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WWE Mae Young Classic - Summer 2017

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I remember those old NXT episodes being entertaining due to Regal and Renee's banter that wasn't related to the matches too much, which isn't a good thing for a tournament.

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The women’s tournament was officially announced as a new special WWE network show. The 32-woman tournament will feature women from 17 different countries, so the idea is to give it an international flavor. Most of the best women who do not have an existing contract with WWE or another promotion are expected to be invited, including American and U.K.-based women who tour for Stardom. The tournament was originally scheduled for January, but moved back when WWE prioritized a U.K. territory and proposed television show getting off the ground due to ITV airing a wrestling product. The women’s tournament announcement was made as a business summit with media partners held in Orlando by Paul Levesque, Stephanie McMahon, and the three women’s champions in the company before Mania, Bayley, Bliss and Asuka. Levesque talked about a summer tournament in a Fox Sports interview. The idea was to be similar to the cruiserweight classic, which would mean a ten or 11 or so week television show taped at different intervals at Full Sail University most likely, although that is not official. We are aware that women had been contacted a couple of months ago and told to clear their schedules for late May, although that could change. We do know that Toni Storm, the top foreigner from Stardom, who was wrestling at Axxess (and the general response we got was the U.K. contingent both men and women were much better than the NXT regulars) and Io Shirai have been contacted for the tournament. People like Storm and Tessa Blanchard have been considered a lock all along. I’d expect Jinny from the U.K. based on her doing matches at Axxess and getting good reviews for them. The belief is Shirai has also agreed to go, although nobody in Japan seems to know for sure what her situation is. Nixon Newell, who was to start about that time, would make sense and she and Kairi Hojo, also scheduled to start around that time, makes sense. It’s been noted that while Stardom is no competition for WWE, they do have the highest quality of women’s wrestling in the world and WWE is making the move on their talent hard to deepen the NXT women’s division. It’ll be interesting because last year the real stars of the cruiserweight tournament were Zack Sabre Jr., and Kota Ibushi, neither one of which signed and I doubt WWE wants that repeated in this tournament. A number of women set for the tournament are getting contract offers, so the idea seems to be to sign at least the key people they are looking at pushing as the winners up ahead of time so the cruiserweight situation doesn’t repeat itself. Even though it seems kind of weird because women are a key part of NXT, Raw and Smackdown, but the working idea is to come out of the tournament with a one hour weekly show for the network, like 205 Live. The only way I can see that is to drop Main Event on Monday and tape the women’s show before Raw. It’s a different dynamic because for women, the indies aren’t as lucrative and there aren’t the options like for Ibushi where there’s no need to sign a full-time deal, so the odds of one of the top women they want to push turning down a contract offer are a lot lower. I was told that the field is about 90 percent booked right now.

Per WON

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A one hour TV show every week devoted exclusively to women, with quality matches and workers? Yeah, sign me the fuck up.

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We're a long, long way out, but I wonder if the women's show will be separated from the Raw/Smackdown divisions, and if not, will the women become brand-exclusive? (Presumably, the cruisers would head to Smackdown full-time, to line the tapings up, if that were to occur.)

Regardless, I'm excited for this. A little horrified to see how Sasha someday decides to bump on Shirai's germans, and perpetually anxious about cheering on the expansion of an already dominant business, but... (And as stated, women do have less lucrative options. I'll be worried when WWE announces a Mexico and/or Japan tournament/show.)

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On 4/4/2017 at 10:01 AM, turk128 said:

I'm kinda amazed LeRae hasn't been signed yet. Has she even gotten a try out? I don't remember hearing of any.

Meltzer mentioned a little while back that WWE has made it known that they won't give a look to women who do hardcore matches or wrestle men.  As always, that could change and probably will.

I went back and added the word "matches" after "hardcore" because that sentence would have had a totally different meaning if I hadn't.

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And even that isn't 100% true since they already signed Kimber Lee (at least on the intergender front)

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7 minutes ago, Beech27 said:

Regardless, I'm excited for this. A little horrified to see how Sasha someday decides to bump on Shirai's germans, and perpetually anxious about cheering on the expansion of an already dominant business, but... (And as stated, women do have less lucrative options. I'll be worried when WWE announces a Mexico and/or Japan tournament/show.)

