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The W - Pro Wrestling - Could Territories work today?
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Scottyflamingo
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Since: 23.6.10
From: Auburn, AL

Since last post: 521 days
Last activity: 250 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.77
I've been reading Tributes II and have been thinking about the territory system a lot. Now I don't think that you can put that genie back in the bottle in some ways. A national televised product is key to being anything in today's wrestling.

However, I can see beneifits to something akin to minor and major leagues in other sports. WWE basically did this with OVW. TNA has had loose agreements with ROH in the past. Hell, you could even say this was the case with ECW and WWF in the 90's to a degree.

So why not do something like that on a bigger scale. Say you had TNA work out a deal with ROH and PWG. The smaller companies would find talent and utitlize the new wrestlers. Eventually a wrester will get to the point where they have nowhere to go regardless of how good they are (think Brian Danielson in ROH...what else could he do there?). When that happened the wrestler would be sent to TNA to get national exposure before the ROH fans got tired of them.

On the flipside, you have guys in TNA that creative doesn't have anything for. Somebody like Homicide. Homicide goes back to ROH which gives them a big name to book around for six weeks. Then he can go back to TNA with a fresh start.
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InVerse
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Since: 26.8.02

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.81
Wouldn't that basically be the equivalent of the WWE sending someone back to FCW, just with different management?

If you want something similar to the old territories, it's going to require more than one or two indie feds. The biggest benefit of the territories was that a worker got to wrestle in front of completely different crowds, under completely different management.

Ideally, the WWE and/or TNA would work out deals with at least half-a-dozen independent promotions around the country. It wouldn't even need to be a financial deal, really. I'm sure there are plenty of indie feds that would be willing to book one or two WWE prospects in exchange for free tickets when the WWE is in town and maybe an occasional lending of big name talent.

Edit: Additionally, they should send anyone without international experience for at least a couple of months to Japan, Mexico or Europe. Also, it couldn't hurt to hire an acting coach to travel with them. Jericho and R-Truth have both clearly benefited from their time with coaches. (Before anyone makes the comments, if you actually pay attention to R-Truth when he's playing off of someone in an interview, he has extremely good timing & reactions. The locker room bit where Dibiase tried to hire him is a prime example of this.)

(edited by InVerse on 18.8.10 2126)
Scottyflamingo
Bratwurst








Since: 23.6.10
From: Auburn, AL

Since last post: 521 days
Last activity: 250 days
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.77
Ideally, you could build up a promotion to be big enough to become a "sister" promotion and could possibly sell it as another show to a network. Kind of the way the brand extension should have been. Of course it nobody is going to want to create a potential rival, so you'd have to have an owner who had a financial stake in the other company.
StingArmy
Andouille








Since: 3.5.03
From: Georgia bred, you can tell by my Hawk jersey

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.43
    Originally posted by InVerse
    (Before anyone makes the comments, if you actually pay attention to R-Truth when he's playing off of someone in an interview, he has extremely good timing & reactions. The locker room bit where Dibiase tried to hire him is a prime example of this.)

Not to threadjack too much, but I hadn't realized R-Truth had been working with an acting coach. But I absolutely agree with your assessment. Ever since that DiBiase thing I had been taking note of how much better his timing, delivery, etc. is than just about anybody else on the roster.

- StingArmy
lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.56
The thing with ROH is even though they have a working deal with TNA, they want to keep their independence. I would also think that a good chunk not all of the people watching ROH are watching TNA and WWE. Whatever is left over is such a small minority I doubt it would make a difference in the ratings. WWE has sorta has territories, they just don't use them for national syndication which is a shame. I remember AWA having ESPN and NWA on the SuperStation while WWE was on USA and a channel I got out of New York. For the territories to work, they need to be on cable which TNA is and ROH is not. ROH would need to be on a cable channel like Spike where its a male centered channel maybe even ESPN Classics or something like that.

I would argue that the territories didn't really work since most of the time, the world champ would go in there and bury whoever he faced and moved on to the next one. They were lucky to have Flair for a good chunk of the 80s, someone who could make guys look like stars. Can you imagine Super-Cena or Hogan during that time, forget it. Kurt, AJ, Jericho and a handful of others could pull that off. I think if you wanted to do territories right, you would need another NWA group to keep everyone in line. You need a strong central force like the Federal government or you would end up with companies doing fuck it all with the talent that is imported in.

It would help TNA if they did have some other televised place to go to showcase the X-Division, KO division as well as build up the tag division and mid-card. Yet, I can't see ROH giving control while Hogan and Bischoff are there considering Cornette is helping ROH even TNA getting Heyman would be worse. TNA's best bet is to wait til ROH gets a show on a real network wait a year to see how they do, buy them out, keep the timeslot and just add some of their lost in the wilderness talent while moving some of the ROH up to TNA.

