Saturday, 23 August 2008

Whooo! - British wrestling gets a turn out for the books

1PW, arguably Britain's biggest (but certainly most controversial) wrestling promotion, has had a turbulent few weeks lately.

On the 2nd of August, Steven Gauntley announced that he was stepping down from being in control of the promotion. Having previously said the same in the past and then sneakily getting back into a position of authority, things were different this time because Gauntley had actually sold the company.

Three british wrestlers, Dragon Aisu, Jon Cameron and El Ligero, were the buyers. Most of the internet community thought that they were idiots for buying a company that inevitably had bad debts. Showing once again that the IWC knows better than anyone else, the buyers did what normally happens in the world of business by buying the company's assets. A company's assets include its name, trademarks and physical belongings - but not its' debts. It's quite tempting to go off on one here about how the IWC thinks they know better than everyone about everything, but I think I should save my bile for another post.

Regardless of the opinion of some sweaty, fat thirty-something-and-still-living-at-home's thoughts which were articulated through sausage fingers onto a keyboard with a worn out F5 key ("REFRESH! WHY DOESN'T SOMEONE RESPOND?! MY OPINION'S IMPORTANT!"), 1PW had new owners and hopefully a new direction.

After the 1PW resurrection of early 2007, the company started spending less money on importing stars in a an attempt to stem the flow of cash that was gushing from the company's balance sheet much like blood from Invader III's lungs (WARNING: That video's MENTAL). The fans responded well to a move that was intended to provide longevity to a fledgling company.

But it wasn't to be. Owner Steven Gauntley released a press statement declaring that he'd sold the company to the three previously mentioned wrestlers. However quite interestingly, the statement included the following:

Steven is currently unable to access the internet so please forgive the vague nature of the above, but we wanted to let the fans know what was happening as soon as possible.

What a strange thing to include in a press release. Gauntley had allegedly had his internet connection cut off for not paying the bills. There were also allegations of Gauntley dipping his hand into the bank accounts of people who'd paid for 1PW merchandise with their credit cards (I said 1PW was controversial!).

A few weeks ago, I was pondering whether or not I should go to 1PW's Third Anniversary Show at the Doncaster Dome on October 18th. Delirious was already scheduled to appear. I thought and thought about it, deciding that it was probably too far and expensive to really go just to see one guy.

However last week, 1PW made one of the biggest announcements to come from a British wrestling promotion in some time.

They'd signed Ric Flair to appear.

My wife, seeing how excited I was, got me a pair of ringside tickets. I felt like I had the right to mark out for a bit.

But as I look forward to what will no doubt be an unforgettable night of wrestling, there are questions that still need answering. Is this the same 1PW? Will this show finish BEFORE midnight (unlike many in 1PW's past)? And will it break even?

If it wasn't for 1PW's mindless army of die hard fans, it wouldn't have seen so many resurrections. But if it wasn't for 1PW's mindless army of die hard fans, Steven Gauntley wouldn't have pissed away the company's money with no form of business model in an attempt to impress them with the cards he'd put together.

I hope for the sake of 1PW, and British wrestling in general, that the Third Anniversary show is a success. They don't need to break even on the first night, they just need new fans. They say that the casual fan is where the real money is in wrestling, but in Britain, it's definitely with families. It's seen as "something for the kids" here by most people, and appealing to families is the key to success - just look at GPW in Wigan.

Anyway, if there was a point to this post, I've forgotten it. But what you should never forget is how stupid internet wrestling fans are for thinking they know everything.


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