Interview - Bill Behrens


I/V: Bill Behrens, Owner, Promoter & Television Syndicator - NWA Wildside & Show Business Inc - 18th June 2003 & 31st October 2003

 


What is your background, and that of NWA Wildside?

I'm a television programming syndicator, started in 1980.

I've worked for my family company, Behrens Company & Behrens Productions, then Access Syndication, Great Entertainment Co., World Sports, Sunbelt, ITC, Polygram, Universal Television, and eventually also USWA, SMW, WCW, & WWF, among others, holding titles from Director to Vice-President.

I eventually started my own company, Show Business, Inc. I was involved with USWA when it went out of business in 1997 after having been bought from Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler by some folk who had no idea how to tun it.

I was syndicating it's TV show in a distribution relationship with the WWF. Then one Monday I had no show, and needed one by Wednesday. Jerry Jarrett suggested calling Bert Prentice in Nashville, who I had met at USWA, and we set up Music City Wrestling, and he got a show out by Wednesday. Music City Wrestling became NWA Worldwide in 1998, and at around the same time I began promoting in Georgia as NWA Georgia with weekly shows in Loganville, GA, but no TV. Steve Martin and Ray Rawls were do a cable TV show in Cornelia, GA under the brand NCW. They approached me about a partnership. I agreed. We created NWA Wildside. Ray Rawls sold out to Steve Martin, and then Steve to me.

NWA Wildside will produce it's 200th TV hour on 7/5/03. The show is seen in various parts of the US....Atlanta, Phildelphia, Minneapolis, Dallas etc., in what has been called the second largest TV distribution other than WWE.

What are your aims objectives?

To keep it going...it being the TV, and to grow.

What are the best attributes of your promotion?

We are centered around TV, training young talent, and helping that talent "make it" in pro wrestling.

NWA Worldwide was home to future stars like WWE's Shannon Moore and The Hurricane (Gregory "Shane" Helms). NWA Wildside was home to WWE/NWATNA star Ron "The Truth" Killings (K Krush), WCW/NWATNA star AJ Styles, WCW stars Air Paris and Jason Jett, NWATNA stars David Young, Jason Cross, Jimmy Rave, Rick MIchaels, Slim J, and others.

Our announce team of Dan "The Dragon" Wilson and Steve Prazak, plus frequent guest, Scott Hudson are all standouts in Wildside. They are the best announce team in wrestling.

At one time we served as the "development" territory for WCW. We promote approximately 100 shows per year, and produce weekly TV. We are operated professionally, and the "ring work" we feature is high quality. Quite simply we are not a typical Independent Wrestling company.

Who are the most talented and bright prospects?

Our whole roster which has guys from all over the us...nearly 50 at any one time. Guys who stand out include Iceberg, Rainman, Murder One, Jeremy V, Salvatore Rinauro, Alter Boy Luke, Hotstuff Hernandez, Onyx, Whitmer & Stryker, Lazz, Seth Delay, Tank, Bulldog Raines, The Dobbins Brothers, The Lost Boyz, Jeff G Bailey, Al Getz and many more, plus many of the guys who I mentioned work with NWATNA are still with us too. It is tough to make our roster, very competitive in a good way.

Where do you promote?

In Georgia....TV tapings are in Cornelia, GA....monthly shows in Athens, GA, and various other towns for "spot shows". We also have associates in Alabama and Florida who promote regularly and we send talent to promotions like Combat Zone and Ring Of Honor in Philadelphia where our TV airs, and of course Wildside guys are seen weekly on NWATNA PPV's.

Who are your biggest supporters?

So many people.....Jerry Jarrett, Jim Cornette, Tom Pritchard, Kevin Kelly, Bob Ryder, Bert Prentice, Gabe & Rob at ROH, Zandig at CZW, Dory Funk, Jr. and his wife Marti, Ron Niemi & Joe Price, Jerry Lawler, New Jack, Terry Taylor, Matt Hardy, JJ Dillon, Jeremy Borash, Jeff Jarrett, Dusty Rhodes, and so many more, plus various of our NWA Members, some more than others. And the great magazine people like Bill Apter and also Brandi at PWI. Even the "sheets" like the Torch, Observer, and Larriot have helped. As AJ Styles would say, we've been blessed.

What motivates you?

Seeing some kid reach his dream and having a small part in making it happen.

What is the relationship between NWA Wildside and NWA TNA, and the traditional NWA which enjoys a rich history?

NWA Wildside is my company. I am the NWA Member for Georgia, Alabama, Florida and E Tennessee. I am on the NWA Board of Directors. We "sanction" NWATNA and I work for them helping run the backstage area, and what is called the "gorilla" position. NWATNA has offered great exposure to our brand. And it is great to have a part in the only PPV that Australian fans can see.

What are some of your success stories?

Some talent mentioned above.......AJ Styles is the big one...he is already great only 4 years in....Ron Killings, Gregory "Shane" Helms, Shannon Moore, David Young, Jason Cross, Jimmy Rave.....plus just surviving is a big "success story", having TV is another.

