The Birth and Development of Wrestling Under WWE

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The History

WWE is not the only wrestling entertainment company in the world and this fact has been recognized by the fans and wrestlers all around the globe. There was a time when the entire professional wrestling business was synonyms to WWE (formerly known as WWF) but that is not the case anymore.

The Monday Night War

Competitors have tried to make WWE run for their money quite a few times but no one came close except for Ted Tuner owned WCW. WCW gave WWE a tough fight in the 90s (aka Monday Night Wars) but lost the overall battle after being acquired by the rivals themselves, in 2001. Since then, a few major wrestling promotions did emerge in and around the world but not even a single one of them came close to dethrone the undisputed king.

The Rise of WWE and Failing Competition

Showcase of exceptional storylines and over the top wrestling, made WWE grow bigger and bigger. From delivering only wrestling shows to expanding to all the other horizons such as animated kids’ content, gaming, merchandising, reality shows, movie studios, an OTT platform, etc., WWE was omnipresent. Jarret’s backed Impact Wrestling, started making the rounds in the beginning of the 21st century. Impact started creating a buzz because of their innovations. The creation of hexagon shaped ring instead of a square one, more hard core matches, more inter gender matches and more adult style content involving ‘divas’, surely helped them create the buzz, but they failed to capitalize on the same as Vince McMahon, a seasoned campaigner, knew what people wanted to see. Impact however, continued to be the #2 wrestling promotion in the United Stated for a long time.

WWE, keeping in mind the dynamic business environment, soon moved from the Attitude Era, to the Ruthless Era and finally to the PG Era of pro wrestling. This move of producing more of family friendly content not only helped them to widen their viewership horizons but also helped them attract sponsors, increasing their revenues even further. This move also helped them retain the wrestlers who were done putting their bodies on the line every time they stepped into the ring.

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Emergence of the Independent Circuit

As the size of the industry kept growing exponentially, the number of competitors also kept increasing. The viewers, thanks to the advent of internet, were more connected to the pro wrestling world than ever before. Wrestling promotions such as Ring of Honor (RoH), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), Lucha Underground, AAA Lucha Libre and multiple Indies Promotions started attracting not only viewers but the top wrestlers from around the world. These wrestlers were paid more and given creative freedom, which led them to produce multiple 5 star matches.

An Indie Wrestling Promotion

These promotions had huge names associated with them, from AJ Styles to the Bullet Club to the king of strong styles Shinsuke Nakamura, everyone emerged from these promotions. From relying only to their in-house training centres for recruitment, WWE now kept a close eye on all these promotions and successfully contracted superstars such as AJ Styles and Finn Balor to enhance the quality of their production. This also helped them acquire the viewer/fan base of that particular wrestler.

Birth of All Elite Wrestling

Fast forward to 2018, top wrestlers outside of the WWE were thriving to do something new, to change the entire spectrum of the industry. A group of four people namely, Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and Kenny Omega wanted to prove themselves. They were already legends in the wrestling business but wanted to write the history books instead of reading them. When ‘challenged’ by the world renowned pro wrestling critic and observer Dave Meltzer, these guys accepted the challenge of selling more than 10,000 tickets of an independent show, a non-WWE show so as to say. This gave birth to one-off wrestling pay-per-view ALL IN. Produced by these four guys, the PPV saw participation from pro wrestling superstars such as the Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. and Felix), Rey Mysterio, Kota Ibushi, etc. September 1, 2018 became the date when the revolution started. This was the first time when an independent show was house full. This show began a trending topic in the pro wrestling universe and attracted many big guns.

Tony Khan: The Brains Behind AEW

ALL IN was a step forward in the inception of the next big thing in the pro wrestling industry, the ALL ELITE WRESTLING (AEW). Tony Khan, the son of Shahid Khan (a man $6.9Bn of net worth and the owner of Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League, Fulham F.C. of the English Football League) being a pro wrestling fanatic himself, started having talks with the four horseman (Rhodes, Jackson Brothers and Omega) to start their own wrestling promotion to give the people what they wanted to see. This was received positively by the four, hence began the journey of All Elite Wrestling.

The recruitment of world class wrestlers was not easy. But big paychecks and the more importantly the creative freedom to wrestlers helped their cause. The promotion soon signed the legend Chris Jericho and that is when things started to become more tangible. Jericho’s signing was followed by the signing of the Lucha brothers, Adam ‘Hangman’ Page, PAC, Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley), the beautiful Britt Baker, legendary commentator Jim Ross, and the likes.

The promotion became the hot news without even showcasing a single PPV. This was astonishing for everyone all across the globe. The same fan following and buzz became tangible when AEW’s first ever PPV, Double Or Nothing being help at the MGM Grand Arena of Las Vegas was sold out just in a matter of 4 minutes of ticket sales going online. WWE was not far behind, they signed a billion dollar deal with FOX to now broadcast their weekly production SmackDown Live. May 25, 2019 became a historical day in the history of pro wrestling history. A full packed MGM Grand Arena along with viewers from all across the globe, AEW is now compared to the likes of WWE.

Future Ahead

Pro-Wrestling business has now taken a sharp turn, fans are cheering for the heels and booing the baby-faces out of the arena. Sustenance and rise to the top can only be facilitated by giving the fans something unexpected, such as Bray Wyatt's Firefly Fun House. Experimenting with the product and taking care of all the involved parties is the need of the hour and it'll be interesting to see WWE's plan to sustain and AEW's growth plans. With AEW’s weekly programming yet to come to life, equivalent to the WWE or not, only time will tell. But one thing we know for sure is that there is plenty of scope in the industry and the best time of pro wrestling business has just began.

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