Well they've made a lot of bad business decisions (in no particular order):
1. Leaving USA and going to TNN. There was already a pretty significant ratings drop the week they went from USA to TNN. USA doesn't have as much circulation as TNN. And the main reason they went to TNN was because...
2. XFL. Now I don't want to hear bullshit like "who are you to say it wouldn't have been successful." I think anyone with common sense knew this would be stupid. I mean Vince could've invested in a good long term goal...like a wrestling channel. I mean they own all the archives of WCW/NWA and WWF/WWE in existence!
3. Rushing and blowing the "Invasion." Didn't they say it would be a year before they would have so called interpromotional matches? They pushed the panic button and did this one, and of course they screwed up "the angle that no one could screw up." I guess that goes to the saying of, "Not even God himself could sink this ship.
4. Putting the title on The Big Show. I honestly can't justify this at all.
That fake reality show on UPN I think. Didn't Vince McMahon have a hand in this?
XFL in the movie "The Sixth Day." If I had any thoughts or premonitions at all that the XFL MIGHT succeed this quashed them.
"I am many things Kal-El, but here I am god." -Darkseid
I disagree with going to TNN being a bad move. TNN is now in more homes then the USA Network and WWE got lots of money from the Viacom deal. If you've got a good show, it doesn't matter what station it's on.
They have made a lot of bad business decisions and the current business environment is not helping matters any. Going to WWE shows is looked at as a discretionary purchase. In tough economic times people would rather watch the product on TV for free.
Things will turn around but it will not happen overnight. Vince needs to create some new superstars and become 'hip' with the kids again.
From the infamous Wrestleline SS interview:
DTD: If you were to make changes in WCW, if you were in charge and not Ric Flair, what would they be?
SS: I'd get rid of all the old guys, and push the talent that has waited to get the push. The things they are doing, it's back in the 1980s. It's just bad, man. Flair doesn't even deserve to be on the show. You've got to get rid of all the old guys. Like what Vince did, they started pushing guys. Nobody knew who The Rock was 2 years ago. He made The Rock. Now The Rock just did Saturday Night Live. You've got to start with the young talent, talent people can relate to. Who are we trying to relate to if we've got a 50 year old man out there? Are we trying to relate, so a 50 year people and above will go out and buy a f*cking little toy? That ain't gonna happen. It's a f*cking joke.
A really hot heel manager I know on the indy circuit, who just retired from the biz, had some interesting words on the subject.
He basically said that business is down across the board in the sports-entertainment biz (indies too, not just WWE) because this business, like all others, runs in cycles. 1997-2000 was one of the peaks, and now we're on the downward part of the curve (much like the economy). It'll bottom out at some point, and then things will head back up, more mainstream fans will get involved again, and we'll all be happy.
OK, so we won't be happy. We're Internet wrestling fans, after all. :-)
Star wipe, and...we're out. Thrillin' ain't easy. . . THE THRILL ACW-TV/Home Video Technical Director Emeritus...and A2NWO 4 Life!
Comparing wrestling to an economy is not valid imho. An economy is a permanent feature of human interaction. Wrestling is just a form of entertainment.
I think its possible for wrestling to dry up and blow away. Look at how many forms of entertainment have come and gone over the years. People don't joust anymore. Saturday morning TV isn't all live-action anymore - its cartoons. Radio dramas are long gone. The most popular sports vary from region to region. NFL-style football is nothing in Australia. Soccer is nothing in the USA.
Wrestling to me is more like a TV serial. Much like Doctor Who. Every week you get another cliffhanger. Doctor Who ran for 26 years, largely on the strength of attractive, strong characters. Who would've thought the audience could dwindle to 3 million and get cancelled? Excuses wre made, but the bottom line was the characters and direction of the show didn't hold an audience and it was scrapped instead of getting revamped.
Jousts and radio dramas still exist, just for very, very small audiences. ;-) Wrestling won't DIE--it's prehistoric. Two guys want to fight without weapons, so they wrestle. Some people like to watch that kind of fight, so they do.
But "sports entertainment", which is what we are really talking about, has only been around for two or three decades in its current form. The older form of pro wrestling that dates from the 19th century was something else again...and it's dead now. The Vince McMahon Style is probably going to predecease the man who pushed it into the public consciousness. I do not think that "sports entertainment" is going to make it to a ripe old age. Maybe to fifty, with luck, but not to a hundred.
But somewhere, somehow, guys are going to be grappling and people are going to be throwing popcorn and beers at them. If WWE goes completely under, those little regional promotions will pop up like mushrooms again, IMO. Who would believe the current wrestling landscape if he time-warped in from 1950?
