In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a trend from the WWE that we had never seen in years past. That trend being superstars still under a WWE contract, getting to perform in other companies. When I started watching wrestling in the early 90’s, the thought of wrestlers going outside of their promotion was unheard of. After all, look at the storm that followed Madusa when she appeared on Nitro, dumping the WWF Women’s title in a garbage can.
This all started slowly, with some lower superstars partnering with EVOLVE, which had become almost a WWE feeder system. It was a cool sight to see, but never really something that seemed like it would take off. It really started to pick up when the WWE started it’s United Kingdom division, with standout stars Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate continuing to perform for companies like Progress, and Rev Pro. Then we saw Apollo Crewes, formerly known as Uhaa Nation, show up at ICW, and even Finn Balor returned to his old stomping grounds of Progress to face off in a rousing game of musical chairs.
Two notable additions to this list have to be Chris Jericho, and Kassius Ohno. While many of the other appearances have been smaller, ala Balor, both Ohno and Jericho have had much larger features. Ohno was part of the Super Strong Style 16 tournament in Progress, where he made it all the way to the finals of the three-day extravaganza. Most people thought it would be a one and done kind of show, but we were all gladly mistaken. He put on a great match with Chris Brookes, and lost a classic with Tyler Bate, before replacing Bate who had to pull out due to injury.
Jericho, as most fans know, has made his presence felt in the world of New Japan which is as close to a modern-day Monday Night War as anything. A lot of people weren’t sure we would see him after his match with Kenny Omega, but he proved the doubters wrong by attacking Naito and starting what has the potential to be a rivalry for the ages. It just goes to show that the WWE has changed the way they view other companies, even rival ones.
Where does it go from here though? Hopefully, the WWE continues to use these opportunities as much as they can. After all, not only do they increase their own exposure, but what better way to scout the future of the company? It gives them the chance to get first-hand accounts of some of the best talents in the world, as us as the fans to get see matchups we used to only be able to dream about.