It used to be simple.
Independent wrestlers join regional promotions, work through the ranks, potentially go overseas, to subsequently sign on with nationally televised organizations. Garner enough positive buzz, earn WWE tryout…cross fingers. Make the cut, work developmental, and hope for the big show. And maybe the Big Show, if you’re large enough. It’s unfortunately all broken.
Work with me here:
Impact gets sold, rebrands, loses much of its talent…to Ring of Honor, who just lost several of its own to include announcers…to WWN, made up of talent from regional independents…with its former roster on WWE spin off shows. Shine, Impact and NXT rotate talent but not names. CMLL and AAA are locked in battles/alliances with ROH and Lucha Underground, respectively, while NJPW is aligned with ROH but lends its stars to WWE spinoff shows.
Making matters even more complicated is that each of the above has its own streaming/PPV service, to now include regional promotions jumping on board the FITE TV bandwagon. It’s gotten so bad, I need a Rosetta Stone to make sense of all the conflicting and simultaneous dialog about talent, affiliations, and storylines.
Factor in the WWE brand split, and its chaos and then some. One roster pushes veterans, the other developmental, while espousing pseudo-rivalries between them also a glaring conundrum of non-retired and re-emerging Legends. What the heck to do with the women? Merchandising is likewise the Wild West between Pro Wrestling Tees and promotion exclusive items.
In the handful of years since rediscovering pro wrestling, I’ve never been this confused. What does pro wrestling want from its fans? Its talent? Its promotions? It’s no wonder there’s now a clear demarcation line between kayfabe and non-kayfabe diehards. It’s the difference between seeing order from chaos, or vice versa.
When in doubt, grab a drone and yell ‘delete!’ It’s the only thing that seemingly makes sense these days. Except now they’re also changing promotions on Wrestlemania weekend, no less.
Last and most importantly, what on God’s green Earth do you tell newbies looking to break into the pro wrestling world? How and to whom do they promote themselves?