Since 1915, the McMahon family has been associated to wrestling in some fashion or form. Starting with Jess McMahon, he anchored himself in Long Island and became a wrestling promoter. However, it is his matchmaking that would be most memorable. After his death, his son Vince McMahon Sr. would follow in his footsteps and create World Wide Wrestling Federation during the time when television was invented causing a sudden insatiable need for new programming. This leads us today with Vince McMahon Sr.’s son, Vince McMahon Jr., or known to the WWE Universe as Mr. McMahon. It would be underneath him that the WWWF would be shortened to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), then after an extensive name war with the World Wildlife Fund, change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment, or simply the WWE.
By next year, the McMahon’s association with wrestling will have have reached a century. Can you believe it? The McMahon family has survived 100 years in wrestling and span three generations, with two more generations after Vince McMahon! They should have it down in the WWE right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. What Culture published an excellent article asking one simple question in its title: Is WWE TV becoming stagnant? And will the stagnation probably cause the WWE to fail? It is possible because wrestling empires have fallen before. Don’t believe me, just ask Ted Turner about World Championship Wrestling, or WCW. We can technically even ask Tod Gordon about Eastern Champion Wrestling, which eventually became Extreme Championship Wrestling under Paul Heyman.
Without getting too deep in detail, WWE programming’s business model survives on three factors: live event attendance, television ratings, and pay-per-view buys. That is also a economic model and mindset of transaction in which the product is provided and everyone flocks to it. That model can work in the WWE if it weren’t for one thing: the wrestlers and the fans. As much as Vince McMahon wants to say his family made wrestling, the aren’t. They provided the model that was successful, but it took the WWE fans to make it successful. That’s the truth!
So why isn’t the WWE listening to their fans and their wrestlers who’ve been in the business for so long? Because they don’t know the business side? They don’t know how corporate works? Or is it that they’re not investors and at the end of the day, those are the people that need to be satisfied. Seriously, it all works together. If WWE wants to make their investors happy, make the WWE fans and wrestlers happy. In that respect, they also have made their voices heard on how to improve on the product that they fell in love with. They may not have the family legacy, but they are just as important, if not the most important, factor in the success of the WWE.
Listen To The WWE Fans!
This is probably the easiest thing the WWE can do to help save the programming from stagnation, and eventually extinction. When you provide a product, it should be made for the consumer. It should also progress for the consumer’s needs and desires. In this case, the consumers are the WWE fans. If they want something don’t just ignore them, answer back. If the answer is against their desires, provide a rational explanation why. Henry Ford, the inventor of the automobile to what it is today, is a prime example of failure to listen to customer demand. Back in his time, automobiles came in one color: black. Customers wanted color variety but unfortunately Ford thought otherwise. His opinion changed when consumers bought his competition’s autos over the simple fact that they provided them in different colors.
WWE wrestler, Mick Foley, is one who supports this view and, enforced by articles from Bleacher Report and International Business Times, he has been most angry with the WWE product after watching WWE Royal Rumble 2014. In the report, Mick Foley posted tweets during the WWE pay-per-view about what he, and the fans, desired, primarily either CM Punk or Daniel Bryan winning the Royal Rumble match itself. After CM Punk was eliminated, he hoped that Daniel Bryan showed up. When that was evident he wouldn’t, Foley got upset and even posted the tweet below:
Does @WWE actually hate their own audience? I’ve never been so disgusted with a PPV.
— Mick Foley (@realmickfoley) January 27, 2014
This is actually a very big deal, especially with those who know how Mick Foley, represents himself pertaining to the WWE and wrestling in general. He has been a WWE fan for the longest time way before he was a wrestler. He watched Jimmy Snuka do the Superfly Splash onto Don Muraco from the top of the steel cage at Madison Square Garden. He loves the WWE, and when he worked for them, WWE would always send Mick Foley to PR events because of his affable diplomacy. These blistering remarks simply coming from Mick Foley means something, because it comes from a man who is usually peaceful despite the direction of the product.
Another wrestler who has been upset with the WWE creative team not listening to the fans is CM Punk. I do know bringing his name up is kind of like beating a dead horse to the ground, but his woes have spanned further back than his walk-out after WWE Royal Rumble 2014 (which he did because he was angry at creative booking Batista versus Triple H as the main event at WWE Wrestlemania XXX according to Cageside Seats). CM Punk has been upset with the story lines and how WWE treats their talent for a long time, but probably got the most attention back in 2013. Numerous reports, especially by Bleacher Report and Pro Wrestler Insider, have said that CM Punk has argued with the creative staff numerous times over that year.
What probably saved the WWE from him walking out is allowing CM Punk to do promos in which he went against The Authority and the status quo, which resulted in some of the best promos I have ever seen in WWE history. I will even go as far to say that CM Punk is the innovator of the promo, but the inventor of the “pipe bomb” in which he actually broke the 4th wall, breaking kayfabe in the process too. That has never really happened the way he did it.
Split The Roster And The Shows
Unfortunately for the WWE, they don’t have strong competition anymore. TNA has nailed their own coffin nails by trying to emulate the WWE product. Good example would be their heavyweight champions, Daniel Bryan (prior to being stripped of the title) and Eric Young. Notice any similar between the two? Could it be the beards? Even Eric Young notices the similarities during an interview with Wrestlezone. So, case in point, WWE doesn’t really have any competition anymore, especially if TNA just wants to do their own spin of whatever WWE is doing creatively. But there was a time when WWE didn’t have any real competition and that is after they bought WCW and ECW. After “The Invasion” story line (which I believe was one of the best story lines WWE has ever done), creative decided to make internal competition within the business. How did they do this? They split the roster in a draft and they split the shows too.
Unlike the first point, which is very outspoken by wrestlers, this one is aggressively loud among the WWE fans. Just check out the comments section of wrestling articles here on The Inquisitr, especially the ones about Vince McMahon needing a “corporate babyface” and the recent roster cuts to see how enforced this idea is. Back on subject, just by looking at the official WWE website, they have four shows (Monday Night RAW, Smackdown!, Main Event, and Superstars) and about 75 wrestlers, and that is not including NXT. Yet among those shows, we see the same 15 to 20 wrestlers (and that is pushing the number) utilized across all four shows. Seriously? Why does the WWE even have 55 to 60 more wrestlers? To be bench warmers?
Some of the best story lines have come from WWE splitting up the shows and roster, then having interpromotional pay-per-views to show dominance. To this day, the best pay-per-views at the WWE Survivor Series has been the ones when it was “Raw vs. Smackdown”. Also, championship-wise, WWE can organize the responsibility like they did when they first split the roster. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Divas Champion, and World Tag Team Champions need to work on both sides. Have the Intercontinental Champion and United States Champion exclusive to one show each.
Splitting the roster and the shows also does two things that will benefit the WWE fans and the WWE superstars. First, it will give more WWE superstars time in between shows to spend with family, friends, or just to simply relax. Second, this will force the WWE to utilize more of their roster if they are exclusive to certain shows. There is plenty of talent the WWE has, and they can now have a chance to use them in great stories that the WWE fans can relate to. Also, more rest and time with families will balance the lives of wrestlers more so than what it is now. Take this into account. Why is the marriage average for wrestlers at three marriages? Why are most wrestler’s relationships with their children estranged?
PG Or PG-13?
This is a very big one with most of the WWE fans and the company itself. WWE fans wants the programming to go back to “The Attitude Era”, which by far was the most successful and entertaining era in WWE history. However, WWE corporate wants the programming to be “family friendly” so they can appeal to investors, charities, and other similar endeavors. Yet neither side is winning so why is that? Wrestling veteran personality, Vince Russo, probably said it best in an article he wrote for Pyro & Ballyhoo. In the article, he states the following and I do apologize how it reads, this is how it was written on the article:
“We saw within a five-minute span on “Raw” last night why the ratings are HALF of what they used to be. In attempting to obtain ALL-the WWE has literally alienated, or “turned off” half their audience in the process. Don’t believe me-see what the IWS community has to say about last night’s “Raw” today. Yeah-they loved the Shield brawling with Evolution at the end-but, the baby bull-not so much. And what about the “families”? Oh, yeah, that bull thing was “cute”, but John Cena swearing-not so much. Now, if you keep doing this week in, and week out, the things you “don’t like” will eventually start to build, or add up-until all of a sudden-it’s OK if we miss “Raw” this week. Well, this week turns into next week, and the next week-until they’re not watching anymore.”
