Billy Corgan purchases the NWA

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    Billy Corgan purchases the NWA

    Post by WWF Attitude on Mon May 01, 2017 5:00 pm

    PW Insider

    EXCLUSIVE: BILLY CORGAN FINALIZES DEAL TO PURCHASE....
    By Mike Johnson on 2017-05-01 11:46:00


    Smashing Pumpkins front man and former TNA Wrestling President Billy Corgan has agreed in principle to purchase the National Wrestling Alliance, PWInsider.com has confirmed with multiple sources.   The deal in place would see Corgan purchase the name, rights, trademarks to the NWA as well as the rights and possession of the NWA championship belt.

    Formed in 1948, at one point the National Wrestling Alliance was the largest and most well known governing body in professional wrestling, a group put together by promoters to share one World champion and help share talent and protect each other's interests.  The NWA Board of Directors would control who the shared World champion was and winning the belt was legitimately a feat in itself, because the champion was chosen for legitimate toughness, drawing power and the ability to enter member areas and help spark their business.  For decades, the NWA champion was considered the most important champion in the business, often touring and traveling the world to defend the belt for member promotions.    For older fans, the NWA championship was the belt in professional wrestling and was the measuring stick for greatness and what defined old school professional wrestling.

    By the late 1980s, many of the members had gone out of business or been neutralized as Vince McMahon took the then-WWF national, helping to effectively destroy the territory system that the NWA flourished under.   As the dust of WWF's expansion settled, the last true bastion of the old NWA was Jim Crockett Promotions, who waged a war against the WWF, empowered by names like Sting, Ric Flair, The Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes.  In the end, financial issues forced the Crockett family to sell to Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting, who's TBS Superstation broadcast Crockett TV.  While the NWA name was still utilized, Turner had not actually purchased the NWA itself, just the Crocketts' promotion.

    By 1991, the NWA name was dropped after a dispute and Turner's company was re-titled World Championship Wrestling publicly.   WCW tried again to work with the NWA in 1992 (including working with them and New Japan to crown a new champion in Mahahiro Chono) but that association was done the following summer when booking decisions were made to change the NWA title without consulting the NWA Board of Directors, who in theory still had power to approve or deny who carried the belt.  At the time WCW, was filmed television months in advance and filmed material with Rude holding the belt.  While the decision was made to move the belt from Ric Flair to Rick Rude, the NWA was never consulted.   The NWA cried foul and by the time the Flair vs. Rude feud actually took place, it was over "the big Gold belt" and later, the WCW International World championship, clunky ways of getting around using the NWA name.

    With no national outlet, most fans viewing at home likely believed the NWA just happened to morph into WCW.  The reality, however, was quite different as the NWA soldiered on, albeit it on a much smaller scale, with the late Dennis Corralluzo being its prime (and in some cases, sole) cheerleader in attempting to bring the brand some notoriety  New members were added, including Tod Gordon's Eastern Championship Wrestling.  In August 1994, an attempt to crown a new champion at an ECW event instead resulted with Shane Douglas throwing down the title he had just won, instead declaring the NWA an organization that "died, R.I.P., seven years ago" en route to declaring the ECW championship the ECW World title.

    The reality was, Douglas wasn't really lying.  By the mid 1990s, the NWA was on its last legs.  At one point, it almost shut down before Howard Brody was named President and asked members to give him one year to try and make things work.  By the end of that year, the NWA was featured briefly on WWF TV.  While that run was anything but memorable, the exposure on WWF television led to a slew of new member promotions paying to join the organization, saving it from going out of business and renewing it as a viable option for independent wrestling promotions.  That story, and many others recounting Brody's attempts to keep the NWA viable can be found in his excellent autobiography Swimming with Piranhas.

    In 2002, the Jarretts came to the promotion seeking the rights to utilize the NWA championship for their new venture, TNA.  The organization agreed to a licensing deal and the rights to the championships.  For the first several years of TNA's existence, the NWA title was the top championship and prize for the organization until a falling out over money led to the NWA pulling the rights to those belts.  TNA responded by crowning the first TNA champion.  Again, to the average viewer, the NWA disappeared.

    The NWA was once again back to being a collection of independent wrestling promotions who shared the champion and the NWA banner, although a far cry from the united front that existed in the territory era, with names like Adam Pearce and Colt Cabana attempting to bring attention to the championship.

