Ever since the WWE went into a national and then a global expansion beginning in the 1980’s, we have seen professional wrestling go through many cataclysmic changes. We’ve seen the territorial system get wiped out, we’ve seen Jim Crockett Promotions wave the white flag and sell to Ted Turner. We have witnessed the once proud AWA fall…as well as ECW and eventually WCW.
With every major promotion that fell to the feet of Vince McMahon…a new promoter…wrestler…money mark come and try to create and build a national company to challenge the mighty WWE. We’ve seen and have talked about many of these failed endeavors in past article. Whether it was the GWF, the XWF, WXO, UWF..etc…many have tried and failed to compete or even sustain themselves for a long period of time.
Is 2015 the year it all changes? Will this be the year pro wrestling can turn the corner that really hasn’t been turned since 2001? For whatever reason, pro wrestling is seeing a resurgence. More and more cable networks are looking to pro wrestling to build and establish their brand. Everywhere you turn…you are hearing a network interested in airing wrestling. Is it just networks trying to get their own version of the WWE…or do networks really believe pro wrestling is due for a huge turn around?
Total Non Stop Action (TNA) has been lurking around since 2002…every time fans think they are done…they find a way to survive and keep going. Dixie Carter has made some questionable decisions as head of TNA wrestling…but at the end of the day…they are still in operations. Their latest move is an interesting one…and may…MAY breathe some much needed new life in a promotion that has been suffering from a lack of serious direction.
Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan has joined TNA as a senior producer. Before you snicker at that move…keep in mind that Corgan is no stranger to the world of professional wrestling. He founded a solid company called Resistance Pro and has a vast knowledge of the product. Can Corgan revitalize TNA into a serious contender? The jury is still out…but considering TNA’s past history…I wouldn’t rule them out.
Lucha Underground and the network it is on (The El Rey Network) is still in its infancy stage. With Hollywood powerhouses like Mark Burnett and Robert Rodriguez behind the project…it stands a great chance of eventually making waves. Its unique production style makes it feel like you are watching a big budget movie instead of a wrestling show.
Its talent roster with the likes of Johnny Mundo, Alberto El Patron, Prince Puma and Fenix give Lucha Underground solid footing. It has slowly grown in popularity and exposure. The more cable companies sign on to the El Rey network…the stronger the product will be. Having it tap into the strong Latino demographic is also beneficial to its ultimate success.
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Many consider New Japan pro wrestling to be the WWE of the far east in terms of popularity and success. It’s talent is second to none with stars like Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kenny Omega, AJ Styles and many more. In the beginning of 2015, New Japan made itself available on U.S. airwaves on AXS TV. While obvously the matches aren’t live..but archived footage….it is still an absolute treat to watch. Can New Japan eventually make strides to becoming a threat to the WWE’s global dominance? It certainly is possible.
Global Force Wrestling
Is Jeff Jarrett…the man fired by Vince McMahon on live TV…the face of pro wrestling’s future? The much talked about…but little known about…GFW….has built a solid roster with the likes of Harry Smith, Doc Gallows, the Young Bucks and many, many more. It certainly has been a long time in the making for Global Force to get off the ground…but Jeff Jarrett whose Dad Jerry was a tremendously successful promoter..has that background to work off of.
Jarrett is taking his time developing GFW from the bottom up. It has frustrated some fans who think he’s taking too much time…but it seems that Jarrett is doing the right thing by taking it slow and making sure everything is right the first time around. Will it succeed? Will it fail? Hard to say without seeing the finished product first…but for now it looks promising.
Ring of Honor
Many people sleep on Ring of Honor as a top wrestling promotion in the country. Keep in mind, that ROH has been responsible for helping develop and giving exposure to countless stars in the WWE and TNA…including Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Kevin Steen, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, the American Wolves…etc.
With the proper TV deal, Ring of Honor could certainly grow and become something bigger than it already is. ROH has been around for awhile now (established in 2002) it has had some good, bad and exceptional years in the industry. With its keen eye for talent…ROH could be a strong second if given the right opportunities.
All in all pro wrestling seems to be growing once again. Will it ever reach or even top the Monday Night Wars era? Probably not…but the future of the industry does look bright. A little competition never hurt anybody…as a matter of fact…it actually benefits everybody!