By: Quenten “The Beast” Bailey
I grew up in the 80’s when Memphis wrestling was booming every Monday Night at the Mid South Coliseum. At this time though cable was becoming big as well as WrestleMania with the WWF. Territories like Minnesota, Dallas, Tampa, Atlanta, Carolinas and Memphis were about to come to end as the WWF was taking all the top stars from the territories , putting them on cable. WWF was the New York territory, but when Vince Jr took over, he had bigger plans of sports entertainment.
In the 80’s we had Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, Ultimate Warrior, etc. Here is the place where wrestling started to change. Whether its Savage, the Million Dollar Man, Mr. Perfect or Jake “The Snake” Roberts, they were already seasoned in-ring veterans through the territories before ever going to WWF. As the stars were being stolen, the territories ( Now called the Indy circuit) began dying off.
Fast forward to 90’s where WCW was competing heads up with WWF. WCW would of course run themselves out of business. The NWO lead us to the attitude era. After the attitude era, after WCW was bought out, now it is sports entertainment, no longer WWF now WWE. Also at this point, WWE started kind of signing potential stars out of college. While some panned out, very few, it made the sport weaker and those guys never had a shot to recover.
So instead of 8-10 year vets, we have 22, 23, 24 year old kids grooming on the main stage. And now, like a guy like Chris Masters , who is 20 times better than he was while in WWE, could never max out his potential because of how he was handled or booked at the end. The people or the WWE universe would never accept it as truth that he could now be a top contender. Fast forward a little to today’s WWE. Where they have gone back to the roots and grabbed 10-15 year vets like Kevin Owens, AJ Styles , Cesaro, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan.
With having NXT now also giving WWE it’s own developmental territory to call up when ready. They are ready once they hit the big stage. Another issue that is amongst them is doing a poor job grooming main eventers. They build someone up just to lose to Cena, who doesn’t need victories. The talent is there, but the booking of that talent is not. This is why Brock Lesnar is your biggest draw. This is why The Rock gets called from Vince to main event. This is why Goldberg got the call. It is coming around, Undertaker retiring, HHH all but out the ring ( he does put the young talent over). Cena 1 foot in Hollywood, guys like Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Ambrose, Fin Balor have to take the preverbal brass ring. Wrestling will never be what it was to me when I was young. But I love wrestling, and if they can start booking right, putting the elder guys in the loss column, doing the job, wrestling can be great again.