The evolution of professional wrestling in the eyes of a longtime fan
In one form or another I have been a pro wrestling fan who has watched, enjoyed, fumed, cursed and sworn off wrestling repeatedly. I truly enjoyed Northeast old school pro wrestling of the 50’s thru the early 70’s until I moved to Columbus Ga. There I discovered a faster paced more athletic form of wrestling featuring younger & smaller wrestlers. Columbus had cable tv so wrestling shows from Ga, Ala, Fla, and the Carolina’s opened up a whole new world of wrestling to me.
The 80’s brought even more diversity with the addition of WCCW and Mid South but unfortunately it also was the beginning of the end of the territory system, the birth of the WWF encompassed what I and so many others considered the death knell of local wrestling shows. Turners buy out of the Crocket’s help save the southern style of wrestling for another 2 decades and featured so many of the WWF’s future stars. Unfortunately for so many of the southern wrestlers their joining the WWF was the end of their careers, they were given gimmicks that they were unable to buy into so they never advanced beyond mid level matches. The assent of Hogan began the massive steroid mega muscle men which saw anyone down to the light weight class bulking up to be able to compete effectively.
The 90’s saw the death knell of the AWA, NWA, and the ability to learn your wrestling craft in the territory system and to move around the country keeping yourself fresh. From 1995 to 2001 the fans had the best selection of pro wrestling to choose from since the heyday of the 50’s. You had wrestling shows 5 to 6 days a week to choose from depending where you were in the country. Then in 2001 the WCW was sold out by AOL to Vince’s WWE.
From 2001 to 2014 fans have pretty much been stuck with the Vinces’s version of pro wrestling, granted TNA had a good alternative featuring the light weights but unfortunately they then tried to become bigger by hiring to many WWE cast offs. They seem to done a little better since the restructuring by letting most of them go and adding new talent.
This year I’ve seen some good alternatives with the addition of Lucha Underground, New Japan, AAA shows, plus some of the local NWA promotions to cable systems allowing me some relief from the WWE’s & TNA’s stagnant productions. They both rely way to much on “one against many” and “those in charge” favored few dominating the rest who “can’t” band together story lines.
Hopefully the next 5 years will see the continued growth of these smaller promotions so all of wrestling improves and maybe we can see a return of the WRESTLING WARS...