WWE vs WWF: The Sad Decline of a Product
by, 05-14-2011 at 08:19 AM (7141 Views)
First of all, I have to thank Madness' WWE v WWF blog for inspiring me to finally get off my lazy ass and write my first blog. I salute you.
What I am going to write about may have been read to death by many of you and you may change the proverbial channel, but I hope that isn't the case.
As we know, WWE just isn't the same. In fact, Vince McMahon has either lost his mind completely, grown bored of "wrasslin", or has been preoccupied with matters elsewhere to a point where he fully trusts the creative team to be left in charge. Overseeing the creative team is one Stephanie McMahon (whatever her official title is, this is the case) who he clearly trusts as if she is "daddy's little girl".. oh wait..
Now, this has been a slow decline and whatever era we are in right now, it has been in place a lot longer than we think. Probably ever since Paul Heyman left the company in 2004 or 2005. He still had a strong business relationship for years after his official leave and hence returned to the company in a full role in 2006 to lead ECW. As we know though, ECW was literally tarnished.
Paul Heyman returned to lead the ECW and was clearly excited, as were the fans of the product. He soon however found out that he had no control at all. Whatever compromise may have existed in his tenure in charge of creative on Smackdown in the past was now gone. There was clearly no compromise, even if the mad proffessor knew how things should have gone. He was in full entertainment and his dated idea's didn't cut the mustard anymore.
If it was Vince's masterplan to always make this happen, he is either one of two things, a) a man who has been converted since the Attitude era to see the error of his own ways to a point where he wanted to rid the world clean of any remaining smut, and a legacy that was remaining alive through three abbreviations ECW, or b)a petty petty man, who has some vendetta for god knows why. Who cares really, it's his problem.
The thing is, one man's problem has directly resulted in the wrestling industry falling down to the bottom of the barrel. "Entertainment? Far from it". For a billionaire he has forgotten one of the key roles of marketing, Customer is King. As in, it is more expensive to gain a new customer than keep a current customer.
Anyway, whatever the case is, things have derailed on his watch. Or he'll blame someone else. The key problem in all of this is that a successful business plan has been completely twisted around and doesn't make sense, and when things don't make sense, your hardcore fans ask why they are watching such drivel.
If live events are your lifeblood, why completely mess up what has been going strong for about two decades.
Merchandise is how things are measured in WWE, always has, so why concentrate on a small minority of your talent base and ignore what is in your face. In the 80's they had this down to a tee, everybody was a character, in a gimmick age. Now, there are too many layers of creative that things are not sensible. When there are too many blockades to overcome, idea's take too long to come together and when they do get the ok they come out all wrong, or they have lost their energy.
Back on to the live events, which is what the product is supposed to revolve around.
Pay per views these days are completely lazy, and their purpose is now completely out of whack. TV is supposed to promote PPV, not the other way around. Sadly, this is the way things are. PPV is just another chance for creative to promote their lazy product and characters. But, historically, PPV is the place where characters are made. What wrestlers (oops) do on Raw or Smackdown is generally forgotten, only maybe being a brief memory as "the show goes on". Who can remember what Brock Lesnar did on one Smackdown in 2003? Maybe had a good match, a promo, a confrontation. At the PPV however, is where he made the memory, whatever that may be.
PPV is special because it is supposed to be the culmination of an issue that two or more characters have between them. This is why people pay money for PPV, to see how things are supposed to end. The problem is though, that PPV is now just another show, being used to build up the the highly ranked weekly episodic TV show. If Ted Di Biase wins on PPV for example, instead of building on this it is building for TV. The customer pays for PPV so they want their moneys worth, to see something they won't see on TV.
When Steve Austin was being built up, he made his name at King Of The Ring. He furthered his persona at the Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and came full circle as a viable character as Wrestlemania 13. He started to develop extensively more during 1997, breaking his neck at the SummerSlam event, and at the following Wrestlemania his persona was complete. He was now the full package. Whatever he did on Raw in this time period, it pales in insignificance to what happened on PPV events. He was built on PPV, not on TV. After WrestleMania, he became the biggest thing in the industry. Raw would have never reached these heights without pay per view.
So while Pay Per View nowadays is a "special interbrand show with a twist", such as TLC, Money In The Bank, Hell In A Cell, and so on, this is just used as a vehicle to distract a small minded audience from what is a poor television product. The problem is, the audience isn't small minded, and they expect much more.
I hope you enjoyed this, feel free to let me know what you think good or bad