What a funny story from the road or locker room?

Lots of funny stories, but I'm supposed to be the older guy who stays above that stuff.....but the time I was awakened in Florida by my panicked wrestlers who did not know what to do with a passed out David Penzer was one......he lived BTW.

What are your current projects?

Sames as always.....produce TV, sell merchandise, work weekly at TNA, promote as often as possible....fans can visit WWW.NWA-WILDSIDE.COM for more info.

What other important information should our audience know about you and NWA Wildside?

We care about our product and our fans. We are literally like a family. When I get mail or orders from Australia or interview requests like this it is great.

I look forward to hearing from you and your team.

Thank you for this opportunity. I hope I can visit Australia again soon. AJ Styles and myself had the pleasure of visiting Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth on a WWA tour where we did a PPV, and we enjoyed the experience greatly. The people, the fans are just wonderful. Even back in early 2002 when we were there they knew who I was, who AJ was, and NWA Wildside. If I were to live anywhere other than the US it would be in Australia.

...end.

Editors note: These guys are kicking major goals in wrestling and the television business. They deserve our support.

Links:

NWA-Wildside

NWA TNA

NWA Tribute (Greg Tingle's)

Contact Details:

Show Business, Inc.
NWA Wildside Wrestling
PO Box 941787
Atlanta, GA 31141
770-621-9533

 

I/V: Bill Behrens, Owner, Promoter & Television Syndicator - NWA Wildside & Show Business Inc - 31st October 2003

Media Man Australia contacts a brief interview for an update.

What are a few "secrets" of your success?

Only real secret I know is not to spend more than you make, and not to assume TV will make you money, and to avoid overbooking a card and overpaying "perceived" stars.

What are your plans in Australia?

We about to add a new Member in Australia. Formal announcement will be made soon.

In the US there is you, Vince McMahon and who else?

Thank you for mentioning me in the same sentence with Vince. There are other good US promotions, but none close to WWE nor the combined reach of the NWA, but Ring Of Honor's, Gabe & Rob do a very good job.

If you have a bio or a CV you could share with me, or just parts of it, that would be great.

I've done several interviews with bio info...try reading the three found here
NWA National Wrestling Alliance Tackling Tradition Interviews

Also, some of your team may like to advise of a few good promoting traits of yourself?

Leave that to them.

Can you advise of how the JJ (Jeff Jarrett) / Hulk Hogan deal came about / is coming about?

Hogan was available. Jimmy Hart has always had a relationship with the Jarretts. New Japan wanted Hogan. It all just fell into place but has now been delayed due to Hogan's surgery. Looks like Feb for the big PPV now. Jimmy Hart is appearing now on TNA to promote Hogan's future appearance. Really all I know is above.

In any event, I am delighted to keep promoting you. Thanks for your time and interest.

And thank you.

...end.

Editors note: looks like things are really heating up. Hogan, Jarrett whats next?!

Links:

Media Man Australia: Bill Behrens profile

NWA National Wrestling Alliance Tackling Tradition Interviews

NWA-Wildside

NWA TNA

NWA Tribute (Greg Tingle's)

Article: The Great Yankee Promoters, by Greg Tingle

Article: The Great Aussie Promoters, by Greg Tingle

Wrestling Managers and Announcers (Greg Tingle's tribute)

Jimmy "Mouth of the South" tribute

Hulk Hogan tribute

Jeff Jarrett tribute

Vince McMahon tribute

Greg "Media Man" Tingle bio

 

NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT 11/17/03


I as thinking recently of how many NWA World Champions and regional champions have appeared on NWATNA PPV.

Of course there have been the World champions created on the PPV, KEN SHAMROCK, RON KILLINGS, JEFF JARRETT & AJ STYLES, but also we have seen recent champions like STEVE CORINO, SABU & MIKE RAPADA, and legendary champions like DORY FUNK, JR., HARLEY RACE, DUSTY RHODES, RICKY STEAMBOAT & STING. SHANE DOUGLAS was even very briefly an NWA World Heavyweight Champion. NWATNA has furthered NWA World Title history and honored it.

Quite a few NWA in ring stars and backstage personal have strong NWA lineage. DAVID YOUNG is a four time NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPION. RICK MICHAELS, who makes most of the wrestling gear seen on NWATNA, is also a four time NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPION. RICK STEINER, who has appeared several times, is a former NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPION. TERRY TAYLOR, who works the backstage area, had his most recent NWA title run as NWA NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION. Promoter JERRY JARRETT was a NWA Member at one time, joining originally with NICK GULAS. ERIK WATTS' father BILL WATTS was a NWA Member, and influential promoter and TV producer. Numerous of the TNA wrestlers have NWA title experience in the NWA regional promotions including LOW KI, CHRIS DANIELS, CHRIS HARRIS, JAMES STORM, ABYSS, KEVIN NORTHCUTT, and numerous others.

