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The W - Pro Wrestling - WWE Brand splits going GLOBAL?
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Kane Is Ugly
Kishke








Since: 14.7.03
From: Uglyville

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.40
The new CFO of WWE, Michael Selick, revealed in Financial Week that the company is exploring the possibility of establishing separate WWE promotions running full-time in separate international markets. If everything went ahead it would go so far as to include separate TV tapings and storylines for each region, turning WWE from an overseas novelty into a local promotion.

Things are still in the preliminary stages but Vince McMahon has discussed it in detail with Stephanie, John Laurinaitis and others in the inner circle. The territories mentioned include a 'Pacific' region covering Japan, South Korea, China and Australia, a 'Hispanic' territory for Puerto Rico, Mexico and South America, and a European territory, with perhaps a Russian one at a later date. Meanwhile, in the USA, there would be two touring brands, most likely Raw and ECW, with Smackdown becoming the Hispanic brand as it is already well established in the market. Big pay increases would be given to senior agents and creative team members to move themselves and their families overseas, with potential performance bonuses depending on how well business goes. It would start off with a TV executive producer with experience of the region working closely with one agent and one writer who would be running the territory. There would also be a crew of wrestlers, who would also be expected to move their families overseas. Paul Heyman's name has actually been mentioned in connection to the Pacific region.

Shane McMahon, along with Selick, is working on a business plan for the venture, which remains in its formative stages. Potential drawbacks include the cost of producing WWE calibre shows, around $500,000 per week, and how TV stations in areas like Mexico would respond to the price. There is also the danger of international markets already beginning to get overexposed. Recent Japanese tours have not performed particularly well, there were concerns over the number of Australian tours, while advances for the next batch of Mexican dates have been well below expectations. Also, though WWE can get away with charging high prices for their shows at the moment as it is a novelty, doing so repeatedly would not help when taking on promotions like CMLL or AAA.

If it did come to pass then a lot of new wrestlers would of course be hired, as there would be a minimum of five brands. They are looking at promoting each market using both established WWE stars and top babyfaces based on ethnic backgrounds. Carlito, Mistico and Mysterio would be assigned to the Hispanic brand as top stars, they would look for a top Asian and Australian babyface, and guys like Regal, Finlay, Harry Smith and Paul Burchill could be assigned major roles in Europe. They would also likely raid the local markets in Japan and Mexico, whilst bringing back more of the '80s and '90s stars to make up the numbers. The only sure thing about the creative team members is that neither Stephanie McMahon nor Brian Gerwitz would work internationally. Gerwitz would likely become the chief writer of the USA brands, while Stephanie would hire more TV writers with Hollywood experience. Word is that the interntaionaly territories would be handled by Shane, with Vince concentrating on domestic business, though many have suggested that Vince's personality means he would want to be involved everywhere anyway.

Credit: Wrestling Observer newsletter


I cannot see this working. Vince won't change the product for these markets and that will kill him if he tries to launch a Mexican and Japanese brand. Plus, that means some top level guys would not be seen on US TV much, if at all, anymore. Interesting idea though.


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KJames199
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Since: 10.12.01
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.79
This is a fascinating idea to consider, but it's very risky and I can't see them successfully pulling it off. It's like the first Wrestlemania, in that if they can do it and be successful, they'll be huger than anyone can imagine, but if they flop, it could take the whole company down.

PROS
- I like the idea of having one unified brand, and in essence, this would sort of "unify" North American WWE into the Raw brand. I have no earthly idea why they'd keep ECW around when they'll need dozens of wrestlers to fill out these new territories, but whatever, nobody watches ECW and nobody cares anwyay, so it can exist or not and it won't make a difference.
- I kind of like the idea of having one touring world champion. Not that they'll do that for sure, or anything.
- This gives them the opportunity to cycle talent around to create fresh matches, and not in that Raw/Smackdown way where a guy jumps shows and it's kind of neat, but it's not like he hasn't been on TV every week for years anwyay.
- Hopefully this will make them smart enough to greatly increase their developmental system.
- More content for WWE 24/7! I love WWE 24/7!