    In a strange twist of events, Bruce Tharpe's International Wrestling Corp, LLC, sued the NWA and a number of its banner members in 2012, alleging insurance fraud regarding the liability insurance policy that was shared among NWA members.  In a legal maneuver that has yet to ever be explained publicly, Tharpe was able to leverage the lawsuit into gaining ownership of the NWA brand, seeing a number of groups that were involved (including Dave Marquez' Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, at the time, one of the few NWA outlets with legitimate TV) depart the company.  The change-over was captured firsthand in Adam Pearce's documentary Seven Levels of Hate, which was designed to capture his feud with Cabana but by the end, turned into a story about how they were now fighting for a title owned by a promotion that didn't care about what they were trying to do and indeed, didn't want Cabana as champion.  In the end, both exited the promotion after vacating the belt in Australia.

    Under Tharpe, the NWA changed from a group that allowed members to join to a promotion that instead licensed the NWA letters out to those willing to pay to use them.  The promotion has at times worked with New Japan since Tharpe acquired it, but in recent years, the NWA's blip on the radar screen has increasingly faded over time, with little television exposure beyond what bookings the champion (and Tharpe) have gotten from NJPW.   In an interesting piece of trivia, prior to the Tharpe takeover of the NWA, Sinclair Broadcasting looked into buying the promotion as they were seeking out wrestling programming.  In the end, they passed and instead opted to purchase Ring of Honor, which they have operated since they acquired ROH in May 2011.  So, in an alternative universe somewhere, the NWA is on Sinclair Broadcasting every week while ROH likely no longer exists.

    Once finalized, the purchase of the National Wrestling Alliance would be Corgan's first move within the professional wrestling world since departing TNA Wrestling after failing to purchase that promotion.   Corgan began investing in TNA in June 2016, helping to finance the company's Slammiversary PPV and subsequent TV tapings as part of a deal that saw him purchase a minority share in the company.  Additional investments in the company led to Corgan acquiring a larger share in the company and on 8/12/16, TNA issued a press release announcing that Corgan had replaced Dixie Carter as the President of the company and would be handling the day to day operations of the company while Carter would "focus on long-term planning, strategic partnerships and global growth."

    Shortly after being named President, Corgan announced his intentions to purchase the company and potentially change its name from TNA.  He had meetings with different cable outlets about potentially working with him and TNA once that purchase was complete, but as time would tell, it never happened.

    Corgan's negotiations to purchase the company saw him unable to close a complicated deal that would see him not only buy the company from Dixie Carter, but other minority owners including Aroluxe and The Fight Network.    During promotional appearances to push the Bound for Glory PPV in October 2016, Corgan admitted that he had financed the three previous rounds of TNA Impact Wrestling tapings, describing those deals as last minute agreements where the "ink was drying" as talents were heading to the ring.  He made it clear he would not be financing the Bound for Glory PPV tapings and subsequent TV tapings publicly.  As it turned out, Anthem Media, the parent company for The Fight Network, silently backed the tapings in preparation of that company eventually acquiring TNA.

    Upset over investing in something he would not end up being able to purchase, Corgan (still President) filed a  lawsuit against TNA parent company Impact Ventures LLC, TNA Wrestling itself, CFO Dean Broadhead, President Dixie Carter and Serg Salinas in Chancery Court of Nashville, TN in October 2016.  In that lawsuit, he sought a declaration from the court that he was, by virtue of a pledge agreement he made with Carter, entitled to Carter's 92.5% of the company, her voting rights and had the ability to replace the current managers with designated managers of his choosing.  The court did not rule with him on those matters.   Corgan also sought damages for the breach of contract, and at one point, had a temporary injunction preventing the defendants from making business decisions that could "further harm" Corgan and the company and prevented them from attempting to sell the company or it's assets until the lawsuit is resolved.  Corgan's lawsuit revealed that while he had been named President, Dixie Carter was still acting without his knowledge to make deals on the company's behalf, including a potential sale of TNA assets to WWE that ended up not happening.  

    In the end, Anthem Media agreed to settle Corgan's dispute and it is believed he was paid back his entire investment in TNA ($1.9 million) as well as interest ($2.7 million total).  Anthem Media now holds majority ownership of that company.   In the ruling dismissing the lawsuit, Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle noted that the lawsuit was being dismissed without prejudice.  That meant that Corgan would be free to re-file the suit down the line.  In an interview with PWInsider.com following the settlement, Corgan made it clear that the settlement only released TNA, Impact Ventures LLC and Anthem from future legal claims, meaning Carter, Salinas, Broadhead and perhaps others could still find themselves in Corgan's legal crosshairs.  To date, however, that has not happened.

