I decided to sit down tonight and write down a few thoughts on where I see the NWA going over the next couple of months. We already know that Cornette is out, David Marquez appears to be on the way out as well. Who else might be questioning their employment is anyone’s guess but the writing appears to be on the wall and it’s not good.
For starters we’re not even two months into this promotion and it’s already been embroiled in controversy. With a couple big names on the TV show leaving and several openly questioning the direction of the company it seems that cracks are appearing here nearly as fast as they did in the early 2000’s with the now long defunct World Wrestling All-Stars.
Other things that don’t add up to me, we’re three weeks away from their first pay-per-view and we’ve yet to hear a single match announced for the program. Either they are hoping people will pre-order and not care what is on the card or they are doing a pretty damn bad job at building towards their first post tv show ppv. Many people have pre-ordered, I know I did(I’ve now had that refunded), but this is not going to make up for PPV buys that would have been gained from good feud building and planning.
So with that out of the way, here are my top 5 predictions for the future of the NWA.
Prediction 1: More Exits
It will be interesting to see who is there for the second set of tapings and who is missing. To be honest we might not see all that many exits during the next set of taped episodes but I do believe they are on the way. I’ve noticed the amount of outside dates that the workers for the NWA are doing outside of the company, it seems pretty obvious the NWA isn’t a cash cow and when push comes to shove, how many of these workers will stick with the company if the stress level starts to rise? Several of the stars of the NWA today could easily use this promotion as a jumping off spot for other promotions with bigger paydays. So I expect to see some more exits within the second and third tape schedules.
Prediction 2: Programming Changes
When I first started watching NWA Powerrr I was really excited about the old school feel but to be perfectly honest it’s never been clear whether this is a promotion that wants to be taken seriously as an old-school style promotion or a promotion that wants to be seen as a parody of an old-school style promotion. This confusion may explain some of the issues that the NWA has faced with having a returning fanbase.
The first episode of NWA Powerrr has garnered nearly 560,000 views, the second 324,000, the third 227 and on downward. The last episode of Powerrr is sitting at near 70,000 views, the original episode was taken down nearly as soon as it had finished and if prior weeks are a clue it probably gathered about 10-15k views during it’s first hour. So will go with the large end and say it’s gotten 85,000 views so far, far less than any episode to date and while the NWA keeps pushing that they are happy with their numbers, that large of a drop has to be weighing on those with money on the line.
So what does this mean, at least in my opinion? Programming changes are more than likely on the way. I honestly think that we will see a shift from wrestling driven to segment driven shows within the next few months.
Prediction 3: Scramble to Figure Out Their FanBase
This first PPV after the debut of Powerrr is going to be a struggle for the company, especially with the current controversy they’ve faced. The removal of Cornette and Marquez will see a small but not insignificant portion of the audience go away. With no way to change programming until after the next set of TV tapings there are still a few episodes with the old crew in line. This could actually hurt them from both sides of the controversy. Those that wanted Cornette removed will not be happy seeing him on the next several weeks of programming, those that didn’t want him removed will see the next several weeks of programming as a sad reminder that he will soon be gone.
I would predict the next few weeks heading into the PPV will be on the low end for viewers and thus the next set of TV tapings could be a jumbled mess as the higher ups try to grasp hold of who will fill their new fanbase. I’ve yet to see a promotion, apart from the WWE, successfully make it through one of these scramble periods and end up better off in the end.
Prediction 4: NWA Becomes Just Another Indy Wrestling Show On YouTube
It’s no secret that several of the top talent in the NWA today have been through situations like this before in larger companies with far deeper pockets than the NWA. If the PPV payout is underwhelming, if the stress levels rise due to dwindling viewers and programming changes, and if any of the larger named talents walk away from the company we could see a mass exodus and in the end be left with an indy show that has less production values than other indy shows already on YouTube.
Championship Wrestling from Hollywood has better production values, they’ve been on YouTube longer and have actual TV in several markets. If the NWA underwhelms in terms of the PPV and YouTube viewership, expect them to move more towards the style of CWFH, an Impact wrestling clone, or they could try and reproduce what the WWE does with a fraction of the budget. None of these would be good for the company and the last one would be absolutely disastrous.
Prediction 5: NWA, As It Is Now, Ceases to Exist Within A Year
Billy Corgan doesn’t have the connections or business savvy of Vince McMahon, He doesn’t own the platform that his promotion appears on unlike Impact, and his pockets are empty when you compare them to the deep pools in Tony Khans pants. While he does seem to have a passion for the wrestling industry, that passion can’t force people to buy tickets, merch, or grow their viewership.
Billy is a business man, and if it begins to appear as if this promotion is going to be consistently in the red I have little doubt that he’ll cut ties and sell off the company to the next person that wants to give the NWA letters a try. A few years back Jim Cornette mentioned in a shoot interview that the professional wrestling industry was dead and sports entertainment killed it. Even though I had hopes that the NWA would lead to a resurgence of old school style professional wrestling action, my hopes are becoming slimmer and slimmer.
And so my last prediction here is that the Corgan version of the NWA is gone within the next year. It was a good try, worked well as an idea, but modern business practices and the modern environment cannot allow for an Old-School NWA to exist.
In reality we’ve been rooting for an NWA skin. This isn’t a group of promoters working together promoting across the globe, this is a singular entity working under the letters of the NWA. There isn’t a cooperation among many small parts as was the case during the territory days, this is an NWA case on a modern promotion, looking at it that way now it’s hard not to see that this company and idea was doomed to fail from the very beginning. Eventually the case wears out and you have to get a new one or else expose what’s actually there. A musician who tried to purchase one already failed promotion, lost that opportunity, and so attempted to resurrect a promotion that has been gone so long that we would grasp at any small hope it might make a comeback.