CONS
- Hoo boy, where to begin. Well, I can't imagine WWE willingly adopting to meet local tastes, so they'll ram WWE-style programming down the throats of viewers. Maybe change local tastes and be huge hits, I dunno, but I wouldn't bet on it.
- Isn't there kind of too much wrestling already as it is?
- Hasn't the failure of the new ECW shown that WWE's "we will build a new brand and we'll ignore your expectations because we know best" system just doesn't work?
- How well will the North American show fare when rosters are already stretched thin, and now they're possibly losing Mysterio, Finlay, Carlito, Regal, and whoever else to the other groups? I'm sure a lot of the other groups will be made up of undercard talent and rookies, but you're going to need at least some established WWE uppercarders to make people want to see the shows, and that's going to hurt WWE North America, which will certainly remain the main priority.
- Wouldn't a company headlined by Regal and Finlay and stacked with local talent come across as bush league, even if Finlay and Regal are awesome? I mean, I'd watch a league with Regal, Finlay, Taylor, Burchill, Harry Smith, and... hmmm... let's say Bryan Danielson and Chad Collyer. But would that appeal to the masses?
- Does Australia really want the same show as Asian countries?
- WWE programming is successful around the world now, but the live shows are expensive novelties. They can't draw a good crowd here if they show up more than once a year.
- Do the wrestlers really want to move their families around the world? Even for a big pay raise?

I bet there are many more objections but I'm busy doing a slitherlink puzzle. My point is this would tank huge, I'd wager.



JK
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Toulouse








Since: 9.1.02
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.02
    Originally posted by Meltzer on Tuesday, February 20, 2007
    I don't know the story on this, but Matrix Research today downgraded WWE stock from "hold" to "strong sell." Stock hasn't significantly moved and I don't have any idea, given I don't see any change either good or bad in long-term prospects, and short-term prospects are the strongest they've been in years, as far as why there would be a significant downgrade.


Hmm...

I’m truly torn on this. I got chills reading the story. I’m pretty excited over the prospect of this sort of branding, despite the fact that it would make the early-80s national expansion look like child’s play. I’m really curious to see how these international markets would react. Would these markets allow WWE to fully penetrate itself – if so, would it lead to the elimination of the local wrestling landscape? We’re not talking about a small, (albeit rabid) fanbase that got ready to riot because WWE attached ECW branding to a product that was never meant to be reflective of the original ECW. If they’re going to penetrate a lucha libre or puroresu market, they better know what the fuck they’re doing – I can’t imagine that the globalization of wrestling like this can ever succeed. But if it did – HOLY SHIT.

There are two reasons that the current international touring system works so well...demand (caused by rarity) and talent (Bret Hart, Stone Cold, etc.).

Does anyone have the original article? The Financial Week site requires registration, and I haven’t found the hard copy yet.
thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
If this succeeded, WWE would become the Walmart of wrestling, possibly cataclysmic for everyone else. I'm not a big fan of the idea.

It reads like this is a Big Idea but not past the concept stage.



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Deputy Marshall
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Since: 28.6.04
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.51
    Originally posted by thecubsfan
    It reads like this is a Big Idea but not past the concept stage.
Exactly. A move of this magnitude is something that a company needs to examine and scrutinize over a fairly long period of time, so if this was discussed previously I'm sure somebody would've heard about it by now. That being said, just for the fun of it, let's look at it as a real possibility.

Quick sidenote - is there any money to be made in Russia with professional wrestling? That one possibility raised my eyebrows quite a bit (well, more than the rest of the article anyway).

