Wrestling promotions that are WWEs biggest threats
Currently, WWE is riding high. While many fans love the product, others believe the company is creatively stagnant. With a three hour RAW and two hour Smackdown every single week, WWE seems to struggle to fill that time with meaningful content.
Fans on WWE news sites seem to yearn for the days of the Monday Night Wars, when RAW and Nitro fought tooth and nail, creating a wrestling boom that hasn’t been matched since that time. While wrestling hasn’t been the subject of water cooler talk in quite some time, WWE itself has never made more money. They have their TV licensing deals, international distribution deals, and merchandising. They have expanded to a third, more independent-style brand (NXT) and even created a UK branch of that very same brand.
As such, if someone asks me if anything is a threat to WWE, I would say there is currently no such thing. That said, here is one promotion that could become a threat someday, one that is a reasonable alternative if you’re a pure wrestling fan, and one that tried to compete in the past, albeit unsuccessfully.
AEW – All Elite Wrestling
A recent startup, this is the brainchild of wrestlers Cody Rhodes, the Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega along with financier Tony Khan. Their roster now consists of several former WWE and New Japan talent including the aforementioned creators as well as Chris Jericho, Pac, and various international imports. Obviously, with megastars like Jericho and Omega on board, these guys aren’t messing around.
What might make them competitive with WWE in the future is money. The Khans, owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, are multi-billionaires. If they’re willing to sink as much money into AEW as necessary, then the promotion stands a chance in the long term.
In short term, wrestling, like every sport, is about talent. AEW currently doesn’t have the talent pool to9 compete in any way. We’ll see how things improve as they move forward.
New Japan Pro Wrestling
If you are tired of WWE’s brand of Sports Entertainment and looking for something a little more pure in terms of Wrestling experience, you may want to look into New japan Pro Wrestling.
While you can find English commentary for a lot of their recent shows, New Japan’s output is decidedly niche. As such, it will never be WWE in North America, because they seem to have trouble expanding to international markets.
Nevertheless, if you’re any kind of fan of the Sport of wrestling, go watch these matches. Go visit the Cagematch website, look at the best matches in the last five years, and just go crazy. You will not be disappointed.
Impact / TNA
At different times, Impact has tried to compete with WWE. Sometimes, they tried to hire former WWE talent and push them to the moon. Once, they even hired Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in an attempt to reignite the Monday Night War.
Unfortunately, Impact has always been hounded by their booking. They built up a dedicated core fanbase, but would alwya s shoot themselves in the foot in various ways. Creatively speaking, the company may have been at its best in the early years when the X Division was flying high, but even then they’d shoot themselves in the foot with overbooked main events featuring everyone’s favorite charismatic singularity. Jeff Jarrett.
Now, they’re in deep trouble. While the product is improved, the show is on a tiny cable network late on Friday nights. A far cry from their heyday on Spike TV.