Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan has already reached the pinnacle of pop culture success with the decade-long standard he and his band established as Billboard’s Top Ten Alternative Rock Artists. Since 2017, however, Corgan has made inroads to success in another beloved avenue of pop culture: professional wrestling.
As a result, 2022 finds the 74-year-old wrestling promotion that Corgan now owns, the national wrestling alliance (NWA), bringing their brand of independent wrestling to the Nashville Fairgrounds to revive the legendary Crockett Cup Tag Team Wrestling Tournament on March 19-20, 2022.
The NWA attempted a Crockett Cup in 2020 but was halted by the outbreak of COVID-19.
“It’s comparable to a ‘Pro Wrestling Super Bowl’ or a ‘Pro Wrestling Rock Festival,'” Corgan says of the upcoming event likely to spotlight nearly 50 nationally to world-class grapplers.
He “hates” to hint at his rock career while discussing his goals in a square circle. “When pressed, he says, ‘Just like how rock festivals attract, we use the credibility we’ve built with audiences in the way we present our talents that they know their ultimate presentation will be. fulfilling and will deserve their time and interest. “
Historically, the NWA promoters of the 80s, the Crockett family, presented, between 1986 and 1988, the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team tournament. Stars of the then global conglomerate of promotions under the NWA banner included Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Sting, The Road Warriors, Japanese high-flying legend Tiger Mask, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and Midnight Express. The events featured two-on-two confrontations.
“I’m a big fan of tag team wrestling,” Corgan told The Tennessean. “The Crockett Cup highlights the unique art of in-ring storytelling that [tag team wrestling] allow. Young talents who have proven to be stars and traditionally masters of the craft have been involved in this style of wrestling.”
“WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) sets the standard in the industry, but over the past decade they haven’t focused so much on tag teams as they have focused on their core programming,” he said. he adds. “[Different than WWE]NWA not abandoning traditional tag team wrestling venue [alongside singles matches] in professional wrestling.”
Four decades later, with Corgan’s visionary leadership and armed with an aggressive digital streaming strategy for weekly programming using Youtube and the FITE TV app – plus a team of indie talent not exclusively signed to today’s major promotions like the WWE, All Elite Wrestling (AEW), IMPACT Wrestling or New Japan Pro-Wrestling – the NWA is poised to achieve a level of fame the company hasn’t reached since its heyday in the mid-1980s.
In the past two decades since the closure of World Championship Wrestling and the bankruptcy of Extreme Championship Wrestling, WWE’s market share in the mainstream wrestling market has grown dramatically. Led by CEO Vincent K. McMahon, the company is now visible in 180 countries and 28 languages and reaches more than 900 million homes worldwide.
While some businesspeople would view WWE’s availability in 92% of the world’s countries (and half of its TV screens) as impossible to compete with, Corgan sees an opportunity to create sustainability through a different marketing plan. .
“[Non-WWE affiliated] wrestling companies should work together to create “supercards” to maximize potential fan interest and marketing opportunities. Mainstream fans are interested, even in a two-day format, in stories that have a series of confrontations, that lead to a conclusion.”
Fans are already following the promotion’s studio-recorded “NWA Powerrr” and “NWA USA” weekly shows via Youtube or sports fight FITE-TV broadcast app are familiar with the stories that culminate in the Crockett Cup. Notable among these is the pairing of British-born, world-traveling veteran former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis (he held and defended the title for 1,043 days between October 2018 and August 2021) reunited with his tag partner – and fellow worldwide-traveled wrestler, Doug Williams, as acclaimed contestants, The British Invasion. After losing the title in August to Trevor Murdoch, Aldis rekindled his well-regarded pairing with Williams. They will be presented at the Crockett Cup.
Other teams already announced as entrants include popular brother team the Briscoe Brothers Jay and Mark Briscoe, who are best known as the current 12-time holders of the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships, as well as the champions of the burgeoning “outlaw” tag. style group, Game Changer Wrestling. Additionally, Mexican stylists Lucha Llibre and current NWA Tag Team Champions La Rebelión (Mecha Wolf and Bestia 666) will appear alongside the duo of Strictly Business, and Thom Latimer and NWA National Heavyweight Champion “The Masterpiece” Chris Adonis.
Jeff Jarrett, former NWA World Heavyweight Champion and current resident of Hendersonville, Tennessee, will be in attendance as the “Official NWA Honorary Ambassador” for the Crockett Cup and will make an in-ring appearance.
“For wrestling purists and casual fans alike, there’s something to enjoy at the Crockett Cup,” Corgan says. “We’ll have ‘amazing’ marquee wrestling matches that wrestling fans will love. But for people who find being told a great story by great storytellers is an underrated art, we have that too.”
WWE doesn’t control the entire professional wrestling landscape in a changing media landscape. To borrow one of his band’s most iconic songs – Billy Corgan and the NWA are raging like rats in a cage to carve out a place for themselves in the wrestling landscape.
Crockett Cup tickets are on sale now at NWATix.com. Ringside seating is $75, ground seating is $40, and tickets are $35 for general admission and bleacher seating. The event will be broadcast live on both nights FITE for $24.99 individually and is included in the $49.99 NWA All Access Annual Pass. The full field of tag teams for the Crockett Cup and other marquee matches will be announced over the coming weeks via social media and the NWA Powerrr streaming program.