Even sandwiched between two WWE PPVs in two weeks, there’s still not much going on outside of NXT. Let’s hit the mailbag.
So with Daniel Bryan possibly retiring, Ian Williams argues over at Paste that the great indie wrestling revival of the early to mid 00’s has flamed out without creating a true top tier superstar or iconic wrestling moment. I don’t entirely agree–I think Punk had a long enough run near the top to be considered an all-time great even by fans who willingly buy into WWE’s revisionism, and MITB ’11 is still probably the most memorable WWE match of the decade–but Williams’ larger point that nobody from the top indie class of that early WWE monopoly era ever reached Austin or Flair levels of celebrity is true.
Set aside WWE co-opting the indies through NXT and the possibility that WWE actively prevented Punk and Bryan from hitting that upper most level. Ignore that WWE might intentionally keep talent cold in order to prioritize the brand. Do you agree with Williams that those early ROH and IWA-MS stars at one point seemed like the next top superstars of the business, and that the legacy of that era of indie wrestling is somehow diminished because it didn’t pan out that way?”
Geez, this is a pretty heavy start for a wacky letters column.
I don’t think anyone ever thought that guys like Samoa Joe or Punk were going to become the top stars of the industry or anything. By the time they were trading the ROH title, it was already abundantly clear that WWE was more interested in building their own stars from within the system. Especially when the strategy was openly centered on look first, talent second. Guys like Orton, Brock, Cena and Batista basically came up through the OVW system from scratch, which is why the Punks, Bryans and Joes of the world had to develop on their own through alternative means. It’s like in Forrest Gump where Forrest travels through pop culture while Jenny travels through counter-culture. While people are certainly happy for Daniel Bryan breaking through as a big star, there’s just as large of a contingent that probably feels like he sold out and would have preferred him wrestling in smoky bingo halls for the rest of his life. So no, I don’t think they failed at all.
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Tags: Kevin Owens