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Is the Pro Wrestling Industry Experiencing a New Golden Age?

With the rise in prominence of companies outside, and the push for All Elite Wrestling, could we be entering the next Golden Age of Pro Wrestling?



Pro Wrestling ROH G1 Supercard Madison Square Garden

The modern era of pro wrestling is one of the most exciting eras in the history of the sport. For the first time in nearly 20 years, the industry is seeing growth from promotions outside of WWE and that growth is extremely satisfying for fans to watch. But what does this mean for the business?

NWA owner Billy Corgan recently said that the pro wrestling industry is entering a new golden age. But is he right? Longtime fans would certainly be hard pressed to argue with his statement. That’s due to the emergence of companies that offer new and innovative wrestling. All of those companies are becoming legitimate alternatives to Vince McMahon’s product.

There’s no doubt that choices are available and many of them have been available in the United States for a number of years. Ring of Honor and IMPACT Wrestling have been in operation for 17 years and 15 years respectively. Chikara is also 17 years old. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla was founded 16 years ago. Shimmer tuns 14 years old in 2019 and EVOLVE has reached the nine year mark.

MLW began in 2002 but closed its doors just two years later. The company restarted in 2017 however and now has a growing fanbase for its pro wrestling product. Corgan’s NWA was founded 71 years ago but for many fans, that brand died when it split from WCW in 1993. However, the NWA is making its own comeback, thanks in large part to a partnership with ROH. 

But for fans outside of America, WWE was perhaps never the only option. New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling are celebrating 47 years in the industry. Mexico’s AAA has been around for 27 years. Dragon Gate has operated for a decade, while Progress Wrestling and Rev Pro are close behind with eight years of operation each. Then there’s Mexico’s other promotion, CMLL, which is still going strong after an astonishing 86 years.

Of course all of these companies are becoming mainstream for a great number of fans due to the internet. Indeed, technology has made the pro wrestling world a much smaller place in terms of accessing content. All of the aforementioned companies have a presence online and many offer their programs on various streaming services. This opens the door for other companies to make an impact, gaining a following with fans who are perhaps weary of WWE.

The WWE fatigue is understandable and inevitable. While many pro wrestling alternatives were there before WCW shut down in 2000, the majority of them just weren’t accessible to the average fan. Those fans were seemingly forced to tune in to WWE every week. For them, there was no alternative. They wanted pro wrestling and WWE was the only real option.

So now that a great number of fans are looking elsewhere for their pro wrestling fix, what does that mean for WWE? Does this mean that Vince McMahon’s company is on the way out of the spotlight? The easy answer is no. WWE is a firmly established pro wrestling entity with history dating back to 1952. WWE is a publicly traded company, globally recognized as the No.1 brand in professional wrestling. Vince McMahon’s empire isn’t going anywhere.

But for a new golden age to actually exist, there must be more than what Vince McMahon is giving and that is certainly the case now. More men and women are making more money in more places and that is a great thing for the business. There is real variety in the pro wrestling industry and that is beneficial not only for the talents, but for the fans as well. ROH and New Japan already sold out Madison Square Garden, and things could potentially only improve from there.

That’s because of All Elite Wrestling. Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks wanted to do things their way. They wanted to see the business return to the days when wins and losses mattered, when the real draw was the action in the ring and the drama that surrounds it. AEW is ready to make a major splash in the industry and when it happens, the shockwaves will likely be reverberate throughout the wrestling world.

Of course that’s already the case in many ways. AEW currently has nearly 50 talents signed to its roster. The success of 2018’s ALL IN led to the creation of AEW, which led to the upcoming Double or Nothing event on May 25. AEW President Tony Khan is throwing a lot of money around right now and he’s counting on his roster to deliver when the time comes. 

Many things must go right for AEW to be successful. But only a few things can go wrong for it to ultimately fail. A big bank account does not guarantee a win and anyone who witnessed WCW’s demise can attest to that. But if AEW can gain a foothold and if the company becomes profitable in the new few years, then that’s a good thing for everyone.

Critics believe that fans actually want WWE to fail. To them, any support of companies outside of WWE means a desire to end Vince McMahon’s company once and for all. While there may be an element of the pro wresting fanbase that feels that way, the majority simply want something else to watch. They want different faces as well as fresh and exciting storylines. They want something new. More importantly, they want the wrestling. 

