All due respect to Blackbird, but his analysis of why WWE can't draw seems far off the mark. If you're looking for an excuse as to why WWE and other forms of live entertainment aren't drawing aside from the quality of the entertainment, one needs look no further than the economy. While improving, the economy is still cause for concern among the vast majority of Americans. People are nervous when all the talk is of unemployment, debt crisis, and fiscal cliffs. They are saving their disposable income, not spending it.
I think people will still spend that disposable income—but they have a ton of options to look at. Which was Blackbird's main point. They had less options in 1997. The internet wasn't as big, and sports on television hadn't yet exploded to the level we see today. I had like 75 cable channels in 1997. In 2012 I have like 75 sports channels.
Blackbird's notion that our grandparents generation was more star obsessed that today is absurd. He's making an assumption based on the hyper-criticism of actors, musicians, wrestlers, etc so prevalent in the internet message board era (a phenomenon that is overhyped to begin with as this is still of fringe minority of consumers...but they are a loud minority) that because they criticize, it means they think they could do it better. That's not the case. These people are armchair quarterbacks with a megaphone and they hang on every word and action of those they claim to hate.
I actually agree with you over Blackbird here. "Reality" TV really blew up once we started giving quasi celebrities shows where they do nothing and we watch. Even worse, now we create celebrities out of people for doing nothing. We are way more star-obsessed in 2012 than ever before. And that's just going to increase before the fever breaks.
So if you buy into Blackbird's theory that means WWE will be continually shrinking as a touring company, with a small schedule in small venues, eventually becoming just a content provider for TV, which people will increasingly watch less and less. And because everybody thinks they could be Punk, Cena, Orton, etc, eventually their will be a rise of DIY promotions that will slice away demographically from WWE, thereby creating a virtual territory system, all accessible to consumers at the touch of a button.
It's not that far-fetched to think that the WWE will need to run smaller venues. The promotion always takes a downturn before getting huge again. All of the craziness we hear about (bringing back older stars, Raw re-writes, etc.) is their way of trying to avoid this from happening. Personally, I think it just delays the inevitable. And the inevitable leads us to the next "golden era" of the business.
I don't know if DeMarco realizes it or not but Blackbird is actually arguing the case for WWE's demise because he's not saying the WWE is just a victim of a poor economy or in a creative slump. He's saying that WWE is the victim of trends that will only continue to grow.
I don't think it will go towards the demise. Just a bottoming out that ushers in the next great age.
I was watching the Legends Roundtable on the worst characters the other day. During the discussion, MicK Foley talks about a company meeting Vince called in St. Louis before a Raw in 1997. Basically Vince said he was out of touch with pop culture and couldn't just throw a costume on a guy anymore. He told the locker room that the only way for them to compete with WCW was if the boys started taking a more assertive role. Vince asked them to tap into themselves and amplify their own personalities. He wanted them to find their own voices and their own characters.
I think HHH needs to sit Vince down and remind him of that day. Remind him how he felt when nothing was working on Raw and business was down. Tell him that it's come full circle and that Vince and the yes men he's surrounded himself with like Johnny Ace, Kevin Dunn, and the sitcom writers are out of touch. Remind him that it is wrestling and not Law & Order or Two and a Half Men or The Bachelorette.
It's time for Vince to hand the creative reigns to HHH and go home to Stamford.
But the talent tapping into themselves wasn't the only answer—turning Vince into a character was. Mr. McMahon was hugely successful, and it likely lead Vince himself to conclude that he is the end-all-be-all of wrestling, not any actual in-ring talent.
Your comments about Triple H are true—and I think even Trips himself knows it. But he also understands that Vince won't listen right now.
Couldn't agree more, and I like that you mentioned football in there as that is THE top draw in all of America in this day and age, however if your teams suck, you still can't draw. Blackbird's reasoning is spoken like a WWE loyalist/apologist/lap dog trying to act like the crap they're throwing out there is still entertaining(its not, at least 75% isn't).
Yeah, to a point. But some people will still go because it's football. People used to go because it's wrestling. During the Attitude Era the WWE sold out house shows with no matches announced, simply because it was the WWE. That doesn't happen anymore.
Not to pile on, but the other touring entertainment Blackbird cites don't do as well because if you've seen it once, then you've seen every show for the last 30 years.
This is WWE's biggest problem. If I went to Raw tomorrow, I would see almost the exact same show I saw 7 years ago. John Cena is still wearing jorts and brightly colored t-shirts, still talking about hustle, loyalty and respect, still the last match of night, winning again. It would be like a band who made one album and kept touring the same cities year after year, playing the same set. By year 7, they'd be booked at the local bar, not the local arena. Or imagine Hangover 7 with the boys still blacking out during a bachelor party, losing a friend, and spending the movie piecing together what happened. How do you think that would do at the box office?
I know WWE has many other problems creatively, but the John Cena character (I differentiate from John Cena, who I think is a charismatic and talented performer) has been on top for 7 years. To put that into historical perspective, remember Hulk Hogan in 1991. His act had grown pretty stale. I'm not saying Cena needs to go away or work in the midcard...heel turn...NOW.
You're exactly right. The WWE is largely the same—that's because they tailor to kids. The kids keep changing and growing up...they cheer for CM Punk and their siblings take over rooting for John Cena.
yo why isn't everybody voting off that horse face Madison Rayne that bitch has gotta go
yo I don't know but your comment is lame bro
I know this is unpopular to say since he's another indy darling, but WWE made a mistake putting Seth Rollins in The Shield. You have Ambrose who can walk, talk, and look the part and Reigns who can walk, talk, and look the part...then there's Rollins who looks, acts, and is goofy, completely killing the thoroughly captivating vibe. I really think WWE has the potential to do something big with The Shield if they want to...but Rollins will keep it from reaching it's fullest potential.
