A Londoner’s Eye: Is There Too Much Women’s Wrestling Now?

That question may seem perplexing to starved WWE — and to an extent, TNA — fans, but beyond the realm of Divas and Knockouts, there is a wide range of women’s wrestling to be consumed on an independent level. To this writer, it’s always perplexing when fans say they want women’s wrestling but aren’t willing to look beyond the mainstream for it — especially in this day and age, when it could be argued that there may be too much women’s wrestling.

When we first launched Diva Dirt in 2008, the most notable independent female promotions were SHIMMER and WSU. The pair were by and large the two predominant promotions around; both enjoyed success by offering an alternative to the women’s wrestling on television, and by having few competitors. While women’s promotions weren’t completely unheard of in the new millennium before SHIMMER came along (ChickFight predated both it and WSU), SHIMMER was perhaps the most well known. WSU would nip at its heels with a product more rough around the edges, until 2010 when it ultimately helped change the women’s wrestling landscape for good. (More on that later.) Fast forward to 2012 and it’s hard to keep count of the number of promotions available. And with the recent announcements of another newbie, the unfortunately titled BLOW, and Amber O’Neal‘s ArenaChicks expanding into the Internet pay per view territory, I can’t help but ponder if too much of a good thing is, well, a bad thing?

Perhaps spurred by the successes of existing promotions, we’ve seen new additions to the women’s wrestling portfolio grow at an exponential rate; some competing alongside SHIMMER and WSU in the United States (SHINE, ArenaChicks, AIW’s Girls Night Out are notable), and others being more territory-based such as Europe’s Pro-Wrestling: EVE and Montreal’s NCW Femmes Fatales. Of course, this concept isn’t just exclusive to women’s wrestling: you see a hit TV show, the following year you’ll see multiple similar shows (and even this website has inspired countless similar ones over the years).

While, in theory, it’s great to have all of this women’s wrestling to watch, can the already small, niche audience handle all of the products available and aren’t promoters losing out because of all of the competition?

That latter question may be better answered by a promoter. In fact, it will, so watch this space for an exclusive column from EVE promoter Dann Read. But as for the first question, I personally cannot find myself keeping up with all of the different products out there (as much as I would like to). Most of us have a job and/or a household to run, so then, who has the time or money to watch everything? Between SHIMMER, WSU, Femmes Fatales, Girls Night Out, ArenaChicks, EVE, and all the newcomers vying for our attention, it’s probable that the majority of fans will be more selective in choosing which promotions they give their time and money to. This has a knock-on effect; some promoters who previously had a fan’s custom may no longer have it. On an independent level, this could be the difference between life and death due to the cyclical nature of the business: independent promotions rely on ticket, DVD and iPPV sales to fund their next shows. It also means that the wrestlers, who may be enjoying all of the extra bookings right now, may soon lose out, too, as — you guessed it — those sales also help pay their booking fees.

It’s almost ironic that the very medium which helped grow the niche that is independent women’s wrestling — the Internet — may be the very reason it becomes an oversaturated, bloated marketplace. With the advent of the Internet pay per view and video on demand in wrestling, there’s more choice and more product than ever. Again, it seems that, spurred by the success of WSU, which in my estimation changed the game female-wise for wrestling with its move into the iPPV market, more promotions are trying their hand and giving fans more choice than, really, they know what to do with. With SHINE running every month, EVE making its iPPV debut this year (full disclosure: in conjunction with Diva Dirt), ArenaChicks expanding into the field, and newcomer BLOW launching via iPPV later this year, I can’t help but feel someone is going to miss out. While I was happy to drop a certain amount every few months for WSU when it was the sole female event on iPPV, with all of the new entries, do the majority of fans have the time or money to consume every iPPV available to them? Well, I guess we’ll find out, but the likely answer is ‘No’.

Another aspect to consider is the crossover of talent between different promotions. With the same talent appearing in several different promotions, playing several different characters, it’s difficult to keep up with the talent, too. And frankly, some of us don’t want to keep up. The gutsy, heart-of-a-champion Mercedes Martinez I know and love from WSU is not the same Mercedes Martinez you see in SHIMMER or SHINE, and if you watch all three promotions, juggling two to three different versions of Mercedes Martinez is a hassle. More problematic than Martinez (for me, anyway) is getting used to seeing SHINE’s version of Allysin Kay in a group that isn’t the one that made her famous in WSU: the Midwest Militia. Instead, I’m seeing her as part of a new duo, Made in Sin. It doesn’t quite compute after seeing her as one third of arguably the best group to come along in women’s wrestling in some time, a group that took the scene by storm in 2011. Would I rather not see more of the Midwest Militia? Granted, each promotion wants to tell their own stories and create their own characters for the talent, and that’s understandable, but fans again have a choice — they can decide to stick to seeing one version of the talent they like, which means other promotions using the same talent in a different role may miss out on their custom.