The pro wrestling business has come full circle. The territory system crumbled, giving way to two, then one, major promotion. Now the independent wrestling scene is thriving, while one company sits on top and a second company is looming on the horizon. Maybe all of this will eventually go back around in another circle 10 years from now. Or maybe the best is yet to come. Either way, it seems Billy Corgan may be right after all. 

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Greg DeMarco’s Good, Bad, & Ugly: WWE Smackdown On FOX (November 3, 2023)

It’s the go-home show for WWE Crown Jewel, and Smackdown is in full force! As is Greg’s Good, Bad, & Ugly review!



WWE Smackdown John Cean Solo Sikoa

It’s the go-home show for WWE Crown Jewel, and Smackdown is in full force! As is Greg’s Good, Bad, & Ugly review!

WWE Smackdown On FOX sends us home for the Crown Jewel premium live event, so it has to be strong. But is it? Maybe it’s Good. Possibly it’s Bad? I sure hope it isn’t Ugly.

Let’s find out!

If you haven’t checked out Mitchell’s Results & Review for this episode of Smackdown, go and check it out now!


  • Roman Reigns & LA Knight In Ring Promo – Last week LA Knight got the better of Roman, so it made sense for Roman to get it all back this week. And he did just that. “Redneck Cosplay of my cousin” was a fantastic line from Roman Reigns, but “I ain’t here to finish something” from LA Knight got a bigger reaction from me. Roman calling himself the megastar was also a phenomenal line. Good stuff all around.
  • Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory – Kevin Patrick keeping “The 150 million hit man” schtick going for Austin Theory is so great. Milk that for all it’s worth! “What is your issue with Kevin Owens’ face?” “LOOK AT IT, MAN!” Absolutely brilliant shit. “How’s that feel, idiot?” Grayson Waller should be on commentary every week, for every match. And this match, by the way, was really good. Austin Theory has settled into his current role, showing he understands the WWE cycle. And Owens is Owens.
  • Backstage Series Of Events – We had the Bianca Belair interview where she was attacked by Damage Ctrl, followed by The Street Profits & Bobby Lashley running into Logan Paul and then B-Fab. Flowed well, no issues for me.
  • Chelsea Green & Piper Niven vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Charlotte Flair – No surprise that Charlotte Flair was the partner, and no surprise that Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn made an appearance. This was a perfectly fine TV match–didn’t set the world on fire, but also wasn’t Bad or Ugly. This was a step in this story, and an effective one.
  • The Brawling Brutes vs. Pretty Deadly in a Good Ol’ Fashioned Donnybrook! – Shout out to Sheamus, whose return I look forward to seeing. With Ridge really coming into his own, we’re to the point where all four of these guys range from good to great to fantastic on any given night. Putting Pretty Deadly into any “manly fight” is always guaranteed entertainment. Really, Pretty Deadly in anything is typically guaranteed entertainment. Pretty Deadly picking up the win was not a shock, although I’d have loved to see Butch and Ridge Holland pick up a win here. Given the rules (or lack thereof) of this match, Pretty Deadly basically won clean here.
  • Rey Mysterio vs. Logan Paul Crown Jewel Weigh-In – A very effective way to pretape something, which saves time as part of a double taping. It was essentially a go home promo, but done in a different way. I liked it. It also smoothly transitions into the rundown of the card by the commentary team, which I always appreciate.
  • Bianca Belair vs. Bayley – If you know me, you know that Bianca can be hit or miss for me. She can’t “work with anyone,” but she can definitely work with Bayley. Bayley, of course, is money with anything she does. Both women delivered a main event quality match, and no one should complain that Bianca Belair won. She’s challenging for the Women’s Championship in less than 24 canon hours, so she needs to win. Bayley is a made woman, losing here doesn’t hurt her one bit.
  • “Just Enough Nick” Nick Aldis Usage – Triple H has done an amazing job of establishing Nick Aldis. Three weeks in and he already “belongs.” Much of that is attributed to how Aldis carries himself. But they are also using him to the right degree. It’s not too much, but it’s also not too little. Adam Pearce could miss two weeks of Raw and when he shows back up, it all makes sense. For Aldis, he needs to be very present, but not overbearing or “shoved down our throats.” They have the right balance.


  • Solo Sikoa & John Cena In Ring Promo – John Cena, lost voice and all, completely buries Solo Sikoa. He “cooks” Solo, as promised. And, as Cena does, he makes Solo look like crap. Bargain Basement Tazz Rip Off? C’mon man, you’re better than that. But here’s the real problem: what happens if Solo loses? Cena made him look like a loser, and then proves that he is? Solo has to win this match. If he doesn’t, and Cena is gone, then Solo is left out in the cold. And you don’t want to do that to Solo Sikoa at this point of his career.


