AS I SEE IT 7/8: Death takes 3 in wrestling this weekend, and wrestling wars

Posted on 7/08/119 by Bob Magee

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

So how's YOUR
summer been?

Many of you read my earlier installments of my medical saga
and my hernia surgery. But that was only part 1.

If you read my Facebook or the PWBTS Facebook, you likely
saw that my latest surgery was for skin cancers that were
fortunately removed, apparently of the most basic kind. I do
have one very small one remaining which will get removed
(along with apparently a small skin graft to fix the area of
one of my lesions). So hopefully the future is to recover,
get that one more much more minor surgery and my medical
adventures can all be behind me. For the many of you who've
sent Facebook posts and personal messages, prayers and
thoughts, thank you....they mean more than you can possibly

An unsolicited plug: my experience with Our Lady or Lourdes
Hospital has been a much better one than the time at Virtua,
which in an odd coincidence purchased Lourdes and its
affiliated care centers this past week. Let's hope the
patient-staff culture at Lourdes doesn't change with this
merger for the sake of everyone who needs care.

In a sort of transition to wrestling...sadly this weekend
saw what I wrote last week about life and death, and the
need to treasure life coming all too true in the world of

July 4 weekend has been unofficially cursed in wrestling
with the deaths over the years of Adrian Adonis, Dave
"Bearman" McKigney, and Pat Kelly in 1988, of Joey Marella
in 1994, the near death of Brutus Beefcake in a parasailing
accident in 1990. This July 4 weekend alone saw three
deaths, as lucha legend Perro Aguayo, Sr. died on July 3 at
age 73. Next, Shannon Rose, longtime announcing voice for
wrestling, MMA, and boxing , wrestling manager, interviewer,
and reporter, and PR executive died on July 5 from the
effects of muscular disease. Finally, CMLL owner/president
Paco Alonso died on July 6 at age 67.

Condolences to the friends and family of these major figures
in the world of professional wrestling/lucha. the far more mundane...wrestling wars.

This weekend will see the first real aspects of a WWE-AEW
war of sorts. AEW will present Fight for the Fallen in
Jacksonville, FL on July 13, which will raise money (through
ticket sales) for Jacksonvilles Victim Assistance Advisory
Council which works with victims of gun violence
"coordinat[ing] cooperative efforts among social service,
criminal justice, mental health and other agencies to
provide assistance to crime victims and their families."
Fight for the Fallen is being offered free in the United
States via the B/R Live app (viewers must sign up first) and
through FITE TV outside the US. The event features Cody and
Dustin Rhodes vs. The Young Bucks; Kenny Omega vs. CIMA;
Brandi Rhodes vs. Allie; "Hangman" Adam Page vs. Kip Sabian;
MJF, Shawn Spears, and Sammy Guevara vs. Joey Janela, plus
Darby Allin, and Jimmy Havoc.

Opposite Fight for the Fallen will be EVOLVE 131, the tenth
anniversary show for EVOLVE (and its predecessor Dragon Gate
USA) which will stream head to head on WWE Network. EVOLVE
is technically the first non-WWE event to air on WWE
Network, although functionally EVOLVE serves as the AA farm
club to WWE (NXT being the AAA farm club) . The event will
feature Matt Riddle, Drew Gulak, Adam Cole, Austin Theory,
Eddie Kingston, Joe Gacy, AR Fox, and more.

While Fight for The Fallen will likely sell out regardless
of WWE airing EVOLVE 131 and funds will go to Jacksonvilles
Victim Assistance Advisory Council, it's the beginning of a
pattern of head to head actions by WWE....a pattern at best
that will see fans being forced to choose which shows to
watch live on PPV or streaming...or which shows to attend

On August 31, there will be a head-to-head-to-head situation
that day, as New Japan Pro Wrestling is running London, at
the same time as WWEs NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff. These two
events run directly head to head. While the two cities are
150 miles apart, this head to head can't help attendance and
online viewing.

On top of that, All Elite Wrestling's ALL OUT takes place
August 31. Fortunately there's a time difference with the UK
and US, so the two won't run DIRECTLY head to head. ALL OUT
was a same day sellout. But some people will be forced
financially to make choices between buying these shows to

When this was first announced, Kenny Omega fired away on
Twitter at WWE:

"If lining your pockets with blood money is okay (re:
Saudi shows) , then what's wrong with trying to undermine
a charity show for victims of gun violence? I hear that
healthy competition is supposed to be a good thing and yet I
can't help but feel like I'm gonna be sick."

Omega later deleted the tweet, but his point was clearly
made. This is TWO examples of WWE running head to head with
the two promotions they perceive as competition, and forcing
fans to make choices. It won't be the last.

Then, coincidentally or not, EVOLVEs Gabe Sapolsky
discussed the situation on a Reddit AMA. Sapolsky said that
Omegas tweet was a little disparaging to all the work and
sacrifice, and claimed that the date was booked before AEW
announced Fight for the Fallen event. That is likely true,
but the fact is that the Network airing of the event wasn't
announced until after Fight for the Fallen was. Sapolsky
stated that the 2300 Arena is "tailor made to go right on
the WWE Network" and that "everything just came together to
do it on this date".

The question is how predatory WWE will be in doing this. In
the 1980s and 1990s, WWE ran PPVs and televised major live
events head to head with NWA and WCW events (and WCW
responded by running Clash of the Champions shows on TBS)
until PPV providers made both sides stop. But 2019 is a
different world. There's no one to make WWE stop now. Since
WWE's primary big events are primarily streamed on WWE
Network, and actual PPV numbers are far smaller than in the
past, PPV providers have far less leverage than they once
would have.

After that, in a moment of unintentional hilarity, Roman
Reigns was trotted out in an interview with The Sportster to
make the comment that "saying theres absolutely no
comparison between the two."

Ill just say this. Its all so new and it was what it
was with Ambrose leaving and popping up over there
Competition? No, theres no competition...WWE, we know
exactly what were doing. We have the best talent in the
world. Theres no comparing, I say that with firm with firm
confidence, all the way from the top to the very bottom. We
are world class all the way through."

So WWE just HAPPENS to be running head to head twice with
shows of a promotion that is "no competition"? Running head
to head once is a coincidence. Doing it twice is a business

Seth Rollins also recently took shots on Twitter at New
Japan's Will Ospreay and by implication New Japan itself,
before reportedly being told by Paul Heyman that the
comments weren't doing anyone any good.

Look, there's no question that WWE is the largest wrestling
company on the planet. They will be for the foreseeable
future. AEW isn't in a position to change that in the
immediate future. Neither is New Japan Pro Wrestling. But
between WWE's attempts to say there's no competition with
All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the
deliberate tactics they're engaging in to force fans to
choose between WWE and AEW and/or NJPW, WWE may well create
the perception of more competition.

Until next time...

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