Honestly, I think a Mexico and/or Japan tournament would be good for everybody.  I absolutely hate how the Japanese indy system works.  There are so many really talented wrestlers who are essentially stuck in some rinky dink promotion, because the big companies don't raid the independent promotions for talent.  After Hyato Fujita's matches with Koji Kanemoto, he should have been poached and pushed as the next big Jr. heavyweight star in New Japan.  I don't know how how much he's making in Michinoku Pro, but I imagine it is significantly less than he would in New Japan.  Not only would those guys have the chance to get bigger pay days if the WWE ran a tournament/show, the larger promotions would have to give more of these guys opportunities to keep them in Japan.  I think it could be a rising tide situation, where everyone would eventually benefit.  When New Japan lost Nakamura and AJ Styles they were forced to make guys like Omega and Naito more credible threats.  It looks like they are moving that way with Shibata, and Tanahashi looks to be taking a step back.  Competition makes wrestling better for the fans 100% of the time, I'm ready for them to start going after the bigger wrestling markets.  

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1 hour ago, RIPPA said:

And even that isn't 100% true since they already signed Kimber Lee (at least on the intergender front)

And Crazy Mary Dobson is signed, isn't she? That whole thought is a little silly. The Stardom women just came off an incredibly divisive gauntlet match against Pentagon that featured intense physicality before this idea came about. 

They can say don't do it but the facts don't align with it being a strict rule. 

At this point, I'm conflicted about WWE's aggressive expansion and talent hoarding. I want wrestlers to make a good living and many dream of working for WWE. But the indies have never been stronger and it's pretty clear, particularly in Britain, that this may be the zenith before companies are forced to down size or possibly close all together because of talent raids and WWE cornering the market with more and more niche shows. Monopolies suck. Additionally, some wrestlers thrive by working the slower paced, story based WWE style, others never quite adapt and even if they do they become just a guy or a woman lost in the shuffle with overexposure and booking that does them no favours in terms of playing against strengths. 

In response to the above, New Japan is a little weird but it reflects the strong tribe mentality that flows through the culture. Even with Gedo booking and Okada as the top guy, there's a reluctance to rely too much on outside talent. This leads to shit bums like Yujiro having jobs for life practically and top talent not getting the shots they should often times. The smaller promotions should and likelier are more open to signing outsider talent though. 

It's very different with CMLL, which has a roster of around 150 guys. They're too slow to push guys and recognize when somebody is getting over on their own. 

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On 4/4/2017 at 6:43 PM, The Iron Yuppie said:

I'm calling the police 

I fail to see how that would help.

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2 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

At this point, I'm conflicted about WWE's aggressive expansion and talent hoarding. I want wrestlers to make a good living and many dream of working for WWE. But the indies have never been stronger and it's pretty clear, particularly in Britain, that this may be the zenith before companies are forced to down size or possibly close all together because of talent raids and WWE cornering the market with more and more niche shows. Monopolies suck. Additionally, some wrestlers thrive by working the slower paced, story based WWE style, others never quite adapt and even if they do they become just a guy or a woman lost in the shuffle with overexposure and booking that does them no favours in terms of playing against strengths. 

I agree with some of this, but I don't know if that is how it will actually play out in practice.  I think it is clear that there is an audience for WWE alternatives, so these indys need to focus on building talent.  They can survive if they focus on being a breeding ground for the stars of the future.  The goal of these promotions should have never been to be a final destination for talent.  They have to understand that the best case scenario for a indy promotion is to be a pipeline for future WWE talent.  That means that they are finding elite talent and putting them in a position to succeed.  These promotions need to realize that they will never be able to compete with the WWE on their level, and that is OK.  The ability to find talent, cultivate it, and promote it in a way that sends that talent on to bigger and better things should be their ultimate goal.  It will keep talent wanting to work for them, and it will keep an audience who wants to see these guys grow into future stars.  

