I think they even had to change their name from British Wrestling Council, because legally a Council has to be voted in?
But yes, it was basically a case of wanting to control the scene through self imposed legislation.
The simple idea was to set up a system whereby you:
- Encourage schools to use the arm band system. Charge them money.
- Encourage wrestlers to earn arm bands to prove their worth. Charge them money.
- Encourage promotions to only use arm banded wrestlers. Charge them money.
Implementing a martial arts style colour grading system isn't a terrible idea, though why you'd need to pay a self created body for this is beyond me.
And in fairness to them this isn't the first time this sort of system has been setup. Martial arts will use the above system, as well as the scuba diving industry.
The main issue from these sort of plans was the complete lack of benefits. It was always so blatantly one sided a deal. The reason it works so well with the scuba and martial arts examples above is because the benefits (being recognised by tournaments, discount on health and safety insurance, getting listed on key websites) FAR FAR outweighed the cost. Effectively you shoot yourself in the foot by not being apart of the system.
So BWC had a massive uphill battle as nothing was in place. There were too many non arm-banded wrestlers, too many promotions who will use who they want, and too many schools not willing to pay money for the privilege of the armbands.
And this isn't the first time people have tried to make money in this way. I remember two other schemes that came up:
1) Not long prior there was also RQW (Real Quality Wrestling), whereby a promotion could "earn" a RQW badge on their poster to prove and feature interpromotional RQW champions. In return I think you'd also get assistance with video production I believe from memory. It quickly fell apart because (a) Len Davis who was a key part of it was difficult to work with and (b) it was a blatant attempt to launch their own promotion off the back of it. I remember they came to a LDN show I was producing and Len sneaked him his women's championship onto the show, even instructed the ring announcer to announcer her as the RQW Women's Champion. Suffice to say I had that shit cut out of LDN TV and made up some bollocks on commentary that it was a "Pacific Championship belt" that was won off show.
2) But the REAL killer was FWA's Regional Promoter scheme which I was approached to be a part of. In a nutshell, you pay FWA the rights to their name to run your own show, and they supplied the ring and a few other bits. The idea was to have a different regional heads in each geographic area. Actually not a terrible idea in itself due to FWA's popularity at the time.
Where it fell apart was greed. The contract basically stipulated (a) you put forward all costs to the show (b) FWA dictated those costs, and who wrestled on the show (c) if they had a international you HAD to use them (d) if the show made money you had to share 50% of the profits (e) if the show lost money that was all on you.
Naturally I attempted to renegotiate with Greg Lambert and advised him the contract was rediculous. I offered a counter offer where I'd pay a single one off fee to use the FWA name and equipment, but that was it. Greg refused stating that "that's not how it works". I advised him that "that's not how franchising worked" and I walked away.
But where it got better was that they attempted to slap this agreement onto Sanjay Bagga. Bagga was already promoting a handful of FWA's shows (which drew), and when they tried to throw this contract at him he also walked away. Sanjay launched LDN, and despite what many may think of him, he has successfully been touring shows ever since. They basically shot themselves in the foot due to their greed.