Also, Shawn wasn't billed as a cruiserweight. I'm starting to think that being billed as a cruiser or a light-heavy is like a kiss of death for one's career, at least in the WWF. Smarks see it for what it is, just another division, but I think to the casual fan it means they are somehow not a "real" wrestler.
The problem with comparing RAW to a sitcom is that wrestling is a lot more limited. No matter how many backstage segments they have, eventually it still comes down to people facing each other in the ring. Whereas with a sitcom you can move the cast to another city, have characters change jobs, relationships, etc... If a sitcom were like wrestling, it would have to use variations on the same jokes and situations over and over again, more so than they do now. Imagine a Drew Carey show where literally every other week they did a show where Drew was in danger of being fired, and with the exact same jokes being repeated each episode.
I think your analogy of the new peaks and valleys of the ratings being higher than the previous one. I never thought of it like that and I like it. Its a good point to describe how the business could actually be thriving here.
Suggesting to the WWF they need to tweak some of the main-eventer personnas is just asking them to do something they've done before. HBK was over but his personna was tweaked when he headed up DX. Bret Hart got a bit of a makeover when he went heel and re-formed the Hart Foundation. I'd leave Austin alone because the fans cheer him even in a face V face matchup. Just too strong.
Let's examine the long, strange career of Triple-H...
1995: Mid-Card Blueblood Snob. Not over. 1996: Was supposed to win King of the Ring, but punished for MSG incident. Nevertheless, was IC Champ by the end of the year. Not Over. 1997: Given Mr. Hughes as a sidekick. Not over. Given Chyna as a sidekick. Not over. King of the Ring winner. Not over. Part of DX. Not over. 1998: Made leader of DX. Over as an upper-mid card performer. Triple-H leaves DX. Not over. 1999: Wins WWF Title. Not over. Reforms DX. Not over. Marries the boss's daughter. Not over.
Finally, the Foley feud put him over the top! Read all the things about Triple-H written in 1997, 1998, and 1999. You'll read all about his lack of charisma, limited offense, and lousy promos. But when they booked him as an equal to Rock and Foley, he finally became a star.
Reading these posts, it's as if wrestling is cyclical by accident. It's not an accident, though. A hot new star or concept freshens up the product and brings back fans tired of the same guys on top.
And remember WCW. Nitro was pulling 5 ratings as recently as January-February, 1999! But on February 28, 2000, Nitro scored a 2.1. The "peaks and valleys" analogy that supposedly shows a general upward trend completely ignores WCW. In *two* years, WCW went from higher ratings than this week's Raw (with Raw as direct competition) to out of business.
First week of May, 1999: Raw 6.4; Nitro 3.4. Combined Monday Night Wrestling Audience 9.8 rating.
This week's Monday Night Wrestling Audience: 4.4. That's a 55% drop. I'm no statistician, but that seems like a pretty big dip.
I personally have found other things to do. Raw has been pushed aside in favor of the NHL playoffs. Survivor and CSI have taken the place of Smackdown. When Survivor ends I will probably turn on Smackdown for an hour until CSI comes on. Some loss is inevitable as viewers fall off so the WWF needs to keep the product as fresh as possible to keep trying to attract new viewers.
This entire thing we're involved with called the world is an opportunity to exhibit how exciting alienation can be. Life is a matter of a miracle that is collected over time by moments flabbergasted to be in each others' presence. The world is an exam, to see if we can rise into the direct experiences. Our eyesight is here as a test, to see if we can see beyond it. Matter is here as a test for our curiosity. Doubt is here as an exam for our vitality.
This is way too much fuss to be making over a drop of four tenths of a point. Raw drew a 7.4 on May 1, 2000. The rating on May 8, 2000? 6.2. They lost 1.2 points in a week. The internet must have been going nuts. Heck only nine weeks after May 1, 2000 the July 3, 2000 Raw drew a 5.3. That's 2.1 points in two months. The world must have been coming to an end.
