By Jim Biringer
When people look at the landscape of professional wrestling in 2023, they will see it in a good place. There are many healthy companies from WWE and AEW to Impact Wrestling, New Japan, AAA, ROH, and GCW. Despite all the hate on the Internet and the tribalism between WWE fans and AEW fans, the wrestling business is actually thriving.
Now nothing will beat the mid to late 1990s Monday Night Wars between WCW and WWE, but in this day and age, it reminds many people of the old territory wrestling days. Except it is on a bigger scale. Remember during the territory days, only the major champions traveled to the old territories. For the most part, they worked in their region.
Vince McMahon Sr and the WWF ruled the Northeast. Jim Crockett and the NWA ruled the Carolinas and down into Georgia. There were promotions up and down the midwest from Minnesota and the AWA to WCCW in Texas. Even Florida and Memphis had good promotions.
Once Vince McMahon Jr took the WWF national with Hulk Hogan a lot of things changed. The territories went away and WCW was on the rise behind Eric Bischoff. It really picked up with the nWo and the Monday Night Wars. And nothing will beat that time. Ask anyone who grew up during that time period, Mondays were the most watched television and the numbers showed it.
Once WCW was bought by WWE, there was not much competition and fans were looking for another outlet. TNA was good for a while from 2004-2010. However, they could not compete with WWE in terms of a national stage. They tried and failed, but their brand is back to doing what it did during that time period.
Obviously, fans tuned in to NJPW and ROH when Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks worked those promotions with the Bullet Club. Cody Rhodes going on the independent scene helped too. But the inception of AEW has been a game changer for the business.
AEW has really given new life to the business of professional wrestling. President and CEO Tony Khan has allowed his wrestlers to work other promotions. The company started because of the Wrestle Kingdom match between Omega and Chris Jericho. From there things took off. The company is doing well and is going to have its biggest gate ever with All-In at Wembley Stadium.
The addition of two hours of Collision on Saturday nights has really helped showcase the other wrestlers in the company. AEW was being innovative during the pandemic and now they are finding their groove again. Because of AEW, WWE raised its level with the Bloodline Storyline. Not to mention Triple H taking over and the rise of NXT during that time period before AEW came about really helped the business.
More people were watching NXT when Triple H ran it than WWE. It just felt that an old-school show and he is bringing that to the main roster. WWE still has work to do cultivating new stars for the future but they are doing well. And that is a good thing.
Just because you like one does not mean you have to hate the other. There are other wrestling companies out there for everyone. If you just like one fine. If you like them all that’s cool too. While the numbers may never reach the level of the attitude era and the Monday Night Wars, fans have more to choose from than they did back then.
There is so much more to choose from and that is what makes it so good. Just take this past Saturday night, there were great matches on Impact Slammiversary PPV, AEW Collision, and AAA TripleMania. It was a loaded Saturday night. You did not have that back in the 1990s and 2000s.
One thing is for sure professional wrestling is in good shape regardless of the fans. The fans are the reason there is so much hate It is not the promotions. Like what you like and don’t compare other companies to each other. The companies sure don’t.
People are talking about professional wrestling because of what is going on because there is so much of it. Again just enjoy it and have fun. Like what you like and let others like what they like. There is so much to choose from and support.
Now is truly the Golden Age of Professional Wrestling.