The current WWE product as it sits today is just, ok. There is no doubt that even with the brand split there has been something missing. Ratings have also shown that the interest in Vinnie Mac’s product is almost at an all time low, not quite 1995 bad, but it’s pretty bad. So the billion dollar question is why? In this article, we are going to examine some of the reasons why the WWE is at a stand still. I’ll leave it to the armchair bookers to figure out the solutions.
Predictability. The best TV shows, Movies, Video Games all have a theme in common, not knowing what lies ahead. WWE used to have the motto “anything can happen in the World Wrestling Federation”. Those days are long gone and it’s hurting the product. I remember watching during the attitude era (which I personally was never a giant fan of) and you never knew what would happen, it made every Monday MUST SEE TV. In the current era it is not so much like that. Raw has been running the same format for years now, and despite the brand split and the “new” era it still remains the same. They need to continue to add that element of surprise, every week does not have to be an earth-shattering surprise, but they need to give the viewers a reason to watch next week.
Saturation of the product. 19 PPV’s. Raw. Smackdown, CWC, NXT. That is A LOT of wrestling to consume for one viewer. They are not giving the viewers a chance to stop and wrap their head around anything. I have been watching the WWE since 1992 and even I think this is too much. I don’t see why they didn’t do an every other week show. Run Smackdown and Raw on opposite weeks. Or have an offseason, let the fans miss the product. I understand what WWE is trying to accomplish, but at this point it feels like they are forcing people to watch the product, which according to ratings is not working.
Creative. This one is simple. This product feels weird. The bad guys are kind of bad guys but make jokes. One week they are big tough bad asses you don’t want to cross and the next show they are pretending to be doctors and making testicle jokes. One tag team now have the gimmick of being timeshare salesman (seriously, that’s second to being a garbageman) On Raw, it again follows the same format as before the brand split. Except instead of HHH and Steph you have Foley and Steph doing some random promo. If two people or two teams are going to do battle at a PPV then the shows leading up to said PPV they are fighting each other anyways! If wrestler A and wrestler B are facing each other on a PPV, why is the WWE booking them on Raw or Smackdown to fight each other, it seriously makes very little sense and doesn’t give the fan a reason to watch the PPV on Sundays. Performers have very little freedom, they read off scripts nothing feels real anymore and most fans over the age of 15 cause tell the difference. Much like a TV show or a Movie, things have to be organic and MUST have continuity.
The “COOL” factor. WWE is missing this big time. Look at PWG , or NJPW or Lucha Underground they seem “cool” to watch. The Bullet Club for example, have the cool factor. They are badass arrogant dudes who men want to hang around, and women want to be with, they are the closest thing to the NWO since the NWO. Look how much they sell in merch alone! NXT started to do this very well, but then the performers get called up to the main roster and get turned into a water downed version of it self. WWE tried this with “The Club” but that went over as well as a wet fart in church. WWE’s characters all seem the same, with the exception of The New Day, who are slowly becoming stale. The Usos turn into “heels” and the only thing that changes is the pace they walk and what they wear, the true MVP of the WWE is The Miz. He really comes off like a jerk, and the fans sense that and respond to him. The Wyatts were on their way of being that cool stable, but WWE decided to split them up and make Bray Wyatt a fancy jobber. Think of it this way, fans have been chanting “let’s go jobber” and have made James Ellsworth a star! Seriously, Ellsworth is more over than Roman Reigns. The only thing that’s less cooler than WWE is TNA.
The WWE wants us to believe they are listening to their fans, but despite what the fans want, they are going to do things their way. The Brand Split is still new, they gave us a new set, new intro music, new logos, but at the end of the day you can put lipstick on a pig and it will still be a pig. With the WWE pulling 1.88 in ratings, and the NFL season upon us, it’s time for HHH, Steph and Vince to look in the mirror and start changing some things up. I have been a WWE fan my whole life and would like the brand to continue for as long as possible, but WWE needs to realize there is now more competition than ever, the internet is bringing us wrestling from all over the world, if they want to continue to be the juggernaut it’s time for a change, and quick. I will continue to watch the product because above all else, I am a wrestling fan, and that won’t change.