Straight Shooting - Issue #91
Since 1997 - The Standard Bearer For Wrestling Columns
by Fritz Capp
October 17, 2000

Before getting into the meat of this column I want to address something. This past weekend there was a show named "Podzilla" which was a memorial show for a fallen wrestler. I think the idea of it was beautiful and they did raise money for the wrestlers family which is the way it should be. But on one website that will remained unnamed they addressed a situation that happened at the show. It seems that a fire alarm was pulled to try to disrupt the show (which is very sad if you think about it) Anyway one of the people associated with the show had this to say about it. "To the a-holes that pulled the false fire only added to the show, not detracted from it.......hey, do you guys work for NWA JERSEY???"

Now considering that NWA-Jersey was in Nashville this weekend for the NWA Convention and also considering that the person who wrote this has an undying loyalty to former NWA-NJ owner Dennis Coralluzo, this not only shows how low some people will go to take a shot at someone but also discredits to some extent the fine work this guy did to get Podzilla running. This was of course a shot to show his loyalty to Coralluzo. My thing is there could have been another time and place to make this shot, not in the results of the show. But then again with Dennis, who has shown so many times that he not only has no class but also has no morals, this sort of thing is common place.

It is not the current NWA-Jersey's managements fault that Dennis ripped off the NWA. It is not current managements fault that Dennis DID NOT keep true to his word and pay back the money he owed the NWA which cost him the NWA-NJ promotion. (Did you admit how you came about owing that $6000.00 to the NWA in your shoot tape Dennis?) It is also not current managements fault that Dennis ripped off charities, lied to friends, stole from those closest to him and made a mockery of how a promotion should be run. Dennis, by you having people who still believe in you take shots at your former promotion just so you can sit in some restaurant snickering and having a good laugh at their expense shows that you still do not care about those that call you friend. You open up the doors to take their credibility down the tubes with you. To those of you who are befriended by Dennis, watch your credit cards and don't let him open any bank accounts in your name. But then again, that is sound advice for anyone you meet that has a prior criminal conviction and is up on many current indictments isn't it?

I had the opportunity to hit Nashville, Tennessee for their annual NWA Convention this past weekend and while I am not into really trashing this event I do have to say that considering that this was their 52nd convention it was about one of the biggest disappointments I have attended in all my years of attending wrestling events. Now this is not to be taken as a shot at the wrestlers, because there were some great matches. This is also not to be taken as a shot at the promoters themselves who traveled from all over (the ones that were there anyway) to showcase what they had. In fact, it's not even a shot at the NWA hierarchy, more along the lines of constructive criticism.

For those of you who went to the NWA 50th in New Jersey, you saw a lot of vendors and talent, there was a dinner, autograph signings and a lot of the NWA promotions at the time were represented along with the card that was set up for the event. Not so in this recent incarnation. It was at the Nashville Fairgrounds in what is called the Sports Arena. The venue may be as big as Ag Hall in Allentown, PA but at the same time it just did not have the right "air" about it. There was one vendor for the "Fan Fest" and only a few people there for the fans to meet and greet. It may have drawn 100 fans total. To me that is a total flop. Considering that there is a lot of NWA television in the Nashville area and they are always talking about the storied "wrestling tradition" in Nashville this made it appear even worse than it was. Considering that I am in advertising and marketing all I had to do was look around to see that someone dropped the ball on this one. An event that was supposed to spotlight the NWA promotion is supposed to "draw" is it not? I am sure it did not help that the fan fest was supposed to be at the Wilson Inn and the venue was changed at the last minute. I can say last minute because not only did the NWA-Jersey people show up at the Wilson Inn for the event but so did the New Texas Outlaws only to be told by the Wilson Inn management that while the NWA did contact them to do the fan fest there, once the contracts were sent to the NWA the NWA never contacted them back so after three months they sold out to other parties. It would have been nice for the NWA to let their own people know that this happened and that the venue was changed. I am sure this played a factor in the less than stellar crowd attendance at the fan fest. Plus the "last minute" venue change was really not last minute considering what we were told at the Wilson Inn. This is just plain stupid on the NWA's part. One has to wonder if having too many people having a say is helping or hurting the promotion.

The show itself, "Battle For The Belts" on the first night was pretty good and it did showcase a lot of what the NWA feels is their top talent. Getting to meet a lot of the guys and the promoters was interesting to say the least. One thing I do have to say is that these people believe in what they are doing and appear to be doing it not only for the money (we all know that money is a definite factor) but also for the love of the business. That is a breath of fresh air considering I run into so many promoters in the northeast that don't care about the workers or what they put on, just the dollar amount they draw. Sure your in business to make money and if you aren't you should not be doing it but the fact of the matter is that if you only do it for the money you really lose sight of how things go down. You can bring in all of the talent you want to from other places and pay those high rates for small returns, but the bottom line is that if you do not have enough faith in your own locker room to brand them out against these names you bring in, you do nothing to enhance your product or promotion. You show that you are only into it for the dollar and will eventually lose those in your locker room that you take for granted. It doesn't matter if they have been wrestling for one year or twelve, if they are in your locker room for you at every show then you should appreciate that fact. The promoters that feel that they are doing something special for the guys by having them there better remember that it is a two way street when it comes to running a promotion. While it is true that wrestlers need a promoter it is also true that a promoter needs wrestlers. It is easier to get a promoters license and run shows than it is for a promoter to train and put on a one man show. Think about it guys.

