Analyze This: Things that pro-wrestling lost with the territories - Wrestling Forum : WWE, TNA, Debate League, Wrestling Videos, Women of Wrestling Forums
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Analyze This: Things that pro-wrestling lost with the territories

To be honest, I was not even born in the territorial days and did not know that such a thing existed till I started digging about Jerry Lawler, the funny guy using behind a mic kissing Mr.Mcmahon's ass around 2000.

Whatever that follows is merely what I have read and gathered from Bios, wikis and websites. Pro-wrestling evolved around territories with each of the promotion around the territorial area specializing in a particular style of wrestling. Some of the stuff that I have read in terms of style are Hardcore, Southern, cruiserweight high flying lucha libre, strong, brawling styles that were specific to suit the taste of particular crowd.

That is completely lost with the advent of national promotions, esp WWF where they merged all the styles with some cartoonish characterization taking away all the individuality.

Do you feel that something else have been lost with the territorial days and what has pro-wrestling gained with the advent of national promotions like WWF/E and WCW other than the money factor of it?
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Analyze This: Things that pro-wrestling lost with the territories

Just watched this last night


Its posing the same question, I like how at end Patterson sums up that Vince regretted driving them all out of business as now he had nowhere to find talent and had to make his own. And the wrestlers regretted it because instead of having numerous places to work there was now only one game in town, I think that sums it up.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Analyze This: Things that pro-wrestling lost with the territories

Boy stranger, you know what to ask to get me going.

First off the territories simply began as a way to carve up the country and have promoters over different areas. This provided promoters a chance to make their own success, and made it easier for guys to travel in smaller areas. However the territories really grew up around large television markets. This was simply a way to capitalize on the lack of any national television (no cable). A way for local stations to get cheap highly rated and programming and to generate money through advertising. Some territories exsisted before television but they thrived because of it.

The video summed it up well, but here is my POV.

Not only did Vince lose a taylor made minor league system, he also lost viable competition to fuel his product, with the exception of WCW.

There was nohere for guys to perfect their craft and gimmicks, since the death of the territories there are very few places by comparrison where stars can be made ready made for the WWE. I realize their are many indy feds, but how many of them have large television exposure like all the territories did. Back then a guy would wrestle for years on televisions around the country so by the time they hit WWF or WCW they already had a following. Now guys are thrown into the deep end of the pool and if they struggle to swim they are doomed.

We all lost a fountain of creativity. Some of the great gimmicks, and fueds were thought of in the territories. The simple fact that there were 15 different companies floating around doing new angles every week, gave everyone else new ideas. It was a time of one giant think tank.

Like stranger said, we lost the ability for the companies to stylize their product to certain parts of the country.

The WWE lost the ability for a wrestler to experiment with a face/heel run for long periods of time.

I think we lost managers to a small extent. I know this was not the main reason managers dissapeared but it contributed. When the companies merged into a two party system, only the guys with percieved mic skills (with a few exceptions) held down jobs. So they did not need mouth pieces as much.

Guys lost jobs obviously, and not just the boys, ticket takers, vendors, promoters, there were hundreds of people suddenly irrelevant in the industry.

Fans lost the personal connection with wrestlers. In the territories fans could build a relationship with the wrestlers who were in their city every week. They would do autograph sessions and sell merch. People had a real opprotunity to invest in the guys.

Just some quick thoughts.

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Old 10-10-2012, 11:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Analyze This: Things that pro-wrestling lost with the territories

Being in Australia, we only got fed what the WWF gave us (FYI, I loved it too) but after watching quite a few docs, reading a shit tin of books and heaps of youtubing, I would have to say that wrestlers have lost the ability to talk people into buying a ticket. That was the job of a promo, and having to do dozens in a row to satisfy all the TV markets. Perhaps they dont do that now cause the WWE is such a machine and doesn't rely on Wrestler A saying to Wrestler B "At the Cow Palace, Sunday the 15th of November, I'm going to kick your ass".

Greenlawler, you seem to know your stuff. Agree? Disagree? What territory did u get to see back in the day?
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Analyze This: Things that pro-wrestling lost with the territories

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rod View Post
Being in Australia, we only got fed what the WWF gave us (FYI, I loved it too) but after watching quite a few docs, reading a shit tin of books and heaps of youtubing, I would have to say that wrestlers have lost the ability to talk people into buying a ticket. That was the job of a promo, and having to do dozens in a row to satisfy all the TV markets. Perhaps they dont do that now cause the WWE is such a machine and doesn't rely on Wrestler A saying to Wrestler B "At the Cow Palace, Sunday the 15th of November, I'm going to kick your ass".

Greenlawler, you seem to know your stuff. Agree? Disagree? What territory did u get to see back in the day?
Thank you for the kind words.

I do agree, excellent point and one I did not even think of. You are 100"% right. Guys lost the ability to work on promos. They had to talk people into the building every week back then. Very few companies had writers, just bookers who told them "go out there and sell your fued".

I guess I started really watching as a kid in about 1976. I remember watching a masked man "The Carpet Bagger" who was Randy Savage's dad Angelo Poffo. The mask really appealed to me since I was a comic book kid. The main territory in my area was the NWA Mid America but there was a split in that territory so I also watched the birth of the CWA (Memphis) territory. We had two weekly wrestling shows that both ran shows in Nashville for about a four year stretch. They were at "war" with each other so both companies really tried to outdo the other with huge national stars which made me passionate about the national scene. Of course the CWA won because they had the local icon Jerry Lawler. I started buying Apter mags and realizing there were multiple territoires around that time. I really loved reading about Mil Mascaras, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, and I remember skipping church one Sunday because Andre the Giant was going to be on television. I wanted to find out everything I could. I really miss those days of multiple programs each with their own roster of 15-30 wrestlers a piece.

For some reason about 1982 we started getting World Class syndicated in every week. This was just before the whole Von Erich/Freebird war so I got to see all of that. About 1982 cable television brought us the WWF and I was watching right when Slaughter turned face (thus my love for that gimmick), We got Georgia Championship wrestling about the same time, and a little later the AWA on ESPN. We also got Contenintal Wrestling from time to time, Deep South every week (although the territory did not last), and when Smokey Mountain began we got it as well. At one point in the 80's I could watch about 5 different wrestling shows.

Whenever we vacationed in Florida which was once a year, I got to watch that as well. From time to time we would visit Atlanta and they had a channel that simply ran local territory shows all night long. Now that was a treat.

So I guess the real answer is Memphis and World Class, but I had glimpses of many of the others.

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