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14 hours ago, Matt D said:

@The Natural posting some memories of Punk/Cena made me think of something.

The big narrative in the WWF in the 80s was Hogan vs Monsters. In the late 90s, it was Austin vs McMahon and WCW vs WWF with the idea anything could happen. I think in the 2010s, it was WWE vs the Fans, one of the last big conflicts people could get behind. It was about whether or not they'd really change their plans and make main eventers out of Punk/Bryan. We'd seen Benoit/Guerrero/Rey in the 00s but the pushback there in each case was obvious, punctuated with Rey's title run. For the most part, the fans won. That was pretty much evident in how the Roman stuff went and the long-run push of Rollins as a top guy. He's the sort of person 2013 fans who were rebelling against the product would want on top, a ROH alum workrate guy. 

That last conflict, however, was pure meta. It wasn't about anything in a narrative. The narrative was the behind-the-scenes workings of the company against the fans. It wasn't some sort of ECW rallying where it was one company and its fans as underdogs against other companies. It was the fans AGAINST the company itself. Not against some corporate overlord (though that was personified in the form of the Authority) but really against the WWE. After you go to that, it seems very hard to come back to some fictional narrative for people to get behind. What sort of fictional feud with Drew Macintyre could be compelling. How can people not just think of it again as "are they really going to book it this way or that way?" as the main narrative thrust instead of what's being presented on screen.

WWE vs AEW seems like it could be vaguely compelling but it's such a niche audience for both right now. 

I think their only real hope is to engage a new generation of fans with different interests. Are the younger AEW fans into the storytelling or are they more into the progressive/throwback hybrid attitude of the promotion? 

Either/ Or by Soren Octopusgaard

Hey  @Matt D, I am Octor Pusmita. I was stumbling through this forum and I came across your mention of WWE vs the Fans. Thinking on your post, it really intrigued me. I was deep in thought on it all day. I need to keep my mind busy and active as I work. I don't listen to earbuds as I miss when people call me. So I spend my day thinking as I clean houses. Today's task? Cleaning out this Danish attic. Long story, used to be owned by a judge. While going through an old escritoire desk, I happened to stumble on these old letters. Two individuals writing back and forth happened to be debating about exactly what you were pondering. So fascinated by this, I just have to type this all out for you. Sadly, the first author’s name is smudged out, so we’ll call him “O.” Hope you enjoy.


 

Quote

 

EITHER -The Aesthetic, by O

 

WWE generally finds their answer when they can successfully tap into, for lack of a better term, American Culture. Hogan vs Monsters felt like it came from the period it came from. Their answer to losing ratings to WCW was mimicking what was scene in pop culture in the 90’s. Whenever you do this you can get trash ideas but with the right talent can be magic. The meta storytelling of a company acknowledging the flaws of failing to give the people what they want parallel to the fictional universe’s narrative was an inventive way to get a Cena vs Punk or a rise of Daniel Bryan a special wink. The use of that meta storytelling was a representation of what was being done at the time. Maybe not literally because WWE is live athletic theater, but meta comedies was a big thing with shows like 30 Rock, Community, Rick and Morty, Family Guy, etc. WWE was finding success leaning into themselves with Company vs Fans. It made sense because the universe already involved the “Evil Owners” in the McMahons. The company’s figurehead went from Mr Burns  blocking out the sun to Jack Donaghy ironically forcing product integration against the standards of the show. You will like Cena and you won’t like Daniel Bryan, meta reverse psychology. 

So how do you regain the trust of the fans after being meta-evil? That’s a tall order, but by looking into the world right now. One thing to tap into is the current movement for desired Systematic Change. That’s the heart of of both political sides grievances. A demand for police reform, attempting to challenge systemic racism on the left and the previous attempt to “drain the swamp” on the right. A feeling that nearly everyone shares but is disagreeing on the cause, the way things are running is not working. If the WWE can figure out a way to distance themselves from WWE vs the Fans it will have to come from actual change or the mere appearance and fan acceptance of it. The WWE can't be branded on you'll get what you want eventually but we wont be happy about it. A deep rooted change of the company being looked at as provided the entertainment the fans actually want. WWE & the Fans.

