Mick Tylwalk with SLAM! sports, who writes a regular wrestling column that appears on their website, attended Wizard World Philadelphia, where he saw long lines at the Spike TV booth for TNA wrestling stars:
Spike actually had a directly comic-related reason to be at the show, since it will be debuting Blade: The Series, based on the character born in Marvel Comics and made popular in the Wesley Snipes movies, later this month. Superstar comic book writer Geoff Johns helped write the pilot episode, so his appearance to promote the show was a natural. But some of the biggest lines at the booth on Friday and Saturday were for autograph signings by TNA wrestling stars like Jeff Jarrett and Team 3-D.
Once you dig a little bit, the worlds of comic book heroes and pro wrestlers overlap quite a bit. Both feature larger than life men able to apparently sustain punishment that would kill normal humans, as well as uniquely proportioned women. Both are important parts of North American pop culture, though except for boom times like the early ’90s for comics and the late ’90s for wrestling, both are usually accepted somewhat grudgingly by the mainstream. And while comics and wrestling are enjoyed by male and female fans of all ages, now more than ever they both rely on the 18-to-34 year-old male demographic to keep them going.
He mentions past comic book tributes by wrestling stars — “Hulk” Hogan, Rey Mysterio’s Flash outfit, and, of course, the Hurricane — as well as the recent head-scratching deal between the WWE and the SciFi Channel that will put Extreme Championship Wrestling on the same channel as Battlestar Galactica:
Scenes like the one at Wizard World suggest that while ECW may not have much in common with the rest of the SCI FI lineup, this seemingly random pairing of program and network may actually be a stroke of genius. Science fiction and comics are first cousins at the very least, and it’s very easy to imagine extreme superstar and comic shop owner Rob Van Dam commanding a pretty big line of his own next year. That’s assuming ECW’s deal with SCI FI continues on, as for the time being it’s only for the summer of 2006.