Friday, June 22, 2007

McMahon Death Angle & Effects on Indy Wrestling

The one question I've been asked more than any other in recent days is my opinion on the McMahon death angle currently going on in WWE and what effect, if any, it will have on independent wrestling.

Ever since I started promoting wrestling, I've tried to make it a point not to publicly criticize other companies. I am going to make an exception here, because this is one time that a very important line has been crossed by WWE.

What makes pro wrestling unique is that while we present a form of entertainment with a dash of fiction, our participants are real to our fans. Many work under their real names and their in ring personas are simply exaggerations of their own personalities. What makes wrestling really work is creating the credible combination of action and emotion that makes you care enough to buy a ticket and keep coming back to watch.

The staged death of Vince McMahon is a story with no payoff. It has played with the very real emotions of its most loyal fans and they have been made to feel like fools for it. It is not good business for the company and its shareholders.

Does this effect the independent wrestling scene? Everything WWE does has some effect. For the average person, WWE is pro wrestling. Everything else that calls itself that will always be compared to it. This is certainly not going to bring our business more respect. In fact, it makes the job of a company like ours more difficult, because we have to live down the negative stigma that this kind of bad taste creates.

The silver lining to this cloud is that perhaps this underscores the idea that choice is good and if you live wrestling, but hate WWE's version of it, seek out the alternatives - whether it be TNA, ROH, NECW or something else. Wrestling does not begin and end with WWE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too true, the only problem is that for 99.44% of the world's population, the pro wrestling world begins and ends with the WWE. So it's tough for me, as a wrestling fan to explain that it's more than just a "male soap opera", when the WWE makes angles like this to attract an audience they have no chance (in hell) of getting.

People want a pro wrestling product that promotes the sport of wrestling, but as anyone who hasn't lived under a rock for the past 5 years has noticed, UFC stepped in, and wrestling fans said "well, that's close enough for me", and follow that product again.

There was a time in the video game industry, in the early 80s, where using the words "video games" was a bad thing (they wanted to call their products "simulations" to distance themselves from the product). IMO, two to three years from now, promoters are going to stop using the term "pro wrestling", because of the stigma WWE and Vince McMahon are going to leave on the business.

Just think about the kind of reaction in conversation you get when you say the words "sports entertainment". To say it pisses off the average fight fan would be an understatement.