    After Anthem Media gained control of the company, Dave Lagana exited TNA, citing publicly on Jim Ross' podcast that no one could tell him who was in charge and he felt it was better to carve his own future.  Lagana has worked with Corgan since, touring with him while documenting a cross-country road trip with that material posted daily on Corgan's social media platforms.  One would expect that Lagana would be involved in some form in whatever Corgan's plans for the NWA brand are, if and when the NWA acquisition is completed.   Matt Conway, who was Lagana's partner in creative in TNA, no longer works for Impact, so he may be free to work with Lagana and Corgan as well.

    A lifelong pro wrestling fan, Corgan has flirted with his involvement in professional wrestling for years.  In the late 1990s, he made numerous appearances for the original Extreme Championship Wrestling but rebuffed Paul Heyman's invitation to purchase 10% of the company for $1 million, feeling that the company wasn't worth $10 million at the time.  At one point, Corgan acquired the ownership of the old Bob Luce wrestling library, comprised of material from the time period Luce was promoting professional wrestling at The International Amphitheater in Chicago.   Corgan would later get involved in Chicago's Revolution Pro, working in creative and acquiring a deal to bring that promotion to AMC as part of a reality series before AMC opted to shut down its reality TV end.  Corgan would later pull out of Revolution Pro.

    A number of questions remain as the deal closes including what does new ownership mean for the current NWA member promotions and what would this mean for the NWA on Demand Video service.  Of course, the biggest question revolves around what exactly Corgan's plans for the National Wrestling Alliance will be.

    We will have to wait for those answers as attempts by PWInsider.com to reach Corgan for comment have, thus far, been unsuccessful.

    Why is Billy Corgan so determined to be swindled by a syndicate of carny folk?

    Bruce Tharpe wrote:
    I am very excited for the future of the NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE.

    As everyone knows by now - Billy Corgan and I have agreed on principle regarding his acquisition of the NWA brand. This decision comes after many weeks of negotiation and deep consideration.

    Although Billy Corgan may be a fresh face to wrestling - he is an extremely successful businessman and has a deep admiration and respect for the NWA. He is also putting together a very strong team.

    With the capital and business acumen that Billy Corgan brings to the table - I am confident that he has the ability to take the NWA to the next level. And I have promised to do all I can to help him succeed. I ask you to join me in supporting the new NWA regime in the future.

    I am not leaving wrestling - but after four years at the helm of the NWA - I look forward to stepping back and allowing someone new and passionate to take control of this great and noble organization.

    Thank you to everyone who has supported the NWA over the years and during my tenure. I also want to publicly thank Billy Corgan for his confidence and respect for this iconic brand.

    The next few months are going to be really exciting for the National Wrestling Alliance - but most of all for the fans!


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    Re: Billy Corgan purchases the NWA

    Post by SBR on Wed May 03, 2017 1:52 pm

    What a world


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    Re: Billy Corgan purchases the NWA

    Post by Swarles on Fri May 05, 2017 1:50 am

    both haven't been popular since 1979 HEYOOOOO

    but for real i hope he does something with it. it will be a step up from the absolute nothing bruce tharpe was doing.


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    Re: Billy Corgan purchases the NWA

    Post by WWF Attitude on Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:24 pm

    From: https://www.si.com/wrestling/2017/10/02/billy-corgan-officially-announces-rebrand-nwa

    Justin Barrasso wrote:Wrestling is ready to return back to the future.

    Yet the re-launch of the National Wrestling Alliance, with Smashing Pumpkins legend Billy Corgan at the helm, plans to incorporate a piece of nostalgia with a reformation of the way in which wrestling is viewed.

    “We want to be part of a new revolution of how wrestling can be consumed by fans and matches can be presented,” said Corgan. “This NWA brand dates back to 1948. The past few years have not been as kind as we would have liked, but we plan on building this into a powerhouse over time.”

    Corgan purchased the NWA over the summer amidst a throng of questions–and even scattered laughter–due to the fact that the brand has not been relevant since the late ‘80s. But many discount Corgan’s vision.

    Another important note is that Corgan retained the licensing agreement on the Boesch Family Houston Wrestling video library, which is still owned by the family, featuring nearly every major star from the ‘70s and ‘80s. By no means is the success of the NWA a certainty, but Corgan has a 20-year business plan that he believes will allow his company to thrive.

    “People asked, ‘What are you buying?’” explained Corgan. “We’ve looked at how the WWE has positioned itself and how Anthem has positioned Impact Wrestling, and now a brand like the NWA, which has built-in recognition value and a history that is unmatched, suddenly starts to become more valuable in this shifting landscape. Maybe we’re not so crazy for buying these three letters after all.”

