AS I SEE IT - 6/16/2000
by: Bob Magee
Awelcome this week to Fully Loaded at http://allthis.hypermart.net , Wrestle Smoke at http://www.wrestlesmoke.com , GUnZ Online at http://gunzonline.hypermart.net , Wrestling Online, at http://wrestling-online.net) and Rick's Reaction at http://www.wrestleric.cjb.net which carry AS I SEE IT beginning this week, as well as the returning Wrestling Era.
One more website, Evilspeak.com, is also carrying AS I SEE IT beginning this week, as the initial offering of their new wrestling section.
Evilspeak.com operates numerous chat rooms through 21 chat rooms which are accessible through IRC and JAVA chat. Evilspeak also provides resources such as scripts and pop-ups to those within chat rooms; as well as general online services like free e-mail. Evilspeak is now starting a wrestling section, beginning with the AS I SEE IT column.
I can tell you personally from being in their #WCW, #roughcut and #PWBTS chat rooms on a frequent basis that Evilspeak (unlike some other chat servers) has worked hard to employ safeguards to keep its rooms free of sexual, verbal and racial harassment, as well as nuking and spamming. It expressly forbids any form of speech that would violate the law, including pedophilia, hate campaigning or terrorism.
In short, Evilspeak allows people of like interests and different ages to participate safely in chat rooms ranging from Battlezone to Billie Holiday.... from Godzilla to NASCAR....from wrestling to online gaming; all without fear of inappropriate behavior or harassment. I recommend it to you if you're the type that likes chat rooms, but don't want to deal with the behavior all too prevalent on other chat servers.
Now on to this week's column...
"I liked it better when the marks were on the OTHER side of the
This week, the anatomy of a near-fiasco...and what can happen when "money marks" and others from outside the wrestling business who shouldn't have... get involved with those already in the wrestling business.
To begin, many of you have seen the continuing saga regarding the ADV Films/Onita/CZW supershow/PPV taping scheduled for June 25th featuring Atsushi Onita and Terry Funk on PWBTS and many other major wrestling sites.
Well, a lot happened and a lot HADN'T happened regarding this show until June 14.
ADV Films announced that the PPV would take place at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on Sunday, June 25; and that Ticketmaster would handle ticket sales/distribution.
However, as of June 13th, TWELVE DAYS before the scheduled date of the show, ADV Films hadn't yet put the tickets on sale. There had been no record of the show on the Ticketmaster website, and no record of it on the Electric Factory website.
There was no mention of the June 25th show even on Onita's own "Evilways" website based at http://www.onita.co.jp.
Other than the initial online publicity and that of news and fan-based websites that have gotten out the word, and CZW's own website, there had been no promotion of the June 25th event.
But the near-fiasco didn't end there.
According to Japanese news source Masanori Horie:
"Zandig and other wrestlers worked for Big Japan Pro from May 25 to June 2, but they haven't been paid by ADV Films yet. Zandig and Gage beat Tomoaki Homma and Ryuji Yamakawa to win the Big Japan Tag Team title at Nagaoka City Welfare South Hall in Niigata on June 2, and Wifebeater and Pain beat Zandig and Gage won the title at Champs Arena in Sewell, NJ on June 10.
They are scheduled to work for Big Japan Pro again from June 21 to 23 and June 27 to July 2. However, Zandig is really upset with the entire ADV films deal, and they won't come back to Japan until all of them are paid in full. It seems like there is a big lack of communication among three companies."
Apparently, from the beginning of the whole process...when the June 25th date was announced at Champs Sports Arena by CZW owner John Faretti, and John Ledford, the President of ADV Films, it occurred to many that it was also the date of the King of the Ring PPV. Onita apparently insisted on this date; claiming "it was the only day he could do the match".
Trying to find out any information that I could, I posted several questions on the Evilways BBS (Japanese phrase for message board), as well as the CZW-Japan BBS and the QBBS, both run by ADV Films. I received no response. I e-mailed any ADV Films address that I could find.
Then I received an e-mail from Masa Horie on the afternoon (EDT/ United States) of June 13th:
As we know, it seems like there is a big lack of communication among CZW, ADV, and Big Japan. What I wrote on my VFTRS and I posted on CZW Sound Off! are all I know right now.
