Try to type WWE into your smartphone. What does it do? Quite like suggesting you to change it to “we”, right? That’s already all we need to know. WWE is, still, not taking seriously, it’s not even a real name that your phone recognizes. While we, the fans, see bigger shows and events happening the overall perception of WWE didn’t really change. It still this ‘weird’ thing were ‘grown men act like they hit each other’. That also shows in the latest TV deals that have been secured by WWE. Even though WWE has a bigger market coverage it gets less money than MLB (baseball) or MLS (soccer. In the US!) from TV Networks.
One of the problems with the overall perception is that “adults” often ask “why should I watch a show that is completely fake?”. The answer, from fans, is easy: You do watch Hollywood movies, right? They are fake too. WWE simply does all those cool stunts live in front of your eyes. Isn’t that cool?”.
Yes it is. For us.
While this answer is obvious and, in my mind, does make sense, WWE does never promote that angle. Sure it says that their ‘Superstars’ are professionally trained athletes but still it could do a better job convincing broad masses (and TV bosses) that wrestling (“sports entertainment”) is a real discipline and that it’s not only kids or mentally handicapped (no offense btw!) guys who watch that stuff.
One step towards this: Cut the crap. The acting is, very often, bad indeed. And now I don’t talk about John Cena for once. His acting is a bit one dimensional but at least he knows his role (ha) and plays it well. With crap I mean stupid gimmicks and stuff that obviously doesn’t work. One example? Throwing those stupid ‘steel steps’. What the heck? They are obviously not heavy and aren’t doing any damage whatsoever. Every time John Cena (ah, here he is again) picks them up to throw them over the top rope it just looks ridiculous.
Talking about ridiculous. Let’s talk Damien Sandow. Man that poor guy! Such a good wrestler and way more than average talker (still dig his mic work, as stupid as it is). I wonder what he did wrong to deserve that shitty treatment he gets right now. Every show in another stupid costume getting beaten up by Adam Rose (with an even more stupid gimmick) in less then 2 minutes. To be honest, I wouldn’t even mind those stupid gimmicks of Sandow if he would be allowed to show his skills and actually put on a good wrestling match because, at the end of the day, that is still what matters.
Yes, Vince, that is what matters. You can see that with all the guys that got over more quickly than others. DBry, Ambrose, Rollins, that guy that left earlier this year….they are great athletes that put on a great show in the ring! Yes, their gimmicks also work but that’s not the main reason. I believe there is a reason why WWE tried to sign some of those older guys again and why we saw, in between, some more aggressive matches.
A new hope
Not everything sucks though. At least things that happen away from the main stage of RAW and PPVs seem to be somehow promising. NXT develops a few good future ‘superstars’ and establish itself as a serious institution. The girls (Paige, AJ) get a bit more room to show that they actually can wrestle (without shitty gimmicks btw, unlike that Total Divas shit – but I understand that WWE needs to keep that going) and the fact that Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are being pushed further (even though Reigns looks super stupid in that ‘suit’ he’s wearing right now and don’t even let me get started on Rollins’ outfit straight out of the Blue Oyster bar.
Last but not least we, of course, have to mention the two latest signings to WWE. NJPW and Indy stars KENTA and Prince Devitt. It’s also cool to see that WWE sends them to NXT first (and that they are willing to do it) to make them understand how WWE shows work.
Overall I still think that WWE is a great product (well no wonder, being a fan) but they need to figure out where they are heading and how they want to achieve their goals – without only looking on short term ratings and developments. The WWE network for example is something that I, as someone who basically lives online, consider a courageous move. It doesn’t pay off yet but that’s obviously because the product isn’t good enough at the moment. Once that changes (and Smackdown isn’t a repetition of RAW highlights anymore, besides other annoyances) I can imagine that eventually taking off. Why? Better product, better image, more sales.