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Billy Corgan hopes to make wrestling a smashing success

January 12, 2012|By Scott Bolohan, For RedEye

I think there's a very good chance we can expand to the point where it's a Saturday afternoon where people want to bring their kids. I don't mean it's a kiddie thing, but it's something you can bring the whole family to like they used to back in the day. When WWE comes to town, they sell out the Allstate with no problem and that's 18,000 people. I can see a scenario where on a Saturday afternoon we should be able to draw 2,500 people to the right location in the city and people would have a great enjoyment with it. In order for that to happen there will need to be some television product to go with it. We are working on that right now to do a reality show which we are negotiating with some big players. There's upside to having a lot of access to some big people. As far as fitting into the Chicago sports scene, I don't see why we couldn't on a Saturday afternoon, like the circus or something like that or a Wolves hockey game, draw a crowd of people who want to have some fun for a decent ticket price. I see us fitting in there pretty comfortably.

This show is all-ages, the first was 21 and over. What was motivation?

I have a lot of young fans who are interested in what I'm doing. It seemed a shame they couldn't come see what I was doing. I remember being 18 and not being able to get into 21-and-over stuff. The Pumpkins have built a whole new fan base in the last five years since coming back so there's a lot of people out there who are motivated and want to have experiences and try new things. I used to go to the Metro and see ska bands play and someone would have an art gallery show and I'd go see weird photos. I think that's the age you experience stuff and the fact that we are going to have a forward-leaning thing fits quite comfortably with the younger generation. It's not going to be 30- or 40-plus people at the show. It's a multi-generational approach where we have dads who grew up on wrestling like I did brining their kids and have a good time and having a decent ticket that won't kill the dad. It's like when my dad used to take me to the circus. There has to be a little bit of buzz in the air and excitement about what you are going to see and nothing gratuitous. There are times for it but I feel it's not in that kind of setting.

You mentioned your association with the Pumpkins. If that brings someone out to a wrestling event, is that necessarily a bad thing?

I don't care for whatever reason they want to come. The product itself needs to be entertaining. If they come to one show and they don't like it, they're not going to keep coming because they're a fan of the Pumpkins. I've had people suggest to me behind the scenes, not my people, but people who suggest things I could do to try to attract more people that lean more on my music pedigree. But the company isn't about me, it's about making new stars and building something we can all be proud of. If I have to cheat the numbers by doing my music stuff, that's really disingenuous and doesn't really build the business. For us to succeed, it's really going to come down to building the wrestling product.

One of the things you are involved with is writing the storylines. Does that compare to writing songs or any other writing you've done?

I'd say it probably compares more to a video treatment meets a live concert. Those are what's similar to me as far as how to progress visually and dynamically through a series of events, but you also have to remember there's a clock running. I don't know how many concerts I've done, a couple thousand concerts, but when you stand on stage and it's quiet for 60 seconds, that's a long 60 seconds. You hear people talking, people start throwing stuff. So you have to be aware of the pacing. That helps in our conversations behind the scene to make sure we have a crisp running show. It's the modern world, everyone is looking at their cell phone every five seconds, so you have to take that into account. Even though we are running old-school ideas, we have to be considerate as far as people's time.

What do you want to bring to Resistance with your storylines?

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