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What is stopping former fans from watching WWE?


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Personally I feel WWE (RAW, SD! and NXT) has been on a roll of late especially with the in-ring content but there are still plenty of fans who will not go back and the overall viewership is stagnant. There are a lot of folks here and other places that have given up. Now obviously there are still plenty of flaws... maybe the shows are too long or there's the issue with the same midcarders fighting again and again..  but what was it about WWE that people fell in love with that is no longer present? Is it the characters? It can't be the actual wrestling..  Is it the storylines? 

 

What could WWE do differently. I feel like equal booking will be a hot choice but I wonder how they would go about changing that because I don't feel like squash matches would work in this era.

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I'm not saying that we should go back to the attitude era, because that would be terrible, but the one thing that was present then were protagonists that were considered cool for the time period. Stone Cold and the Rock really captured what young adult males wanted in their heroes at that time. John Cena, however tremendous he is in ring and on the mic and outside the ring, is not what most teenage boys would say is "cool" right now. I fully admit I have no idea what cool for that age group would be, or more important for the question at hand, what cool for the lapsed viewers would be. It just seems as though no one in WWE is able to capture the imagination of the viewers like they did during that time period. 

 

I think another issue is how readily available content is due to the internet. If I want to watch wrestling but don't watch WWE anymore, I can go on youtube and watch Stone Cold stun people and cut promos for five straight hours. I don't actually need to invest time and money in to the current television. I don't actually know if there is a solution to this problem. 

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To me, the biggest part of the attitude era was the idea that something was going to HAPPEN on each show to move along a story or many stories. Part of that was "Who's going to join the NWO next?" or "Who's going to jump from one company to another?" or later on into 99 "Who is the Higher Power?" etc. That sort of thing. It's not something that will work forever. Eventually at that pace there'll be burn out and desensitizing and things stop meaning as much. 

 

The flip side is that I feel almost every PPV now is built up in the same way and there are rarely secrets or surprises or actual drama with payoff. If they could find a better middle ground and more fully utilize the live TV aspect of things, they'd be better off.

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Everything has been stagnant and boring for years and it is entirely the fault of the creative team. Promos should not be scripted and that is probably the biggest problem.

 

 

There is a place in wrestling for comedy, but it should be the exception, not the rule. The only full-time worker that I can think of that they haven't cut off at the knees by making them a joke is Mark Henry (and of course, he started out doing the comedy stuff). Constant "nudge nudge wink wink we know you know wrestling is fake" bullshit undermines the entire product.

 

I don't blame former fans for not watching - they aren't masochists. Every time I've gotten a former "casual" fan to sit and watch anything with me, I have to go into defensive mode because of Vickie Guerrero still being on television despite literally nobody being interested in watching her, face Del Rio dumping paint on Big Show and face Del Rio in general, Zeb Colter, Big Show having a yearly personality transplant because they don't know what else to do with him, everything involving the Divas, constant turns that make little sense (for what reason am I supposed to be cheering Cody Rhodes now and just what the fuck have they been thinking with Ryback?), a decade of start-stop pushes that kill the heat of every worker, MizTV and talk show segments in general, general overexposure of everyone because they won't use half the roster (6 hours of prime time TV a week and no brand split), etc etc etc etc 

 

The people that are interested in watching wrestling for the ring work are already watching. They could run a year long Bryan-Cesaro feud and not a single new viewer would be gained, because the fans that stopped watching didn't stop watching because the ring work sucked - they don't care. They stopped watching because WWE stopped making them care about the wrestlers. If everyone is a start-stop push away from being replaced by new generic male model, why should anyone watch?

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If I were to predict that Raw is going to end with somebody's music playing as they stand on the ramp staring down someone in the ring for an incredibly long and awkward amount of time, how likely is it that I'll be wrong? The writing is awful. It's shocking that the ratings are still as high as they are.

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For me, it's the feeling that you are wasting your time if you invest in a wrestler you like.  No one is going to move into an elite spot unless the company has already decided they are going to. There are rare exceptions like Punk and Bryan, but that's because their work is phenomenal, and the company was unable to kill their heat.  Some like Ziggler gets a "push" that consists of him losing every match.

 

Also, as others have stated, nothing is different than it was 10 years ago.  There is a major feeling with everything of "been there, done that".  The booking is designed in a way that no one can get over.  You cant' get invested in a big storyline, because we all know there will be no big payoff.  In general, there is NO REASON to care or invest your time in anything they do. 

 

I haven't watched in a year.  I've given WWE a shot a couple of times in that year, and absolutely nothing I've seen screams "I need to watch this shit all the time".  I have literally hundreds if not thousands of good wrestling at my disposal, why waste my time on a product that doesn't deliver?

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There's a bunch of good stuff on WWE programming now and quite a bit of the roster has changed over to guys that former fans would probably enjoy but the big stuff will still be a turn off, IMO.

 

The majority of people here like John Cena's work but to a lot of people, he's a symbol of the WWE they don't like.  You could list off like ten cool things WWE is doing now to a former fan but the first thing they'll see is that Cena is still the champ, still the focus, and they'll stay cool with not watching.

 

WWE's in a weird spot with Cena where he's clearly their biggest star and most reliable drawing card but to an outsider, the company will always appear stagnant as long as he's still on top. 

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I respect John Cena as a good wrestler, but he has go away heat with me. He's been on top longer then Hogan was, and twice as long as Austin. Stale was what I called him 5 years ago, I have no idea what to call him now.

The WWE is going to kill mainstream wrestling because they are scared to death going away from there "working formula".