    The wrestling business, with industry-leader WWE producing live programming twice a week, as well as increased popularity from New Japan Pro Wrestling during its voyage into the United States this past summer, appears robust.

    There are a plethora of independents operating around the country, as well as television programs from Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, and Anthem’s Impact Wrestling, but wrestling’s overall numbers, including attendance and ratings, are down significantly from the turn of the century. In addition to the decrease in viewers, the market is flooded with professional wrestling.

    “I faced similar circumstances and odds when I entered the music business in 1988,” said Corgan. “It wasn’t like I looked on MTV and saw a million bands playing the same kind of music that bands like us or Nirvana or Pearl Jam were playing. We knew there was a market out there that wanted a different type of product for a different set of reasons.

    “The numbers show that wrestling, at its peak, was averaging eight-to-ten million people a week on television. Where did all those people go? I think they’re still out there, and there always new fans to be made.”

    The NWA’s former owner, Bruce Tharpe, leased out affiliated licenses that expired on Oct. 1. The promotion, and its vision, is now entirely in Corgan’s control.

    Vince McMahon clearly has a plan of where he wants to bring WWE, with a yearly benchmark at WrestleMania. Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff has also developed concrete goals. Anthem Executive Vice President Ed Nordholm, who oversees Impact Wrestling, admitted that his company did not have a plan upon its purchase, which has continued to lose money over the past 12 months.

    “Our focus is on the NWA plan, and we have a 20-year plan,” said Corgan. “We’re not going to just come in and throw money around for two years. We’ve learned from the past mistakes of TNA, which we have intimate knowledge of.”

    The NWA initials are far from unknown in the wrestling community, though not nearly as powerful as it was decades ago. Corgan has a plan in place to rebuild the brand.

    “We’re armed with this knowledge, and we’re setting out to rebuild the brand so a fan that currently doesn’t know anything about the NWA will respect the tradition and also respect what we’re trying to accomplish, like a Ring of Honor or a New Japan. That’s where we are starting, and we’re building from there.”

    Corgan’s intimate knowledge of TNA dates back to his time as president of IMPACT Ventures, which he was named in Aug. 2016 and saw him oversee daily operations of TNA/Impact Wrestling. However, he was no longer associated with the company by that November, and an ensuing court case ruled that Impact’s new owners, Anthem Sports and Entertainment, would repay Corgan’s loans to the wrestling company.
    “I was very, very frustrated by the obstacles I faced internally, both culturally and fiscally, at TNA,” noted Corgan. “I dealt with a lot of backstabbing and lies.

    “I was able to push through some things that ended up being successful at TNA, and I was very frustrated because you would think the success would have led to more leverage and further opportunities. But it was exactly the opposite. People were out to get me because I had power. At least now, in this situation, I am my own boss.”

    The NWA has a vision, dovetailed with a business plan and concern for the wrestlers’ bodies, and Corgan is moving toward the future of the entertainment business.

    “You have to build your own infrastructure from the bottom up and work with people you really trust. The traditional ‘carny’ aspect of the wrestling business that plagues a lot of companies, and has plagued a company like TNA, are problems that hold the business back. You can’t run an effective business if it’s like Game of Thrones every week.”

    Corgan has noticed out of his peripheral vision the struggles that Anthem has encountered. Impact Wrestling, in Nordholm’s own words, has not been profitable. Although this may come as a surprise to some, Corgan has built a healthy relationship with Anthem’s Nordholm.
    “I speak to Ed at least once, if not twice, a week,” said Corgan, who, contrary to popular belief in the wrestling community, never lost his lawsuit. Corgan only lost a motion when the judge ruled there was not yet enough information. Once that motion was declined, Corgan and Anthem came to a satisfactory resolution.

    “After everything was resolved in the settlement, I called Ed and said, ‘I think we’re going to be doing business together in the future and I want you to know there is no issue.’ I obviously got involved in the Hardy situation which never got resolved to anyone’s satisfaction, though it was close at times. Ed has had to clean up a lot of messes and he takes a lot of stick in the press. Behind the scenes, I’ve found him to be a pretty straight-forward guy.”

    Corgan was asked to comment on whether Anthem, which has dealt with constant reports of being strapped for cash, reached out this past July for an investment.

    “We’ve made various overtures to Anthem along the way and they’ve made various overtures to me,” said Corgan. “We haven’t found anything that is ideal, and I’m a firm believer that if a deal doesn’t go both ways, then it’s not a good deal to make. If the NWA was going to be involved in some level with Anthem, we’d want it to be a good way all the way around.”

