The Wrestling Antagonist Episode 1
Very often in the realm of wrestling we hear the term “it factor”. Many are quick to reference the day legendary wrestling icon, Stone Cold Steve Austin, was born so to say. Austin went into an interview with Michael Hayes and coined the phrase “Austin 3:16 say I just whipped your ass.” Simple catchy one liner sure, but the idea was that Austin was set loose to build a character as an extension of himself. The idea is a proven strategy to finding out who has that specialized charisma built to succeed in a wrestling ring.
Today wrestling fans barade WWE creative harder than we’ve ever seen before, no doubt due to the fact that social media is very entwined in the inner workings of the business now. Therefore everyone has the tools to be a critic and can broadcast their voice loud and clear for anyone who chooses to listen. The conundrum here is, do we blast the guys writing the show, or do we attack the guys who are holding their leash?
For several years now we’ve been forced into watching a PG watered down product. It’s either that or don’t watch at all. Well die hards are going to watch and we will do so in wait for that next “boom era” where it becomes fun again. We just want to be there the day the bar drops. The harsh reality is, it’s not happening any time soon. Wrestling always has been and always will be a show designed for the male 18-40 demographic. If you think you’re gonna send a guy out to the ring and have him tough talk another guy using “kick your butt” as the hardest threat in his repertoire, good luck connected with your money making demographic.
When Austin made himself it was because he was a bad ass. I was no more than 12 when he was running shit and I recall all the kids in my neighborhood were Stone Cold die hards… they were 7. That was a long time ago, and on a normal day an elementary school kid hears much worse on a playground I can assure you. It’s the very reason why John Cena receives the heat he does night after night. No one’s interested in a superhero. Unless he’s Tony Stark, than you love him, but does anyone really like Peter Parker… no dude, Parker was a bitch. My point is that you can’t place a choke hold on your talent making full grown men speak and act as if they are 5 year old school girls. How do ever get behind someone like that and say “That dudes a bad ass.” Randy Orton might have a had a real opportunity to be a great in the industry, he is naturally mean. You can see he’s arrogant, aggressive, and mean but the product won’t allow him to ever tap into his full extent.
So what’s the truth in why we are force fed this dog shit every week? I would be happy to explain. See many moons ago Linda McMahon made a mid for Senate and was attacked for her edgy wrestling product by her political advisories. Almost immediately after the show was reformatted to a more “family friendly” program. The reality is Vince has always been embarrassed about being a wrestling promoter. He’s sacrificed millions on products that failed in attempt to break free, you all remember the XFL right? Or how about the enormous flop we once knew as WWE Studios, heard they have a Christmas movie coming out on family channel this week, don’t wanna miss that. So a political ride on his wife’s coattails glad handing politicians and other business tycoons was a final ditch effort to get out of the hood for old Vinny Mac, so much so that even after being beat once, they forked millions over for a second try last year with no success. But it doesn’t stop here, the infamous “board of directors” have their hands in the cookie jar here too. See something you might not know is that while ratings may blow right now, WWE has tripled their corporate sponsors since switching from TV-14. All they had to do was ditch beer, playboy, and shaving razors and they started making money hand over fist.
So is there a light at the end of the tunnel? You bet there is, unfortunately it might be too late to save. See after doing some digging of my own I came to a realization, and I invite you to examine the numbers for yourself. Since 1997 there average yearly rating has been dropping. At one time RAW produced almost 6 million average viewers a night for a year. The trend however is that every year since then is the worst year they have ever had. Last year they finished at 3 million average viewers, and this year they are on course to actually dip below 3 mill for the first time ever. So when all these sponsors’ contracts are up soon and they evaluate what they are willing to pay, do you believe they will fork the same money out as they were when the show was producing an extra million viewers? Easily no, and furthermore, do they even want to tie their brand to a sinking ship? The ratings are available and companies investing money research this thoroughly. The next two years will sure be a time of radical overhaul in pro wrestling.
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