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I think i'm in the minority in terms of fans coming back. I watched it all the time as a kid, sort of grew out of it then got back into it again late 90s/00s. Watched pretty much everything the WWF/E WCW and ECW showed on TV here and followed several indies and Japanese promotions through tapes, DVDs etc. I guess i just appreciated it more as an adult. Me and a friend would go and watch the Raw and SD tapings each year in London, but i gradually watched less and less until it was pretty much just the Rumble and the build up to Mania, followed by the Raw and SD in London. Eventually i stopped all together. I started again a little over a year ago and what brought me back this time was hearing about the runs CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were on. Especially in the case of Bryan, having seen the guy wrestle live several times in indies over here in front of maybe 150 people, going from that to wrestling successfully in front on thousands on TV and PPV was pretty amazing. I get that i am in an insignificant number of people who did that, there aren't many who would pick up watching again over a reason like that and that's not going to get them many fans back.

 

Point is, people who just got bored of it or grew out of it probably wont come back and there isn't much the WWE can do about that, people move on. What they should focus on is keeping the fans they have happy while getting new ones. They are sort of keeping people happy with Punk/Bryan for the hardcores and Cena for the masses but if they want to get new fans, like others have said with the attitude era stuff, they need to give people a reason to watch each week. Its the casual fans that watch when its good and change channel when its not that they need to convert. Probably not the thing you want on a wrestling forum like this but its the stories and characters that need to improve, people need a reason to watch the following week. Brock feels like a big deal and something worth watching when he shows up, they need something each week that's 'must see'.

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The biggest thing about "boom eras" or "glory days" in wrestling is having multiple generational talents in their prime on the roster at the same time (aka luck). The initial 80s boom in the WWF had Hogan, Savage, and Piper. 90s AJ had Misawa, Kawada, and Kobashi. The attitude era had Austin, Rock, Foley, and Taker. 96 WCW was really the only company to kind of escape this rule by virtue of Hogan and Sting being past their primes at the time.

 

Looking at WWE from 2003 on, when have they had more than one prime, generational talent on the roster? As big of a hit as Cena has been, there has been no one on his level since like 2006. Bad luck definitely played a part in that with Lesnar leaving and Eddie Guerrero dying. Eddie was capturing a new audience and Brock really should've been the defining star of the era (and almost certainly would've been had he not left). The problem isn't that Cena isn't good, it's that he isn't enough by himself.  He has no foils, no one that can fill his spot so he can change his character, and there's no one else in a prominent position for fans to care about. Think about it, unless your favorite wrestler is Cena, your favorite guy is an upper midcarder at best and that's unlikely to change. Hence, stale writing and declining interest for the last decade.

 

Barring injury, Cena's still got a lot left in the tank, so there's time for someone else to step in and help him out. I still maintain that they missed the boat big time with Punk circa MITB 2011. Bryan has a lot going for him right now, but it remains to be seen if he can displace Cena, even for a little bit. If he proves to be a legit draw, WWE is in great shape going forward because they have a lot of potential break-out talent under contract, but they need more than one credible guy to work with. It's also tough to gauge Bryan's outside appeal at this point, but if you could get casual/ex/new fans to sit down and watch his matches, he would probably get their attention.

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Perhaps the market for watching an elderly man and his spoiled daughter berate middle managers has dried up. 

 

This is hilarious but it's also an incredibly salient point. I watch WWE because I know you're getting a few matches a week with good workers that you'll enjoy. Most people don't watch wrestling for that and there's no chance that they're tuning in, watching the latest GM angle shittiness and staying tuned for the next week. It would take a crazy person to watch HHH and Vince act out their millionaire quarrel bullshit for 15 minutes and tune back in next week.

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I know I have said it before, but talking is the most overrated aspect of wrestling. First the middle managers get berated by an out of touch old rich guy and his equally out of touch family. Then the wrestlers get emasculated by the middle managers. My personal worst Raw moment not involving a McMahon offspring*, was the angle when the laptop ordered the good guys not to save the legends from being beaten and the good guys listened. As a viewer how am I suppose to invest in such pathetic characters. *Worst moment will always be Steph being named as ECW owner and a close second is Shane beating down Randy Orton. 

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I think if they  gave the tag team division enough attention for a consistant amount of time it would help. Cena is THE Man and will be for along time but i think they can try to have a team equivalant to Cena if they build a strong tag division full of tandems that they are commited to keep together long term like the Uso's, PTP, TOF Wyatt fam ect.

Hardys, Duddleys & E&C were over as  hell when Rock & Austin were on top.

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One thing that always sticks out to me is how long they keep guys. Back in the 90s when you had WCW, the wrestlers had another place to go and you was lucky if a guy was with a company for longer than 5 years. Today, a lot of the main roster has been there for way longer than 5 years. That brings an overall staleness to WWE. You can only come up with interesting stuff with one guy for so long before he becomes stale. You can't have him constantly turning face/heel. 

 

The death of WCW and no true alternative is what made WWE stale and boring to most people's eyes. They have (the WWE) no incentive to keep coming up with new surprises if they are content with the rating and fan base.

 

This is all from someone who keeps up with WWE. I might not watch every single week but I do follow it and watch it at least every other week and seek out the ppvs.

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I can't remember who on here said it, and it applies to most promotions (at least the ones I see with TV), and it perfectly illustrated the biggest problem with ProWres today.

It was something along the lines of "wrestling shows aren't wrestling shows anymore, but shows about people who put on wrestling shows".

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I can't remember who on here said it, and it applies to most promotions (at least the ones I see with TV), and it perfectly illustrated the biggest problem with ProWres today.It was something along the lines of "wrestling shows aren't wrestling shows anymore, but shows about people who put on wrestling shows".

 

That sums it up. It's not a wrestling show. It's a show that just happens to have wrestling on it.

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My wife hit the nail on the head a couple weeks ago:

 

"It's not that I'm tired of John Cena, it's that I'm tired of not seeing guys who aren't John Cena..."

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