by VINCE RUSSO
An article broke today on Forbes.com, one of the world’s business leaders, citing that professional wrestling isn’t as popular as it once was. The story utilizes data and facts, to clearly back-up that the business is vastly losing its audience as less, and less of its once massive appeal is clearly waning on a year-to-year basis. The link to the story can be found HERE.
The basis of the story is that with the ratings on a consistent decline, the WWE is going to be depending more, and more on the success of the WWE Network, from a financial standpoint in order to make up for the loss of the supporting and paying public that used to tune into RAW and SMACKDOWN.
At this point, I can only wonder if people will now listen, and understand concerning the plight of pro wrestling, now that a legitimate business magazine is writing about it, and not just the “clueless” Vince Russo. The fact is that the numbers are there for anybody, and everybody to look at, but in our industry the numbers, or facts, become secondary to what those with strong opinions want to believe. The voices and pens that beat the drum of “more wrestling” in spite of less and less people truly wanting that, supersedes the real viewership problems that have steadily been there for the last 15 years.
Here’s what I don’t understand–how have I become the enemy by simply stating that the WWE needs to TRY HARDER. I have made it clear, week, after week, after week, that my complaint is not from a talent standpoint. The men and women in the WWE who are busting their asses week in, and week out, are leaving nothing in that ring. These are athletes that are built on 100% pride—just striving to be the best that they can be, despite the fact that those working behind the scenes with them have been taking a lackluster approach for years.
When the second in command uses the excuse that, “it’s a different time” when explaining the loss of viewership over the years, that basically tells me that the WWE isn’t looking for a solution to their problem because they simply don’t have one and don’t know how to fix it. And, rather than try to figure that out, they simply chose to rather use their resources and energy to try and attempt to tarnish and discredit the name of the writer who HELPED bring them the heralded success they once had in the past. What a massive use of ego and waste of time.
Look, there is nothing wrong with having to TRY HARDER. We all have to TRY HARDER–everyone of us in our daily lives. Whether it’s at work in order to try and earn more income, in our relationships with our wives, and our kids, we all work every day at being the best we can be. When you begin to except the “what is” you simply are not going to better yourself—or—your situation. So, if I’m going to be the enemy by saying, “OK, fellas, others are now talking about it, and writing about it, so maybe it’s time to step-up and STOP making excuses”—then I will gladly wear the black hat—no problem.
I just don’t understand how you can be critical of anybody who just wants the wrestling business to once again prosper like it did in the past. To make it a non-chore to sit through most Monday nights. To creatively match the physical effort that your athletes are giving you in the ring. To put more fannies in seats, more eyeballs in front of your product—more MONEY for everyone involved. How is that a BAD THING? Is it really more feasible for you to just bury those who are stating you can do better, then actually try to do better?
I guess, at the end of the day, it just is—what it is. The only people who can turn the wrestling business north are those who are actually working inside of it. A person like me, on the outside, can try to motivate until the cows come home, but it isn’t going to change one, damn, thing. So we sit here, and wait for the numbers to come in next year to see that they’re down again, and then down again the year after that, and the year after that. And, we write that off to “it’s a different time”, and nothing ever changes until the fewer become less, and the less become none.
You have to care, man, you just have to care.
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