“By trying to be “all things to all people”-which they can’t be-nobody can-the WWE has shot themselves in the boot. For every kid they are gaining, they are losing an adult, and for every adult they are gaining-they are losing a kid. It a switch-off, an exchange, a vicious cycle.”
That makes a lot of sense actually! I have never truly seen a WWE show where it was strictly PG or PG-13. The most “PG” I have ever seen something associated with WWE was Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery or Slam City on the WWE Network.
So what direction should WWE go? How about both. It can be possible to do both if they do just one thing: split the roster, split the shows. Have one show PG-13 so they can do “Attitude Era” story lines and have the other PG so they can do “PG Era” story lines. It is a win-win and both the veteran adult fan and up-and-coming kid fan will be thoroughly entertained. A great suggestion would be to make WWE Monday Night RAW and Main Event the “Attitude Era” shows and WWE Smackdown! and Superstars the “PG Era” show. This also allows the WWE Creative team to write specifically for certain shows in a format exclusive for the show so that WWE fans don’t have to worry if the programming will be too boring for more adult tastes or inappropriate for younger audiences.
Legitimize The Divas Division
I am definitely striking nerves on this one! Every old-school veteran WWE fan remembers a time when the Divas Division was worth watching. To most WWE fans, women’s wrestling in the company has been dumbed down to a joke that lasts less than five minutes. Long gone are the days when divas matches were worth watching. To this day, most WWE fans agree that the best divas match during any WWE event was Trish Stratus versus Mickie James at WWE Wrestlemania 22. What is the big divas match of this era? It is probably Paige versus Emma for the NXT Women’s Championship, and most of the WWE Universe didn’t see it, unless they had the WWE Network and were willing to watch the show. Lucky for you all, I have attached the full video below.
The fact that WWE isn’t getting some of these awesome female wrestlers from the Indie Circuit is a sign that they don’t know what the WWE fans want. Mickie James, Annie Social, Sarita, and Daffney are available to join the divas division yet aren’t working in the WWE for some strange reason. Age can’t be the reason because the Bella Twins and Tamina Snuka are in their 30s. Maybe they’re not Total Divas material, in which most of the divas matches are booked from the drama off of that show as of late? Whatever the reason, WWE needs to get that initial spark back with their female wrestlers, and if the article by Bleacher Report that they are looking to fill the void with more models, well… they need to re-examine themselves. Personally, I agree with fellow Inquisitr writer, Joe Burgett, in his article in getting Ronda Rousey into the WWE, possibly as the third member of The Shield.
These points are probably the most prominent opinions from both WWE fans and wrestlers over the past couple of months, or even the past couple years. Since they are mostly the opinions of the WWE Universe outside of corporate, it is always changing and there always points that are added, removed, or improved upon. True there are other points that could have been touched on such as legitimate story lines for the divas division that don’t require Total Divas or 10 to 15 minute worked matches across the board, but the above four are probably the most argued points pertaining to the WWE today.
Since most of the readers here are WWE fans, please comment below if there is anything else that WWE needs to improve on, simply by listening to the fans and wrestlers who helped paved the way in its popularity. I do hope that the company understands that fans showing their distaste for the current product isn’t because they hate it, but that they love it. They want it to succeed. They want to be entertained. And the fact that the fans are willing to voice their opinions instead of just “go away” means they are hoping for change. Just take into account that even the most loyal of WWE fans will eventually move on if they feel as if they are ignored. If Mick Foley, one of the nicest and most devoted WWE personalities ever, can turn away due to the companies selfish decisions, anyone can.
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