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37 minutes ago, El Gran Gordi said:

In all seriousness, if AEW starts building their show around "big name" wrestlers from the past in an attempt to court "casual fans" they will lose me and I would have to imagine they will lose a significant percentage of the 700k who watch week in and week out now. And I entirely doubt that they will attract anywhere near enough eyes to match the number they will drive away. 

Long term, Sting and Big Show are not going to move the needle. At all. There is nobody they can bring in who will do so. 

I don't think that is where they are headed, though. 

I hope, and more importantly I believe, that AEW is content to develop young and lesser-known talent and allow things to grow organically. I kind of think that Sting and Show are guys that they want to work with because they have some fun ideas for how to use them and they have friends on the roster and backstage. I sincerely doubt that anyone working there is dumb enough to try and use nostalgia to bring back the days when millions of people watched wrestling every week. Those days are gone. 700k, week in and week out is just fine for now. In fact, it's pretty great. 

Keeping those fans  happy is the key to continued success. Growth, if it comes, will come organically.

A distinction that might help people see where I'm coming from is this : I'm not commenting from an entertainment / personal enjoyment sense. I'm talking from a business point of view. Me personally, I think Big Show's last 5 years in WWE were on average dreadful. Every time his music hit I hit fast forward. From a personal enjoyment perspective I got nothing for Big Show. But speaking from a business sense this is a really smart move.

I'm not saying it can never happen, but in the history of US TV wrestling no promotion has ever grown to number 1 by developing young and lesser known talent alone. Zero. The peak of the 80s was Vince cherry picking the biggest names in the territories. The peak of the 90s was WCW cherry picking the biggest names of WWE. The peak of 2000+ has been WWE relying on the biggest names form the 80s & 90s, while trying to build up new stars to that level.

Keeping the fans you have happy is not the key to continued success. It's the key to keeping things exactly where they are forever. But just because they are sprinkling in big names doesn't mean they are gonna be running the things people love now out. The Young Bucks, Cody, & Kenny are management. There's no way they are gonna all unanimously decide hey man let's book Big Show vs Sting and not even put any of us on the PPV lol. Again, with WCW as my example, they brought in Hogan & Savage & Hall & Nash & Luger ect. But they also kept what was working. And they started discovering new young talent and sprinkled them in. WCW in 96 wasnt just Hogan vs Bossman & Earthquake matches. Wrestling is a circus. You gotta have something for everyone if you want large appeal. If you have a circus and all you have is a lion tamer, well you'll get people that love that act. But no one else will come to your circus. (Is the circus even a thing anymore lol)

Edited by NoFistsJustFlips
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3 minutes ago, A_K said:

Do you have the data on profits?

I don't but user Mookieghana would lol. No I don't have inside info. I don't have any concrete proof to show you, just anecdotal Melzer quotes where he says they are profitable.

 

But I also have common sense. $43 million + the crazy amount of merch they sell + having massive legitimate sponsors like State Farm + PPV revenue is definitely > operating costs.

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I think at this point AEW has earned the benefit of the doubt, or at least a "wait and see" regarding how they use Wight or any other future "big star vet" signings. Especially given TK's history as a "student of the game". If Sting helps make Darby a bigger star, and the same rub is given by Wight and any by any future signings, AEW will definitely be better off.

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2 hours ago, NoFistsJustFlips said:

+ PPV revenue

This is something that is getting overlooked by detractors trying to pull the "TNA got 1.1 millions viewers every week and were considered a joke" argument. Even not taking into account that the television landscape has changed considerably in the last ten years, AEW has done a MUCH better job converting their weekly television viewers into spending $50 on PPV four times a year. And the fact they're even getting 100,000 buys in the 2021 world of monthly subs is fucking remarkable.

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3 hours ago, NoFistsJustFlips said:

I don't but user Mookieghana would lol. No I don't have inside info. I don't have any concrete proof to show you, just anecdotal Melzer quotes where he says they are profitable.

 

But I also have common sense. $43 million + the crazy amount of merch they sell + having massive legitimate sponsors like State Farm + PPV revenue is definitely > operating costs.

