AS I SEE IT 3/12: More thoughts on "separate universes", closed venues
AS I SEE IT
As some of you may have noticed, PWBTS.com was down beginning Saturday afternoon, owing to what webmaster Paul Nemer and I believe to have been a major server problem with Smarthosting.com. Smarthosting.com did not responded to various requests for help (nor to a question regarding billing I'd had earlier in the week).
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
We have relocated the a site to a new webhost, the Canadian-based Tera-Byte.com. If your ISP isn't pointing to the new server yet, give it a day or so and it should do so (many people already were pointing to the new IP address early on Sunday morning). Until it is, you can go to http://22.214.171.124.
Much thanks to Paul Nemer PWBTS webmaster and owner of the Wretleview.com website on which you're reading this; who is responsible for re-doing everything necessary to fix things so you can read this column right now.
Now on to the column....
Ring of Honor is again in the news with one issue discussed by wrestling fans...the very issue I discussed in this column last week, regarding "separate universes" between WWE and independent promotions; and another that wil lhave a more material effect on the promotion's future.
Gabe Sapolsky was quoted by Mike Johnson this past week in response to the kind of issue I discussed last week:
" It was a lot of talk over nothing. There aren't any WWE fans watching Raw going, "damn the ROH Pure Title means nothing now." Anyone who knows what the ROH Pure Title is knows the difference between WWE and ROH characters and matches.
If we had a TV series, it might be different, but we are a company with a small budget, no TV, no PPV, no big advertising campaign and pretty much strictly a grass [roots] movement. If you know what the Pure Title is, you are smart enough to know the difference between what goes on in WWE and ROH both in the ring and probably behind the scenes."
WWE fans may or may not be saying that.
But a number of his own Ring of Honor fans were.
As I said last week, there were clearly audible "Masterpiece" chants from the crowd in Philadelphia last Saturday night. Walters looked pissed and said back to one heckler "When was the last time you made $250 for 5 minutes of easy work?". That didn't help and the heckling from ring-side increased for the remainder of the match, including chants of "full nelson" every time (referring to the way Walters had been defeated on RAW) Lethal teased his trademark dragon suplex.
Further, new potential ROH fans in the markets that the company will move into (Buffalo, New York, Long Island) might very have wondered why Walters had a primary role. Neither Ring of Honor or any other promotion, no matter how big or small, can survive on netmarks and smartmarks alone. They also have to attract people who spend a lot of time watching WWE, perhaps because they don't know what else is out there. Those people would have seen (and again, Walters is one example) someone who was jobbed out in a quick squash on the flagship show of the largest wrestling promotion on this planet...and even if they can't identify the reason...they'll feel something is wrong.
Speaking of Ring of Honor, the promotion's main venue the RexPlex in Elizabeth, NJ closed without notice on Saturday. The first notice was through a WrestlingBusTrips.com bus to the March 5 Ring of Honor Philadelphia show, which used the venue as a bus stop for their trip. The promotion received absolutely NO notification of the closure, and has apparently still not received any official notification as of this writing.
This leaves Ring of Honor without its largest drawing venue in the New York/New Jersey market and an April 2 show scheduled to feature an "American Best of the Super Juniors Tournament" without a venue to hold it in.
The promotion has stated the show is on, and that they wil lfind a venue "as close as possible to Elizabeth, NJ" and will offer refunds to those who cannot attend the show woing to the changed location. As of Friday, no new location has been made public.
Public records available through InterNet Bankruptcy Library show that the RexPlex, under the business name Rexplex NJ LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 22, 2004. The first meeting of creditors was held November 24, 2004.
Based on the statement made the day after the closure to PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson by a representative of RexPlex LLC that suggests that a bankruptcy judge ordered the closure, there are questions as to whether or not owners were following the Court's instructions, and whether or not the bankruptcy has been made a Chapter 7.
Here is the information regarding the bankruptcy:
REXPLEX (NJ) LLC: Case Summary & 20 Largest Unsecured Creditors
Debtor: Rexplex (NJ) LLC, 1001 Ikea Drive, Elizabeth, New Jersey 07201
Bankruptcy Case No.: 04-43838
Type of Business: The Company provides sports and entertainment facilities to leagues, tournaments, and events of all kinds. See http://www.rexplex.com/
Chapter 11 Petition Date: October 22, 2004
Court: District of New Jersey (Newark)
Judge: Morris Stern
Debtor's Counsel: Gary N. Marks, Esq., Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, PA, 721 Route 202-206, PO Box 1018, Somerville, New Jersey 08876, Tel: (908) 722-0700
Estimated Assets: $1 Million to $10 Million
Estimated Debts: $1 Million to $10 Million
Debtor's 20 largest unsecured creditors:
* Rob Lazarowitz $630,000 (144 Delaware Lane Franklin Lakes, New Jersey 07417)
* Fun Station Association $519,500 (36 Forest Avenue, Lynbrook, New York)
* Ikea Retail Management, LP $319,167 (1001 Ikea Drive, Elizabeth, New Jersey 07201)
* Ken Pasternak $250,000 (50 Tyce Boulevard, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey 07677)
* Playfield International $84,994
* Gary Shangold $50,000
* Steve Linville $34,615
* Amper, Politzner & Mattia $31,339
* Matt and Trish Perkins $30,000
* PSE&G $29,700
* Moscow Circus $27,000
* Brian Nelson $25,000
* GMR & Company, LLC $22,000
* NCAL, LLC $22,000
* Todd and Lauren Althoff $20,000
* RPR Consulting $16,396
* Rich Bartlett $13,000
* New Jersey Online $12,500
* DiFrancesco, Bateman, Coley, Yospin $10,286 (Kunzman, Davis & Lehrer, PC)
* Dell Account $9,497
PWinsider.com's Mike Johnson has reported that according to documents filed in the bankruptcy court of New Jersey, the Rexplex had been having problems in its restructuring after declaring bankruptcy in order to receive Chapter 11 protection. The venue was apparently forced to forfeit the property over to the landlord (adjacent retail giant IKEA) after a court ruling on March 1, and forfeit a $231,875 security deposit to IKEA. The venue had fallen behind on rent ($160,000 per month) in both December 2004 and January 2005.
It was certainly difficult for the promotion to find such a centrally located venue that is so well known by the public; and was especially difficult to find a suitable venue on short notice for the April show. Ring of Honor did manage to reschedule the April 2nd show for the Asbury Park Convention Center. One has to wonder what effect this will have on attendance, as Asbury Park is as much as 45 minutes away from Elizabeth, NJ; as well as limited mass transit access to the show in comparison to an event which was originally being held in the New York metropolitan area.
Until next time...
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