Wrestling Eliminated from 2020 Olympics and Potential Impact on WWE
It was reported in an article today on ABC News that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has dropped wrestling from the 2020 Olympic program.
Wrestling has been part of the modern Olympic program since the event's inception in 1896, more than a century ago. Although the decision to remove wrestling is not final, it is unlikely that the sport would be voted back in so soon.
Wrestling was eliminated to allow a new sport inclusion in order to keep the Olympic program "modern". The commission reviewed 39 criteria which included television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity.
While the traditional wrestling sport is vastly different from its cousin professional wrestling, one cannot help but ask what this decision means for the world of professional wrestling, particularly the WWE.
WWE is now in a period of important transition where the current WWE champion is The Rock. It is safe to say that most fans know The Rock's time as champion is numbered, most likely not surpassing WrestleMania 29.
And although John Cena's role as top dog will always have a presence, it is becoming increasingly apparent that his role in guiding the company to its next era is also numbered.
While the WWE offers a unique product, the worldwide recognition of the original wrestling sport in the Olympics was a testament not only to its relevancy but importance as a staple in the international sport scene.
It lent legitimacy to the professional wrestling industry due to its historical connection. Professional wrestling, in a way, is a tribute to a variety of sports and has thus become a unique art form.
But what happens when your roots are no longer considered "modern" enough for today's sports world? Does that have an impact on superstars' morale? Does it have any influence on the perception of WWE in today?
Some argue that WWE's glory days are behind them with the passing of the Attitude Era, especially in an environment where the company has virtually no significant competition. The removal of wrestling from the Olympic program might just be another blow to professional wrestling.
Or is it?
Now that wrestling has been eliminated, does that make it more likely to thrive in an underground culture? Does wrestling now become vintage? Does its value as a sport now go up that it becomes the black sheep of the athletic world?
And if that happens, does that make the WWE product even more of a tribute to a sport that has been slapped in the face by the IOC?
I argue this is a pivotal moment in professional wrestling history. WWE has an opportunity - an opportunity to rebel against the world in light of this insult. A chance to revitalize professional wrestling for years to come and tell the world that wrestling is not dead.
It's time for WWE to grapple its way back to the top of mainstream consciousness.
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