Tyler Black, Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, CM Punk, Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli.
These are all names that a wrestling "smark" would recognize quite easily. A "smark," or a smart mark, s a wrestling fan who knows the ins and outs of the industry and religiously reads Internet reports for the latest news and rumors.
Those six names that I mentioned above are all now in the WWE. You may ecognize them, you may not. Maybe you'll recognize them as Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, WWE Champion CM Punk, Kassius Ohno and Antonio Cesaro.
Now, WWE's lack of producing credible stars has led to an indy invasion in WWE. All of these workers have made their names in the independent leagues, or less well known wrestling companies around the world.
A guy like Seth Rollins began his wrestling career in 2005 at Scott County Wrestling, under the name of Gixx. Rollins would later enter other wrestling promotions such as NWA Midwest, All American Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Ring of Honor, all in which he became a champion.
On the other hand, Bryan Danielson (better known as Daniel Bryan, a former WWE United States and World Heavyweight Champion) began his wrestling career in 1999, 13 years ago. Bryan has trained with wrestling technicians like Shawn Michaels and William Regal, but he didn't get his big break until 2009, when he began appearing on WWE's latest show NXT as a "rookie."
However, Bryan was no rookie, having held over 15 other championships before he made it to the big show. Much like Rollins, Bryan was also in Ring of Honor, where he made a name for himself pre-WWE. Bryan wrestled for ROH for seven years, yet he was only the ROH World Heavyweight Champion one time.
CM Punk, the current WWE Champion, also wrestled on the independent circuit for an extended period of time, also stopping by ROH in the process. The same goes for guys like Claudio Castagnoli (now Antonio Cesaro), Chris Hero (now Kassius Ohno) and Jon Moxley (now Dean Ambrose). They all made a name for themselves and gained quite a large following in the independent leagues.
Unlike these six guys, WWE has failed considerably at creating large stars over the last few years. Yes, they made guys like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk bigger names than they were, but other than that, who did they create?
Sheamus? Nope. Sure, he gets big crowd reactions, but that's basically it. His character has been stale for months and against a guy like John Cena, he still wouldn't be taken seriously. Sheamus' two WWE Championship reigns and sole World Heavyweight Championship reign have been, sorry to say it, an immense failure.
I can't think of much other people, to be honest. Dolph Ziggler? Jobbed to Brodus Clay at Extreme Rules. The Miz? Didn't even make Extreme Rules after being in the main event of the 2011 event. Alberto Del Rio? About as unlikable as you can get. And not because he's a good heel, but because he reeks of boringness despite his great in-ring skills.
I am a big WWE fan, and I will never deny that, but a new era of wrestling is looming. No longer do people want the gargantuan monsters. No longer do people want the muscled-up physical freaks devoid of personality like how Mason Ryan and Ezekiel Jackson are portrayed.
People want wrestling. People want personality. People want guys who legitimately care about the business and are students of the game. I'm not saying that the current WWE roster doesn't care about the company, because they do, but as we can all see, a new era is here and it's here to stay for a long time.
Follow Brett Chandler on Twitter @AmericanDolphin and make sure to "prop" this article, comment and maybe even become a fan of mine. Check out another wrestling website with great opinions and stellar writers, WrestleEnigma.com. Also, credit to one of my Twitter followers and good friend @NickMoney07 for suggesting this article
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