I don't often blog but I've just had a really interesting conversation with wrestling columnist John Canton. Our discussion surrounded how "bothered" Vince McMahon would be about losing his stronghold on Madison Square Garden to ROH/NJPW. The Garden has been cited as the "spiritual home" of WWE for over 40 years, with historic ties to McMahon's Father and Grandfather. The whole topic has actually been on my mind for a while and I've wanted to share my thoughts, so here's my take on on how "bothered" McMahon will be by this and why in 2018 his historical roots and values are not all that important for WWE anymore, but rather he seeks to capitalize on what he allows.
I'm of the belief that Vince could stop ROH/NJPW it if he really wanted to (and maybe he still will). Money talks and 10, 15, 20 years ago he would have chucked all he could to dimish the threat, but in 2018 threat of competition is non-existent. ROH remains at best a thorn in the side but not what one could consider "competition" in the true sense of the word. WWE's competition these days isn't wrestling promotions, but much rather television shows and other entertainment brands, but I digress. WWE haven't run major television events at MSG for a long while because they don't want to pay the rent rates, that's not to say they can't afford it, because they can but the exclusion from WrestleMania 35 was purposeful, the brand is bigger than nostalgic roots now. It has much larger objectives.
I'm also of the opinion Vince's lax nature to the independents is by design and purposeful. 15/20 years ago losing MSG would have been damaging, but hell McMahon could pick up the phone now and run MSG next year and eclipse this ROH/NJPW - that's the power of the machine, there is being "bothered" and having the ability to do something about it and McMahon has all the means to do something as and when at momentary notice. But good luck to ROH, because in their history book this will be a big deal for them.
Vince being so lax with the independents and UFC is rather curious when you look at his past, a seismic shift if ever there was one. A lot of what he is allowing now wouldn't have been tolerated 15/20 years ago. I think there are a number of reasons. Vince sees the commercial value in allowing established names further expose themselves to new markets, he will ultimately capitalize when they return to him, these names also could turn their back on him if he stopped them competing elsewhere - that's the real threat, not the promotions themselves, ROH/NJPW are small fish compared to WWE, but if you have star power leaving for these brands that's where the real threat emanates from.
The reason they want Cody/Omega is not because they want to destroy NJPW/ROH, I think even he sees the value in these products but because they want to contain and put a lid of the level of start power they attract.
I'm almost certain Vince is in the background, watching with curiosity and a sense of how to capitalize on the competition but not destroy.
Let me know what you think about my thoughts and share your own in our comment section below...
Ben Jordan Keirn