Yeah .. I'd probably lay off assumption that a multi-experiential media start-up is turning profit in year 1 until there's firm data otherwise, but maybe

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38 minutes ago, A_K said:

Yeah .. I'd probably lay off assumption that a multi-experiential media start-up is turning profit in year 1 until there's firm data otherwise, but maybe

Last I heard about it was that their debt was significantly smaller after getting the new deal.  So if they are making money through PPV, merch and other avenues since then it might not be that crazy to think they are either pretty close to or are making a small profit.  Especially once you factor in they're staying in one place for a year and while cheap are selling limited tickets.  I know Meltzer would sometimes have financial news in the newsletter but I stick with the podcasts so not sure what was covered recently.

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1 hour ago, A_K said:

Yeah .. I'd probably lay off assumption that a multi-experiential media start-up is turning profit in year 1 until there's firm data otherwise, but maybe

Meltzer has seen the firm data. He says they're making a profit and have been from day one. I don't think it's out of line to assume the things that have been reported are true. Especially since he's buddies with all the EVPs. As such it was always reported that TNA never got a rights fee from Spike TV, just help paying for the big names. So their best years can't even come close to comparing to AEW's revenue. $43 million dollars a year is a lot of money, especially vs $0 a year. This isn't a multi-experimental media start up. You're still viewing it in carny indy wrestling terms. This isn't Jimmy Hart's XWF. This isn't an energy company buying a tiny Nashville wrestling territory. This is a start up business venture started by a billionaire family with TONS of professional sports and media connections.

I'm not trying to pick a fight. I understand your point. I haven't seen the facts and figures myself. But it's a pretty safe assumption to go with what's been reported in my opinion. TK & AEW haven't been shown to be a company trying to deceive the public. In contrast, to me, assuming they are giving Meltzer fake numbers seems like a stretch.

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17 minutes ago, clintthecrippler said:

This is something that is getting overlooked by detractors trying to pull the "TNA got 1.1 millions viewers every week and were considered a joke" argument. Even not taking into account that the television landscape has changed considerably in the last ten years, AEW has done a MUCH better job converting their weekly television viewers into spending $50 on PPV four times a year. And the fact they're even getting 100,000 buys in the 2021 world of monthly subs is fucking remarkable.

Not to mention that the TV landscape isn't even comparable to now. 1.1 million viewers WAS a joke because everything else was drawing much more than that. It would be like saying TNA then was as successful as Raw is now. It's not. Not even close. If you take into account the overall decline in viewership, there's no way TNA is doing 1.1 million viewers today.

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5 hours ago, NoFistsJustFlips said:

I'm not sure if this example will help you understand any better, but lets use WCW because it's the only example of a company over taking WWE. In 1993 & 1994 the in ring product was really good. Vader running roughshod, Rude, Steamboat, Dustin, Austin, Pillman tearing it up, ect. But they were a deep deep number two. And it took a combination of A LOT of moves for them to close the gap. In addition to the money saving moves Bischoff did, he went out of his way to sign guys that had lots of TV equity. Earthquake. Bossman. Duggan. Honky Tonk Man (for a cup of coffee) and of coarse Hogan. Business metrics started to get better but they were still a clear number two. Then he got Savage. Then came Nitro. Then he got Luger. It was all about momentum and getting wrestlers that people are familiar with in addition to signing new exciting unknowns like Mysterio / Jericho / Benoit / ect.

The people that were already fans of WCW stayed. But what these moves did is change the perception that this was a knock off of the big time WWE. By the beginning of 1996 there were more familiar faces in WCW than WWE. More star power. More TV equity. WWE built new stars. Then he even took those, Hall & Nash, and that's when things really started cooking. My point is this is the only blue print to success that exists. WCW fans were already WCW fans. But all the moves grew the fan base with new eyeballs. That's what AEW is doing. They already have their fans. Now they are trying to grow and get new fans. And it's going to be even tougher than WCW because WWE has been The NFL of Wrestling unopposed for 20 years now.

