Wrestling as an attraction is definitely the draw. Like even at bars, for the most part, its not a "party" crowd. Not always though. When I broke in, it was because I worked at the LID (called the palladium at the time) and TRCW began running shows. It was a new thing to have local wrestling at a cool bar, especially in the south end. So for a few months it *was* the cool thing to do on Thursday nights. As soon as that cool crowd got bored with it, it was done.
And then we started and basically scooped TRCW (took most of their talent, their ring and their venue) and we had a core group that was sort of that cool University party crowd but it was very up and down. When my partner quit, it was partially because we were doing lousy business (not directly, but it caused strife in our partnership). And we really built things back up on the basis of presenting wrestling to wrestling fans, not trying to present a "cooler" version to people who arent wrestling fans.
What I mean by cooler version, for example, when Mike started AWE and tried to get Coyotes, CWF was running there with guys like Kerry Brown, Brian Jewel, Rob Stardom, TJ Bratt. None of those guys look like people you want to spend time with on a Saturday night at a cool bar. And since CWF wasn't very good quality-wise either, you werent appealing to anyone. Mike had his guys down there all the time talking to employees saying "no one wants to go the bar and see guys who arent in shape, dont have tans, dont have expensive gear, dont have cool hair etc".
So when they finally got Coyotes, the idea was good looking guys with good physiques, nice hair, deep tans etc. Because it's "cool". But the wrestling fans wont just take cool without quality. And the fans that want cool who dont care about quality wont stick around long because there is always something cooler.
There are shows at family venues that draw. I prefer doing adult shows but not just because of booze sales.
And while they did have some good workers (all the credit in the world to WFX for bringing in Ultimo Dragon who was a friggen legend), Chris Daniels might be the biggest draw of those guys (Kidman too). Daivari's not a name. Jacobs wasnt a name. Noble was good but not a name. Joey Merc, same thing. In fact I was going to book Joey Merc based off of WFX because I knew he'd do well for us but our measure of success was way different. I didnt need Merc to draw 1000 people to break even.
And once you have Steiner, Gunn, Kishi, Luger, your budget is so out of whack. The fans that would be turned on by Daniels and Jacobs arent going to be fans of your product anyway because they get a 12 minute Kidman match against someone that maybe can't really hang with him and it's an after-thought because the real stars are the WCW guys that no one cared about anyway.
Whats crazy is, the way the business is now, with the production values of WFX (which were tremendous) but a different thought process as far as talent, there is enough guys to draw big. I could draw 1000 people tomorrow with Omega and the Bucks. Maybe just Omega to be honest.
The other issue with WFX was, they only used guys that they could market TV around. So anyone with a TV deal already had restrictions, including TNA guys I believe (or some of them). And in a similar vein, some guys cant use their established name and music. Locally, you'd be advertising Billy Gunn, but at the show he's The G-Man with generic music. They actually got sent a cease & desist for using names and even the word "Superstars".