Unlike UFC who have lost some of their top-drawer fighters recently through self-imposed sabbaticals and injury, WWE have some of their top names back, and coupled with a sprinkling of new talent being called up from NXT, they should be heavy on talent in the coming months.
They have Brock Lesnar back for a WrestleMania push and Batista returning to bolster the main event scene. At the end of the 9th December edition of Monday night RAW, we were presented with various potential storyline teases that would have fans eager in anticipation if they were to materialise. CM Punk v HHH, the potential master versus pupil match between HBK and Daniel Bryan, or possibly even the Bryan v HHH pay off that never happened when HHH screwed him out of the belt, helping Randy Orton cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at SummerSlam. You also have the slow build to The Shield breaking up, and who goes where from that, with Roman Reigns being lined up for a huge push as the next big thing.
So as it stands there is a lot of potential good viewing and money for WWE bubbling on the horizon. But what happens in a few years’ time when the current crop of stars becomes stale. Will the WWE still be churning out good talent from their new performance centre?
Opened in Orlando, Florida in July 2013 the centre provides an excellent training facility for the students at NXT, and the potential Superstars that come through their doors. Recent NXT graduates have proved successful when brought up to main roster, such as The Wyatt Family, The Shield, and Big E Langston. The next few getting the call will surely be Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, Paige and Emma.
But going forward, if everyone is continually trained the same way, ‘the WWE way’, then won’t they all end up essentially the same? If you were to cut your teeth on the independent circuit, you might find yourself in a 15 minute match with a 30 year old veteran who’s had his run and just can’t retire. What you pick up from this match would be more beneficial than having a 15 minute match with your doppelganger from the same training facility.
Will we get a bunch of HHH handpicked robots, who fit the same size and mould they feel we want to see, or that they believe have the look and physique to ‘be the top guy’ – only time will tell. They have recently declined to pick up Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards after their recent try outs, stating they have plenty already in a similar size. If they are considered 2 of the best guys on the independent circuit then it does not bode well for anyone trying to break in from that route going forward.
Of course they could still cherry pick the best of the indies when required, but they have already proven with Daniel Bryan that they don’t really know what to do with them when they do. They have yet to fully trust Bryan to be the guy to carry the promotion, despite an over whelming support from the fans.
The decline in territory based wrestling and the lack of any real competition from other wrestling promotions has only cemented WWE’s position and view that it’s their way or no way for new talent. TNA has never materialised as a true competitor, so wrestlers have no mainstream alternative anymore to challenge the WWE machine.
With such a monopoly I believe after time, the in ring action will become stale and somewhat predictable, although no doubt highly polished and accompanied by the usual quality production and razzmatazz.
Hopefully I will be proved wrong and WWE will relax their view on external talent that has not been brought up through their ranks.