What I am about to explain to you is my idea for the next big angle in WWE, the main event plot line that drives the story forward. These storylines become the status quo of the product, the structure of the show. At the moment, the main trope of the WWE product is that the bosses are evil and the people that dare to stand up to the tyrannical corporate leaders are the heroes. Although this kind of story can be very effective, hitting home with a lot of people and creating some sensational moments, it only has so much mileage. We need a change of pace, in my opinion, to revitalise the storytelling. Before long The Authority vs the good guys storyline will have run its course and when it does, WWE will need a big angle to replace it. So I suggest that the paradigm of the evil bosses fade into the background to make room for a different conflict: indie wrestlers vs WWE superstars. You will notice that I made a distinction between “wrestler” and “WWE superstar”, more on that later. In recent years we have seen wrestlers who built their career in places like NJPW and ROH getting massive success in WWE.
Seth Rollins had an incredible run with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship only recently and he made a name for himself on the independent circuit before making it to the big leagues. Kevin Owens defeated John Cena, the company’s biggest star, in his first match on the main roster. Daniel Bryan of course won the big one too and was more popular than anyone else on the roster. With more and more indie fan favourites being signed all the time it could be that the superstars that have only ever worked for WWE are pissed off at the indie stars walking into the big leagues and stealing their thunder. A focus point of this resentment could originate from the fact that these internet favourites are winning WWE titles when there are people on the roster who have only ever worked there and have never won a title.
The wrestlers leading the charge on the indie side of things could be AJ Styles, Sami Zayn and Finn Balor with The Balor Club. I should elaborate, Finn Balor’s cohorts in the original Bullet Club of NJPW were Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. Recently, the news broke that the tag team had been signed to WWE and would be joining their former leader and founder of The Bullet Club in NXT. Balor has been teasing their arrival on Twitter for weeks, also hinting that the name: Balor Club is more than just a slogan on his merch. It would be great to see Balor Club on the main roster, involved in the angle I am referring to here. They could be the enforcing stable of the indies side, bringing an edgy attitude that is absent from the company at the moment. However, as we have seen from their time in New Japan Pro Wrestling, they are better as a heel (bad guy) stable. It could be that they turn on the indie guys, preferring to side with Triple H after he tempts them with championship opportunities. They then become a dastardly gang, dishing out 3 on 1 beat-downs week after week. This could set up Finn Balor with the Balor Club vs AJ Styles at Wrestlemania.
The opposing team of sports entertainment purists that are loyal only to WWE could consist of people like John Cena, Randy Orton, The New Day, Brock Lesnar etc. As for the heel/face dynamic, you could do it a number of ways, you could frame the WWE guys as the jealous villains and alternatively, the indie wrestlers as the invaders. However, I would suggest that you could do something much more interesting with it. It does not have to be about who are the bad guys and who are the good guys, but instead which side you are on. You could even have allegiances and heel turns within both sides, making for a seriously complex and compelling story. This taking of sides based on who you identify as could get very interesting. My idea for Kevin Owens in this story is that he initially sides with the WWE guys, this would make him even more disliked as he had a storied career on the independents.
Therefore, no longer identifying as an indie wrestler is like turning his back on people he has fought and travelled with for years. This would make sense as in the Royal Rumble, before he eliminated AJ Styles he screamed at him: "Welcome to WWE!" Owens has said before that he is a prize fighter who is only looking out for himself and his family, so in this instance he is doing just that. It would be great to see Shinsuke Nakamura debut on the main roster to challenge Kevin Owens, it could be that he is furious with KO for turning his back on his brothers as it was people like Nakamura that helped make his career what it is.
When Seth Rollins returns from injury he could make his long awaited turn to the light and join his comrades on the team of ex-ROH wrestlers. There are a number of show-stealing feuds that could happen as a result of this storyline including:
- Triple H vs Seth Rollins
- Brock Lesnar vs Cesaro
- Dolph Ziggler vs Sami Zayn
- The New Day vs The Balor Club
Finally, I would say that WWE could make this civil war go as deep as philosophies on pro wrestling. In interviews we have heard current superstars, that had a long indie career, make the distinction between being a pro wrestler and a 'sports entertainer'. People like Cesaro and Daniel Bryan identify more as a professional wrestler than a WWE superstar. Thank you for reading this super-nerdy article, if you enjoyed it please share it around.