DBAHC - Fewer successful "post-WCW" wrestling promotions

It's often said that the landscape of the wrestling world today is shaped by late 2001 and early 2002. With WWF having bought out WCW and ECW, there was a huge power vacuum for an alternative to this now-monolithic promotion. Fortunately, quite a few have filled it, and while it's said a single promotion with their total views could have competed directly, the diversity of options has led to them surviving quite well, with at least three of them having drawn a million viewers each every week. Notably, the total viewership of the "Little Four", as they're called, has recently jumped above WWE's viewership for an average Raw in the past few years.
  • World Wrestling Allstars (WWA), originally an Australian-based touring vehicle for guys like Sting, Lex Luger, and especially Jeff Jarrett, now viewed as the successor to WCW, basically continuing where they left off in terms of outlook. Known as a vehicle for great women's wrestling and cruiserweight action - the International Cruiserweight title often headlines over the World title.
  • X Wrestling Federation (XWF), owned by Jimmy Hart and so was dominated by Hulk Hogan and co. for a while. Their claim to fame is sticking to the basics, with traditional pro wrestling storylines and established talent who left the other promotions.
  • Ring of Honor (ROH), for gritty and serious storylines and really good technical wrestling. They don't bring in many casuals, but their regular watchers are ridiculously loyal.
  • Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), for those who just liked the violent stuff that went on in ECW. On a more minor channel so don't get as many views, and diehards will say they've mellowed too much from their early shows (two words: weed whacker), but if you're a fan of edge and raunch, you watch CZW.
Is there any situation in which most of these either fail or stay niche? The only thing I can think of is if that Nashville-based NWA territory hadn't flopped, but everything in it had been decided by Vince Russo, right down to the name, so it would be a long shot.
 
The biggest thing that could have killed off some of these promotions was if the WWF had deeper pockets rather than spending so much money on the XFL. Given that Vince was so driven to make his company more than just a "Wrasslin' " company saw him sink millions into that vanity project rather than snap up talent who was available. True, it was nice to have pro football in the spring, but the 3 seasons the XFL ran drained his finances. Also, so much of the WWA and XWF rosters were former WCW or ECW talents that had either burned their bridges with New York or wanted too much money. If Vince had the money available, I believe he would simply have kept buying out the talent of his competition until there were really no independent wrestlers of any name recognition left.
 
The thing that helped these companies get off the ground was just how insanely hot wrestling was at the time. While it's never gone as cold as it was Post-Hulkamania that period from '97 to '02 you couldn't lose money in wrestling most of the time. Especially overseas given how rare high level live wrestling was. That got WWA started and ROH was first on any sort of national broadcast in Canada about a year before they got on American TV, due mostly to Bret Hart's early involvement. That and most of them played it smart when it came to broadcast. No one tried to compete with Vince and most of the channels they were on were just happy to draw in a big rating for cheap. That meant they could get good deals early to build an audience. Really only CZW struggled in that department being shoved on a late-night timeslot rather than any sort of prime time, but that was sort of a given due to their product. Thus the reason they might stay niche is if the TV guys decided to just forget wresting as an avenue of entertainment no matter the numbers. Possible if there was only one or two companies trying to get on the big boy channels or the name recognition wasn't enough to draw ratings.

Another big factor was the diversity of products, no one tried to be WWF so they didn't lose viewers who could just go for the real thing while getting people alienated by that product to watch. So really a big danger would be if they kept things from broadening out. As Cornette once said, "There's a reason Baskin-Robbins has 31 fucking flavors, not just two". More draws mean more people watch. WWA for instance actually has the highest female demos in wrestling history, thanks to having a stong female division and most of the big names being noticeably more attractive than in days past. ROH draws in the Southern 'Rasslin crowd while XWF is more kid-friendly and basic while CZW has the hardcore blood and guts mutants. These people likely wouldn't watch WWF and thus would just tune out of wrestling if they only had WWF to watch.

