Before we get started, in keeping with the theme of this particular editorial, I want to ensure everyone by the time you finish reading this, there will be a “major announcement” of my own. More on that later.
This coming Wednesday, January 8th at the International CES trade show at The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, Vince McMahon will make what is being advertised as a “groundbreaking announcement.” While the announcement that is scheduled to be made, which is expected to be the details of the launch of the WWE Network, actually lives up to the billing, as the WWE Network will be a groundbreaking service for the WWE business going forward, the company has a history of failing to deliver when promising “major announcements.”
Just this past Monday on RAW, the first edition of the show in 2014, WWE promised two “major announcements.” In this case, I believe they were actually described as “blockbuster announcements.” Adjectives aside, it seems as though WWE does themselves a disservice when advertising announcements as part of storylines on television.
Monday’s RAW featured a “blockbuster announcement” from Stephanie McMahon, followed by another one from Triple H. Stephanie’s announcement was the official main event for the 2014 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The last WWE pay-per-view, which was the TLC event in December, featured John Cena vs. Randy Orton in a TLC match that crowned the unified “WWE World Heavyweight Champion.” The “blockbuster announcement” on RAW was a rematch, in a regular (or should I say, “traditional”) match between Orton and Cena for Orton’s title. So we go from a special gimmick match that unifies two titles, to a straight wrestling match for one person’s title. Quite the blockbuster announcement.
Triple H then further hypes his announcement by saying that Stephanie’s was huge, but wait until people see what his announcement is. “The Game” heads down to the ring and reveals his “blockbuster announcement.” His was the return of Brock Lesnar, a return that a large percentage of fans were already aware of due to WWE booking the return in a way that it was revealed to their own audience, on their own SmackDown television taping, due to their own decision to tape shows out-of-sequence due to the holidays.
Under normal circumstances, the official announcement of the Royal Rumble main event and the official television return of Brock Lesnar would be considered pretty big deals. The problem was the way they were delivered and promoted. When you promise a “blockbuster announcement” or a “major announcement” you are gambling with the possibility of fans not agreeing with how “major” they really are. Had they just announced the Rumble main event, and had Lesnar return, that would have been to pretty cool things to take away from the first RAW of 2014. Instead, a lot of feedback I’ve read focused on the fact that WWE under-delivered with their promised announcements.
It’s all about raising the fans expectations and then failing to deliver. WWE knows they’re revealing two big things on the show, and instead of just delivering them, they over-hype them and shoot themselves in the foot. Going into RAW, fans are debating with each other as to what the announcements might be. They are speculating at what could be announced. When the announcements fails to live up to the hype given to it beforehand, the fans feel short-changed.
That mindset represents the more casual fan, or a newer fan of the product. Unfortunately in the case of long-term fans, they almost expect to be underwhelmed when they hear that a “major announcement” is going to be made. After years of failing to deliver on so many promised “major announcements” fans basically understand that at the end of the day, whatever the announcement turns out to be, it probably will be anything but “major.” This kills WWE’s ability to hype up future storylines that actually would be universally considered to be “major.” To the casual or new fans I referenced a minute ago, to them, it’s only the beginning of their understanding that when WWE promises a “major announcement” you can pretty much assume you’re going to bet let down.
At the beginning of this piece, I promised all of you a “major announcement.” And here it is…. leave your feedback in the “Comments” section directly below. You can also hit me up on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR.