The Delco Elbow Drop

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#RAWlternative aims to bring something new to wrestling fans

On January 19 at 8 p.m., several independent wrestling promotions in America have joined together to live-stream an event on YouTube aptly titled “#RAWlternative.” The event is intended to show the community of pro wrestling fans that there are alternatives to WWE out there as fans have seemingly become more and more unhappy with the current WWE product. (The event was originally called #BoycottRaw but was changed to better suit the theme of the event)

Granted, going up against Raw itself might not have been the best idea, I do really like the intent and hope that more events like this will be hosted in the future. The Facebook event page for #RAWlternative already has over 2,000 people signed up to watch and Beyond Wrestling (one of the driving forces behind the idea) mentioned on Twitter that over 3,000 people tuned into this past Monday’s presentation of “Americanrana,” which was a test run for this coming Monday’s show.

The link for the show is -

The companies involved are:

Matches announced so far are:
The Young Bucks vs The Super Smash Brothers (Smash)
Ricochet vs Josh Alexander (Alpha-1)
Chris Hero vs Colin Delaney (2CW)
Johnny Gargano vs Ethan Page (AIW)
Takaaki Watanabe vs Andy Dalton (Inspire Pro)
Ninjas With Altitude (Shyron and Kitsune/Mike Bailey) vs Food Fighters (ISW)
Eddie Kingston vs Keith Walker (AAW Pro)
Kevin Steen vs "Speedball" Mike Bailey (C*4)
Brian Kendrick vs Dark Sheik (Hoodslam)
Rich Swann and AR Fox vs Christian Rose and Matt Cage (Dreamwave)
Kyle O'Reilly vs. Gary Jay (St. Louis Anarchy)
Athena vs Mia Yim (AIW Girl's Night Out)

New matches are to be announced every day until the show on Monday. On the Facebook page, they mentioned they hadn’t booked a women’s match for the card and asked fans if they wanted one with the overwhelming answer being “yes.” My only other hope for the card is that a Team Tremendous match is added.

I’ll definitely be watching #RAWlternative this Monday and if you’re bored with the usual Raw shenanigans, you should definitely tune in as well. Many of the matches scheduled feature established, top-tier indy guys like the Young Bucks, Ricochet, Chris Hero and Johnny Gargano as well as up-and-coming stars like Ethan Page, Josh Alexander, “Speedball” Mike Bailey (as Kitsune – sorry kayfabe) and others.

And from Beyond’s Facebook page, a small explanation of the purpose of #RAWlternative:
The purpose of #RAWlternative isn't to get fans to stop watching WWE. The purpose of #RAWlternative is to get the internet wrestling community to band together for one night to raise awareness for the mainstream alternatives. If you are unhappy with what you see on your TV every Monday night, please don't stop supporting professional wrestling. Tune in to #RAWlternative on 1/19/15 and thrust yourself head first into the indie scene. We are teaming with a dozen of the most prominent independent wrestling promotions in North America to broadcast some of the best matches of 2014 to a worldwide audience.”

I originally wrote the following for NXT, Lucha Underground and Indy Minute which is running tomorrow but I thought it fit well in this article as well, about wrestling promotions working together and sharing stars to grow and expand their audience.

It came out of the recent New Japan Pro Wrestling/Pro Wrestling NOAH partnership and focuses on how WWE, the biggest company in America (maybe the whole world too), is only hurting itself and wrestling as a whole by being so insular and exclusionary.

Also this past week, New Japan Pro Wrestling invaded Pro Wrestling NOAH. Naomichi Marifuji successfully defended the GHC Heavyweight title against Satoshi Kojima (a former IWGP Heavyweight champion and AJPW Triple Crown champion). Afterward, Suzukigun attacked Marifuji and Minoru Suzuki hit him with a piledriver.
TMDK (Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls) defeated Takeshi Suguira and Masato Tanaka for the GHC tag team titles which seems like a good set up for KES vs TMDK (since they faced off at WK9 in the 8-man tag and both hold tag team gold).
But the partnership between Pro Wrestling NOAH and New Japan is important not just because it will help build the brand of both companies and raise their profiles with fans in Japan (and abroad now that NJPW is getting great exposure in America), but because it shows how wrestling companies should operate with regards to other wrestling promotions.
Working together and sharing talent helps both companies in the long run. Getting guys more matches with different opponents in front of different crowds helps them become more well-rounded wrestlers and will allow for cross-over fans to enjoy both products. It also helps the business by getting fans who would only support one company to start paying attention to another brand.
In America, the reason the WWE is viewed as the “only” game in town (even though it is the most lucrative game in town for most) is because they want all the credit and glory of building stars and promoting shows for themselves and not share it with anyone else. They have this idea that their product isn’t pro wrestling but rather sports entertainment, which is why they make hugely popular, established stars (like Kenta, Kevin Steen, Prince Devitt and countless others) go through “developmental” first.
And it’s because WWE doesn’t work with or acknowledge other companies and help them grow that the product has become so stagnant, why the ratings continue to fall and why fans continually complain about a general lack of direction for the product and an overall drop in quality in recent years. WWE pushed out all the other wrestling companies to the point that the only other promotion with mainstream TV recognition (TNA) is looked at as a second-rate joke. (Granted TNA does that to themselves sometimes, but it’s not as bad as the reputation it’s gotten).
But wrapping up this tangent – it’s clear that WWE sees the value in wrestlers working for other wrestling promotions before coming to WWE. It’s why they’ve signed Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, Hideo Itami, Finn Balor and so many others. But until they get over themselves and realize that wrestling is wrestling is wrestling that their product will continue to only reach the same dwindling audience of fans who are becoming increasingly bored with their product.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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