We previously reported on a story that has more legs than we gave it. But to fully understand why, we must first back up a bit and explore the underlying genesis of the entire situation. Vince McMahon became the Vince McMahon as we know him because he did what he’s still doing today.
McMahon took over everything. He bought territories like Memphis, he bought out every great talent from around the country and caused many more territories to close. He aligned himself with one upstart company he found favor with from Philly and yielded them like a sword when he needed them and used them as a sentimental cash cow later on. And, he bought out his biggest competition that sought out to slit his throat and cut the legs out from underneath his business by exposing their weaknesses and undercutting their practices but in the end, Vince prevailed.
McMahon made WWE the undisputed most powerful professional wrestling promotion in the United States. Now he is taking over the rest of the world.
It’s either the most coincidental thing ever or a blatant jump to gain an advantage, but WWE announced their United Kingdom Championship Tournament just after ITV said they were considering bringing back their World of Sport wrestling show. ITV said they were thinking about bringing the best in British wrestling to television on a weekly basis, and so did WWE.
WWE signed up so many outstanding talents throughout the UK that they nearly left some promotions without their top tier stars. They took former and current champions alike and brought them in for the United Kingdom Championship Tournament which turned out to be two of the best consecutive days of professional wrestling ever booked. It told a cohesive story starring Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne among others.
WWE initially said they would not tamper with other promotions or territories throughout the UK. Then, a contract clause become an issue for the participants of the tournament. They couldn’t perform in any match that was being broadcasted. Suddenly wrestlers were being pulled from events throughout the UK left and right leaving many around the United Kingdom rolling their eyes.
But, WWE still can’t phase some people try as they might. This is where the story takes an interesting turn because it starts with an All American American, a man who you know as Jack Swagger. Donald Jake Hager Jr. decided he was finished with WWE because he wasn’t being used properly and hadn’t been on the road in quite some time. Therefore he asked for his release from WWE and he went public with his announcement on Chael Sonnen’s podcast.
Nothing was said about it for a couple of days, and then all of a sudden it was announced he would wrestle at an event for WAW in Norwich, England. WAW is run by the Knight Family and if you don’t know who they are, just wait until the WWE Studios/Seven Bucks Productions film about them called “Fighting With My Family” is released. Paige is their golden child and she’s under a WWE contract but she is currently nursing a neck injury enjoying life with her fiance, Alberto El Patron.
There was no real thought about Swagger appearing at the WAW show until it was announced he would headline in a match against Alberto. Suddenly there was a problem with the match.
WWE publicly announced that they hadn’t granted Jack Swagger his release, so he was pulled from the WAW. Zak Knight was more than respectful with his reply. Then some would say WWE took it even further.
WAW was booking two shows in Norwich England, one of which Swagger was scheduled to appear on. Then WWE announced they were running a mini-tour of the United Kingdom Championship Tournament participants in the same building as the WAW show months later. But, they put the tickets up for sale days before the WAW show.
Zak Knight was respectful and tactful as always. However, daddy Rowdy Ricky Knight wasn’t so gentle.
“They could’ve left it until Monday,” Ricky said. “They know we’re doing so well. They follow us religiously, it seems like they do. They would’ve known this is the biggest weekend in WAW history. To me, they wanted to cut us open with the announcement this morning and putting their ticket sales on tonight. But tough guys, because this is going to be a sellout tonight anyway. Go and do your best.”
The above quote is why this article is titled thusly. Ricky Knight is a blast from the past, he is a representative of an old guard of classic wrestling promoters that still operates in the UK. Sure there are more like him out there but, how many of them are currently standing up so publicly to the WWE machine?
In essence, Rowdy Ricky was saying “give us your best shot WWE, we’re still selling out these venues regardless of what you try.” WWE is an amazing professional wrestling company that puts out a quality product without exception on a regular basis due to their resources and we might love what they do. But, why do they constantly seem to feel the need to further capture the planet?
WWE will continue to do whatever they want to, and along the way, they will most likely continue to dominate. Because that’s what they do…but it’s refreshing to see along the way they are meeting those people who will call them out for their tactics. We can only hope Ricky Knight will be correctly depicted when all is said and done in regards to the current major motion picture currently in production about the Knight Family.
Cheers Rowdy Ricky, Still Real To Us respects the bloody hell out of you.