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Discussion Starter #1
If a company opposing WWE (AEW, let's say) started drawing a billion in annual revenue or anywhere close, how much would that concern WWE?

I was thinking about the UFC, and I know they're an MMA promotion and not a wrestling one, but they made between 980 million to 1.1 billion last year, and I was just fantasizing about the kind of panic mode WWE would be in if a wrestling company opposite of their's started drawing that much. Imagine how triggered Vince would be if someone else reached heights that even his own company has never reached before.
 

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They would start trying, because ultimately their perceived value to television is going to be what keeps Vince McMahon rich.

It would be time to create stars. Everyone from Brock Lesnar to John Cena to Edge to even Steve Austin would be called and told to make someone. The guys he wants to go to bat with will suddenly be protected and put into prominent positions.

You’re seeing a bit of it now with the WWE wanting to get its metrics up with eyes on them because of the XFL.
 

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I mean you pretty much answered your own question. What long standing business leader wouldn't be shook up and nervous about a business not only surpassing them, but doing it to the tune of billions?
 

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That is not something that happens in just a handful of years. It took WWE decades of doing business to just get to the point that they are currently. Most likely, we will never see another wrestling company reach the level that WWE did. Mostly due to the fact that said company would need to become publicly traded.
 

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It's much easier to grow a business today than it once was. WWE's profitability skyrocketed with these TV deals. Now is the time for a billionaire to get into the wrestling business. AEW have kind of pissed on their own leg, but if Mark Cuban wanted to start up his own league or get behind MLW and Sinclair wanted to get behind ROH? Some amazing things could happen pretty quickly.

You need big stars to get that TV rights money, though, and unfortunately WWE secured guys like Randy Orton and AJ Styles to long-term deals. The big, big names you can really go for left out there are:

  • The Rock (not going to wrestle for insurance reasons)
  • Steve Austin (got very strong ties to WWE, but has apparently been cleared to take bumps, so backing up a truck might be possible)
  • Goldberg (not sure if signed to WWE deal)
  • CM Punk (not sure how tight FOX deal is)
  • Rob Van Dam (pending medical test)
Within the wrestling business, I think the big free agents or guys you can buy out right now are:

  • Jeff Hardy
  • Rusev
  • Tom Lawlor (UFC recognition)
  • Brodie Lee
  • The Revival
  • Jacob Fatu
  • Ken Shamrock (not as a wrestler, but as someone's coach or something)
  • Alexander Hammerstone
  • Matt Hardy(?) (not big on giving him creative control, so I might actually pass on him)
I'm pretty sure AEW guys would be able to jump, so once you've got this core going and the word gets out, you send it through channels that you'd be pretty happy to take Jim Ross as an announcer, Arn Anderson as an agent and Tully Blanchard as a manager. You also try and get MJF and Sammy Guevara from AEW. If Jericho and Moxley make themselves available, you obviously try and get them.

Try and sign some people from the world of UFC. Jon Jones thinks it is "inevitable" he does something with WWE? Beat them to the punch. Train that guy up quick smart. Josh Barnett or Daniel Cormier for commentary with JR. If you can get someone to do an angle with Conor McGregor, do it.

As far as women go, sign Helen Maroulis and Erica Wiebe and stick them in training. Get Gail Kim from TNA and put her against Tessa Blanchard ASAP. For a celebrity crossover, bring in Florence Pugh for an angle.

Start working with New Japan. Help them promote Wrestle Dynasty and do an MSG show with them every year.

With that roster and those associations, you've got the sort of thing that is going to get you a sit-down with Viacom and probably about $150 million per year for four years, which is going to make get you over half-way to the billion-dollar line.

Realistically, I think you can get anyone in the wrestling business that is not signed to WWE. I'm just going to assume that Steve Austin, Goldberg and Sting have some sort of working agreement with WWE. God, if you could get Austin though. I think the biggest gets, and they aren't as unrealistic as people think with billions backing you, would be The Rock, Conor and Jon Jones. But obviously they can't do the heavy lifting every week. But that is where your younger crop comes in and guys like Van Dam and Jeff Hardy become important in putting them over.

God, can you imagine Jacob Fatu & Conor McGregor vs. MJF & Alexander Hammerstone? There's your WrestleMania I equivalent.
 

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That is not something that happens in just a handful of years. It took WWE decades of doing business to just get to the point that they are currently. Most likely, we will never see another wrestling company reach the level that WWE did. Mostly due to the fact that said company would need to become publicly traded.
It's possible. AEW is better positioned than any company in the last 19 years to ultimately get there...including TNA.

