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COMMENT





Ohio promoter Nelson eyes bigger things
By RYAN NATION - SLAM! Wrestling


Dave Nelson
- courtesy NWA Ohio

The Nelson Corporation has raised quite a few eyebrows recently in the wrestling world by announcing plans to form a new wrestling company. Last month National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Ohio owner and promoter Dave Nelson announced he and three silent financial backers had made an offer to purchase Total Nonstop Action (TNA) from Panda Energy for $10 million.

The offer was removed on May 31 shortly after rumors circulated regarding TNA's television deal with WGN had fallen through. The following explanation appeared on NWA Ohio's web site:

  1. We retracted our bid to buy TNA due to lack of response. The deal wasn't ignored or rejected. It was on the table and a deadline passed. The time just wasn't right for everyone involved.
  2. Part of the reason for retracting the bid was the loss of the WGN deal.
  3. Our sources, who know the inner workings of TNA, told us the deal with WGN was off.
  4. The deal with WGN is off. It could still happen in the future. Right now, it is off the table.
"The ten million dollar offer has been retracted as the deadline has passed and no response was given," explained Nelson on his web site. "We feel that more then adequate time was given for Panda Energy to respond and at this time will move forward with the start of a new wrestling company to kick off in early fall of this year.

"Panda energy and Jerry Jarrett are to be commended for putting out a great wrestling product despite the challenges they face on a daily basis," continued Nelson. "We have made no efforts to damage their positions -- we want to work with them and make something the wrestling world will love. If our posts have caused confusion or hurt them in any way, we are truly sorry."

TNA had no official comment about the situation when contacted by SLAM! Wrestling.

The Nelson Corporation officially announced last week the formation of a new wrestling organization, World Wide Wrestling Association (WWWA). According to their press release, the company will be based out of Columbus, OH and Orlando, FL with a focus on entertainment suitable for all ages. WWWA plans to produce a major Pay Per View in October and broadcast on a national network in coming months. The goal of the WWWA is to give current viewers a choice in programming while drawing old and new wrestling fans alike.

When questioned about the validity of Nelson's claims, Dave Scherer from PWInsider.com commented, "I am always hesitant to take claims of any upstart wrestling promoter at face value. I have also never heard of one legitimate promoter who talked publicly about a TV deal before he had completed it, which also makes me skeptical.

"I have seen so many people come along over the years and make similar statements, and none of them have ever delivered," continued Scherer. "So, until Dave Nelson backs up his claims with something tangible, I will take them with a grain of salt."

While Nelson would not reveal his money sources to SLAM! Wrestling, he was also quite clear in explaining that he wants to be a player in this business -- but not at the expense of other promotions. "We do have a driving force behind us. I wish I could go public with who that is. We have proved we are the real deal in Ohio. I hope no one will knock us for giving it a try. If we don't make it, I hope people give us the respect because we tried," Nelson said. "Overall, we're trying to create a better business and more opportunities. WWE isn't big enough for all the wrestlers in the world. We have no bad intentions. We're not here to hurt TNA or WWE. Let's be honest, it will take years to get on the level WWE is currently at. They have worked years and years to get there. If a group thinks it's going to knock down a huge corporate giant with one swing, they're crazy."

According to Greg Yorke, a long-time wrestling fan from Nova Scotia, "most wrestling fans want competition and I would definitely give it a chance. It's going to be a struggle, especially if they start on their own, since you have a roster of essentially no-names. Therefore, there's going to be a period of building these guys up to become their own stars. There seems to be emphasis on mixing the old stars with the new stars to accomplish that goal."

Nelson purchased NWA Ohio from Richard Arpin earlier this year. Nelson has been in wrestling business for about 22 years. He has wrestled in Japan and is currently known as the "American Outlaw" in NWA Ohio, and acts as one of the trainers for his promotion. Sid Vicious and Hacksaw Jim Duggan are two veterans currently signed on to wrestle and help run WWWA.

In the Pro Wrestling Torch, Pat McNeill theorized that Duggan's involvement could perhaps mean that his friend Hulk Hogan was one of the key players in the deal.

Nelson explained to SLAM! Wrestling about his NWA Ohio promotion. "We draw about 2,000 on average per show. That's better than some house shows ran by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). We drew 2,028 fans last month at our show. A friend of mine who runs NWA Tri-State, Richard Arpin, and I are the ones who initially thought of unifying the company back to the tradition of the old days. I've been in talks with the Inoki's from New Japan Wrestling."

The Nelson Corporation also announced their house shows will soon be broadcasted by PAX-TV on the Time-Warner cable system in Ohio every week; however, programming details have yet to be announced.

RELATED LINK

  • www.nwaohio.com

    Ryan Nation is from Cookeville, TN, and is a recent grad in English-Journalism from Tennessee Technological University. He can be emailed at crnation21@tntech.edu.