The reason why this is different than TNA is because TNA was always just an indy company. It was mismanaged and run by carnys. And on their best day, even with all the big names they had at one time, they averaged an audience about 1/5 of AEW's regular viewers. They probably had like 8% of what AEW's operating income is. AEW is a legitimate business with real employees in the office. A legitimate owner that runs an NFL franchise and a pro soccer team. TNT is a real network who has paid a rights fee for programing. AEW isn't TNA so a lot of the TNA mistakes need to be ignored. They were ran like just a big indy with a money mark. What had Dixie Carter ever been successful at? Were they ever viewed as a legitimate company? No. Not by TV networks or advertisers. So people gotta stop holding TNA's sins against AEW's future choices.

As for the quality point, I understand completely and it makes sense. But WCW in 1993 & 1994 had really good quality. And no one gave a shit. The people who did give a shit were already hooked. To grow and get bigger and over take WWE they had to change and appeal to more than just the people already watching. Quality alone isn't enough for wrestling. Wrestling isn't Game of Thrones. It isnt a 7 year journey into a single story conclusion. So just saying ignore everything else and just do a good show isn't really going to work, for professional wrestling.

TLDR : Quality is subjective and kind of irrelevant. Catering to the 700k they have isn't going to grow that number. They need momentum & credibility. Adding big name stars is how they do that. Don't hold TNA's sins against other companies.

The goal here shouldn't be beating WWE. It should be building your own brand, product, and stars and cement AEW as a viable long-term, mainstay wrestling product. By 1999, WCW was already losing the Monday Night Wars on a regular basis and was hemorrhaging money from all those big money contracts.

Also at that time, Sting wasn't 61 years old. Guys like Hulk Hogan weren't even 49 yet. 

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I guess this would be a "spoiler" alert but the WON Year End Award Issue is this week and (unsurprisingly) it appears that AEW did well

Reason I know this is because Meltzer tweeted about doing another radio show with Tony Khan that will be released in conjunction with the awards issue coming out (I doubt DVDVR is coming up in this one)

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13 minutes ago, TheVileOne said:

The goal here shouldn't be beating WWE. It should be building your own brand, product, and stars and cement AEW as a viable long-term, mainstay wrestling product. By 1999, WCW was already losing the Monday Night Wars on a regular basis and was hemorrhaging money from all those big money contracts.

Also at that time, Sting wasn't 61 years old. Guys like Hulk Hogan weren't even 49 yet. 

If you're not first you're last! /Ricky Bobby

You make a good point and you're right. Cementing AEW as a long term profitable venture is more important than the distinction of "beating WWE". But by the same token if you're "beating WWE" you're also cementing AEW as a long term profitable venture. They're not mutually exclusive.

Yes 61 is older than 49. And yes that does make a difference. (As an aside that doesn't matter, give me a 61 year old Sting after how good he looked in the ring last night over a 49 year old Hogan any day lol.) But also take into consideration 49 year old Hogan was 10ish years older than Bret Hart and 20ish years older than The Rock. 61 year old Sting is only about 10ish years older than Goldberg & Edge and only about 20ish years older than McIntrye & Orton & Cena. The numbers have gone up but the age difference remains about the same as WCW.

Edited by NoFistsJustFlips
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17 minutes ago, TheVileOne said:

The goal here shouldn't be beating WWE. It should be building your own brand, product, and stars and cement AEW as a viable long-term, mainstay wrestling product. By 1999, WCW was already losing the Monday Night Wars on a regular basis and was hemorrhaging money from all those big money contracts.

Also at that time, Sting wasn't 61 years old. Guys like Hulk Hogan weren't even 49 yet. 

I would agree with @NoFistsJustFlips's premise in that AEW is it's own animal simply because WCW even post sell from Crockett to Turner and TNA started up against. The former looked like they were going to shut down every year and Ted Turner just being a wrestling fan (really a Ric Flair fan) saved it constantly. I would stop short of saying the in ring product was never an issue. I think it's a company in ring wise from 1988-1995ish that experienced very high highs and very low lows. The changeover in regimes didn't help that because Herd had a mix of good to great shows (GAB 89 was one) and absolutely dreadful (if you put on something like Starrcade 91, you have to get fired), Watts had some blowaway shows (he did well with Clash shows) and some downright boring stuff (besides Sting vs. Vader and maybe the opener, GAB 92 was the most dry AF, boring wrestling show in history), and it took Bischoff some time to gain his footing.

TNA put itself in the hole from the jump with the weekly PPVs. 

