Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Briscoes Are Staying with Ring of Honor

#DemBoys is stayin' put
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Via WrestleChat

Despite flirting with the idea of signing developmental deals with WWE, Mark and Jay Briscoe have reportedly re-signed with Ring of Honor. ROH gave them deals worth more money than their prospective WWE contracts would have been, and WWE did not raise its offer in return. Jay is currently the ROH World Champion, and Mark currently enthusiastically endorses Super Beta Prostate Pills on the ROH TV show. This courting is not the first time WWE has gone after one of the most tenured acts on the indies, proving that bad PR from threatening to shoot anyone who tells Jay's kids that gay marriage is okay is fleeting at best.

The first thought I had at this turn of events is that I had no idea ROH had the kind of money to compete with WWE contract offers. The second is that WWE's developmental contracts may not pay as much as I thought they did. Would higher pay be contingent on making it to NXT television and then the main roster? Would the Performance Center itself be considered a perk or benefit that is worth a decrease in pay? Did the Briscoes not want to live so far away from Sandy Fork, DE?

One thing that it did make me certain of is that WWE is in the prefaces of another expansion. The business seems to be on a slight uptick again, now that the WWE Network has gotten a better foothold than it had around this time last year and that other companies are popping up. I'm not sure how long that uptick on the whole is going to last since I've not heard flattering things about the long term futures of ROH, TNA, or Lucha Underground. However, Global Force Wrestling seems to finally be getting started, and the expansion of the NXT brand into a touring entity has been met with rousing demand. Additionally, Smackdown is getting moved from SyFy to USA, which may or may not mean an increase in importance, but will certainly mean a broader audience reached for the secondary show.

WWE is clearly looking to increase its presence, and it's going to need bodies. I'm not sure if the company is going to target the Briscoes again, but the 11 wrestlers signed yesterday may just be the start, especially if NXT is to become both a touring entity AND a developmental territory that the main roster will continue to pluck talents from. Not every wrestler signed will be ready for prime time, especially the guys like Radomir Petkovic, so the efforts to get a touring roster that has ready-made talents will need to be heavily supplemented with indie wrestlers. I'm not sure I'd close the book on the Briscoes-to-WWE in the long term, but in the recent future, they're staying put.

ETA: Another twist in the story has been revealed:

This report conflicts with the linked one above, but it's believable that WWE would not want to be associated with people who made/continue to make ugly comments in public. Of course, if WWE really wanted to pay more than lip service to its B.A. Star program affiliation, it would clear out the broadcast booth and make sweeping changes to how the show's scripted or to how superstars make reference to each other in stories with gendered insults and the like. Of course, this doesn't necessarily excuse the Briscoes for their ugliness. Just saying, maybe WWE ought to take more of a proactive approach at presenting its product in a way that doesn't make people want to root for bullies who spout off ugly language themselves.