Jim Ross has discussed the decades-long battle between wrestling promoters to stop their rivals running shows in the same buildings that they use.
Ross was speaking on his Grilling JR podcast with co-host Conrad Thompson. The two were primarily discussing the first SuperBrawl event in May 1991. At the time reports said both the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling were involved in a war of sorts over access to buildings and arenas around the United States.
The report also stated that other companies had tried to book the WWF’s spiritual home of Madison Square Garden in New York City from under Vince McMahon’s father, Vince Sr. years before.
Ross explained his views on the subject:
“Here’s the thing, you said ‘book the Garden from under Vince Sr., I just think they were trying to get a date in the Garden. These new people are just trying to get in the Garden because the Garden was a stamp of approval to a lot of other building people. In other words, to want to go into the Garden and secure a date and have an event and come off well then it gives that promotion more grease to rent other buildings that were problematic.”
“Money’s gonna be the bottom line of it all anyway. So you gotta get some success, get a track record. But the building thing had been that way – when people came into Dallas, Fritz [Von Erich] would call all of his promoter buddies like Cowboy [Bill Watts] and would make sure that Cowboy was on board with helping Fritz defend his sport. Bill did that with a lot of people. Bill did it himself for one of those ‘Battles of Atlanta.'”
Jim Ross continued, mentioning that the issue with buildings has been ongoing for decades:
“The building things always been an issue and that’s why so many promoters ran their buildings weekly because it maybe wasn’t the best thing for business Conrad as far as the gate was concerned. You have to do something different every week. You’ve gotta book returns, you’ve gotta book long-term programs.”
“[…] That building thing has been ongoing and it’s always become an issue. Look Eric [Bischoff] could tell you stories, all those guys that are on your network can tell you the same thing. It was pride and being paranoid about losing your foothold, so that’s why they ran shows every week in a lot of territories simply because the opportunity for another office to come in was very challenging. You had a deal in there with your building that there were no wrestling events 7 days before yours or 7 days after.”
“[…] So if you had a deal in the Garden when you had 30-day immunity, 30-day protection and you run every 3 weeks, it’s physically impossible [for another promoter] to get a date. There was a lot of fun and games in that era about how you protected your building rights. You didn’t want fans to come because god forbid you’d let the fans have another enjoyable experience, to protect their own turf. It was so public that a lot of promoters couldn’t handle the fact they lost in their mind.”
In 2019, for the first time ever a wrestling show sold out the hallowed Madison Square Garden that wasn’t under the auspices of WWE. New Japan Pro Wrestling joined forces with Ring Of Honor to hold the G1 Supercard on April 6th of that year.
Jim Ross also discussed WCW using real-live bears on the SuperBrawl show as part of Big Josh’s entrance.