I've been thinking about this on and off for a few hours now, and I just don't see how it could work. Japan is seemingly a dying market that's already oversaturated. As others have pointed out, it can do well once in awhile as a novelty, but if they stick with the novelty it will wear off quickly and if they adopt a more traditional Japanese approach to the brand it'll quickly get lost in the shuffle. Of course there's a middle ground, but it'll be tricky and would require the the market to have enough demand for fans to be seeking a viable alternative that isn't too far off their accustomed perception of professional wrestling. I don't think that demand exists, and it isn't going to anytime soon.

In Mexico...well, they're going to lose money. A lot of it. They MIGHT be able to get away with charging higher ticket prices for a short period of time, but AAA selling tickets through Ticketmaster is in and of itself being viewed as a huge risk with a high potential for failure. How is a corporation the size of WWE going to run a profitable wrestling brand in Mexico? Sure, they could operate for a few years with the idea that they're going to lose a ton of money but drive out the competition, but then what? Mexican promotions shortchange and rip off their workers like nobody's business, and they're not exactly making a TON of money (though I'm sure a small handful of people have gotten fat off of it).

Something tells me that not only could Europe work, but that they could present a product in their own style and it'll be at the very least profitable. I wouldn't be entirely shocked if this idea evolved into just establishing a separate European brand/promotion.

If cooler heads don't prevail and the idea to establish brands all across the globe comes to fruition, does it hurt the view of the North American brands (RAW and Smackdown - ECW as KJames pointed out is a joke) as the elite pinnacle of professional wrestling?

(edited by Deputy Marshall on 2.3.07 1901)


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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.45
If they did like they did when the old territory days came to an end, and just bought up local talent, then I say it MIGHT work. And, as far as Vince shoving the WWE brand down people's throats, I think he'd rather fill arenas then force WWE style on people week after week.

Kane Is Ugly
Kishke








Since: 14.7.03
From: Uglyville

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.40
    Originally posted by Deputy Marshall
      Originally posted by thecubsfan


      Quick sidenote - is there any money to be made in Russia with professional wrestling? That one possibility raised my eyebrows quite a bit (well, more than the rest of the article anyway).

      (edited by Deputy Marshall on 2.3.07 1901)


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jwrestle
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.51
Sounds almost as dangerous as "XFL". This is Vince though and look at what he did to wrestling in the 80's with Hulk Hogan.

This is a different age...different time...if anyone with the genius that Vince possesses it could be totally doable. Yes, I totally agree this is a major move that could work if, as somebody already said, market isn't already saturated.

I'm surprised nobody mention the WWE did produce a ethnic only program during the 90's. From what I understand it wasn't exactly the best but it was target the market south of the United States in Super Astros.

Any ways it's Vince...he'll leave enough rope to hang himself or cut n' run before major losses happen.



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Since: 2.1.02

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.77
It's really the next logical step. It's just going to have to take a huge restructuring in the corporate offices before you even begin to think about the wrestlers. Right now they can't even be close to doing this, but it doesn't hurt to dream big.
Hogan's My Dad
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Since: 8.6.02
From: Canada

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.30
    Originally posted by jwrestle
    This is a different age...different time...if anyone with the genius that Vince possesses it could be totally doable.


Vince McMahon is not a genius. God almighty. A lot of people made a lot of contributions to the man's success.

In any case, for years the suggestions that WWE is running out of business seemed absurd to me. They had too much money and could not possibly be incompetent enough to bring themselves to ruin. But this just may be the idea that truly is boneheaded enough to actually do the trick.

I understand that you naturally want to step it to the “next level“, but come on. This is just wanton greed. It is a huge and unnecessary risk that hinges on convincing markets that have waning at best interest in wrestling that they want it regularly and locally. The populations are also much much smaller in pretty much all of the countries save Russia, and given the cost of weekly TV production you have to wonder how high ticket prices would need to be in order for this to be profitable. The appearance of success might temporarily drive up the stock price but ultimately they‘re going to need to be drawing strong numbers across the board consistently for this to work. And worst of all, it comes at a time when they have not exactly shown themselves to be knocking it out of the park with the three domestic brands they are already bungling.