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Some people are irreplaceable and if they're raiding a company like Stardom by trying to bring all three stars in at once, it could be a fatal blow. It's also not even allowing companies to get to an ROH size to even become a decent alternative. Look at what they were/are trying to do with that company, buying them out partially for their tape library but mostly to remove an alternative for talent to make a living outside of WWE. This expansion is serving two purposes: providing more content for the network and controlling the wrestling industry by essentially eliminating or weakening alternatives. It's 1984 all over again. There's a valid argument that Stardom has been too top heavy and should've known that Io, Kairi, and Mayu wouldn't be around forever. That is fair. But to potentially lose them all within a year is incredibly hard to handle. Alvarez made a great point a while ago in that so many of WWE's top talent were signed from these small promotions. If they devour them like what it seems to be their intent, where are they getting these future stars? The performance center hasn't exactly been churning out consistent high quality prospects. Roman, Bray, and Big E stand out but there are way more stars coming from independents because they had to get themselves over and often times in a variety of settings. I guess the tl;dr is you're right in that these companies were never going to be competition for WWE but they won't have much of a chance to grow at all if they're constantly losing talent. ROH wouldn't have become a top destination for indie stars across the continent if it didn't grow beyond where they were in 2003. 

This would all be easier to swallow if WWE treated their employees like... employees instead of independent contractors.

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2 hours ago, supremebve said:

Honestly, I think a Mexico and/or Japan tournament would be good for everybody.  I absolutely hate how the Japanese indy system works.  There are so many really talented wrestlers who are essentially stuck in some rinky dink promotion, because the big companies don't raid the independent promotions for talent.  After Hyato Fujita's matches with Koji Kanemoto, he should have been poached and pushed as the next big Jr. heavyweight star in New Japan.  I don't know how how much he's making in Michinoku Pro, but I imagine it is significantly less than he would in New Japan. 

Who said big promotions never try to pick up indy talent? NJPW has done it several times. its just that talent can also be fiercely loyal to their home promotions.

14 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

Some people are irreplaceable and if they're raiding a company like Stardom by trying to bring all three stars in at once, it could be a fatal blow.

There's a valid argument that Stardom has been too top heavy and should've known that Io, Kairi, and Mayu wouldn't be around forever. That is fair. But to potentially lose them all within a year is incredibly hard to handle.

WWE are trying to bring out the top two stars. Mayu is just potentially retiring at the end of the year. Stardom likely knew Io wouldn't be there forever. Kairi was a left field case and kind of the fault of Simon Inoki & Nakamura for putting her on WWE's radar. Supposedly she hadn't even shown interest before then. The promotion is top heavy because they actually lost half of their roster in 2015 and its hard to deal with freelancers and other promotions. Basically they didn't have a choice.

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I knew about Mayu possibly retiring but didn't WWE offer her a contract too? 

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1 hour ago, Oyaji said:

And Crazy Mary Dobson is signed, isn't she?

 

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38 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

Some people are irreplaceable and if they're raiding a company like Stardom by trying to bring all three stars in at once, it could be a fatal blow. It's also not even allowing companies to get to an ROH size to even become a decent alternative. Look at what they were/are trying to do with that company, buying them out partially for their tape library but mostly to remove an alternative for talent to make a living outside of WWE.

ROH is actually a real life example of the type of indy that doesn't understand what it is.  ROH has been pretty much the biggest indy in the world for over a decade, but lately they've been trying to sign their talent to exclusive long term deals that is actually destructive to their promotion and their talent.  ROH/Evolve/Progress are essentially Triple A baseball.  Those are the places that guys good enough to make it to the big leagues go before they get called up to the show.  They have fallen behind Evolve in my opinion, because ROH isthe Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders trying to take on the New York Yankees.  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders would be stupid to try to sign their talent to long term contracts, just in case the Yankees call.  They only exist to feed the Yankees talent.  The Yankees would destroy the RailRiders if they tried to cut them off, just like the WWE is trying to buy out ROH.  There was a time when ROH could get all of the best talent not signed by WWE, because the talent knew that it was the best place to be seen by the WWE.  There is not a single wrestler who grew up dreaming to be ROH champion, they all wanted to be WWE champion.  That is what they don't understand.  If you ask every player on the roster of the Triple-A champion whether they dreamed about winning a Triple-A title or a World Series, they will all say they want to win the World Series.  ROH can be successful as long as they understand they are Triple-A, the issue is that they think they are big enough to compete with the Yankees.  

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1 hour ago, Oyaji said:

I knew about Mayu possibly retiring but didn't WWE offer her a contract too? 

Not from what I've read. Only Io & Kairi were offered contracts last year, and only those two were brought up last month in that WON report as far as WWE goes. Mayu's possible retirement was the only thing mentioned there.