Territories are not a real option for WWE for a few reasons. One, they are global and people come to them for jobs rarely do they go else where for talent. Two, as we see with Smackdown, any show that outdoes Raw gets the hammer. If you had a territory with a lot of buzz and getting better ratings in that area then Raw, those people would get moved up to Raw and Smackdown instead of thriving in that environment. Nothing can be bigger then Raw that is why Smackdown gets raped every year in the draft. Three, Vince isn't going to be an equal to anyone anymore. Hell, he didn't want to be an equal when the territories were around, he crushed them. To work with the territories' owner, you have to have trust, mutual respect and a good amount of openness. Vince is not cable of that on that high of a level. He may have it with some of the talent during a period of time, but its never really long term unless you marry into the family. Lastly, Vince already tried and failed. OVW has been canned and that was a show in that area getting good ratings as well as developing some good talent. For whatever reason, probably financial, he closed off ties with it. It was in a good area for wrestling fans maybe moving it to Pa, just to get the NY/NJ/NE crowd would have been better, but still, a good spot. He moved it to FCW where we don't hear much from them or their talent. I think it was done to keep the Graham family happy since Mike Graham has no problem going on tape trashing Vince' enemies. The WWE is stagnant right now and are not really thinking ahead of the future when they already have Cena, Miz, Sheamus, Orton and other fairly young people who can go another 5 years in those spots. So why bother.

(edited by lotjx on 19.8.10 0747)
Amos Cochran
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Since: 28.8.09

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.68
You do realise that the FCW talent we apparently hear nothing about has made up the majority of the last two seasons' worth of NXT cast, right?

Also, TNA can barely afford to keep itself afloat. I don't think they're going to be in a position to buy any rival company out, ever.
graves9
Landjager








Since: 19.2.10
From: Brooklyn NY

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.21
    Originally posted by Amos Cochran
    You do realise that the FCW talent we apparently hear nothing about has made up the majority of the last two seasons' worth of NXT cast, right?

    Also, TNA can barely afford to keep itself afloat. I don't think they're going to be in a position to buy any rival company out, ever.
I suggest stop reading Scott Keith's stuff and start reading J.P Prag's stuff. He's one of the few good writers at 411 wrestling and breaks down the business aspect down very well.

(edited by graves9 on 19.8.10 0857)
Matt Tracker
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Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

Since last post: 2 days
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.99
We have a number of very small feds in the mid-Atlantic area. They're spin-offs of the many wrestling schools started by pros, and I think they work fine for what they try to accomplish: cheap, live rasslin for local folks. Sometimes you see a quasi-famous guy ride through town for a show (Chris Hamrick, for instance), and in some cases the audience is mostly family members of the performers. Its like community theatre that way.



"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
Amos Cochran
Lap cheong








Since: 28.8.09

Since last post: 4 days
Last activity: 3 days
#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.86
If you think Scott Keith is the only guy talking about TNA's bottomless pit of finances, I don't know what to tell you.
lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

Since last post: 3 days
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.56
The thing with OVW was we knew about Prototype ie Cena, Leviathan ie Batista and others before they came to the WWE. FCW just shifted them off to NXT and had zero fanfare. The only person who got fanfare was the guy from ROH. NXT is not going to be around forever. As for TNA buying ROH, it was just a suggestion and only once ROH got on a more high profile network and if they did ok. TNA's business is mystery, last year it was the most successful ever and now its in the toilet, really only Dixie and a handful of others know the real story. And as long as it has the backing of an energy company, I think it will be ok, but who really knows.
InVerse
Bierwurst








Since: 26.8.02

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.81
    Originally posted by lotjx
    The thing with OVW was we knew about Prototype ie Cena, Leviathan ie Batista and others before they came to the WWE. FCW just shifted them off to NXT and had zero fanfare.


Knew about them from what? From watching the OVW TV show? From reading about them on dirt sheets? I don't recall the WWE ever giving these guys any coverage prior to debuting them.

So is your complaint that the dirt sheets aren't covering FCW the way they did OVW? If so, you can't blame that on the WWE. Last I heard, FCW TV tapings were open to the public and the TV program is certainly publicly aired. There's no reason why FCW would get any less coverage than OVW other than nobody bothering to provide it.

    Originally posted by StingArmy
    I hadn't realized R-Truth had been working with an acting coach.


I don't recall where I read this now but I believe it was either at the end of his TNA run or prior to signing with the WWE. (It could have been connected to his appearance in The Wrestler, though that seems unlikely.) I would say that Killings' voice and manner of speaking would limit the types of roles that he could play but I think he could play the correct roles extremely well.
Matt Tracker
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Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

Since last post: 2 days
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.99
    Originally posted by InVerse
    I don't recall where I read this now but I believe it was either at the end of his TNA run or prior to signing with the WWE. (It could have been connected to his appearance in The Wrestler, though that seems unlikely.) I would say that Killings' voice and manner of speaking would limit the types of roles that he could play but I think he could play the correct roles extremely well.


