wrestling / Columns

The Hamilton Ave Journal 08.26.10: Volume 2 – Issue 152

August 26, 2010 | Posted by JP Prag

By JP Prag

Volume 2 – Issue 152


The Hamilton Ave Journal is the only wrestling news report focused solely on the business of wrestling. Here in the Journal we not only look at the stories that are important to the investor and business-minded person, but also delve deeper into stories that most fans of wrestling would overlook. That is because the Journal is about getting the heart of the matters that affect the companies and outlooks of the wrestling world.

And where is Hamilton Ave? That is the location of the WWE Production Studio in Stamford, CT, and thus the most powerful place in the wrestling world. Besides, The East Main Street Journal just does not have the right ring to it.

Who am I? I am JP Prag: consultant, entrepreneur, businessman, journalist, and wrestling fan.

Now, ring the bell because the market is open.

The Hamilton Ave Journal


The Journal’s front page area known as What’s News isn’t just about telling you what has happened. The stories in this section are about what will have an effect on the wrestling industry, individual federations, and the wallets of the fans.

TOP STORY: WWE invades China

This past Sunday, the WWE fulfilled a long time dream and held their first event in China. Taking place at the Shanghai Expo, the company gave away 5,000 tickets to the 8,000 seat arena (the rest used for WWE production). The WWE actually started giving away their tickets at 9:30am and had gone through 4,000 before a half hour way up. People began lining up as early at 6:00am in order to get a ticket, showing the WWE’s phenomenal growth in just three years.

When the WWE opened their Shanghai office in 2007 they were available in part of one province and in 19 million homes. Today, the company can be seen in 88 million homes across ten provinces with more expansion coming this year. This has been the largest area for growth in the WWE portfolio and one they look to capitalize on more. Said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon at the event:

“WWE is honored that the Chinese government and Expo 2010 Shanghai have offered us this rare, historic opportunity to perform at the successful Shanghai World Expo… We are thankful to be allowed to entertain the attendees and our fans in the region at Expo 2010 Shanghai.”

WWE Executive Vice President of International Andrew Whitaker was asked if more shows could be coming to China in the coming future, especially events that consumers would have to pay for. Mr. Whitaker responded that they are taking a “wait-and-see” approach based on how the event at the Expo is received.

Whether or not the WWE is able to return to China soon, this event also became the kickoff of the Mattel toyline in the country. Stores in Shanghai will begin selling WWE Mattel action figures soon, continuing to boost the company’s presence there.

The WWE also appears to be having the same westernizing affect in China as they had in Japan. Says Pete Sweeney of the China Economic Review:

We had expected the Chinese fans do behave as they usually do; sit in their chairs, applaud politely, and wave inflatable glowing wands. But not in the least: From the first match on, fans were out of their seats screaming “You suck! You suck! You suck!” (in English) at the wrestlers from the “dark side,” namely Chris Jericho, Sheamus (an Irish offering with pasty skin and spiked orange hair) and Alicia Fox, who is mean. Yes, the fans had picked up the fact that part of the spectacle of professional wrestling is fan behavior, and they did their best with homemade placards, and in one quaint instance, a homemade Chinese fan.

So unlike many sports and media that try to change for the Chinese market, the WWE has shown once again that they can get a market to change and act how they want.

China is a country of 1.5 billion people that represent the WWE’s greatest chance of explosive growth. They have already jumped 350% in most measures over the past four years, so you can see why the WWE is so concerned about having a strong presence there. And even without a Yao Ming of their own, the WWE is doing what the MLB, NFL, and WPT have failed to do: make a home and new market in the most populated, untapped place on Earth.


Some items of note in the rest of the wrestling business world:

  • TNA has hired licensing industry veteran Al Ovadia as their new Chief Marketing Officer, replacing Steve Allison who left the company in March 2010. Mr. Allison came from Midway games, so there was always a cloud over his ability to market considering what happened to Midway, but Mr. Ovadia comes with nearly 30 years of licensing experience. He has previously held such titles as “Executive vice president of Sony Pictures Consumer Products”, “Vice president of licensing and merchandising at Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation”, and “Vice president of network creative services at NBC Television”, although most recently was working for himself. Said Mr. Ovadia in a 2008 interview with Licensing.biz:

    As most property owners, especially in the entertainment sector, look to licensing as a key means to reduce production deficits and expand profits, creative approaches need to be explored to help the players mitigate risk. While we all recognise that risk is inherent in licensing, it is critical that we be open to new ways of doing business on all sides of the equation, if new properties will ever have the opportunity they deserve.

