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October 16, 2010

5

WWE vs UFC: Pro-wrestling has lost it’s edge

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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.

Scary.

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.

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  • the End Game

    on what basis do you say tna is crumbling fast?

  • Abpod09

    I don't agreee that WWE has to resort to violence to sell Pay-Per-Views, but I do agree with most everything you said. They just need to be smart, change with the times, and this time, instead of going after the WCW fans, they need to go after the UFC fans – long-lost WWE fans who once loved John Cena and Hulk Hogan.

  • Phil_esposito_82

    I agree. WCW fans stopped watching wrestling on Monday, March 26, 2001, when WWE purchased WCW. WWE definitely needs to gear it's product towards the UFC fans. The PG rating hurts them, as it limits them in what kind of television product they can present. Truth is, children don't buy pay-per-views! The demographic they need to target are males 18-34.

  • Phil_esposito_82

    Dude, look at TNA's product. It's absolutely dreadful. Nothing makes sense. I understand that it's pro-wrestling and we're supposed to “suspend our disbelief,” but come on – this is ridiculous!

    The show feels so rushed. They have two-hours of prime-time television; they need to slow the product down and not rush storylines. I understand that most wrestling fans have a very short attention span, but a slow-burn always sells well on pay-per-view. Wrestling is a very simple concept. You use your television to sell your pay-per-views. Build up a conflict on TV, and have it culminate at a pay-per-view.

    Considering TNA's budget limitations, I would cut back on the amount of pay-per-views. Instead of a monthly basis, I would try bi-monthly. They could avoid WWE's big pay-per-views such as the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. Also, TNA needs to present a product that is entirely different from what WWE is presenting. With such a talented roster, they need to focus on wrestling, and prove that they have the most talented roster in pro-wrestling today. Focus on tag-teams and the X-Division, which was the company's bread and butter a couple of years ago.

  • PinoyRulez

    The problem right now is the WWE’s creative team. I know their job is not easy, but many fans missed the old booking style of the WWE in the past unlike now. 

    And the most important reason why “Pro-Wrestling” is going down is because of the fact that Wrestling is not anymore trendy on the eyes of the people around the world today (even those who used to watch Wrestling before). Let’s face it, everyone knows about this slash tag #WrestlingIsFake. Everybody knows the truth about this field. And I can say, its not selling much to the people now a days.

    UFC is now > than the WWE in terms of men. The pretty obvious reason is that UFC is real. They have real competitions, and real championship rankings. These reasons are true especially with the adults.