NWL Moves Forward in 2017 with a New Direction
Posted: Jul 10th 2017 By: Brian Hoops
The National Wrasslin League (NWL), which was formed in 2016 by Major Baisden; and debuted in Missouri in January, 2017; has changed its business plan. Originally, the company business model was to run every other Saturday night in Kansas City and every other Thursday night in St. Louis. In May, 2017; St. Louis was moved from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon. Now, in August, St. Louis is again undergoing a change and will now run once a month, but in the suburb of St. Peter, about a 45 minute drive from St. Louis.
Kansas City will continue to run every other Saturday night, but now at two different locations, one show per month on the Kansas side and one on the Missouri side.
When Baisden looked to establish his own wrestling company, one of Baisden’s first and most important hires was former WWE Monday Night Raw writer and Kansas City native Chris Gough. Gough who grew up in Kansas City watching Central States wrestling headquartered in Kansas City; ventured to Connecticut to work on Monday Night Raw in 1997, but returned to his native Kansas City in 2003. Gough began working at local television station, and promoted Metro Pro Wrestling. In his free time, Gough produced the excellent documentary on the history of Kansas City wrestling called “KC On the Mat.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzy5_4_GLjE
Gough closed down Metro Pro in 2016 and quit his job at the TV station to work full time for Baisden as the key man behind the scenes for NWL.
Gough has been one of the key building blocks in the growth of the NWL as he is the behind the scenes booker, match maker and the key in acquiring talent. Gough signed Metro Pro favorites such as The Royal Blood, Jeremy Wyatt, Michael Strider, Blaine Meeks and Derek Stone to exclusive NWL contracts; and also acquired fresh talent such as NWL Kansas City Champion Dak Draper (former NXT wrestler Sam Udell), Niles Plonk and Texas based wrestler and NWL St. Louis Champion Maverick.
Gough explained that “moving wrestling to St. Peter, just outside of St. Louis and running on the more popular Saturday night will be a great move for us. The venue is a really cool building, similar to Memorial Hall that was home to Thursday night wrestling in Kansas City for many years. If things go well, we may run twice a month in St. Peter. The original plan was to have a St. Louis champion as well as a Kansas City Champion. That is still the plan, although we are having tag team belts and a NWL championship belt made.”
A touring house show circuit will also be setup. The plan is to run about 100 dates per year, but move into new markets like Joplin, St. Joseph and Springfield, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska, Topeka and Salina, Kansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some of the cities are in the old Central States territory such as St. Joseph, Salina, Des Moines and Topeka. Joplin and Springfield were part of the old Tri-States territory while Omaha was for years was its own market, until becoming part of the AWA.
The WWE is a national touring promotion, but only hits small markets like Omaha or Springfield once every 18 months and even larger markets like St. Louis and Kansas City only two or three times a year. ROH only runs towns it has television clearance in and TNA/GFW doesn’t run house shows currently. NWL looks to fill the void of a local touring promotion by running these once great wrestling towns more frequently. Dates for upcoming shows have already been announced with St. Joseph at the National Guard Armory, with a debut show on August 11 and additional shows October 6 and December 15. Springfield is set to debut at the Shrine Mosque on September 22, with additional dates of October 29 and January 7. The promotion plans to run 8-10 dates per month with Kansas City as its home base.
One of the key promotional tools used by NWL has been the “Fight Club” membership that allows members to have access to all NWL KC events for 12 months and discounted merchandise, as well as VIP access to meet and greet with NWL performers. Fans can continue with this plan on an annual or a monthly basis, or individual tickets can be purchased at a reduced rate. “The NWL currently has 10 full time wrestlers on the roster and 15-20 students at the training center. We will utilize our roster as well as some of the students and maybe some local wrestlers to round out our wrestling cards,” Gough explained.
The NWL only has television clearance in St. Joseph and Kansas City, so local advertising and promotion will be needed to successfully promote the shows. “We will have guys on the ground developing relationships with TV and radio stations and local sports bars and restaurants to get our name out to the public,” Gough stated.
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