It’s another article from yours truly, and it’s a topic which rarely meets the light of day; should wrestling companies collaborate to benefit the industry? Think about that for a second. In the olden days, the NWA provided a means for wrestling companies to collaborate on wrestling cards, and it wasn’t limited to American promotions and talent; the Japanese (Inoki, Rikidozan) expressed interest and found themselves working with the greatest talent in America. But then, out of the murky mist, an evil genius appeared, and he broke everything. He bought the competition and destroyed the links created by the NWA, and after the demise of WCW, and ECW, WWE became the monopoly; any leftovers in the market place were picked up by TNA, ROH, and the Independent promotions.
While TNA used to work with other promotions like ROH, the company severed their mutual relationship with them several years ago. The only American company to support the philosophy of collaboration is ROH, who continues to showcase the best NJPW talent. A definite selling point to their weekly shows. It’s great to see the likes of Nakamura, Okada, and Watanabe working in the United States, but don’t you feel like their star power is a little wasted in ROH? Apologies if that statement offends any ROH fans, but only wrestling fans know of the company’s existence. Imagine if Nakamura showed up in WWE to face Seth Rollins? Or Lesnar? Just imagine how much bigger that would be.
But when I talk about collaboration in the wrestling business, I’m not just talking about one surprise dream match or appearance, I’m thinking bigger than that. I’m thinking like Vince, there’s one event which sets WWE above every other wrestling company in the world, Wrestlemania is the event to eclipse everything in its mighty shadow. How can any company compete when WWE has Wrestlemania?
Recently, Vince specifically talked about their competition not being other wrestling companies, but rather, everything on television. WWE continues to struggle with ratings, despite the monopoly. Wrestlemania is not drawing fans in for their weekly shows, and it’s largely because of the same old routine, but I’ll get to that later.
So I’ve thought about this subject over the past week or so. How can the wrestling business evolve? How can it spark interest to the casual viewer again? That’s when I thought about collaboration, but I know there will be always one major roadblock – Vince McMahon. Why should he showcase other companies talent when he doesn’t need to? Surely, he could just sign the talent and showcase them on his show? While he has the power to do so, it’s not helping the industry; it makes other companies seem inferior, so why should we care for them?
In the olden days, it didn’t matter which company you saw each week, you tuned in to see the talent. The focus was on the talent, not the company showcasing them. Nowadays, WWE is bigger than any new talent, (to quote Vince: no talent is bigger than WWE) and it hurts them, therefore, hurting the industry. I considered two scenarios which I shall share below. Both scenarios rely on many individuals and companies coming out of their comfort zone to make it work; mostly WWE.
WWE invites all talent once a year – This is the hardest scenario to imagine, because Vince’s philosophy has always been to dominate the competition. While WWE respects/respected other companies like ECW, ROH, NJPW, AAA, and others, there’s been many instances where WWE did/does everything to destroy, or bury other companies, like JCP, WCW, TNA and GCW. While WWE may acknowledge other wrestling companies, they will not work with anyone to form a super card, because in doing so they give spotlight to a possible rival. The “us against them” mentality, if it was to be eradicated, would open up the possibility of another super show to rival Wrestlemania.
One PPV a year dedicated to showcasing the best talent from around the world, no matter which company they work for, while remaining unbiased (towards their affiliation), would be incredibly appealing to fans — because it wouldn’t be the “same old crap”. With WWE’s production, and the ability to showcase a card globally in sold out arenas, allowing other companies talent to wrestle would be refreshing, and it would serve as a platform for WWE to show they respect the wrestling business and their “competition”.
It would go a long way in giving WWE credibility, instead of fans seeing WWE as the #1 company who refuses to help the less fortunate. With the corporate structure WWE has, there’s “no chance in hell” any wrestling company could suddenly rival them because of one annual PPV. So why not? Why would it be such a bad thing to allow TNA, ROH, NJPW and CMLL wrestlers to have their chance on a grand stage? If anything, the industry would become more open to the talent; WWE would benefit from that too.
Hard to imagine isn’t it? An ultimate celebration of the wrestling industry centralized in the WWE. But it won’t happen, because Vince would never want to see his precious Wrestlemania usurped. So it leads me to the second scenario, which remains unlikely, but still possible if everyone’s willing.
Other companies combine to create their own Wrestlemania – ROH has the right idea, but it needs to be taken to another level. Imagine if, once a year, wrestling talent from TNA, ROH, Lucha Underground, NJPW, AJPW, NOAH, CHIKARA, Shimmer, CMLL, AAA, PWG, CZW, GFW and various British promotions, joined forces to create their own version of Wrestlemania? Have wrestling companies pull their resources and money together; the top three contributing companies would collaborate on the card and make it fair. Smaller companies would contribute a little money to have one or two of their talents showcased, and then you have a platform for any wrestling fan to see all the best talent WWE isn’t offering every week.
NJPW has Wrestle Kingdom, which is the closest you’ll find to Wrestlemania outside WWE. Imagine what would happen if TNA got in on it? Think of all the talent not signed to WWE; it would be easy to make a card to rival Wrestlemania. I was thinking about possible dream matches involving Kurt Angle, Nakamura, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Okada, Jay Lethal, The Briscoes, The Wolves, The Kingdom, The Young Bucks etc. Other wrestling companies shouldn’t be fighting each other, they should be showing the world they can do it better, together.
But then there’s the possible repercussions. If you suddenly collaborate and conspire against WWE, Vince could throw money around, buy out some of the smaller companies, offer big contracts to main event talent, and essentially cripple the new event. Other companies may become scared (if they ain’t scared already) to team up. It’s all about business, and when there’s no leader willing or able to pull these companies together as one, and keep them as one, they ain’t going to reach out and risk their backsides by plotting against the mighty titan; they’re happy enough with their small percentage. It would take a mastermind to convince these companies they are safe to compete, and sadly, it doesn’t look like it will ever happen.
Conclusion – While the other companies trundle on with their small percentages in the market, WWE continues to expand. NXT is arguably bigger than any other wrestling company by itself, and the sudden talent poaching by Triple H is proof that WWE wants to showcase more worldwide talent, but it’s not going to be taken seriously til Vince steps down. WWE will continue to be mediocre to everything else on television, and other wrestling companies will continue to showcase in small venues because WWE buries them, making sure no one (aside from hardcore wrestling fans) becomes aware of their existence.
Not sure what else I can say about this subject, so I’m going to ask some questions of you. Firstly, should companies collaborate? Secondly, which scenario would you prefer? I’m also going to ask which dream matches would you like to see, in regards to scenario #2, because I’m interested to know how many of you are aware of wrestling talent outside WWE. Do you have any dream matches? Personally, I would love to see Angle vs Nakamura, EC3 vs Okada vs Lethal, and The Wolves vs The Hardys vs The Briscoes.
There’s so many possibilities, so let’s join forces, and cease fighting among ourselves. Whether you love WWE, TNA, ROH, indy promotions, whichever you prefer .. we all have one thing in common; we love wrestling, and we should collaborate to ensure its future. Before you go, enjoy the video below. Have a nice day!