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2021 The WWE Purge, Part 2


Pete
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Vince used to be Kevin Feige, but that was 23, 24 years ago. People can lose their fastball creatively. It happens.

I think @Technico Support's point about wrestlers translating outside of wrestling is interesting. The idea here is that you create a character and then the wrestler portraying the character gets big enough to branch out and do other stuff, and maybe cultivating a good relationship with that wrestler means that you can get them to collaborate on your other projects in film, TV, video games, etc. I think there's a way to do it that would work for pro wrestling, but I feel like Vince saw The Rock get big and leave and threw a temper-tantrum instead of thinking about how he could exploit that relationship to enhance WWE Films or whatever.

It'd also take someone with the creative vision to pick good scripts, spend money cultivating relationships in Hollywood, etc., but it could be done. Vince of 30 or 40 years ago could have done it in theory, but I think he's also an old-school promoter who sees the talent as something to be corralled and controlled over anything else.

Sorry, just rambling, but that post was really interesting to me. This purge (and any sale, which I do think is ever more likely) is a chance for wrestling to re-think what it is in 2021 and maybe about how to build out from its small, shrinking, niche audience. In, IDK, 1995, comic books had the same small, shrinking, niche audience, and now those characters do big business in movies, TV, and games. Pro wrestling is different, of course, but there must be some sort of path to have similar success branching out from the core business. 

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I wonder how many new fans WWE actually makes every year and are they retaining any of them long term? Given the ratings, probably not, but I don't see how they can organically draw people in. Wrestling is not cool but Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest movie stars out there. Just a massive failure on their part.

They should want their wrestlers to be able to go out and expand into new areas. New Day has their gaming channels/shows, The Rock does movies, etc. Remember that awful game, WWE Crush Hour? Where all the wrestlers quit and go do other things at the start? A organic way to diversify the roster would be to let talent go and restock the main roster with NXT/Performance Center call ups. It would have kept things fresh. Instead The Miz, Randy Orton and others have been on TV for decades. Vince can't get out of his own way. Why wouldn't you want the talent to age out and go off elsewhere? People still know Dwayne Johnson as The Rock.

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13 minutes ago, Spontaneous said:

I wonder how many new fans WWE actually makes every year?

If we start from the logical assumption that wrestling fandom typically starts at a relatively young age or doesn’t start at all, then WWE’s ever-increasing average viewer age suggests they are not making many.

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8 minutes ago, HarryArchieGus said:

Can somebody out there recommend some matches showcasing Aleister Black/Tommy End, Buddy Murphy and Ruby Riott?  I only ever saw Black work a tag match with Riccochet before their call-ups.  

For Black his matches with Dream, Ciampa, & Lars in NXT were good. Murphy had matches against Cedric and Ali well worth checking out during his run on 205Live. Ruby had basically nothing especially noteworthy in WWE or NXT. Her best work is probably from her indy run before, and I haven't seen much of that.

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On the WWE as Marvel thing, I don’t think it’s a like for like at all, but my interpretation on that is WWE should be building a meaningful WWE universe where the different brands represent their own little worlds and characters can crossover.

Theoretically, they’ve got this already but the issue is there’s just not enough thought behind any of it. Each brand should really have its own identity (I don’t know what these should be, maybe a hardcore show as a quick example, just something tangible that sets them apart) as it stands everything is largely homogenous, moving between brands doesn’t really represent any different kind of challenge.

I feel like they just need more logic all over. If NXT is a developmental/minor league then frame it such and have some rules around how/why people can move up/down. But even the rules they have about people appearing on Raw/Smackdown quickly get forgotten or changed on a whim.

I think they really need to try to get back to more long-term storytelling as well. I’ve largely stopped watching now but when I do I’m struck by how meaningless a lot of it feels. It just doesn’t feel like there’s long term story arcs in most cases and they seem to beat anything good into the ground so quickly.

I got off on a tangent about my frustrations with WWE but there’s a point in there about how they should be making the WWE Universe more than a pointless marketing slogan.

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24 minutes ago, HarryArchieGus said:

Can somebody out there recommend some matches showcasing Aleister Black/Tommy End, Buddy Murphy and Ruby Riott?  I only ever saw Black work a tag match with Riccochet before their call-ups.  
 

Ruby vs. Charlotte from Fastlane 2018 stood out as great and probably her best match in WWE. I personally also loved the Tables Match vs Natalya from TLC 2018.

Wasn't huge on Murphy but he had two excellent matches on SD in August 2019 in back to back weeks, against Roman and Bryan, where it felt like "holy shit they're really going to push this guy for real." They didn't, and I think everything after that mostly sucked, with the exception of the first Aleister Black match before they drove that pairing in to the ground, at TLC 2019 was very good and well executed.

Aleister as mentioned the Velveteen and Lars matches in NXT were both great in different ways, the aforementioned TLC 2019 match against Murphy. Really dug his match against Cesaro at Extreme Rules 2019 and thought he'd be a made man after his match with AJ Styles at Elim Chamber 2020. 

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25 minutes ago, Eivion said:

For Black his matches with Dream, Ciampa, & Lars in NXT were good. Murphy had matches against Cedric and Ali well worth checking out during his run on 205Live. Ruby had basically nothing especially noteworthy in WWE or NXT. Her best work is probably from her indy run before, and I haven't seen much of that.