Can you have too much of a good thing? In this case, I’m beginning to feel you can. The amount of promotions and product popping up is becoming overwhelming, and if women’s wrestling reaches that dreaded saturation point, I can’t help but feel that everyone — from promoters, to wrestlers, to fans — will lose out.

What do you think of this issue? What are your viewing habits? Tell us in the comments or via Twitter (@divadirt)!

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  • Melissa K Killer 2010

    I would have to say no the more around is what we need so they can master there art form before going to the WWE and TNA and fans on underground know who there are. and it open the eye’s to fans there is more then WWE and TNA.

  • DjayDay

    Ver interesting article. Don’t nessicarily agree, but I understand what your saying. However a lot if women promotions don’t get as much shine (no pun intended) due to the fact that their garbage promotions. There’s about 6 that every Indy fan can name off the top of there head. 6 compared to the 50 other promotions, which more then half do not have an established women’s division. Personally, there’s not as many female wrestlers as there is males, and only now are we seeing these other promotions popping up which accomadate to that, so I don’t see the argument here. However, as always, great read Melanie.

  • WidowsPeakFreak

    I personally don’t watch Indy show’s But i think there’s too much.. of them to be honest who can keep on track with all of them…

  • VelvetLoveFan

    I only really follow one indies wrestler, Brittany Savage but no the more the merrier (:

  • wl75

    I think the question is more the quality of the product than the quantity. If the IPPV’s or DVD’s look slapdash, it’ll turn people off, which will have a knock-on effect to the others. People will pick and choose their favorite promotions and/or wrestlers, but so long as the quality is there- especially in the mid-card area- being a bit spoiled for choice isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  • perceval

    Well, it’s not like Shimmer or WSU run weekly shows, so there being other promotions allows the talent more work. EVE, being in Europe, isn’t stepping on anyone’s territory.

    Maybe naming their promotion BLOW wasn’t a bad idea, after all. Maria was griping about the name on the Raw Afterbuzz show, pretty much echoing all our opinions. But… it’s certainly gotten us talking about this new promotion. :)

  • Raekon

    I agree upon one thing:
    – the same talent being in several shows playing different characters the whole time makes people that would rather watch all shows to stop watching the one or the other show and go with the show they like the talents character the most.

    If the other promotions would had other female wrestlers involved in the roles that are filled by the same persons right now, it would had been definately more interesting cause one would have different faces showcasing their own characters instead of the same girl playing 3 different ones (one on each show).

    With that said, I’m rather happy that the indy promotions started being more active on the internet cause through this they are giving fans from all over the world the opportunity to watch their show and depending on the cost even order the dvd afterwards aswell.

    It gives the promotions more exposure and more income in the long run.

    I still don’t understand why most of them still doesn’t have a youtube channel.

    It would had been the best way to gain additionaly fans by showcasing a match or two or at least snippets from matches while promoting their company to a wider audience from allover the world.

    As a person that lives in Germany, I’m thankful for such possibilities cause no matter how much such promotions interested me in the past, I was always missing out cause I had no opportunity to watch their shows.

    Till I noticed through Diva Dirt that WSU had a iPPV which I ordered and enjoyed aswell.

    Same thing I did with the EVE show.

    Unfortunately I missed the first shine show but will definately catch up with the second one! :)

    Without them being ippv I wouldn’t be able to so I’m happy that they are giving me the opportunity to support them with the money I’m spending in the show while enjoying it at the same time from home.

  • shannymac

    I don’t think there could ever be too much women’s wrestling. The men face the same issues with playing different characters and forming different alliances from promotion to promotion, and it hasn’t hurt them. It makes them better performers, and there is no reason that the women cannot and should not do the same.

    As a fan, it’s up to you to decide which promotions you prefer to support. If you don’t like a particular gimmick that someone has in one promotion, then just don’t watch. We can’t deny these women the right to have as many oppertuities as possible to hone their craft and do what they love.

  • HollyRobinsonWWE

    It depends on whether or not the market can support it. In the US I don’t really think so. They don’t run all that often and they’re for the most part local promotions scattered around the country. In Japan the answer would be a resounding yes, too many promotions is one of the main contributing factors to the death of the once ultra mainstream and shockingly successful joshi market.