I received some results of a poll held recently on the old NWA fan forum and NWA Virginia fan forum. Here they are:

National Wrestling Alliance
2nd Annual NWA Achievement Awards

NWA Wrestler of the Year
2002 Winner: Spyder

NWA Tag Team of the Year
2002 Winner: The Shane Twins

NWA MVP of the Year:
2002 Winner: Jerry Lynn

NWA Promotion of the Year
2002 Winner: NWA Florida/IPW

NWA Promoter of the Year
2002 Winner: Joe Price

NWA Rookie of the Year
2002 Winner: Madison & Slim J

NWA Comeback of the Year
2002 Winner: Jeff Jarrett

NWA Match of the Year
2002 Winner: AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn 08-21-02 (Best of 3 Series)

NWA Feud of the Year
2002: AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn

NWA Event of the Year
2002 Winner: Independent Armageddon 11-30-02 (NWA Florida)

NWA Most Popular Wrestler of the Year
2002 Winner: Spyder

NWA Most Hated Wrestler of the Year
2002 Winner: Vince Russo

NWA Inspirational Wrestler of the Year
2002 Winner: Spyder

NWA Most Improved
2002 Winner: Spyder


For those who may not be familiar with Spyder, he is a regular and frequent champion for Ernie Todd's CWF, but he has also been seen in various other NWA regional promotions and on TNA Xplosion. Madison is former NWA World Woman's Champion, who lost her title to Lei Lani Kai in Nashville in a match that preceded TNA PPV. She is a regular in NWA ECCW. Slim J is a regular in NWA Wildside, and has appeared on NWA TNA PPV. The Shane Twins are regulars in NWA Florida, briefly were NWA World Tag Team Champions, and appeared on NWATNA PPV as the Johnsons managed by Mortimer Plumbtree.

More next week.

Bill Behrens
NWA President

 

NWA WILDSIDE WRESTLING HISTORY (courtesy NWA Wildside official website)

The Georgia based promotion was created in 1999 through a merger of NCW (National Championship Wrestling) owned by Steve Martin & Ray Rawls and NWA Georgia owned by Bill Behrens, who also served as Vice-President of the National Wrestling Alliance. Behrens took sole control of the company in December 2001. The WILDSIDE television product is the primary calling card as it airs nationally, it what may now be the second largest television distribution in the United States. NWA WILDSIDE is scheduled weekly on the URBAN AMERICA NETWORK (WWW.UATVN.COM) , and NWA WILDSIDE also airs on stations like WGTW-TV48 in Philadelphia (Fri 1AM), KLDT-TV55 in Dallas, TX (Sat/Sun 8PM), and WHKY-TV14 in Hickory/Charlotte, NC (Tues 6PM), and in ATLANTA on COMCAST CABLE CH-25 in DEKALB CO. and CH-24 in METRO ATLANTA on SUNDAYS @ 8PM. NWA WILDSIDE can be seen on the worldwide web on the World Wrestling Network at WWW.WWN.TV. Television tapings are on the first and third Saturdays of each month at the NWA Arena in Cornelia, GA (4236 Level Grove Rd.), where weekly Friday shows are also promoted. NWA WILDSIDE operates a wrestling school at its NWA Arena on Monday and Thursday evenings. NWA WILDSIDE features talent like AJ STYLES, ONYX, JIMMY RAVE, , RICK MICHAELS, TONY MAMALUKE, DAVID YOUNG, TERRY KNIGHT, S.A.T., ADAM JACOBS, NEW JACK, SLIM J, AMAZING RED, ICEBERG, TANK, THE BRISCOE BROTHERS, THE LOST BOYZ, RAINMAN, STONE MOUNTAIN, TODD SEXTON and many more. WILDSIDE regulars Rick Michaels & David Young, BAD ATTITUDE, were 4 time NWA World Tag Team Champions winning the titles first in Tampa, FL in August 2000. World Championship Wrestling (WCW) hired NWA WILDSIDE to serve as its development territory, and sent POWER PLANT wrestlers like DAN FACTOR, OMEN, THE BEAST (BOB SAPP), and television stars like DAVID FLAIR, SHANNON MOORE, SHANE HELMS (HURRICANE), MARK JINDRAK, SEAN O’HAIRE, KWEE WEE (ALAN FUNK/BRUCE), KID ROMEO, ELIX SKIPPER, JUNG DRAGONS (JAIME NOBLE & KAZ HAYASHI) to compete. In 2000 WCW hired several WILDSIDE stars including AJ STYLES, AIR PARIS & EZ MONEY (JASON JETT). WILDSIDE stars, ONYX, DAVID YOUNG, RICK MICHAELS, AJ STYLES and more have wrestled on WWF/WWE tapings. AJ STYLES, DAVID YOUNG, JIMMY RAVE, SLIM J, RICK MICHAELS, JASON CROSS, & TONY MAMALUKE appear on NWATNA weekly PPVs (Wednesdays @ 8PM (ET), as have the S.A.T., AMAZING RED, BRISCOE BROTHERS, DEVINE STORM and other WILDSIDE visitors.

NWA-WILDSIDE.COM
PO Box 941787
Atlanta, GA 31141
770-621-9533