. It's my money, I'll succeed or fail with the people I want to succeed and fail with.

My vision would be to combine old-school ideas and concepts with modern sport sensibility, bound together with a healthy sense of humor. Like Jamey "FATSEXY" Litton, no one from "the office" would make an appearance in storyline unless it's to introduce a new commissioner (no GMs, commissioners, because again, I'm old school) or some shit like that. In ring, I'd promote a safer style based on mat wrestling and storytelling. Big finishers are meant to be taken once every couple of months, not once every couple of spots in a match. I'd draw people in with strong characters and emphasis on unscripted but "guided" promos.

At first, I'd probably run February through November with a two month offseason that'd coincide with the holiday season/football playoffs. Give people some time to catch up with what they might have missed in DVDs during the two months we'd be off.

As for talent, again, since I'd want for guys to draw people in on a basis of a combination of character and sound fundamentals rather than ZOMG WERKRATE, I pick up guys who can cut promos or act out as great characters. So guys like Davey Richards who just like to kill and get killed in the ring to have the awesomest match ever? Get lost. But a guy like Colt Cabana, who has killer personality and a sound grasp on how to work a mat-based style? Welcome aboard. In fact, he's probably my top face. Austin Aries would be my top heel. He has a rep of being a ZOMG WERKRATE guy too, but he also is a great character and has worked a "sports entertainment" style in some matches to great effect. From there, I build outwards and pick up some established guys (AJ Styles, Beer Money - provided they don't balks at the idea to leave Impact - Jay Lethal, Mike Knox, Chris Masters, Kazarian, El Generico, Kevin Steen) and some under the radar guys (Kenn Doane, Lucky Cannon, Eddie Kingston, the RockNES Monsters, RD Evans, Brodie Lee). Throw in a choice veteran, say, Steve Corino or Tommy Dreamer, and then start developing stories.

I'd start slow, 10-15 shows a year, and then try to grow with television and such. Don't go all in early, don't expect to succeed and build on stories, three acts of varying development. Always have something really good happening at a given show. That's what I'd do.
Furthermore, I'd also put on an honest-to-God joshi division, really push tag teams as serious business and probably have an appearance by a WrestleCrap hall of famer every year or so, just to remind myself not to take myself too seriously.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein - Please visit his site to view the plentiful amounts of pictures he's taken for DGUSA, ROH and other indie feds: Get Lost Photography

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