Starting in June, Jerry Jarrett is launching the all-new NWA-TNA, a weekly 2 hour wrestling PPV series. To sell PPVs, he will need top named talent to draw in initial viewers, but then solid booking and the creation of new stars to keep them buying each month.
With all of the WCW-tainted talent on the market, it will be difficult to balance the roster between WCW has-beens, indy talent and legitimate stars that can pop small buyrates. It’s unknown whether Scott Steiner, Bret Hart and Sid are draws after their abysmal WWA appearances, and legends like Randy Savage and Sting would be too old to build a long term promotion around.
Out of all the free agent talent, only Bill Goldberg offers the NWA-TNA a major league draw to PPV, at least for the first month. There are enough fans interested in seeing Goldberg again that they will buy a $10 PPV to see him wrestle. It is then the NWA’s job to make sure the product is compelling enough to warrant continued purchases week after week.
However, more than the booking of the undercard, the booking of the top card and Goldberg in particular is extremely important. The cruiserweights that the NWA-TNA is sure to spotlight will be a nice addition to the lineup, but it will be the top card that sells tickets, as it does in most wrestling promotions.
The NWA top card is sure to include Jeff Jarrett, and has been rumored to feature anyone from Savage, Sting, The Ultimate Warrior, Sid and Scott Steiner. In addition, they might be able to add someone like Vader, who has main event credibility and has been out of the US spotlight for several years.
Besides exploring Japanese promotions, Goldberg’s only real choices in America are the WWE and the NWA-TNA. If Goldberg chose the WWE, even with all the bad blood in the press between the WWE and Goldberg, it would certainly create strong interest from the get-go. But it is an almost certainty that Goldberg will not be pushed or protected the way he will need to be to remain a long-term draw.
In addition, political factors will probably castrate Goldberg’s push and he would presumably end up like Scott Hall or Booker T. As a big fish in a gigantic pond, Goldberg’s WWE run would be doomed from the start.
But as a big fish in a small pond, Goldberg could be rebuilt into a megastar. Without a large amount of established main eventers positioning for main event slots, the Jarretts could push Goldberg much like WCW did, as an unstoppable monster. Then, once he is reestablished as a monster, they could build up opponents for him and generate interest in “who will dethrone GoldbergÃ¢â‚¬Â. Whoever finally does beat Goldberg will instantly be a star, if the win isn’t promoted as a joke or a fluke. From there the NWA could create a character with more depth, for Goldberg and really book Goldberg the way he should have been in WCW.
For Goldberg to go to the WWE now, he would look like a hypocrite, and would certainly lose all the luster his star has left. If he chose the NWA-TNA, he could be reborn as a megastar and really be the cornerstone of that new promotion.
Goldberg has the unique opportunity to take an upstart promotion, with a unique (or insane depending on your view) new business model, and become the driving force behind it. There is the risk that the NWA-TNA will fail, but the upside could be fantastic. Goldberg could be instrumental in creating a legitimate second major US wrestling promotion, and cement his legacy as a superstar.
While the WWE could make him money, the NWA-TNA is where he could become a legend.