I saw some photographs a few weeks ago on Wayne McCarty’s site from the recent Heavy On Wrestling (HOW) card in Superior, WI. In the past few months, in addition to local independent wrestling stars, they have brought in Christy Hemme (TNA, WWE), The Honky Tonk Man (WWF), Terry Funk (NWA, WCW, ECW, WWE,…), The Highlanders (WWE), “Spirit Squad” Mikey (WWE), Cherry (WWE), Eugene (WWE), and Mick Foley (WCW, ECW, WWE,…).
Usually, when a small promoter brings in a big name from out of town, they tend to lose their shirt. The draw never covers expenses. When they keep doing it, they’re usually doing it to “buy” some friends (a “money mark”). That works until their savings run out, and then they end up stiffing the workers and skipping town.
Trash Talking Radio has an interview with HOW promoter “Heavy D” (RealPlayer required– I hate RealPlayer). Listening to the interview, it’s pretty clear that this promoter is not one of those people. As he states, “there’s a difference between putting a show together and being a promoter.” Getting sponsors (Miller Lite, Domino’s), getting radio time on morning shows, selling advertising, getting newspaper coverage, getting venues, and making sure that the product looks and sounds good.
Even though he has only been promoting for a couple of years, they are already drawing 800 to 1000 people per show. I’ve always had mixed feelings about bringing in big names rather than making names out of local talent. Several wrestlers from the Minneapolis area have been involved with the promotion, and it would be good to see those guys get more name recognition up north. Get them to the point where people will want to go to the show just to see them, and not because someone “famous” is on the card. That’s what it sounds like the promoter wants to do, although it’s not clear at this point if he would phase out some of the outside talent or not.
It will be interesting to hear how this progresses.