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Have We Forgotten About the History of Pro Wrestling?

Earlier this week, WWE announced that they will be airing EVOLVE Wrestling’s 10th Anniversary show on the WWE Network. Many people are offended, outraged and upset because AEW will have an event known as Fight for the Fallen on the same day. This is a show that will raise money for shooting victims and therefore the thought is that WWE airing EVOLVE is a petty move. Multiple wrestlers from multiple promotions have engaged in a lot of feuds on Twitter as late, but all of them have lost sight of the history of the business. Unfortunately, social media is a place where a lot of irrelevant people think their opinion is relevant without doing any research or providing facts. Let me provide a history lesson and some facts for you so that you can understand that this is nothing new.

In 1988, Wrestlemania was already gaining steam with it’s success and had a tournament lined up that year for vacated WWE Championship. The N.W.A. decided to go head to head with a free TV show known as, “Clash of the Champions.” Both companies had great cards and did extraordinary business on that night. Randy Savage became WWE Champion and Ric Flair put Sting on the map as a household name. No one was upset about competition or that they ran head to head. It was an all around great night for professional wrestling. Fast forward seven years and the birth of WCW Nitro, which went head to head with Monday Night Raw. For eighty three weeks WCW beat WWE in the ratings, but it wasn’t without controversy. Those who complain about WWE’s “dirty” tactics forgtet some of things Eric Bischoff were pretty low. He gave away the results of Monday Night Raw and thought it was a great idea to have Madusa throw the WWE Women’s Title in the trash. You also can’t forget that Rick Rude appeared on Nitro and Raw in the same night due to Raw’s tape delays at the time. That was low blow, but it was okay right? No one was upset with those actions, because oddly enough it was WWE being hurt.

It’s interesting that Wrestlemania got to be as big as it’s become, because for all the criticism WWE gets everyone likes to latch on to that weekend. I mean you have ROH Supercard of Honor that runs the night before Wrestlemania now. In recent years, Impact Wrestling, Major League Wrestling and other wrestling shows take place in the same area as Wrestlemania. Now I know reports came out that WWE was trying to prevent New Japan and Ring of Honor from running Madison Square Garden earlier this year and I think that was wrong. However, these smaller shows wouldn’t have the spotlight or the mainstream media attention if Wrestlemania Weekend wasn’t such a huge event. Personally, I have no problem with all these promotions running the same weekend because it’s good for the industry and the city’s economy. I just find it funny that some people within these companies crap all over Vince McMahon and WWE, when it was their hard work that made Wrestlemania Weekend the huge weekend it has become.

There are a lot narratives and pictures that people paint of Vince McMahon and WWE, because they don’t do research and look at the whole history of the wrestling industry. There is this attitude that Triple H is poaching all the best talent from the independents and robbing promotions without giving anything back. Back in the mid 80’s, Vince McMahon was getting the best superstars from each territories and the only people upset were territorial owners. Pro wrestling fans ate it up and fed the machine, because they were getting new faces and fresh matches. What do you think Triple H is trying to do? He’s trying to build up the WWE for the next fifteen to twenty years in the same exact way Vince did in the 80’s. WCW also did it when Ted Turner gave Eric Bischoff the reigns to do whatever was necessary to compete with Vince. Bischoff signed Hogan, Savage, Earthquake, Brutus the Barber Beefcake, Rowdy Roddy Piper and more. Bischoff did it to ECW well. McMahon retaliated with some funny skits poking fun of Hogan and Savage, but there wasn’t this outcry and outrage about it. They simply fought back.

The other narrative in regards to talent is that Vince McMahon holds his talent hostage. Well if you truly believe that than you can thank Lex Luger for that. Luger was working for WWE in the mid 90’s and at one point was working without a contract in 1995. Many people have come forward in the past and stated Luger had verbally agreed to stay with WWE. Within two weeks of a major WWE pay-per-view appearance, Luger showed up on the first episode of WCW Nitro to the surprise of everyone. This could be the very reason that McMahon has stipulations of no compete clauses and other things in his contracts. He trusted people at their world Why should someone be able to piggyback off of someone else’s investment? There are a lot of businesses out there who have no compete clauses in place so if an employee leaves they can’t jump ship right away and trade company secrets so to speak.

The other narrative that I hear the most is WWE doesn’t want competition and wants to crumble everyone who has any momentum. I’m assuming those who think that never watched Monday Night Raw in 1997. Back in 1997, WWE featured ECW on Monday Night Raw for a period of time to help ECW get attention for their first ever pay-per-view. Paul Heyman and ECW were smart because they didn’t use the same “dirty” tactics that WCW did. ECW was competition for both companies, but never once did ECW ever go out of it’s way to try and damage WWE like Bischoff did with WCW. I believe WWE wanted ECW to succeed because ECW appealed to an audience that WWE and WCW couldn’t. Even in 2000, WWE allowed Tazz to go back to ECW to help the company out with a problem that WCW created. Tazz took on Mike Awesome, who jumped to WCW without ever dropping the ECW Championship. An arrangement was made by WWE to allow Tazz to win the ECW Championship and even wear it on an episode of WWE Smackdown. People also forget that once the Monday Night Wars were over, Vince had enough respect for Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman that he gave them both jobs. The “heartless” human being that people make Vince out to be could have just let Heyman and Bischoff fall into obscurity. Even now in 2019, he values their accomplishments that he’s brought them both back to run Raw and Smackdown.

So here we are now and on July 13th, AEW will be airing Fight for the Fallen on Bleacher Report and EVOLVE Wrestling’s Tenth Anniversary will air on the WWE Network. EVOLVE streaming on the WWE Network is not going to effect the money AEW is going to raise for the charity. The tickets for Fight for the Fallen have already been bought and paid for and it’s also going to stream for free. If people are that rattled by this they would have never survived the Attitude Era. They wouldn’t have been able to handle DX invading WCW or showing up at CNN’s building. If your memory is not working correctly, The Elite took a page from DX last year when the invaded Raw a year ago and again everyone thought it was the coolest thing in the world. They would have had a panic attack when WCW and WWE ran a show in the same town on the same night. They would have been outraged when Eric Bischoff challenged Vince McMahon to a fight on national television. A lot of chaos took place during the Monday Night Wars and I loved it. I didn’t complain about the cheap shots, I didn’t complain when a superstar jumped ship and I didn’t complain that they were on the same day. As a teenager in that time, I absolutely loved what was going on when Monday Nights rolled around.

Pro wrestling fans need to stop being so sensitive and enjoy the fact there are so many options now. You have AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, NWA, New Japan, Ring of Honor and everything under the WWE umbrella. Some wrestlers don’t make it in one company, but that doesn’t mean they can’t thrive in others. If you are making money and being successful than why go out of your to be bitter and attack other companies? If you forgot, not too long ago Cody Rhodes took a shot at Triple H and everyone thought it was the coolest thing ever. All of a sudden WWE airs an independent show on their network the same day as an AEW show and everyone is all up in arms over it. The wrestling industry is heating, so there is no room for snowflakes who can’t handle the fire. My advice to both wrestlers and wrestling fans is stay off social media and enjoy the shows. Social media has ruined society in general but specifically the pro wrestling industry. As I said before, social media is a place where a lot of irrelevant people think their opinion is relevant. If you want to be relevant than do some research, contribute instead of complain, and provide thoughts that are intelligent and insightful. You can have your opinions, you can have your complaints, but you cannot deny the history and facts that have been laid out right in front of you.

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