The wrestling industry as we no longer know it

If you ever watch the movie “Other People’s Money”, you should watch the speeches made by Gregory Peck and Danny Devito. In the movie, Peck’s character tries to rally the shareholders to stay the course, believe in us, and trust in tradition. Devito’s character preaches dollar and common sense over nostalgia and feelings.

You can replace steel mill, insert wrestling industry, and have the same argument except with fans/performers vs corporate business.

Between the booming business of WWE, the rise of TNA via NXT partnership, AEW’s struggles and the Who Killed WCW documentary, it’s becoming clear. In a world where television and social/digital media are prime real estate, the guys who specialize in that are the people who wrestling companies have to listen to.

The ironic part is that by saying this I probably will have both AEW fan boys and Jim Cornette fan boys united against my take.

And you are unfortunately wrong as the industry is we loved is no longer able to function in what wrestling fans are accustomed to. As we are or have learned, the wrestling industry has changed in many ways starting with the following

5 STAR MATCHES DON’T MATTER: Remember when we talked about the good old days of Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat, or Steamboat-Savage, Michaels-Angle or even Flair-Michaels?

Those and the “banger” wrestling match that people gush about are as obsolete as the VCR player.

Part of it is the audience which consists of a new generation that doesn’t care about long matches or moves sets. To them there is no difference between a Spanish Fly and a scoop slam, it’s a wrestling move that is done in the ring.

Instead, characters and promos with drama are taking over and becoming must see television. Case in point, the hottest angle right now in professional wrestling is between two guys that haven’t even wrestled each other yet.

Drew McIntyre vs. CM Punk has been money as the two have traded insults, screwed each other out of wins or jumped the other, gone on social media and blasted one another.

Fans are eating it up like ice cream on a hot summer day and TV and media execs are paying attention to it. They see the X and Instagram engagements, the Tik Tok likes and the monetization and are jumping on it to capitalize quicker than anything.

Which leads to the next point.

MARKETABILITY OVER WRESTLING ABILITY: I can feel the heat now as I am about to say the following that will make people’s heads turn; AJ Francis and Joe Hendry are more important than Bryan Danielson and Ricochet. And both men above are better suited to be world champions for any wrestling company than the other two down below.

Again, to the wrestling purists and the hardcore sickos what I suggested is the equivalent of saying pigs fly and the earth is flat. That I don’t know what I am talking about or I am trolling AEW or independent wrestling altogether.

And to that I would say, you’re missing the point.

The basis of being your world champion of the company is to draw money, reach a wider audience, be believable to casual viewers and help make wrestling cool.

AJ Francis is a guy who is a former NFL Player that already has marketing deals with Cheez-It, Citrus Bowl and other mainstream companies. He is phenomenal on the mic and at 6’6 290 pounds is an intimidating force. Plus, he pretty damn hysterical and in TNA understands his limitations and what he excels at.

Joe Hendry is a guy who is incredibly creative, looks the part of a singer meets bodybuilder and is great at creating his own music and catchphrases. His NXT segment already has garnered over 950K views on WWE YouTube channel and his song hit #4 in the Big Top 40 music charts.

These guys are cool in an industry where too often pro wrestling is far from cool. They look the part, have charisma in spades, and can reach a crossover market that everyone wants to target.

Meanwhile Danielson and Ricochet are the exact opposite of what is sought after by networks. Both men look more like they walked out of an office building than a wrestling school and are not known for their promo work.

And while both men are extremely talented in the ring, between their insane bumps and their lack of size (5’10 & 5’9 at 200-210 pounds) it’s tough for people who are casuals to take them seriously.

Think of it from this aspect, do you think that Canelo Alvarez would beat Anthony Joshua in a fight? Because that is the difference in size between guys like Ricochet and Danielson and guys like Francis, McIntyre and Hendry.

People are visual creatures and if something does not pass the eyeball tests, they do not find it believable.

CHARISMA IS KEY: This is the toughest topic to address because it’s a universal truth that you cannot teach charisma. You either have it or not. You can bet that companies would love to bottle what The Miz and MJF have and stick it into young wrestlers and athletes coming into the industry

Charisma is what has made wrestling programs successful and continues to make wrestling successful. Look at AEW for example and when they were in its high period of ratings and momentum. It was when they had MJF vs. Punk or Cody, Punk vs Eddie Kingston, and Jade Cargill being a force of nature.

The common denominator was all of the above could get on the mic and cut promos that mesmerize the audience.

People often point to Eddie Guerrero as one of the best examples of “vanilla midgets” and precursor for the indy style to become big. What they missed was Latino Heat was able to make you believe in every word he said and captivate you with his style.

Go on YouTube and check out what clips and videos get the most likes and views. Not the matches but the promo battles between guys who can hold your attention.

WWE realized that early and recently are going more heavily into it with the pushing of LA Knight, Jake Paul, Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso. They have charisma in spades which you cannot deny.

