Article by Andre Barbarona
Professional wrestling is a weird industry- it features death-defying spectacles, continuous and long-form narratives, and wacky, campy madness that resembles a live-action comic book more than the NBA. The WWE, the giant of the industry, is a much different beast now compared to the days of Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold, and it is an exciting time for newcomers and returning fans alike.
4 Things You Should Know about the WWE Today
4. They have safer working conditions despite a more athletic and high-impact style.
Even under its relatively new PG rating, WWE wrestling can still get violent. However, there are fewer instances of the bloody style that the WWE and other promotions like ECW thrived on in the 90s and early 2000s. You can barely see the iconic thumbtacks and barbed wire that Mick Foley and other wrestlers of the Stone Cold era fought with, and despite the presence of Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Matches, Hell in a Cell matches, and other “extreme” match types, the action is a lot less focused on making people bleed.
To compensate, however, the style of wrestling has now become far more athletic and acrobatic. Wrestlers like Neville and Cesaro perform leaps and flips with grace, and Shinsuke Nakamura introduced the Japanese “strong style” of punching and kicking the opponent brutally to the WWE. The “safe” but athletic style is now commonplace within Vince McMahon’s traveling band of artful grapplers.
3. There is an influx of indie wrestlers.
The WWE’s roster is experiencing a changing of the guard – with legends like the Undertaker retiring (here’s how the Superstars reacted to it) and notables like John Cena and Brock Lesnar being reduced to part-time performers.
Who’s going to take their place, then? The answer lies in the independent wrestling scene.
These performers bring the styles of their former promotions, such as Dean Ambrose and the unhinged, hardcore style honed in Combat Zone Wrestling, Seth Rollins bringing the technical brilliance of Ring of Honor, and AJ Styles displaying a mastery of hard-hitting and dynamic styles that he learned from the US and Japan. These performers have enjoyed widespread success at the top of the card, with Styles (a prolific champion in rival promotion TNA) notably winning the world title just three months after his debut.The independent wrestling scene regularly produces amazing wrestling talent, and when these performers come to work for WWE, their presence adds to the diversity of wrestling styles inside Titan Towers’ hallowed halls.
2. There is an increasing prominence of women’s wrestling.
Perhaps an even more notable feature of the current WWE is the legitimacy of its female roster. While there are “Diva”-style wrestlers who depend more on looks than in-ring skills, the women’s roster is the strongest it’s ever been. Names like Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Paige, Bayley, and Asuka serve as inspiration to numerous girls worldwide due to their skill and talents.
Women have main-evented a pay-per-view starting with Hell in a Cell 2016, and ever since then, excellent women’s matches have become mainstays of many pay-per views going forward. The wrestlers in the women’s division are mostly presented as strong, competent, and able to put up great matches that can wow audiences of all genders. Women’s wrestling is gaining greater legitimacy within the WWE, and it’s something to be excited about!
1. There is increased fan involvement.
Speaking of representation, the fans have gained a certain amount of influence in the careers of wrestlers. WWE is plagued by many problems- shoddy booking, horribly scripted promos, and an overabundance of pay-per-view events, and fans do not hesitate to make their feelings known. Whether it’s by throwing beach balls on every episode of Monday Night Raw that takes place immediately after the year’s WrestleMania or by booing so loudly that Roman Reigns couldn’t deliver his speech, the fans have enormous power over the presentation of a WWE show.
There are several testaments to this influence. The fans supported Zack Ryder’s YouTube-inspired lovable geek gimmick, CM Punk’s scathing anti-establishment revolt against WWE’s overreliance on John Cena, and Daniel Bryan’s rollercoaster underdog journey to a WrestleMania victory against three of the company’s top wrestlers.What I’m saying is that through the power of social media, you can play your part in creating a better industry as well. Don’t worry, your voices are heard. YES! YES! YES!
With these things in mind, any returning fan or any inductee into the wonderful world of wrestling would be able to enjoy some WWE. Happy rasslin’!