Some of you may have seen that WWE have finally come out and said they are no longer a wrestling company but rather a “Global Media Company”. It is even reported they want to change their name to remove the word wrestling(MAYBE A JOKE). It is also obvious that WWE’s entire WrestleMania build has been about buy rate with the actual matches coming as more of an after thought. So if WWE are the leaders in ‘Sports Entertainment’ and we are wrestling fans, where does that leave us?
Now I don’t intend on just sitting here and telling WWE what they should do (I probably will) .I know I’m just some guy sitting infront of a PC typing out his thoughts whilst it is they who are making all the decisions, reaping the benefits and taking the blame. I am here like eveyone else with pockets full of money just waiting to hand it over to them the second they give me a good reason to. The frustrating thing is they seem unable to give me or a lot of other people a reason to and can’t work out why even though the reasons seem obvious.
Some of the problems:
Celebrity Involvement: Something we all need to get over is WWE are going to keep using as many celebrities as possible regadless of their relevance to wrestling or anything else if they think it will get more people tuning in. I have gotten pretty tired of hearing people say “Why is Snooki at Wrestle Mania? She has no place there.” The answer is simple TO GET PEOPLE WATCHING. WWE do not care who it is that watches their shows or how much attention they pay as long as some one is. Has Snooki being involved got more people talking about Wrestle Mania? YES, so the plan has worked at least in theory. There is no way of knowing how much help she has been just yet.
Who likes this s***? We can all agree the current WWE product is a mess especially in terms of wrestling. That is because we are ‘wrestling’ fans. We tune in to watch top athletes entertain us and tell interesting stories using their particular medium. The thing is, we are only one group of people that watch and that WWE care about. WWE is a TV show and a business. It doesn’t see people it sees demographics. We are one of those but so are kids,women, casual fans, the mainstream, different nationalities of all colours, creeds and age groups. WWE is not tailored soley of even primarily towards us. It is spread across all those groups and when you try and please everyone you will alomost certainly give a bland and half assed experience to all. The whole roster is built around this idea. That is why Hornswoggle and Khali are there even though they shouldn’t be. They appeal to a different audience that WWE wants. The only reason we have guys that can wrestle such as CM Punk and Danielson is to appease those fans that like that kind of wrestling and that is it. You have Latino stars to get that audience, kid stars like Rey, Kofi and Cena for that audience. Pretty boys for the women, Brits for the Brits etc,etc…..
The idea of just having wrestlers that put on great matches that could entertain anyone is gone and it won’t be coming back anytime soon.
Have we started yet?: I hate comercials with a passion and I imagine I am not the only one. Here in the UK we get different ones during RAW to those in the US. I know this because they unsmoothly switch feeds between what you see and what we see and sometimes it delays so we catch a glimpse before seeing the same SkySports commercials for the tenth time.
I know it is a part of TV we all have to put up with so shows get made but Raw has so many commercial breaks in what seems like quick succesion that it totally breaks any sense of flow that the show might have. That is why there are so many short self contained segments. If a commercial break happens every five minutes that is how long a match can last. What about when they cut during a match you say? When was the last time a match happened, it cut to a commercial, something interesting happened during that time and when the show returned the commentators made it sound like you missed something? They don’t. They show one small clip of nothing much happening whilst Michael Cole or whoever talks about something else which leads nicely to….
What’s your product again? I know I over analyse but is it just me or are there far too many plugs going on during WWE shows? I know that is part of having a big ‘Media Company’ but it comes at the expense of the show itself. Constantly you hear Jerry and Cole spouting off the sponsors slogans while a nice graphic pops up.They promote Facbook,Twitter,the music,the magazines, the dvd’s,the movies,the website,the games and the celebrites. Pretty much everything other than the shows itself. The only real reminder you see of PPVs is where it says so up by the entrance. Michael Cole and Lawler now spend more time selling other products than commenting on what is happening in front of them and to be honest when they finally do I kind of wish they wouldn’t alot of the time. WWE/F have always had sponsors getting mentioned on their shows but they would come and go quickly and were clearly spoken as a quick plug before getting back to business. Nowadays Cole and Lawler put more enthusiasm into “Just For Men'” than they do 90% of the card. I can’t remember JR being like that.
Finally, on the subject of WrestleMania: I understand why everyone has such high standards when it comes to Mania and that it should be the big blow off to the wrestling season…..BUT IT ISN’T. I think it is clear WWE now see Mania in a similar way movie studios see summer blockbusters. The theory is that a studio will get as many big names, special FX and explosions and put them together in an attempt to get as many people to watch their film as possible (often comic-book adaptations nowadays) It doesn’t matter if the film is great or terrible as long as it appeals to as many people as possible and that they go and see it. Then they are supposed to take all that big blockbuster money and makes films that are actually good. I’m not saying it is how things actually turn out but it is the thinking behind it.
We know WWE try and get as many people and as many celebrities on the card as possible. It is to wring as much money out of people as possible all at once. Paying to make crappy WWE movies no one watches isn’t cheap. Like I said WWE aren’t concerned if they please us ‘wrestling’ fans too much. You might not think a match is worthy of Wrestle Mania but someone out there probably does OR just doesn’t care either way. If you go into Wrestle Mania hoping for another Shawn vs Undertaker or Rock vs Austin you are only going to be disappointed. The only people that truly take any pride in the matches are the wrestlers and you can’t really say that about all of them. The WWE system is designed to just to create people they think they can sell. Their actual talent doesn’t matter. Nothing shows that off better than the ‘Diva’ division. They aren’t even called wrestlers anymore. They are ‘Superstars’.
So when you watch all the ‘Superstars’ at (NOT)Wrestle Mania remember IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. It will help you get throught it.