Is There Still Competition for WWE? | Scott's Squared Circle #7

Updated: Apr 12

What’s the biggest problem with WWE?

Wait! Don’t guess we’ll be here all day, but a big contribution to the perceived stale product is a lack of credible competition.

Everyone likes to talk about how great the Attitude Era was, but the thing is, that’s because WWE had to be great to stay in business. The reason it was so great is because WWE realised they had to change up the product to reach out to the fans at the time and compete with WCW.

For a long time after WCW went out of business, it was felt WWE didn’t have to try because there was nowhere else the superstars could go and make the same money. That was true in the early tomid 2000’s but now that’s not the case.

Even if there wasn’t anywhere else for people to go that’s no excuse for not trying.The whole of 2000 and early 2001 WWE could do no wrong despite their main competitor being as good as dead.

To say there is no competition would be untrue. There’s no company as threatening as WCW was back in the day but there are a more than a few alternatives.

TNA/Impact/GFW or whatever they are known as at the moment seemed, at a time, to be on the right track to being a viable alternative to WWE, but ruined it spectacularly through their own stupidity. They’ve gotten to the point now where as much as they try they can never compete with WWE.

The UK independent scene is booming right now, with companies such as Progress and Rev:Pro growing to such an extent that the former is putting on shows at the Wembley arena, no mean feat for what is perceived a small company. In fact, the scene has exploded to the point that WWE has had to acknowledge this with the UK tournament and championship.

The closest thing to competition WWE has at the moment is quite easily New Japan Pro Wrestling - the biggest wrestling promotion in Japan - and to a certain extent Ring of Honor due to its relationship and talent sharing philosophy they have with NJPW.

The fact is, the Japanese juggernaut are selling out the Tokyo Dome every year, which holds around 40,000 people, meaning they’re the closest thing to WWE in terms of drawing in fans by a considerable distance!

In the minds of the majority of fans, NJPW has some of the best wrestlers not contracted to WWE. Names such as Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, The Young Bucks, Testsuya Naito and Hiroshi Tanahashi are lauded the world over as some of the best talent working in the business today, talent that is capable of putting on quality matches, week in week out, as Dave Meltzer’s now broken ratings scale can atest!

There is a theory going around that WWE changed the Survivor Series card to feature Shield vs New Day and Brock vs AJ and put Triple H in the men’s 5 on 5 as a response to Chris Jericho announcing he would face Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12 - an announcement that understandably shook the wrestling world!

I can’t say whether this is true or not but if so, GOOD!

On the one hand, we shouldn’t criticise the company for responding to another company by improving the card of their show. That shows they realise they need to step up their game, which gave us a match of the year candidate between Brock and AJ. On the however, why should it take another company to produce something excellent for the WWE to raise their game?

A true test for ROH in terms of being a competitor to WWE, is if they can sell out a 10,000-seat arena next year.It has been nearly 20years since a company other than WWE has sold out a 10,000+ arena, but if anyone has the sway to do so outside of the WWE, it is the The Bullet Club. Besides this, according to Cody himself, the dream main event would be himself vs Daniel Bryan for the ROH world title. If they get that main event they’ll almost certainly sell out!

A fear is that WWE will resort to something petty like sending out Cease and Desist,or do a show just down the road from them to draw people away. That’s the worst thing they can do as it will give more frustrated fans more ammunition and will drive them away from WWE in the long term!

The best thing they can do is around the same time put on a show with the best possible card they can put together. History has shown WWE is capable of putting on a great show when their backs against the wall - see TLC as a recent example.

If WWE steps up their game to compete with the growing Indie Scene and the startling rise in popularity in NJPW and ROH,then the fans are the true winners!

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