The WWE’s ratings aren’t as high as they once were at wrestling’s peak. During the Attitude Era and even slightly beyond, WWE was pulling in ratings in the 5.0 range. Granted, they had consistent competition with WCW, but pro wrestling was at a premium during that time period. In 2016, wrestling’s popularity is more mainstream, but the core of passionate fans has dwindled. A big portion of fans in attendance at WWE Raw shows are kids.
They used to have teenagers and young adults galore at WWE shows. Times are different now, and wrestling appeals to a different demographic. Right now, WWE wants to advertise to a younger audience with their PG rating. Believe it or not, WWE fans stopped watching because they got rid of their TV-14 or PG-13 rating. Road Dogg tweeted out that WWE had their biggest year ever, as far as revenue is concerned.
Clearly, something is working for World Wrestling Entertainment. Merchandise is getting bought, WWE Network subscriptions are still rolling in, and WWE NXT is keeping the hardcore fans more interested with every the episode. However, there’s still a problem that WWE needs to address head on. Aside from house shows not drawing any interest, it’s their attendance for WWE Raw that’s concerning.
According to WrestleZone.com and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE Raw hasn’t sold out any events this year so far.
“Last week’s Raw show in Seattle, which featured the retirement of Daniel Bryan, sold 10,000 tickets, which is about 1,000 tickets below capacity.
“It should be noted that tomorrow night’s WWE Raw show in Anaheim, CA, is expected to sellout, however there are still tickets available for the event. With walk up sales tomorrow, however, the show is expected to be a legit sellout.”
This doesn’t mean that interest is dwindling for WWE, but rather the need to go to live events isn’t nearly as high as it once was. There’s one big reason for this drop-off of fans at shows, and his name is John Cena. That’s a popular meme and a reason for WWE’s loss of audience at live shows. What is odd is that Daniel Bryan’s retirement speech didn’t even sell out in his hometown.
Fans are missing Cena. He adds a lot to the shows that even fans who don’t like him can admit. With one tweet this morning, the 15-time WWE champion sparked a huge debate within the WWE Universe.
— John Cena (@JohnCena) February 15, 2016
For now, this is complete speculation on the end of WWE fans. Cena never announced he’s returning to action, but he has a history of returning way too early from injury. Take the Royal Rumble, for example, several years ago. He wasn’t supposed to return. Then, at no. 30, Cena’s music hit and the arena exploded. That was at a time when fans were just starting to get sick of him.
Things are a bit different now. His U.S. Open Challenge won over a lot of the fanbase that didn’t care for him when Cena “won too much.” Either way, a return for Cena will do a lot of good for the company.
WWE Fastlane is this Sunday. Cena won’t return before that, but WWE officials need to do the best they can by properly promoting the pay-per-view tonight. Sell-out crowds are imperative to generating a good crowd. It’s not the “be all, end all” scenario, but it certainly adds to the environment.
[Image via wwe.com]