Bruce Prichard recently recalled - revealed, for those of you who didn't know before - that WWE considered downsizing its product to regional tier during the 1990s due to financial troubles.
The Attitude Era saw to the company's unprecedented success, cementing their place in the industry and ultimately making them the big dogs. But prior to that, Vince McMahon explored the possibility of going territorial with his promotion.
Financial issues had prompted Bret Hart's exit and left McMahon with no choice but to implement cutbacks. But the WWE owner eventually got things to gel with the perfect model and the right mix of talent.
In his latest Something to Wrestle With podcast, Prichard said that there was a plan for downsizing if it ever came to that.
“Absolutely," he said in reference to the possibility of a downsize (h/t 411Mania). "And that’s where the whole Northeastern territory came in. Because you know, we looked at the old model. We looked at the model that his father had for many years and was profitable. If you had all of our talent that lived in the Northeast that was able to drive everywhere, it eliminates your travel cost, which is astronomical. And now you have, you’re gonna have less talent. You’re gonna have probably, in some cases that talent will work more but smaller venues.
"It was a complete ‘What if?’ And looking at a strategy of, do we say to everybody, ‘Hey, you need to move to the Northeast. This is where we’re gonna run. If you don’t want to, you wanna fly yourself in and do that, that’s fine too. But here’s the area that we’re gonna run. Find a centrally-located place that you’re happy and we’re gonna go back to kind of a territorial system.’ And that’s one of the discussions that we had. Obviously it didn’t go much further than a discussion.”
How Different Things Would Have Been
Fortunately, McMahon and his advisers managed to keep the show on the road and we now have what's a multibillion-dollar company that pulls fans to TV screens several times a week without fail.
The company might have gotten buried in obscurity had it been downsized many years ago but things worked out very differently and fans are all the better for it.