Professional wrestling is a global industry with promotions all over the world. Wrestling fans are well aware of what exists outside the WWE; however, the company has long taken a stance that nothing outside its walls is worth mentioning. Lately, there have been some cracks within those walls as WWE has made some mentions of organizations and that change needs to be completely embraced in the future.
Last week on Monday Night Raw, Edge and The Miz stood face to face in a heated exchange in the ring. During their back and forth, Edge made a hint toward the fact that The Miz’s name came up during an important promo between two big stars in All Elite Wrestling. That promo between MJF and CM Punk is considered one of the best in recent memory for a number of reasons.
CM Punk’s dig at MJF that he’s a “less famous version of The Miz,” was a hot line that grabbed a lot of attention. Even the writers for Raw knew it needed to come up during their faceoff a few days later. But things shouldn’t end there. Just as Bryan Danielson can talk about WrestleMania to a chorus of boos in front of an AEW crowd, WWE should reference what its stars have done in other organizations, making it an important part to why fans should care about what’s going on in the WWE ring.
Imagine the build that could have accompanied the WrestleMania 34 match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura if WWE talked more about their history going back to Wrestle Kingdom 10. Speaking of Styles, WWE missed a major opportunity when they refused to acknowledge the Bullet Club lineage that tied together Style, The Good Brothers, Finn Balor, and Adam Cole; individuals who were all a part of the company’s roster for a time.
The same could be said about competitors like Asuka and Io Shirai, two women whose legacies in Japanese wrestling should be used to build up their star power while they are in the WWE. Fans are smart enough to know that there’s a large body of wrestling outside of the WWE, but it would go a long way in showing the people more to build these names up along the way.
AEW has no shame mentioning the WWE any opportunity that comes, much to the delight of their viewers while inciting WWE fans to near rage. The WWE doesn’t need to go as far in that direction but being willing to recognize what has happened and is happening in other promotions in the industry would go a long way in bringing back some realism and believability to the company when they need it the most.