Feature: Steve Anderson Speculates About a 3rd Promotion


Forgive me. I inadvertently referred to the upcoming Y2J vs. HBK bout as a Summerslam match instead of an Unforgiven bout. Thanks to all those with a level head who pointed out my faux pas.

Every once in awhile, the buzz buzzes about someone establishing a third promotion. Lately, itâ<80><99>s been Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan making noises about forming a fed. Their celebrity wrestling reality show is about to debut on CMT and there is already talk that the show could lead to an actual wrestling promotion to compete with WWF and TNA.

Mind you, itâ<80><99>s worked before. When I was cutting my teeth as a wrestling fan, I had the AWA, the American Wrestling Associationâ<80>¦.the greatest professional wrestlers from throughout theâ<80>¦I digress. In pre and early post-WWF-Goes-National days, there was the big group on the east, the NWA in the Southeast, and the AWA in the Midwest and portions of the Southwest.

By 1990, Vince McMahonâ<80><99>s expansion forced the closure of the AWA, never to be seen again. Okay, thereâ<80><99>s a knockoff group with a promoter whose surname is supposedly Gagne claiming the legacy of the AWA. Folks, that claim is about as legitimate as the promoterâ<80><99>s last name.

Again, I digress.

After the AWA folded, wrestling fans had two choices. The NWA (soon to be WCW) and the WWF. A few years later, an upstart group in Philly started making a ruckus. ECW was born and, by 1997, was competing on a national scale. Pay-per-view and a television contract with TNN made them a force to reckon with.

2001 saw the death of WCW and ECW. TNA stepped forward, first with weekly pay-per-views and then a TV contract on Spike.

So, we now have two functioning and reasonably successful promotions. Why not three?

Iâ<80><99>ll tell you why not three. When the AWA/NWA/WWF trifecta existed, wrestling was a different business. Despite Vinceâ<80><99>s best efforts, the territories still existed. Wrestling wasnâ<80><99>t a fad, it was a way of life for fans. Those fans were not casual and would not lose interest in favor of another pastime. There was no national spotlight, nor was it considered â<80><9c>coolâ<80> or â<80><9c>trendy.â<80> Those folks were loyal to the business and to their respective â<80><9c>home team.â<80>

ECW was an anomaly, and a good one at that. No one gave them a chance to succeed, let alone showcase their wares on a national scale. But, they did it. Profit or loss, they kept chugging along, showing that there is room for a third group. But ECW offered an alternative. Wrestling back then was a bit squeaky clean and cartoonish. ECW gave us blood, broken bones and a healthy does of violent reality.

WWF and WCW eventually co-opted ECWâ<80><99>s extremely wily ways, effectively killing the promotion.

And donâ<80><99>t get me started on that AWF fiasco from years ago.

Frankly, the mere suggestion of a third promotion makes me shudder. Shudder at how much money will be pissed away because of delusions of grandeur and massive egos. The idea should never come to fruition. And if it does, it will go over like a fart in church.

TNA just attained profitability after years of hemorrhaging money. They were close to hanging an â<80><9c>Out of Businessâ<80> sign on their office doors many times. However, they persevered. They staff people who know how to run a business and those you are devoted and passionate when it comes to â<80><9c>the business.â<80>

If Bischoff and Hogan are indeed running this third promotion, you can count on the other usual suspects as well. Jimmy Hart, Jim Duggan, Brian Knobs, Bubba the Love Sponge, and any other wrestler who has a bad case of hero worship/man love for the Hulkster. Iâ<80><99>m not saying that Bischoff canâ<80><99>t do it. He has a mind for the business, despite the naysayers. But he needs a roster to work with.

Hogan would probably headline and become the groupâ<80><99>s first and likely only world champion. With a handful of b-days before sixty, Hogan needs to ride off in the sunset. His reputation and legacy are already sullied due to some jailhouse phone conversations and a nasty divorce.

I hope its just talk and not reality. The wrestling business has WWE and TNA. ROH and other groups exist quite well at a sub-level. There are only so many wrestling fans, both casual and hardcore. Those casual fans come and go and make up a majority of overall wrestling fans. A Hulk Hogan-ified â<80><9c>legendsâ<80> (quote intended) promotion will do little to better the business of wrestling.

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