Now there already has been attempts at the appearance of this already. The McMahon family literally were in the ring saying they are now listening to the fans and will do better. Last year? One of their immediate answers which I feel maybe wasn’t exactly needed was getting rid of GM roles, which honestly Paige was doing fine. Doing so they went back to the well and had more McMahons for a bit and having Stone Cold call the WWE Universe family. Ok, cool uncle.  This of course I'm citing from some time ago, and I can't tell you if they are as openly present in the product currently. Looking at the results of last Raw it seems like a different show than the one I had to quit watching. Maybe they've turned around? Maybe I'll go back? I'll get to that.

A moment that work, leaning a bit towards meta, was Kofimania. The most emotionally captivating storyline in recent years for me. Again you have Evil Company but in a dismissive tone instead of a cartoonish caricature. Vince likes silly midcarder Kofi, not as a top guy representing the company. It’s hard not to see the parallels of the time’s BLM rise with Kofi being denied an equal opportunity to be given a shot to earn a championship match. He is given an unfair disadvantage to give the opportunity to prove himself and his friends even have to suffer to raise Kofi up. Even, in storyline, being replaced by Kevin Owens who is portrayed as a father just trying to feed his family. Success for WWE is having an ability to weave in and out modern social waves into compelling stories. I was in awe of Kofi’s victory and had friends that were lapsed fans that were touched and kept updated on the product for a few episodes after Wrestlemania.

A change they have successfully made was how women are presented on the show. I’ve left the Network and don’t plan on watching weekly shows, but I keep looking back solely because of the Women’s division. Becky’s rise was awesome, Asuka is one of my favorite wrestlers, Sasha Banks and Bailey are killing it right now, and there are so many badasses right now that can legitimately main event a show. Improved representation of women in media is something that should have happened long ago but is now happening. To quote Trudeau when asked why he had equal female to male cabinet members, “because it’s 2015.”

A change that is ultimately most desired but not entirely vocalized by the fans is the ability to present coherent storylines that don’t embarrass or insult us as fans. Sasha & Bailey is one of the most interesting builds in wrestling right now, but I can’t fully buy into because they’ve burned me so many times before. Some of us on here don’t like Seth Rollins, but him going over Brock was needed and the fans loved it. After he won there was such an odd change in character that he just came off dweeby and was rejected. The whole Fiend fiasco was embarrassing. Roman Reigns is pretty cool, but the way they tried pushing his story of not being able to beat Brock was trash and made people literally boo him. Naomi vs Mandy was just abandoned and forgotten about. Drake Maverick gave a compelling promo to watch 205 Live and then peed his pants on the main brand. Kevin Owens pretending to be Stone Cold was cool but trying to make him sympathetic by not being able to pay fines was trash. I sometimes assume maybe we fans are now just jaded, but I’ve mentioned earlier how they’ve had recent angles that blew everyone away. Maybe the Systematic Change they need is merely not butchering stories. Even when people are not watching, they eventually hear what’s going on. Build up good will by not producing garbage, they have more than enough talent. 

But that't the heart of the issue. I don't watch because they've proven they can't be trusted. With every improvement that the WWE have made, there is a reason I don't want to watch. The roster is insanely talented. Yet how they are handled can be so frustrating. I assume as of right now, WWE is more entertaining than it was a few months ago when I had to walk away. I just don't trust them enough to be invested. As a Minnesota sports fan I'll probably eventually buy again into the hype, only to be heartbroken again. If they can change that I perceive they won't inevitably disappoint me, then well...they won't disappoint me? The biggest change needed I guess is not to disappoint. Which says a lot about the system involved itself. 

Quote

 

OR - Ethics, by Judge Octohelm

 

McDonalds is great. I am tired and want to eat a Filet-O-Fish and have a large pop for cheap. The rising cost irritates me, but the reliability of that soothing man-made fish byproduct going down my throat, lubed by coarse tartar sauce, gives me the calming effect of an ability to wake up in the morning. People will come and go, but they’ll always return to the forefather approved Golden Arches. 

The unhappiness of wrestling today is understandable, but the changes should happen inwardly, not through change of product. Instead of demands of improvement, we should do what was done by fans wiser than us, marry the product. Were we happy when Hogan pulled Sid out of the ring? No, but it gave us Flair winning the title. Were we happy about Daniel Bryan being squashed by Shamus? No, but it lead to Wrestlemania 30. Your disappointment is a part of life. Accept it and Vince has bigger plans down the road. 