Originally posted by fuelinjectedI disagree with going to TNN being a bad move. TNN is now in more homes then the USA Network and WWE got lots of money from the Viacom deal. If you've got a good show, it doesn't matter what station it's on.
The problem is the stigma of the network. Ask most people what TNN is, and they would probably respond The Nashville Network (or, the Redneck Network). Now, USA was a known commodity, and the fans who only tuned in casually knew what station USA was on. With TNN, they might not even check the station, assuming The Grand Ol' Opry is still on, or the Tom Schneider show (of course, they should go to Dukes of Hazzard re-runs either opening or following RAW, that might help bring back some of the WCW fans). The key to wrestling is perception does equal reality. And the perception of TNN is that of a hick station. As for the overall economy, it plays a significant role in wrestling. Look at wrestling for the past 50 years, and you will see wrestlings peaks are at economic peaks, and wrestling busts are at economic busts. World Class and the UWF were great examples of this, as when the oil economy in the early-mid 80's was high, the product was well supported, as the fans had ancilliary income to spend on the product. When the oil boom busted around '86-'87, both promotion imploded, as the fans did not have the discretionary funds to support the product. The WWF/E is another example: Hogan's rise coincided with a national economic rise. The decline in the early to mid 90's coincided with recession and economic stagnation. At the time, WCW struggled, Vince struggled, the AWA died. The beginning of the wrestling boom in '96 was at a time when the economy was growing, which continued until the Reno Justice Department busted Microsoft in March 2000, causing the stock market to stagnate, then lose ground. What happened after March 2000, ECW died, WCW died, and within a year WWF/E entered into a decline. Thus, when fans have ancillary income, wrestling benefits, when the fans don't have additional income, wrestling suffers. Next wrestling boom 2005-2006.
I want you to know, I agree with everything I've just said. The Public Demands: Fire Tim Welsh.
The "WWF" as we knew it is already dead. Right now, we have an entirely new beast in WWE that is headed by the guy that's supposed to know how to do things, Vince McMahon, but he seems to have forgot what he knew to make wrestling so exciting in the first place.
WWE would probably say that they are giving its current fans what they want. After all, HHH does get pops for his entrance and water spitting, right? Well, it's not quite as simple as classic "If the crowd cheers it, we push it" booking.
The real solution, and it's something WWE was trying in completely the wrong way, is to give the people who AREN'T fans what they want. After all, they outnumber the ever-shrinking fanbase that keeps watching the trainwrecks on TV every week, like it or hate it. Of course, they should go about it by sticking to the true nature of wrestling (more or less, two strong characters engaged in an important conflict).
Vince tried to attact non-fans with corpse sex, but people who enjoy that appear to be in an even smaller demographic. He needs to start writing intelligent storylines with a clear basis to establish strong characters for meaningful moments.
Vince, Linda, & co. keep repeating this rhetoric in their interviews to the media, but it doesn't appear as though they really mean it when we hear stuff like Albert getting pushed over Matt Hardy & Rey Misterio, Jr. Or maybe they DO mean it, but they just don't have a clue how to do what they need to do to get the job done.
Heyman, as much as I've always disliked the guy, has been doing an awesome job building up new characters on SMACKDOWN! He got Matt Hardy over, played to Rey Misterio Jr.'s strengths to make him a top face, and managed to finally make Edge into a player even though he still has yet to do something REALLY important. However, now it seems as if he's being undermined by Vince McMahon, who still remains clueless. That's not to say Heyman's perfect either, because he has some pretty obvious flaws.
As it stands, people aren't going to tune in to see Matt Hardy week after week. He's finally found his niche, but he hasn't exactly broken through to the top of the card. If he did, maybe he'd have a chance to prove everyone wrong. No one is getting a chance right now, because WWE isn't taking any chances except for the pitiful brand extension.
The main storylines, the ones that center around a world title, are the heart of the action in WWE. But, with the split in full effect and two world titles, there's no center of attention anymore for the entire organization. This is a new problem which makes things more complicated than they should be and it's going to be harder to steer the ship when they're trying to go in two directions and converge for the monthly PPV.
[BEGIN RANT] If they, say, picked up the next Austin/McMahon storyline somewhere in this mess, only one show could get that while the other one was left with the inferior storylines. It doesn't help the organization as a whole. Hell, one of the biggest things that helped ruin my enjoyment of wrestling was the addition of SMACKDOWN!, because it just made one more show I had to follow for storyline purposes. That's not to say that WWE shouldn't add another show if they can profit from it, but I can't be bothered to catch 4 hours a week all the time and I doubt most people would either. [END RANT]
The split helps in the regard that it cut the fat, since now I don't have to watch stupid RAW, but I don't think that's what they want. A risk like that should only be taken when they know what they're doing, and it's clear they don't.
