THE DEATH OF SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT
“When do you think the next “Boom Period” will be in pro wrestling? Aren’t we about due for one?”
A question I’ve heard asked many times, for quite some time.
Sports entertainment / Pro wrestling, whatever you call it, is not on a timer -- It doesn’t boom every fifteen years or so. What happens is -- when its good, people watch, and at the moment it isn’t good, so people aren’t going too watch.
We live in a time period where two things are currently happening.
On one side of things you have comic books, superheroes, fantasy, fiction, video games, tv shows, movies– and many-many-MANY more forms of entertainment that are hotter now than they have ever been. The concept of watching a television show or film that contain these larger than life personalities is an industry that is generating larger amounts of cash!
And in this tornado of money, where is the wrestling business?
Week in and week out, we--the ‘Wrestling Community’ get dragged through ‘Monday Night Raw’--A television program filled with storylines that make chemotherapy sound like a week in the Bahamas in comparison, and its two dimension characters that make George Clooney’s performance as ‘Batman’ look Oscar worthy.
On the other side of things, you have the fact that the bar has been lowered so much, that people actually enjoy watching the life of ‘The Kardashians’ played out on TV.
We live in a time where there is actually a television show in which you watch other people watch TV. We live in a period of some of the worst quality of entertainment, and yet sports entertainment still remains deader than disco. We literally live in a time where people will watch any garbage that is spoon-fed to them via ‘The Idiot Box’ – but yet the masses still choose to not watch any pro wrestling product.
Surely this should be telling the suits up in Stamford SOMETHING!
During the ‘Monday Night Wars’ in the late 1990s, both WCW and the WWF battled for ratings supremacy, each gaining a good six million viewers each week. So at one point, the pro wrestling markets audience was well over 10 million viewers.
Around this time the world’s population was that of 6 billion—travel to the present day, where the world’s population is that of over 7 billion. With WWE programming being broadcast in over 175 different countries worldwide you would think that, this along with the added growth of the worlds population, and the huge success of these ‘larger than life’ franchises, that the WWE would be sailing in an ocean of fans, cash and glory.
But yet, it is not.
This BEGS the question – Why aren’t they??
I’ll never forget Valentines Day 2011. Whilst the rest of the world were out in the real world with their sweethearts, Myself and 4 million others were anxiously waiting for the reveal of the WWEs Wrestlemania 27 special guest host.
The sound of the crowds roar and The Rocks entrance music blazed through the viewers television screens at home like electricity. It felt like hope had finally come knocking.
Finally, the WWE was going to be good again!
But, to our dismay that ‘Jabroni beating—Pie Eating—Trail Blazing—Eyebrow Raising—Heart Stopping—Elbow Dropping, MOST electrifying man in ALL of sports entertainment’ was nothing more than a distant memory for all those whom grew up in ‘The Attitude Era’.
A man who was once ‘The MOST electrifying man in all of sports entertainment’ returned as nothing more than Dwayne ‘You can call me Hollywood’ Johnson.
Now, it goes without saying that Dwayne Johnson is arguably one of the best performers to ever of graced a squared circle. We all know that when he’s good, he is GOOD! And when I say that he came back as ‘Mr Hollywood’ that isn’t a knock on him, because he is one of the best.
I just feel that he’s the perfect example of the ‘then & now’, maybe The Rocks return is perfect symbolism for how the WWE and the WWF are two completely separate entities.
In the WWE, we have Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, with his boarder-line TV14 jokes about John Cena’s Momma!
Whereas, in the WWF we had a ruthless heel that wouldn’t think twice about smashing your skull in with a steel chair if it meant capturing the Heavyweight Championship.
The WWE have the ‘Social Media’ champion.
The WWF had the ‘People Champion’.
I understand character development; I understand that he cannot be the same person who he once was 15 years ago. But when I look at Rocky Maivia in 2015, who he is and who he was isn’t character development. Creative have scrapped his entire persona and told him “We want you to just be you, we want Mr Hollywood, we want the star of the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise”.
