“That is what you call a paradigm shift” These were the words of Jon Moxley the night after his mindshattering debut at Double or Nothing, and for some companies this has exactly been the case, and others see this as nothing more than the ramblings of a ‘lunatic’. It wasn’t just Moxley talking about changing the industry, Jericho, Dustin Rhodes, and the Young Bucks have a much more transformative view of the wrestling industry. Weather directly or indirectly change is good and with wrestling change was something that was much needed, even if to something like NJPW it wasn’t seen as needed exactly it helps keeps things from getting stale. Even better it can lead to others getting opportunities that might not have been afforded to them otherwise, with two companies in particular doing so being ROH and NJPW. Let’s take a look at whatever shifting might’ve taken place since the ‘Death Rider’ has made his presence known.
Ring Of Honor has taken a rather interesting approach by embracing the gang wars of the past that have taken place within the WWF and NJPW. Creating Lifeblood and Villain Enterprises, and choosing to embrace the Kingdom by crowning it’s leader Matt Taven as the ROH World Champion. ROH is also taking the chance on some talent that were available such as Rush, Bandido, ‘Overkill’ Mark Haskins, and Brody King, this has led to a lot being flipped on it’s head because of the addition of the leader of Lifeblood, NJPW’s Juice Robinson. Who has already made an impact on the Tag Title division with David Finlay, and has up until June 5th held the IWGP U.S. while leading his own stable. Ultimately someone who has benefitted the most from the void left behind by Cody Rhodes, that one person being the Villain Marty Scurll. He has completely jumped into the top of the card even competing for the ROH title in one of the biggest and most hyped matches of the year against Jay Lethal and Matt Taven.
New Japan stood to lose the most cause of the creation of AEW with the loss of Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, taking out two pillars of their respective heavyweight divisions. NJPW sought the opportunity to reestablish G.o.D as a top contender within Bullet Club for the Heavyweight Tag Team titles, while at the same time pushing fellow Bulllet Club member Jay White to the top of the card on the singles side of the equation. Ospreay and Kota Ibushi are also seeing the benefits of a slightly thinner roster with Ibushi finally capturing gold after New Japan brass were afraid to put a title around his waist with his freelancer status; whereas Will Ospreay is finally competing consistently in the Heavyweight division with the leader of his Chaos faction in Okada. Even looking lower down on the card you can see the need for fresh blood in the roster with the additons of El-P, Robbie Eagles, and Mikey Nichols.
WWE are using a rather bold tactic by not really stepping up to the plate, the constant mind games with Brock Lesnar acting as if he is going to cash in his Money In The Bank contract, lackluster builds to feuds and continuing to take trips to Saudi Arabia despite media and fan backlash. Things have escalated to the point where wrestlers are constantly taking shots at the company on social media, not just from outside the company but within. The other odd method of attacking this outside pressure is by basically ignoring it, something that would’ve seemed like it was out of character for the Vince McMahon of the late 1990’s. The old Vince would jump at the slightest chance of a potential war with another company, but it seems as if the old dog has lost it’s bite. Even going as far as to contest a scripted mention of AEW to make it seem like Sami Zayn went off script when he said it.
The wrestling industry is due to undergo a massive face lift as a result of the critical acclaim and fan support of AEW; this is something that isn’t going to easily go away any time soon. As long as it exists and continues to pump out shows at the quality level of Double or Nothing then fans are going to compare it to whatever is the newest show. This is the perfect time to step up and put out some good content, competition breeds necessity, which leads to invention and innovation. We can all agree this will be nothing but good for the wrestling world at large.