The only solution is to just abandon the split and, by that, I don't mean re-merge everything. Just get rid of RAW the same way they got rid of WCW. Let WWE take what it likes off the RAW roster and close up shop. Better yet, just get rid of the whole organization all together, because it's going to be nothing if they stay on their current path in three years anyway.
There's always this transition period where Vince is holding onto his old ideas and refusing to really change his way of thinking. He's listening to the wrong people and looking for the quick fix.
Things will get worse before they get better but in time, someone will kick him in the ass and he'll realize what changes need to be made.
As much as I like Heyman's booking of Smackdown, there are some obvious flaws like burning out certain feuds too quickly and for free. There shouldn't always be 20 minute matches on free TV, IMO. The matches should be 10-15 minutes which is long enough to tell a great story but short enough to leave you wanting more. And that more should come at a pay-per-view.
Maybe I'm in the minority but I like the split concept but their execution has been piss poor. Especially hotshotting that angle with Vince & Flair in the Spring, that was absurd.
There doesn't seem to be any long term thinking with the company and it really shows through on TV. When they only have 2 matches announced for a PPV heading into the last week of TV, that's just unacceptable.
I agree that they need to stop playing to fans that have left and start satisfying their current fanbase. They've made a mistake that many businesses make, they've destroyed customer loyalty. Through countless blown storylines and restarts, much of the fanbase has lost their faith. Remember the days when we saw an iffy storyline or wrestler but we had the confidence that Vince could make it work. That confidence just isn't there anymore.
They also need to start marketing their product in new ways and reaching out to different audiences. Send Rob Van Dam to those X-Games, and show them some clips of his highspots. Get Booker T out there telling young people his story of how he turned around his life. Reach out to the Latino demographic with Mysterio and Guerrero. I'm not familiar with Galavision/Telemundo so I don't know what it's most popular shows but try to get Mysterio on one of them. While Angle's out with his knee injury, get him on one of those USO Tours to greet the troops.
While I usually don't agree with a lot of your points, Fuel, you certainly have some good ones here. Imagining RVD at the X-Games reminds me of when Big Daddy Cool was sent to the Rock N Jock Softball game on MTV back in the day.
Professional wrestling isn't a hobby. It's a lifestyle.
Originally posted by fuelinjectedAs much as I like Heyman's booking of Smackdown, there are some obvious flaws like burning out certain feuds too quickly and for free. There shouldn't always be 20 minute matches on free TV, IMO. The matches should be 10-15 minutes which is long enough to tell a great story but short enough to leave you wanting more. And that more should come at a pay-per-view.
Yeah, those were the flaws tha I was referring to in my earlier post. WWE had a great thing going with Benoit/Angle-Rey/Edge at that one PPV before Survivor Series (No Mercy) and really could have continued to build that as a big tag title feud going into SurSer, but they hotshotted the titles right onto Rey & Edge on SMACKDOWN! two weeks later.
Then, they brought the Guerreros into the feud, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing either, but it took away from the direct conflict between Rey/Edge & Angle/Benoit that really could have developed and come to a head if they kept it going strong for another month, THEN they could have moved onto Angle/Benoit. I guess that's just a creative difference I have, but I also see it as an example of Heyman's overuse of great matches to the point where they become meaningless.
He especially did this when he had full control in ECW. I mean, how many RVD-Lynn matches did we REALLY need?
Not that I'm totally complaining, I don't order PPVs anymore, but some pacing would be nice.
Originally posted by kokolums2Wrestling to me is more like a TV serial. Much like Doctor Who. Every week you get another cliffhanger. Doctor Who ran for 26 years, largely on the strength of attractive, strong characters. Who would've thought the audience could dwindle to 3 million and get cancelled? Excuses wre made, but the bottom line was the characters and direction of the show didn't hold an audience and it was scrapped instead of getting revamped.
Oooo, I love it when somebody slides a Doctor Who reference into the board! As many fans will tell you, the ill-tempered Colin Baker version of the Doctor contributed heavily to the downfall of Doctor Who - possibly a parallel to the ill-tempered HHH version of the World Champion contributing to the downfall of RAW (and WWE as well). Smackdown! may yet survive, but only if RAWthink doesn't infect it as well. (The HLA overtones of the Dawn Marie/Torrie/Al storyline don't leave me very hopeful for that, though.)
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I'm going twenty-four hours a day...I can't seem to stop - "Turn Up The Radio", Autograph
The Hardy/Kennedy match was the hightlight of the night. I just hope Jeff is OK after the sick landing from the failed Whisper in the Wind (if that's what he was going for). Great camera work when Jeff came off the barrier with the clothesline.