By Bayani Domingo, Associate Editor
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Twitter will hurt my feelings. There is something decidedly Pro Wrestling about the way that Twitter has become the preferred
method to begin and progress a feud. The WWE have decided that they didn’t like the idea of the Youngbucks making a few…bucks, off the “Too Sweet” hand gesture and catchphrase. Issuing a “Cease and Desist Order” a short time ago. Chris Jericho appears to be embroiled in a Twitter war with Kenny Omega, and now it appears there are rumors that Neville is trying to negotiate his way out of his contract to jump to NJPW, but the E is trying to secure a commitment he will return. Twitter: Like Middle School, but EVERYONE has gotten their period.
The E’s obsession with the Youngbucks is curious to say the least. They are trying to prevent the ‘Bucks from profiting off a copyrighted gesture that has basically made the E $0.05 in the past 10 years. The fact that the ‘Bucks are using it as an homage to the nWo should be flattering, what’s more is they are keeping that faction relevant today. While they might not have been over the moon with The Elite picking a fight with The Revival, The Revival needs to be revived on their own. Injuries have derailed that team to the point that they are basically irrelevant, barring a long period of dominance. Now what I believe is the TRUE driving force of the E’s vendetta against the ‘Bucks and The Elite in general can be seen clearly on live TV each and every week. Wrestling fans might wear their hearts on their sleeves, but they’re wearing The Bullet Club on their chest.
The E can’t be happy that you almost as many BC shirts in the crowd as you see WWE. The E even managed to lure away some key pieces of Bullet Club. First Finn Balor arrived on the scene, then AJ Styles, Gallows, and Anderson appeared together. The pieces were in place to cash in on some of that BC magic. Then something happened in the E, they managed to “Vince it up”, and spoiled any chance of turning “The Club” into the next dominant faction the way they did with the Wyatt Family. Some say that it’s because Vince doesn’t like anything he hasn’t created from scratch himself, others say it was because they were merely trying to lure talent away from a competitor in order to hurt them. But for whatever reason they managed to turn an ATM into a Redbox.
If you ran through a list of hand gestures that could touch off a literal war, you’d find very far down the gesture which vaguely resembles a little bunny head. Yet it’s just that gesture that is at the center of a growing feud between an Elite Faction and the 1,000 lbs gorilla in the industry. In America, Scandal and Controversy sells, in Japan it’s generally shied away from. Yet the brash and cocky Youngbucks have not only found a home in New Japan Pro Wrestling, they’ve risen to the top of the card in the biggest company in Japan. This is the kind of made for TV drama that Vince McMahon would usually salivate at taking advantage of, so one has to wonder whether or not he’s going to take this opportunity try to hold down the little guy or try to turn controversy into cash. Cross promotions can often be beneficial to both parties, especially when each party isn’t necessarily a competitor in the other’s market.
TNA had been an absolute train wreck for the past several years, however after their merger with GFW they began to show signs of returning to some of the characteristics that made them such a popular alternative to the E in the first place. Chief amongst these changes was the renewed relationship with other international companies. Their working relationship with AAA (and LU by association) and Pro Wrestling NOAH meant that they had access to new talent they wouldn’t otherwise be able to book. GFW was able to bring in the excitement of a Marafuji or Ishimora without having to sign them outright. They were also able to push them as major stars through promoting them and booking them in competitive matches, but were able to put their own talent over them as long as they were somewhat “protected”. Eddie Edwards is even the first American to ever hold the GHC Heavyweight title. GFW may not be doing a ton right now, but international marketing and relations is one of them.
It would make a lot of sense for the WWE to enter into a similar kind of business arrangement. In fact, the WWF used to have these kinds of exchanges or cross promotions all the time. The E has already shown a willingness to book talent that isn’t on their payroll and doesn’t have an exclusive contract. Just look at the CWC, UK, and Women’s Tournaments down in NXT. While you could argue that these were merely used as “extended tryouts” for the sole purpose of scouting and then signing talent, it is unquestioned that these were popular events. The WWE would be able to utilize these kinds of agreements to avoid circumstances where you need wrestlers from other brands or even retired wrestlers turned GMs to fill in when you have an emergency. You could also utilize their talents to help legitimize other wrestlers like Nakamura, The Club, Balor, and Itami by booking them in matches they may still be more accustomed to stylistically.
The E could use the exposure in Japan to hype up future tours, Network subscriptions, and marketing opportunities. Being able to utilize an exchange could also be a way of scouting more talent, as well as giving their own talent a possible landing spot for “future development”. Imaging if an agreement had already been in place where a Neville, or Nia Jax, or Cody Rhodes could’ve taken a “leave” in order to work in Japan, develop their character and a following, or in Nia’s case, improve her in-ring performance before returning. A Japanese company could also benefit from the exposure, but could also use this as an opportunity to have access to talent that might be let go from the E they may not have leverage with prior. If a company like NJPW is going to lose talent to the E eventually, why not set up a way to recoup some of their losses by having the ability to sign talent the E might not even want or be able to utilize. Not to mention exposure to their talent in the US on a national stage that an RoH or GFW wouldn’t be able to provide.