Plus, Atsushi Onita's personal manager, Yasuharu Ishikura, who was an ex-FMW referee, now working for Onita's Dai Produce Office, said 'Onita is going to leave Narita Airport on Friday, June 23 for Philadelphia, and he is scheduled to have a six-man Barbed Wire/ Electric Explosion Tag Team match. Onita will be looking forward to having it in USA, because it is his dream. However, they (ADV Films) haven't prepared for receiving yet.'
ADV Films-Japan office will have a package tour for fans. It costs 150,000 yen ($1,500), including a show ticket and sightseeing in New York for 3 nights. They will leave Narita Airport on June 25 and arrive in Philadelphia on June 25... yes, arrive on June 25. I don't how many fans will pay such a expensive charge and go to the only one show and @$#&$ NY sightseeing.
Zandig, Wifebeater, Justice, and Nick (and maybe one or two more) will arrive in Japan on Tuesday, June 20, if ADV pays them. Big Japan have a show in Kurashiki City, Okayama on June 23. So, they will leave Japan on June 24.
If I hear anything, I'll let you know."
Masa (Tokyo/Thursday morning)
Then on June 14th...things started to change.
From John Faretti, CZW owner:
Thanx for supporting us and the wrestling business. We got things rolling and everything is starting to fall in place. CZW has been paid for BJW shows up to date. Terry Funk is under contract. Building is paid for. I am waiting on an answer as to when tickets go on sale. I should know tonight.
ADV has started a whole separate company called World Combat Federation (WCF). Everything goes through WCF now and we were told not to use the ADV name anymore. Here is what was sent to us, to make it official. I reminded them when this all first started that it was ADV, and everyone knows it's ADV.
'To Whom it May Concern:
I represent A.D. Vision, Inc. It has come to our attention that our corporate name and our trademark, ADV FILMS, have been held out as being involved and/or associated with both World Combat Federation (WCF) and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) in a manner that is contrary to fact.
A.D. Vision, Inc. is not affiliated with either WCF or CZW. In fact, my client's only connection with either of those entities is by virtue of an option agreement regarding distribution rights covering certain entertainment products which may or may not be produced by WCF. The ONLY parties to that option agreement are A.D. Vision, Inc. and WCF.
My client has not participated (nor does it intend to participate) in the capitalization, organization, coordination or promotion any entertainment ventures (including the organization and promotion of wrestling or other sporting events) in conjunction with either WCF or CZW except to the extent provided for under said option agreement. Any claim to the contrary is false and completely without merit.
We therefore ask that you immediately:
(1) retract and/or delete all content, postings and/or other forms
communication not in conformity with the above statement
(2) provide curative information to the extent necessary to remedy any public confusion which may have occurred as a result of said content, postings and/or other forms of communication
Finally, we ask that you refrain from the making, sending, posting and/or storing of any future communication not in conformity with the above statement.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Very Truly Yours,
Griffin D. Vance, Esq.
A.D. Vision, Inc.' "
One small problem, Mr. Vance.
You might want to check out a website linked through the CZW website as "CZW-Japan" which markets CZW merchandise, CZW house show tapes, and has numerous profiles of the CZW workers who've worked Big Japan shows.
This website is that of YOUR COMPANY, ADV FILMS, and is located at http://www.tokyo.advfilms.com/Tokyo_origin/prowres/czw/index.htm.
So much for slick letters written by lawyers to protect a public corporate image. Those slick letters and legalistic mumbo-jumbo can't change facts I've seen with my own eyes. ADV Films represented themselves as such through their President at the February 5, 2000 CZW show at Champs Sports Arena where the June 25th show was announced. This can be seen by anyone with the commercially sold tape entitled "A Night Of Main Events" of that house show with their own eyes.
Oh well, I imagine the critical postings by Masa Horie and others got some attention.
Even after events were settled, I received this e-mail from the ADV Films webmaster on Thursday, June 15th US/EDT...
