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WHY HASN'T ANTHEM GROWN IMPACT WRESTLING?, HOW JERICHO CAN APPEAR EVERYWHERE, WRESTLECON IN NYC, WWE HALL OF FAME 2019 HEADLINER PICK AND MORE

By Mike Johnson on 2018-05-11 10:00:00

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So, it’s been a little over a year or so since Anthem has picked up Impact, but why hasn’t it grown since then?

The short answer is money.   They don't have it overflowing in their vaults and they need it to grow.

Anthem hasn’t invested the type of money needed, at least in places where it shows as growth to the outside observer.  Now, It’s entirely possible they, like Sinclair Broadcast Group purchased Ring of Honor, are being ultra-conservative early on (Sinclair invested more in ROH each consecutive year), but I think it’s more likely a case where the upkeep of the company cost Anthem far more than they likely expected going in.  So, that cuts into whatever budget they envisioned.

Remember, there are no real revenue streams beyond the existing TV deals (led by the India TV deal, which is the company's prime revenue source) and they haven’t created any really new revenue streams, with the exception of the Twitch deal, which has brought the company some money.   It's a hard position to be in.  How do you grow something when you can't afford to grow it?  That's the position Impact is in - they aren't undertaking major advertising campaigns, they aren't signing big money talents, they aren't running events regularly themselves - because the money they do have is earmarked for elsewhere.

Let’s remember that at the same time the company is paying staff and talent, producing TV, etc., Anthem had to pay Billy Corgan back his $1.8 million loan and they are also making regular payments to the other owners –  Dixie Carter and Aroluxe, paying those entities off in anticipation of owning Impact outright.  Remember that tangled mess of Impact ownership I wrote about years ago?  That never went away because Anthem didn't pay everyone off outright.  There are still minority owners, just ones that are being silent as they are paid off.  They are not that far off from the position Dixie Carter found herself in a few years back, except now they are the ones holding the bag and the ones who could lose the company or end up in court if they default on payments.  Like anyone else, the bills must be paid.  Running a pro wrestling company isn’t cheap on any level but running one when you came in carrying debts and having to pay the other owners and the former revenue streams have dried up and there’s no real budget to advertise or poach top talents, etc.

So, unless they have an angel investor come in, arriving with tens of millions to drop into Impact, there’s no immediate answer to save the day and magically allow the company to grow.  Therefore, it’s going to be a process and that’s the process Impact is in right now.   It’s been obvious since day one the company has done a deep dive to go for talents that are less financially burdensome compared to the previous ownership.  On a creative level, they are certainly doing fine with what they have, but again, there’s a reason they are farming talent out to other independent companies in exchange for the footage of those matches.  That reason is Impact doesn't have the capital and infrastructure to run the events themselves.  There’s a reason Slammiversary is being held in a nightclub and not an Arena.  Impact has cut way, way, way back to survive, because right now the goal is to hold on and live another day while they try and find a way to turn it around.

The hard truth is that turning Impact around won’t immediately happen, even if the company makes perfect calls every step of the way going forward - and even since Impact was purchased, there were mistakes, including the initial creative strategy.  That was lost time and money for Impact that they won't get back.  The Hardy deal was money and time and goodwill spent that they don't ever get back.  On an Impact conference call with media, Don Callis himself said they can’t turn the company around overnight.  He’s 100% correct.  They are going to need lots of time and money to crawl out of the hole that the entirety of Impact’s existence put them in even before Anthem bought it.  The company has been reeling since they lost SpikeTV.   The fact is it even still here is admirable, but they are in a deep, deep hole and it’s going to take a long time for them to figure out how to make it work.    I don’t envy them, and I hope for the best, but I think the idea of the company growing right now is unattainable – they have to just secure the ship and try to stop it from taking on water.

That’s not to say there aren’t some positives.  I enjoy the weekly TV show.  The team of Scott D'Amore and Don Callis and Sonjay Dutt are a great, strong team in my opinion.   Talents haven’t complained about money being late.  The company has even offered them direct deposit payments going forward. Twitch has brought money to them.  Anthem is trying to monetize the library.  The Global App is slowly growing.  It’s not all doom and gloom, but they are still a surfer trying to navigate his way past a tsunami.   

I was wondering if Wrestlecon will be taking place at next year's Wrestlemania?

Wrestlecon has a venue in mid-town Manhattan and will be taking place over Wrestlemania 34 week.  They will announce complete details later today.

When there are wrestling conventions, do the talents get a percentage of the gate?  How are they paid?

When a talent is paid for a wrestling convention, whether they are booked by a wrestling convention itself or brought in by a vendor, they are paid a flat fee to appear in most cases.  In some cases, the promoter and the talent will do a 50/50 split, but that usually happens in cases where the talent is staying beyond their agreed upon rate.  They get paid X to sign and then if they stay beyond that, they will split the money 50/50.  I have never heard of any talent ever getting a piece of the gate from a wrestling convention.

I don't understand this - why is WWE letting allowing Chris Jericho to promote his cruise on ROH TV and then go wrestle for New Japan Pro Wrestling?  Contractually, he can't do that, can he?

If Jericho was under a contract, he wouldn't be able to do anything.  Jericho isn't signed to WWE, therefore he is allowed to work with and for anyone he wishes.  He's as much an independent wrestler right now as anyone who works for your local independent, although on a much larger scale.  Unless WWE throws him a figure that Jericho can't refuse, he's going to continue to tour with his band and do whatever wrestling appearances he wishes to do - WWE or otherwise. 

Speaking of the Jericho cruise, do you intend to go?

If we were invited to come and cover the cruise, I would consider going for the content that it would bring to PWInsider.com, because I do think it's a newsworthy event.   I think it's an awesome concept and idea, but unless it was something I had to go and cover for the site, I don't see myself looking to go on a personal level, especially since it falls on Halloween, which is one of my favorite holidays of the year and I really enjoy doing up a big display at my house for the neighborhood kids.  If I am going to not do that, it would have to be extremely worthwhile for the website. 

Who should headline the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony?

I think it's way too early to predict who will be in the class, but unless they are going to go with The Undertaker or The Rock on top, I can really see WWE going with DX as a group to headline the Class.  Since it's NYC, I could see them going with Paul Heyman.  I'd also really like to see Vader, Taz, Andy Kaufman, Demolition, Danny Davis, Kane (if his political career means the end of his WWE run) and Cyndi Lauper honored.

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