Skip to main content

Pro Wrestling's Race Abroad - True International Expansion


Pro Wrestling often goes through it's phases, and it seems lately, going international is where the business is headed. Not in terms of television deals, and extended broadcast rights to various countries, but we're talking like really going international. You know, with diversity, travel, culture, and all of that good hearty stuff that really embodies the term.

This of course is weird, as "World" has always been apart of the wrestling game for as along as we can remember. Looking back on it, it seems that too was part of the kayfabe and the aura that was pro wrestling. Sure, companies toured and talent independently traveled to other countries to wrestle, but North America is where all of the efforts went into. I'ts where all of the wrestlers desired to be. It's where all of the champions for the most part, were still white men that fit the mold pro wrestling has had for years.

"International" simply meant, our wrestling is coming to your country to perform, and that was the extent of it. That's all. 

Today, both WWE and Impact have some elements that are redefining and evolving the industry into a new era. It's very rare my passion for social justice and pro wrestling come together - even this sentence feels awkward to digest. But here we are! It's 2017, and international and true diversity, just like the slowly moving social climate, are peeking their heads in pro wrestling. 


The Beyonce of 3MB

Who would have ever imagined, Jinder Mahal, WWE Champion? Yes, many of you pro wrestling fans are not fans of the decision. I am in the other camp. And I do subscribe to the theory of we've seen a Randy Orton title run before, so why the heck not? In fact we've seen it twelve other times before this one. The Mahal win is refreshing, it's different, and it gives me purpose to watch. 

As for the the whole, "he's been a jobber for years" excuse I've read in various columns. I apologize for this coming comment but, get over yourself. Are you not allowed social progression in wrestling? Should you forever be a jobber if you worked your butt off to improve? Pro Wrestling fans are some of the most conditioned fans in entertainment. Just my opinion.

Either way, who knew that of those who were in 3MB, Mahal was actually the leader - the Beyonce, if you will, of their Destiny's Child. 

OK, maybe that's going too far (actually, very far), but he is the breakout star. Truthfully, they've all done pretty good for themselves. 

Nonetheless, I do love the idea of having someone with brown skin, of a different culture, and with an apparent culturally defined name carrying the WWE's most prestigious title. Of course, the WWE will stereotype the heck of the entire program, because let's be honest, that's what they do. When you think about it, pro wrestling conditioning, especially the WWE, is about as xenophobic as it gets. Just see and listen to the U-S-A chants anytime something not within the realm of Americana is presented. 



Regardless, for a company that can count it's minority WWE Champions on one hand and only highlights such underrepresented groups whenever February comes around or whenever it serves political correctness or public relations, it's expected. But again, you have to start somewhere. 

The tide on women's wrestling has turned over the past decade, and we may now be on the brink of this occurring in terms of ethnicity and race. 

I'm not looking for Jinder Mahal to carry the torch for the WWE on this front or even for all of pro wrestling, but it's a small step, and I am rooting for the guy. I do fear if something goes wrong, it'll be back to Randy Orton (no offense to Orton), or some other usual WWE-formulaic champion we've seen in the past.


A Pretty Big Ass Market

And of course, there is IMPACT Wrestling under the guidance of J-E-Double-F, J-A-Double-R, E, Double-T. Ha. Ha! 

Okay, it's been a while since I've let that one out. But the man who has had this global vision for pro wrestling for a while now is following through as Impact airs from India in a few weeks, becoming the first U.S. pro wrestling company to film and air television from the country.
The world isn't perfect in how we handle our differences, but it's far, far, far ahead of pro wrestling. 
Again, when you digest and think about it - how can this be? There are 1.3 Billion people in India! That's a pretty big ass market to leave untapped for so long!  

Regardless, it should be interesting to see how the tapings are produced and come off for television, especially as the roster continues to mirror an international diversity philosophy Jarrett is looking to present for the product. 

We've seen the UK become the hottest international region in pro wrestling as of late, and the WWE is capitalizing on this region in a big way with special tournaments and events, acquiring and stashing UK talent, and even creating a United Kingdom title. For the record, I miss The European Championship. But I get it...

