On Sunday, Jan. 25, the WWE will be making a stop to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, for its annual Royal Rumble event, which is highlighted by the 30-man, over-the-top-rope main event. Currently, the cheapest tickets for the show are going for $294.75 on StubHub.
Steep, yes, but that's the market value for a sports entertainment event.
If Adam Loncar has his way, that's all about to change.
Loncar, one of four owners of Ultimate Wrestling Experience, is branching out to start his own locally-based wrestling promotion, Legacy Wrestling.
"I've been in the professional wrestling business for about six years now. Pretty much what the idea behind the vision is that we want to give the fans here in central Pennsylvania some exposure to professional wrestlers that they haven't seen before from this local area," Loncar said. "A lot of the other professional wrestling companies use a lot of the guys that train in this area and go to the wrestling schools around here. There's a lot of potential and a lot of really, really good wrestlers out there in the United States that wrestle all over the world."
Running the promotion with Loncar will be his business partner, Mike Bloomer. While with the Ultimate Wrestling Experience, Loncar and Bloomer were linked up through a mutual wrestling friend. After Bloomer expressed his interested in having his own promotion, Loncar decided that he would join forces with him to start Legacy Wrestling.
"Mike is actually a trained wrestler, as well. He grew up in the Philadelphia area. He came up with a lot of the guys that work for Combat Zone Wrestling, which operates out of New Jersey. Mike came up to a show one day, and we just hit it off," Loncar said. "He always wanted to have his own company. I was committed at the time to the Ultimate Wrestling Experience. After a year of talking back and forth, we decided we were going to do it. We put it together, made it an LLC and we are now in the process of putting the show together. So far so good with the buzz it's creating around the area."
The first show that Loncar was speaking of will take place on June 6 at In The Net Sports Complex in Palmyra.
"I'm going to focus 100 percent of my efforts on Legacy Wrestling. It takes a lot to build a company from the ground up. It's always something that I have wanted to do," Loncar said. "I wanted to bring wrestling back to where it started in the Hershey Area. The WWE first started back in the late 1970's and continued through the 1980's until they built the Giant Center in 2003. WWE still comes back to Hershey twice a year. There were over 5,000 people at the last show.
"It's definitely a hot bed for wrestling in this area. There hasn't been another company that has run in this area, so I'm kind of excited to start something up around here to make an impact."
Loncar, who works as an IT help desk analyst for his full-time job, went to college for business, and he has an Associate's Degree in music industry and a Bachelor's Degree in business administration, as well as a minor in marketing. His education and previous work in the industry helps him with the preparation for his first show.
"You have to get a promoter's license and the venue requires insurance. Mike already owns a ring. When I was with Ultimate Wrestling Experience, we had to buy a ring, which are pretty expensive," said Loncar. "Since Mike already has one in storage, we only have to spend money to put the logos on it and the colors for branding."
On the promotion's website, www.legacywrestling.com, there are 14 wrestlers listed under the roster section, who Loncar said will all be performing at the inaugural show.
"With Mike having the ring, the startup costs are minimal. One of the hardest things is trying to put together a card that will appeal to people, because you have to work with all of those conflicting schedules," Loncar said. "With a show that's so far out in June, a lot of guys don't even know if they have to wrestle yet with their company.
"Some guys are afraid to take a booking, because they're afraid they're going to get pulled, and they don't want to do me wrong by trying to commit but they have to pull out at the last minute. It happens all the time. There are always travel issues. Stuff happens. Luckily, I know enough wrestlers around the country that I am pretty quick with replacing someone if I need to. "
Loncar's big concern is trying to pack the place as much as he can for the first show, but it sounds easier than it is. Being that it's a new promotion and a new venue, he isn't sure how many seats he can fit into the place.
"What stresses me out is trying to get a packed house. For your first show, you want to make an impact. I'm not sure how many people this place can hold. My guess is a couple thousand people," Loncar said. "I have to rent my chairs. It's hard to say. Your average wrestling show around the United States, on an independent level, you'll see between 100-150 people. The really good companies can draw 500-1,500 people, but that's rare to see."
In order to try to pack the house, Loncar is hoping to bring in a celebrity wrestler who participated during the "Attitude Era" of the WWE, which is widely considered the hottest period of wrestling in history as the company went head to head with WCW during the "Monday Night Wars." While he didn't say who it would be, he expects fans to get pretty excited about it.
"People always want to come out and get a picture or autograph with that person that they grew up watching. One thing I don't like at WWE is that you can go there, but you won't have a chance to meet any of those guys. They wrestle, and then they go right into the tour bus for their next stop," Loncar said. "These shows, our guys will all be out taking pictures, signing autographs and that includes the celebrity. That's before, during and after. That's one thing that people like, because the wrestlers can be more personable with the fans. In a couple of years, you'll see them with the WWE and remember that time that you saw them in Palmyra with Legacy Wrestling."
But what may sell the promotion the most is the actual wrestling inside of the ring. For wrestling fans, the promotion comes closer to being a Ring of Honor-type promotion, instead of a WWE promotion.
"I want to say that it will be similar to ROH. They are doing it in dark, armories and the production is just OK. You look at this venue, you step inside and realize how huge it is. You have to take baby steps to build it. The style of wrestling is going to be similar to Ring of Honor, but I want to mix the talent up a little bit," Loncar said. "Not every match will be a Ring of Honor-style match. There's going to be some diversity within the card. Otherwise, the fans will exhausted after every single match.
"It comes down to who you have on your card, what type of matches you are having and the order that the matches take place, which is really important. You can put three back-to-back matches that can blow the roof off of the place by intermission, but those people won't have any voice left when the show continues. The pace is important, but I want them all to want to have the best match of the night."
Loncar also said that he wants to keep his shows family friendly, so there won't be the blood or extreme matches that are often associated with professional wrestling.
Tickets for the show will go on sale in March, Loncar hopes, and he wants to have the card finalized by February. For the first show, tickets will be around $15 per ticket, which is a first-come, first-serve ticket.
Those interested in tickets prior to March can email Loncar at firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates on the card and tickets, Loncar said the best way is to follow Legacy Wrestling on Facebook, and stay tuned to the website.
And yes, regardless of the attendance for the first show, Legacy Wrestling will have more events on their way no matter what.
"There's definitely going to be a second show. We're going to start out doing it quarterly for the first year. I'm looking at August for the next show after June. We'll do one more at the end of the year," Loncar said. "Depending on how all of those go, will determine if we want to run every month, every two months or every three months.
"I want to see the passionate, hardcore wrestling fans. There will be friends and family here, but this is geared toward the hardcore wrestling fans, that no matter where the show is, they'll be there to see it. That's what I'm hoping for. I'm glad that I can do it around the Hershey and Palmyra area because it has such a history of wrestling."