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The W - Pro Wrestling - What exactly defines "drawing" in Wrestling?
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Simba
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Since: 7.8.02
From: Boston, MA

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.20
Frequently, I read about Wrestlers being "a tremendous draw" or "never drawing a dime" and I'm a little confused as what this means exactly. Is there some formula that this is determined by? I'm assuming that live attendance, ratings and buyrates all factor in. Is it only determined for main event guys?

I never put much faith in the term, since I'm usually not buying/attending a show based on one single performer. It just seems like some industry pseudo-buzzword that gets thrown around way too much, with little validation.

(edited by Simba on 29.7.03 1055)


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CRZ
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.65

    Originally posted by Simba
    It just seems like some industry pseudo-buzzword that gets thrown around way too much, with little validation.
Atta boy.



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asteroidboy
Andouille








Since: 22.1.02
From: Texas

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.95
I think it's another way for people to say, "I don't like this wrestler."



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tshman122
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Since: 20.6.03

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#4 Posted on
Its used to describe how much money a worker is giving the fed. However since none of us actually know how much money they make for sure its totaly useless. For instance Hulk Hogan was a Huge Draw due to the amount of shows he sold out. The JYD was also a huge Draw in the south in the early 80's due the shows he headlined. Basicaly if business is good the top face gets the credit for drawing well and if its bad gets all the blame.
SKLOKAZOID
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Since: 20.3.02
From: California

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#5 Posted on
There is no concrete way of determining just who is a draw, and who isn't, and there are many instances where people are just flat-out wrong and declare someone to be "not a draw" to justify their hatred of a certain wrestler (and, no, I'm not being hypocritical).

Take the Ultimate Warrior, for instance. Meltzer likes to point out how Warrior failed to draw people during his reign, probably because he himself didn't enjoy his work. Yet when you really take a step back, all that you can really say about the Warrior is that he wasn't as successful as Hulk Hogan was in the mid-80s.

Whenever the Warrior would return, ratings would go up. Whenever the Warrior had a high profile match, people would watch. The only exception was Halloween Havoc '98, which was a disaster all around, and yes, the Warrior was responsible for that in part for his surrealist insanity.

People say Warrior "never drew a dime," but that couldn't be further from the truth. He was a solid #2 behind Hulk Hogan during his prime, with Randy Savage as close competition.

Now, to classify someone as a "draw" or "not-a-draw" is a pretty broad generalization. I am really convinced that HHH isn't a draw overall, but that doesn't mean I don't think it's possible for him to draw a big buyrate, or that he hasn't in the past.

Goldberg/HHH has the potential to be huge for SummerSlam, and I won't deny that Badd Blood had an increased buyrate (still a low one) with HHH in the main event. There exists potential for HHH to draw.

I think a clear case can be made for Steve Austin and The Rock being "draws." Whenever they would make a return or have a big match, numbers went up dramatically. That doesn't mean they are always draws, as Rock/Austin at WrestleMania XIX failed to draw people to buy the show. It's all about context. If you put the wrong guy into the wrong context, it all turns to shit.

So, to say that someone individually and alone is a draw, that would be foolish. Although, Austin and Hulk Hogan have been so big at times when their mere presence IS all that is necessary to draw viewers, attendance, and buyrates. But, they are very rare cases. Hell, Austin drew thousands of people to a friggin' Circuit City recently.

I don't think HHH draws in the context of dominating the show, that he would be better off as a Ted DiBiase character instead of the combination of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair that he wants to be. I think Steve Austin draws better in the context of profanity-laced crazy tirades and using vehicles to hurt and mame his adversaries, and not as some broken record saying "WHAT?" with little action to back up his words.

In recent weeks, The ratings over the past few weeks show a strong performance in the wake of Kane unmasking. Does this mean Kane is a draw? I think so, but that's just my opinion. I think the Kane storyline is drawing viewers, despite Kane not drawing anything for years with the mask until after losing the match to HHH.

But, that's just my take on it all. That's how I, personally, decide whether or not someone is drawing. My opinion has no bearing on the product, and I never claimed that it did. Just that I'm right most of the time.