I do want to give a few shouts to those that met and talked to at the convention (if I forget anyone I apologize in advance) Cajun Sensation Blade Boudreaxu, Bill Behrens, Double A., Mike Rapada, Richard Arpin, Bulldog Raines, Magic, Biggie Biggs, New Texas Outlaws, Jason Rumble, Bad Attitude, Jim Miller and Bert Prentice.

Now back to the NWA. In my humble opinion, the NWA has something that no one else does. They just do not know how to utilize it to their advantage. Call it ego's or call it whatever else you choose to, the NWA could be the second largest wrestling promotion in the world if they would just get off their collective butts and do something about it. I know that there are people that are close to me that can attest to what I am about to say because I have been saying it for months now, The NWA needs to take their heads out of the old school carny mentality that so many seems to have and start seeing what they have and utilize it.

The NWA has 26 promotions running currently. (Give or take one or two in the PA/NJ area that have owners that don't pay their money or actively run their promotions) Now take that and give an estimate of say 15-20 workers per locker room that are steady workers (not the guys they ship in to top their cards). Even at the low end number of 15 per locker room the NWA promotion has 390 people that they can draw from. Now with 26 promotions in the fold that they can count on to have "territories", they could run their top 30-40 guys through these areas thus branding out their top talent while at the same time helping each promotion to "pop" their territory which would draw more fans. Is this what they do? Not at all. Each owner appears to happy with their turnout which is usually between the 200-400 mark. How is this good business? Why cannot the collective minds that run in the NWA get together and run together as one? Are the ego's so thick that they cannot see the benefit to combining their forces? Out of 390 people in their locker rooms worldwide the NWA cannot gather their top 40 people and take them on tour?

At this junction in time the NWA could quite conceivably take over the number two spot if they would just open their eyes. WCW is at an all time low and ECW has once again joined the ranks of the independents. (Plus it would help if they paid their guys on a consistent basis) The area is wide open and basically crying for something new to watch as even the WWF is getting stale. The only real thing popping them is the return of Austin.

One thing I will say is that NWA does have a very marketable champion in Mike Rapada. This guy looks like a young Kerry Von Erich and is one of the nicest guys that I have met lately on the indy circuit. Plus with the ongoing saga between him and Sabu that is about to heat up it should get people talking. The current tag champs, Bad Attitude, put on a good match and can run the mic so they now have another piece of the puzzle. Another piece of the puzzle is their president, Howard Brody.

Now I have not always agreed with Brody. Brody at times appears to have all the clues in the world and at other times I think he should just crawl back in the hole he crawled out of. But after talking with Brody for a few hours on Sunday I can see that he does have the best intentions for the NWA. He also has a grasp on what has to be done to bring them back into prominence. I just wonder if the rest of the promoters tied into the NWA have the same visions as Brody who was just elected to a fifth term as President. The other thing I wonder is if Brody can really get the job done. Lip service is easy to spit out, but actually getting the jobs that need to be done completed is a whole different story. Bringing a fallen promotion back into the limelight is no easy task to be sure, but it can be done. I guess the jury will be out for a while on this one as I sit back and watch things unfold. If Brody can accomplish half of what he said, the NWA promotion should be seeing a rise in visibility and stature in the upcoming year.

One that does hold an altruistic vision for the NWA is Vice President, Jim Miller. Jim runs the NWA promotion out in Pittsburgh and is very intelligent when it comes to what should be done to help the NWA grow. While talking with Jim we talked about marketing the promotion more so than just the occasional newsbyte for upcoming shows or show results that are currently the fair that runs on the Internet. We both agreed it will take a concerted effort by all promotions together to help NWA take off again.

Another promoter that realizes what needs to be done is Alvin Minnick who runs NWA Mid-South. After talking to "Double A" for a while he has some great ideas. (This guy is a dead ringer for Arn Anderson) Hopefully the top brass of the NWA will take his ideas and utilize them.

Now it is true that some promoters have more than others in terms of money. That does not mean that everyone does not have something to offer. It takes finding out where each person can make a contribution to the goal, not how much money they have. Not everyone has the ability to throw around money. But everyone has something to offer. Find out the strengths and use them to your advantage. Run it as a "business" not like your "in" the business and you will see things start to come together. A dollar while very necessary in today's world does not always make the difference. If your all on the same team work together, do not just work for your little piece of the pie. It is really not rocket science, just good old fashioned horse sense.

All in all, while not being what I expected it was still a great experience to be at the convention and I look forward to next years event. Hopefully it will end up in Jersey but no matter where it is I hope that the NWA learned from this years experience and will grow from it. Of course if they really need some advice on how to pull it off properly they can always give me a call.

And with that I am outta here. Remember wrestling is nothing more than it appears to be but also remember a quote from James Billington, "Intellectual and cultural freedom is the most important single precondition for the breakdown of the kinds of tyrannical and totalitarian systems that periodically threaten us."

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