  • Jhonmarco

    While I understand the point trying to be made, I totally disagree. More companies is a much better thing. Besides I like the fact that you get to see a different Mercedes in WSU than in Shimmer or Shine, but that’s just me. How boring would it be to see the same babyface Mercedes on every show she’s on?

    • http://www.diva-dirt.com Melanie

      It’s not simply about the product, but whether fans are willing to spend money on all of the various products. With more promotions and the same paycheck, someone is going to lose out on a fan’s custom, surely?

      • Raekon

        That’s why I agreed with your point on the same talent being in multiple shows will make viewers to pick one of the gimmicks of said talent and stick with it Melanie.

        Of course I’m happy for the girls getting to do more but would rather prefer different rosters on each show instead of having the same girls on each show the whole time.

        This way I would be more willing to pay for every show because I know I see different persons on their own roster running their own gimmicks, instead of watching the same persons in 3 different rosters doing something else.

        Of course I wouldn’t mind them to guest on each others shows at times but have them on their own roster constantly would be better.

        Now guess that all the girls from WWE would be on TNA aswell and vice versa. Wouldn’t that be confusing?

        It would go like(as example only!):
        – Heel Gail on TNA yeah!
        – Gail face in WWE? No thanks.
        Tuning in TNA, leaving out WWE and so on.

        So having many promotions is good but not if every promotion has the same roster.

  • AfroJack

    This was a great read and I actually think you hit the nail on the head with this one.

    If a fan is getting into womens independent wrestling and ask you “what do you recommend?” You end up listing a whole bunch of promotions nowadays because you can’t narrow it down. New wrestlers come to these promotions and I myself wonder where they worked before, I’m then embarrassed when I find out they’ve worked for some high-profile indy feds.

    It’s also a strain on fans, economically:
    Hypothetical situations “if I buy SHIMMER Volume ?? then I won’t be able to buy WSU’s iPPV or I won’t be able to get a ticket to ArenaChicks next event.”

    “I’m a huge fan of Mercedes Martinez and I love WSU as well, but she is appearing in so many subscription based promotions (WSU, NCW, SHIMMER, SHINE) that I can only afford to watch her wrestle on 1 promotion”

  • Eric Gall

    Competition always makes for a better product. Look at how innovative and creative WWF/E was when its back was against the wall in the Monday Night Wars against WCW. Then look at the last ten years, a complacent and formulaic company with the same old faces trotted out week after week. Which era was better? Clearly, the worst shows of the attitude era would stand up to any of the top shows of the current one.

    Let’s not worry about the dollar being spread too thin for customers. The cream always rises to the top, and more than that, it forces Shimmer and WSU to stay on their game rather than resting on their laurels. If another company comes along with a better product, a cheaper product, or both, then the industry needs to adapt. Maybe someone comes along with a web show concept than fans respond to. If there were so many companies in the mix, would these innovations pop up as rapidly? If we take recent history at the goings-on at Titan Tower, the answer is no.

    More companies means a chance for more talent to hone their craft. I love Sara, Mercedes and Melissa as much as anyone, but if they are on every women’s fed show, then someone else doesn’t get the shot to get top-billing, and more spots are denied. At this level, fans don’t need to worry about the talent level being watered down. We know the more established companies are going to get the first picks in anyway.

    More women’s wrestling means there’s more awareness of the niche, more interest, or more and better ways of delivering the product, probably all three. Some companies will prosper, some won’t. But competition is the factor that forces all parties involved to bring their best efforts to the table. The customers win, and ultimately, the industry wins.

  • Mikas

    In the state of Texas you have a total of 70+ independent promotions. Is that too much? Many of them only do 1-2 shows a year (like Shimmer), or are foccussed on a specific region (like Eve, PWWA or NCW). You dont have to follow everything that happens.

    The only bad thing with so many promotions is that many of them all have the same roster. Naturally there are exceptions like PWWA, NCW and EVE because they are far away from the rest. But companies like WSU, Arenachicks, AIW, IndyGurlz and the upcoming BLOW all tap from the same talent pool. This is going to end up with too many matches we’ve already seen before. And that must have some effect in the long run.

    But just like in men’s wrestling in the past decade this will fix itself. In the end all the main talent will end up in a handful of promotions (like ROH, DGUSA, PWG, CHIKARA). These are the A-list promotions among indies, they sell the most dvs and have the highest buyrates for their ippvs. For women’s wrestling there will probably be a similair trent. Some of the smaller promotions who fail to capture a large enough fanbase will vanish. Some of the promotions will try to make some of their workers “exclusive” to their promotion. And some of the promotions will be forced to work together (which is easy to do when you have a similair roster). So in the end it will all fix itself, just like it did in men’s wrestling.