"From: Masami Takahashi
To: 'Bob Magee'
Subject: RE: Could we PLEASE get some word regarding the June 25th event?
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 12:16:52 +0900
We received the match make from CZW yesterday.
So we will announce about it and ticket start sell from now. I want you to understand that was not only ADV's fault.
ADV-Tokyo can not take care of ticket matter. WCF and CZW does. So please contact CZW or WCF about this matter. We are taking care of CZW in Japan, but not in USA. You will see the information on CZW web page in English."
Again, nice try, but go back and look at the tape of February 5th. John Ledford of ADV Films made the agreement with all other parties concerned... not some mythical "World Combat Federation" which doesn't even have a link to its graphic on the ADV Films site.
Or to put it differently, there's an old saying: "If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...most times it's a duck". Thus if it looks like ADV, and walks like ADV, and "quacks" like ADV...
Then, when it appeared all was well...one last small matter. The ADV representatives apparently didn't bother to inform Ticketmaster of the name of the event, delaying ticket sales by at least eight hours.
As of 4:15 pm Thursday, June 14th, Ticketmaster has stated they have fixed the situation. It will no doubt take some time to get everything right, given how Ticketmaster works. If you call Ticketmaster, and still have a problem ordering tickets, ask to speak to a supervisor.
So after this saga, which ranks right up there with some of Agnes Nixon's best soaps... here is how things FINALLY stand.
Tickets should have gone on sale late June 15th on Ticketmaster for "Ultraviolent Outbreak", the June 25th CZW/Onita PPV taping at Philadelphia's Electric Factory. Doors will open at 5:30 for the 7:00 pm event.
"Ultraviolent Outbreak" will be taped for PPV (the date of PPV airing has not been confirmed yet) and will also be distributed worldwide on video by ADV Films.
Tickets are being handled through Electric Factory and Ticketmaster, and should be available by June 16th, as you read this column, at Ticketmaster.com.
You can also order "Ultraviolent Outbreak" tickets by phone at:
* Philadelphia (215) 336-2000
* New Jersey (856) 338-9000
* Delaware (302) 984-2000
Ticket prices are:
* 42 front row seats at $75 each (note: many of these may be sold out as you read this... between the CZW fans who wouldn't take no for an answer from Ticketmaster and the Japanese fans coming in for the show who have purchased these seats)
* 42 second row at $50
* 42 third row at $50
* The remainder are general admission at $20
As stated above, a number of Japanese fans are expected to attend the show, so it's suggested that you purchase the tickets of your choosing as soon as possible beginning on Friday, June 16th.
Some venue information: The Electric Factory is located near 6th and Callowhill Streets in Philadelphia (the official address is 3421 Willow Street). The venue is adjacent to Philadelphia's Vine Street Expressway and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge from New Jersey.
The Electric Factory is also accessible to SEPTA and New Jersey Transit buses.
Directions to the venue and general box office information can be obtained by calling (215) LOVE-222.
EFC box office hours for the event (as standard policy for all events)will be on the date of the event (June 25th) only. The EFC box office will ONLY accept cash for payment. Tickets are also available at the TLA box office on 334 South Street, Philadelphia.
According to the Electric Factory website, any tickets held at Will Call are available at the door one hour prior to the event. Fans must bring picture ID and a confirmation number, which will be given to you when ordering.
As a longtime resident of the Philadelphia area, I can also tell you that there is LIMITED street parking. There are several cash only lots around the venue for fans. Carpooling or public transit is recommended.
A closing thought...
All too often those both within and outside of wrestling forget one very important thing. They need to stop treating wrestling like "the business", and start treating wrestling like A BUSINESS. They seem to think that "it's only wrestling, and anyone can put on a show".
They need to observe that while wrestling is a unique artform; the steps necessary to market events, merchandise, or the like are very similar to that of any other business. There needs to be a clear plan with goals and objectives and timelines.
Vince McMahon seems to be the best example of a promoter that learned that lesson long before anyone else. Whatever you think of his in-ring product or McMahon personally, the results of what he has done as a businessman speak for themselves.
Some promoters need to learn from that example. So do some companies that think "it's only wrestling, and anyone can put on a show".
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)