How much is too much? Have we gotten to the point where we’re getting too much? Are we over-saturated with the WWE product? I honestly think that we’ve reached the point where we’re over-exposed to WWE.
There are a lot reasons as to why WWE continues to pull in low ratings. Despite having one of the best rosters, in years, WWE continues to recycle matches and allow feuds to grow stale and moldy. The company makes the product extremely cheesy and almost insults the intelligence of the fans. While the goofy gimmicks and far-fetched storylines may have worked in the 80s and 90s, the younger generations are much less gullible. Instead, they are exposed to harsh realities at a much younger age. Look at what passes for a PG rating today? 10-15 years ago, that same program would draw a PG-13 rating. Part of me thinks WWE is trying to recreate the “Federation” years so that they can slowly progress into the “Attitude” era. Roman Reigns and John Cena are the Hulk Hogan of the era.
While all of those reasons (along with no acknowledged competition and a lack of focus and creativity) are major contributions to the low ratings, the over-promotion of the product plays the biggest role. There once was a time where the ending to RAW would leave WWE fans wanting and craving more. Smackdown! and weekend under-card shows even drew viewers. Remember when Sunday Night Heat would actually mean something (especially the night of a PPV)? Today’s generation of WWE fans will never experience that same craving and desire. That is because their thirst for more WWE is easily quenched. They don’t have to wait because it’s readily available.
RAW used to be a “must see TV” program. Fans didn’t want to miss any of the action. Now, if fans miss the action, they can catch the replay on the app or online. If they don’t have that, they can just tune in to the next month of programming and know that WWE will recap the angle to death. There really is no incentive to watch, anymore. Chances are that the main event (and most of the matches) will simply be rematches from shows taking place from the previous few months. Change the channel whenever there’s a contract signing. There aren’t nearly enough of those.
WWE fans relied on Monday and Thursday nights for their wrestling fix. Sure, WWF.com had articles and wrestler bios. WWF Magazine and RAW magazine contained pictorial recaps and behind-the-scenes stories. But, in order to see live storyline and character development, you had to wait for the show. Remember when Cole would end a show questioning “What does this all mean”? Fans would have to wait until the next week to find out. Now, fans can just go on Instagram or twitter.
WWE storylines and angles are developing over social media and making the WWE TV show seem less and less important. I don’t know about you but I haven’t used my Twitter in ages(and when I did, it was for a class). Call me old…but it just seems like something geared more for pre-teen girls to gossip. (News to Ryback: #ToughGuysDontTweet). Seeing wrestlers tweeting out threats make them seem more like dramatic teenage girls and less like the badasses they’re supposed to portray. Cody Rhodes is attempting to gain interest in his Stardust/Cody split personality angle through social media. Meanwhile, we see very little of him on TV. Dwayne Johnson and John Cena attempted to build a World Heavyweight Title angle over social media and via-satellite interviews. It didn’t work. It’s not going to work too well for Cody. Seeing a WWE star, outside of the ring, was always pretty cool. Whether they were on a late night talk show or Regis and Kathie-Lee, it was a glimpse into their personal life—but only a glimpse. Social media has taken the mystery away.
Kayfabe is what keeps wrestling alive. WWE is a show. It’s scripted. Yes, there are serious athletes. But, at the end of the day, it’s simply entertainment. ESPN covering it may give it a new audience but that exposure only reinforces the negative stigma that pro-wrestling has. To the non-wrestling fan, seeing the current WWE product would make me question why anyone over the age of 10 would watch something so bad. I used to hate calling wrestling fake. It was staged but never fake. As I’ve gotten older and the product has evolved, it’s not longer just staged. It’s fake. It’s as if WWE doesn’t even try, anymore. I can imagine the writers competing over which stupid idea WWE will buy into next. WWE hurt themselves with “Tough Enough”. Giving away the secrets took away the magic. We knew it was scripted but there was still a tinge of mystery. The kayfabe and “what ifs” are gone. Instead, we get a stupid cartoon and poorly written “reality” shows (because that’s the new focus of WWE). Can’t forget the gas station discount DVDs.
WWE’s roster is stacked. They’ve almost got too many athletes. Focus on a few and keep the rest in the minor leagues. When a major league guy gets injured, call up a minor league guy. The constant mulit-tag matches taking place, with no purpose, are just examples of lazy booking. They’re a waste of time and make even less sense than having Shane and Steph feuding one week and getting along the next. WWE needs to pull the reigns (no pun intended) back. The fans need to wait for their dose of WWE. Too much of something is never good. Fans aren’t begging for more WWE. If they were, the ratings would show. 1s and 2s aren’t something to be proud of (especially from a company that viewed 3s and 4s as embarrassing).
I understand that we live in a changing society. Our society lives through social media. But we’ve reached the point where we have too much WWE. The mystery is gone and the thirst has been quenched. We’re on our way to drowning. The only time we should get constant WWE reminders is during Wrestlemania season (which, ironically, WWE has dropped the ball on over the past few years). I have to wonder if WWE’s ratings would be higher if they didn’t give us constant access to their product. It would give fans a break and time to rest. Instead, VKM has become overly obsessed with social media and the social media ratings. Shoot, I better end this now. Cole just reminded me I need to join in the conversation on Twitter. Thanks for reading!
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