There’s no denying that WWE is “the worldwide leader in sports-entertainment.” But while they may lead the way, they’re not the only team in the race any longer. Recent successes of ALL IN and Ring of Honor selling out Madison Square Garden indicate wrestling fans are hungry for options and WWE is going to find it harder and harder to cover it all. Now it’s almost easier for the smaller companies to create excitement because all they have to do is be different.
But WWE is doing a pretty good job of staying ahead of the curve and the up-coming card for WWE Super Show-Down is a great example of this. From Triple H and the Undertaker battling for the older audiences to AJ versus Joe for the in-ring purists, all the way down to Cena and Lashley for the kids, WWE is beginning to truly develop a variety show.
The WWE hasn’t confirmed what the SSD main event will be, but the “last time ever” encounter between The Undertaker and Triple H is being promoted the most heavily. The Undertaker appears to be on a retirement tour of sorts, and the WWE has been making it a pleasant one. Since losing to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33, he’s beaten John Cena and Rusev, both quite handily. Sports Betting Dime agree that the WWE will continue to make him look strong Down Under, setting him as a -188 favorite over Triple H (+138).
WWE SSD (Super Show-Down) could be a complete throwaway of an event. While the arena may not be sold out, it’s already respectably full. They don’t need to sell PPVs, it will be streamed on the Network. And most people would only read the results online as the time difference will be so great. But all of those fallback and loop holes WWE have completely ignored and have booked themselves a WrestleMania-esque event. There’s exciting tag team championship action, a cruiserweight title match, 2 huge 6-person matches, legends returning “one last time” and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line. This is the type of card most wrestling fans dream of witnessing and we get to watch it live for only a couple of bucks a month.
What Ring of Honor is accomplishing and what ALL IN did accomplish was wake up the wrestling industry. Since WCW folded in 2001, there’s been one way to present professional wrestling, the “WWE” way. The WWE even created a training school as a way to make sure pro-wrestling would only be presented in the “WWE” style. And for a long time that was fine. Sure TNA/Impact Wrestling were doing their thing but their additions of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Jeff Hardy always made them feel more like “WWE lite” rather than a true alternative. ROH & ALL IN (and to some degree, the NWA) define themselves as being different from the mainstream. Their wrestlers drink, fight, swear and bleed! Their storylines develop in the pro-wrestling ring, rather than at catering or anyone’s “compound.” Athleticism defines their champions with one-on-one competition being their highest battleground. And they do what they do well. An argument can be made that they are better “wrestling” companies than WWE. But as Vince McMahon himself has said time and time again, WWE isn’t “wrestling.” Now, WWE is bigger than “wrestling.” Of course pro-wrestling is always going to be the backbone of WWE but now they are a charity, a women’s movement and a television show far more than they are a wrestling company. And that’s not a bad thing… it’s just different.