Posted by Alex Barie
I attended TNA Wrestling‘s Impact Wrestling last week and I was standing in the front row while Kurt Angle came out. Not only did I want to support him but I wanted to show respect! I looked around and I listened and I quickly thought of an article to write about. That is where I am today.
While I was standing there, I realized the huge ovation Kurt got. Kurt is from Pittsburgh, so its huge having him wrestle in Western PA. I’m sure people were happy to see Kurt because they are fans of him and they want to see him wrestle… but the main reason is because it was his hometown. That made think about hometown stars and what they are all about in the wrestling business.
Pittsburgh is a pretty big wrestling town because of Kurt Angle but also because of Bruno Sammartino. It’s great hearing, “From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…” when Kurt walks through that curtain on Impact Wrestling. As a matter of fact, it’s great for any wrestling fan when they announce your city. It doesn’t matter if it is Hulk Hogan, Austin Aries, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, or Randy Orton. If they are from your hometown… you will get excited. That lead me to think about what that should mean for the wrestling company.
Having a hometown star be acknowledged is just like having your football team be in the Superbowl and having the Superbowl in that same city. Think of the crowd! It would be crazy! It makes a big difference on television!
If it was up to me and I was part of TNA, I would try to book Impact in the small arenas, like they are doing, but I would also look to see if anyone on the roster was born there. Certainly TNA had luck with Kurt Angle as well as Chavo Guerrero as TNA held shows in their neck of the woods. I would think it would be essential to check out if anyone on the roster originates there.
If there is, then it’s time to start booking! The crowd in attendance is there to see the show as a whole, but they would love to see the person who grew up in that city. It’s that, “Home field advantage” that everyone likes. People like saying, “Welcome back.” I mean, who doesn’t like the wrestling star from the city they grew up in?!
It all depends on the star and where they are on the show now. Booking a hometown star can’t be over pushed as it will become illogical. For example, they would push Robbie E to fight Bully Ray for the TNA World Title just because they are filming in New Jersey! That would be outrageous! They could, however, have Robbie E win a match against Rob Terry and then cut a promo to the crowd after the match. They could even have Robbie meet the fans after the show around the ring.
It’s the small things that count. It’s the little details that make a difference. Hometown stars shouldn’t be the focal point of the show, but it really should influence booking and how the company interacts with the audience in attendance. In Indiana, it was great seeing Kurt wrestle. I don’t want to ruin the ending to the match, but everyone in the arena was pleased with how Kurt was shown on the show.
Wrestling companies should take notice on how influential hometown stars are. If a wrestler is from that city, book them to win a match or title (as long as it’s logical) and have them interact with the fans. Not only will it pump the crowd up as the tape is rolling, but it makes the crowd happy. It makes them satisfied. They could think the whole show is boring, but give the hometown guy a win and have that person sign autographs and shake hands then you will have a satisfied audience. It’s the simple things that really can be a game changer.
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