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42 minutes ago, supremebve said:

ROH is actually a real life example of the type of indy that doesn't understand what it is.  ROH has been pretty much the biggest indy in the world for over a decade, but lately they've been trying to sign their talent to exclusive long term deals that is actually destructive to their promotion and their talent.  ROH/Evolve/Progress are essentially Triple A baseball.  Those are the places that guys good enough to make it to the big leagues go before they get called up to the show.  They have fallen behind Evolve in my opinion, because ROH isthe Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders trying to take on the New York Yankees.  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders would be stupid to try to sign their talent to long term contracts, just in case the Yankees call.  They only exist to feed the Yankees talent.  The Yankees would destroy the RailRiders if they tried to cut them off, just like the WWE is trying to buy out ROH.  There was a time when ROH could get all of the best talent not signed by WWE, because the talent knew that it was the best place to be seen by the WWE.  There is not a single wrestler who grew up dreaming to be ROH champion, they all wanted to be WWE champion.  That is what they don't understand.  If you ask every player on the roster of the Triple-A champion whether they dreamed about winning a Triple-A title or a World Series, they will all say they want to win the World Series.  ROH can be successful as long as they understand they are Triple-A, the issue is that they think they are big enough to compete with the Yankees.  

Did the ROH exclusive contracts come as a result of TNA doing that shit first? I seem to remember there being some causation there.

Sinclair could easily outspend WWE if they were serious about wrestling but they aren't. They don't even need to outspend them, just up their production levels so it doesn't come off so bush league. I get what you're saying and I agree to an extent, except WWE is being outright hostile if companies don't acquiesce (and there's no promise the likes of Progress and EVOLVE won't be fucked in the long run). They're basically rushing into this UK TV shit because of the ITV deal. They're trying to shut down anybody that could threaten their stranglehold on any location across the globe or prove to be an alternative place of employment. They'll likely do a Japanese tournament in the near future to make bigger in-roads into New Japan's territory. New Japan is expanding too but that's more to capitalize on the growing attention they've received the past few years in America.

@Eivion, I thought I remember something in the Observer going months back that WWE had interest in all three. You would know better though. Mayu is pretty awesome, so I'm surprised they wouldn't want to bring her in. Has she actually come out and said anything about her possible retirement?

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Just now, Oyaji said:

Did the ROH exclusive contracts come as a result of TNA doing that shit first? I seem to remember there being some causation there.

Could be wrong, but wasn't when Elgin lost in PWG while holding their world title?

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24 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

, I thought I remember something in the Observer going months back that WWE had interest in all three. You would know better though. Mayu is pretty awesome, so I'm surprised they wouldn't want to bring her in. Has she actually come out and said anything about her possible retirement?

Nope. I imagine Stardom has done their best to convince her otherwise and for a we know they might have succeeded. It also could have even a completely incorrect rumor in the first place or Mayu could just be waiting to announce to not hurt Stardom too much. Stardom semi-acknowledged the rumor at the recent Korakuen show with Hana Kimura calling Mayu out about her lack participation in Stardom this year. It makes me think they they probably succeeded in convincing her otherwise for now if there had ever been a serious consideration on her part.

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3 minutes ago, nofuture said:

Could be wrong, but wasn't when Elgin lost in PWG while holding their world title?

Once again, wrestling promotions fucking over themselves by not being able to help themselves from fucking over their competition.  PWG and ROH should be doing everything in their power to keep the other viable and happy.  How hard would it be to just agree not to job out each other's champions?  The only possible result from doing it is not being able to book each other's talent.  

Now, I'm getting a little riled up.  This is how indy wrestling can survive.  

