Just something that crossed my mind...
Is the fact that we have the same dozen or so wrestlers main eventing in one way or another in the WWE for the last 5 years (at least) due to a lack of "minor leagues" or "territories" as they were called?
I would tend to say yes!
I know smaller promotions still exist but not in the way they did in the 70's and 80's where you had Stampede Wrestling in Canada, the AWA in the Midwest, WCCW in Texas, the UWF briefly in the Arkansas/Louisiana area, the NWA in the south (along with Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid South Wrestling, and Florida Championship Wrestling,).
Each had their own TV shows, announcers, storylines, and live events, giving their wrestlers the chance to develop their ring skills and maybe more importantly their personalities and mic skills.
When Vince Mcmahon took the WWF/WWE national and international in the 80's he picked the best of the best from each promotion more or less to make his "super promotion" and it gave him plenty of talent to rotate thru the storylines and main events. He did it for several years too so there were always new faces (to the WWF) coming in to shake things up.
Examples...from Stampede came the Harts/Bulldogs etc., from the AWA Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, Bobby Heenan, and later Curt Hennig, Shawn Michaels, etc., WCCW gave them the Ultimate Warrior, the Undertaker, Kerry Von Erich, etc., Mid South gave us Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, Jeff Jarrett, Jerry Lawler, etc. I think you get the point.
Taking those stars from these other territories and going national of course led in one way or another to the end of all these promotions eventually.
Even in the "attitude" era the WWF/E would pull talent from ECW...can you say "Stone Cold Steve Austin"? But now where can the WWE go to get "new", nationally speaking, talent?
There are small promotions around but very few, if any, with weekly TV that I am aware of. Having good TV/mic skills is important in order to be a believable character and connect with fans. In fact, having a character people can connect with on some level is what propels you from wrestler to superstar! I would dare say it is more important than being a good wrestler (i.e. Hulk Hogan, the biggest superstar of all time but hardly the best wrestler).
Now, to combat the lack of "minor leagues" the WWE was using OVW (Ohio valley wrestling) to develop talent and now has FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) to do that. FCW just got a small regional TV deal in Florida as well so that should be a great help for the future of the WWE.
The downside is that FCW is owned by the WWE, which means the WWE is developing the wrestlers in the WWE mold, the way they think the talent should be.
I think it would be better to have some smaller promotions independent of the WWE with weekly TV in order to give us something different, something to break the mold of "wrestle like this, talk like this, use this type of entrance music, wear this type of gear," etc.
The smaller promotions independent of the WWE would benefit the fans and eventually the WWE! It is the wrestlers who are different and come at it in a different way that end up becoming the big names in the industry. Think about it...Hogan was different, Warrior was different, Austin was different, The Rock was different right?
I'm not sure what good this article will do other than helping me get my thoughts out to others. I would love to hear your opinion in the comments below!
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