I disagree to a point. 75% of the audience has no clue what Rollins is capable of. They've only seen him since The Shield debuted at Survivor Series. So while he's an odd fit for the group, his breakout potential comes with his breaking away from the group and becoming a face. Hopefully it doesn't happen until after WrestleMania.
Am I seriously the only one who thinks Rosa is absolute repulsive?
You're likely not the only one (no one is the only one for anything anymore), but you're definitely in the minority.
Because they want Mickie James and the purple monster that lives on her crotch to win.
Maybe. I don't think she's going to win, but she'll make it pretty far. Granted, now that I said that, she'll be eliminated in next week's vote.
On the subject of Shield/Dark Knight comparison: Even though that's the clear current influence, I believe Ambrose, as Jon Moxley (and Sami Callihan on that), used that style before Dark Knight was released. Even if that isn't the case, and I'm wrong, which is possible, I do know the nWo promos and the Steve Austin ECW promos did, which seem like a major influence. And if Ambrose isn't cast in Loose Canon: The Brian Pillman Story, I'm gonna have to write a script. CyberVenom
Again, you can still make the comparison to TDK even if Ambrose was going it before the movie came out. He has great Brian Pillman/Roddy Piper/Chris Jericho potential. Hopefully he doesn't become a tragic figure like Pillman, instead turning out to be a major multimedia star like Jericho.
Woo in my Wooo
Tony, not sure if you did it based on reader feedback or already had it planned, but I just wanted to say thank you for updating the tournament pictures. It makes it look a lot less cluttered and those pictures make it very difficult to decide who to vote for. Thanks again for incorporating reader feedback.
Again, Greg does the Versus. But to quote Stephen A Smith: "HOWEVAH..." it was Tony's idea to re-do the grid. He simply felt like it was time. And this grid was actually produced by Tony as well.
K Bon Vivant
It's difficullt as you cant see the bloody things !!!!! Voting from memory this time.
You should always vote from memory. I can't believe anyone would be voting based on the pictures we provide—they're just a small sampling.
As for the mid carders is that really the best that they've got ? Look how bring back Albert/Tensai helped the mid card... Half the kids won't remember MVP or Shelton Benjamin anyway... Fans want story lines that lead to great matches with great pay offs... it's not that hard is it ? They've tried to go back to the well to bring back some "big name" talent and the well has run dry. They hardly created any big name talent in the 00s and the ones that they did are either dead or retired... Lesnar was pretty much the last one the could bring back. Maybe if they brought back Batista but even with that would it really freshen things up ? I just hope that they have some big things planned for Christian or even Mark Henry as and when they come back cos I doubt we'll be getting anything from Fandango...
What's funny is everyone is going nuts over a Wrestling Observer report. Meltzer is a moron! He turned his speculation into a news report that everyone is shitting themselves over. I kinda wanted to yell at Tony for covering it! But it's all good, it lead to some good discussion.
But you can't compare Tensai or Fandango to Shelton Benjamin and MVP. The "news" that mid-carders would be coming back was because they need talent to fill the mid-card. To provide good matches during the 3-hour RAW and to put today's stars over. Fandango is a young talent that they want to establish, and Tensai was brought in to be a main event level heel.
I completely agree. 100% agree.
My votes for this week go to Madison, Sunny and Rosa. Madison and Sunny for the previous reasons from last week and if you ask me, Rosa is a little overrated. I didn't find her to be particularly that attractive if you look at her with her brunette hair back in 08'-09' She didn't really get hot until she dyed her hair black.
Yeah, it seems like Tony had perfect timing in updating the field. I agree with your votes for Sunny and Madison when comparing them to the rest of the field. Rosa? Not so much. She's on fire hot.
Every woman gets hotter when she dyes her hair black. And/or red.
The only woman I can see this not working for is Stacy Keibler. She's a classic blonde.
Sometimes you need to look back to Memphis to see how great old school can be. I don't want all wrestling to be like this, but you can still see the influence Memphis has on the modern day product.
This 1986 video comes courtesy of our friends at "Channel Extreme" on YouTube, and you can find their channel here.
Here is the description as they provided it: A bloody Memphis studio brawl is touched off after a "Loser Leaves Town vs Masks" match featuring Jerry Lawler and Tommy Rich going against "Fire & Flame" for their masks at the Mid-South Coliseum during a special Friday night show on the previous night. Fire & Flame lost their masks at the event, revealing themselves to be Dirty Rhodes and Don Bass.
The following Saturday morning, a victorious Tommy Rich enters the TV5 studio with the usual fanfare as kids rush to greet the platinum-haired star. It's just another Saturday morning as the kids gather around their televisions to watch Ol' Wildfire in action. But his scheduled match with Keith Roberson is interrupted when Fire & Flame (Dirty Rhodes and Don Bass) along with Larry Wright (Torch) run in and beat Tommy to a bloody pulp with a chain and a steel chair. With blood all over the place and kids going into shock, Eddie Marlin threatens to suspend them if they don't leave the studio. Tommy, a blood-soaked mess, is then helped out of the area.
Afterwards, when the ruthless attackers are being interviewed by Lance Russell, Tommy comes back, still bloody, but now he has Jerry Lawler in tow. Jerry himself is all beaten and bruised because (allegedly) Fire, Flame and Torch ran him off the road earlier this morning, then pulled him out of his car and assaulted him. Now the King is mad, buddy! He could KILL them...