----By the end of February, this area will start airing three wrestling TV programs. If IWA does start again this week, it will be joined by NEW and RCW on February 20th with their weekly shows. All three shows will be in different markets and not competing with each other – Memphis, Jonesboro and Tupelo. I thought I would take this column to talk about the TV production, the talent and the booking – pros & cons of all three promotions.
-TV Production: This has to improve. Hire an announcer!! Get two cameras or at least move around with the one you have. Go out and get sponsors to help with improving the production. If you can get people to turn this show on again, you got to give them something to make them want to comeback to watch. I would actually try a studio feel, since it is in the Memphis market.
-Talent: Not sure who all is gone and who is all is still here. I am hearing that Tatt2, Malkavain, Michael Ward and Blalok are gone?? If so, then this weakens the roster. All those guys contributed to the show. You still have “Asylum”, Seth Knight, Johnny Dotson, Bishop and Precious. I would consider these guys the top tier of the group. Dotson has been seen on Memphis TV and it has been proven he can have good to great matches. Knight’s potential is “untapped” for TV and he should be pushed thru the roof. The same thing can be said about Bishop. Precious makes the list as he is a solid worker and is entertaining at time. “Asylum” are one of the top teams in this area and if put in the ring with the right opponents can provide “oh shit” moments. V-Man is probably the only other guy I would consider even pushing on this show and he would be good as a monster type character.
-Booking: They have to get their book established so they can ideas that are episodic and mean something. If you are building for a big show that you want people to pay and attend – you must push toward that at all times giving people the matches and such. But, you also got to give them the results afterwards. If you don’t, then it does not mean anything. Also – do not do angles backstage that the viewer never sees. There were way too many of them.
-TV Production: This show will be the best production of any wrestling show you have seen in this area. It has a great studio feel and the show is produced with more than one camera and post production that will make anyone envious. The announcers are two of the best in the area and they are very familiar with the product and they believe in it. This group has spent more than a year getting ready for this opportunity. They are going to be heads above everyone in this department.
Talent: They have some of the best in the area. Pure wrestlers in the building that they tape – you can not get a much better crew for this style. The standouts are guys like Austin Lane and Alan Steele, who I consider both very marketable to even the casual fan. Guys like Eric Wayne, Kid Nikels, Shawn Reed or Justin Smart, who have tremendous talent, will be given the opportunity to see if they can get over with the masses. I do feel they will have to add some other faces and maybe some familiar ones like Greg Anthony, Derrick King or Dustin Starr – good workers that have the “it” that can get the attention of people. Will the unproven factor of some of the NEW guys actually improve their chances of getting over??
Booking: Ken Wayne and Alan Steele will be handling the bulk of this chore. Wayne having experience in doing TV and Steele being on Power Pro [week in and week out] could not hurt a thing. Both have good wrestling minds with Wayne more “old school” with Steele being younger, but probably a bit “old school” also. Can the ROH style that they are so compared with sell to the masses in this area?? I think Wayne/Steele see the potential of presenting a show that features athletic contests, but I do not see them booking a show with no heels/babys. I think it will be a mix of both and it should be fun to watch.
TV Production: I think they might be on the middle of the fence here. They will not be the same level of production as say NEW, but I don’t think they will be IWA either. Let’s hope not!! TV will be filmed at the arena and be put in post production for a 30 minute show that will be sort of magazine format with an indy wrestling feel. Well, that is what I am gathering from Thompson. And the Thompson will be doing the post announcing, so that will be top notch. The two other shows have good time slots [11:00 AM for NEW and 12:00 Noon for IWA], but RCW will be stuck in the 1:00 AM slot. Will that hurt them?? In the age of DVRs and the way they are getting the word out, it should not be any worse than the other two shows.
Talent: Not one guy on this roster is not marketable to the masses. Each of them have their own niche and know what they are doing. They are the cream of the crop and if I was putting together a roster it would be hard not to including all the guys that they are using. They have Wrestler, Tag Team, MVP Performer, Match of the Year participates and it goes on and on. And you guys that might not be award winners but that are going to be assets. Guys like Ron Rage, who was on some of the top weekly drawing cards in a feud last year – in Jonesboro. Matt Riviera – on a lot of top shows and just a damn good performer. From top to bottom – the best roster in the area and they haven’t even run a show.
Booking: I have great faith in a guy like Brian Thompson. He has a great young wrestling mind that can come up with some of best stuff to get people over. He has Greg Anthony in to help, who has been on every booking committee to win Booker of the Year, since the start of this site. He will book with an “old school” feel, but to say that does not work in this area – well when was the last time it was really was done and done right on TV?? Terry Funk-Jerry Lawler?? Kevin White-Bill Dundee had a few TV shows in the days of this site that almost drew 100,000 viewers with “old school” booking.
----I am excited about having this much TV in the area. I want all of them to succeed. It will make it better for the workers as a whole. My major concern for all three promotions would be that their TV is not on strong channels for the exposure to equal more people at the arena. My Network is the weakest of the big networks, but it is accessible on Direct TV and Dish Network in your local area. Jonesboro is local – you can get it on all major cable systems in the area and they are an ABC affiliate. But, on the other hand, they are not on either Direct TV or Dish Network.
----All that said and done, I hope you have enjoyed my look at the TV production, talent and booking of all three promotions that are starting to wrestling on TV.
VOICE YOUR OPINION ABOUT THIS COLUMN OR ALL THOSE OTHER COLUMNS OF THE WEEK ON THE KAYFABE BOARD BY CLICKING HERE!!