Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Your Daily Second Tier Wrestling Promotion News Dump

Sabin appears at the heart of the latest promotion-to-promotion pissing match
Photo Credit: Lee South/ImpactWrestling.com
The Wednesday night wrestling promotions are nothing if not interesting lately. Ring of Honor has been in the news mostly for its battles with WWE vis a vis the NXT brand. TNA is always in the news mostly for negative reasons, and while Global Force Wrestling doesn't have TV yet, it feels like it belongs with this group of promotions that include Lucha Underground and the aforementioned NXT. And as always, the current news cycle keeps on churning.

First up, ROH has opened up a new front on its battle against all comers, this time against GFW. Both companies are running shows this Friday. ROH will be presenting Death Before Dishonor XIII on pay-per-view, while GFW will be running its first set of television tapings. The problem here stems from a local Las Vegas ad for the tapings that featured ROH contracted wrestlers. According to The Site That Shall Not Be Linked (aggregated by WrestleChat), ROH has sent a cease and desist letter to GFW over advertising those wrestlers, which I'm guessing is why Chris Sabin was mysteriously pulled from the events. He was scheduled to partake in the Tag Team Championship tournament for GFW alongside fellow Alex Shelley-tag partner-haver KUSHIDA. The delightfully trolling tag team will be scuttled for now, and KUSHIDA will wrestle in the Next*Gen Championship Tournament instead. As for Sabin, he was introduced as the third member of the greater stable featuring Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels, but he also, to the best of my knowledge, had not appeared for ROH since being introduced.

Of course, it wouldn't be a newsy kind of day if it didn't have more rumblings about why WWE is mad at ROH. The main reason seems still to be the licensing deal that it had Kevin Steen sign before he became Kevin Owens, and the ancillary reason appears to be that it went and got on national cable television at the same time as NXT airs first-run live on WWE Network. Now, according to Konnan via the MLW Podcast, WWE is also mad at the company for starting the trend of holding shows WrestleMania weekend in or near the host city, and furthermore, it's furious that it was able to book its Supercard of Honor next year IN Dallas instead of in a fringe suburb. On one hand, Konnan isn't the most reliable source for these kinds of things, but on the other, it totally makes sense. WWE doesn't want its Axxess nut to get busted, and ROH, EVOLVE, and WrestleCon eat into that ancillary income.

It's not to say that I necessarily agree with WWE's issue here. For one, if you're in town for Mania, you're already dropping big bucks on tickets and possibly other stuff too. Axxess is an all-day thing anyway, and one can certainly hit up the fan-festival and still have time and money to go hit up the various shows going on at night. WWE certainly has the right to want all the revenue from that weekend, but it feels like the height of greedy, scummy capitalism to shut everyone else out, especially when Mania has become a tentpole not only for WWE's year, but for wrestling's year in total. Plus, it's not like WWE hasn't engaged in a similar tactic. Survivor Series was created as a "fuck you" to Jim Crockett Promotions to attempt to muscle it out of pay-per-view. While Starrcade remained the flagship event for JCP and later World Championship Wrestling, the implementation of Survivor Series caused it to shift from Thanksgiving weekend to December. It was far more malicious and way more effective than anything ROH is doing with its business strategy. But then again, I guess if you want to operate in America, you need to be prepared to swim in the shark-infested waters of capitalism.

Speaking of being ill-equipped to handle capitalism, TNA's making the news for reasons that don't involve conflict with other companies, but rather inability to pay its employees once again. Again, thanks to WrestleChat for aggregating this from The Site That Shall Not Be Linked, TNA is dropping all its guaranteed contracts excepting maybe the bigger names like Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy and replacing them with per-appearance deals. The old contracts had monthly guarantees, which was great if a wrestler didn't have a storyline going for him or her or got hurt. Now, payment will hinge directly on their usage, and this has justifiably made the talent upset. Of course, this move could end up being another sign of TNA's impending demise, but if one is to be real about the whole thing, as long as the company has television, it will continue to draw interest from people to work for it, no matter how shitty the front office gets about payment. Rumors are abounding that Billy Corgan is trying to use his connections to get a soft landing spot for the promotion on the Chicago-based WGN Network once the Destination America deal expires in September, but those rumors have been denied.

No matter how bleak the outlook is for wrestling right now, you can't say it's at a lack for happenings and a-doings. I suspect by this time next week, Triple H will have sent a tank to ROH headquarters with the Four Horsewomen crotch-chopping and demanding access. Either way, the Wednesday night scene might be more interesting not only on-camera than WWE's RAW narrative, but also in the news department. I mean, have you been paying attention to the tea leaves lately? It's all "Kevin Dunn is sabotaging NXT talent" and "Kevin Owens' push was dropped because of John Cena merchandise sales dipping." It's depressing.