So What Would It Take?


Let's assume for the purpose of the hypothetical that there's a substantial financial backer who believes there is still a legitimate competitive option for WWE; what would it actually take, from a pecuniary perspective, to establish (and relatively quickly) a structure? Leaving aside for the moment organizing a booking room, staff, road agents, etc., which you can parallel path while you're buying assets, and focus on aggregating the overall assets to run a "federation":

1. Buy out Lucha Underground and selected contracts (assuming they are assignable/transferable) and intellectual property.


2., Buy out TNA and selected talent contracts (assuming they are assignable/transferable) and intellectual property.

3. Buy out ROH and selected contracts (assuming they are assignable/transferable) and intellectual property. This would be harder given Sinclair just eats up anything that is viable programming, but an exploratory conversation could and would be had.

All of the foregoing can probably be had for under 10mm in the aggregate, and that's aiming high. 

4. Cherrypick the best remaining indie talent (Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, make a couple of big money deals for Naito or Okada, etc.)  Figure that's another few million.

The lynchpin is distribution, but given the above talent roster and, assuming the buyer takes their time and formulates valuable branding, pr and marketing, etc., even a direct streaming option for 5.00/month or whatever would substantiate the expense until the merch and licensing revenues start coming in. It'd be difficult, sure, but an overall investment of 25mm at the outside for a guy like Mark Cuban or a VC group isn't crazy, particularly given the broad based revenues available to a media brand like WWE (or WCW if it were managed well, or ECW, etc.), particularly in today's multiplatform and e-commerce based world.

Thoughts?

It'd be rough going no matter which path you choose, but I think ROH is the way to go.  They've got TV distribution already, plus they're not a damaged brand like TNA and you get access to a lot of indy guys who are stars already.  As a bonus, you get a pre-existing relationship with New Japan.  In fact, if someone with enough money willing to ride out some losses (like Ted Turner) bought TNA and partnered with New Japan, they could make a serious shot at breaking the WWE stranglehold, certainly on merch sales alone.  But as noted, it would take a LOT of money up front, $25 million or more.  But I think it could work.
Is it realistic?  No.  But possible?  Yeah, I think so.