    Corgan revealed that he proposed a deal that would have allowed Anthem to work directly with himself and the NWA.

    “We made a very aggressive offer in the last month to go in and help reboot the company,” said Corgan. “We’d have helped Impact stay more in the lane of the traditional Impact brand, and then set up the NWA as a natural rival, a la Raw versus SmackDown. Unfortunately, we didn’t get where we wanted with that offer.”

    Of course, in any wrestling company, the spotlight is on the champion. Corgan has current NWA champion Tim Storm working in well-respected David Marquez’s Championship Wrestling from Hollywood to reintroduce the belt to a larger audience.

    “We don’t see the brand, or, in this case, the NWA title, as proprietary as having to be on our turf or on our terms,” said Corgan. “We need to create relationships, much like Anthem is trying to do with AAA, to build and create audiences. Hopefully we can build a long-term relationship with Marquez that is mutually beneficial. He has shown great agility at taking the local TV market and running a profit. He has history with the NWA since the mid-90s, and that was our first shot at doing something across the bow.”

    The NWA championship will be appearing on Marquez’s program for the next few months starting this weekend on his syndication network, including select CW stations.

    “We like to turn up the flame of what we’re doing slowly until we’re really ready to come out full guns blazing,” said Corgan. “That’s the way we want to work, we want to build relationships. I said this repeatedly at TNA, and I say this at our meetings, the future of the business is people working together.”

    Corgan worked meticulously with trusted business partner David Lagana to create a pathway for NWA success. Reintroducing the NWA brand to the wrestling vernacular will be a calculated process, and their plan is to partner with “friendly” territories over the next year with Lagana in charge of day-to-day operations while Corgan tours for his new album.

    Lagana has been a successful wrestling content creator for multiple different promotions. He has been writing, directing, and producing for over 15 years in WWE, Ring of Honor, and Impact Wrestling, as well as directing Corgan’s Thirty Days documentary and the superb End of Independents documentary on Drew “McIntyre” Galloway.

    “Like myself, David came into wrestling perceived as an outsider,” said Corgan. “We both bring other-world experiences into our passion to be in the wrestling business, and his ability to write and produce, as well as an incredible eye for talent, is very strong.

    “David comes from television and I come from entertainment, and we stay very focused on the bottom line of advancing the ball forward in terms of reaching an agile and younger audience in the means that they’re consuming content, you’re setting up your own suicide in the long-term.”

    The fundamental goal for the NWA is to create a 21st century entertainment brand very much pointed at the digital realm.

    "You have an aging fan base that has shown in the past few years that it is willing to pay more to have access, but it’s a shrinking, aging fan base,” noted Corgan. “For probably the first time in wrestling’s history, it seems to be moving away from youth where every other entertainment culture is obsessively focused on youth to create their next generation of fans.”

    Corgan explained that he has read a plethora of different reports, including a study that reported the average age of the wrestling fan is 57 years old.

    “That does not bode well for any business,” said Corgan. “If you’re going to target a younger audience, knowing full well that you don’t want to lose the audience that you do have, the question then becomes how are you going to find them? Is it behind a pay wall or is it free? That is the fundamental question.”

    Corgan shuttered the NWA’s on-demand system, and is planning on delivering a foundation for longevity that is an outlier in wrestling and strongly opposite to the instant gratification business plan that has doomed countless other companies.

    “That’s where most people lose their nerve,” said Corgan. “Everyone wants to book the amazing card with the seven hottest indie wrestlers in the world. The bottom line of putting together those cards is figuring out who is going to pay for that.

    “In the brand-building business, which I am, you have to be willing to make investments, find the right talent, and cultivate a culture resolute in believing that you’d rather have more people seeing your product and having access to your product.”

    Corgan explained that he would rather have 300,000 people watching the NWA for free than 4,000 people watching behind a pay wall.

    “Not everyone would agree with that, because they’ll say you are going to run out of money, but I disagree,” said Corgan. “You need to be able to command an audience in this changing television culture.”

    The NWA represents a similar challenge as Corgan first faced in the music business, as doubt lingers that he will succeed. Yet wrestling is a better place with Corgan. Whether that will lead to success and longevity for the NWA remains an unknown, but its destiny is in the hands of a man who built a legacy in the face of an already crowded landscape that believed there was no space for his success.

    “We could run a show on October 15 in an empty hall, but it would look like every other,” said Corgan. “In essence, there is no hurry. We want our first move to be in the right direction with a vision, and not just more wrestling hype.”


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