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Andy QuannMarch 23rd, 2016Blog1 Comment »

Quann’s Corner: My Own Promotion (And what’s wrong with Wrestling)

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Professional wrestling in the modern era is not progressive. The same formula and traits that worked in the nineties do not work in the present day. However, the status quo remains – no one has thought of ways to revolutionise and update the industry. Ratings are stagnating and fans are frustrated, begging for change. The industry that we all love is stuck in the past. Sure, coming from a man who has a history-based humanities degree, that might seem ironic. However, we must look to the past, and adapt in the future, to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated. In 2016, these same “traditions” and mistakes are repeated time and time again. The business has to evolve and be willing to try new things to stay relevant.

I know this will be the ultimate in “fantasy booking” articles and unrealistic, as I am not a multi-millionaire, but this is what I would do if I was running a promotion. Let’s pretend for one second that I just won the lottery, or that I was called upon by Lord Alan Sugar to start a promotion. Or… ok, you get the point. Here’s what I would do.

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The first thing I would do is scrap “kayfabe”. The fictional world of wrestling is dead. In the age of social media, mobile technology, and breaking news, “kayfabe” is finished. Some of the greatest storylines in wrestling history has been based in reality. Anything that blurs the lines between reality and fiction has transcended wrestling and mainstream media, whether that was CM Punk’s “Pipebomb” promo, The Nexus angle, or the recent return of Shane McMahon. These things give wrestling a buzz, and something that makes even the most “smart” of fans, former fans, and those who are not, tune in and shock them. This gives the idea of unpredictability clout, and is done in such a way that is not Russoific, like what the end of WCW had, making the product unwatchable. I would have the happy medium of having reality based characters, and being cautious with the swerves and “shoot” promos – only doing those when they are necessary, not just for the sake of doing them.

This leads to the second thing I would do… there would be no faces, and no heels: everyone is a “tweener”. That might sound crazy, but hear me out. If you look at “real” sports, some people are fond of Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Floyd Mayweather, and Cristiano Ronaldo, and some people are not. It is up to the fans of their respective sports if they like them, or hate them. It is not forced. These names are treated like major superstars, although some are promoted that way, but some are because of their skill in their respective sports. But the point still remains; they are still major stars that make money, and draw in crowds and viewers, regardless of if you like them or not.


Wrestling needs to follow the same trend. Forcing people to like John Cena did not work. Forcing people to like Roman Reigns did not work. If these names in particular were not force-fed to the audience, it would be perfect. Some people could like them, some could hate them both. But, there would be no denying that they were major names and players in the world of wrestling. These reactions would be organic, and the fans would pay to see them win or lose. Which, to have a wrestling product, you need fans to turn up to your shows, right? Promoters do like making money, right? What an incredible idea… let the fans decide who they like, and they will pay to see them get punched, or punch other superstars.

Once the fans are in the building, what would the production be like? Would I have a giant LED screen? No. Would I have a giant titantron? No. Would I have a ramp, bright lights, or pyro? No. I would have nothing. Just the fans, a walkway, and maybe a small stage. Am I ripping off UFC? Yes, I am. But think about it: it works. The fans feel a part of the show; they get to be up close to their favourite fighters. I would do the same for my fictional promotion. Plus, that way you can get as many people in the building as possible, so everybody wins. As a promoter, you get the potential maximum ticket sales without breaking health and safety regulations. And as a fan, you are more likely to get a ticket, and get as close as possible to the action.

In 2010 Paul Heyman appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour, where he stated that he was in contact with TNA to run the promotion. He talked about what he would do if he was in charge, where the main thing was that: “If I was a legend in TNA, I would not want Paul Heyman to walk through the door… If you are over 40…you are getting your f*cking head cut off. I don’t want a bunch of guys in their 40’s.” He then stated that he would want guys just coming into their prime.
I couldn’t agree more and, in 2016, this is more prevalent than ever before. Heyman would go on to state that he would keep one legend, but, I would go further. I would have none. No legends, no part timers. I would only want talent that is youthful, who would be coming into their prime. With their talent and/or their personalities, they would get over that way, and be associated with the fictional promotion, and no-where else.


However, who would be the authority figure booking the shows, and these wrestlers? There would not be one. Since the dawning of Mr McMahon, after the Montreal Screwjob in 1997, there has always been an authority figure. It’s 2016, nineteen years later. The Authority has been has been around for nearly three years. Daniel Bryan defeated them. Dolph Ziggler defeated them. Roman Reigns will probably defeat them. But they are still around, for some reason. The “Authority Figure” gimmick has been overdone, in all of professional wrestling. For that reason, I would have an off-screen presence, like an equivalent of a Joe Silva (who is the matchmaker for UFC who rarely appears on screen), or just say the fictional company officials have decided this match will take place. Better still, let the scheduling of matches just happen, and have the commentary say why the match is happening. You don’t need a twenty minute promo to announce a match… ten seconds in the opening, and that’s it. Job done.

In this day and age, having regular programming for your promotion is vital. GFW, however, have been desperately trying to find a station for their show for the past year, and TNA have been desperately switching from network to network. In my fictional promotion, I would not have a television show – I would have an online television show instead. Whether that would be on an internet streaming service such as Livestream or YouTube, or something else, I would do that. The reason being would be that I would not have to worry about toning down the product, or meeting the demands of network executives. Plus, the show would be in every single home in the entire western world, that has access to the internet, or data. I would not have to set up my own network, and it would be accessible on every single mobile device in the western world. You could watch my company in your living room, on a bus, even on the toilet.


Alternatively, I would pitch and try to get the show on on-demand services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, since online streaming has never been more popular, and in my personal opinion, is the future of television. Either way, it is the accessibility and availability from the offset that would be key. If you are a wrestling fan, or curious about wrestling, you would have access to an alternative product and promotion, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere in the western world at least.

What’s the point of all of this? I would have an alternative brand of wrestling, something that looks, and feels, completely different from anything before it. Now… all I need is an investor, or to win the lottery. If Vince, Dixie, or anyone else steals these ideas, I expect my cheque in the mail. Cheers, thanks.

This has been Quann’s Corner.

Until next time, I will catch you down the road.

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