AS I SEE IT - 10/01/2002:
More on the Philadelphia Independent Scene
by: Bob Magee
More on the Philadelphia independent wrestling wars...
The next two months will feature two different head-to-head nights between Philadelphia independent promotions, one of which also features competition with a WWE house show. This doesn't count other promotions in the area such as Premier Wrestling Federation, which runs Pottstown (albeit on Sundays) and Jim Kettner's ECWA in Wilmington, DE, as well as other smaller indies in various parts of the region.
Here is the schedule for the major Philadelphia independent shows:
Ring of Honor - Murphy Recreation Center
XPW - ECW Arena
Combat Zone Wrestling - ECW Arena
Premier Wrestling Federation - Academy Hall, Pottstown, PA
3PWrestling - ECW Arena
ECWA- St. Matthews Parish Center, Wilmington, DE
WWE (Smackdown "brand" house show)- First Union Center
Ring of Honor - Murphy Recreation Center
Combat Zone Wrestling - ECW Arena
Check out November 9th.
This seems insane.
If either Ring of Honor or Combat Zone Wrestling ran against a WWE house show, it might not be that big a deal, in the same way that it would be in other markets.
In Philadelphia, these independents have come into existence precisely because Philadelphia fans don't like the product they're getting.
Back even in the late 1980s, Joel Goodhart's Tri-State Wrestling Alliance came into being because of the Titan Toon Adventures we were subjected to until Jim Crockett's NWA came into the market. In 1992, the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance went out of business. Its ashes were picked up a month later by Tod Gordon's Eastern Championship Wrestling... later to become Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Now it's certainly true that talent is only available when it's available. Ring of Honor has to work around the availability of some workers in-between Zero-One tours, which became a problem at its last show when Steve Corino and Spanky became caught over in Japan when Zero-One added a show to its tour at the last minute. So I understand that talent availability plays into the equation.
I also understand that ROH is running shows in the Boston area, which often blocks out another week in the month where a show could be run in Philadelphia.
But for two of the three major Philadelphia-based independents to run against each other...blocks away from each other...is just plain nuts.
It will also be the second time it's happened, counting this past month when 3PW and Ring of Honor ran against each other.
I've spoken with CZW's Zandig, as well as Gabe Sapolsky and Rob Feinstein of Ring of Honor, asking why one or the other can't run an afternoon show on November 9th. All three seem uncomfortable with the idea. I can't make up my mind how much of it is a desire for competition, or if it is just a legitimate fear to do something different.
In my opinion... like it or not, it's time for the Philadelphia-based independent promotions to start thinking like the businesses they have to be. Regardless of their personal or business differences (and there are many of each between these promotions).... the fact is that for the moment, there is a player in the Philadelphia market who is prepared to lose tens of thousands of dollars on a show - Rob
To illustrate the point, if you believe what XPW told the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, it only sold 90 tickets to its debut at the ECW Arena. This is the figure two sources have told me that XPW paid its 5% to the State on.
Now I don't believe that they only sold 90 tickets, given that their public claims for their 8/31 show were as high as 930 people (with other non-interested estimates ranging from 400 to 700).
This makes for an interesting question as to whether or not their claim that they only did a crowd of 90 paid constitutes fraud on the part of XPW toward the State of Pennsylvania, and if it is one more actionable offense against their ability to run shows in Pennsylvania... but we'll save that for another time. If the figure
isn't fraudulent and is accurate, then they've been lying like hell to the public to a degree even beyond what the promotion has done in the past.
But one or the other is true. Period.
It's certainly true that there were numerous comp tickets available at that 8/31 show next door to the ECW Arena at the Forman Mills clothing store, a fact reported by 1wrestling's Mike Johnson. The exact amount of comps at that event still can't be determined and probably never will be...but it's a fairly sure thing that it wasn't only the 37 they initially claimed.
The fact that Rob Zicari can afford to comp whatever the number of comps was... not to mention the considerable expenses of the 8/31 show; suggests that it is incumbent upon those promoters who have to run their promotions like businesses, instead of tax write-off opportunities for porn profits... that they need to start working with each other, at least enough to keep themselves from being put out of business by a man who seems to be running his shows for a tax write-off and a ego boost.
For those of you who live in the Philadelphia area, or regularly travel to it for the shows of CZW, Ring of Honor and 3PW, here are the three public e-mail addresses of these Philadelphia-based independent promotions.
Ring of Honor: RFVideo1@aol.com
Combat Zone Wrestling: CZWWrestling@comcast.net
Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling (3PW): Info3PW@aol.com
If you personally have other e-mail addresses to contact these promoters, use them as well.
Ask the State Athletic Commission if they can offer any help as well by e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask them to offer whatever formal or informal assistance they can to encourage the Philadelphia-based promotions to do more reasonable scheduling.
Tell whoever you e-mail that you're tired of having to choose between independent shows that are four blocks away from each other, both of which typically feature talent that you really want to see on
both shows taking place on the same night. Not just once, but continually.
Tell them that you want to see the thriving locally-based Philadelphia independent wrestling market survive, and not cannibalize itself...so that fans wind up being left with only occasional "sports entertainment" shows, and with a carpetbagging promotion that seems to only be interested in its own personal and corporate
egotripping; and not one damned bit interested about the independent tradition that's been alive in Philadelphia since the late 1980s.
Speaking of the independent tradition in Philadelphia...some closing thoughts on Ted Petty:
There have been a large number of remembrances for Ted Petty over the last week, from people you'd expect like Devon Storm, Judas Young, Georgianne
Makropoulos, as well as the Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer; and those who you might not expect, including this week's column from well-known Charleston Post and Courier columnist Mike
In the Philadelphia and New Jersey area, where he had his greatest success; he's already been remembered, with National Wrestling Superstars doing a tribute at last night's Sayreville, NJ show.
Most people have mentioned Petty's selflessness when it came to the fans, and to helping out fellow workers who were going through tough times.
As for independent wrestling in the Philadelphia area remembering Ted Petty...
Ring of Honor will do some sort of tribute on its TV show, as well as at its show this Saturday.
CZW management has stated that it will do a video tribute to Petty before its October 12th show at the ECW Arena.
3PW returns the next week to the ECW Arena on Saturday, October 19, dedicating their evening as "A Night For the 'Flyboy' Rocco Rock". The sad irony is that Petty was on the way to their last show when he suffered his fatal heart attack somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Their show's main event is Jerry "The King" Lawler-Curt Hennig, with other announced matches including a 3PW Championship match with "The
Pitbull" Gary Wolfe vs. Sabu, and the return of Sean Waltman.
Now let's see if the first promotion to run the ECW Arena since Petty's death, namely XPW, which runs the Arena on October 5th... has the common decency to do a ten-bell salute or some sort of remembrance for Ted Petty at the building he helped make famous. Maybe Rob Zicari feels no obligation or lacks the decency to honor those who've come before in this historic building, but Troy Martin damned well should feel an obligation to honor a man he worked with for years, no matter what Zicari thinks about it...or doesn't take the time to think about it.
Let's see this Saturday if Martin does something about it.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by
e-mail at email@example.com)