In Which Volcanos and Wrestling Collide For A Second Year In A Row

Countdown update: 2.5 days.  Then off on a job hunting trip.
Sad.  Joplin, Missouri has been nearly wiped off the map.  While I call bullshit on all these apocolyptic predictions, I do believe we’re hitting one of those cycles that happens every so often of some extreme weather.  I pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for the families who are all alive and have nothing to their name.
Remember last April in the year 2010?  There was a volcanic eruption in Iceland.  European airspace was closed down for several days.  In the United States, Al Roker was the only person that regularly pronounced the name of the volcano correctly.  On the other hand, Jon Stewart decides to make it easy on himself and rename the volcano “Kevin”. The only reason I really paid too much attention is because WWE had taken half of their performers to Europe for a tour before the eruption happened.  Once airspace was closed, all the guys that were normally on Raw were stuck in Europe when they were to have been back in the states for a broadcast of Raw.
This year the intersection of an Icelandic volcano eruption and the wrestling world was merely coincidence in timing, as one is not effecting the other.
Iceland Volcano Eruption.jpg (410x273 pixels)
It’s a different volcano this year.  But it is a lot more ash in the atmosphere.  Reports are saying that the ash is bigger and heavier, so it is falling out of the sky quicker.  Iceland closed their airports for now.  In Europe, they originally said the ash would not effect them.  However, several are starting to change their tune.  The ash may actually get to Europe.  But now they’re saying they have so many checks and balances in place that even if the ash gets to Europe, they may not have to close the airspace.  What do I think?  Only time will tell.
Wrestling intersected with a volcanic eruption this time only because this big news was announced the same weekend as the eruption.
Ring of Honor has been purchased by Sinclair Broadcasting.
I shudder at the thought of a company that holds the single biggest chunk of local broadcast television stations in the United States holding a property with such potential as Ring of Honor.  I remember several years ago while I was working in television.  It was right at the start of companies snatching up local TV stations.  At the time, they were circumventing the current FCC rules by creating shell companies and then creating “shared service agreements” between stations held under their shell companies and stations held by the parent company.  I ended up working at one of these TV stations.  All they did was gut out everyone that was considered unnecessary.  Sometimes they didn’t even have what would be considered a full compliment for a TV station running both.
Sinclair was one of the major offenders in destroying the past culture of the local television station.  They hired reporters that doubled as their own photographers across the board.  They automated nearly every production function of live shows to where two people ran what it used to take at least six.  Even a lot of their news functions were centralized.  It was almost like Sinclair was starting their own network.  They provided a product, but they took some of the local out of it.  In fact, if I remember correctly, they would hire weather forecasters to provide weather on 3-5 different stations in different markets.  Sinclair got a bad reputation amongst TV news professionals.
I don’t know what Sinclair is doing on the business end now.  I’ve been out of the TV business for a little while now.  Looking on their website today, I noticed that they are actually a diversified company.  That is a good thing.  The companies that hold local TV stations as part of their portfolio, and that’s it, are the ones have money problems.  When they destroy the integrity of the product, their revenue stream is going to go down.
So let’s compare all the wrestling and TV situations…
Sinclair has said that the partnership between wrestling and broadcast television is one that many people have forgotten how good it can be.  Timing seems interesting to me considering that the man who first championed bringing wrestling to broadcast television left his post at NBC recently.  Sinclair is proposing revamping production values of ROH and then launching it in September with the fall season as Saturday programming on the stations they own.  It’s a very network-like move.  I don’t know what Sinclair’s portfolio looks like right now, but they’re going to have to sink money into production equipment, in addition to talent acquisition (insinuating that they will be trying to pick up more major level [read WWE-level] talent to garner more attention).  I’m really hoping that someone in the Sinclair family goes and talks with people at Turner, Time-Warner, and AOL to find out the pitfalls of a broadcast organization owning a wrestling promotion.  Turner ALWAYS operated WCW at a loss.  That loss got bigger and bigger, and finally AOL dumped the promotion.  I don’t want that to happen to ROH.  They have potential, but Sinclair must proceed smartly.  Their new division requires perpetual care.  Here’s something that’s going to be new for ROH though.  Their finances will become public information since they are now a division of a publicly traded company.
TNA Wrestling is trying to go the WWE route and create their own product.  It sure seems like Spike TV is plenty happy with them.  However, they’re pulling the same numbers they have continued to pull for the past several years now.  Is Spike happy with a 1.8 when WWE was consistently pulling double that?  The question is that does Dixie Carter really know what she’s doing running a wrestling company?
WWE continues in their long-standing relationship with WWE.  The only thing that can screw that up is Comcast being the controlling partner in NBC-Universal now.  Will ROH with a broadcast TV presence coming in the fall be a viable 3rd major wrestling promotion in this country?  If so, will it be enough to make Vince McMahon actually sit up and realize he’s been stagnating?  However, with taking the “wrestling” entirely out of WWE, maybe he will shoot himself in the foot by next year’s “EntertainmentMania”!  Truthfully?  Only Vince can hurt his own company.  TNA and ROH are still 2nd tier for now.
So, Sinclair has an uphill battle just to get ROH seen as a viable third alternative.  I do wish them all the best though.  The better they do, the better it is for ALL of professional wrestling.

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