August 31, 2009
Should Charlotte house the world's premiere pro wrestling museum?
Two weeks ago I wrote a column on a whim arguing that the pro wrestling industry needs a single, all inclusive museum.
The feedback was tremendous and only helped to solidify my opinion. But the vital question remains as to where a museum of this type - covering everything from the birth of the territories to the emergence of pay-per-view - could be created and bring in enough fans to sustain itself. After all, to do a museum and do it well, you're looking at a huge investment.
Last week I posed that very question - where to put it. If you look back to the days of the territories, almost any metropolitan area of the US - and plenty outside the nation - could argue it is a rightful spot to house a museum of this nature.
There's Memphis, with the Mid-South Coliseum and rich history of Jerry Lawler and Jackie Fargo; San Francisco, where the likes of Ray Stevens and Pat Patterson competed at the Cow Palace; New York City, which houses the world's most famous arena and the WWE's second home; and Atlanta, once home to Georgia Championship Wrestling and later WCW.
And that's just a handful of possibilities.
Of all the feedback I received, a majority mentioned both NYC and Las Vegas as sites that would draw a steady stream of tourists. Would they all be wrestling fans? No. But if they're on vacation and have a few hours to spare, it might be intriguing enough to get them in the door.
A third option frequently mentioned was the Queen City - Charlotte, NC. You've got the rich wrestling history of Jim Crockett Promotions which dominated the Carolinas for the better part of 50 years. It was home territory to WCW and remains a hot area for WWE. And the Carolinas host a bevy of independent wrestling organizations.
Additionally, many of the top names from the Crockett area still call Charlotte home (Flair just being one of them), it's home base for Highspots, and hundreds of fans from around the world converge on the area each summer for the NWA Legends Fanfest.
So in terms of drawing the diehard fans, it passes the test. But what else does it have going on?
In 2008, the city was chosen the "Best Place to Live in America" by relocate-America.com in its annual ranking, based on factors including employment opportunities, crime rates, and housing affordability. It was also named #8 of the 100 "Best Places to Live and Launch" by CNNMoney.com - cities picked for their vibrant lifestyles and opportunities for new businesses. ..."Opportunities for new businesses." Got my attention on that one.
Next May, after years of construction, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is set to open in the heart of downtown. That stands to give the city and state a huge economic shot in the arm. Plus, Lowe's Motor Speedway is minutes down the road.
You've got football with the Panthers (an outdoor stadium that would be ideal for a spring / summer WWE card), basketball with the Bobcats (Time Warner Cable Arena regularly hosts Raw / Smackdown tapings), and hockey with the Checkers.
So of all the cities and locals suggested - and I might be biased for living 30 minutes away - I'm leaning towards Charlotte as an ideal spot and would love to see if this is a viable option.
Agree? Disagree? Live in the area and want to discuss this further? Shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear your feedback.