The equilibrium of what we want and what we get is the development of Personality as a fan. By how we respond to the unhappy moments (and eventual rewards) on forums is the true essence of you as a person. The reason you enjoyed Kofimania was because he lost at Elimination Chamber. If he was given title opportunities in the past, why would Kofimania matter? The Divine wisdom of Vince is often confusing, but just remember, against Vince we are always wrong. Sin is inevitable and leads to great moments on forums of questioning booking. Seth getting DQed in a HIAC was stupid and funny. But now Seth is cooler poking Rey in the eye. It lead to whatshisface being his sidekick or whatever.

WWE is able to pivot the subconscious of their booking and they always have in the past. Hogan to Cartoon to Attitude to Invasion to Ruthless Aggression to PG to Now to the Future, Vince has had his finger on the pulse of the world and provided us more than enough of what we need, a Big Mac with a side of fries.

Vince, bless us. Bless us the way you blessed Mustafa Ali by giving him advice of always fighting under. Bless us like you blessed AJ Styles by advising him to a pitbull. Give us the grit you gave AJ. Give us that heat! Bless us, Vince. Bless us!

Vince will win in the end. All attempts to challenge are futile. Pandemic wrestling is boring? AEW puts wrestlers on the sides and creates fan noise and creates storylines from it. How can Vince top that? PLEXIGLASS. Better sound, looks cooler, maybe safer. Who knows? Vince will always win. He ate the territories, sucked the blood out of ECW, outlasted WCW, and casually stepped on TNA’s throat while yawning until they changed their stupid name. If you want to watch Wrestling that will win and has always won, watch WWE. Be a winner. Be a Vince.

Spoiler

I was bored so I thought I'd respond as a parody of Kierkegaard's Either/ Or. Maybe I'll do Concept of Anxiety next and switch a word to have Octopus in it. Not a full representation, I know. Just fun.

 

Edited by OctopusCinema
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I actually think the Covid era shows have been quite a bit better than the shit they were putting out there in the months prior.  I'm not saying it's great television or anything but for me the empty arenas haven't been a big issue now that I'm used to them.  

Whenever fans can come back WWE badly needs to reset..  I mean some drastic changes. 

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2 minutes ago, Niners Fan in CT said:

I actually think the Covid era shows have been quite a bit better than the shit they were putting out there in the months prior.  I'm not saying it's great television or anything but for me the empty arenas haven't been a big issue now that I'm used to them.  

Whenever fans can come back WWE badly needs to reset..  I mean some drastic changes. 

You say "drastic changes", they hear "get Shane, Stephanie and Hunter back on tv ASAP"

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Even going further into the meta-aspect of modern day WWE, it recognizes a bigger problem: Much like the seeds of WCW's downfall were planted during the NWO and Hogan's run, some of WCW's greatest moments, the seeds of the problem with WWE right now were planted in the Attitude Era. 

The very meta-angle is the same as why top stars get turned against, and how it even went back to Cena and can be traced back to the Austin/McMahon feud. If WWE has made it a plot point as far back as Austin/McMahon that "The McMahon family are evil, and any top star they say is the right choice to be the top star is not to be trusted", how the hell are WWE supposed to get people behind the new era of top stars? At WWE's peak, the show was built around telling the audience to reject the corporate choice, and now everyone they give to the fans are so obviously corporate choices that they already have three strikes against them before they enter the batter's box. Worse yet, as we speak AEW's riding on the wave of "the very nature of WWE is inherently corporate, and just supporting anyone in WWE- even your favorite- is supporting the corporate choice." 

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5 hours ago, Casey said:

What the fuck did I just read.

A college essay entrance test for WWE University?

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Is AEW planning an angle for November, where Demo God Chris Jericho gets upset that he himself is no longer in the 18-49 demographic any more and therefore his opinions aren't as valuable?

I was thinking about this earlier. If the most loyal WWE fans are all over 50, that means that these aren't the people who were under 10 year old Hulkamaniac kids in the mid-late 80s, and late teen/ early 20s fans in the Monday Night Wars/ Attitude era. That generation is still early to mid 40s. The most loyal WWE fans were already teens or young adults during Hulkamania, and in their 30s when it was all DX Suck It. So for basically their entire wrestling fandom, the biggest company (their favourite company) has been targeting an audience 10+ years younger than them. If WWE wants to please the audience it actually has, Set Rollins should be trying harder to wrestle like Bob Backlund used to.