Sometimes, I think it's very clear. When you gather the evidence in front of you, it's easy to see big disparities between wrestlers. Austin and Vince usually draw bigger ratings than Spike Dudley. That's the way it is. If you can find some way to see Spike Dudley into being a bigger draw, go ahead.

I think there is a lot of validation for it. Kane has had a very prominent role in recent weeks. Why? Because what he's doing right now is drawing, in WWE's view. The pseudo-buzzword affects what we see on television every week and, while subjective, it exists even if it is a creation by language.

And, just to qualify my statement, I hate the Kane storyline.

So, in conclusion, I have my opinion on who a draw is, you may have yours, and Vince McMahon has his own warped view, which scares me.

EDIT: Is it used as justification for people to express their hatred of a certain wrestler? You bet your ass it is, but that doesn't mean that the person doing the hating doesn't have a point. If people didn't feel passionately about their like/hatred, they wouldn't be as motivated to express it.

(edited by SKLOKAZOID on 29.7.03 0920)
John Orquiola
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Since: 28.2.02
From: Boston

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.90
>So, in conclusion, I have my opinion on who a draw is, you >may have yours, and Vince McMahon has his own warped view, >which scares me

We all have opinions but it sure is damn curious that the only one who has over 30 years experience in running a multi-million dollar world wide profesisonal wrestling company has the 'warped view'.

If Vince McMahon had a dollar for every person who knew how to run his company better than him, he'd have another billion dollars.





"Strong words. Strong words from a strange man." - Kent Brockman
spf
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Since: 2.1.02
From: The Las Vegas of Canada

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#7 Posted on

    Originally posted by John Orquiola
    >So, in conclusion, I have my opinion on who a draw is, you >may have yours, and Vince McMahon has his own warped view, >which scares me

    We all have opinions but it sure is damn curious that the only one who has over 30 years experience in running a multi-million dollar world wide profesisonal wrestling company has the 'warped view'.

    If Vince McMahon had a dollar for every person who knew how to run his company better than him, he'd have another billion dollars.



He would need to have his first billion in order to get another billion, and with WWE stock where it is, Vince is nowhere near that mark these days.

And of course those same thoughts could have been said for Verne Gagne too, and we all saw how that turned out. Just because someone has succeeded does not mean they will always succeed. Vince was at the edge of failure before and it took having just the right combination of people around him to save him. What happens if he gets there again, and there is no Austin to capture the public, no Russo to change the direction of the company, no Shane to have his ear?



She was worth 800 miles driving to see her play - Brenda Weiler

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HairRaiser
Kishke








Since: 13.1.03
From: S. Attleboro, MA

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#8 Posted on
Here's the problem with "drawing" as I see it.

During WCW hot period, was it the older established guys in the main events that were drawing the PPV buys and arena tickets or was it the undercard cruisers who lit up the ring for several matches before them?

One could argue that if the crowd made a mass exodus after the younger guys were done and before the main event chunk of the program, beit in live attendance or switching channels, then we'd know for sure. I know what matches I bought the PPV to watch, but that's just me.

Without any way to measure these things shy of mind-reading, we kind of have to fall back on what the most heavily promoted matches are reasoning that's what's going to attract the majority of the buys/tickets.

When the products were red hot, they might sell out a building as soon as tickets go on sale without announcing a single match. Who would draw the house then?

That brings us back to either looking at PPV buys or walk-up ticket sales, as both would be more affected by last minute promotion.

Instances like Steve Austin at the Circuit City are the only real way to tell from what I can see. He's the only attraction, so it's all or nothing.

Kane's unmasking got some attention and as more viewers are stopping by to see what's going on, then in the absence of anything else being heavily promoted, he's a fair bet on drawing. There are still people who would watch the show or go to the arena that hate Kane just to see other performers regardless of the amount of time spent promoting their appearance on the same card.