  • Misstep for Theory – Referencing Halloween as if it hadn’t already happened. You can edit this episode–c’mon, man!
  • Kevin Owens’ Crotch Chop – C’mon, man! We’re better than crotch chops in 2023.

The Verdict

  • Good – 8
  • Bad – 1
  • Ugly – 2

In all honesty this was a damn good show. Milwaukee showed out considering they’d already seen 2 hours of Smackdown before this was taped. Good on them, and good on WWE for a great go home show for Crown Jewel.

Interesting of note – the pictures for this show that are posted to the WWE website are uploaded in the order the matches and segments were recorded, not the order in which they aired. Just a little tidbit that I found interesting.

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Greg DeMarco’s Wrestling Ratings Report: Monday Night Raw (10/30/2023) & WWE NXT (10/31/2023)

Greg DeMarco takes a look at your Monday and Tuesday night TV ratings. What do they mean? Do they matter?



WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 Carmelo Hayes Ilja Dragunov

Greg DeMarco takes a look at your Monday and Tuesday night TV ratings. What do they mean? Do they matter?

Settle in for a look at this week’s ratings for WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2! Both were up against some stiff competition–let’s see how they fared!

WWE Monday Night Raw (October 30, 2023)

  • Hour #1 – 1.466 million viewers, .44 demo rating, #6 for the night on cable
  • Hour #2 – 1.450 million viewers, .46 demo rating #5 for the night on cable
  • Hour #3 – 1.256 million viewers, .39 demo rating, #8 for the night on cable

WWE Monday Night Raw for October 30, 2023 faced some stiff competition on Monday night. You had Monday Night Football as normal–which aired on both ESPN and ABC–along with the usual peripheral shows (Monday Night Football Postgame, Monday Night Football Kickoff, SportsCenter, and the Monday Night Countdown, which factored into the Top 10). 6.851 million people watched Monday Night Football on ESPN, a number that more than doubles when you factor in ABC.

What does it all mean? It means that outside of Monday Night Football–on cable–WWE Monday Night Raw was the top rated show. If you take away all things NFL, Raw finishes #1, #2, and #3 for the night. Viewership did drop off for our 3, but that’s the 10 PM hour that sees kids go to bed and people checking on the Monday Night Football and World Series games.

Speaking of which, that’s another factor to consider–the World Series! 8.126 million people watched the World Series on FOX (not really that good), with another 8.356 million watching Monday Night Football on ABC (yes, more than the World Series) for a decent-at-best Lions vs Raiders match-up.

In summary, it was another successful night for WWE Monday Night Raw, which was the go-home edition of the program. You can check out my Good Bad & Ugly look at Monday’s Raw, where I gave the show an overall “Good” rating. Haven’t watched yet? Give Mitchell’s live coverage a read.

Listen to this week’s edition of Bandwagon Nerds!

WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 (October 31, 2023)

  • Entire Broadcast – 674 thousand viewers, .20 demo rating, #6 for the night on cable

WWE NXT (Halloween Havoc Night 2) for October 31, 2023, had to deal with a myriad of external factors this week. First is the most obvious–it was Halloween! Many people had plans, Trick-Or-Treat escapades and more. That right there will be a detriment to any ratings results. Add in two live NBA games, each drawing over a million viewers for TNT. Combine it all together and WWE NXT was the top rated program that wasn’t sports programming on TNT or ESPN. Hell, the entire Top 12 consisted of ESPN and TNT sports programming, plus NXT.

It’s easy to call this a failure since viewership was lost week over week. But that’s very shortsighted. The fact remains that NXT was among the most watched programming for the night, holding its own against live sports and sports-peripheral programming.  If you’re WWE and USA Network, you’re nothing but happy with these results.

NXT, of course, featured the second week of Halloween Havoc, headlined by Ilja Dragunov defending the NXT Championship against Carmelo Hayes in the third match of their trilogy. Along with that you had The Creed Brothers in a Tables, Ladders, and Scares (Chairs) match with Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo, Lola Vice vs. Kelani Jordan in the finals of the Women’s Breakout Tournament, and much more.

I’d call the Tuesday program a ratings success. My Good, Bad, & Ugly review of NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 is available here, where I called it “Good” overall. If you haven’t seen the show yet, check out Mitchell’s play-by-play.

As the weeks roll on, I will compile some historical data and look more about week-over-week (and beyond) patterns in all of my ratings reports.

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