• By John Zimmerman, Kayfabe Kickout Guest Writer

What Is WWE?

The WWE bills itself as "Sports Entertainment". The mainstream media doesn't seem to agree. The sports oriented media such as Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazine rarely, if ever cover WWE events or their superstars. The local newspaper devotes no space on their sports pages to WWE at all. So the sports aspect of Sports Entertainment, is being totally ignored by the sports reporting entities. What about the entertainment media outlets? Magazines that cover the entertainment industry such as Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone report on movies, television and music entertainment media. Once again, these entertainment news outlets, mostly ignore the WWE and it's products. The WWE boasts high ratings for it's flagship program Monday Night Raw yet is rarely represented by these media review sources. The EMMY awards for excellence in television has failed to recognize the scripted portions of the WWE product. Mainstream entertainment media regularly ignore the WWE outside of coverage for Wrestlmania. The WWE was recently valued at over 2 billion dollars and seemingly achieved this in a bubble of it's own fans. The almost underground movement of WWE fans fuels an industry of television, movies, music and merchandise with little to no support from outside reviewers or media outlets. Monday Night Raw appears on the USA Network, which is owned by the huge NBC Universal umbrella company. Watching an NBC affiliate, you can regularly see ads for other productions cross promoted within the NBC Universal family of stations. The WWE doesn't enjoy this type of cross promotion despite ruling the basic cable ratings competition for it's time slot. The WWE each month also releases dvd's that reach the top spots in sales in their category which ironically are listed in the "sports" category. How is it that the sports and entertainment industries that constantly promote themselves and congratulate themselves regularly ignore a sports and entertainment juggernaut such as the WWE? The fans of the WWE seem to be dismissed as a group even though their demographic is among the most desirable for advertisers and similar media choices. The 18-35 year old male demographic that dominates the WWE is a target audience for several of the action, adventure and sports programming that NBC Universal airs on it's sister channels. Likewise that audience supports an entire network of over 600 thousand subscribers. How is it that the mainstream media overlook such a large segment of the most sought after demographic? I believe that the stigma of "rasslin'" has been carried over from the olden days of carneys and circus tents and the mentality of those that don't follow the product is still one of "you really watch that stuff? Isn't it fake?" NBC Universal is loaded with scripted content that is outside the realm of reality, including situation comedies and science fiction shows. When viewed as entertainment these shows are showered with praise and awards and are written about and covered by shows like Access Hollywood & Entertainment Tonight. Why not the WWE too? The blurred line of sports & entertainment confuses them that much? The only real news coverage that the WWE gets is the unfortunate moments when accidents or arrests are involved, The legitmate news outlets all of a sudden know who the WWE is. Yes, I know that you're thinking of The Rock, Hulk Hogan and a few other big names that have broken the media barrier, but for every Rock or Hogan there's thirty workers the average person couldn't name. Ask someone that doesn't usually watch the WWE who Tyson Kidd or Adam Rose is. I think that NBC Universal should cross promote one of it's highest rated programs to drive even more viewers to the product. I'd love to see the media blackout of the WWE be lifted so that a fun and truly entertaining product can be celebrated.

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