NWA figurehead hinted Saturday that Lisa Lee’s firing from WWE may be linked to her recent failure to acquire the National Wrestling Alliance tape library, leading to their subsequent launch of their own streaming video service
National Wrestling Alliance President Bruce Tharpe tweeted out earlier this morning questioning whether WWE’s firing of Lisa Fox Lee was related to the WWE’s failed negotiation with NWA over their tape library, specifically consisting of footage from the Paul Boesch Houston tape library, and the NWA’s subsequent launch last week of the NWA Classics 24/7 streaming service.
Did WWE fire a key executive who failed to acquire the Boesch Library just 5 days after the successful launch of NWA Classics? Coincidence?
Tharpe went on to say that Lee herself was the point person negotiating the purchase of the library.
He went on to indicate that the offer WWE was making was never taken seriously, basically because WWE wasn’t being serious about making a decent offer. Tharpe characterized the offer as “beyond disrespectful.”
“…the offered only a fraction of what it was worth. The offer was beyond disrespectful,” he wrote on Saturday.
Had WWE managed to secure the rights to the tape library (which, as yet, has not been quantified in terms of how many hours actually exist in total), one would expect there would be no NWA Classics service.
Tharpe’s version of the story would seem in line with the notion that Vince McMahon and WWE execs are woefully undervaluing their classic content, particularly when it comes to their over the top streaming video service, where classic content updates have ground to a staggering halt since launch, while development of costly, poorly reviewed original content has been added at a greater rate.
WWE has been tight lipped regarding their plans for adding classic content to the network, and have yet to announce any sort of strategy related to when they would schedule releases of the footage in their massive tape library related to territorial footage from Jim Crockett Promotions, Bill Watts’ Mid-South/UWF, Verne Gagne’s AWA, or Fritz Von Erich’s World Class.
Tharpe, meanwhile, has announced that, in addition to the 50 matches that have already been released on the NWA’s Classics 24/7 service at launch, they will release 30 new matches per month starting next week.
According to their site, the collection in question is that of wrestling videos from the archive of legendary Houston wrestling promoter Paul Boesch.
The Boesch video library is said to be comprised of matches from the late 1960s through 1986, with the majority of them not previously available since.
In discussing the new service at the middle of the week on their Wrestling Observer Radio podcast, Dave Meltzer told Bryan Alvarez that it would be interesting to see what the footage actually comprised of.
Meltzer contended that much of the best footage would have to be from the 60s and 70s, during Houston’s heyday, as it was one of Wrestling major hotbeds at the time, and many of the top stars in the country would have toured through the areas.
As the NWA Classics website reports, “Boesch brought in the very top wrestling talent from around the world. This collection features many of the greatest NWA matches ever seen.”
The NWA and Tharpe would have to have acquired the footage from Paul Boesch’s nephew, Peter Birkholz, who has been a guest on Meltzer and Alvarez’s podcast in the past. During their podcast last week, Meltzer reported that Birkholz must have been the sole owner of the tapes, despite previous reports that Nick Bockwinkel had a stake due to his part ownership with Boesch of the Houston territory.
Fans can subscribe to the service for $8.99/mo or $99/year for unlimited access at nwaclassics.com.
Furthermore, according to a release sent out in the past two days, “no videos will ever be removed.”
As yet, none of the major pro wrestling insider news outlets have picked up on Tharpe’s comments, or given it any veracity, however the MLW official twitter account responded to them, claiming the two issues were unrelated, asserting that Tharpe was using the firing as some kind of stunt. ”
Totally unrelated but points for the guy using it to market his SVOD,” read the @MLW account.
Sheet Sandwich will continue to closely monitor this situation as it develops.