WWE’s plan of “global localization” doesn’t paint a pretty picture. But it may also sound like WWE may be presumptuous and overreaching.
By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
The views and opinions herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those if the rest of the human race.
It is truly fascinating how the first step in literal world domination has quickly become one of the best shows on the network.
Consider the general malaise and or loathing of the main roster shows. If it were not for the women capturing the attention of the audience at the moment, these may well be the worst shows on television. And yet Raw and SmackDown are the shows that are paraded out to to the rest of the world on major networks. The same planet that Triple H came right out and said that the company is looking to take over continent by continent back at the 2018 Business Partner Summit in April.
More on how the bigger picture looks in a bit. For now, the first step of that “global localization” is well underway – and may be one of the best wrestling television shows of 2018.
NXT UK is a simple, action-packed hour of the best that the British isles has to offer. It’s what fans love about pro wrestling, presented as serious competition with a little bit of everything included.
Faction warfare? Check. The crew of Gallus (Wolfgang & the Coffey Brothers, Joe and Mark) have exerted their dominance for weeks. Now standing in their way is British Strong Style (Tyler Bate, Trent Seven and reigning NXT UK Champion – for 578 Days as of the date of this column – Pete Dunne). Fun fact: “Gallus” is the Lowland Scottish word for, “bold, daring or reckless.”
Tag team specialists? Check. Zack Gibson (who this crowd HATES, by the way – which is such fun to see) & James Drake (not to be confused with current WWN Champion JD Drake) look to continue their successful Progress pairing as NXT UK is slowly but surely working its way to crowning its tag-team champions also.
Hoss fights? Check. Dave Mastiff, weighing in at 322 lbs. (no clue how many stone that works out to, honestly) recently faced – and defeated – Tyson T-Bone. T-Bone is 245 lbs. but may as well weigh the same as Mastiff with how powerful he is.
Solid women’s action? Check. In fact, Rhea Ripley was just crowned the first NXT UK Women’s Champion on last week’s shows, having (surprisingly) defeated Toni Storm.
The stories are all centered around who’s better, dominating the competition, and easy-to-relate-to motivations. Nobody is reading anyone any bedtime stories, thinking that’s what’s going to get fans to want to see a match or anything crazy. Just men and women wanting to give it their all for fame and respect providing some of the best action in wrestling. You know, what wrestling should be.
Now, the (theoretical) bad news. This whole “global localization” bit.
For those late to the party, Triple-H pretty much laid out the company’s idea of “global localization” about eight months ago:
“We envision NXT style promotions, not just for fans in Europe, or the Middle East, but also India, South America, and more. It’s the same grassroots territory feeder system that existed before – except now, not on a national level but on a global level. And all under the WWE banner.”
And while some people are just now noticing that WWE is preparing for global domination, the Executive Vice-president of Talent, Live Events and Creative came right out and told us this is what his company was up to.
The word that WWE has restricted the talent contracts of those under its UK arm and has the option to buy out and shut down its partner independent promotions across the pond have left some to cry that the sky is falling (again) – that WWE wants to monopolize its industry and that the wrestling world is doomed.
Only, its not. Admittedly, the company’s approach to its plan of “global localization” doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Choking off talent and having the ability to completely close other companies sounds pretty dire. But it may also sound like WWE may be overreaching.
Executive Editor of this very site, Ryan K Boman, also warned of WWE’s move to take over the world but made a key statement in doing so: “In essence, WWE has gotten so enormous that they are the grotesque giant of the entire, wrestling world.” In other words, is WWE working on being too big to manage? Will it be able to properly govern all of these smaller arms – excuse me, brands – all over the globe, far out of its reach?
With so many to deal with, will WWE have the resources to be able to sustain them? And will they make enough money to justify being kept on the books or will the shareholders demand they be shut down themselves if they cannot be profitable? We don’t know that any of this will happen for certain, but these are certainly variables to consider in the overall plan.
Another key obstacle to this plan, crazy as it sounds, is free will. Companies and other talent floating in the free agent market, believe it or not, can always say “no.” There are scads of companies and performers working together in the industry so that they can carve their own niche instead of being beholden to the corporate giant. And there may be more to come.
What happens when people like Tye Dillinger, the Authors of Pain, Sarah Logan and others get tired of trying to reach for that brass ring and being relegated to also-ran status by the creative powers-that-be? Once their contracts come due, they can always leave. It’s worked wonders for Cody Rhodes and Tenille Dashwood, who have proven there is life after WWE.
From a quality product standpoint, NXT UK is a great show. And while others may look to spoil it by standing on their soapboxes, the future may not be as dire as you’ve been med to believe this week. There is such a thing as free will out there and pro wrestling already survived one watershed moment of monopoly (a moment that even Vince McMahon came to regret) by creating competition that has banded together and seems to be doing just fine without WWE. There’s no reason to believe the industry can’t survive WWE’s Machiavellian plan of “global localization.”