The current state of pro wrestling is that there’s WWE, and then there’s everyone else. The “independent” scene consists of more than the true indies, of course. The parent company of Ring of Honor just made a huge acquisition that could bring ROH television into nearly every home in America. New Japan is arguably more popular than it has ever been, and is planning on launching its own satellite territory in the United States. And of course, Impact Wrestling is under new ownership and making a slew of international television deals.
And then there are the actual indies, of course. The British indie scene has never been hotter, and there are nearly a dozen promotions stateside that are doing great business. And according to the Young Bucks, it’s never been less cool for a wrestler to sign with WWE, because it’s no longer special.
But the fact remains that at the present moment, no other wrestling company is set up to really be direct competition with WWE at this time, not least because of lack of profile, resources, and exposure. In an interview with Multichannel.com, Stephanie McMahon voiced her belief that WWE doesn’t have competition, but she does appreciate the other products that are out there.
Well I think imitation is the truest form of flattery, but I don’t think the viewership with some of those other organizations at this point is competition for us. If anything I think it just drives more interest in the genre itself. When you look at reality shows like Total Divas or Total Bellas, and when you look at films like our partnership with MGM for [theatrical film] Fighting With My Family, the story of [WWE wrestler] Paige’s life, I think we’re really just scratching the surface of the deeper stories that these individuals, as well as their characters, have to tell.
Her comments help illuminate that WWE is much more than a pro wrestling company at this point. While you could read her comments as a slight on every other pro wrestling company in the world, I think it’s actually a good example of the current state of things: WWE is such a dominant force in wrestling, that they can appreciate and embrace other companies helping to raise the profile and prestige of — and interest in — the sport. Or “genre, ” I guess.