I’ve written here in the past how much I hate it when wrestling columnists write about themselves or something that is inherently boring to the overall professional wrestling business. And I hate that I’m writing this column which focuses on my experience here at IWHeadlines.com and its predecessor sites. Please trust that this is not an attempt at self-aggrandizement nor is it the precipice of a pity party.
It’s just me taking this space to wonder out loud.
To be precise, I wonder what the draw is for me to do this stuff any more. Is it a matter of wanting to rebuild this site? Is it a matter of rebuilding the entire professional wrestling empire that I once owned and operated? These questions begin to swirl around my head each time I start to work on doing something for the upcoming 20th anniversary of my old site – TBLWrestling.com. Originally, I wanted to resurrect the old website and let it be active for a year with a special focus on those things that I really like or find interesting about professional wrestling. However, my personal and professional schedules are out of control and with additional professional and educational commitments on the horizon, I’ve opted not to resurrect TBLWrestling.com in the way that I planned.
But the questions remain about the place that IWHeadlines.com has become. IWHeadlines.com houses the aggregated content of 20 years of professional wrestling websites that I’ve owned and operated – and that’s a lot of content! There are well over 21,000 pages on this website alone (and I have another 5,000 – 10,000 that I still have to upload at some point in the future)!
What should I do with this content? What should I do with IWHeadlines.com? What should I do with the various domains (some with incredible histories) that currently redirect to IWHeadlines.com?
Ideally, I could put all of these questions behind me like my friends Eddie T. and Martin H. did. Both of these men operated what was once TBLWrestling.com as well as other very successful websites (more successful than TBL, at least). They each have incredible minds for professional wrestling and their insights are awesome. And when personal life and professional commitments began to take up more time in their schedules, they focused on what mattered and largely left this whole internet wrestling stuff behind. I envy that ability. Both of these men know how packed my social and professional schedules are these days – and yet I can’t close up this shop that IWHeadlines.com has become and walk away.
Sometimes, I wish I could.
It’s not a matter of money. Last year I changed up many of my service providers for the first time in a decade and I saved so much money that owning this website now costs me as much as a low-end hobby costs any hobby enthusiast. In fact, the meager revenue that this website and my personal blog generate is actually enough to cover the new, lower hosting and registration costs. And it’s not a matter of being personally connected to the wrestling business. I no longer co-promote independent shows and haven’t done so in about 10 years. I also no longer know any of the folks working on the websites for the big companies (they were once my primary sources of news). Frankly, I barely even watch the product that TNA puts out any more (I gave up on WWE over a decade ago).
So it’s not a matter of money nor is it a matter of being connected to the business.
It’s also no longer a matter of the community. My closest, long-time friends in the online wrestling world have moved on (Eddie and Martin being chief among them). My friend, the great William B. West, remains an active contributor on this website, but I can always connect with him on Twitter and via e-mail. Also, with all of the damage that Google has done to us over the last few years we really don’t have a community in the comments section here any more. So it’s not a matter of the community around this website (or its predecessor websites) any more.
So what is it that makes me keep this site open?
Well, I do enjoy reporting on TNA’s viewership each week. Granted, I could probably report that on other websites and get the same result that I get here, but I like the fact that I produce an independent and honest reporting of TNA’s actual performance each week that links to real sources and aggregates their content. If I had the time and inclination to do so, I’d love to do the same thing for WWE RAW each week. But with me not watching that show and my limited time as it is, I really don’t see that happening.
Keeping this site going has to be more than just about reporting TNA’s viewership, though.
I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. Part of me wants to believe that the trickle of time that I give to this website is enough to keep me hooked in to the internet wrestling thing and that one day I’ll resurrect all of my former websites and generate the very large audience that used to frequent them. Another part of me believes that I don’t want to give up on the nearly 20 year investment that I’ve made in the content of this website. And yet still another part of me longs for what the beginning of that investment looked and felt like – watching old wrestling matches and reviewing them for no one’s enjoyment but my own, being inundated with e-mails when I wrote the occasional opinion column, making real bonds of friendship with other professional wrestling fans. Those really were the good old days.
That environment doesn’t exist in the online professional wrestling world any more. In fact, it doesn’t exist on the internet any more.
And so I wonder if I’m holding on to something that I should just let go of… And if the answer to that question is yes, then why not just close IWHeadlines.com and move about my business? Would the internet wrestling world notice? No. Would it matter at all? Honestly, closing this site wouldn’t really matter at all to the internet wrestling world. I could conceivably carry on as an e-mail newsletter since I still have several thousands e-mails from the old TBL Newsletter, but do people read their e-mails any more?
I no longer know what the draw is to keep an independent professional wrestling news website in operation. Do you?