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It may be the case that WWE, in terms of fan good-will, just can't win whatever they do. But, whose fault is that really? If you push the idea that the brand is the draw, and no wrestler is bigger than the company, then you're telling the fans "what you like doesn't matter". So, in that respect, why should I have any sympathy for WWE that whatever they do will face backlash?

It came about, in my opinion, because Vince saw/heard some bad reactions from the crowd at their creative decisions and thought "thats HEAT!", and thought that if the fans are booing the end of a show, they must be engaged. I guess that's what they told shareholders and TV executives, and it worked there. 

I can't comment on their current shows, because I don't watch them. But i can't imagine the lack of a crowd makes any difference to Raw, because when I was watching the crowd didn't make any noise anyway. 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Mr Harms said:

then you're telling the fans "what you like doesn't matter". 

Careful, some people 'round these parts actually think the fans shouldn't be catered to!

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I can’t think of a better analogy to WWE than NASCAR’s 15 year decline:

- “the brand is bigger than the stars’” and the inability to (or lack of desire to) make and promote stars

- homogenization of the presentation (WWE in ring style and stage setup, NASCAR car of tomorrow and all but two courses being ovals)

The whole thing comes down to letting stars organically do their thing. The brand being the star is what the Globetrotters and Monster Jam (is Grace Digger a draw?) do, not what the most successful sports in the world (worked or otherwise) do.

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I know it’s just a typo, but “Grace Digger” made me wonder if Grave Digger had found Jesus and had a gimmick change. 

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1 hour ago, AxB said:

I was thinking about this earlier. If the most loyal WWE fans are all over 50, that means that these aren't the people who were under 10 year old Hulkamaniac kids in the mid-late 80s, and late teen/ early 20s fans in the Monday Night Wars/ Attitude era. That generation is still early to mid 40s. The most loyal WWE fans were already teens or young adults during Hulkamania, and in their 30s when it was all DX Suck It. So for basically their entire wrestling fandom, the biggest company (their favourite company) has been targeting an audience 10+ years younger than them. If WWE wants to please the audience it actually has, Set Rollins should be trying harder to wrestle like Bob Backlund used to.

That just represents something that's effecting all of society, not just pro wrestling, and It ties back to how when we talked about the board history, people were mocking the person who said they got rid of everything except for polo shirts and khakis because "that's how an adult is supposed to dress". People naturally mocked that because that's just no longer the case, and wearing what you want is fine.

Examples like that are a picture of the problem seen here: WWF really became big as early as the 1980s, and the children of the '80s and beyond are the first generation that didn't put away their toys when they grew up. That really shows the point of these problems: Traditionally throughout pop culture that has had a lasting influence on the world, the viewers usually go through that same circle of life. Using WWE as that example: You grow up as a Hulkamaniac in the 1980s as a child, in the 1990s as a teenager you grow up and idolize Steve Austin or the Rock in the Attitude Era. Maybe you're still around in the 2000s to watch John Cena, but in all likeliness, by the 2010s you would have likely married, had kids of your own, and be taking those kids to WWE shows with your kids becoming Roman Reigns fans, and from there the circle continues for your children. 

By contrast, since society would see nothing wrong with an adult still loving WWE at this time, it's kind of thrown that circle of life out of wack. WWE is a kids' show at heart. It always has been, and honestly it always will be. Part of accepting WWE is related to the claims made about demographics in the Wednesday Night War, because to accept WWE you have to realize: It's not ABOUT us anymore. WWE's a kids' show, it's always been a kids show, and we didn't notice that because when we grew up, it did listen to our generation. Because we were kids, watching a kids' show. You can't expect WWE to make shows cater exclusively to an older demographic any more than you can expect Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to start making episodes about having to deal with the mortgage on the sewer while having enough to put in their 401k, and now the doctor told them how much sodium is in pizza and now they're trying to deal with changing up everything before they have a heart condition.

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I know we’re all sick to death of demo talk, but I’m not sure WWE can be a kid’s show in any meaningful sense if kids don’t watch the show. And they overwhelmingly don’t. 

Edited by Beech27
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Yeah, exactly. They market to the audience they want, not the audience they have.

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10 hours ago, Casey said:

What the fuck did I just read.