As long as it isn't Pretty Ricky (youtube.com) again.



"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 4 days
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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.52
    Originally posted by InVerse
      Originally posted by lotjx
      The thing with OVW was we knew about Prototype ie Cena, Leviathan ie Batista and others before they came to the WWE. FCW just shifted them off to NXT and had zero fanfare.


    Knew about them from what? From watching the OVW TV show?


I think they did dark matches and worked house shows for a good long while before coming up. Well, Batista and Lesnar did, I don't think Cena did.


    Originally posted by lotjx
    Lastly, Vince already tried and failed. OVW has been canned and that was a show in that area getting good ratings as well as developing some good talent. For whatever reason, probably financial, he closed off ties with it.


WWF really did have the closest thing to a territory system in the early 2000s when they had more than one developmental circuit. They had OVW in Kentucky, they had HWA in Cincinnati, they had Lawler's Memphis group, they scouted UPW in California although I don't think they were officially affiliated. That was by far the best system for acquiring and developing new talent, but for whatever reason their whole mindset has been to consolidate everything to a single place, cut corners in its budget, and Peter Principle the people in charge of it.

I don't think there's much of a debate that WWF developmental in OVW under Jim Ross was a loss better than FCW under John Laurinaitis. Most of that starts with who they hire in the first place (i.e. slightly more diligent than hiring wrestlers' kids and 6'2 guys with abs). Since WWE dumped OVW and Deep South in, I think, 2007, the only significant non-NXT talent broken in from the FCW era have been Sheamus and McIntyre. (Jack Swagger came from Deep South; Ted DiBiase, Evan Bourne, and Tyson Kidd were all in FCW briefly but they all had international careers before WWE signed them.)

Granted, just Sheamus by himself is a big win, and granted, it's only been three years so we haven't seen all these people's careers play out. But to compare, if there had been two NXT seasons in 2002, it would've had Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, Umaga, Rosey, Rico, Rob Conway, Nick Dinsmore, Doug Basham, Danny Basham, Lance Cade, and Rene Dupree, plus Brian Kendrick as the indy guy for Jonathan Coachman to make fun of.

The matches on NXT would've been a lot better, for starters. Pick your seven favorite for your SummerSlam '02 main event against Rock, Shawn Michaels, RVD, Booker T, Big Show, Jericho, and Edge. Every Team WWE needs Jericho and Edge.
CRZ
Big Brother
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Since: 9.12.01
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.23
I'm late to this thread, so here's a bunch of unrelated random stuff:

(Kaval) Low-Ki has been on and off TV for like ten years. He jobbed on WWF Jakked and had a long run in TNA in addition to the ROH stuff surely nobody saw.

Alex Riley has been in dark matches on house shows for, like, A WHOLE YEAR. I'm sure other folks have been on the circuit but he's the one they've been working on the longest and invested the most in.

Expect Smackdown to get a whole lot more/new love once it's off of MyNetwork. (This is obvious, but nobody's said it yet.)

Is WWE putting FCW on their YouTube channel? (Or is anybody else doing it "unofficially?")

Is OVW on YouTube?

People still go to 411mania wrestling?

That's all I got.



Rudoublesedoublel
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Kentucky - Home of the 8 time NCAA Champ Wildcats

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.26
    Originally posted by lotjx

    I would argue that the territories didn't really work since most of the time, the world champ would go in there and bury whoever he faced and moved on to the next one. They were lucky to have Flair for a good chunk of the 80s, someone who could make guys look like stars. Can you imagine Super-Cena or Hogan during that time, forget it. Kurt, AJ, Jericho and a handful of others could pull that off. I think if you wanted to do territories right, you would need another NWA group to keep everyone in line. You need a strong central force like the Federal government or you would end up with companies doing fuck it all with the talent that is imported in.


    (edited by lotjx on 19.8.10 0747)


I understand your point, but it really didn't work this way.

The job of the world champ in the territory days was to come in, make the local star look like a million bucks, get a narrow win, and get the touch out of Dodge before the locals rioted. The reason the territory system worked was because the Board of Directors voted on the champ. If he made their local guys look bad, they'd book him out of the title and he'd never see the belt (and huge paydays) again. I'll argue that the NWA title was more prestigious than the WWF title simply because it took more than 1 person to say "he's the champ".

You are correct that a strong infrastructure would be necessary to make it work - checks and balances. But, I also think that the Internet, Youtube, messageboards, satellite television, etc. would prevent the territory system from working as well as it did 25 years ago. It would be too easy for fans to see matches, read about matches, and otherwise keep tabs on things all over the globe to really create that "freshness" that the territories created.



