That whistle Vince McMahon hears coming up the tracks at full speed is the NFL train that is about to blow by him and his promotion as the summer months turn to fall.
How the owner of WWE is going to keep any kind of momentum while the country moves from hot dogs, apple pie and the sweet taste of summer to the notion of pumpkin spice latte, Budweiser beer and the smell of pigskin isn’t known right now.
The momentum WWE had with its brand split, the events of SummerSlam and Triple H’s turn on Seth Rollins is about to take a backseat to everything else. In this country, NFL is king of the television and regardless of McMahon moving Smackdown Live to Tuesday nights so it does not compete with Thursday Night football, the problems of Raw going up against ESPN and it’s Monday Night Football crew still exist.
For once, I feel a bit sorry for McMahon and then promotion as it is has finally found something that has worked and brought fans back to the arenas and flat screen televisions. There is never a good time for the NFL to begin its season when it comes to WWE, but this year especially, it appears to be most damaging. This isn’t just a wrestling problem, rather a sports entertainment issue. No sport, no matter how big and no event, no matter how special, can compete with Roger Goodell and the power of the NFL. As a fan of both, Mondays are tough, like being torn between two lovers. In the end, WWE wins out for an hour while I DVR the show and throw my attention toward my fantasy football teams and who is playing on what has always been a special night for me since I was a kid.
If there is one person who brings the mighty Vince McMahon to his knees, it is the Czar known as Goodell. I’m sure the 70-year-old wrestling god is tired of being kicked in the shorts week after week. The notion of the brand split was to create competition within the company, but it also helped create more of a following for wrestling in spite of what football has offered to a larger viewing audience over the years.
Despite the fact WWE has Night of Champions and Backlash on the horizon and the additions of AJ Styles and Kevin Owens to the promotion have been white hot this year, there will be a dip in ratings and a dip in viewership – it cannot be ignored. The NFL is the big brother who returns home from college or the parents who return home from vacation. Everyone wants to know what they did while they were away.
Everyone will want to see just how good this league is.
The worst thing McMahon and his troops can do is slow down. Continue the onslaught of newness, the promotion must keep its foot on the accelerator and make a few more cannonballs in the deep end of the swimming pool. WWE must continue to be the inspirational figure that continues the fight.
While it is certain football will continue to reign supreme, WWE is going to do its best to hold on for the next four months. Then when the storm slows down, the company will pick itself up, dust itself off and try again. For seven months, it seemed to work. But for now, McMahon cannot stop the NFL, he can only hope to contain it for a while. When you look at it, the NFL is the only thing that leaves McMahon quaking in his boots. For a man who thinks he can defeat everything in his site, he hasn’t figure out how to win this battle. Chances are, he never will.