Yesterday, the pro wrestling world was thrown a curveball when it was announced that WWE NXT will move to The CW in October 2024. The announcement was all the more surprising because The NWA, owned by Billy Corgan, recently signed a pair of deals with the top twenty network. The deals were to see NWA Powerrr and an unnamed reality show about the promotion moved to The CW, likely to begin airing in early 2024. Late yesterday, Fightful reported that at least one NWA talent was “blindsided” by the news NXT was headed for The CW.
Haus of Wrestling has learned that Corgan withdrew from those close to him yesterday and did not want to discuss the situation. As we reported over the weekend, it was Corgan’s idea to do the Father James Mitchell segment at NWA Samhain, which resulted in The CW being inundated with negative social media messages about the spot. One source we spoke with at WWE gave us the impression that talks with The CW accelerated following the incident. They went on to say, “No segment ever done in wrestling has had that severe of consequences to the promotion than the Samhain Coke Spot.”
Haus of Wrestling has also heard from talent within NWA since our report expressing frustration with Corgan’s current leadership. In the past, Dave Lagana and Pat Kenney were names that Corgan leaned on to help with the NWA’s creative process and general communication with talent. Kenney is still with the promotion, but following a stroke he suffered last year, he was moved more into a talent relations role. He is viewed as second in charge next to Billy but is not at every TV taping. One source described him as the “Johnny Ace of the NWA” and as someone you only talk to if you are in trouble or getting signed. Billy is in charge of contract offers and creative.
Due to Corgan’s busy schedule touring with The Smashing Pumpkins, some feel he is unavailable to relay his creative ideas between shows. We heard from multiple people who said they do not know what will happen with their booking at NWA tapings until the day of the show, sometimes as close to an hour before filming. One source we spoke with was empathetic to Corgan’s struggle to balance his music and pro wrestling careers, but they are hopeful he puts a team of creative people around him to help filter his ideas.
Haus of Wrestling was also told that several NWA contracts are set to come up in June and that Corgan intends to start conversations to re-sign many of them in February. Some of those talents are frustrated by Corgan’s leadership and are already looking into other places they can work when their deals are done in hopes of not having to re-sign. WWE announcing a deal to bring NXT to The CW next year has not helped with how talent feels about re-signing.
Haus of Wrestling has also heard of Corgan giving various talents “tests” to see how they react and to prove their loyalty, which has not been well-received. Examples of “tests” were things like making “over” talents who come in to work lose right away, just to see how they react. Or, for Corgan to be overly critical of a talent who has done nothing wrong to see how they take it.
It was also pointed out to us that most NWA talents under contract are younger, usually less than twenty-five years old. We are told that NWA signs younger talent to deals because Corgan would like “first dibs” on these wrestlers before they get big and does not want to see them booked to lose in other promotions like AEW while he is working with them. Older stars who work for the promotion are less likely to be put under contract because Corgan does not have the same investment, and those talents can work elsewhere and take on outside opportunities.
Haus of Wrestling reached out to NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion EC3 for his thoughts on what we were hearing and were sent the following response, which he has requested we print in full. For clarification, the first point he made was regarding me apologizing for contacting him later than I said I would because I was walking my dog, Willow.
1) no apology necessary
2) This has never been communicated to me via talent or otherwise, and I communicate with all. A truly professional wrestler should be prepared for anything at anytime. They should be able to perform based on whatever opportunity is provided. “Plans in advance” OFTEN change.
There isn’t one wrestling company that this isn’t the case for.
While sometimes knowing in advance can be beneficial, perhaps in envisioning long form character arc and story told, a lot of the best moments and actions come when capable talent are put on the spot and trust their skills and intuition in the moments.
The day of the show provides AMPLE time if a talent requires to verbatim script a promo or “put together a match.” Neither should take long especially if/when a talent is confident in character, work, and ability.
Personally, I prefer to have a direction, then allowed the open canvas to create how I achieve that direction. I know WHO I AM and WHERE I WANT TO GO. I think others should trust themselves to do the same. It’s how good stories are told.
EX: Tonight on NWA POWERRR (6:05) I have a promo segment that I was informed of day of the show. I was given the destination that is taking us. I conversed with the talent involved on their goals and mission and end business for the segment. Then I had 5 hours till it was filmed. I was pleased with how it turned out.
By being present in the moment, you are always prepared for anything.
Continued in a moment have to do something
2) infrastructure is great and required on all facets of a growing business. Infrastructure is more imperative on a BUSINESS END than a CREATIVE END.
True creativity is a collaboration, and talents should be absolutely thankful they have freedom to explore as creatives because before they know it, they will work their asses off to one day maybe get an opportunity to BE A MUTE.
I don’t know what facets of growth are being held up that we would require a bakers dozens of low level Hollywood writers who have never seen wrestling, never been in a fight for anything, or never had an experience in athletic victory/defeat.
If it’s about promotional material or who is “being pushed” it’s not rocket science on who that is, but it’s also a HUGE OPPORTUNITY for a talent who might not be, to put themselves out there, show why they are special, and capture that. Simply by utilizing the team we have, from socials, to peers, a talent can send a promo to the team, get it aired. A talent can try an idea they have, film it, it can air. A talent can EASILY (and this is rare) TALK TO THE BOSS and pitch ideas.
I watched our boss sit and listen to a bunch of promos from extras (who don’t really have a shot), watch a bunch of practice matches from extras (who aren’t TV ready) and offer that to all.
Just because a talent is there, and semi being utilized, doesn’t mean anything is handed. Entitlement and complacency will have them, what, Anonymously bitching to the internet?
Post a seminar I did, I spent hours discussing non contracted talents with WPC so we can provide them legitimate feedback, again, even if they aren’t close to TV ready.
Why? Because we love this and share the same ideals that people deserve opportunity and the truth. I don’t think people understand the rarity of a boss who would put that time in. Took me a long time to find one.
Again, back to creative, I’d prefer one’s overall vision accompanied by a handful of trusted, experienced, smart “wrestling people” to see it through.
Again though, hindsight 20/20 sometimes there can be too much freedom and people do dumb things.
I hope that answer was sufficient.
4) I know only my business, and my business alone as far as contracts and older talent etc. I’m very happy with mine as I get to represent and grow the brand, while also challenge myself with other creative endeavors in wrestling and beyond. While NWA is my home, I can spread our, and my own, brand on multiple fronts.
This industry is a constant test. Being “frustrated by tests” is, just, something I’d never say or complain about (to the internet.) If I am challenged to do something, in lieu of frustrated complaining, I’d channel that frustration to take whatever test I’ve been given, and get better by accepting the challenge. Even if it’s just a “F-U” to the person who put me through it.
It’s not “gaining approval.” It’s showing competency and will. It’s showing you want it. It’s showing you have value. It’s showing you’re worth investing in.
If that’s too much, don’t come. I have countless people reaching out to me daily trying to get in.
And also, as I’ve said to the locker room before, I am ALWAYS AVAILABLE if anyone ever wants to or needs to have a conversation. I don’t know if I’ll be right, but I will give my best effort and opinion in complete confidence.