  • TNA has also begun to finally doing the house cleaning discussed several months back and has let go at least two wrestlers: Homicide and Rossie Lottalove. Other wrestlers who had previously left the company were also removed from the roster page this week, so there is hope that the web team may actually update the top selling list some day (see Money and Investing below)
  • With TNA iMPACT dropping in ratings this week (see Marketplace below), TNA ReACTION suffered a drop in ratings to a 0.62. Since ReACTION is completely dependent upon TNA being the lead-in show, their ratings will most likely remain in tune with one another. More discussion on ReACTION can be found in the Editorials section.
  • WWE stock has taken a decent hit this week, closing Tuesday at $13.59. Since the 52-week low is $12.86, the WWE is treading close to dangerous waters. The last time the stock was in this range was at the end of October 2009 before skyrocketing back up to the mid-$16’s in mid-November.
  • With the WWE taking SmackDown to SyFy in October, there were bound to be some scraps to pick up. NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood looks to be the first one to attempt to do that as they will air in SmackDown’s old MyNetworkTV station in Los Angeles. Contrary to stories going around, the promotion will not air in SmackDown’s old timeslot and go head-to-head with the WWE second biggest property, but will actually air at 11pm starting on September 17, 2010.


    In the Marketplace we look at the trends in television ratings. This section is less for critical analysis by the Journal but more for the reader to see what is really going on and to draw their own conclusions.

    As with stocks, here in the Journal we track the progress of television ratings. If ratings are the barometer by which we judge the product, then over the course of time we should be able to see patterns, trends, and anomalies.

    For the week ending Wednesday August 25, 2010, here are the current standings of the shows:


    TNA’s streak of 1.0+ ratings came to an end this week as the show clocked in with a 0.97 rating. This actually marks three weeks of small drops that have now taken them below the 1.0 marker. They were not the only ones to suffer as RAW and SuperStars dropped this week, too, though not as much percentage wise. SmackDown has been remaining steady at a 1.6 for the prior three weeks as the show has been dealing with preemptions and network drops ahead of their moves. Meanwhile, but TNA and the WWE have come under the pressure of pre-season football that will only be intensified once the real season gets under way. TNA’s ratings are basically in line with where they were on these dates a year ago while the WWE is down about 10% across the board.


    We all know that wrestling is a business, but we don’t often pay attention to what sells and makes money. Money and Investing looks into the top selling items in the world of wrestling and any interesting figures that may have come out this week.

    What are the top selling items for the WWE? WWEShopZone.com releases a list of varying numbers to show what is selling for them:

    1. John Cena Cenation T-Shirt ($25.00)
    2. John Cena Cenation Sweatband Set ($12.00)
    3. John Cena Cenation Baseball Cap ($20.00)
    4. John Cena Cenation YOUTH T-Shirt ($22.00)
    5. John Cena Never Give Up T-Shirt Package ($37.99)
    6. Bret Hart Best Since 1984 T-Shirt ($25, on sale $9.98)
    7. John Cena Cenation WWE Bandz ($5.00)
    8. John Cena Never Give up YOUTH T-Shirt Package ($34.99)
    9. Randy Orton Lobotomy T-Shirt ($25, on sale $19.95)
    10. Nexus Logo T-Shirt ($19.95)
    11. WWE Superstars Bandz (Randy Orton/Rey Mysterio/Edge) ($5.00)
    12. The Miz I’m Awesome Blue T-Shirt ($19.95)
    13. Randy Orton Lobotomy Basics YOUTH T-Shirt ($9.99, on sale $8.95)
    14. WWE Red/Blue Reusable Bag ($2.99)
    15. John Cena Never Give Up T-Shirt ($25, on sale $19.95)
    16. John Cena Never Give up Notebook ($5.99, on sale $3.59)
    17. Miz I’m Awesome T-Shirt ($25, on sale $19.95)
    18. Randy Orton Lobotomy Notebook ($5.99, on sale $3.59)
    19. John Cena Cenation Ladies Tee ($25.00)
    20. Rey Mysterio Booyaka Lunch Cooler ($12, on sale $7.20)

    Have John Cena will travel. John Cena continued his domination of the top selling list expanding his total to a whopping 50% of the items. The new design helped also push the old design, leaving little room for Randy Orton, the Miz, the Nexus, and Bret Hart to hold on to their spots. Yet they did, showing an important place in the WWE pantheon. Rey Mysterio also made a comeback, although this was for an on sale lunch cooler demonstrating the power of back to school shopping. Also in that realm were two items of “Bandz”. For those not in the know, the latest trend among impressionable youth is the wearing of plastic bracelets shaped like a variety of objects. These were popularized by the brand “Silly Bandz” and have inspired plenty of cheap knock offs at a discount chain near you.

