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December 11, 2015

Bill Behrens on How WWE Signed Samoa Joe, Indy vs. Television Wrestling

WWE signing Samoa Joe:

Samoa Joe was working with me as he went to them and for example the deals that NXT did prior to him for Prince Devitt and El Generico and for the other people they were taking from Ring of Honor or from overseas, the thought process of when they signed those people changed dramatically when they then evaluated Samoa Joe. When they did Joe, Joe had three of four deals change over a two to three week period as they continued to evaluate what are we really trying to do here and what’s our goals for NXT. How do we get people to pay attention to the product and be big enough that we don’t piss Vince off but stay small enough where we could be the rebel or outcast league but still present the big screen, the lights, the music playing but a little bit more of an intimate environment in terms of presentation. In essence, that’s a Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla a more “Indy” feel. NXT started from we are going to be like those guys and yet not be offensive to the WWE product yet still be the cool kid.

Indy wrestling versus television wrestling:

The overall atmosphere of professional wrestling right now is as vibrant and active then any time that I’ve been involved in it and I’ve been involved in it since the late 80s – early 90s, the tail end of the territory era and when TV or larger companies consolidating the TV became the norm and the Indy companies were struggling. There are more people now putting on good shows that draw hundreds then there were back in the end of the 1990s when there were just a few. My Music City Wrestling which became NWA Worldwide in Nashville that I did with Bert Prentice was one of the few that was actually drawing numbers and had a local TV show. There has been a big transition. More people are bellying up that have a chance of actually paying people. Lucha Underground which is a television company almost exclusively right now is still providing good money to their top people, I’m privy to their contracts. Ring of Honor is now really stepping up and providing good money. New Japan partnering with Ring of Honor has now built Ring of Honor and New Japan simultaneously into this much more International entity with footprints outside of their backyards. Whether Global Force Wrestling becomes that is unknown because they don’t have much to announce but then there is the Paragon’s of the world who are buying there way onto television with a roster that is underwhelming at best. You have to look at it as are they doing it as a step forward in the wrestling business or because they just wanted to be on TV?

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