The remaining measure to try to figure out who the crowd came to see would have to be the pops. Now we're getting back to that same debate about who's over or not, and that's straying even farther away than I already have rambled... :-)
dMr
Andouille








Since: 2.11.02
From: Edinburgh, Scotland

Since last post: 22 days
Last activity: 16 hours
#9 Posted on

    Originally posted by spf2119

      Originally posted by John Orquiola
      >So, in conclusion, I have my opinion on who a draw is, you >may have yours, and Vince McMahon has his own warped view, >which scares me

      We all have opinions but it sure is damn curious that the only one who has over 30 years experience in running a multi-million dollar world wide profesisonal wrestling company has the 'warped view'.

      If Vince McMahon had a dollar for every person who knew how to run his company better than him, he'd have another billion dollars.



    He would need to have his first billion in order to get another billion, and with WWE stock where it is, Vince is nowhere near that mark these days.

    And of course those same thoughts could have been said for Verne Gagne too, and we all saw how that turned out. Just because someone has succeeded does not mean they will always succeed. Vince was at the edge of failure before and it took having just the right combination of people around him to save him. What happens if he gets there again, and there is no Austin to capture the public, no Russo to change the direction of the company, no Shane to have his ear?



Naturally Vince didnt save the company from extinction on his own but to suggest he had a negligible role is unfair. Austin had been in WCW and done hee-haw. Without the right gimmick he would never has gotten as over as he did. If he chose to follow Shanes advice over that provided by others then that also shows a degree of good business sense.

Of course it doesnt follow that past success breeds future success, but many of us seem to forget that Vince has considerably more experience than any of us when we enter into tirades about him. Does that mean he should be beyond reproach? No. Does it perhaps mean that we should afford him the respect not to question his judgement at every turn and to wait and see how angles play out before shitting on them from a great height? Personally I think so.



fuelinjected
Banger








Since: 12.10.02
From: Canada

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.15
After the XFL, the ill-timed Steve Austin heel turn, the failed WCW Invasion, the failed ECW return, blown opportunities with guys like Chris Jericho, necrophilia, HLA, Goldberg wearing a wig, WWF New York, the declining revenues and many other things, I think its fair game to question Vince's judgement the past 2 1/2 years.

He's the greatest wrestling promoter this country has seen but even the best can't do it forever. He's an aging man who's finger isn't on the pulse of society anymore (remember Kilborn?) and I'd have to question the supporting cast he's surrounded himself with.

As far as draws go, the old WCW guys drew on top but the company failed to get anyone ready to take their spot when they wore out their welcome. Actually same goes for WWE, they didn't really get anyone ready for when Austin eventually wore out and Rock left.
SKLOKAZOID
Bratwurst








Since: 20.3.02
From: California

Since last post: 7 days
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#11 Posted on
Drawing is usually easier to gague in retrospective, even if it can be distorted. When you go back to WCW in 1996, it's clear that the whole show was great, but that there was also an overall emcompasing storyline that drew people in.

You had a strong midcard, a strong main event, and strong characters to carry the main event.

But, in television, you generally tend to hook viewers by having a strong serialized storyline. In WCW's case, it was the nWo vs WCW storyline. The reason for this is because you tune in and see new developments every week (MGM attack, Hogan's first heel interview, Sting walking out on WCW), whereas you can see Psicosis vs Rey Jr. practically every week.

When Piper returned, Starrcade hit near a 1.0 buyrate for the first time since the Monday Night Wars began. That was a significant change. What was different?

It was the first time Piper had wrestled in a WCW ring. It was the first Piper/Hogan match in over a decade. It was also the central storyline, all the announcers were talking about, and it dominated the highly-rated show. People obviously didn't hate it.

Quarter Hour ratings, which I unfortunately don't have because of the age of the event, are strong indicators of who is drawing. If someone is in segments that have high QH ratings and they're consistent, it can be isolated from the rest of the QH ratings on the show. It's not always accurate, but the more data that's compiled, the greater the chance for accuracy.

When shows sell out for months in advance, without anyone announced to be on the card, you can't attribute the draw to just one person, but given the people who were main eventing at the time, you can bet that people expected some combination of Luger/Giant/DDP vs Hogan/Hall/Nash/Savage, with a Sting cameo, to headline shows.

