In our last installment of our wrestling articles, we talked about where does wrestling fit in society. Once again, Vern May, AKA Vance Nevada of CNWA Wrestling offers a take on where professional wrestling belongs.
Should professional wrestling be on sports channels or should it be on E!? The A&E Network? MuchMusic? Fight Network? Where does it belong?
“You got the WWE, which many recognize as the top pro-wrestling organization in the world, by their own admission, by Vince MacMahon’s own statement, they’re not a wrestling company anymore, they’re an entertainment company,” said May. “And the reason why they went away from sport is because the athletic commissions in the United States were taking a bigger tax cut than the entertainment regulating bodies and that’s why they went the direction they did. It was simply a bottom line decision.
“When you talk about the WWE they’re more interested in diversifying into television and into movies and cross promotion and counter culture.”
And for a time millions found wrestling entertaining. “During the height of the Monday Night Wars in the 90’s, wrestling was drawing 12 million viewers every night between WCW (World Championship Wrestling) and WWE.”
But that didn’t last forever and by 2001 the war was over as WCW was bought out by the WWE. “When that competition ended, that number dropped to about four million so 8 million wrestling fans just turned it off,” said May.
And May thinks those fans are the ones that are looking for good old fashioned professional wrestling. “It’s that audience, those people that appreciate wrestling that we want to talk to, because it is sport.”
As a matter of fact, May thinks that the product of pro-wrestling, especially smaller promotions like the CNWA are the real deal. He boldly stated, “There isn’t a fan that has come out to see live wrestling in Red Deer, in the last year who has come out and said ‘I didn’t like it’.”
When we were in the crowd we noticed the fans at the Red Deer College gym were quite raucous. And May is positive about two things — professional wrestling is a sport that belongs on sports channels and the CNWA is going places.
“A lot of people came out in December 2010 when we started doing wrestling here. For the first time they were seeing wrestling live and they haven’t missed an event since.
“I wouldn’t be surprised with some of the stuff we’re doing now, if you didn’t see us on a national sports network by the end of the year.”
The promoter for the CNWA was a one-time promoter for a popular era of wrestling called ‘Stampede Wrestling’. You may have heard of it.
All in all, wrestling gets negative reviews from mainstream viewers who don’t understand it. But one night at an event could change their minds on whether they think it’s entertainment or sport. You’ll have the opportunity to prove that to yourself, May 3rd at the main gym at Red Deer College.