It was announced this week that WWE cruiserweight Noam Dar is going to wrestle at Insane Championship Wrestling’s “Shug’s House Party” event on July 29th. Dar was a major star for the Scotland based promotion before signing with WWE to perform full time on Raw & 205 live. The announcement was met with great excitement by the ICW fan base & has raised a few eyebrows around the wrestling world.
This announcement isn’t without precedent; Finn Balor made a special appearance for ICW last year. Balor was not booked in an actual match though. WWE has become much more flexible when it comes to independent bookings over the past year or so. Recently signed talent are now allowed to finish up booked independent dates before starting with WWE full time. The Hardy Boyz & Tommy End are recent examples of this.
This is not the case with Noam Dar. Dar has been working full time for WWE on Raw & 205 Live for months now. It is interesting WWE would allow Dar to return to ICW at all, let alone work an actual match. It is no secret WWE & ICW have a healthy relationship. There have been rumors for months now that ICW & UK based promotion PROGRESS could be featured on the WWE network.
Whatever the motivation, Dar’s appearance for ICW in July can only mean good things for professional wrestling. For years WWE’s policy was to absolutely ignore the existence of any wrestling that wasn’t under their umbrella. The flexibility that WWE has shown & continues to show points to a change in their attitude towards independent promotions. The thought of a full-time WWE Superstar appearing at an independent wrestling event in Scotland was insane just a few years ago, no pun intended.
The past few years have seen WWE change many of their long-standing policies. AJ Styles & Samoa Joe aren’t performing in WWE as PJ Myles & Joey Samoa. WWE even put together their own version of the bullet club; using a stable that is active in another company is something WWE would have never done in the past. Scenarios that were impossible two years ago suddenly aren’t so crazy. The wrestling industry is changing & it is fair to ponder what the future holds.
Could we see more cross promotion in the future? It certainly seems plausible. It is common knowledge WWE is on good terms with EVOLVE wrestling; WWE even hinted that Heath Slater was going to sign with EVOLVE during his 2016 free agent storyline. Could an NXT superstar or even main roster performer make an appearance in EVOLVE or PROGRESS? It would make sense if these promotions are going to be on the WWE network. While it is probably safe to assume WWE will only deal with a few select promotions for now, who knows what the future holds.
The endless possibilities are enough to make any fan fantasize. One dream matchup that has been heavily discussed is New Day vs The Elite. The two factions engaged in a playful war of words via social media in 2016; challenging each other to a dream match. The Elite even appeared at NJPW events wearing New Day merchandise. Kenny Omega & Xavier Woods are well documented friends, and both groups have publicly stated they would love to face off against each other.
New Day vs The Elite never happened. Both groups pushed to put something together but the logistics of WWE & NJPW working together was just too much to overcome. NJPW & WWE working together isn’t likely to happen in 2017, but the way things are progressing, anything is possible moving forward.
Images used are courtesy of YouTube & ICW.
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