The International Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame had big plans for 2020 including getting a brick and mortar location for their HOF. But the coronavirus pandemic has altered those plans for the location in upstate New York.
President Seth Turner discussed their plans being on hold when he joined Andy Malnoske for our The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast.
"We want for the health and safety of all of our supporters and volunteers – that has to come first. Unfortunately, we had to have three of our major fundraisers cancelled, two were wrestling events and one was going to be our inaugural dinner. Each of these events was stocked with lots of entertainers who were going to be coming from all over the place so we did take a financial hit," revealed Turner.
"But again, it's more important that everyone remains safe and healthy and we'll get beyond this. It's a setback but financial issues can be fixed. Health, safety and well-being can't be compromised just for the sake of the almighty dollar."
Turner said they received their charter on Dec. 10 and by March 15 they were in Albany at WrestleFest along with Bret Hart, Jake Roberts and others. But so much has changed since then and Turner spoke about where IPWHF is at the moment.
"We were in negotiations for a facility but honestly, those things had to be put on the back-burner. It may not come to fruition as in those issues, you need the inertia sometimes and we can't fault those who we were dealing with that now have far larger issues," said Turner.
"The reality is, we would have been hard-pressed anyways if we had successfully signed a contract for a building because No. 1, we couldn't get there to do anything with it and No. 2, our financial picture really hit a rocky road. We lost $15-$25,000 worth of revenue. So, it's great to hit the pause button and let these things sort themselves out."
With this period of pause, they're building capacity and evaluating their infrastructure.
The IPWHF has a Cassius Clay jersey that was worn by The Rock and it will be raffled off in a fundraiser. They also have many other wrestling items and Turner explained how you can get a raffle ticket to support the HOF.
"I have probably 8-10 shirts that were owned by Dwayne… Tony Vellano suggested maybe we do a raffle just to keep people excited. I didn't want to have just something that you could get anywhere else. We have really cool things like this John Cena [memorabilia] behind me or this DX [towel]. This is Ryback's ring-worn things so we've got all kinds of stuff like this," stated Turner.
"So, let's start with something really cool and give people an opportunity to buy it through raffle tickets at $10. Just so you know, I won't pick the raffle as that's being run by our multi-media guru at Syracuse. He'll use Excel to randomly select a winner and then we'll get this to that person."
Turner said the first raffle they held was successful and they got about $200.
Building a Hall of Fame in New York isn't just constructing the venue as you have to obtain a charter first. Turner explained more of what goes into building a physical Hall of Fame.
"In New York State a Hall of Fame is considered a museum and a museum is considered an educational institution. In order to obtain our charter, it meant that we had to navigate the waters with the New York State Education Department and obtain our charter from the New York State Board of Regents," said Turner. "My background – besides being a huge wrestling fan – is as a school administrator and for the last 20 years, I've navigated those websites and I have degrees in writing policy.
"If you're gonna run a museum, you have to make sure you're gonna maintain these materials and have a plan on how you ensure if it's a cloth, a piece of paper or an artifact. that you have someone who knows how to maintain these things and not get them ruined. There's a lot of things that people will never see."
Turner's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of today's episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.