Most people point to the time period of the Monday Night Wars as the most exciting time in wrestling. You had a viable challenger to the standard WWF/F in WCW. Ted Turner had money to burn on WCW and he did just that. He purchased pretty much every star that Vince McMahon created and still it ended up in failure. As much as we like to roll our eyes at the WWE at times it has been and will be the standard for wrestling likely for our lifetime. Anyone that can honestly think WWE will have a serious competitor at this stage is fooling themselves. Their competition is now more with the UFC and entertainment in general these days.
What the WWF/E was able to do better than WCW was create stars something they still can do today. Do they have more misses than hits? Probably, but that is par for the course with all business’ trying to cater to an ever changing society. Think of how your own life has changed in the last ten years. In this age of technology we are all growing at different rates. So if you think the WWE Network will not eventually be a success you are most likely wrong. Vince McMahon sometimes gets painted as a crazy old man these days and that might be true in some senses. It is not like you or I get to hangout with Vince and he has become far less visible in the last few years. Make no mistake though he has spent by some reports 110 million dollars on the network. It is going to succeed it just might take time for people to get into 2014 technology wise.
WWE thrived with competition and they used the clear advantage they had by being allowed to create a much more edgy program that their competition WCW was not able to do under the Turner corporate banner and even more so once the Time Warner merger happened. In fact despite the huge ratings that WCW did draw it was the red headed stepchild for Time Warner. Maybe like TNA is for Spike-TV? Not exactly as Spike is not exactly knocking it out of the park even with the MMA promotion they own Bellator.
Actually all of the build up was to get to the real point I am getting at which is the race for being the alternative to the WWE. It is not as sexy as Ted Turner offering top talents huge money to jump to WCW and Eric Bishoff bragging about kicking Vince’s butt. However a new wrestling war is starting and it should be good assuming TNA is able to stay in business and stay on Spike-TV.
Ring of Honor as we have been focusing on here in Condo on the Moon is heading to live pay-per-view thanks in part to the void left by the WWE turning their attention to promoting their events on the WWE Network. TNA actually had a decent show for their latest pay-per-view offering despite interest level heading into being at an all-time low.
Ring of Honor in contrast has been riding a huge high in 2014 as you have heard from guests on our podcast like Matt Taven and ROH Champion Adam Cole. They made a successful return to I-PPV with their shows featuring their new partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling with Global Wars and War of the Worlds. They have replaced TNA for an annual summer event at a minor league baseball stadium in New York City. This has been a strong market for ROH.
The two companies are heading into each others backyards quite literally. The ROH PPV is taking place literally in the birthplace of TNA at the Nashville fairgrounds. It is also the city that TNA has its headquarters. While TNA is heading to New York City and going into the same venue that ROH hold’s it’s version of Wrestlemania that is “Final Battle” held in December. They are in the same building but in a smaller part of it. TNA will be in the place where the WWE first taped Monday Night Raw.
Adding to the intrigue of all this is a former WWE star Matt Hardy who has worked with ROH over the past few years and is scheduled to appear on PPV this Sunday. However, it was announced on Twitter that he in fact will be in competition at the TNA tapings in New York City. He will re-unite with his brother Jeff who of late has been playing his alter ego of Willow in TNA.
This comes after TNA had approached ROH talent’s that under contract to them. Some of the names that have been out there include Jay Lethal who spent time in TNA and ReDragon the current ROH Tag-Team Champions. Hardy was apparently not under contract. This is not the first time TNA has done this to ROH as they stole Kenny King when he was one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions. King is still in TNA and also is or was, a Chippendale’s dancer when he is not in the ring. Does he make more in tips from that than in TNA only he knows for sure?
This is what we have been missing in wrestling is a good old fashion war between rival promotions. It might not be as sexy or involve the big dollars that were being thrown around in the Monday Night Wars but it is a fight. We have picked a side in this fight and obviously it is ROH.
The reasons why are pretty simple it comes down to the product. While TNA seems determined to be WWE light that is so far from what ROH is trying to be it isn’t funny. In addition to this fact, who is the company that is producing the talent that goes on to WWE that would be Ring of Honor. If anyone wants to make the argument that TNA can produce anyone that is going to be in the WWE that hasn’t been their already they are crazy. A.J Styles was the biggest star TNA produced themselves, well not exactly he did start in ROH but people associate him with TNA. He has stated himself that no offer came his way from WWE. He instead has come back home to ROH and is working for New Japan Pro Wrestling and is the first North American since Brock Lesnar to hold the IWGP Championship.
Similar Bad Influence who will be taking on the aforementioned ReDragon on the PPV Sunday. Daniels is returning to his home of Ring of Honor along with Frankie Kazarian who made up the “Bad Influence” in TNA. They did not get an offer from WWE either we can safely assume. The talent that ROH has put in the WWE is a long and growing list. The latest is rumored to Kevin Steen who may be fighting his last match for Ring of Honor on this Sunday at the pay-per-view.
If you like competition and miss the fun of the Monday Night Wars this may be as close as we get to seeing it. So enjoy the competition and hopefully it makes both companies worked harder and creates an even better product for the fans of wrestling. That was what made the WWE it’s best being pushed to produce by a rival. This is not exactly an even fight, but close enough to be interesting in terms of the resources and money these competitors are willing to spend. So let the games begin.
It also is good for wrestlers as competition can lead to better deals and at least having options which is problem for people in WWE. The amount of money is certainly not to the same level anywhere else is not going to happen in the modern wrestling landscape.
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