And, if people didn't walk out before the main event (and that wasn't the case because they stuck around to throw trash at the ring), it's a pretty good sign that they wanted to see the main attraction.
deadbeater3
Chipolata








Since: 17.11.02

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#12 Posted on
Another factor is in what audience the promoter wants to draw. If they don't want even a smidge of morality in their show, and just go for those who like vices and Playboy models strutting about, then the fluffers and the high lifers are pushed, and moral wrestlers or characters are heavily de-emphasized, even degraded, to be made 'unmarketable'. The WWE fortunately discovered just in time that this tactic does not work in the long term.

(edited by deadbeater3 on 29.7.03 1437)

The divas should not be about T&A, they should be about Kicking A.
StaggerLee
Scrapple








Since: 3.10.02
From: Right side of the tracks

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#13 Posted on

    Originally posted by fuelinjected
    He's the greatest wrestling promoter this country has seen but even the best can't do it forever.


I would say that Bill Watts and Paul Heyman are both better promoters, they just never had the money that Hogan produced for the WWF to put INTO other people on thier respective rosters.
fuelinjected
Banger








Since: 12.10.02
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.15

    Originally posted by StaggerLee

      Originally posted by fuelinjected
      He's the greatest wrestling promoter this country has seen but even the best can't do it forever.


    I would say that Bill Watts and Paul Heyman are both better promoters, they just never had the money that Hogan produced for the WWF to put INTO other people on thier respective rosters.



Better bookers? Sure. Better promoters? Not a chance. It was Vince's willingness to buck the status quo and get mainstream exposure through Cindi Lauper and Mr. T that was the difference maker. And using that exposure to make Hogan larger then life. He made the right choice using Hogan since Hogan was charismatic enough to draw in the casual fans.

His shows were often being outdrawn by Crockett but with no mainstream exposure, there was only so much Crockett could do before WWF added the "bandwagon jumpers" and took off.
madiq
Boerewors








Since: 27.7.03
From: Brooklyn, NY

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#15 Posted on
I think we all, in our own way, have a loose conception of what "draw" means. For instance, many of us felt the need to order Vengeance, while many of us thought that Bad Blood and Judgment Day were not worth our hard-earned bucks. In part, it was because of the Main Events - it's a lot easier to get hyped up over seeing Angle return to the ring than a lame Hell in the Cell featuring almost no suspense. In many ways, wrestling cards are like boxing cards, living and dying by its main attraction. Sure, the undercard can ice the main cake, and of course certain wrestlers have a cult following (this would, in fact, make those wrestlers "draws"), but more often than not, how a show performs when certain performers are the focal point of the show determines what level of draw a person is.

The Attitude Era primarily involved Austin and McMahon; they were the primary draws. That other wrestlers were over and entertaining enhanced the drawing power of the shows, but it is rare that a fairly unpopular main event scene can be propped up by an incredible undercard. There's that whole "bad taste in your mouth" feeling that comes from ending a show on a bad note. Sure, we of the Net can spread our praise across a show evenly, but many times the first match on the card is forgotten, even if it was a technical masterpiece.

Television and live shows are easier still. Someone mentioned quarter hour ratings. Like network Television, when the suits at NBC would conclude that Seinfeld, Friends, and ER were the primary draws on Thursday Night, it would notice that those in-between shows would lose a certain segment of the audience. By experimenting with combinations of shows and "blocking," it sought to retain the largest segment of the audience possible. But even though "The Single Guy" scored top five ratings for the network, NBC never considered it a draw; it was merely free-riding off of the shows before and after it.

Wrestling companies experiment with its "draws" (although, perhaps not as much as it SHOULD). Thus, right now, makind Kane the focal point of the show (something he never has been, to my recollection) is working out for them, although part of me believes that the fans were just looking for new blood in the uppercard. For a while, Smackdown based its show around The Six, with positive results. Maybe we'll see a Booker T or a Chris Jericho experiment soon, as we can effectively gauge what kind of draw those guys are.
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