Yeah, I'm going to say ignore this and at the very least watch Ruby vs Ronda Rousey.

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How different is the WWE from Marvel already? They're both content companies that create characters. They can license out these characters to sell merchandise. Both of them have extensive IP dating back decades and they are able to use that history to rope in new fans ("I really want to read Spiderman and Venom" and "I want to see when Roman debuted with The Shield.") 

Marvel's a bigger entity obviously. The MCU broke out big with its movies and TV shows and etc. The WWE hasn't been able to do that, but it produces hours of weekly content since its characters are more "real life." Disney makes amusement park rides based off of Marvel characters now. I don't see the WWE doing that. 

But the WWE is already a niche version of Marvel. They're both creators of serialized stories with well-known characters that can be licensed and/or marketed in many different ways. 

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3 minutes ago, Craig H said:

Yeah, I'm going to say ignore this and at the very least watch Ruby vs Ronda Rousey.

Their first match was a squash. Second match was solid, but nothing super standout. Never really felt like Ruby hit her stride in WWE, especially with how many people liked her indy work.

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1 minute ago, Eivion said:

Their first match was a squash. Second match was solid, but nothing super standout. Never really felt like Ruby hit her stride in WWE, especially with how many people liked her indy work.

Her matches against Asuka and Shayna were also pretty good. Those and the good match against Ronda would be her noteworthy matches. It's not like she wrestled in a bunch of duds. However, depending on how one feels about Ronda, maybe skip that one?

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20 minutes ago, Greggulator said:

How different is the WWE from Marvel already? They're both content companies that create characters. They can license out these characters to sell merchandise. Both of them have extensive IP dating back decades and they are able to use that history to rope in new fans ("I really want to read Spiderman and Venom" and "I want to see when Roman debuted with The Shield.") 

Marvel's a bigger entity obviously. The MCU broke out big with its movies and TV shows and etc. The WWE hasn't been able to do that, but it produces hours of weekly content since its characters are more "real life." Disney makes amusement park rides based off of Marvel characters now. I don't see the WWE doing that. 

But the WWE is already a niche version of Marvel. They're both creators of serialized stories with well-known characters that can be licensed and/or marketed in many different ways. 

We're all kind of kidding but it's interesting to think about how this might translate. Both medium and genre matters to a degree. The medium of Marvel was initially comic books, which have their own advantages and disadvantages. The medium of pro wrestling is promos and matches and vignettes and angles. To some degree, every superhero comic has to end in a fight. Every wrestling story has to end with a match. You can have superhero comics that brush up against all sort of genres though. That's a huge part of Marvel's success. Ant-Man is a heist story. Guardians of the Galaxy is space opera. Black Panther is Afro-Furutism. Captain America: Winter Soldier is a spy thriller and The First Avenger is a War Movie. Etc. I don't think you can really do that with wrestling so easily. There are a few things. You can do Austin saving Steph from the Undertaker's sacrifice. You can do Daniel Bryan's Populist movement against the company itself. You can do Bret Hart overcoming Yokozuna at Wrestlemania X. Kevin Sullivan and his Army of Darkness is different than Ric Flair and the Horsemen which is different than the McMahon-Helmsley regime. JYD in Mid-South is different than Hogan in WWF or 03-4 Eddy Guerrero, but at the end of the day, it's pretty well constrained.

You could take the IP of Macho Man Randy Savage and have him be a daring outer space adventurer who spreads the Madness through the universe battling Martians but it's a much bigger stretch than having Scott Lang Ant Man as an ex-con starting a security business while fighting bad guys, you know?

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50 minutes ago, Greggulator said:

How different is the WWE from Marvel already? They're both content companies that create characters. They can license out these characters to sell merchandise. Both of them have extensive IP dating back decades and they are able to use that history to rope in new fans ("I really want to read Spiderman and Venom" and "I want to see when Roman debuted with The Shield.") 

Marvel's a bigger entity obviously. The MCU broke out big with its movies and TV shows and etc. The WWE hasn't been able to do that, but it produces hours of weekly content since its characters are more "real life." Disney makes amusement park rides based off of Marvel characters now. I don't see the WWE doing that. 

But the WWE is already a niche version of Marvel. They're both creators of serialized stories with well-known characters that can be licensed and/or marketed in many different ways. 

The thing is- unless the character is Doink or wearing a mask (and isn't the size of Andre) then you can't just keep bringing back these IP's. They tried that with Diesel and Razor... And that went over like a fart in church.

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33 minutes ago, Matt D said:

We're all kind of kidding

This may profoundly depress you, but I am absolutely not kidding. I think this company wants, naturally, what all companies do - to extend the brand into multiple media. The question of how you do that with pro wrestling because it's so different from other genres of entertainment is fascinating to me. I love that y'all are discussing this because I find everything everyone is saying to be worthwhile. 

Combine that with the idea that this company might be getting prepped for sale, and I'm one hundred percent sure that a buying company would be the type of large media conglomerate that would want to find a way to exploit the catalog of IP in that way as well. But again, it's pro wrestling. How do you do that?

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