I have never before seen an art form – and it is an art form – that has been merchandised as much as wrestling. Everything from the belts to fashion accessories like sunglasses and elbow pads have been made with the WWF/E/NXT/WCW/ECW/TNA/LUCHA UNDERGROUND tag on it. I went to a Metallica concert years ago and there were exactly ten t-shirts at the merch stall – three of them were current tour t-shirts, a handful of album shirts and that was it. There were some posters and a few other things. I went to a Nightwish concert shortly afterwards and bought Nightwish condoms (Seek Her, Seduce Her, Tame Her) for the lulz. I went to a wrasslin’ show a month ago and everything from DVDs of matches to T-shirts to polaroids with the wrestlers were being sold. Polaroids! With the wrestlers!
Maybe it’s a carny thing. Wrestling is, after all, originally a sideshow attraction for the time before TV. Maybe it’s because wrestlers expect to be paid a lot of money for not a lot of work – yes, it is dangerous work and difficult to mix entertainment with safety, but guys can get paid hundreds for minutes of work – and a lot of the money does not go into the promoter’s pocket. Maybe it’s greed. Whatever it is, outside of the Barcelona Stadium (where they, honest to God, sold grass from the pitch at fifteen euros a pop) I have never seen such disdain for fans in return for money. When we went to see NXT live, they sold signed posters of Finn Bálor, ones that my girlfriend wanted because she loves buff Irish guys, which is why she’s with me… she thinks maybe I’ll know some to hook her up with. Anyways, these posters were £15 each and were A3, glossy print. They probably cost about 50p to make, even less maybe if they printed lots of them. It would have been free to get Ferghal Devitt to sign his name (or get someone who is good at copying signatures). That’s a profit of £14.50 on each poster (OVER 2800%, kids!) and maybe Finn gets 20%, which is around £2.90 per poster, which still leaves £11.60 profit! Whaaaat!
I see this everywhere, though, even during the A-Z challenge. I see people charging $15 for reblogs and that is on sale! Surely someone who can charge that much for reblogs got there because they were reblogged themselves? It reminds me of when Metallica shit themselves over people sharing music on Napster, despite the fact that Metallica became big because people shared tapes and bootlegged their shows. Metallica even have a website simply so that they can pass off their own bootlegged shows with higher quality and 100% profits to the band.
I wish I could be popular enough to charge that amount of money just for clicking a button. I also hope that I have the decency to not charge for such a thing.