Last night, one of my buddies and I went to our local movie theater to watch iMPACT Wrestling’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view. The tickets cost us $15 each and, in my opinion, they were worth every last dollar. Up until last night, I had only attended movie theaters to (you guessed it) watch movies. However, after watching a major professional wrestling pay-per-view event in the theater, I’m sold on the “movie theater as a paid viewing venue” model.
Since this was a first for iMPACT Wrestling, I thought I’d offer some comments on my experience watching the Bound for Glory pay-per-view in the theater and why I’m sold on it as a viewing model for future shows. If you’re looking for my thoughts on the show itself, then you can check out the post at this link.
The first thing that struck me when I entered the theater was that other fans were in attendance! I mean no disrespect to iMPACT Wrestling, but with
no very little local advertising to let the public know that Bound for Glory would be available in at this theater, I expected that my buddy and I would be the only ones in attendance. Not so. In fact, we walked into the theater at about 7:40pm and there were about 10 fans in there already. At some point between the end of the first pay-per-view match (the X-Division Championship match) and the beginning of the second match, I took a look around and counted about 40 people in the theater. There might have been a few less people there (maybe 35), but the theater was dark by that point and I couldn’t really see too far into the back of the theater.
I gotta tell ya, iMPACT Wrestling put no local advertising behind this effort and still managed to draw in about 40 fans paying $15 each to watch the pay-per-view. I don’t know how many of them would have ordered the $40 pay-per-view, but pull in an extra $600 in my little corner of New Jersey by simply putting the pay-per-view up on the big screen isn’t such a bad deal for the promotion. The question, I guess, is how many of those people in attendance would have purchased the pay-per-view if the theater experience wasn’t available. And, just using myself as an example, I’ve never purchased a pay-per-view in my life. So that’s $15 that the company earned off of me that they wouldn’t have gotten if the theater option wasn’t available.
Still, I feel like if iMPACT Wrestling just did a little bit of promotion in the area, they could have packed that place… Oh, and did I mention that part of the show is that we get a free t-shirt from the company? Yeah, we have to send away for it, but that’s a pretty sweet deal!
The second thing that struck me was the quality of the picture. Not only was the picture crisp and clear, but I’m pretty sure Bound for Glory was presented in high definition. I was impressed.
Since this is a column about the experience that I had in the theater, I have to comment on the folks who were in attendance. I don’t make any judgments on the people who attended as individuals because hey – we’re all marks for this stuff. And yet I always find it interesting to observe the crowds at these live events (40 fans paying to watch a live pay-per-view in a theater is a mini-live event in my book). Each crowd has its self-designated know-it-all loudmouth who is wrapped up in the internet wrestling world and the limitless, unfounded, poorly formed opinions that come with it. For example, last night there was a kid who felt the need to loudly proclaim, “You’re not Goldberg!” when Crimson‘s video package aired. The mark in my head wanted to tell this kid that he’s obviously not Goldberg because he speaks, makes sense, has a personality, has a different look, can actually wrestle, etc. However, the grownup in my head just made me shake my head and continue to enjoy the show.
A little while later, the cameras showed some guy in the crowd in Philadelphia who had a minor resemblance to the Ultimate Warrior. This kid then yelled out, “Is that Jim Hellwig?!” At this point, my buddy turned to me and said, “That kid thinks he’s so cool because he knows the Ultimate Warrior’s real name is Jim Hellwig.” I completely agreed. There’s a whole subculture of wrestling fans out there who simply consume what they read on any internet wrestling website and then spit it back out as though if they are the most informed person in the entire professional wrestling business. You know, the type of fan that Eric Bischoff refers to as the 10%’ers; the fans who watched the Bound for Glory show last night and thought that the entire thing absolutely sucked because the ending of the main event was poorly executed and didn’t seem right. Those 10%’ers are out there, folks – and there were two or three of them in the theater last night (which makes sense when you consider that Bischoff says they are 10% of the entire audience).
Any discussion of my Bound for Glory theater experience wouldn’t be complete without some comments on the physical theater itself. Oddly enough, Bound for Glory was offered in only two theaters in New Jersey – one in my hometown and one very close to where I live now. Both of these locations are Clearview movie theaters, but the physical quality of the one that I attended in Monmouth County was poor at best. The floors were sticky (but that was expected), the chairs were tight and old, and the interior of the building was in serious need of an update. And yet, if I had attended at the location in my hometown it would have been a totally different setting since that movie theater was recently updated (I’m defining “recently” as any point in the last 10 years). So while the physical presentation of the movie theater itself has nothing to do with the quality of the pay-per-view or the promotion itself, I do feel compelled to note that there is a certain form of comfort that was missing by watching the show in this particular movie theater.
Since there is always a way to offer feedback to the owners of these companies, I went onto the corporate website for this particular movie theater and submitted a survey on my recent experience. I told them all of the things above that I didn’t like about the physical setting, but thanked them for partnering with iMPACT Wrestling to bring such a great event to the theater. I would encourage all fans who attended a live theater setting last night to do the same thing – find the corporate website of the theater that you attended and let them know that you enjoyed the show. That might help the company get back into one of these theaters in the future.
If iMPACT Wrestling aired another one of their pay-per-views in the movie theater, I’d definitely check it out. My preference would be that they don’t offer each and every one of their pay-per-views in the movie theater format and, instead, save it for their two biggest shows of the year (Bound for Glory and Lockdown). As a guy who has never experienced this form of viewing professional wrestling I have to say that I was very pleased and happy with the entire experience. Good thinking by the company and a great way to bring in additional income to bolster the bottom line.
joe1897 [at] gmail [dot] com