Indie wrestling has changed a lot, and for the better in some aspects. Wrestlers are now ablet o make a pretty good living working the indie scene without needing to work in a major promotion, and that’s all for the better, but on one key aspects of pro-wrestling the indies are taking a step backwards is stories.
Most indie promotions don’t really run storylines, and belts are more than anything just props than actual vehicules to tell a story and the reason a match takes place. Matches nowadays in the indies are booked due what gifs will come out of them, and that’s fine but wrestling is not just amazing moves, but it’s about what story wrestlers can tell inside a ring. We don’t even see a simple story as two guys hating their guts.
The last big story we can say it took place in the indies was that of Matt Cardona vs. GCW. a fun story of the contrasts of indie wrestling and the glamour of big promotions like WWE. A story of a delusional heel thinking he is above all this garbage wrestling. A simple but good story told in GCW and even outside of GCW and other indie promotion. It comes a problem when you realize this is the only story told in the indies for a long time.
There are also several factors on why this is the case. The main one is that indie promoters don’t know when a wrestler will sign with big promotion, and that makes booking in long term impossible, it’s true they could talk to Levesque or Khan in letting them finish any story they have, an we’ve seen this happen with Levesque back in the day with NXT and letting wrestlers finish previous bookings before joining NXT. but nonetheless, indie promoters are afraid of not getting their stories done.
Another reason you could give why indie promoters avoid telling stories is because of the presentation; unfortunately, some promotions can’t afford to have these long-term stories because of costs like lighting, cameras and microphones, all expensive things, especially if you want to the best quality available. It’s just cost-effective to just have the match and just invest on cameras, if that.
Gif culture has become a part of today’s wrestling, and indie promotion have benefited from it, one cool spot can lead to people having interest on a small promotion and having new fans attend their show or purchase a show or merch down the line. Indie wrestling is more focused on gifs and as mention before is more cost effective and data shows it works.
These factors are the reason some wrestlers struggle in promos and some aspects of in-ring storytelling when they make the jump to a big promotion, especially young talent and have to learn all that as they go, and this can hold them back in terms of a big push in a major promotion.