– On the latest Something to Wrestle With, Bruce Prichard recalled the lean times in WWE in the 1990s and the company considering downsizing to the regional level. Before the Attitude Era kicked in, WWE was in real financial trouble due to a series of setbacks including the steroid trial of the early 1990s and WCW becoming the dominant force in wrestling. The financial issues would ultimately lead to Bret Hart leaving and the infamous Montreal Screwjob, as well as several cutbacks until the company hit the right formula of talent and started fighting back. Highlights of the discussion, and the full podcast, are below:
On if there was a plan for downsizing if necessary: “Absolutely. And that’s where the whole Northeastern territory came in. Because you know, we looked at the old model. We looked at the model that his father had for many years and was profitable. If you had all of our talent that lived in the Northeast that was able to drive everywhere, it eliminates your travel cost, which is astronomical. And now you have, you’re gonna have less talent. You’re gonna have probably, in some cases that talent will work more but smaller venues. It was a complete ‘What if?’ And looking at a strategy of, do we say to everybody, ‘Hey, you need to move to the Northeast. This is where we’re gonna run. If you don’t want to, you wanna fly yourself in and do that, that’s fine too. But here’s the area that we’re gonna run. Find a centrally-located place that you’re happy and we’re gonna go back to kind of a territorial system.’ And that’s one of the discussions that we had. Obviously it didn’t go much further than a discussion.”
On what other plans were discussed: “We looked at [Profit and Loss Statements], and what would work and what wouldn’t work. So there was definitely talk about it, and there was definitely talk about downsizing in the office, downsizing on the talent roster, and looking at ways to streamline the entire operation.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.