You can teach someone to do a body slam, suplex, dropkick and armbar. They do it every day in wrestling schools across the world with some better than others. As a wise coach one told me when I was wrestling in high school “Do it enough in practice and it will be muscle memory”.

You can’t teach natural charisma as it’s something that is born within you and developed by nature. For every Junkyard Dog that could resonate with the crowd, we saw 10-15 wrestlers who had the move set but the personality of a radish.

These network executive types have seen it when casting for commercials, tv products and movies. Some actors have natural charm and personality that can make people just want to watch. Just see Dwayne Johnson as it has helped launch him from unknown actor to mega star.

Charisma is what political leaders, pitchmen and businessmen have used to sell the general public. Donald Trump is the perfect example as no matter what you feel about him, he has charisma in spades and it allowed him to take over the Republican Party and become president.

However, even if someone has Charisma, its only as good if the company has this;


I have the utmost respect for professional wrestlers as they have a toughness both in and out of the ring that is understated. Not only do they put their bodies on the line with their matches in the ring but have to deal with people invading their space, tribalism attacks, being creepy or insulting their work

For all the criticism I make about AEW or even WWE, I will be the FIRST person to tell you, I couldn’t do what they do in a million years. They are incredibly creative, driven and innovative in many ways possible.

They also are their own worst enemies and need to be saved from themselves because of their blinders.

For some wrestlers like the late Bray Wyatt, Matt Hardy, Dustin Rhodes or even Adam Copeland its needing to be reined in creatively. What worked before for them won’t work a second time or with another company simply because of a non-filter.

Look at Vince Russo in WCW as a perfect example for what I am talking about. In WWE, he had an editor in Vince McMahon to sometimes shoot down bad ideas and wrestling people to help work out the matches. When he got to WCW, he was in charge of everything and it went off the rails due to nobody helping smooth things out.

In WWE, you not only have a dozen agents, but nearly fourteen creative members (including five with major television studio experience) and two music producers. They are there to help not only to craft the show but to help plan the matches, work storylines and act as buffers and soundboards for the wrestlers.

And they need it as too often we hear of wrestlers doing foolish things or going with ill-advised plans. From hardcore matches, bleeding, intergender wrestling, and even non wrestling spots, wrestlers will get it in their head to try something for a big pop.

That is why you need not just producers who have wrestling experience but creative with TV experience. People who live outside the wrestling bubble who can look at it and give said performer a valid reason to avoid doing that.

While female wrestlers are eager to do intergender wrestling and want to wrestle men, a majority of the public is not okay with that. Especially corporate sponsors, toy companies and advertisers who pump money into the company.

Nobody wants to have their children see a grown man punch, slam, or elbow a woman half or a third of their size. Does not matter that its staged and rehearsed, the optics just are horrible.

And do not get me started on some of the crazy bumps and dives wrestlers want to do at times. Too often wrestlers try to outdo the other in who can do the best dive or high risk move or flip and will hurt one another.

Its why the producers and writers at times have to protect the wrestlers from themselves. Too often a lot of the performers who come from the independent scene don’t understand what television audiences want.

It’s not their fault as how could anyone know something that is not taught or known outside of the top levels. But what works in bingo halls, high school gyms and state fairs, won’t work when you’re dealing with national television audiences.

For them less is more, drama sells, and they want to be invested in characters rather than non-stop action. But it all boils down to the bottom line that separates successful companies from non-successful companies.


Certain writers on this site and in the pro wrestling media like to make this out to be a wrestling war and that you are on one side or the other. That old school promoters should be brought in or wrestlers should be in creative to help things along.

That is what gets companies in trouble as whomever is in charge has to look at the wrestling promotion as a business first.

Being a fan or part of the boys is the quickest way to ruin as history has shown.

Don’t believe me; just look at what happened when Eric Bischoff, Vince McMahon, Scott D’Amore, Dixie Carter, Tony Khan and Herb Abrams all decided to become part of the show.

Most of the time it got worse and even ruined the company.

You can’t be friends with wrestlers and then be their boss as it just won’t work. Same with any active wrestler being on the booking crew or having creative control over your character.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, the old saying goes.

One of the biggest reasons that the WWE has turned things around has been the addition of Nick Khan. A guy who never appears on camera, understands media and business better than anyone in the wrestling/combat sports world, and knows how to make money.

You need guys like that so that they can decide what contracts to renew and who to let go in an arbitrary manner. NFL teams do that all the time and the successful ones cut players before they are shot or become a big problem.

In the past, pro wrestling was often viewed as either a family business or an industry for insiders only. That you had to take care of the boys in the back or at least play office politics to get ahead. But as we have seen now in the last few years with WWE and now TNA, the industry is now all about business moguls and media experts.

The old ways are dead, and it is time to either adapt or perish.

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