Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan recently purchased the National Wrestling Alliance, and he compared the current wresting scene to MTV just prior to Grunge exploding.
“People asked, ‘What are you buying?’” explained Corgan in a new Sports Illustrated interview. “We’ve looked at how the WWE has positioned itself and how Anthem has positioned Impact Wrestling, and now a brand like the NWA, which has built-in recognition value and a history that is unmatched, suddenly starts to become more valuable in this shifting landscape. Maybe we’re not so crazy for buying these three letters after all.”
There are a plethora of independents operating around the country, as well as television programs from Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, and Anthem’s Impact Wrestling, but wrestling’s overall numbers, including attendance and ratings, are down significantly from the turn of the century. In addition to the decrease in viewers, the market is flooded with professional wrestling.
“I faced similar circumstances and odds when I entered the music business in 1988,” said Corgan. “It wasn’t like I looked on MTV and saw a million bands playing the same kind of music that bands like us or Nirvana or Pearl Jam were playing. We knew there was a market out there that wanted a different type of product for a different set of reasons.
“The numbers show that wrestling, at its peak, was averaging eight-to-ten million people a week on television. Where did all those people go? I think they’re still out there, and there always new fans to be made.”