US Wrestling promotions as seen by a baseball fan
by, 10-31-2013 at 05:53 AM (2599 Views)
This blog is going to look at US wrestling through the prism of a baseball fan. I've been a fan of both for as long as I can remember. I've been to events from both that run from the pinnacle(WWE and MLB) to the lower levels(Indy wrestling shows and Minor League and Independent League baseball). Each level has their own style and is run in a different fashion.
The Independent Level
Anyone who has ever been to an Indy wrestling show knows that it isn't going to be as crisp and clean as what they see on TV, just as anyone who has gone to a baseball game outside of MLB's structure knows that it will be a lot sloppier. These promotions tend to have gimmicks that allow them to gain attention and an audience of their own. Examples include CZW(ultraviolent), Chikara(Over the top characters, comedy), and ROH(technical skill). This is similar to how those baseball leagues will draw fans with gimmicks intended for children and families(goofy mascots, fireworks, kid races, special jerseys, etc.) There are also a lot of less successful indy promotions that bring in former stars way past their prime to increase attendance. Everyone knows that they can't bring it like they used to but they will pay for the nostalgia. Baseball does the same thing on the independent level as those older players are passed over for younger competition.
The Minor Leagues
Everyone knows about minor league baseball. It's where the future stars of the sport are sent to mature and develop their skills. The developmental territories in wrestling serve the same purpose. They combine the best of the indy scene and raw talent that they can mold. The product itself is closer to the big leagues while still being just a little off. You can see who some of the future stars are instantly and who some of the diamonds in the rough could be. The promotions may still use gimmicks, but it isn't as overt as on the lower levels.
The Major Leagues
The cream of the crop. The absolute best in their profession. In baseball it's all 30 MLB teams. In the US it is WWE and to a much lesser extent TNA. Every MLB team is run differently depending on how much money they have and what their individual plan is. WWE and TNA work under the same principle. To make things easier I'll break the MLB into 3 groups and try and fit WWE and TNA into one of the three.
Big Market Club
This is where you find the teams that can sign anyone they want, charge however much they want because they are the best. They have the money and the name recognition. The newly crowned World Series champion Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are two of the best examples. WWE falls into this category(as did WCW back in the day). They can go out and sign any top star they want, and would be just fine if some of their stars were to leave or retire.
Mid Market Club
This is where the majority of MLB teams are. They have a good amount of money, but can't go head to head with the big boys. They are often guilty of spending money poorly that hampers their franchise for years. This is where TNA is now. They overpaid for aging stars and haven't put enough effort into making stars of their own.
Small Market Club
This is where you find either the worst run club, or potentially the best. Both the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays are small market clubs. One is the laughingstock of the league while the other struggled early on but has evolved into a consistent competitor. The Rays will bring in older talent for little investment while developing their own stars. When those stars become overly expensive, they let them go and bring in more new young talent. This is similar to how ECW was(before they tried to be more then they could afford to be). They were constantly creating new stars for thrie fans while the old ones signed their big money contracts elsewhere.
The total purpose of writing this was my idea that TNA should be run more like a small market baseball club. Never give big money to older performers and spend that money either developing your own talent or scouting indy talent. If they went to this type of model, their costs would be cut and the product would be better. They would be a viable option to watching strictly WWE.