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Predictions for 2009


Tim Evans
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Other than NOAH and possibly CMLL, I don't really see the economy having too much of an effect on wrestling. I can see the ongoing drug wars in Mexico having an effect on Lucha since it seems a lot of the violence is happening in the outlying towns that wrestling down there seem to frequent.

 

 

I think WWE will actually do better this year. With Cena, Edge, and Orton making bigger contributions. Wrestlemania is a mixed bag, I'm sure since it's in Texas they are going to want to pull out the stops since I'd say this is the year for Steve Austin to go in the HOF probably along with Hayes and Kevin representing the Freebirds and Von Erichs. Maybe they can dig up one or both of the Funks (I'm sure Dory would do it).

 

 

I think ROH could be the story of the year. If The Wrestler gets the mainstream attention at awards time people think it will, they could be in a prime position to possibly leapfrog TNA as the #2 promotion. Being featured in a movie that treats wrestling seriously (compared to WWE produced movies) may get the attention of that mythical audience that left after the Monday Night Wars.

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If NOAH's lost TV, then New Japan can't be that far behind. I can definitely see the recession having an effect in Japan. I don't see how they can maintain their gates at the present ticket prices. People tend to seek entertainment/distraction during a recession, and Disneyland is thriving like a mother, but that's Disneyland. Pro-wrestling is a niche thing. The cost cutting and job losses won't be visible, but depending on the first quarter results next year, I expect something significant to go down.

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I agree with OJ on this one. Since even the holiday shopping season was down for retail, it would make sense that wrestling would be hit even harder. WWE may finally dry up the well internationally as well, since this is a global crisis.

 

I think they've diversified enough that they'll ride it out and be okay, so I don't think it's going to make a huge effect on their bottom line. But I do think attendance and PPV buys will continue to go down.

 

This would be the perfect time for WWE to put their entire video library on an iTunes-like database where people can buy individual matches for $1.99 or whatever.

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WWE will lure another celebrity to be tied into a Wrestlemania match in some form. It results in WM doing well, but the only WWE PPV to crack the top 10 as UFC continues to dominate.

 

As far as business goes, UFC and MMA will weather the storm while WWE will decline, but still be fairly profitable. I would agree with Loss that it's possible the well will start drying up for WWE internationally.

 

There will be no switch between TNA and ROH for the No. 2 promotion, but it's not like it matters as TNA will continue to lose money and only stay around because Dixie Carter wants it to stay around, while ROH won't be a money-losing venture like TNA is, but won't make enough to warrant expansion.

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WWE has already started to "Dry up" internationally. They are failing in Mexico and they didn't do so hot in Japan. I think this recession will start to make Vince recondisder doing so many ppvs and I doubt there will be a Tribute to the Troops next year.

 

The Recession has already hit CMLL as they are runing more discount shows in Arena Mexico. It's going to kill a lot of indy companies too. It's going to affect UFC too later in the year.

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There will be no switch between TNA and ROH for the No. 2 promotion, but it's not like it matters as TNA will continue to lose money and only stay around because Dixie Carter wants it to stay around, while ROH won't be a money-losing venture like TNA is, but won't make enough to warrant expansion.

Considering the amount of money TNA is losing, I'm not convinced that's safe either. I mean it's a pretty hard expense to justify in the best of times let alone now. It's a horrible product (in my opinion), but the much bigger issue is that it's a horrible product that has consistantly lost money and hasn't shown signs of doing otherwise. I guess RoH is financially stable, and if they cut out mastubatory crap like running shows in Japan because that used to be the cool thing smart marks wanted to do in 1998, they at least have a chance to be a good little business and ride everything out. I haven't really followed their whole ownership change closely but I get the impression from what I've read they are heading the right way on that front.

 

Even if RoH becomes #2, I'm not sure it means anything. It's like calling the CFL the #2 pro football league in the world next to the NFL while the money losing/dying/folded/whatever Arena League is TNA, the size gap economically still makes the comparison pretty much entirely worthless regardless of what you think of their respective products for entertainment value. In competitive business terms there is no #2 in North America, and there won't be for some time barring something entirely off the radar happening.

 

I used to think all the doomsday talk about Japan was just that, talk, but that was back in the "if Zach Arnold proclaims the apolcalypse every single year, some day he will be right" days. It doesn't look pretty business-wise. If New Japan loses their network TV, that's a crippling blow to the business. Who knows how long it could take before a network goes that direction again. I've made this point about RoH (or any new company) expanding to TV: networks *do not* come looking to you because they think they can help *your* product. They don't care about your product, and it's not their job to care about your product. They come to you only if they think you have something that helps *their* bottom line. I'm not sure what wrestling (anywhere) could do to make that case right now.

 

I guess in business terms, 2009 is fasten your seatbelts time by the sound of it. That was awfully gloomy but it's all I could think of at the moment.

 

EDIT: At some point in 2009, we really should be hearing internally about the WWE floating the idea of their own network, not just like the 24/7 channel airing old stuff, but new programming as well. I don't know if anything will become of it, but they should be floating the idea of an outright specialty channel covering more than PPV and old Nitros.

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At some point in 2009, we really should be hearing internally about the WWE floating the idea of their own network, not just like the 24/7 channel airing old stuff, but new programming as well. I don't know if anything will become of it, but they should be floating the idea of an outright specialty channel covering more than PPV and old Nitros.

It was in the WON a few months ago that there is indeed movement in this direction.
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WWE has already started to "Dry up" internationally. They are failing in Mexico and they didn't do so hot in Japan. I think this recession will start to make Vince recondisder doing so many ppvs and I doubt there will be a Tribute to the Troops next year.

Doesn't this always happen? They always are happy go lucky when a boom in a country occurs and then they try to milk it so much that the cow will inevitably die. Or they start ignoring the market. This is not about a global crisis but rather their incompetence and/or how they look down on non-english speaking countries.

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