For years, detractors have declared that pay-per-view is dead. FITE and GCW seem to be making it work just fine.
In an age of $9.99 streaming services, Game Changer Wrestling has found an outstanding niche in streaming their events on pay-per-view. From Bloodsport to Joey Janela's Spring Break, the GCW shows have become some of the most in-demand events outside of national wrestling. FITE COO Mike Weber seems like he couldn't be happier with the marriage.
"We did [GCW Backyard Wrestling on July 4th]. I love those guys," Weber told Fightful. "Actually GCW, I got to ask a question earlier today. WWE versus AEW, where’s that gonna go? ‘Cause I did live through the WCW Nitro / WWE RAW time period in the 1990s, I worked at WCW. And the one thing there was independent wrestling, but there was no other real TV platform for them. GCW—great guys, love ‘em, but face it, they’re never gonna get a deal on FOX Network or anything like that for a program. We start with them a year ago and they’re now doing shows from Japan. They’re awesome. They’ve got guys diving off tops of house to their backyard wrestling show. I’m gonna buy stock in florescent light bulbs, ‘cause geez they go through a lot of those in every show. You know, at a WWE show you’re probably not gonna see a florescent light bulb or a cheese grater or a weed whacker used all in the same context. So you have a niche."
Game Changer Wrestling's content can often push the envelope, break down doors (literally) and the like. Weber says that the content hasn't crossed a line as of yet, and so far on FITE, other personalities and companies have done a good job self-policing how things come across.
"We do actually have conversations and stuff," said Weber. "I’ve been around this a long time more than a traditionalist, we know there’s a fan base there. Believe it or not I think there’s stupider things they could do than they do, and they don’t do them. Thank God. But, they haven’t done anything that’s like, “okay, crossed the line.” I’m not gonna mention what it was, but we just did here a show at Starrcast with MJF. And one, I’m a big fan of his. I’ve never seen anyone so good on the mic at such an early age and early in his career. But there’s one guy wearing a—I won’t say it here—it was a very offensive t-shirt. And he handled it exactly the way I would want it handled. [I talked to him afterwards; I said “the guy knows how to think on his feet.”] He made a real point. He said “I’m not talking to you wearing that shirt.”
The situation in which Weber referred to was a fan who wore a shirt glorifying Chris Benoit, with a mock Bullet Club design on it.
Back to the topic of the success story that is GCW, Weber noted that the promotion sees buys for shows that happened, weeks, months, even a year ago.
"I don’t want to sit here and make this the GCW show, but they are definitely ones that started off sorta small and didn’t have a long track record before hand. And who have, I almost think they’re pinching themselves considering where they’re at. You know, the funny thing about them, they do so many shows—I just looked at our sales this morning and what’s interesting about them is, so we’ve been airing their shows for a year now. And they’ve probably had buys, maybe not a lot of buys, for individual shows over 25-30 shows this week. You gotta remember these are people buying a show that took place four months, six months, eight months ago," said Weber.
You can see our full conversation with Mike Weber of FITE above.