Has anyone else noticed that Vince McMahon is becoming more cooperative with WWE's entertainment rivals?
It really sprang to mind when Ric Flair was up on stage at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony for 2012.
Many of us were not entirely sure if TNA and WWE could come to an agreement, and were not willing to believe it until we saw Flair up there on that WWE stage. But then I stopped for a moment and considered how frequently this has happened lately.
Brock Lesnar's contract was set to continue with UFC for some time, and yet Dana White allowed Lesnar to sign a WWE contract.
I feel certain there were some behind-the-scenes negotiations about that by the two companies. Certainly, it comes hot on the heels of WWE and UFC coming to an agreement for Brock Lesnar appearing in, and promoting, WWE '12.
Then you have The Rock.
In the past, professional wrestlers had to work full time to be able to participate in the WWE. Even men like Shawn Michaels when he was working his lighter schedule near the end of his career would come, work a full-time program, then leave—much like he did this last month.
The Rock has appeared off-and-on since February 2011. Mick Foley has operated in a similar capacity, too, since he came back last November.
I hate to even remind you that it exists, but look at WWE Studios. They recently announced plans to work together with 20th Century Fox on upcoming projects.
It is very uncharacteristic for Vince to let anyone else get involved in his business like that—he is not a team player, he is far more competitive than that.
Along the same lines is "The Twitter Connection."
Remember a few years ago when WWE tried to set up their own rival social network to rival MySpace? They have now embraced Twitter.
Maybe WWE has just recognised its limitations in the area of social networking, and is wise enough to realise that a WWE Twitter clone would not be as useful in promoting WWE to the outside world. A few years ago, it would not have been hard to imagine Vince having the idea of attempting to do it anyway, just for the sheer ego trip.
Sometimes it is not even necessarily collaboration, but simply a more positive attitude towards one another.
Ring of Honor, for instance.
People were Stone-Cold-stunned when we heard CM Punk begin to refer to ROH in the last year, on air.
It is not a form of cooperation as such, but for WWE to even acknowledge its competition is unusual. For a large company like WWE, it is somewhat generous of them to admit ROH is even on their radar, that it even exists.
The WWE Network will require an increased level of diplomacy between the WWE and the outside world. Could this be the reason for all of this?
Certainly in the case of ROH, when the IWC discusses potential shows for the Network, I have heard many suggest ROH be aired on WWE Network.
Regardless of the reasons for all of this, I do think there is a change, and it is worth considering—it could shape the WWE in the future.
It could be, shall we say, the Next Big Thing...