If AEW, Impact, New Japan, and more combine forces, watch out.
Impact’s Slammiversary pay-per-view on Saturday was a huge success. The card was full of non-Impact talent making appearances. Thunder Rosa (an NWA talent) challenged Deonna Purrazzo for the Knockouts Championship. After the match, Mickie James extended an invitation to Purrazzo to join the NWA Women’s pay-per-view. FinJuice returned to Impact after becoming stars in Japan. AEW’s Kenny Omega retained the Impact World Championship which he has held as an outsider since April. After Omega’s successful defense, he was met by New Japan star Jay White.
Switchblade Jay White is in IMPACT! Wow! pic.twitter.com/Hrq6UtK0Wm
— SkullsMedia.com by GIFSkull (@SkullsMedia) July 18, 2021
Much like in Loki, the door to the multiverse is now open.
The seeds have been planted for a while to see cross-company talents in wrestling. AEW has had a good working relationship with Impact for a few months now. Omega is obviously holding both company’s top belts, and the Good Brothers have made plenty of appearances on AEW. KENTA has appeared on Dynamite to set up a match with Jon Moxley, who himself has defended the IWGP United States Championship in AEW.
WWE has been the biggest game in town for years. Ever since the downfall of WCW (or for TNA fans, the failed move to Monday nights) there hasn’t been a singular company to challenge WWE. AEW has the best chance to be a major player and overtake WWE. Their best bet to do so: create a wrestling universe like the MCU.
A Tale of Two Universes
Any fan of the WWE knows they’re a part of the WWE Universe™. WWE really has created a universe of content and wrestling. There is the main product of Raw & SmackDown, the grittier super-independent NXT, cruiserweight focused 205 Live, and region-specific NXT UK. WWE has even flirted with creating an NXT Japan & NXT India. The plan for WWE is to offer so much wrestling that fans can pick and choose which products they watch from their diverse offerings.
When someone from another brand shows up in WWE, fans love it. Finn Balor returned to SmackDown on Friday to huge applause. Cesaro appeared in NXT UK to fight Ilya Dragunov in a dream match. Any NXT call-up to Raw or SmackDown feels like a huge addition.
THIS IS HAPPENING!@FinnBalor is BACK on #SmackDown! pic.twitter.com/wzdshGreHu
— WWE (@WWE) July 17, 2021
With a working relationship in place, AEW and other companies can combine forces to combat the WWE machine. Each company provides different stars and storylines and different styles. If you want hard-hitting, you go to New Japan. AAA provides lucha libre style. AEW & Impact provide more typical western wrestling stories with strong character work. NWA even offers a throwback style for fans who long for the olden days.
The Forbidden Door is Open
Now that working relationships have developed, fans wanting an alternative to WWE can piece together which companies they’d watch. Much like selecting channel packages of old, wrestling fans can now choose to follow one or more companies. If a particular wrestler heads to another one of the companies, fans can follow them over to see what that company is running.
Bringing in the different talent will get different eyes on these promotions that are running quality shows right now. AEW will be the main attraction for western fans, and they’re already making headway in the ratings game. If AEW, Impact, New Japan and the rest fully invest in cross-promotion storylines and getting exposure for their new stars they can collectively become bigger than the WWE machine.
Follow Evan Gomes on Twitter at @ItsEvanGomes, and check out the Crossbody of Work Podcast on Twitter and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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