Dark Times Ahead?
You know the old saying, right? When it rains, it pours. That is how I describe the situation in WWE right now. The stock dropped like a brick, the deal with NBCU wasn’t as big as they had hoped, and Vince McMahon has found himself being called a liar by his investors. There are law firms looking to get in on lawsuits against the company, shareholders asking for resignations of people on WWE’s exec board, and on top of all that the product just isn’t that interesting right now with Daniel Bryan of the shelf. A lot of the blame has gone to the WWE Network being a flop. The Network has only 700,000 describers but they need 1.4 million in order to break even from the loss in PPV revenue. WWE has already fired Matt Singerman who was Executive Vice President of Programming for the network, so it appears he was the one who took the blame for fans not deciding to subscribe to it despite its cheap price tag and the fact you can get all the pay per views. Alas, it looks like only hardcore fans such as me were lined up to say “take my money”. I feel that part of the issue lies in the fact that WWE already gives fans 6 hours’ worth of fresh run television every week for free on television. For the casual fan, TV is still the main vehicle for a majority of people in that group. For most of these fans, 6 hours of professional wrestling from WWE is more than enough. I might be excited to watch episodes of Wrestlemania Rewind, but a lot of folks couldn’t care less. It didn’t take me long as a fan to realize that there are very few who are as dedicated of a fan as I am. The failure of WWE Network caused a domino effect because of the effect on PPV buyrates too when DirecTV & Dish Network decided to no longer air WWE Pay Per Views because they took would be losing money on fans opting to watch events on WWE Network instead. This is probably part of the reason that WWE is starting to launch the Network in Canada and in the UK also, they have to try to get that subscriber base up as soon as possible. It’s not all doom and gloom for WWE. When you have lost money and hit the bottom, then there is nowhere else to go but up. WWE will definitely recover from this. I don’t think there is any chance of WWE going under anytime soon. Remember, they just signed a new deal that keeps them in the NBCU family for a while and on television. Of course, WWE can do a lot of things to soften the blow themselves. The most important thing is to give fans some good episodic television. The product is not only stagnant, but it is also over produced. Fans want to see wrestling not bad acting. They don’t want to see shit that WWE creative thinks is funny when it really isn’t. Good wrestling, great booking, and logical storylines are the simple tools that make this business work. WWE needs to get back to that. It’s time for wrestling as a whole to get back to what it is truly all about at the end of the day. It’s not about bad horror movie angles, it’s not about jack asses in party buses (call me a lemon), it’s about 2 people who don’t like each other who decide that the best way to settle it is in the ring; and may the best man win. It should be about “hey that is a nice ass belt you have there, and I want it because it means I am one of the top dogs here! Let’s fight for it!” What a novel concept, huh? Get back to building new talent, and knowing when it is time to pass the torch from the old talent. That will put an end to people screaming that you do the same old shit each and every week. There are more people out there who used to watch pro wrestling than there are people who are currently watching. Can anything ever be done to bring them back? What do you folks think? How long do you think it will take for WWE to get out of the dark hole that they are currently in? Do you think there is a possibility they will pull the plug on WWE Network? Where are you currently at as a fan? Are you ready for something different, or are you an ostrich with its head in the sand saying that everything is fine? Gimme your thoughts! Follow me on Twitter @whosantcox or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.