If net neutrality ends, what does that mean for independent wrestling?
Independent wrestling has thrived thanks in part to a free and open Internet. Youtube has given us a wealth of video from wrestling’s past and present. Fans not only have the WWE Network but CZW Studios, the High Spots Network, New Japan World, Impact, Ring of Honor, Powerbomb.tv and dozens more. Facebook Live has changed the game even further, and the Billy Corgan-owned NWA is now using that platform to bring live action to the fans.
Could all of that wrestling, all of that momentum, really come to an end in less the two weeks?
Rumor has it the “gatekeepers” of the Internet want to create fast lanes for content creators who will pay for it, while minimizing and slowing down the creators who don’t. Do you think New Japan is going to pay for a fast lane? Or High Spots? Or CZW? There’s only one promotion I know of that even has the money, and I imagine when they pay up, they’ll pass that cost onto their subscribers. Bye bye, $9.99.
If you haven’t raised your voice, do it. Call your Senator. Call your Representative. Sign every online petition. Demand that Congress take action if the FCC won’t.
Raising our voices with our government is a must right now, but it’s not the only action we should take. We need to start a dialogue. Fans, promoters, wrestlers, podcasters, bloggers, and anyone who makes even part of their living from the wrestling business need to come together and ask the question: where do we go from here? Is there an alternative to the “new” Internet landscape? Where can promotions take their video? How do we get the fans to follow? What do we do to make sure this is not the end of the indy revolution, but just a speed bump on the way to a new era?
No one could have predicted the indies would return like they have. If net neutrality ends, I believe we can do the impossible once more.