It is no secret that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) keep a tight lock on their talent. It is how they keep shows airing live week after week and house shows going (even if they are impacting the televised shows). This exclusivity on the wrestlers is holding back a lot of fan favorite dream matches. The question is, has the draw power of the WWE started to die?
The power of the WWE to create new stars is evident in the sheer number of them they have created since the mid 80’s. It was viewed as possibly the death of the WWE when they lost Hogan to World Championship Wrestling (WCW)- though Hogan had not been on WWE programming for quite a while, he was still viewed as a Vince guy. His jumping to WCW was newsworthy and shocking. WWE were forced to push new athletes and make new stars to fill the wake left by the Hogan yacht. This is when we saw Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels both make their ways to the very top of the company.
Recently we saw the release of Cody Rhodes from WWE. Sure, he is no Hulk Hogan but he has a strong fan base and he has been making waves on social media. One thing he has done is release a list of dream matches he would like to have now that he is no longer exclusive to the WWE. He is getting one of those matches, with another former WWE guy- Kurt Angle, at Northeast Wrestlings “Wrestling Under the Stars” even later this year.
Cody is just one of the recent people to go “indie” with their wrestling career but he is one of the most vocal about it. This has brought up a few questions about the exclusivity that WWE imposes on their wrestlers. Draw power of the talent could be increased if they were allowed to work non-WWE events.
For one, is it really a good thing? Would it be worth it to the WWE to work with other wrestling companies to help build new stars? Similar to how they worked with Extreme Championship Wrestling- who in turn was working with WCW (either behind Vince’s back or with his blessing). The match I am thinking about is when Taz, under contract with WWE returned to ECW and fought Mike Awesome, who was under contract with WCW.
Imagine if Wrestlemania was truly like the Super Bowl or similar annual event. I know that won’t happen but it would be nice to see other companies represented at “the grandest stage of them all” event. It would definitely be nice to see unique matches only at Wrestlemania.
Do you think the draw power of the WWE is dying or is it just getting more focused? There is no doubt that the WWE are the biggest wrestling company out there, by a large margin, but are they still the best for the business?