What Wrestlers Mean When They Say They Don’t “Need” The WWE

WWE first exclusively women’s PPV, Evolution promises to be one for the ages. The WWE is pulling out all the stops, promising 50 women will be on the card. Along with the current roster, there will be several legends as well as up-and-comers from NXT. At this point, it will be more notably who doesn’t attend than who does.

One former WWE Diva and champion you can count out is Gail Kim. Kim recently retired from full-time competition and works as a producer for IMPACT.

Sour Grapes Or Satisfied?

People work for the WWE when they want the paycheck boost and the opportunity to prove themselves. Gail needs neither. She and her husband (celebrity chef Robert Irvine) are both very successful in their respective fields. Gail has one all the accolades a North American female wrestler can. She’s had her time, and I don’t blame her for wanting to be happy working with IMPACT.

It is easy to accuse anyone of not wanting to go to WWE with being lying and perhaps bitter. In a lot of instances that is undoubtedly true. WWE has not worked out for everyone, and many wrestlers feel their careers have been successful without working in the most prominent company. Successful independent wrestlers love to brag about how much they don’t ‘need’ WWE.

What It Means to be Independent

While the independent scene has never been stronger and there hasn’t been a better time to be on your own, the number of wrestlers making a successful living on their own without WWE is still a handful. And even then, that number is smaller if you take away those with full-time contracts with New Japan, Ring of Honor, or Impact.

How many actual “independent” wrestlers are there making a living off of it? I would say less than a dozen. Most wrestlers who aren’t signed to a company still need to work a 9-5 to make ends meet. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many of them will get their time. And a few of them will eventually get signed by WWE and have wildly successful careers. I would go so far as to say that many of the wrestlers bragging about not “needing” the WWE will be there eventually. There is no hypocrisy in that. WWE isn’t ‘selling out’ any more than it is selling out for you to earn more money or get a promotion at your job.

Being compensated richly for your skills is the goal. Money and prestige is a powerful motivator. It drives people to be their best. When wrestlers can achieve success either on their own or in WWE, we should celebrate it.

I’m a big believer in actions over words. When I see someone always talking about how happy they are outside of WWE, I wonder what is making them do it? If one is content, there would be no need to tell people. Your actions and your feelings would express it well enough. The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega don’t talk about going to the WWE because they are happy where they are, I believe. Others are upset about WWE rejecting them. Some use it as fuel to get better, other uses as fuel to burn grudges and eventually bridges. How wrestlers use their energy and social presence is up to them, but it doesn’t remove them from criticism and analysis. But that analysis can go away overboard. 

Shut-up And Enjoy The Show

Nit-picking where a wrestler works or bemoaning someone signing to WWE is silly because it shows you care more about your enjoyment as a fan than you do about someone making a living. That’s also OK, but just be honest about it. Wrestling is fake, but it is run by real people. A little more honest talk about what we want as fans and what wrestlers want for their careers wouldn’t be the worst thing. You shouldn’t be shamed for wanting to go to WWE nor should you feel pressure to sign when you’re content carving your path. But, in the end, so much ink is wasted on issues like this. What good does it do? Who leaves arguments like this feelign better about wrestling? Why do wrestling fans insist on breaking down and talking about every little detail to the point where watching wrestling seems more like a chore than a joyful hobby?  Why not just sit back, turn off your phone and watch the show? I guarantee watching wrestling is way more fun than dissecting it forever.

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