The Disturbing Truth Behind WWE’s New Monopoly


CM Punk WWE Champion 2012

“I thought I was good. You know? I really thought I was good. And then I got in the ring with Eddie Guerrero. And I was like, ‘Holy crap, am I bad.’ That was the big step up in competition, that was the big test. But it gave me that attainable goal.”

CM Punk, Best In The World DVD [2012].

A sequel of sorts to Michael Hamflett’s excellent piece, here, we deep dive into the implications of WWE’s “global localisation” directive on the wrestling art form.

As broken by WrestleTalk earlier this week, WWE has renegotiated the performer contracts of NXT UK talent—though that suggests a bargaining we’re quite sure did not take place—and they are now precluded from working anywhere else beyond PROGRESS, ICW, OTT, wXw, Fight Club Pro, and Attack! Pro Wrestling.

WWE presents sports entertainment, not pro wrestling. To WWE, sports entertainment is better than pro wrestling because sports entertainment squashed pro wrestling in the 1980s. It’s not pro wrestling to them, hence why they refuse to accept the terminology; it’s wrasslin’, a smug bastardisation with dry, niche, corny connotations. In the wake of this news, the rising Phoenix of pro wrestling may turn to the ash from whence it came.

History supports this cynicism.

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Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!