Finally, Vince got distracted and at this point seems to see the Four as not worth his time (though if that's due to introspection or because he's convinced himself of that is up to how charitably you view Vince). If he wanted to he could have strangled the whole thing in the cradle but between the XFL and a bunch of backstage shit with his top draws he didn't really have any interest in what were really small time indy feds just with bigger names. When he bought WCW all he was really after was getting the name that he never did anything with and the tape library that he did a bunch with. To him that was the end of the war, and he didn't think to follow up by getting a bunch of contracts he didn't want to pay for and talent he couldn't have possibly used. The only really big names were Booker T and DDP, both of whom were underused, mistreated by the WWF management and both left for greener pastures as soon as they had the contract end.
 
I just find it scary that 3 of the little four all havr had the founders ousted for crimes outside of the industry.

WWA: Andrew McManus was arrested in 2003 for embezellment.

ROH: Rob Feinstein was arrested in 2004 in a FBI sting for pedophiles.

XWF: Jimmy Hart was sued by Interscope Records for the theme he made for DDP in WCW, leading to Hulk and his business partners Perfect Storm to take full control of the company.
 
I just find it scary that 3 of the little four all havr had the founders ousted for crimes outside of the industry.

WWA: Andrew McManus was arrested in 2003 for embezellment.

ROH: Rob Feinstein was arrested in 2004 in a FBI sting for pedophiles.

XWF: Jimmy Hart was sued by Interscope Records for the theme he made for DDP in WCW, leading to Hulk and his business partners Perfect Storm to take full control of the company.
Didn't Zandig also go to jail at some point for stabbing someone?
 
I just find it scary that 3 of the little four all havr had the founders ousted for crimes outside of the industry.
I mean this isn't really that odd in wrestling believe it or not. A lot of the guys in the territory days have told stories about the criminal shit they and the promoters got away with. Vince nearly went to jail himself once upon a time.
 
Agreed @volantredx , however its still a bitter sweet pill to swallow for me in the case of WWA. Because one of my favorite alliances came about in the aftermath of Mcmanus's arrest: The Revolution WCS, a global tournament pitting a team of WWA's best, ROH's best, Noah's best, and former NWA territory Hammerlock's best to determine who's the "greatest promotion in the world." The 2005 tournament was an all Junior tourny and it had the best final: a four corner survival match between A.J. Styles(ROH), Mikey Nichols (WWA), KENTA (Noah), and Prince Devitt (Hammerlock). That was my first show to watch for ROH and for Noah and I've been a fan ever since. I'd kill to see WWE do something close to that match.
 
I'd kill to see WWE do something close to that match.
I wouldn't hold out too much hope for that. WWE has billed themselves as focusing on "sports entertainment storylines" which is intended to mean that they focus on the characters and plots of their product over the in-ring action, but actually means they lack the ability to get the true talents in the ring so they focus on promos and use deep pockets to get big names to show up. There is a place for that sort of thing, though it does limit their product some.

Vince has also pointed out that WWE runs shows nearly every day and the faster more athletic style would shorten careers if it was done every day. Which is sort of true, but the problem comes in when the WWE guys don't have a higher gear to kick into while the guys in WWA and ROH especially can always slow down to avoid getting hurt. There's a reason why "save it for TV" is a saying in most companies. Now granted this isn't strictly speaking always true and some of the greats who worked this faster style did have shorter careers than the generation prior, but there's also a question if this is due to inability or just not needing it the way the guys of old did. I mean look at CM Punk and Sting both have basically the same schedule, about a match every six months, but Sting is 20 years older than Punk and only slowed down in the last 5 or 6 years. Physically Sting can't work any more than he does and even that is sort of questionable. Punk could work around the same amount Bryan Danielson or KENTA does but he doesn't want to due to the sheer cost mentally, physically, and even in time and he's said he's basically moved on. At the same time, there are the tragic cases of guys who got torn up and can't do it even if they wanted to well before their time.
 
Well, XWF Immortals last week was a pretty dang good show, so I might as well revive this thread. XWF as a promotion has come a long, long way from being Hulk Hogan's ego trip show (the Nasty Boys as tag team champs, Brutus Beefcake appearing occasionally, Jimmy Hart and later Eric Bischoff booking, and Hogan's infamous if short-lived World Title runs). It's still a place for veterans, but maybe that's for the best in some ways, with Christian Cage, Rob Van Dam, and PCO having had veritable career revivals recently.

This is one of the reasons why I like the multitude of options; if there were one promotion with the best of all the Little Four's rosters, the seasoned vets would demand to go over and keep the guys who would thrive more in ROH down.
 
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