    It would appear the WWE is getting in on this and it is quickly paying off. At $5 a package the WWE is actually charging a premium rate (these usually go for about $3 a package), so the WWE is coming out quite ahead on some inexpensive plastic shaped like WWE superstars’ symbols.

    TNA sometimes releases a list of top selling items on ShopTNA.com. According to the site the top selling items were:

    1. Don’s Insane Brown Bag Special ($20)
    2. Mr. Anderson… People Are Fake T-Shirt ($19.99)
    3. Jeff Hardy Enigma T-Shirt (Glow In The Dark) ($19.99)
    4. The Best Of America’s Most Wanted DVD ($24.99, on sale $15.99)
    5. RVD – Video Wall T-shirt ($19.99)
    6. Hogan H Squared Limited Edition T-shirt ($29.99)
    7. Destination X 2010 DVD ($19.99, on sale $15.99)
    8. Unbreakable 2005 DVD ($9.99)
    9. “Hulkamania” T-shirt ($19.99)
    10. Beer Money / MMG “FANDIMONIUM” DVD ($19.99, on sale $14.99)

    Two months?


    Wrestling isn’t just about watching and reading. The best way to be a wrestling fan is to experience it live. Where is wrestling coming to in the upcoming weeks? The Personal Journal answers that question.

    Do you know a wrestling event coming up? Send one in to The Hamilton Ave Journal and we’ll be sure to add it to the list.


    The Editorials section is designed for you, the readers, to respond to the views presented in the Journal, send an important news item, or talk about another overlooked business related item in wrestling. Just beware: the Journal reserves the right to respond back. Now, let’s break down the topics from last week’s commentary section:

    Tracking ReACTION’s rating

    Last week, the Journal asked if it would be worthwhile to track ReACTION’s ratings.

    Why wouldn’t you track ReAction? Not to sound crass, but one show in and it’s already on par with NXT’s ratings and it’s solidly thumping SuperStars, which you also track.

    I would give ReACTION 4 shows before finding it worthy or not to cover. Since it is a follow up show it stands to reason that the first one should do OK, and while 0.87 it was almost 0.3 off the iMPACT show, so it did lose quite a few, if it continues to drop it probably won’t be worth monitoring, but I would think holding anything around 40% of the iMPACT number would be acceptable, and probably a target of 50%.

    Rich, it is not a question whether ReACTION is “worthy”, it is a question of whether it is “relevant”. This applies to Guest above, too, as ReACTION is not a “wrestling” show, it is a magazine show about wrestling. Since the ratings above track wrestling shows, that seems to be the current theme. Put it this way: If the Journal existed a decade ago, would the ratings of WWF Excess have been tracked? Whether or not ReACTION continues to outperform SuperStars is not the question; it is a matter of it if it is a wrestling show and where to draw the line on what is tracked.

    One show is not a trend, one show is a data point. “Solidly thumping” one time is relatively meaningless.

    More to the point, is there enough interest here to make it worth his trouble? You know, all the stuff that is written for this site takes time, especially if it requires gathering data and doing some analysis.

    Journal Errors

    Interesting that The Journal is never EVER wrong. Retrospectively justifying yourself to prove you’re right doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes.

    Show some humility, sir. We may even respect you for it.
    Furious Groove

    You mean like a few weeks ago when the Journal said it made a mistake in identifying the tag team partners of AMW? Or a couple of months before that when the Journal dedicated a whole section of the Editorials to correcting an error? You mean humility like that instead of just blatantly saying that someone is wrong without saying what they are wrong about?

    Do you know what does help? Actually being specific with what you are complaining about so that someone can have a clue with what you are upset with. The Journal covered nearly 20 subjects last week, so it would be wonderful to know what you had issue with.

    Cena’s Merchandise

    Cena’s a merch monster no doubt, but it’s good to see Nexus’s two items staying right up in there.

    And they still held on to one position this week despite the onslaught of John Cena merchandise, so there you go again!

    Plenty more was written, so be sure to take a look. And if you enjoy the Journal, why not bookmark 411wrestling.com and make it your home page? You can do that by clicking here.


    This concludes Issue #152 (Volume 2) of THE HAMILTON AVE JOURNAL. Join us next week as we get ready to ring the bell again.

    Till then!

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