  1. Work together with the other indys at your level. If you have a limited pool of talent, doesn't it make more sense to share that talent in a way that improves their drawing power?  If Michael Elgin is the ROH champion, it makes sense to book him on your show.  It doesn't make sense to job him out so you'll never get to book him again.  
  2. Be fair to the talent.  The indys are the minor leagues, everyone wants to make it to the major leagues.  If a worker has a chance to leave and make more money and become a bigger name, let them.  You gain more by letting them leave than trying to hold them back.  The wrestling world is small, everybody knows each other.  All the other workers are going to know if you tried to fuck over a guy who got a shot at the big time. 
  3. It is better to be a pathway to bigger things than an obstruction to bigger things.  If a big time talent has the choice to work for someone who will help them achieve their dreams, or someone who will hurt their chances to achieve their dreams.  They'll choose the one who will help them, so help them.
  4. Know the role your promotion plays in the overall industry.  If you are a local indy, know you aren't competing with ROH.  If you are ROH, know that you aren't competing with WWE.  If you are a local indy, and ROH calls about a member of your roster, do everything you can to put that guy over.  He'll appreciate it and tell his friends.  His friends will want to work for you.  
  5. The best case scenario for an indy promotion is to be seen as a pipeline to the big time.  That will bring in the best talent, and will bring customers because they believe they are seeing the stars of the future.  
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7 minutes ago, supremebve said:
  1. Know the role your promotion plays in the overall industry.  If you are a local indy, know you aren't competing with ROH.  If you are ROH, know that you aren't competing with WWE.  If you are a local indy, and ROH calls about a member of your roster, do everything you can to put that guy over.  He'll appreciate it and tell his friends.  His friends will want to work for you.  

I would add a caveat here of: if the guy's the drizzling shits, don't tell someone with a bigger name (and a bigger microphone) in the business than you that he's a great worker. He'll assume you're an idiot and tell that to all of HIS friends.

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3 minutes ago, Cristobal said:

I would add a caveat here of: if the guy's the drizzling shits, don't tell someone with a bigger name (and a bigger microphone) in the business than you that he's a great worker. He'll assume you're an idiot and tell that to all of HIS friends.

This is going to sound crazy, but it probably pays to be honest.  

michael-jordan-laughing.gif

Honesty in wrestling....bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

 

 

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2 hours ago, supremebve said:

ROH is actually a real life example of the type of indy that doesn't understand what it is.  ROH has been pretty much the biggest indy in the world for over a decade, but lately they've been trying to sign their talent to exclusive long term deals that is actually destructive to their promotion and their talent.  

 

1 hour ago, Oyaji said:

Did the ROH exclusive contracts come as a result of TNA doing that shit first? I seem to remember there being some causation there.

Someone made a great point here last week, so I'll just steal it because it's relevant to this discussion:

TNA is the new Global Force Wrestling

ROH is the new TNA

PWG is the new ROH

@supremebve is exactly right.  ROH thinks it can compete with WWE and it just can't  Every other point is correct, too.

PWG understands its place as a super indy who gets by on DVD sales and won't get in the way when WWE comes calling, just like ROH used to be.

Anyone who says "ROH could be huge is Sinclair put their power behind it" might as well be saying "the sky would be fucking awesome if it were lime green."  Because neither is going to happen.  Sinclair is cheap as fuck and will never put more money than they have to behind ROH.  How many years of losses did Turner endure just to have that brief time WCW was profitable?  Sinclair's not doing that.

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Of course not. I didn't recognize how big Sinclair is because I'm in Canada and had never heard of it before they bought ROH. I agree with Supreme's point, my only contention is WWE is going back to its '80s expansion and raiding mode and I don't like it. Signing up people for NXT and what not wasn't an issue but now they are just stockpiling talent for things they may or may not be doing and so other promotions can't use them. Indie wrestling is in such a fantastic spot right now with so many different options and varieties. I want these companies to prosper. Maybe this is a huge wave of talent right now because so many kids grew up watching the attitude era and after this wave the talent isn't there like it is now. Who knows. I'm just really happy with how things are and I don't want WWE to fuck it up.

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All this started with HHH's little experiment. It captured the attention of the disenfranchised fans.It became an incubator for a movement. It became a viable alternative for talent that were overlooked and underutilized.

Most importantly (to Vince), it became a driving force of (quality) content on the WWE Network (that is home grown). So of course, Vince wants more. What we are seeing is basically similar to what happened during the dot-com craze.

Vince ain't going to let off on the peddle either since it hasn't failed them yet. Cruiser weight tourney was a huge success, the UK tourney was a great feather in their cap.

And HHH ain't going to be the one who'd advise him otherwise since Papa H is probably feeling like a kid in a candy store; practically unlimited access to worldwide talent and WWE budget to back him up.

EDIT: My favorite thing about all this is the people who have HHH's ear and the talent scouts involved. No, this isn't the beginning of the end of the indies, it's a whole new fabulous age.

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