Monday 27 May 2013

Indy Raiders

WWE have been recruiting from the independent wrestling scene for a few years now. Well, technically speaking, they’ve been recruiting from the indies since the territories went away and the independent scene sprang up to replace them. It’s more accurate to say that WWE have refined their taste in indy stars over the last several years.

In a sense the company’s stance on indy standouts and veterans changed when they signed CM Punk. Anyone who’s watched the Best in the World DVD will know this. It’s spoken about openly there. Punk was going to be let go at one point because nobody in a position of authority knew what to do with him. He stayed employed because of Paul Heyman being desperate to use him in WWECW.

Why was he signed to begin with? There’s no obvious answer to those of us not in the know but I imagine his look, clear understanding of how to wrestle, and passion stood him in good sted. Once he’d made it to then developmental league OVW his glowing reputation hindered his progress, resulting in the near firing. Anyone who’s achieved a level of notoriety before heading to WWE is essentially a target, the perception of the road agents seeming to be that the guy will believe in their own hype and only know how to work the indy style, as opposed to the much vaunted WWE style.

Basically, nobody in WWE expected Punk to become as big as he has and he was originally signed because certain influential people in the company (most likely Heyman and Jim Ross) appreciated the potential he had. I certainly can’t imagine John Laurinaitis had the wherewithal to approach him.

Punk’s success despite WWE’s booking is probably what made them change their opinion on guys like him. If he could succeed in spite of efforts to hold him down as a mid-carder then logically there would be a chance that the guys he came up with on the indies could possess that same talent. That, I imagine, was the thought process employed by Vince McMahon, Triple H, and their cadre of advisors.

I could be reading too much into things of course. It’s true that sooner or later WWE were going to have to sign some of the top stars from the indies instead of the likes of Gunner Scott, Eric Escobar, Sylvester Terkay, and Orlando Jordan. Perhaps that point was simply reached and they decided to sign good guys, rather than average ones, as opposed to their being some big revelatory moment revolving around CM Punk.
This brings back happy memories for precisely no one
The signing of Bryan ‘Daniel Bryan’ Danielson was the first indication WWE were going to pursue peers of ‘The Second City Saint’. He’d be regarded for years as the best wrestler on the North American indy scene and so he was a natural guy to approach once the “let’s de-push indy stars” mentality was dropped.

Bryan became a star for WWE too. Okay, he’s not reached the heights of Punk and it’s possibly that he never will, but he’s done far more than anyone thought he would. That’s important. He was given a chance to do well and proved that he could. He showed that Punk wasn’t an anomaly, that guys from “the indy generation” (or should that be “the ROH generation”?) could adapt their approach and get over in The Big Leagues.

The last few years have seen WWE snatching up indy talent like they’re going out of style. Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero, PAC, El Generico, and Sara Del Rey have all signed up to get a new ring name and take on various roles within WWE. There’s recently been talk that Mike Bennett and Sami Callihan are on the cusp of inking developmental deals, and it was announced on May 26th that Samuray Del Sol has signed a contract.
Please pair this man with Sin Cara. Thanks
It’s pleasing to see that WWE are routinely scouring the independents. It means they’re finally willing to admit that there are very talented wrestlers out there who don’t work for a sports entertainment organisation and that their product will be better with said wrestlers involved. It’s not the best situation for the indies to be in, but it’s been proven time and again over the last couple of decades that a new batch of talent can always be found when there’s a mass exodus for WWE.

This approach is best for everyone involved. WWE gets the best talent to display on the most watched wrestling shows in the world and the younger stars just starting out get to prove their capable of following in the footsteps of their predecessors. It’s almost like the circle of life.



  1. Ive got a Wrestlemania 30 prediction for you, tell me what you think:

    This is all dependent on Stone Cold not being able to wrestle Punk next year. Winner in ALL CAPS.

    WWE Title:
    CM PUNK v Lesnar (c)


    Rock v REIGNS


    World Title:
    BRYAN v Ziggler (c)

    IC Title:
    Ambrose (c) v ROLLINS v Jericho

    US Title:
    SANDOW (c) v Bray Wyatt

    Tag Titles:
    BIG E/ HENRY (c) v Axel/ Cesaro

    Sheamus v ORTON

    Fandango v Del Rio, BARRET v Rhodes v Big Show v Miz v Kane v Swagger

    1. I think Punk v Lesnar will happen earlier. Possibly SummerSlam. As far as The Streak goes I think Cena will challenge it in Undertaker's last match. As for the rest of the card it's far too early to tell.