The last three chapters of Drawing Heat summarizes the death of Wildman’s wrestling business, which of course was symptomatic of the small time promoter/wrestler across North America, as well as regional promoters. This was due to the territorial expansion of McMahon’s empire, with the regionals and locals having draw and financial problems, as well as cultural changes where American wrestlers were winning for America—good guys were winning. There were marketing changes with the advent of Wrestlemania and larger TV audiences. The nature of the fan was drawn away from the local wrestling shows and local wrestlers themselves, to shows which featured heretofore unknown intercontinental heroes. The fan base around the country began to increase due to the “modernization” of wrestling personalities and media.
It was interesting that Freedman said his image of wrestling had vastly changed, from first watching arcane antics to now where wrestling was a nightly gamble. Freedman mentions it was sad to see Wildman beg the arena manager just for a chance so Wildman could have the opportunity of losing money!
Later we see Wildman’s economics where all can be overcome by working harder as this made the biggest difference; labor would save the year from financial loss. Wildman said he would cut costs, book more dates, become more focused on the road. This was Wildman’s true economy of man. In the end, the more Dave / Wildman worked, the deeper the hole he dug. All the while his costs rose dramatically, arena rents, overhead, and the cycle of not being able to book first tier wrestlers because he could not afford them. In the end, after a multi-year valiant struggle, and being $200,000 in the hole, it was Tunney’s new commissioner that got him.