October 19, 2020 11 minutes read Financiers, bear in mind: Former and current pro wrestlers are making moves throughout media and commerce. No, not simply The Rock (though he’s certainly doing fine for himself). Whether it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin’s effective segue into craft brewing and truth TELEVISION, Cody Rhodes and Frankie Kazarian’s shop line of stogies or Brie and Nikki Bella’s femme-centric clothing line, there is money to be made buoying the branding efforts of sports performers.
That’s what veteran grapplers Karl Anderson (real name: Chad Allegra) and Doc Gallows (genuine name: Drew Hankinson) are banking on. After they were released by industry powerhouse WWE amid Covid-related cuts previously this year, they made 2 immediate estimations: Indication with a completing business that has their backs, and create a small empire of media and retailing leveraging their personalities (think blue-collar prankster) and decades-long connection with fans across the world.
Image credit: Impact Fumbling In the five months since parting ways with WWE, the duo made waves by signing up with the ranks of rival Effect Fumbling (which airs its namesake, flagship program on AXS TV every Tuesday at 8 p.m.), in addition to re-launching their popular Talk ‘N’ Shop podcast with co-host (and fellow wrestler) Rocky Romero. They aired a successful, satirical PPV event called Talk ‘N Shop A Mania (a follow up is currently confirned for November 13). They collaborated on Talk ‘N Store beer with Kentucky-based craft brewer Jarfly and a Talk ‘N Shop bourbon with Tennessee-based Leatherwood Distillery and a line of white and red white wines with Wine Savage. And finally, they’re formulating an animated series and a variety special titled Talk ‘N Store: Full Keg that’s airing on AXS this Tuesday at 10 p.m.
So, how did this duo of profession contenders make the fast switch to becoming serial entrepreneurs? We caught up with them over a current Zoom chat — Anderson (we’ll stick to their onscreen surnames throughout) from his house studio in Tampa and Gallows from his residence outside Atlanta — to get the answer, together with a bit of insight into what any aspiring self-made maven can gain from their refusal to say, “I give up.”
It’s reinvention if there’s one thing wrestlers understand. Was this more broadly relevant to branching off in business?Anderson: I don’t understand how much ofit was reinvention or how much of it was ending up being more real to our individual selves.Gallows: The day of that [WWE]
release, I was sitting in my sauna, and I hung up the phone and I went,”Well, being bitter is what everyone anticipates, and I do not feel bitterness in my heart.” You have to find the humor, and you have to express it through home entertainment and through art. Which’s where Talk ‘N Shop A Mania originated from, because we lost this fantastic multimillion-dollar deal, so why not turn it into something that’s positive for our brand? Why not make it brand-building and create some revenue for ourselves and our business? And I’m damn proud that we had the ability to do that.Anderson: That call was probably the greatest call I ever got in my life, due to the fact that [we were] able to produce and transform Talk ‘N Store A Mania and go to Impact. And we’ve got Talk ‘N Store: Complete Keg ready to come out, and that’s something that we ‘d been pitching to the WWE network given that we began there, and they simply would go,”Yeah, yeah, yeah.”Now the business person stuff is truly coming out due to the fact that we got Talk ‘N Shop LLC , and we’re getting big checks coming in for this and that, and we have actually got to figure out the taxes from thisthings. That’s all some real shit that we have actually got to learn, however the business side of these last 6 months has been a great deal of fun.There’s something to be stated for not resting on one’s laurels, however do you fret about pacing yourself given the knowing curve?Gallows: I do not believe you rate yourself. I think you run at it head-on. I’ve seen my papa. When I was born, he was a hot-tar roofing professional making$8 an hour, and he’s the most self-made man I have actually ever seen. Now he owns 5 businesses. And that’s what they always say:”I do not know how we got here, but we’ll determine how to leave it”when something shows up that you don’t understand. We like to have a drink, today we’re in the alcohol business, and we’re figuring all this out. We’re figuring out liquor laws and, you know, can we ship this stuff here? And how does this work? We knew nothing about any of this. We just went, “Well, we wish to have a whiskey, and we have a cool brand name, and we know we’re great. “So there’s a lot of zipping the seat of your pants. It’s not constantly gon na be perfect, but you can’t take no for a response. No’s simply another question.What made Effect the apparent option for your “day job, “as it were?Gallows: They create a beautiful offer for us. To sit there as performers on a show with no script when we go to the ring, and then view an industrial for a pay-per-view that we thought up out of the blue and shot in my backyard, and they’re running television commercials for us for that– that’s a group I’ll drawback my wagon to all day.To your point, they have actually provided you large latitude to work on outside jobs. How do you know when you have that type of negotiating leverage?Gallows: I don’t believe it was an utilize play.