If I wanted to see Dwayne be Dwyane, I would watch his appearances on Jimmy Fallon. Creative need to understand that when he steps into a 20x20, he isn’t Dwayne – He is The Rock, he has that ‘Holier than thou’ strut, he wears the expensive yet ridiculous coloured shirts and regardless of whether he is baby-face or heel, he is arrogant and better than every other piece of monkey trash in the business, I just don’t see any resemblance to the guy we once adored.
Maybe this is why Steve Austin hasn’t come back for that final bout. Maybe he understands that if he steps foot into a WWE ring, he can’t be the toughest S.O.B in the WWE because quite frankly there is no such thing. He can’t speak trash and drink beer. His character would be so limited that it wouldn’t cover up his ring rust or his banged up body, so that may tarnish he legacy—It’s happened before to others!
Creative seem to of completely lost the concept of developing characters. A recent example of this is ‘The Dudley Boyz’. I have no problem with them coming back and trying to strengthen the tag team division—quite frankly, the tag team division is hideous and it has been for the last 10 years—fixing this problem is LONG overdue.
I just think bringing Bubba Ray back as a tag team wrestler is quite frankly a waste of his talent.
Over the past few years, TNA has seen its worst period, and one of the ONLY people who have kept that ship sailing is Bully Ray. Not only was he great as a singles competitor but, also he was what I consider to be a very fresh face in the main event scene. So for WWE to not utilize his full potential just shows me, yet again, that they just do not know a good thing when they see it..
(Authors Note: ..See Bray Wyatt)
WHY are creative wasting Bray Wyatt’s potential. Why has he gone from being the second coming of The Undertaker to simply just a mouthpiece for Braun Strowman and a jobber for the Roman Reigns’ out there -- because that is what they have made him, a ladder to help push others to the top, when in fact he is more talented than 90% of these guys that he has to lay down for.
WWEs ‘Character Development’ methods aren’t that of how it used to be, or how it SHOULD – meaning that they should use the storylines as ways to develop their characters. The WWEs “development” It is that of merely giving the talent nicknames. Take a look at ‘The Lunatic Fringe’ Dean Ambrose. Instead of showing the audience and viewers that this guy is unpredictable and making sure the viewers don’t switch over because “Who knows what he’ll do next”, they simply just tell us that he’s out of control.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!!!
I remember several months ago on Raw. Dean Ambrose had stolen Seth Rollins WWE World Heavyweight Championship the week prior. So throughout the night we see Dean Ambrose posting pictures to his Instagram of all the ‘wacky adventures’ that he has been on with the title belt.
Ok, so imagine this – its 1998 and Stone Cold Steve Austin has stolen The Rocks WWF Intercontinental Championship. BUT! Instead of us seeing Austin toss the belt over the bridge and into the lake, we only see a picture of it!
Do you think that would of made such an impact? Do you think people would be talking about that segment 15 years later if it had only been a picture?
What if we only SAW D-Generation X invade the Norfolk Scope?
THAT is the difference between Words and Actions.
Instead of Dean Ambrose taking pictures and uploading them to his instagram account, why not make the time (Authors Note: Which might I add you have plenty of, considering it’s a Three hour show) to actually shoot these segments with Ambrose?
This method gets the Dean Ambrose’s character over, it gets the storyline over and it even gets the Seth Rollins character over because now, as an audience we can actually see WHY Seth Rollins is so frustrated! AND it also keeps the viewer from changing over – because it BEGS the question “WHAT WILL HE DO NEXT!!!” – Well you have to stay tuned in to find out!
The WWE right now have some of the BEST talent in the world and all these guys on the roster have SO much potential – but none of them get a chance to really explore their own potential because everyone is micro-managed. Its BS LAZY writing and LAZY decision-making like this Instagram BS that stops people from tuning in. Its BS micro-managing that stops a talent being themselves.
Vince McMahon himself said, what makes a successful wrestler is taking whom they really are and multiplying that by a thousand. How can a wrestler do that today when they are handed scripts telling them what to say and how to feel!?
I look at Seth Rollins, and right now he has been given the exact same character that Randy Orton had back in 2004.