Saturday, July 10, 2010

For the true wrestling fan

My home district is clearly WWE country. TNA found that out a couple of years ago when they booked the Times Union Center on a Sunday night, and never came back. They've done two shows in Glens Falls since, because they haven't cultivated enough of a fan base to warrant returning to the cavernous TUC, which on a good night can hold better than 10,000 fans, or twice the size of the Glens Falls Civic Center.

With Friday Night Smackdown taping at the TUC on August 31 for the September 3 show, local fans won't have to wait that long to get their fix. A smaller, independent promotion, Next Era Wrestling, based out of Rochester, is headed this way at the end of this month, making their Capital Region debut at the Troy Boys & Girls Club on July 31. The show was originally booked for tonight, but was pushed back, likely due to scheduling conflicts on either side of the ledger. It is only the 2nd independent show to hit Troy in the last decade. Another promotion, whose name I can't recall at the moment, played the Boys & Girls Club's South Troy location several years back. One of the organizers affiliated with the Boys & Girls Club was in a bowling league with me, and he asked me to work security that night, even though I'd paid my way in. Oh, well, at least I had one of the best seats in the house. I didn't have to do anything, though, which was a good thing.

When you take into account how long it's been since indy shows have played Troy, and unable to land a booking at RPI's Houston Field House, which was WWE's old home before the TUC opened as Knickerbocker Arena 20 years ago, you wonder just what would it take for a promotion like Ring of Honor, which has a TV deal with Mark Cuban's HDNet (no longer available in my area), and a strong internet following, to come here. The Houston Field House would be perfect for ROH, in my view, and so would Albany's Washington Avenue Armory, which also has a past history with WWE. And why don't other start-up promotions give cities like Troy a look? With 5 high schools (including Emma Willard) in the city, plus RPI & Hudson Valley Community College, there's plenty of places to consider for a booking!

Bottom line is, Next Era needs a strong turnout at the Boys & Girls Club in 3 weeks, but to get there, they have to work on promotion. I've seen posters in three places so far, including the Boys & Girls Club. No radio or television advertising. Not yet, anyway. They have the local sports & entertainment field all to themselves, with the Tri-City Valleycats out of town that night, as is the case tonight, by the way. It's a perfect scenario. Word of mouth isn't going to be enough. They need to feed off the positive energy of the people attending the show to decide whether or not to return at a later time, and having a near-full house would be a step in that direction. The ball, then, is in their court. If they succeed in establishing a base in Troy, then we all win.

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