Jamie Iovine On Becoming A Promoter And The Need To Save The Independent Scene

NTWRK co-founder Jamie Iovine was on today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily where he and Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman discussed Iovine’s Prochella pro wrestling show that was recently postponed. Iovine first discussed why he wanted to be a pro wrestling promoter.

“My dream was always to be a wrestler. That was the dream from the beginning, and as I told you, at the time when I was doing music or when I was doing my other jobs, I didn’t have a way to do that,” Iovine admitted. “I didn’t know how to get into a wrestling school. I didn’t know where to go to do these things. Now there are schools everywhere. Everybody has a school, and I’ve been actively training and trying to become an in-ring competitor myself.

“And I’m an on-screen talent for Championship Wrestling From Hollywood, which is a promotion out here in California, and I used to do some stuff with MLW before I couldn’t make the schedule anymore because there are three days shoots in Orlando, just didn’t align with my business back with NTWRK, my company that I have back out in California. I’d always dreamed of having a wrestling show just to put one on, just to see what it’s like.

“I’ve never done one before. I’ve been part of many independent shows, but I’ve never done it. I never had the pen. I’ve never had the book. So I reached out to a friend of mine, Brett Lauderdale at GCW, who in my opinion, out of any of the other independent promotions has really been leading the charge in terms of showing by example how these things can be done.”

Iovine then discussed the goals for Prochella noting that if you are not signed to a major wrestling promotion, COVID has hit you hard as a pro wrestler. He also talked about how Prochella was meant to be a spotlight for west coast talent.

“Of course, we’re in a really really shi–y time right now,” Iovine pointed out. “I don’t think anybody knows, fully, what this thing is, and we’re doing the best we can for people. When we say ‘we’, I’m saying people we’re trying to put on shows. We’re not trying to put on shows by and large because we want to make money. We’re not in a situation right now where these shows are going to make a lot of money. Right now, what we’re trying to do, at least what I’m trying to do with Mike with this show, is get these wrestlers paid because right now, if you’re not signed to a major company, TNA, AEW, WWE [or] New Japan, you’re not doing much right now, and the shows are getting cancelled.

“The shows are getting moved. The shows are getting postponed. The WWE guys don’t even have insurance, let alone independent guys. At least when WWE guys get injured, they’ll pay for the surgery by and large. These guys, it’s gotta come out of their own pocket. I’m not going to name names, but a friend of mine just lost his father to COVID. Another wrestler, friend of mine, lost his father to COVID, and they don’t have the money to fly him back to bury him.

“The whole purpose of Prochella was to make sure that A, the west coast scene was featured because I really wanted to show that the west coast scene wasn’t relying on one person because as we all know, the west coast scene suffered a huge setback. There was the Me Too allegations and whatnot that happened to the unnamed people. Whether they be true or not, the west coast scene really took a huge hit because we lost a major venue for a lot of west coast acts to be featured, and I wanted to show that the west coast isn’t just reliant on one entity or one person.”

Hausman had Iovine clarify that he was referencing Bar Wrestling and Joey Ryan and his accusations made during the Speaking Out movement. He noted how important Bar Wrestling was to many independent talents because of the exposure the promotion provided.

“The loss of Bar Wrestling was huge,” Iovine noted. “A lot of people really really really got to shine at Bar Wrestling, and a lot of people looked at Bar Wrestling as a bi-weekly or weekly show to really — if I’m not booked this week on an indie show in Kansas City or in Jersey, then at least I have Bar Wresting. I know that somebody is watching. A lot of big names come out of Bar Wrestling, Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus [and] The [Young] Bucks.

“They didn’t come from Bar Wrestling, but a lot of them got their shine there. Until another one of those things comes back, and I think they will. I’ve been hearing rumblings of a lot of people looking at the same venue or are trying to do something similar in the same vain as just giving fans a weekly show, and until we get that, because LA is the most locked down city out of I think all of them in the country. I was looking to Vegas to do this, and through Brett and GCW, they were helping me.”

Iovine said that Prochella was going to be in Las Vegas and would have followed the proper COVID-19 regulations. He also said that the show would have been a west coast vs. GCW type event.

“It was going to be in Las Vegas at the Meet Las Vegas, the name of the venue, and it was going to be outside in the Pavilion that they had because I wanted to make sure that during the day when it’s a little hotter, I wanted to be outside,” Iovine said. “Spread out, masks required all, the proper COVID regulations. I called it Prochella. I’m not going to take credit for that name. Yuma gave me that name. So I’ll give all the credit to Yuma. It’s the west coast wrestling scene being featured, and a lot of the matches were kind of fun because it was almost the west coast vs. GCW.”

Iovine revealed the matches that was originally booked for Prochella. He expressed his hopes for running Prochella if COVID numbers decrease in early spring.

“I announced a lot of the wrestlers that I had, but I wasn’t able to announce any of the matches I’d booked yet because literally the week I was going to announce the matches, we got postponed,” Iovine recalled. “And I had some great ones man. I had [Chris] Dickinson vs. Bad Boy Tito, two big motherf–kers just going at each other. I had Jordan Oliver vs. Adrian Quest. Adrian Quest is really coming up in the scene right now. Heather Monroe vs. Allie Kat, which had never happened before, which is crazy to me. That’s a dream match of mine, but again, we didn’t really have the opportunity to announce it.

“Going forward, we’re literally looking for late winter, maybe early spring for a new date because these new lockdowns are going to be at least until January. So that’s what we’re looking towards. That’s really all it was just taking really great west coast talent that just needed a stage. They just needed a platform, and I just know people will fall in love with them.”

Iovine also recalled when he found out that Prochella would be postponed. He also expressed his desire to help out the independent wrestling scene.

“The last Friday, I was working on something because my business is a retail company. We had Black Friday coming up,” Iovine recalled. “So we were just doing some calls and stuff, and then I was watching the news. The governor of Nevada basically said, tonight, I’m imposing a laundry list of new regulations and stuff, and I texted Brett then. I was like, ‘Is this is going to affect us?’ And he said, ‘It might.’ So we were just waiting, and then that night the governor dropped a lot of Las Vegas regulations. Basically no more indoor gatherings, outdoor gatherings are cut in half. The limit is just my talent and my crew. That’s not even talking fans, and I’m really really really happy that Brett [had] the GCW show that he planned on having indoors but with no fans.

“Just getting these guys paid, which I think is cool, and he [set] up a donation to help out with a lot of these guys who would have been paid. A lot of these guys were going to do double duty. They were going to work that show and my show, and so they’re losing out on that money as well. So I’m going to be donating a good amount of the money that was going towards this show will be going towards the GCW fund. My business manager, who handles my accounts and all this stuff, when I was putting all this money together, she was like, ‘You’re not going to see a return on this at all. You’ll break even maybe,’ and then I said, ‘That’s not the point. Nobody’s point right now should really be to make a profit.’ In my opinion, right now, everybody’s goal, who’s not signed to a major business [or] major promotion should be to save the independent scene.

“That should be first and foremost before anything, before a t-shirt, before a new Twitch stream, before any of that stuff. Whatever you’re doing in the wrestling business should be aimed at not only making your brand last through COVID, but also the indie promotions that the fans love, that the fans want to keep supporting because if we lose those, we’re back to where we were back in 2009 – 2010 where if you weren’t on those three companies, you aren’t doing s–t. And I don’t want to see that. We’ve worked so hard, worked so hard to come to this place that we are now.”

You can follow Jamie on Twitter @Jamie_iovine. Jamie’s full interview aired as part of today’s episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.

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