I wrote briefly on this in 2014:

Less than 1B. You would set a series of goals:

1) Grow to size of 1997 ECW
2) Achieve national tv clearance
3) Reach size and scope of 2010 TNA, or 1995 WWE
4) Go live on television shows and keep those shows in mid sized venues until growth allows more.
5) Achieve size and growth of 1997 WWE

There are several keys, but they are achievable
1) you must be willing to take a loss for 5 years
2) you must go in the opposite direction of WWE. Story lines and characters g ared above the age 10 bracket, logical plots that have conclusions, emphasis on competition
3) Go after top free agents as they come available and overpay. Offer opportunity, more creative free hand, and reduced schedule in addition to money. Examples now would be Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk. Next year would be Brock Lesnar. Free agents cannot be the backbone of your company, but they will provide buzz and excitement.
3) As the promotion grows, be willing to lampoon the WWE and their silliness. Emphasize the differences. You are 24. They are Teletubbies. They won't respond, and cannot respond.
4) Hope that WWE does not change course (likely)
5) Grow staff and enhance production values sensibly.
 

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Excellent points, Seafort. Basically 100% in agreement. Big thumbs up.

All you need is the money to be able to cover talent and actually putting on these big shows. You let the demand take care of the rest. That is why AEW has been able to get as far as they have despite some absolutely rancid decision-making (in my opinion). Tony Khan was smart enough to see that there was a spot open, but decided to fire off party-poppers instead of rocket launchers.

Don't want to turn this into an anti-AEW thread (genuinely), but the potential for a serious billion-dollar promotion is definitely there. Live entertainment is in demand and wrestling provides at least two hours of that type of content, and when presented seriously, draws extremely well.

You just need to get a billionaire on-board that is going to be able to sink enough cash into this out the gate so you can get that trial run on TV, which can prove you are a commodity, which means you can get that TV money.

Honestly, Mark Cuban is probably the best bet. He's a fan of wrestling and he's been involved before. Sinclair Broadcasting a stakeholders in wrestling and have billions too. The other option is to go straight to a network yourself and cut out the middle man. ViacomCBS could probably use some sort of wrestling content for DAZN, cable and possibly even CBS itself.
 

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Obviously a real competitor would mean great news for fans and the wrestlers. Vince does best when someone is trying to bend him over. Takes time to build up a real competitor. WCW had all that NWA history and talent.
 

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Let's not forget that it was TNA who were financed by Panda Energy for several years...yeah the billion dollar company at that time. TNA created stars like Samoa Joe, A.J Styles, etc. Then you had ROH who created guys like "The Founding Father" of ROH, Tyler Black, CM Punk, Kevin Steen, etc. ROH had the best chance at one point with Sinclair. ROH could still pull it off, but something has gone wrong there so it would have to wait for a few years to rebuild properly.

TNA, ROH tried hard to create their own stars, and that's part of the point in any promotion.

AEW can still pull it off, but it will take a few years to develop their own stars. Relying on Jericho is a good start, but you want longevity, long-term marketability.

Sure, WWE is in a bit of a panic mode with these NXT tactics, but they should only become concerned on two hypothetical fronts...1) if a whole bunch of good independent wrestlers suddenly sign with AEW and, 2) AEW Dynamite slightly improves creative, talent, style, booking, attendance, and ratings.

Moxley Vs Jericho could be a growing moment for AEW if Moxley wins. If Moxley wins, you can see the potential for long-term feuds with Omega, Page, Hager. It's also inevitable that AEW will create 1-3 new titles, but we don't know if it will be a legit Heavyweight title, or a Cruiserweight/Brawlerweight/National Champion, and maybe women's tag-team titles.

A couple of legit weightclasses in AEW will help with growth as you create proper structure, proper storylines for those divisions. Have the AEW Championship be the one that can carry the brand, but create a legit Heavyweight title for the one who can carry the brand at moment's notice ( a solid #2 title), or be promoted to the main division. Have the CW/BW/National division be for the younger wrestlers who have the most potential to become AEW Champion one day. Maybe AEW could create Women's Tag-Team Titles.....I know it's not an ideal division, but it's a good entry level title for the females there. AEW Dark is expanding so put in a couple of entry level titles on that show, and than have the Heavyweight on Dynamite. This is where AEW could beat WWE with legit weightclasses, legit divisions. NXT Cruiserweight no longer counts, it's a travesty of a division and title there.