Horrible idea. Fuck Vince. You shouldn‘t have to leave the milky way to get an alternative to his lame product.



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oldschoolhero
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Since: 2.1.02
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
A smarter plan would be to partner with local organisations of their choice and use them. Provide some monetary sponsorship, talent exchanges, occasional joint cards, stuff like that. Trying to create "WWE-UK" or whatever just seems like overkill. Their's a cheaper, easier, less dangerous way to get very similar results.



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Since: 2.12.02

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.28
    Originally posted by Hogan's My Dad


    Vince McMahon is not a genius. God almighty. A lot of people made a lot of contributions to the man's success.

I agree. Vince's successful expansion in the 1980s was as much a byproduct of wrapping his brand around the single most popular professional wrestler in the history of the industry as anything else. Obviously, McMahon deserves credit for utilizing national TV, the rock & wrestling angle, etc., but Hulk Hogan at his peak gave the WWF a brand ambassador that the public absolutely adored. Yeah, without Hulkamania, the WWF probably would've still been successful... but it likely wouldn't have happened nearly as quickly as it did -- which would've given Vince's competitors an extended opportunity to adapt. And without a peak Hulk Hogan, who knows if McMahon would've had the leverage to pull off Wrestlemania, rock & wrestling, etc. I mean, it just wouldn't have been the same for the WWF with Bob Blacklund or the Iron Sheik as the company's headliner -- and I'd imagine that if the NWA had a peak Hulk Hogan feuding with Flair, Race, Nikita, the Road Warriors, etc., quite a few arenas would've soldout.

Things might've turned out VERY different without a crazy-popular Hulk Hogan in the 80s WWF.

In this proposed global brand expansion, I don't know if the WWE will fly long-term without a Hogan-esque-level brand ambassador. Those local promotions often have strong community ties, have built brand loyalty, and have already earned an emotional connection to the region's wrestling community. It's one thing for the WWE to fill the house on a week-long tour; it gives fans an opportunity to see stars that aren't usually accessible; but being there long-term is an entirely different animal.



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Since: 11.5.02

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.70
If there's so much available talent all over the world that they can even conceive starting international brands, why not just hire the pick of the bunch for the current roster and dump all the dead weight?

The current roster is struggling to even come up with a handful of main eventers who aren't over the age of 40. Where are they going to get enough guys of that caliber to headline five different promotions?



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Kane Is Ugly
Kishke








Since: 14.7.03
From: Uglyville

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.40
    Originally posted by CTX
    If there's so much available talent all over the world that they can even conceive starting international brands, why not just hire the pick of the bunch for the current roster and dump all the dead weight?

    The current roster is struggling to even come up with a handful of main eventers who aren't over the age of 40. Where are they going to get enough guys of that caliber to headline five different promotions?


I think the issue with some talent is that they don't want to move to the US to work for WWE. This would solve that problem. I bet Tajiri would work for WWE Japan in a heartbeat. Masata Tanaka too even.
CTX
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Since: 11.5.02

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.70
    Originally posted by Kane Is Ugly
      Originally posted by CTX
      If there's so much available talent all over the world that they can even conceive starting international brands, why not just hire the pick of the bunch for the current roster and dump all the dead weight?

      The current roster is struggling to even come up with a handful of main eventers who aren't over the age of 40. Where are they going to get enough guys of that caliber to headline five different promotions?


    I think the issue with some talent is that they don't want to move to the US to work for WWE. This would solve that problem. I bet Tajiri would work for WWE Japan in a heartbeat. Masata Tanaka too even.

I don't really see that as a reason. Tajiri worked for them in the US for over five years and they did nothing with him, and Tanaka would surely have moved stateside for any reasonable offer since the Japanese market is in horrible shape by all accounts.

The point I was making was I assume they aren't going to spend $500,000 a week to produce a TV show unless they have some serious names to back it up, in which case they should be using those names to strengthen their current roster rather than further diluting things.



