If the rumors are true - and the coy dangling of the carrot by the WWE lends that it is - the acquisition of Shinsuke Nakamura (DP 2014 Male Wrestler of the Year), AJ Styles (a personal all-time favorite), Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows trigger what seems to not only be a huge change in the landscape of pro wrestling, but possibly, a troubling one as well.
On the surface, let's just call this what it is, a big time grab for WWE. It's a power move, the type only the fellas in Stamford can pull off. They just grabbed four of the most sought after wrestlers in the world and added them to what is an already incredibly talented roster.
Where things get dicey is exactly that comment: they just grabbed four of the most sought after wrestlers in the world and added them to what is an already incredibly talented roster!
WWE-only fans, rest assured, you just landed the freakin' coop. So called "NXT" fans, stop trying to differentiate the product from it's source, you too are a WWE fan. Sorry to burst your bubble. Regardless, if these guys end up wrestling on the Network, your $9.99, and my $9.99 just became a whole lot easier to give to Vinnie Mac each month.
Nonetheless, after these signings are finalized (again, if true), we are all wondering whether they will begin their WWE careers in the "development" (more on that later) that is NXT, or right to the big league roster. Just remember, this is a company that has other names in NXT who were also big time players in other companies such as Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, and Hideo Itami. They also have been grabbing the very best young talent on the indie scene, such as Apollo Crews aka Uhaa Nation.
While over in TNA, on a roster that so desperately needs to be refilled with talent (and in some aspects, just bodies), they're going all in on their latest acquisition in Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis.
Over in ROH? They'll soon begin their annual top prospect tournament to hopefully restock the cupboard.
New Japan Pro Wrestling is not only losing four of their top stars, but there are rumors of other departures as well drawing serious concern.
Even if these signings do not happen, The NXT dynamic has changed the landscape of pro wrestling drastically, especially since WWE doesn't plan on just using it as development source, but as a viable touring brand as well. And while I'm sure they won't acknowledge it, I believe they knew there was a niche to be had.
From internet hearsay and opinions, to the reactions of the crowds at their main shows, they very well knew there was a market they could corner in the rabid IWC fanbase. Lets admit it, us die hard pro wrestling fans seems to always suffer from a syndrome in which we fall in love with the backup quarterback. We just love the wrestler who hasn't made it, or isn't main stream, yet. We love the latest trend that is popular, but not EVERYONE has heard of it yet.
It's a weird form of loving that band before they become, you know, all mainstream and stuff. It's the only reason why some "Hate Cena". The others just do because it's what the internet says is right to do...same with TNA. Just bloggin...
Nonetheless, while the WWE has more and more roster spots with it's proverbial downward expansion (imagine that?), they can continue to flex their muscles and pillage the free agent market while keeping developing companies from ever getting close to the mother ship. It's so brilliant. Downright epic.
For TNA and ROH, it just feels like more than ever before, they are no longer a big time first option for free agents or seasoned talent in their primes. For the TNAs and ROHs of the world, overpaying would probably have to happen to land a "big fish", and neither company are in position to waste funds unless it's a sure difference maker. And other than John Cena, and maybe - possibly? - CM Punk, there are no such thing.
For these companies, the scouting game is now youth, possible mistakes made by the WWE, or simply an unintentional swap of talent with one another to freshen up the roster.
Because of that, it becomes very, very imperative they they make smart decisions on the development of their roster, while maximizing the very most of their signings. See: ROH's War Machine and TNAs EC3.
While WWE is raking in sellouts for NXT Live events, and soon will be making "The Bullet Club" brand part of the WWE brand, the tide just got higher for ROH and TNA to grow moving forward. The game just changed for everyone around the WWE in how they acquire, utilize, scout, and even keep talent.
The WWE is waiting and will grab the very best talent on the market...for their pseudo indie/development/renegade brand that is all the rage of the internet. And oh yeah, it's not named ECW.
Yup, it's a different world, this pro wrestling thing. A whole new world.