I don't see how AEW cannot make a few hundred million dollars a year by improving with creative, booking, weightclasses, a few new proper titles, and some marketing. A billion dollars a year might be a bit of a stretch, but they have room to make several millions of dollars with a few improvements that are not drastic. The point of AEW is to give us fans an alternative, one with proper style, etc. Of course we want AEW to succeed, not to put WWE out of business as that is not the intent.
 

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That is not something that happens in just a handful of years. It took WWE decades of doing business to just get to the point that they are currently. Most likely, we will never see another wrestling company reach the level that WWE did. Mostly due to the fact that said company would need to become publicly traded.
Agreed. I think a wrestling promotion reaching and surpassing WWE in popularity is possible.

But surpassing the money making machine of WWE in a short period of time is not. It takes a long time to get that ball rolling.
 

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It's possible. AEW is better positioned than any company in the last 19 years to ultimately get there...including TNA.

I wrote briefly on this in 2014:
If this was about AEW reaching WWE popularity wise I'd agree with you fully

But for a business to reach the heights of WWE or the UFC from a financial point of view you need time to establish one self and get the ball rolling.

As much as we might not like the actual product. The WWE knows how to make money. They know how to work the stock exchange. They've established themselves world wide. They have different ways of making money outside actual wrestling.

The AEW could surpass the WWE in popularity in 5 years. But it would take another 10 to 15 years to make as much money. And that's only if they can remain as dominant.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If this was about AEW reaching WWE popularity wise I'd agree with you fully

But for a business to reach the heights of WWE or the UFC from a financial point of view you need time to establish one self and get the ball rolling.

As much as we might not like the actual product. The WWE knows how to make money. They know how to work the stock exchange. They've established themselves world wide. They have different ways of making money outside actual wrestling.

The AEW could surpass the WWE in popularity in 5 years. But it would take another 10 to 15 years to make as much money. And that's only if they can remain as dominant.
If AEW managed to reach WWE's popularity in five years, then of course they'd be making as much money or close. They'd have those juicy television contracts that pay out 250-300 million a year, they'd have a paid subscription network that make them 200-300 million a year, they'd make a couple hundred million or more from merchandise and ticket sales, etc. That's without even being a public company.
 

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It kind of funny but I always felt Redbull could start a wrestling company,They have the money and the revenue and the market for pushing sports.Same with any big company it funny how they never got into the wrestling business.AEW is good but it will take sometime before they want too go where they want to go.As for ROH I can’t see them coming up again too many bad move with Sinclair not give them the exposure they needed.
 

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Funny, No one watched tv anymore supposedly but these contracts are at record levels across all sports and entertainment
"Supposedly." Only the uneducated masses make such gross generalizations. In reality, live and sports-related content is more valuable than ever and still draw strong ratings.
 

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I think the likelihood of that happening is nil. While it is certainly possible, you have to consider that in the whole history of wrestling, no other individual promotion or promoter can claim to have been 1st in the industry for nearly 40 years straight. In fact, I'd say the average lifespan of a wrestling promotion before it goes defunct or absorbed into another is less than 15 years. There are exceptions, of course, like JCP, but even they didn't come close to the utter dominance WWE currently has over the industry and if anybody tells you otherwise they're a complete territory mark. Vince single-handedly wiped NWA off the map, and buried its last legitimate vestige in WCW. Even if by sheer force of will and cutthroat tactics alone, McMahon will do everything in his power to ensure there is no sustained, meaningful competition.

People also like to pretend that NWA, TNA or AEW were/are not and could not have ever been competition for WWE in order to downplay Vince's business acumen, when the claim is plainly untrue. All of them had significant money behind them, and Vince did not always have deep pockets himself. To pretend like McMahon didn't have to use business savvy to undercut his historical competition is being disingenuous. He may be shitty as a booker, but he's a very competent business man when it comes to media distribution, marketing/sales, establishing revenue streams, hoarding talent, being on the cutting edge of technology etc.
 

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Its popularity is.
It's more popular now than 2003-04 or 93-95 in terms of getting fans to buy tickets to shows or pay for events on tv

There isn't a spectre of eventual demise hanging over the business worldwide now like there was back in 2003-04. Smackdown was on the verge of being cancelled for a number of years then which would have left just two hours of Raw on a b level cable channel as the only broadcast on us tv weekly. Now we have SD on national TV, 3 hours of raw, nxt and aew on the two biggest cable channels as well as lots of WWE reality shows.

Wrestlemania is back in stadiums, rumble is now in stadiums, NJPW just drew 70,000 fans over two nights.

It is missing that star who can transcend the business obviously. Of course if that person arrives it's possible a boom or at the very least a mini boom like 2007-09 occurs.
 
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