It's unfair to compare Raw's ratings now to a 7.4 it got two years ago. Raw has drawn a 7.0+ rating only five times in its history. One was an 8.1 for Owens show, so really four shows with plus 7 ratings.
The ratings are nothing to worry about right now. I mean you can look at this another way. The October 22, 2001 Raw got a 3.9 and then the November 5, 2001 did it again. So they have gained .5 tenths since then.
Ratings will be fine. WCW didn't go out of business because it's ratings were in the range of 2.0-2.5. A 2.0-2.5 rating will put you in the top 15 every week. They went out of business because they lost money almost every year of their existence. The WWF is fine and the ratings are fine.
RIP The Rock's Show. April 29, 1999-April 4, 2002.
Thanks mskj somebody finally said it. The Ratings only meant alot in the past because they were competing with WCW. The WWF is fine. People always act like the WWF is one bad show away from closing down forever. The only people that should worry about ratings are advertisers and that doesnt matter because the WWF has had the same advertisers for years now. Even in the big ratings days the ads were the same, so what do the ratings matter? The attendance at shows and the PPV nubers are still strong, and thats where the WWF makes the money.
You know youre old when you try to convince some kid that was born in the freakin 80's that Samus Aran could whip Lara Croft's cave dwelling ass. Honestly, has there ever been a cooler weapon in the history of video games than the Screw Attack?
Smarks make a big deal out of low ratings because when they complain about the show sucking they are told that casual fans like it that way. The low ratings let us say "see i told you it sucks, it's not just a matter of taste"
The whole it's just a cycle or it's just that time of year kind of arguments don't hold up because they don't leave room for the affect of the show not being entertaining. If low ratings, low attendance and poor critical reception aren't reliable indicators of the show being bad then what is? Or do you believe that the quality of the show is completely irrelevent to it's success?
And to think, it was only a few years ago when the ratings were in the high 5's that everyone was clamoring about how it wouldn't last. "Wrestling is cyclical. Most of these fans are only casual fans, when they leave only the real fans will remain. Pander to them."
Now that the cycle has passed we're worrying about how Vince should try to get these casual viewers back.
As for me, I'm not too worried. I've been watching wrestling since I was 8 years old. And if the stuff the WWF has put out in the past 20 years hasn't driven me away, then practically nothing will.
Besides, other factors besides the booking play a part in the drop in business. Anyone else notice the fact that in the two periods where business has dropped for the WWF (early 90's and today) there has been a recession?
The problem with the ratings dipping now is that its May sweeps, and your ratings during sweeps determines how much the networks charge for advertising during your show/timeslot. So while Smackdown doing poorly just one week isn't a big deal out of context, within the context of network ratings and advertising--where the money is made...its a little bit more of an issue to be worried about. Most TV shows build momentum into May or use May to throw together a bunch of guest-star laden ratings spiking one-shots.
With the Hogan train derailing and Rock gone, with Steve Austin on the other show, the fact is that the WWF hasn't made a compelling reason for WWF fans to watch Smackdown, let alone attract new viewers.
"Hitler had pieces of flair that he made the Jews wear."
I won't worry for now, but any streak of ratings like this for three weeks or so and I will get pretty concerned. I figured WCW would mostly suck, but always be around. If the WWF mostly sucks like it has for awhile, then we have no gurantee it will share WCW's fate, but no gurantee it will aviod it. Uncertainty, I don't like it.
You know, I'm not concered about Goldturd showing up on Smackdown! With the WWE(HA) having to pipe in Hogan chants, Hulkamania is dying(Thank you!!!), and with the Rock gone, until "Helldorado"(snicker snicker) possibly bombs worse than "Wrestling Santa" and "Devils' Island" combined, there won't be much for main event guys, so he'll be there when his arm heals(again)... Now, what I'm really scared of is that this means the return of STEPANIE MACMAHON...
So Paul E.'s breaking up matches with his big beast-man Brock! It's beginning to make me wonder if they're booking a third factor into the split--a group of rogue wrestlers who could invade either show.