"I'm on my time with everyone." - Kurt Cobain
KJames199
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Since: 10.12.01
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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.10
    Originally posted by JustinShapiro
    I think they did dark matches and worked house shows for a good long while before coming up. Well, Batista and Lesnar did, I don't think Cena did.
I know Lesnar did because I saw him in Winnipeg about six months before his Raw debut, in a match against... I want to say Kanyon. I remember thinking that Lesnar was a roided-up stiff with no personality and no look and would never make it. Don't ever listen to me.
JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.52
    Originally posted by Rudoublesedoublel
      Originally posted by lotjx

      I would argue that the territories didn't really work since most of the time, the world champ would go in there and bury whoever he faced and moved on to the next one. They were lucky to have Flair for a good chunk of the 80s, someone who could make guys look like stars. Can you imagine Super-Cena or Hogan during that time, forget it. Kurt, AJ, Jericho and a handful of others could pull that off. I think if you wanted to do territories right, you would need another NWA group to keep everyone in line. You need a strong central force like the Federal government or you would end up with companies doing fuck it all with the talent that is imported in.


      (edited by lotjx on 19.8.10 0747)


    I understand your point, but it really didn't work this way.

    The job of the world champ in the territory days was to come in, make the local star look like a million bucks, get a narrow win, and get the touch out of Dodge before the locals rioted. The reason the territory system worked was because the Board of Directors voted on the champ. If he made their local guys look bad, they'd book him out of the title and he'd never see the belt (and huge paydays) again.


And all their longterm champions from Lou Thesz on (Brisco/the Funks/Race/etc) were, for lack of a better term, of the Ric Flair type, as in they could wrestle, they could have long world title matches, and they could make the challengers look credible and worthy in losing. They were all chosen for those reasons under that criteria.
JayJayDean
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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.26
    Originally posted by JustinShapiro
      Originally posted by Rudoublesedoublel
        Originally posted by lotjx

        I would argue that the territories didn't really work since most of the time, the world champ would go in there and bury whoever he faced and moved on to the next one. They were lucky to have Flair for a good chunk of the 80s, someone who could make guys look like stars. Can you imagine Super-Cena or Hogan during that time, forget it. Kurt, AJ, Jericho and a handful of others could pull that off. I think if you wanted to do territories right, you would need another NWA group to keep everyone in line. You need a strong central force like the Federal government or you would end up with companies doing fuck it all with the talent that is imported in.


        (edited by lotjx on 19.8.10 0747)


      I understand your point, but it really didn't work this way.

      The job of the world champ in the territory days was to come in, make the local star look like a million bucks, get a narrow win, and get the touch out of Dodge before the locals rioted. The reason the territory system worked was because the Board of Directors voted on the champ. If he made their local guys look bad, they'd book him out of the title and he'd never see the belt (and huge paydays) again.


    And all their longterm champions from Lou Thesz on (Brisco/the Funks/Race/etc) were, for lack of a better term, of the Ric Flair type, as in they could wrestle, they could have long world title matches, and they could make the challengers look credible and worthy in losing. They were all chosen for those reasons under that criteria.


I will never forget (as a kid) being so excited for Ric Flair or Harley Race matches against the Von Erichs because THIS time was when Kevin or Kerry or David was going to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. It made Kerry's win at the David Von Erich Memorial card that much sweeter, and then when Kerry lost the title to Flair in Japan it made total sense because he was "Ric Flair" and he always won.



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Scottyflamingo
Bratwurst








Since: 23.6.10
From: Auburn, AL

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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.77
Thoughts:

-I wasn't suggesting that TNA necessarily be the company to try a territory system, just pointing out an example of two companies it could work with.

-WWE's system was more like a farm league than the NWA as far as I know. They didn't send their champions there for title defences or anything. It was usually guys that were being punished or had to work off ring rust that went to OVW or wherever. This is probably the most practical system to implement.

-You couldn't keep things secret, so you'd just have to acknowledge the other shows.
Torchslasher
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Since: 17.1.02
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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.87
    Originally posted by KJames199
      Originally posted by JustinShapiro
      I think they did dark matches and worked house shows for a good long while before coming up. Well, Batista and Lesnar did, I don't think Cena did.
    I know Lesnar did because I saw him in Winnipeg about six months before his Raw debut, in a match against... I want to say Kanyon. I remember thinking that Lesnar was a roided-up stiff with no personality and no look and would never make it. Don't ever listen to me.


Hey, I understand. I remember seeing a dark match between Crowbar and Prototype (Cena) in Philly many years ago before Smackdown. I thought it was a terrible match and therefore knew that this Prototype guy wouldn't make it.

Oops.



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