PHOTO CREDIT: PWPonderings.com
How stunning it is that in the midst of a few months, Billy Corgan lands on his feet once again in the world of professional wrestling?
Several months ago, I wrote a piece on how Billy Corgan might have “Fusient’d” himself when the New York Post published an article on his intentions on wanting to completely purchase Impact Wrestling. Needless to say, Corgan, then the Impact Wrestling president, found himself on the outside looking in. After a legal battle and an attempt of a hostile takeover due to funding a multitude of television tapings that Dixie Carter and TNA management were not able to afford, Corgan lost in court and ultimately left the company.
Throughout the following months, rumors abounded that Corgan and former TNA writer Dave Lagana were behind the scenes at both ROH and Evolve shows. No one really knew for sure what exactly was going on, but Corgan was seemingly working on something on the down-low.
Well, early Monday morning, Mike Johnson from PWInsider.com released an exclusive on what the lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins’ next venture would be.
“Smashing Pumpkins frontman and former TNA Wrestling President Billy Corgan has agreed in principle to purchase the National Wrestling Alliance, PWInsider.com has confirmed with multiple sources. The deal in place would see Corgan purchase the name, rights, trademarks to the NWA as well as the rights and possession of the NWA championship belt.”
THE NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE? I will not lie when I say that caught me, as a wrestling fan, by complete surprise.
The NWA, which at one time was THE standard bearer in the world of professional wrestling, has been on a downward slope since the sale of the Jim Crockett Promotions to Ted Turner in 1988. Once the NWA separated from WCW due to the Rick Rude World Heavyweight title switch not being brought to the Board of Directors for approval during Fall Brawl 1993, the company never recovered.
ECW used the NWA and its championship to “bury tradition” and springboard its own “extreme” revolution in 1994. The WWF allowed the NWA to “invade” in 1998, but Jim Cornette’s attempt to bring old school back, combined with the failure to establish the NWA North American championship on the waist of Jeff Jarrett, made the alliance look second-rate compared to the WWF Superstars. Speaking of “Double J”, the Jarretts used the NWA to help kick off Total Nonstop Action in 2002; however, once the NWA pulled its allegiance from TNA in 2004, the Jarretts waiting until May 13, 2007 to stop using the NWA titles and use TNA ones. Even the combined efforts of David Marques and the “Seven Levels of Hate” between Adam Pearce and Colt Cabana to bring a grassroots movement to the company during the early 2010s fell all for naught when R. Bruce Tharpe bought the rights to the company and wanted nothing to do with what they were doing.
In my opinion, this could be the first step to truly re-establishing the NWA name in professional wrestling.
In a creative sense, Corgan has led the charge on creating an innovative wrestling project before. With TNA, Corgan has greenlight the Broken Universe with the Hardy Boyz, which injected relevance into the company and brought some of the coolest television in years. He also provided the company with the Impact Grand Championship, which brought a vibe of UFC meets World-of-Sport inside championship matches, including a “rounds” system. Mix in the elevation of Ethan Carter III, “Miracle” Mike Bennett, Decay, Drew Galloway, and Eli Drake, you have a great core of talent that could wrestle and utilize the microphone to further develop their characters. Impact Wrestling in 2016 was a great product, in spite of the behind-the-scenes drama.
In a business sense, Corgan has a flair for this industry. In 2000, Corgan was offered a small stake in Extreme Championship Wrestling by Paul Heyman; however, his business sense overcame his love of the industry, realizing that the company had just too much debt on its deck to truly invest in. He then started Resistance Pro, based out of Chicago in 2011. Fans flocked out to the Second City for shows, to the point where he tried to get onto AMC with a project related around the promotion. As previously stated, Corgan’s financial dividends helped keep TNA afloat in 2016. Corgan is not afraid to use his cash when the opportunity arises, save the ECW situation.
In a passion sense, Corgan is unparalleled. He allowed himself to get physical in a segment for ECW in the Hammerstein Ballroom in 2000 with Lou E. Dangerously cracking him in the head with his cell phone. Starting an independent company in his hometown of Chicago while drawing 300-600 fans showcases his unbridled love for the grassroots of the industry. Going to court to try to save TNA from the clutches of a group of people that was willing to let the company go bankrupt or sell the assets to WWE shows his love and respect to the locker room and the business in general. Now, buying the assets of wrestling history to help restore the credibility of what once was is brilliant. The passion of Corgan comes through with his knowledge of the history of the business.
I’m pulling for Billy Corgan with this purchase of the National Wrestling Alliance. This is a long term project and Corgan seems to be playing the waiting game. Success in wrestling comes from a long term investment. With Corgan’s creativity, business sense, and passion, the NWA will get the jolt needed with instant credibility from a legitimate mainstream celebrity. Let’s hope that happens.
The beginning of the end is the beginning.