I am very eager to see the kind of roots IMPACT will be able to lay in India, and whether if this is something they can turn into viable market moving forward. Maybe an annual Indian Cup tournament? Hey, maybe an Indian Title? Nah. 

But seriously,, who knew India would become the focus of the pro wrestling world?!

All in all, I love the new trend of a true global and international feel to pro wrestling. We could also go into Shisuke Nakamura's success within the WWE world, and the various partnerships now being formed abroad by various promotions from all over the globe. 

The industry is too far behind in social makeup in looking to create and retain fans. After awhile, there comes a point where it's obvious that in today's society, faces and cultures you can relate to. you are absent. You want to see those similar faces, and honestly, fans want to be exposed to various styles and presentations. 

From a business standpoint, and for the future of the business, you also want faces from areas where athletes and desiring professional wrestlers believe they indeed have a shot. Like, a real shot! Not a I-expect-to-be-given-a-Samurai-warrior-gimmick-because-I-am-of-Asian-decent kind of shot. 

The world isn't perfect in how we handle our differences, but it's far, far, far ahead of pro wrestling. 

It's time to change that. 

Recently Read Posts

Predictions and Wild Guesses for the 2021-22 NBA Season

For the first time in as long as I can remember, my New York Knicks have become a bit of a sanctuary for my sports fandom. Everything that has been the New York Yankees summer, and recent elimination, just begs for a proverbial turning of the page. The NBA season is that new chapter.  The Knicks season is a bit of a conundrum, as they've gotten much better, BUT, so did the rest of the Eastern Conference. I'm feeling confident, but I'm also anxious for more good basketball and hoping that last year wasn't some fluky gift to us Knicks for our patience prior to last season.  Whatevs...nonetheless, here are my predictions for the upcoming NBA season.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/24/21

3 Up 1. Science and Research - Look, I'm not trying to get into any debates or start trouble with this selection. I'm just giving props to the men and women who continue to develop these vaccines - and now approved booster shots - that help fight off this terrible virus that has plagued over the past 18 months. Some countries still don't have an option when it comes to vaccines - we're onto booster shots, and can "choose". Perspective and privilege are needed sometimes.  2. Col. Wang Yaping - Give it up to Yaping who in six weeks will become the first Chinese woman to walk in space. OF course, she is receiving tons of backlash from the media - but hey, did we expect anything else? 

CM Punk's Return - Perfect Timing for the Symbol of Anti-WWE

Looooooooook in my eyes, what do you see?! The lyrics to Cult of Personality, especially that first bar,  never felt so fitting for CM Punk as it did last night.  For the most part, everything that is CM Punk's return to wrestling last night at AEW Rampage ties directly into my latest thoughts on pro wrestling - the company is making it must-see destination television, an element desperately needed from pro wrestling.  Last night was incredible as again, it was another moment that made wrestling feel alive - with a wild and energetic pulse. It was one of the coolest moments in pro wrestling that you knew was coming, expected, anticipated, and it was everything and more. Again, MUST-SEE television. That's hard to do.  For me, it wasn't just Punk's return to pro wrestling, but the mere presence and voice of his inclusion in today's space. We know that Punk can deliver on the microphone - probably his best and most signature attribute. We also know that yes, he can

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/10/21

3 Up 1. Moderna Vaccine to Low Income Nations - In a world where the idea of "pandemic" now feels like a state of mind or the privilege of belief, Moderna has decided to aim its efforts in getting at least 1 billion doses to low-income countries the COVID vaccine. I'll save the "vaccine" chat for another time - but this is pretty awesome by Moderna. And oh yeah, highly needed.  2. Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi - Two absolute legends of the WNBA had some legacy-cementing moments this week. Parker lead her hometown Chicago Sky into the WNBA finals, and Taurasi, was named the GOAT of the WNBA by fans. Because well, she is. Congrats to both.  3. Netlfix's On My Block - For the second week in a row I'm putting a personal - and admittedly, biased - selection in the "Up" section. One of my favorite shows by Netflix, On My Block , released its fourth and final season, and yes, I binged it on my daily commute home. Gonna miss the crew from Freeridge.