Question: who is merch for?

Thanks to Friend of TOWIS Iestyn Rees, I’ve been mulling this one over. He tweeted last night:



He then added:

The ever-opinionated Alan Ravenhill of Welsh Wrestling weighed in with the slightly more controversial:

“Merch is for promoters. If a wrestler sells merch on a show, they’re not working for a real promoter #PissPot”

Well, what do you make of that?

Rees’s original point seems fair – he’s arguing that wrestlers should be concentrating on their ring work and their look rather than concerning themselves with the few tenners they might get their hands on by selling t-shirts; and if you’re wearing your own t-shirt in a desperate effort to increase sales, it can look odd.

Having said that, though, a wrestler who’s made themselves into a brand and can sell merch is surely a terrific commodity – if they can sell t-shirts, they’ll sell tickets to shows.

Indy wrestlers have traditionally hawked their wares in order to boost their income from a show; even if it’s just flogging 8 x 10s in a corner and charging a couple of quid for the privilege.

Ravenhill. however, has been able to operate previously by being the one to sell the pictures of his roster, and giving them a cut – although he says that doesn’t make that much money any more.

That works OK when a wrestler is only working for one promotion and can rely on that regular slice of income – but what about when they work all over the place without job security or guarantee of a next booking in that area?

I’m personally happy to buy the merch of wrestlers I like and whom I want to support, ditto for companies (although usually I have to like the merch as well – I’m an obsessive for only buying ladies’ fit t-shirts; I don’t want men’s baggy shirts, usually in black); now I think about it, I consider it as a way of “tipping” performers and promotions.

As for wrestling t-shirts making wrestlers look like fans, I don’t think any less of Daniel Bryan for galloping around in his NO! NO! NO! shirt – I want him to get a percentage of the merch sales.

So what do you think? Is it a wrestler’s job to produce and promote their own merchandise? Or should that be the promoter’s job, with the wrestler left to wrestle?


2 Responses to Question: who is merch for?

  1. Matt says:

    “now I think about it, I consider it as a way of “tipping” performers and promotions.”

    This is very much how I often feel about it – I don’t tend to be able to afford, or necessarily want, to buy loads of tshirts etc, but I have gone and paid a couple of pound for a signed picture. I think it is nice to be able to show a little extra appreciation to a wrestler if they have performed well and I like them, especially if I can buy it direct from them.

    As for wrestlers wearing their own merch – I don’t see it as a problem and never look down on someone for doing so, as long as the merch itself is good.

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