  • johnny

    I would say until they have a female wrestler really make a name for herself and becomes almost as well known as the rock I say no its not.

  • Raeofshine33

    I kind of agree with you on this. While more work for the wrestlers is awesome, it does become a problem really trying to get into various products and become familiar with a different charater of a person there. I too was having a hard time getting used to Allysin Kay in Shine after seeing her in a complete different light with the MWM. While I think Shine could be good I’m not completely sold on it. I’m also waiting to see with WSU as well. I mean I will give it a chance as it is the main company I back but I want to see where they run with things that were set up so nicely at the last ippv.

  • capricornscott

    In theory, the more the merrier is very true. The more promotions there are, the more opportunity for women to get work and exposure.

    But if you think about it logically, the market for these promotions is extremely slim. The cost for purchasing tickets or the iPPVs will get VERY expensive. Due to cost, fans will gravitate to giving money to the promotions that bring in the big names. Women like Sara Del Rey, Mercedes Martinez, and Cheerleader Melissa will encourage fans to make the purchase. Filling a show with total unknowns to little knowns with only a semi big name will not do favors for the promotion.

    I would MUCH rather see more women’s promotions take the Shimmer route focusing on DVD sales instead of everything going to monthly iPPVs.

  • https://www.twitter.com/wweajlee WWEAJLee

    what ever happened to WOW of years ago?

    • darkangels

      coming back to network tv this fall

  • EVEROCKS

    This article is very interesting, but i totally disagree. Since we usually don’t get fully legit matches and storylines on WWE. Also TNA has much more actual talent with the woman, but the tend to get a little boring at times.

    So, i like seeing fresh young and retired woman wrestle from time to time. I think that there shouldn’t be much more made though. But it’s cool seeing refreshing charachters from different companies, and not just the same girls on WWE and TNA.

    I also like how woman wrestlers that are on high profile companies, but dont get used much get to wrestle in other places. Like TNA.

  • FilmJenkins

    This is like asking: is there too much wrestling?

    I know that there is a limit and you can get confused/overwhelmed by the number of different promotions, but that’s the only real problem.

    It’s a business issue and not an issue involving participation or exposure of the craft and certainly not the wrestlers’ fault (and certainly not the wrestlers’ gender)

  • Rtylor

    It’s good to have more than one pro women promotion because not everyone can go to New York and Chicago each year to catch women matches. I think the videos, and ppvs are good for people who can’t travel. Most of the women promotions are seasonal too. I think WWE and TNA are being PC(covering their butts). I don’t think those companies are really into doing women wrestling plus a lot of those women have boyfriends who don’t want the mostly male audience looking at their girls in action so there stuff going on there.

    The women showing up at different feds is interesting. I’ve seen a few and their names don’t change. It’s cool to me especially if the star has a title then goes to another fed to grab more titles. That’s cool. I do agree that each promotion should have stars that exclusively this fed and that fed with cameos but hey, if folks want to see the cameos, it’s hard to say no right?

  • LadyGoDiva

    Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing because I’ve been very disappointed with what WWE & TNA have been doing to their women’s division so it great to seeo other wrestling promotions espically indie promotions help fill in the space and still prove that women’s wrestling isn’t dead.

    And sometimes you see matches that you never see either WWE or even TNA do anymore (intergender matches,street fights and steel cage matches,etc.)

    But hopefully with all these womens wrestling promotions can help spark a revolution that sometimes not all people want to see just the T&A aspect of womens wrestling and we all like to see a great match once and awhile.

  • Acrant

    News flash

    You don’t have to follow all of them. The variety is for expanding the fanbase, not satisfying the need to follow every single promotion.

  • scarlet spider

    As others have pointed out, very few of the promotions listed are running a show every month. And as the previous poster stated, it’s about having variety. If a promotion is running quality shows, they’ll establish a fanbase. Some will be fans who also enjoy other promotions, others may focus on just one two companies. But at the end of the day, for the majority of fans, people will pay for good wrestling. And with most of these promotions only really running a few shows per year, even accumatively, we’re not talking even close to talking about an excess of material. The article itself mentions a grand total of 6 promotions (SHIMMER, WSU, Femmes Fatales, Girls Night Out, ArenaChicks, EVE) even if we added WAWW and Shine to that, we’re talking only 8 promotions putting on shows over the course of an entire year.

    For me, that simply shows the healthy state of Women’s Wrestling on the independent scene right now. Ultimately, it’s not exactly rocket science. As opposed to this article’s purely hypothetical idea that more shows MIGHT somehow lead to less work for today’s women, the fact is that LESS shows means LESS opportunities and LESS income for those women.