By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Billy Corgan
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via Podcasts.Apple.com
On reviving the NWA: “I hear it all the time. Not just in regards to the NWA. I hear it all the time. Not everybody I talked to is like an NWA fan. They might be old-school WWF fans or whatever. They just don’t get it. And yeah, so my whole point of the NWA at this point, going about six years into owning the company, is trying to figure out that formula where you can take really good mainstream professional wrestling, and bring it to the people and once again, sort of bring back those greater numbers.”
On the potential of the NWA: “I think we’re properly positioned to be the next big company. I know people will kind of go, how does that work? I think it has to do with my access to mainstream media. I think it has access has to do with my access to every network in the world that’s interested in what I’m doing, and I’m just trying to find the right business models with them. And I think it has to do with presenting a mainstream wrestling product that the average person if presented on television will respond to. I think, once the NWA can get in that position if we can get in that position, and you could argue that’s a big if, but if we get in that position, I think we will run side by side with the biggest companies in the world. Because wrestling by large is a cheap product to make. That’s always been its great attraction to television. And it has a consistent audience, they’ll show up week after week.
“So getting from let’s call it the bottom of the pile, to the top of the pile. Now that’s a vast distance. But if you can cross that desert and get to the other side, well, it’s pretty wide open. In terms of product, I think the NWA fits quite comfortably between AEW and WWE. WWE has a very hardcore fan base, but they do business in a very particular way. Of course, that’s much debated through the years, Vince [McMahon], of course, is the only promoter that’s ever made money in wrestling. So we always have to pay tribute to that. AEW, of course, is running a very brand-specific product. Tony [Khan] has found business where people didn’t think business could be found and all credit to him for that. But again, that mainstream up-the-middle position of professional wrestling is sorely lacking. Many people would argue that WWE is that mainstream thing. I would argue it’s its own version of niche.”
On possibly broadcasting the NWA live: “Yeah, I think everybody knows that you know, again, you have a smart audience, you know, when you run live event stuff, that’s a lot more expensive than say putting stuff on TV. So you know, just like, look at the respect that you must give something like Raw that’s which is run, how many years. It’s like running a live show on time, delivering, you know, main events and stuff that really matters. Keep an audience coming back. I mean, that is quite an accomplishment. You look at the infrastructure and stuff like that. So when you look at why an Endeavor would pay $9 billion for WWE, one person would sit there who doesn’t understand say, well, you’re just buying wrestlers and a ring. No, you’re buying a whole culture that knows how to make that work, week after week after week, in their case, multiple times a week.”
On working with Dixie Carter in TNA: “There are moments of frustration where I wish I’d gotten the TV deal, but seemed like it was there and then you realize it’s a little bit of what I went through with the band. The minute you jump into deeper water now you’re subservient to a greater set of forces which are beyond your control, put simply to the camera, the minute you take somebody else’s money. Now you’re in a different negotiation. And they start, you know, I remember, just tell a quick funny story.
“I remember being in a TNA and there was some grousing about Kurt Angle being the champion, which seems strange to me because Kurt Angle was one of the all-time greats and always a great person to do business with behind the scenes. Nothing but respect for Kurt. So I was like, why are people complaining? Oh, well, you know, somebody pulls you aside, well, we are on Destination America, Destination America told Dixie Carter, you need someone as a champion who represents America. So Dixie just switched the belts. But the thing was, it was the grousing in the company was it was because it wasn’t a wrestling decision based on setting up wrestling characters. It was like the network who’s paying us all this money, told us so we’re going to do what the network said.”