That said, I think because so many stars from the past have kinda either retired, passed on, or just walked away from the business in some other form, the amount of signings like a Paul Wight are always going to be finite automatically. That goes especially when WWE is locking people into multi-year deals. This ain't the era where WWE is having these annual purges where they just future endeavor everyone they aren't using. That itself allowed TNA to get into a situation where they just sign everyone, past their prime or not. I think it's to where people have this automatic gag reflex or PTSD because people have a natural mistrust of how people plan to use talent.

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This is also probably obvious, but an important point to make in this conversation: TNA fucked themselves by naming themselves TNA. What toy store wants to sell TNA action figures? How many of their PPV buys were from people angry they got wrestling? Just in absolutely no way sponsor or network friendly. If they'd been Impact or just NWA from the beginning, I have a feeling it would have opened more doors for them in that regard.

That being said, I agree with just about everything posted by @NoFistsJustFlips .AEW is just such a different ballgame in every possible way from an ownership and business perspective.

But I completely understand it. I'm a huge AEW guy, and even me, until I found out The Elite were involved, I (wrongly) treated every news item like "JR and the Jags are starting another XWF." We can all now safely admit that AEW is real, and making money. It's okay. Hogan and Bischoff can't get you now.

 

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9 minutes ago, HarryArchieGus said:
I don't think he's wrong.

The problem with his logic is it works for one on one, tag team, trios, etc. When it comes to promotion vs. promotion, there is a reason why those guys no longer work for you. And ain't because they want to change addresses.

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59 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

The problem with his logic is it works for one on one, tag team, trios, etc. When it comes to promotion vs. promotion, there is a reason why those guys no longer work for you. And ain't because they want to change addresses.

I gotta agree. Dreamer is 1000000% right if you're talking about a physical person you can fight. You'll look bad if you lose to the guy you shit talked as a bum. But when it's a promotion, no ones gonna give a shit if you build up the other promotion. Oh gee Impact has some fun stars and a great product, I think we're better but we're both good gee golly. That shit's boring. When it's a promotion vs promotion feud you need conflict you need controversy you need realism. And dudes that used to work at Impact, by and large, did not enjoy their time there. And everyone knows it. Plus it's not like one promotion is gonna lose to the other. Impact is not in a fight with AEW, they are partners right now. But as adversaries they are closer in weight to MLW & ROH than AEW & NXT.

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3 hours ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

I would agree with @NoFistsJustFlips's premise in that AEW is it's own animal simply because WCW even post sell from Crockett to Turner and TNA started up against. The former looked like they were going to shut down every year and Ted Turner just being a wrestling fan (really a Ric Flair fan) saved it constantly. I would stop short of saying the in ring product was never an issue. I think it's a company in ring wise from 1988-1995ish that experienced very high highs and very low lows. The changeover in regimes didn't help that because Herd had a mix of good to great shows (GAB 89 was one) and absolutely dreadful (if you put on something like Starrcade 91, you have to get fired), Watts had some blowaway shows (he did well with Clash shows) and some downright boring stuff (besides Sting vs. Vader and maybe the opener, GAB 92 was the most dry AF, boring wrestling show in history), and it took Bischoff some time to gain his footing.

TNA put itself in the hole from the jump with the weekly PPVs. 

That said, I think because so many stars from the past have kinda either retired, passed on, or just walked away from the business in some other form, the amount of signings like a Paul Wight are always going to be finite automatically. That goes especially when WWE is locking people into multi-year deals. This ain't the era where WWE is having these annual purges where they just future endeavor everyone they aren't using. That itself allowed TNA to get into a situation where they just sign everyone, past their prime or not. I think it's to where people have this automatic gag reflex or PTSD because people have a natural mistrust of how people plan to use talent.

No, we are in a pandemic era. And less than a year ago WWE just dumped off a ton of people they weren't using, some of whom were just signed to lucrative contracts before the pandemic cuts. Of that group, only Serena Deeb and Rusev went to AEW, unless I'm blanking on others. The Good Brothers, Deonna Purrazzo, Heath Slater, Brian Myers, Eric Young went to Impact. EC3, Mike Bennett went to ROH. Lio Rush has done a little bit of NJPW Strong. Daivari went to MLW.  Granted, Shawn Daivari and Deeb weren't really onscreen wrestlers for WWE when they got cut. Matt Cardona doesn't look like he's setting up roots anywhere, but he's worked both AEW and Impact since his release.