It was pretty open-ended on both sides due to the fact that I believe they saw that we’re
go-getters. We want to be Effect stars Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson doing all this things. Let’s co-brand, let’s see how big and badass we can get Impact. It’s an amazing time for us wrestling-wise, but it’s such an interesting time business-wise as well.Anderson: We constantly were confident in our abilities over in WWE, which was with the carpet continuously being fucking pulled out.
We knew that we might do what we’re doing now, and Effect put trust in us. We like when individuals put trust in us, trigger we understand that we can deliver.Wrestling also takes a hell of a cumulative toll on your body. Is a great deal of this brand-building with an eye toward retiring from the ring?Gallows: We are not counting down the days till then. When we’re 50 if we can be, we desire to be out there. There’s an opportunity our bodies don’t hold up, so we want this brand name that we’re creating now to be the important things that brings us into the next thing. I have a ton of respect for guys who needed to leave the business prior to there was social media. With all the platforms we have today, if you can actually get out there and express yourself, you can build a brand name. Without any internet or anything like that, a person would get release or he ‘d get injured and wander out of business, and there was no chance to see who he was or what he was doing or for them to construct a brand name. These poor men, there was no more battling money coming in. You go work in a car lot or do whatever you have to do to get
by, to feed your family. But I believe we have a real opportunity in this generation, and for all the guys more youthful than us, to develop your brand name while you’re hot, and we’re going to keep pushing, keep grinding. Anderson: We’re more than wrestlers. If you stroll into the Impact locker space, you ‘d believe that we simply were there to hang out with the kids and try to make them laugh. We like to entertain. We wish to have a radio program, like Howard Stern-esque. That’s the ultimate objective. You can do that till you’re 80? Fuck it.People point to The Rock or John Cena as a design for crossing over from wrestling, however in your case I think of Steve Austin, who specifically legitimized himself in the drink space and has a robust podcast presence.Gallows: We had a good time when we did his podcast when we remained in WWE, but it would be a much different discussion now. I wager he went through what we’re going through. We’re on the roadway less than we have actually ever been on the road in our 18 years, however my day has plenty of Zoom calls and meetings with everybody from the federal government to alcohol suppliers to
animation developers to product developers, to film manufacturers– whatever we can come up with to press this brand even more. We went from feeding and bumping four days a week to being business owners. I just get to do it from my own house and I do not need to wear a tie, however I feel like I have actually got the schedule of my papa now. [Laughs.]
Anderson: I’m like a stay-at-home papa that makes pretty fucking good money.Related: How a Mid-Size Wrestling Business Made Major Adjustments in the Empty-Arena Period Exists subtlety to the business side of wrestling that the layperson may not appreciate?Anderson: When we taped Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2, you’ve got ta book all these flights, you’ve got ta produce every single sector. Gallows learns about all this.Gallows: Well, it’s negotiation. [We’re] on the other side of the negotiation, since now you play the function of the promoter. It’s how do we market this? It’s OKAY, this budget is growing, so how do we offset that with a [PPV] purchase rate? Part of my Effect deal was I have an independent promo here in Georgia , and we put shows on [digital-subscription service] Effect Plus. And we have actually been running these socially distanced programs around here through the pandemic. We follow CDC guidelines, and there’s temperature checks and the questionnaire, so you have to manage all that, but then you have a full talent budget plan.
There a lot of things that are different on the level of pretty much every other company in
wrestling otherthan WWE, because WWE’s not a live-event business any longer. They’re a media business. However anybody who’s not reached that level, the live-event part is a lot of it. If I don’t have a gate here, then I
‘m most likely not gon na run the program. I love our sponsors and they help out, however that’s the other end of it. It’s managing a spending plan more than anything and figuring out how to market thatwith what you have to yield the most significant return. It’s not like you can go to wrestling-promoter college, so it’s been a lot of fun figuring that things out.You pointed out before that absolutely nothing’s perfect. Are you gotten ready for the truth that a person or more of your concepts may not sustain?Gallows: It’s unavoidable that’s going to take place. All you do is you adapt and move on and discover the next thing. I think the advantage about us is we have many irons in the fire. If something falls off, the rest of it’s gon na select it right back up. Anderson: I’m not gon na lie: I was type of ready to rest on my laurels and simply gather that huge check from WWE. When we finally did leave it provided me a great slap in the face and got me all set to jump back into this service world, and so. Gallows: There’s a lot to what we have actually started on, and hopefully those of you who aren’t wrestling fans will understand of us quicker instead of later. Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.