I’ve had writers block for the last few days, which sucks when you have to write papers along with being a semi-well known wrestling writer with six followers on twitter. Living in Milwaukee, I also anticipate the end of spring so I can ramble about wrestling on my porch while my neighbors call the authorities. So what if I ramble about Halloween Havoc 2000 while carrying an axe? Keep to your own business and let me ramble on.
The reality is though; that what TNA is doing is actually the opposite of what they’ve should be doing. The card in La Crosse (Aptly title The La Crosse Center) will be at the same arena that the WWE runs and that have run and that can up to 7,500 people max. This company just saw a heavily promoted Lockdown card with a Fan Fest draw 1,500 people and that was with 600 freebies. If the card was in a smaller arena that may not be bad, but it was a 7,972 seats arena. Now, what are they going to draw in an arena the same size with half the promotion? At-least the arena in Racine is small, but I highly doubt the number will be above 1,000 at best.
Sure, if you load the card up with big names like a non-wrestling Angle appearance or Hardy/Willow you could get a good number, but the biggest star is Mr. Anderson. This isn’t 1988 when the Superclash people contemplated an Omni show based of the possibility of Michael Hayes being there could draw a big number. Heck, they’re promoting Anderson/Magnus as the big match and they’re not even running Green Bay, you know that town Anderson hails from. You think after all those pictures of a damn near empty arena a few weeks ago, they’d reconsider the arenas they’d run live events in?
In the interest of research, I decided to list arenas that TNA could run in Milwaukee, all of which hold under five thousand fans and could guarantee a good crowd number with the right card and right amount of promotion. The one thing they all have in common? THEY’VE ALL HAD WRESTLING EVENTS THERE. It was actually simple, as I just did a google search and found these arenas. There were also an ice arena that can hold a maximum capacity of 2,000 seats right down the street from where I live.
The Eagles Ballroom: ECW ran this arena in the late nineties and it actually got a PPV (Hardcore Heaven 2000). It drew about 3,400 fans and it can be configured for fewer amounts of people. Bellator has ran there, and various other combat sports have ran cards there. This would be a good venue for TNA if they want to run a decent sized building without risking having the arena look half-empty. If ROH ever does one of their big events here, it’ll probably be here.
The Milwaukee Theatre: Apart of the US Celluar Arena (Still The Mecca to me), the Theatre held Superbrawl II while the Mecca itself was the go-to arena for WWE and WCW. Like the Ballroom, the number of seats at the Theatre can be configured from 4,086 to 2,500. These are the types of decent-sized arenas TNA should be running, venues that can have their seating configuration changed if tickets aren’t selling well.
Turner Hall Ballroom: Ring of Honor has made this venue their new home and have sold out the place the last few times they’ve been here. Their card on March 7th had 700 fans, the biggest number they’ve drawn this far. It’s a good wrestling venue with a balcony so you can film overhead shots along with the action on the floor. Overall, it would be a good venue for TNA to run their first show in Milwaukee in and then gauge interest in returning later. I’m sure that is what ROH did, if their first card bombed, they wouldn’t be back despite having TV in my area.
You also have the Miramar Theater that Chikara ran, but that is about a three hundred seat building at best. Even at that, TNA’s marketing of the live events hyping up meeting the stars has even backfired on them. AJ Styles talked about it in an interview, they would draw a great number, the fans met all the wrestlers and the number was down when they’d return. Why, you may ask? Well, they got to meet the wrestlers, got their pictures taken, get autographs and rub shoulders with them. Why pay to do it again?
For a company that actually had to write The University of Temple a check for having such low attendance for a show last year, running large buildings shouldn’t even be a thought. Instead, run smaller buildings that you can draw a good number there and build a fan base. It harkens back to an old AWA story from the Observer. The company had once-again run the story of the challenger going after the champion into the ground, this time Buddy Rose and Doug Summers as champs, the Rockers the challengers. The Rockers had chased Rose and Summers for eight months, so Verne saw fit to blow it off in a big show at the Met Center. Did the fans fill it up? Nope, only 950 came out to the Met Center that night drawing a paltry $8,000 gate. For those of you that were wondering, it cost $10,000 to run the building. Verne had the chance to do the switch the previous month on Christmas Day in-front of 8,000 fans but didn’t. Somebody might want to consider giving Dixie the leasing information for the pink room of doom that the company used in its dying days.
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