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flairforthegold13
Kishke








Since: 1.5.03
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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
Vince McMahon might not be a GENIUS, but he's the only guy in this country that can run a successful national wrestling company. People make jokes about WBF and the XFL, but when it comes to promoting wrestling (or sports entertainment, if you will) he's the guy you want running your company.


As was noted in a previous post, this really is the next logical extension of the company. They're positioning themselves for the next 30, 40, 50 years potentially.

It's always been the goal, really. The WWE will BE the wrestling industry, globally. The money they could make is staggering, the cultural influence too.

Also, the mere presence of the WWE in a country would force other companies to spend money to compete and potentially drive them out of business.

I'm not entirely up to date on puro news, but I know that NJPW and All Japan have had financical issues over the years.

In Mexico, the countries' biggest headliner tried out for a midcard spot in WWE.

If they started global brands, the talent would go to it.

But yeah, I don't think we'll see this soon or anything but it's quite interesting.


jwrestle
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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.51
    Originally posted by flairforthegold13
    Vince McMahon might not be a GENIUS, but he's the only guy in this country that can run a successful national wrestling company. People make jokes about WBF and the XFL, but when it comes to promoting wrestling (or sports entertainment, if you will) he's the guy you want running your company.


Ding ding ding you win the Hulk Hogan wrestling buddy! Exactly the point that needed to be stated. I can never get straight to point without rambling on. Yeah, I'm pretty sure you all have noticed by now. *sigh* Bad habits.





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Since: 12.1.02
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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.29
"Alexander wept, for he had no new worlds to conquer."

Gotta give Vince credit for thinking big, but... I don't know. If this is actually successful, this would be would be good news for wrestling the same way McDonald's becoming the only important restaurant in the world would be good news for food. Which is, to say, not good news at all.

Vince's product, though sometimes I enjoy it, has become so genericized that to force-feed the entire product to the world (not just through its existing brands, but through separate brands in Mexico, Japan, Russia, Europe, etc.) would be a terrible idea. Maybe good for Vince's bottom line, maybe not, but Vince isn't the only person who's ever come up with a good idea pertaining to wrestling-- no matter how much he wishes that were the case. Imagine twenty luchadores in Mexico being criticized for their high-flying spots because they "don't work WWE style", for example.

As it is, a lot of people (including myself) have said that WWE has been uninspired since becoming the only important promotion in the United States. Lack of competition removes one's incentive for self-improvement. This would be true on a global scale as well, and the damage to creativity and uniqueness, no doubt, would be far, far worse.



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Since: 1.5.03
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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
The comments about competition being a good thing is valid, but the thing now is that they're not going to have any competition from another wrestling company in this country for a long, long time unless they screw up. If, say, TNA ever became a legitimate success (they won't) the WWE would go all out and drive them out of business. Once you have a monopoly, you don't let alternatives come back. That's how it is in business as a whole. If McDonald's drove Burger King out of business, they wouldn't let another burger chain gain traction. Ultimately, if the WWE elected to put TNA or ROH or any indy fed out of business, they could. They have more money and more resources.

The WWE has the financial and structural set-up to do this and they're the only wrestling company in the world that if their guiding force died, business would go on as normal.

If Sabolsky retired, there is no ROH. If Panda pulled out their money, TNA is done. We saw in Japan after Baba died and half of All-Japan walked. There's turmoil in Mexico after Pena died. The WWE is the only stable wrestling country out there. You don't think they have plans for when Vince McMahon is gone or when Linda McMahon retires? Do you think that Cena and Lashley will walk out the door if Vince McMahon keeled over tomorrow and Shane and Stephanie McMahon take the helm? Hell, they're probably assuming that THEIR kids will take over the business one day.

It's inevitable that the WWE will eventually corner the market on professional wrestling globally. If they don't drive people out of business, then the companies will die natural deaths.

