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WWE Global territories...


Ron Simmons

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A few years ago it was rumoured WWE were planning on revolutionizing wrestling (for better or worse) by splitting the company into territories, for example WWE: Europe, WWE: Japan etc.

 

Here's an article on it I found through a quick Google search - I'm sure there's something better out there, but it'll at least provide some background to the idea if you've not heard of it:

 

From ProWrestling.com:

 

Oh, and rumour at the time was that WWE would set up a European territory too, so the article isn't entirely accurate.

Hi all, and welcome to another offering of thoughts on the business world of wrestling. As promised, this week an analysis of reports that in 2008, the WWE may look into producing five (yes, count them, five!) brands.

 

Now, I should start by saying this is all subject to change, reports to date are very tentative and it may never go ahead. However the plan that has been muted so far is maintaining the existing three brands (Raw, Smackdown and ECW) as they are with the introduction of two

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At the time, from a "BritWres solidarity" perspective, it seemed like the worst news in the world, because it would clearly have put an end to most independent British efforts, good or bad.

 

However, from a fan perspective, I reckon it would've been great to have, in effect, a "micro-WWE" in the UK. With the money they could have put into production and promotion (not to mention the unmatchable boost from simply touting the WWE brand), the landscape would've been changed drastically, and in many ways for the better - there'd have been more diversity in the WWE brand, plus much more accessible live shows. Young British talent would've been given a major chance at exposure on a regular basis (unlike now, where it considered to be, and is, a significant win if there's even a small appearance on regular TV, even in a non-wrestling show), and would've had a chance to rub shoulders with some of the good and great of WWE (who, naturally, would've done the odd "overseas" appearance every so often, territory-style, to boost attendance).

 

I'm thinking we'd have seen something like 1-2,000-strong venues sold out on a regular basis, with cards made up of mostly WWE-trained British talent, with four or five "main" WWE names, mainly midcarders, with perhaps an upper-mid for regular shows, like perhaps Swagger or Punk, to a perennial main eventer/merch-shifter once or twice a year for big shows, like Rey or Triple H.

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Surely the setup costs alone would be too much to even consider doing this kind of thing, could the WWE really sell out venues the size of Wembley arena every week just because someone like Kofi Kingston or Big Show will appear? If the WWE were to create a British arm of the company they'd have to put a ridiculous amount of time into building and promoting British talent to make the British wrestling fan come to a show. Even if the WWE shipped Sheamus, McIntyre and Regal over here next week I doubt many people would care.

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Surely the setup costs alone would be too much to even consider doing this kind of thing, could the WWE really sell out venues the size of Wembley arena every week just because someone like Kofi Kingston or Big Show will appear? If the WWE were to create a British arm of the company they'd have to put a ridiculous amount of time into building and promoting British talent to make the British wrestling fan come to a show. Even if the WWE shipped Sheamus, McIntyre and Regal over here next week I doubt many people would care.

 

Like I mentioned, I think they'd have sold out 1-2000 capacity venues, rather than Wembley or MEN arenas - they'd have kept the big arena shows for when the main brand came over, and run the WWE house show circuit medium-sized venues, and maybe some of the ones Brian Dixon got for them, for the British arm. And I think they would have done very well - as many people have pointed out on here in recent years, WWE's brand recognition has reached a point where it's very rare for individual wrestlers to be considered draws any more; it's the brand which sells the shows now. Even just a fraction of that popularity, coupled with the promotion they could easily afford, they could sell out, say, the ExCel. And if they had a name like Sheamus or Wade Barrett, even more likely.

 

Also, another point comes to mind: a major factor why BritWres shows don't do so well is because, very simply, people don't know there's wrestling on, and the promotions can't afford the publicity required to draw them. Very often, just the word "wrestling" sells a show, as Dixon's shows demonstrate regularly, and as the Scottish supershows also show.

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I'm not so sure how accurate it is to say that it's "the brand" that sells tickets, I'm sure it's accurate to a certain extent but I think that the average WWE fan might be put off if they went to purchase tickets to a show only to discover that the big stars like Cena, Mysterio or Undertaker weren't actually going to be there. WWE fans expect a certain type of show and I'm not sure a group of unknown British wrestlers could give the audience the kind of spectacle they'd expect.

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True, but you'd be surprised at the number of fans you can get to a BritWres show who come because they want to see stuff "like John Cena" - just the promise of pro-wrestling's enough to draw, seriously. Stick someone like Kofi Kingston on the card, you'd fill a medium-sized venue. Plus, with the kind of production WWE put into anything, even OVW when it was their feeder fed, they'd most certainly get repeat business.

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The main issue for me would be the handling of major PPV's like Wrestlemania and the Royal Rumble. I guess they could have a "Wrestlemania Europe"/"Wrestlemania Japan" etc, but it wouldn't be the same.

 

The best way to work it as far as I can think would be to have a WWE: Europe and a WWE: USA brand that both air in the US and Europe. They could have a bi-annual draft that really would seem a big deal because you don't know who could end up in your country. It'd help solidify the two brands also, and create a solid "brand split" like when the idea first started. As for PPV's, they could make them brand specific, but when it came to Wrestlemania/Summerslam/Royal Rumble the two brands could combine, creating a golbal event. I'm not convinced holding Summerslam in Europe would hurt the money it brings in, and they could perhaps experiment through that to see if it could ever be worth holding a Wrestlemania event in Europe, thus creating a global event -kinda like the World Cup... Obviously it would be held in the US more often than not, but it would be a let down to European fans if all the huge PPV's were held in the States, you'd have to at the very least experiment with some of the "less big" shows by holding them within a territory.

 

As far as wrestlers go, they could have a fairly even split if the shows aired in both countries. No wrestler should be forced to go to the European territory, or to the States, but there's no reason that they couldn't. You could also build up to "dream matches" between the brands over time.

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I guess they could've set up a few FCW-style promotions up around the world, with different trainers. Trainees could be shifted around them -- six months in Florida, six months in England, six months in wherever. It'd help produce more varied rookies.

 

From a promotional standpoint, though, it wouldn't have been much cop. They couldn't promote what would basically be a well-run shitty Britwres show as WWE without damaging the brand's overall reputation. They couldn't run WWE (or TNA) sized shows on a regular basis because people in the same market just aren't going to pay proper ticket prices that often, most of the people that turned up once would be gutted about the lack of stars, and it'd oversaturate the market for the full tours.

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