Tuesday, March 20, 2001
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
There will always be competition
As the year began for the "Big Three," the WWF was firmly entrenched as the top promotion in North America, with WCW a struggling second, and ECW fans praying for a miracle.
ECW fans continue to hope that, somehow, the company will survive. It was a hope I also shared, until ECW owner Paul Heyman began commentating on WWF TV. A recent comment on the WWF's "Byte This" program by Heyman stating that he didn't feel he sold out by leaving ECW for the WWF was the final nail in the coffin. While ECW may have not made an "official announcement," the writing is on the wall.
WCW, meanwhile, has been a very rocky promotion as of late. First, Eric Bischoff and Fusient Media are going to come in and save the day; then, they want to renegotiate the deal. Just when it looks like Fusient and AOL Time-Warner may be making progress, out comes word that, effective March 27, all WCW shows will be removed from the TNT and TBS lineups in the United States. Another company could still buy the promotion. The question is, would they want to?
WCW is not only losing money, but now has no national television in the States -- the company's largest market. If a smaller, national promotion like ECW had trouble finding a new home after being booted by TNN, would WCW have a chance?
It is apparent -- and I pray I am wrong -- that, within a few months, ECW and WCW will be seriously crippled, if not completely closed. So, would this leave the World Wrestling Federation as the "sole survivor"?
No, it wouldn't.
The "national" marketplace for professional wrestling is very small -- only two or three companies at a time can fill that spot. With ECW and, presumably, WCW out of the way, there is room for Hulk Hogan and/or Fox to start long-rumored new promotions. Fusient could also (potentially) start a new company, with former WCW talent, but without WCW's "baggage" -- its debt and faltering reputation.
Don't proclaim the WWF the "Big One" just yet. This business is bigger than WCW, ECW, and -- yes -- the WWF. As long as there is room for growth, and a solid fan base, there will always be new competition for the wrestling fan's dollar.
Joshua Sweet is from Somerset, KY. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.