So, I’m on Tweetdeck replying to Darrell about PlayStation controllers and in my peripheral vision a piece of wrestling news crawls up my “Home” column about New Japan possibly “gearing up” for war against WWE.
This here “news”—these rumors, if you will—the only great thing out of that notion is that people are finally viewing New Japan as concrete global promotion and not the large national promotion with global exposure that it is.
This was done for a period with TNA where a sizable regional promotion with national exposure was viewed a potential threat to WWE. A bit further back you had another touring regional promotion with national exposure that got all of the hype and was viewed as a legit big three competitor. Yeah, I’m talking about ECW.
Outside that circle of not exactly wrestling fans, but definitely WWE fans you have the definitely wrestling fans who totally watch WWE—because it’s the most accessible product, to support a fave who made it to a large stage, because they like to stay up-to-date on the product, and/or to hate watch it—all in a nice tidy bow of “you better when it comes to WWE, they’ve done this for decades.”
WWE superstar John Cena with improper hate watching posture and expression.
Now group two of fans kind of know that there’s no actual competition between the two and it’s mainly two promotions expanding into each other’s home area with no great advantages because the larger sections of those markets’ fan bases are more likely to check out their major home product before this new, foreign product, but they want something new. It stems from being bored or disappointed in WWE to some significant degree.
If you watch something within in a bubble—a concrete bubble, not even just watching TV wrestling offerings, just mainly the one product—then it will go in two extremes: either you’ll become deathly bored with recent developments and your fan booking judgment suffers or you’ll just ditch wrestling in general. As I always say "Watch a variety of things." That goes for comics, movies, TV, and music too.
"Man, I used to like wrestling but all the good people are gone now and it's for kids."
It also comes from the old days when competition was WWE vs. WCW and the two companies built off of that rivalry. Now some will include ECW in this. Knock that shit off. ECW was basically in the same role as ROH is now: independent development for WWE’s development project.
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It’s not a knock on the talent, but the role the company finds itself in. WWE will roll up, look at the produce section like “This CM Punk is ripe, I’ll get this. I’ll come back for the Bryan Danielson and Kevin Steen. I want this Low Ki…hmm. I shouldn’t. That’s too decadent. I’ll spoil myself with a Colt Cabana. I want a Samoa Joe, but I already have too much in my buggy. I’ll come back for it next time. That PAC is going to be ripe when I come back.”
Price check on "Kaval."
What I’m getting at is ECW was the Church’s to WWE and WCW’s KFC and Popeye’s. The Wendy’s to their Burger King and McDonalds.
This is totally ECW. Often slimy product, filling, but now abandoned. Bring coupons.
With WWE and WCW it was a heated, direct competition—when originally it wasn’t, it was just two large promotions operating in the same country with focuses on different markets at a time when wrestling was in stasis. While the industry isn’t in stasis at the moment, a WWE and New Japan “war” would be similar to early ‘90s WWE and WCW.
People are expecting Dominos vs. Pizza Hut in the ‘90s, Burger King vs. McDonalds in the ‘80s, Pepsi vs. Coke in the 80’s and 90’s, or Pringles vs. everyone forever when in reality you’d be looking at Dunkin’ Donuts moving to the south in the earlier part of the decade when Krispy Kreme is the home region dominant donut place.
Dunkin' Donuts came to the south and didn't have sweet tea on the menu. Remember that.
It’s there, it’s nice to have an alternative, but it’s not going to be that huge of threat to the dominant offering off the bat unless they go back and forth aggressively with “WWE is all air” and “New Japan is thick and dry.”
M. Swift is a long time wrestling fanatic. When he's not writing about wrestling history and other stuff he is often writing short sci-fi stories, listening to heavy metal, and playing RPGs. Follow @metalswift