😞 I suck

4 hours ago, Ryan said:

A college essay entrance test for WWE University?

The dream is to score a job doing tape transfer for the Network and get yelled at for wearing shorts.

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1 hour ago, SorceressKnight said:

By contrast, since society would see nothing wrong with an adult still loving WWE at this time, it's kind of thrown that circle of life out of wack. WWE is a kids' show at heart. It always has been, and honestly it always will be. Part of accepting WWE is related to the claims made about demographics in the Wednesday Night War, because to accept WWE you have to realize: It's not ABOUT us anymore. WWE's a kids' show, it's always been a kids show, and we didn't notice that because when we grew up, it did listen to our generation. Because we were kids, watching a kids' show. You can't expect WWE to make shows cater exclusively to an older demographic any more than you can expect Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to start making episodes about having to deal with the mortgage on the sewer while having enough to put in their 401k, and now the doctor told them how much sodium is in pizza and now they're trying to deal with changing up everything before they have a heart condition.

This is true except that during the Attitude Era they aimed a more adult audience and that's when they were the most popular. And then it regressed into more child friendly themes and the audience dwindled. Those adults watching now are the ones that tuned in in the late 90s as young adults, not kids. So yes, WWE seems like children's programming now and certainly in the 80s/early to mid 90s, you can't say that they can't do anything else and the real question is why don't they do something else given the evidence we have now?

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Really nothing changes because Vince is who he always has been and cannot get out of his own way. The writing, the production, the atmosphere. It is Vince. So I can't see them doing anything drastically different until Vince is gone. And sometimes, the devil you know, WWE could completely nose dive, because it is intrinsically Vince.

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Pretty interesting listen about Gallows and Anderson getting released by WWE.  In short, both bury Heyman pretty hard for being the one to put them on the release list.  Also talked about is their negotiations with AEW and New Japan before re-signing with WWE and the Saudi plane situation.

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It is really amusing to me that them (and AJ Styles) actually bought Vince's line that it was Heyman's fault they got fired

And then that got trumped by this part of the interview

 

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On 7/17/2020 at 11:35 AM, AxB said:

Hypothetically, if WWE decided to cut way, way down on the screwjob finishes, ref bumps (and visual falls therein), run ins, wrestlers getting pinned because someone else's music played et cetera, if they just went to clean, decisive finishes and did like one or two screwy deals a year maximum... would that affect the quality or popularity of their TV stuffing instead of potatoes at all?

It would definitely help. The reason this stuff is used is to get out of a clean finish, so that would mean WWE needs to stop booking themselves into a corner. Dont book the match in the first place if your not planning on giving a conclusive finish. Start booking 6mans 8man and 10 Men or Women tag main events every week to save themselves from booking PPV quality main events and keep doing squash matches too. Theyd have to commit to it long enough and fans would get on board. AEW is doing things like guys having more than one finishing move or just having actually tag teams main event  shows week to week on the same level as the top singles. It's going to help AEW down the road because their audience will be move invested in their tag teams and WWE might even have to consider putting more value in tag teams and not just Makeshift teams.

It's not difficult to reeducate your audience, its more so the Bookers committing themselves to having things make sense and not cheating the audience and getting rid of cheap booking habits that have not gone away in the past 25 years of mainstream wrestling.

Everything you mentioned was things WCW was doing at the peek of Nitro because the top guys wanted to protect themselves individually from losing credibility with the audience. In WWE it's used because the booker decided the day of the show or the week of the show, he wants to book two top guys to pop a rating only to decide not long before bell time he doesn't want to give away a clean finish yet. For WWE to go way from that it would take for  Vince to put more consideration more long term booking for a lot of guys.

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1 hour ago, RIPPA said:

It is really amusing to me that them (and AJ Styles) actually bought Vince's line that it was Heyman's fault they got fired

And then that got trumped by this part of the interview

 

Carny will always Carny. And Vince is the supreme Carny.

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Monday Night Wars era WCW was so known for run-in finishers that, in any big match, whenever the babyface hit a big move, the audience's heads would all turn to look at the entrance ramp.

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10 hours ago, SorceressKnight said:

 "The McMahon family are evil, and any top star they say is the right choice to be the top star is not to be trusted", how the hell are WWE supposed to get people behind the new era of top stars? 

All of this. Vince broke the WWE storytelling wise in 1998 and it was never the same. 

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