And since we're still in the pandemic, and WWE still having to answer to stockholders every quarter, I will not at all be surprised if there's another spring cleaning come April or May. Not sure how they are going to keep guys they aren't using like Aleister Black, Chelsea Green, Bo Dallas, etc. In Black's case, I certainly can't see how he's much longer for WWE.

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10 minutes ago, TheVileOne said:

No, we are in a pandemic era. And less than a year ago WWE just dumped off a ton of people they weren't using, some of whom were just signed to lucrative contracts before the pandemic cuts. Of that group, only Serena Deeb and Rusev went to AEW, unless I'm blanking on others. The Good Brothers, Deonna Purrazzo, Heath Slater, Brian Myers, Eric Young went to Impact. EC3, Mike Bennett went to ROH. Lio Rush has done a little bit of NJPW Strong. Daivari went to MLW.  Granted, Shawn Daivari and Deeb weren't really onscreen wrestlers for WWE when they got cut. Matt Cardona doesn't look like he's setting up roots anywhere, but he's worked both AEW and Impact since his release.

And since we're still in the pandemic, and WWE still having to answer to stockholders every quarter, I will not at all be surprised if there's another spring cleaning come April or May. Not sure how they are going to keep guys they aren't using like Aleister Black, Chelsea Green, Bo Dallas, etc. In Black's case, I certainly can't see how he's much longer for WWE.

At this point, they can trim some fat and still not have a dent in their roster. Moreover, I doubt it would be higher priced contracts. It's not like WWE is the only one dealing covid. If folks are coming in, unless it's a Sting or a Paul Wight or the Good Brothers, they are likely coming in on a very reasonable, cost efficient deal. I think that's why these (non-WWE) companies are being flexible and trading talents or allowing folks to take bookings similar to WWF's set up in the mid 90s. 

Goddamn independent contracting working like it's suppose to. WHO KNEW?!

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On 2/24/2021 at 12:47 PM, A_K said:

Is there any precedent for having a commentator who is sizeably more imposing than the rest of the entire roster? Not sure that’s a good idea at all.

Wade Barrett in NXT?

On 2/24/2021 at 5:57 PM, tbarrie said:

...probably? I suspect that name is too generic to trademark, but I'm not a lawyer.

WWE presumably purchased WCW’s trademark on “The Giant” as part of the WCW IP, but I also imagine it lapsed like a lot of the other WCW-era trademarks AEW obtained.  It wouldn’t shock me to see them try to trademark it.

On 2/24/2021 at 8:00 PM, NoFistsJustFlips said:

But do people really not understand what JR brings to the show? I understand he's grouchy, he's a curmudgeon, sometimes he doesn't like what he sees and he lets you know about it. But he's also the most famous wrestling announcer in the history of the business. He was the lead voice when they were doing 6 million viewers a week. He brings credibility

Maybe it’s just me, but it’s not a good thing to have the guy who brings credibility sounding grouchy and disinterested in parts of the show. 

3 hours ago, Go2Sleep said:

Fun thought experiment: What if when Hogan went to WCW, he booked himself like Cody Rhodes in AEW?

Funny, I thought Cody was booking himself like Hogan in late-era WCW, like when he was “putting over” Kidman.

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The key with Paul Wight is going to be usage, as so many other folks here have said. Do I want to see him for 10-15 minutes in the ring every week like 2011 WWE? Hell no. Do I think he's exactly the kind of easy charisma that plays really well as an announcer? Yep. Do I think he'll occasionally strap them up as someone's "surprise partner" or as an attraction? Sure, why not? Overexposure is death. As an ambassador, commentator, and a half dozen or so ring appearances a year-er, he's worth every penny.

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It'd be hilarious if they use him like giants are suppose to be used: seldom and there for feats of strength and to win battle royals.

Since we were discussing blading in the other AEW thread, I would be completely fine with if they redid the Andre battle royal thing from the SNME before WM III. Who would be Lanny Poffo in this situation and willing to bleed a gusher and do a stretcher job? 

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