Wrestling 101: Introduction to the 2019 Wrestling Landscape by Jerry Whitworth
Professional wrestling, a staged live combat-based performance dating back two centuries, has seen its popularity rise and fall over the years. Reaching mainstream media in the 1980s with the rise of Hulkamania, pro wrestling hit its pinnacle in the ’90s during the so-called Monday Night Wars and the World Wrestling Federation’s Attitude Era. After WWF, known today as WWE (E for Entertainment), crushed and consumed its competition in World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling, the industry in many ways collapsed. The territories that largely fed companies like WWF/E and WCW died and gave way to a circuit that elder statesmen of wrestling consider “backyard wrestling” while WWE reverted back to its kid-friendlier days where Hulk Hogan reigned. Independent promotions such as Total Nonstop Action and Ring of Honor arose to try and fill the void left by the loss of WCW and ECW but they lacked the funding, fanbase, and reach of their predecessors. For nearly two decades, WWE has largely been the end-all, be-all of pro wrestling, though they have abandoned that description in favor of being instead “sports entertainment.” Now, with the emergence of All Elite Wrestling on TNT and its live weekly television series Dynamite, the paradigm is shifting as WWE has its first legitimate competition since the Monday Night Wars. What more, the largest portion of AEW’s audience is made up of new fans, children of fans, and returning fans that gave up on wrestling after the deaths of WCW and ECW. With so many new people and lapsed returning fans, we wanted to offer some insight into what content is readily available to consume.
Posted in Independent Wrestling, Professional Wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment
Tagged AEW, Impact Wrestling, Jerry Whitworth, Lucha Underground, MLW, New Japan Pro Wrestling, NJPW, NWA, NXT, Ring of Honor, WOW, WWE
King of Trios Returns to Easton by Jerry Whitworth
Tournaments are no stranger to professional wrestling and the independent scene has some notable ones: PWG Battle of Los Angeles (BOLA), ECWA Super 8, APW/PWR King of Indies. But arguably the most notable among these is King of Trios, the biggest event for one of the most dominant independent wrestling companies in the United States in Chikara. Attracting some of the finest wrestlers from across the planet including countries like Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, it’s a showcase of veterans (from companies like WWE, TNA Impact, and Ring of Honor) and future stars like A.J. Styles, Daniel Bryan, and the Young Bucks (the Jacksons having competed in four KOT tournaments). Just last year alone, WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne, inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate (and current NXT Tag Team Champion), and Mae Young Classic competitor Meiko Satomura were among the tournament entrants with Dunne, Bate, and fellow British Strong Style member and current NXT Tag Team Champion Trent Seven taking home the title (competitors are not separated by gender). In 2017, the three-night event took place in Wolverhampton, England but this coming August 31st, September 1st and 2nd, it comes home to the Palmer Center/Funplex in Easton, PA. Lets take a look at some of the sixteen teams competing.
Top 10: Indie Cruiserweights for the GCS by Jerry Whitworth
Announced in just the last few weeks, the WWE Network will be hosting the Global Cruiserweight Series, a tournament of wrestlers at or below 205 lbs. beginning July 13th. Featuring 32 entrants from around the world, the event will span ten weeks. Obviously, the combined WWE and NXT roster lacks the pool necessary to fill all 32 slots which means the GCS will be groundbreaking in bringing in freelance, independent performers for a tournament (reminiscent of the Super J Cup and Best of the Super Juniors). WWE will likely supply about fifteen entries, namely Stardust, Kalisto, Neville, Xavier Woods, Tyler Breeze, Austin Aries, Manny Andrade, Sami Zayn, Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, Chad Gable, Enzo Amore, Rich Swann, Christopher Girard, and Johnny Gargano. Thus, the company will require nearly twenty outside wrestlers to fill tourney blocks. There are, of course, limitations. It’s unlikely WWE will be able to secure talent from companies like NJPW, TNA, ROH, and CMLL which are arguably its biggest pro wrestling competitors (albeit distant competitors). However, promotions like Evolve and Chikara could likely supply performers and there may even be a chance of bringing in AAA (who supplies much of Lucha Underground’s roster) as the Mexican promotion is in documented financial problems of late (though, LU agreements might cause issues for making this happen as LU reportedly met with WWE previously to seemingly toxic results). Should AAA (the third biggest wrestling promotion on the planet) become a viable option, this could mean the addition of the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr, Fénix, Pentagón Jr, Drago, El Hijo del Fantasma (King Cuerno on LU), Aero Star, Jack Evans, and Angélico. Lets then take a look at what wrestlers could likely emerge in the GCS.