The problem with a business relationship with the E and any other promotion, foreign OR domestic, is that ultimately Vince sees EVERYONE as a competitor. While they have had some working relationships with other Indy promotions recently, it’s only because they are considered too small to matter to Vince. A company like NJPW, AJPW, or even Dragon Gate might be considered too close for comfort because ultimately Vince wants to own the entire industry worldwide. Unfortunately, that kind of ambition is expensive and difficult to manage. They can’t even seem to get the UK show off the ground. Taking a cue from GFW could ultimately provide a big boost to a company which seems to be a little lost creatively. A short program and “invasion” by the real BC could be a nice payday for everyone involved. But if we know anything about Vince, it’s that he doesn’t want to share profit, he wants ALL the money. That, however, is exactly what he’s getting, 100% share of absolutely $0.
- Kenny Omega has been announced for the entire RoH Global Wars tour. I wonder if we’ll see him abide by the Cease and Desist order as well with some “One Sweet” and “Slurp It” chants?
- There’s a rumor that Ronda Rousey could headline WM34. The WWE is hoping that Rousey could be the highest grossing woman wrestler of all time. Not to be confused with Sunny who is now the highest and grossest woman wrestler.
- It was bittersweet to see that Chuck Taylor dropped the PWG belt to Ricochet over the weekend. But I’m sure he’ll get the title back immediately. Yes folks, that’s what’s known as an Occam’s Pun. #SometimesTheMostObviousJokeIsTheRightJoke
- Jeff Jarrett has reportedly checked himself into rehab after officially being let go from GFW. I guess you can now spell his name “J-E-Double-Scotch, J-A-Double-Rum, E-Double-Vodka!”
- Why is one of the Crist brothers wearing the same clothes from his bartending gig at the gastropub to the wrestle in? Maybe that’s a good gimmick? Like he’s moonlighting and he’s really a bartender. Which means he’ll totally “no sell” his opponents, but they can always send up their cute girlfriends instead to pin him. “What the hell man?? I’ve been waiting to pin this guy for like a half hour now! Well maybe if I snap my fingers or wave my hand frantically…”
- You know what would’ve made the Women’s NXT Battle Royal more exciting and cutthroat? Had they booked it the same day all of them had finally sync’ed up their periods. Cuz that’s when most when are really “over the top”. Also, would’ve been a good time to book a “First Blood” match as well.
- I’ll admit it, I was as surprised as anyone to see the Bashem Brothers back in WWE. If they’d only been able to beat Moss and Sabbatelli in NXT it would’ve been a more successful return.
- Did we figure out why all the Heels on 205 Live have suddenly decided to back Enzo again? Isn’t it like declaring the Opioid Epidemic a National Crisis, and then celebrating the new conference with an Vico-tini?
- How has the E not put 2 and 2 together to team up one of their newest promising young Heels with Susan G. Komen to raise money for Breast Cancer awareness You’re telling me a 5K “Walk with Elias” wouldn’t raise some dough?
- Sacrificing Finn Balor to make a 84 year old Kane look strong is just bonkers to me. Building up a part-timer who has maybe another handful of matches left in him by jobbing a former blue chipper is bizarre. If Kane continues to wrestle into 2018 they’ll have to change his finisher to the “Chokeslam from AARP”.
- Jinder Mahal vs Brock Lesner should be interesting from a booking standpoint. With all of those little Indian guys running around illegally causing mischief. I just wonder if now Suplex City has become a sanctuary city?
- It feels like they’re trying to turn the Usos/New Day/Benjamin-Gable 3-way feud into a Hardyz/E&C/Dudleyz type program. I’m not sure we’ll get that level of match quality, but I’m intrigued. And while the previous program featured 2 sets of Kayfabe brothers and only 1 REAL set of brothers. This feud features 3 “Bruthas”…because Shelton gave up his card years ago when that dude when platinum. Looking like a backup dancer in the “Lemonade” video…please…
- The only reason Smackdown was able to invade RAW this week is because Kurt Angle is soft on boarders. Which isn’t really his fault, he just hasn’t downloaded all the Instagram filters yet.
- I love how Sami is still be-bopping and skanking his way out to the ring during his entrance. Like he doesn’t have a care or clue in the world that he’s now a heel. The only way this could be more relevant to today is if he started attacking the “Fake IWC Media” and jump shooting Wonderbras to breast cancer survivors in a crowd.
- If you REALLY want to rev up a storyline involving MMA fighters and wrestlers, just add Stephen Bonnar to the mix! Said no one ever. That’s like releasing a teaser trailer at Comic Con for the new upcoming Star Wars stand-alone movie starring Jar Jar Binks. Me-sa wanna commit-sa suicide-sa in the theater-sa.
- Just curious, but are there any openly gay MMA fighters? Is there an entire gym that is LGBTQ friendly? Is there a chance we’ll ever see a showdown between “American Top Team” and “American Power Bottom Team”.