10 Times The Competition Totally Embarrassed WWE

In which the CZW garbage boys do a better version of an angle than Steve Austin and Undertaker...

Steve Austin Samoa Joe

WWE is arrogant. It just is.

Look at the structure of the company - NXT in particular - and what it even means for there to be an NXT.

NXT exists because WWE values the wider wrestling world with such patronising disdain that it is felt a finishing school is necessary. This, incidentally, renders the recent talk of cross-promotion very fanciful. Throughout the latter part of the 2010s, WWE signed countless incredible talents from the independent scene and didn't dream of putting a single one of them, beyond AJ Styles, on the main roster. They hadn't yet learned the "playbook" of which Triple H spoke on the eve of NXT Arrival.

And you think because Daniel Bryan thinks Otis would bang in the G1 that Vince McMahon is going to throw open the Forbidden Door and let Shingo Takagi explode through it? He doesn't even know how to look shocked when somebody kicks out of Made In Japan. This process takes at least three years.

NXT is perceived as developmental internally because virtually every talent is dispatched there to "develop". This happens because WWE by default is "better" than the competition, irrespective of how significant or otherwise the competition is.

Except, on more occasions than you'd think, it decidedly is not.

10. The CZW/ROH Inter-Promotional Feud

Steve Austin Samoa Joe

In 2001, WWE promoted the "Invasion" angle in which ECW and WCW - gutted, bastardised versions obviously - waged war with the WWF.

It was a painful disaster. Nobody bought Stone Cold Steve Austin as a WCW guy because he in effect became Stone Cold Steve Austin by savaging his original WCW run in ECW. Stephanie McMahon in a Kangol hat was a cursed image. The WWF did next to nothing - less than nothing, in fact - to build the invaders as a legit threat. It was just more bullsh*t McMahon melodrama that didn't even bother to masquerade as anything else.

Historically, WWE has looked at (or down upon) independent wrestling as a series of exhibition matches worked by guys who get too much sh*t in. This is why they are dispatched to the PC: to learn how to talk and how to unlearn bad in-ring habits. Triple H is on record, in 2014, saying that indie guys have "zero ability" to talk.

That's funny, because the ROH Vs. CZW feud of 2006 accomplished everything that the Invasion did not.

An unpredictable war between two evenly positioned companies, the programme extracted every glorious story beat from a bottomless narrative: set against a backdrop of ultra-heated tribalism, this bloody, philosophical war incorporated uneasy and unholy alliances alike as individual ambition undermined the united front in ROH, and the united front in CZW was only finalised through a shocking, temporary truce.

It was amazing - literally as great as the ECWCW Invasion was atrocious.

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Jon Moxley
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Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!