billy corgan nwa

Billy Corgan Explains His Calculus For Success With NWA, Not Afraid Of Failure

Billy Corgan has learned from his past mistakes and seems poised to bring the National Wrestling Alliance closer to his vision of success.

Billy Corgan has held firm control of the National Wrestling Alliance for six years now. Upon his initial purchase in 2017, Corgan revealed that he had set up a 20-year plan for the company. As with life, though, even the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. Through these past mistakes, in NWA and his former home of TNA, Corgan has seemingly readjusted his vision, and his booking calculations.

Speaking with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard, Billy Corgan mentioned some of his decisions being based on taking chances and not being afraid to fail. Pritchard asked Corgan to expand on that concept and perhaps lend some advice to others in the wrestling business. In response, Corgan explained his process of evaluating past promoting failures while still staying aligned with his vision for the NWA.

“It’s important to evaluate anybody in the entertainment world with, what are they actually trying to accomplish? The NWA is an international promotion that’s trying to set up another run of success. That involves international television licensing deals, merchandise deals, toys. So, every decision I’m trying to make at the local level, a show in Saint Louis, a show — hopefully we haven’t announced it yet, coming up pretty soon somewhere else in America.

“I have to balance, ‘Okay. We got to sell tickets to Saint Louis. We got to sell tickets in Nashville at the TV tapings. At the same time, I’m trying to figure out, am I going to have a product that’s going to work in Japan, Mexico, Canada, Abu Dhabi?’ It’s hard at the level that we’re at for people to understand that that’s my calculus. My calculus is success, it’s international. It’s, ‘Can we compete at the highest levels of the wrestling business?’

“I have more money than Paul Heyman ever did. And I don’t mean that as a slight. Paul to me is a genius. But I’m saying is if all I did was blow money and run 12 events a year, and put on really, really good strong shows and hire the best available independent talent, I think the NWA name would be a little hotter in the mouths of the marks. But it wouldn’t take me one inch closer to the deal that I’m after, which is big licensing deals. And again, I don’t mean this as a slight. I wasn’t able to buy my way up towards the top of the line. I wasn’t able to sit with the major network and say, ‘I can bring all this money to the table like WWE can or Tony [Khan] can.'”

While he may not have had the budget to acquire a major network deal, Billy Corgan wasn’t discouraged. Instead, he appeared to be more motivated. Corgan believes the NWA is poised to move at an upward trajectory.

“We have to be more crafty at how we’re positioning ourselves. So over here, I’m trying to build a very strong wrestling culture with a very particular identity. We’ve done that. We’ve gone younger and we put a bunch of young talent under contract. Okay, that’s done. We’ve gotten past like, let’s call it the ‘NWA is a nostalgia thing’ or ‘Billy’s side hustle.’ That’s done. Now we’re in the serious game of like, can we actually pull this off? Here’s the question I always ask anybody who’s interested, is the NWA positioned to have a run of success? My argument would be yes,” he said.

A Changing Landscape

Corgan noted how quickly the metrics for evaluating pro wrestling could change. He pointed out that current affairs in entertainment could make pro wrestling more valuable, including talent.

“We all know if anybody pays attention, the landscape is changing so fast,” Corgan continued. “Now with the writer’s strike going on in LA, there’s going to be a lot of focus on live sports in the interim. Whether that strike last six weeks, six months, who knows. But right now, people are trying to figure out future television schedules. It really does put live event sports into a better position. So, who knows? And I don’t mean that take advantage of a negative situation because I empathize with the situation that people are having, particularly on the West Coast.”

“A lot of people out of work right now, but we’re in the live entertainment business, and that’s what we’re here to do. And I think the one thing I’ve been saying, it’s kind of one of my new taglines is wrestling is basically going to be AI proof. Where every other business, including my business and music, is going to be affected, I don’t think AI is going to affect wrestling at all because you can’t AI wrestling. You can’t AI, LA Knight or EC3 or Chelsea Green. You just can’t. They’re stand alone, one-of-a-kind stars.”

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