As we approach the halfway point of 2018, the most anticipated event post-Wrestlemania (or Wrestle Kingdom, depending on your level of markitude. . . hey, markitude is actually a WORD!) will not be televised. It most likely will not be available via PPV or black box. It most certainly will not be transmitted over the WWE Network for the low price of $9.99 a month.
But it will not be ignored. We, the IWC, are the cause and effect of this.
It’s hard to fathom this, but at one point in history, professional wrestling was not held in high esteem. I know, I know, there are plenty of the unwashed masses who still believe that wrestling fans are. . . well. . . you, the reader know how to complete that sentence. In those days, before the advent of episodic wrestling and sports entertainment, you needed to fill large stadiums in order to see your favorite grapplers. Only then could dream matches come to fulfillment. Only then could the bad guys get their comeuppance. Only then could we celebrate hard-earned victories among fellow passionate fans.
Somewhere down the line, we got complacent. WWE became our the provider of our product. Competitors became mocked, ridiculed and then, ignored. The worst reaction that professional wrestling can receive is no reaction. Vince McMahon knew this. So, when talented newcomers would arrive, no mention would be made as to where they came from. Previous titles won would come from “around the world,” not from the actual promotions themselves. The independent wrestling scene slowly began to erode, and even WWE live events suffered. Fans had become content to watch only what was aired upon their TV or computer screen. In the words of the late Owen Hart, “Enough is enough, and it’s time for a change!”
Enter Cody. Stripped of the rights to utilize his wrestling surname due to McMahon’s ownership of the Rhodes name, Cody set out to prove that free agents can make just as significant an impact in wrestling as “Superstars.” With the morale of the WWE Universe at an all-time low with the extended pushes of fan-rejected Roman Reigns and absentee Raw champion Brock Lesnar, the new “leader” of Bullet Club has made a heavy dent in the consciousness of the industry. Merchandise flies off the racks at Hot Topic and is often spotted at televised events in unsilent protest. Suddenly, headlining Wrestle Kingdom in the Tokyo Dome wasn’t enough for Cody and his band of misfit superkickers, the Young Bucks. They needed something even grander. Enter the ultimate smark, Dave Meltzer.
The originator of the term “five star match” has never been the biggest fan of the profession he writes about. He especially has taken shots at independent wrestling stateside. In one statement, he became the genesis of All In – he felt Ring Of Honor could not possibly fill a 10,000 seat arena. The WWE was simply too powerful for any US entity to compete. In terms of at-home viewership, he was spot on.
But, as wrestling fans learned long ago when we became wrestling fans, there’s nothing like going to a show. With a stellar lineup of ROH roster members and scores of other free agents agreeing to be a part of the festivities in suburban Chicago at the Sears Centre Arena (including a possible comeback from the most polarizing Chicago free agent ever, CM Punk), what a wonderful show it could be!