What is usually the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of watching? For some it’s the awesome matches. To others, it’s the elaborate storylines. We all have different thoughts when someone mentions the word wrestling to us.
Yet, one thing that comes the minds of anyone, both fan and non-fan, when the term wrestling is brought up are the infamous letter, WWE. For the last thirty years, WWE (or WWF) has been synonymous with the professional wrestling industry as a whole, so this pairing is for good reason. Sure other companies like WCW or ECW came and went, but if you ask the majority of the general public, WWE IS wrestling.
This whole mindset provides a plethora of problems. It’s obvious that at this point in time, WWE is still a monopoly and has been for the past 6 years. During these past few years, people have forgotten about a time when the wrestling industry was defined by more that one company. As an example, I was watching a TNA show the other day, and a friend of mine walked in completely clueless as to what I was watching. He said, “I thought there was only one company!”
To an extent, he was right. He has been given no other opportunity to even hear of another company because of the hold WWE has on the wrestling industry. This is the view I fear the general public as a whole has on the sport. To them, there is nothing but WWE. Sure we hear this all of the time, but this is more than just a simple misconception. With this train of thought comes even more problems!
Since WWE has been the “end-all-be-all” company for quite some time now, the wrestling industry has been given the image of sports-entertainment, rather than actual professional wrestling. For wrestling to be wrestling nowadays, it seems that there needs to be soap opera storylines, huge guys in tremendous physical shape, and beautiful women who parade around the ring in their underwear.
Now many will ask why this is so bad. They will say that WWE does have the best wrestlers in the world, not to mention a world-wide audience and the financial means of putting on superior productions. Why should they be challenged? While these are all good points and do make sense in their own ways, they don’t take into consideration that in a business sense, WWE is setting themselves up for failure.
Yes, failure. Yes this point has been stated many times, but it really stands true. Without legitimate competition, WWE gets stale and lacks any progression, which in turn hurts the entire wrestling industry. If casual fans can’t even get interested in WWE, the poster face of professional wrestling, then what chance does TNA or other federation have at ever making it big?
Now, I’m not here to tell you about the art of competition, but I am to here to say a message that relates to that topic. It is now up to other companies to make an effort to REDEFINE wrestling. What exactly is meant by this? Well it’s time for the misconception of WWE being the only dog in the yard to come to an end, and for the world to see another side of wrestling.
Here’s a tremendous example of what I’m saying: I sat down to watch TNA Impact one night with my younger cousins who are ages 8 and 12. They immediately dismissed the product when all they saw was “smaller” guys in the ring. They didn’t see any huge characters that attracted them like John Cena or Batista, so they felt no need to continue watching. Why did they have this mindset? Well, because WWE has instilled in them the thought that in order to be the most successful wrestler, you need to be big, tall, and ripped.
This is just one misconception that has occurred with WWE defining wrestling at the moment. TNA has been given a tremendous opportunity to redefine the sport. They can show the world that there is life outside the E. They can redefine how tall a wrestler should be. They can redefine how much a wrestler should weigh. They can redefine the types of moves that are used. They can redefine the outlandish WWE storylines into realistic scenarios that any fan can relate to.
Redefinition is the key to becoming the next competitor to WWE. Of course TNA, and other competitors out there, should be more consistent in building angles and characters to attract viewers. Yet, at the same time they can reinvent a sport that for so long has been dominated by ultimately, one man’s vision of it. History has proven this theory to be correct. When wrestling was at an all time low in terms of popularity back in the mid-nineties, it took the revolutionary ideas of ECW and even WCW to make wrestling exciting again. Wrestling was redefined with dramatic storylines and hardcore fights that made everything about the sport attractive again.
TNA has an excellent platform to showcase a new side. They have the ability to produce state-of-the art match styles that are seldom seen anywhere else. They also have the opportunity to showcase the younger guys that will eventually be at the top in the coming years. In an ironic twist, WWE needs TNA to succeed, whether you like TNA or not. If TNA can get to a point where they have a loyal following, and enough of the world to know about them, then wrestling will become more fun for everyone involved. Am I saying that TNA should be aiming to beat out WWE? No, because that is definitely a long shot. But, they should come to a point where they can shake the preconceived notions everyone has on wrestling.
It is clearly time that wrestling become redefined. If wrestling keeps going in the same direction, with only company at the top dominating the views of the general public, then the professional wrestling industry is doomed to fail. It’s time for some new faces and new logic, and then, and only then, will wrestling become the exciting hobby we all once knew it was.
I must apologize to all of my loyal readers for the month long absence I took. I have gotten into a better scheduling groove, so hopefully, I will be back more consistently. Thanks for being patient!
Feedback for my columns is greatly appreciated. I love talking with my readers, so please feel free to send me some comments via email or AIM! The contact information is listed below, so don’t hesitate!
Finally, for anyone who has followed my podcast series, Dragon Talk, I have a real good treat for you! The popular radio show, The Wrestling Crossfire, was in need of a host for last week’s show, and I was asked to step in. I gladly accepted the offer, and took over the show. It was a great time that saw me answer fan’s questions, talk about some recent news stories, and give a full review of Destination-X! I encourage you all to listen to this exciting edition of the show, so please click the link below!
Thanks again for reading, and until next time, this has been From the Eye of the Dragon…