Mexico and Japan would be difficult, due to, as noted, the organized crime issues, the cultural styles and the tradition of wrestling already in the culture. However, if, as a poster mentioned, Japan is oversaturated and a dying market, what better time to come in and take over? There's always going to be a market for pro wrestling. And if you're the one offering it, you'll make money.

The perpetuation of the the WWE style is a valid concern, but honestly, if this thing ever gets going, we don't know WHAT that style will be. Look how much the product has changed this decade. They adjust their style of wrestling based on their top stars. When Austin was on top, every match was in the crowd and heated brawls. When they had Angle and co. earlier this decade, it got a lot more technical and suplex heavy. Bret did science. Hogan did paint by numbers matches for the kids.

It's possible that in five years Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe will be their hot star and putting on matches that we're seeing now in ROH. Or, much like their latino stars caught fire, they'll have a Japanese worker (maybe someone like Morishima) who will re-invent what they offer in the ring.

Besides, the reason they have the style they do is A) it's safer B) it's what the majority of the roster can do. Ultimately, being a great worker is being able to have a good match with anyone on the roster and draw money. That's what made Flair so great. There's a lot of really good perfomers out there who can have really awesome matches with guys who wrestle their style. Put them in there with someone different and it's a trainwreck. That ultimately is the failings of guys like Van Dam or Sabu or Benjamin or a lot of guys that the company cryptically tells us "can't work." A guy who does 12 dives in a match can have a good time with another worker who takes 12 dives and they'll pack a great crowd, but what happens when he's wrestling Undertaker?

For all the talk about them breaking down wrestlers like Punk or what they'd to Mistico, what's lost is that it's easier to have a Mistico adapt to THEIR style, then have the entire SD roster adapt to Mistico. If they sign a hot shit indy guy like CM Punk and he's wrestling in the style he used, they're not going to have their people adapt to him

If we ever get WWE Japan, and they send 2-3 guys (say, Shelton Benjamin, Randy Orton and, I dunno, Johnny Nitro) and hire a touring brand of the best Japanese workers they can get, I ASSURE you they're not going to teach the new guys how to wrestle like Orton. The gaijin will have to adapt.

It would be the same in Mexico, as well. They wouldn't have all the guys they signed start wrestling like John Cena. There'd be no point to have them adapt. The WWE isn't in love with their style of wrestling, they use it because that's what's effective for them right now. If Lesnar was main-eventing instead of, say, Batista, it'd be an entirely different stye in the main event. Same if Benoit was their champion instead of Cena.

Simple fact is that good wrestling matches are not as important to the box office as promoting a match and characters that people want to see. That's the entertainment business.

Also, as they make inroads into foreign markets, what also comes to play are the tape libraries, which they can market to people like, well us. Imagine the typical puro mark getting 90s All Japan on 24/7.

And if they failed at this, so what? They’d just cut back and re-tool and try it again. In that interview McMahon did on WWE.com last year I think he was even asked what he would do if the company collapsed. He said he’d do what he did at the beginning and go back and start booking little shows in the Northeast. The football failure was a much bigger risk to their long-term security and they survived about the worst possible result there unscathed.

This got really long and I have insomnia, so excuse the length or any fuzzy logic.


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Linguica








Since: 17.8.03

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#20 Posted on
This would also give them something to help them if business tanks somewhere. Diversification. Also they could produce lower budget shows internationally. Computer graphics and things could all be developed 'in-house' in uSa as they are already, cutting costs. They could even cut costs by showing highlights/clips of other shows, like RAW to fill time. The costs needn't be as high as quoted.

They could also just buy established promotions and change them to WWE much like seen in F1 with Honda/BAR. I think this would be very workable.
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I don't think this documentary is really trying to make the case for anything. The review makes it sound like it just kind of surveys the area and lets people decide for themselves.
- Notorious F.A.B., "Girl Wrestler" documentary (2003)
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