TNAEWCW - What's the issue?
The IWC is full of people who complain about companies signing “Ex WWE” stars, but why is it such a big deal? Adz investigates.
There are a lot of things in wrestling people like to complain about - WWE Booking, repeat matches, certain talent being pushed, part timers and John Cena, but we’re not here to discuss any of that. What I REALLY want to talk about today is wrestlers showing up in another promotion. This isn’t a new thing, in fact it has been used to huge effect by companies such as WCW, TNA, NJPW and even WWE themselves! So why is it in today's wrestling climate this seems to be a massive topic of contention? I’ve never been one to hold back my thoughts and opinions as you guys may know from my “Were They Really That Good?” series, so here is my view on this situation.
The wrestling landscape at the minute is unlike anything we as fans have seen. There is so much wrestling out there and this is a good thing for both fans and wrestlers alike! With AEW going from strength to strength and breaking down barriers between companies linking themselves with AAA, NWA, Impact and NJPW, the so called “Forbidden Door” has been blown wide open. From a wrestler's perspective this means more job opportunities and more chance to increase their own value. It also gives us fans new and fresh match ups, old rivalries revisited and a chance to see our favourite guys and gals in a different capacity. This all sounds great right? Except the internet, as always, has to piss and moan about this.
Let's address the elephant in the room; “AEW IS THE NEW WCW/TNA HURRDURRR TERK ERR JERRBS!” Absolute bollocks! Yes, AEW have hired some released WWE guys, yes AEW’s first two world champions have worked in the land of the giants, but who wouldn’t hire Jericho or Mox? Anyways, let's get to facts and stats:
The men's division (at the time of writing) consists of 79 wrestlers, of which 20 have previously worked for WWE, that’s only 25% of the division. Now when you consider the talent that AEW signed, they would have been absolute idiots not to sign names like Malakai Black, Andrade El Idolo and Brodie Lee. If you were a promoter, would you sign them? I know I would. Guy’s like Chris Jericho, Matt Hardy, Christian Cage and Sting are here to impart their knowledge and pass their wisdom down to the next generation, and that is invaluable when building homegrown guys.
The women’s division has 20 competitors, of which only two have seen any significant screentime in WWE, those being Serena Deeb with the Straight Edge Society and Tay Conti in NXT. That’s 10% of the overall division!
So where has this ridiculous notion that AEW has “TNA Syndrome” come from? Well, it’s simply because AEW is making a splash, just as TNA did back in their day and just like WCW did before them. Even WWE did it when Vince took over in the 80’s and snaffled up the competitors' best workers. Yes, they are signing ex WWE talent, but the difference between AEW’s formula and TNA’s is that AEW are selective about who they are signing, between 2009 and 2012 it felt like there was always an ex-WWE guy on top in TNA.
The most important difference between the two companies is that homegrown talent isn’t swept to one side in favour of ex WWE names in AEW. TNA history shows that names like Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Ken Anderson, Bobby Lashley, Kurt Angle, hell even Kevin Nash were all in the main event scene or champions when they arrived over the likes of James Storm, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, you know, the names that built TNA? AEW are currently building their own guys such as Darby Allin, MJF, Jungle Boy, Sammy Geuvara and their biggest merch mover and this writer's favourite dude in wrestling at the minute; Orange Cassidy.
Impact have picked up Brian Myers, Matt Cardona and W. Morrisey (Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder and Big Cass) all exceptionally talented guys who never got a chance in WWE, but all people have done about this is moan about them having an opportunity to grow. Look at Drew McIntyre, everyone said the same shit then, yet everyone loves him now.
Being released and showing up in places like AEW and Impact is often a blessing in disguise, proof of this are guys like Jon Moxley, Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, FTR, Brodie Lee, The Good Brothers and Miro. The fact that “fans” can’t seem to grasp this is baffling to me. I’d much rather see them in work growing and improving as performers.
The biggest thing that pisses me off, and I mean really boils my piss, is at the end of the day we’re wrestling fans; people being signed elsewhere is a good thing! It means wrestling is growing again, it’s expanding and more people are interested in the sport, which leads to more wrestling! Ground breaking shit, I know!
For the life of me, I can’t understand how people being signed elsewhere is a bad thing. WWE guys are always going to find work elsewhere, just like AEW guys would and so on.
This is my personal opinion, if you are one of these fans then sort your f*cking head out. Has someone taken a shit in your kettle this morning or something? You’re pissing and moaning about a man/woman trying to make their way in the world whilst doing what they love. You’re pissing on the sport itself by moaning about companies signing talented workers. You’re pissing in the face of every fan of that wrestler. You are devolving the fan base.
I’m going to leave you with this thought; Let it make you feel like a kid again. Let yourself mark out when someone shows up from a different promotion, after all, as wrestling fans we live for moments like that. What a time to be a wrestling fan, just f*cking enjoy it!