WWE vs UFC: Pro-wrestling has lost it’s edge
Professional wrestling has completely lost it’s edge. To say it’s different from the “golden era” would be the understatement of the century. The ratings have dropped from 6.4’s that they were doing in the late 90’s, to a weekly average of 3.2.
I understand that WWE is trying to appeal to a younger audience. But while doing so, they are rapidly losing the audience that made this company into a pop-culture phenomenon in the late 90’s. I understand that sometimes you need to take a step back in order to take a step forward, but I’m not sure that presenting a PG-rated show to a demographic of 18 to 34-year-old males is working.
Let’s be honest here: children don’t buy pay-per-views. Their parents do. I realize that WWE has to “appeal to the masses” and can’t simply target their product towards one age demographic, but look what the UFC has done. They have taken the “sports-entertainment” aspect of WWE and used it to sell their product. They have stolen WWE’s audience and they don’t plan on letting it go anytime soon. In order for WWE to get that audience back, drastic changes need to be made.
A focus on violence and edgy, yet compelling storylines need to be put in place. A long-term plan would be ideal. A youth movement, pushing younger, more athletic wrestlers. Build a proper tag-team division and women’s division. I’m not saying that beautiful women don’t have a place in pro-wrestling, because they do. However, I think seperating the “workers” and the “eye-candy” wouldn’t be a bad idea.
There’s no possible way that WWE could do this overnight, but changes do need to be made in order to protect the long-term health of the industry.
Dave Bautista recently spoke with ESPN and had the following to say about why he left the business: “I didn’t agree with the direction the company was going in. It was geared more toward the PG rating. I fell in love with wrestling again in the late ’90s with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and “The Rock.” It was edgy, and that was the kind of wrestling I knew and loved. It wasn’t like that anymore, and my passion for it died a little bit.”
A lot of fans feel the same way. I know WWE has to be careful when trying to attract advertisers and such, but you can be cutting-edge without being offensive. Maybe a shake-up of the creative team is in order? It’s a 24/7 job, and maybe they’re a bit burnt out. Writing compelling television 51-weeks a year isn’t easy, so let’s give them a bit of a break.
Input from the wrestlers is always positive. If a talent feels comfortable with what they’re doing, they’ll make it work when it’s presented on television. Bring back managers for the wrestlers that aren’t comfortable speaking on live TV.
Those are just a couple of ideas. Of course, competition is important. TNA is crumbling fast. I’ll be surprised if the company’s around another year, and that scares me.
Vince doesn’t see UFC as competition… but maybe he should.