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What Happened to Wrestling?

Rating: 5 votes, 4.00 average.
Hey guys Knox here. What happened to wrestling has been a huge debate as of late that I wanted to discuss on. Wrestling is failing right now because it honestly was meant to be a phase. Everyone knew something like this wouldn't be great forever and that's typically what happened. I'm going to give you some reasons why wrestling is failing and I'll also give my opinions on how to rebuild it but first let me discuss two eras: The Golden Era and the Attitude Era.

The Golden Era (The 80s):
This era was by far the groundbreaking era. Wrestling had been around way before this time but this is when wrestling was getting that larger name because they were taking guys from these territories and putting them on a bigger stage thus giving them a chance to shine and draw.

Hogan, Savage, Dibiase, Flair and others were beginning to help build the mold of wrestling. What made it so successful is that it was a family oriented business but it was also very different.

There wasn't 500 to 1000 channels on television like it is now. I remember my uncles telling me "back in the 80s we watched wrestling every week on channel 3. It was only about 10 channels back then so we had no choice but to fall in love with wrestling". That's what they always tell me. Wrestling drew big in this time period because of the over the top personalities and larger than life characters on your television screen.

The Attitude Era: WCW & WWF (Wars)
This is when wrestling started to get that more in your face factor. When competition is striking you gotta pull out all the stops and that's what this era was all about.

What made this era so successful is because WWF & WCW were putting out extreme material that was not what many people were used to seeing on telelvision. Ok you had your share of Jerry Springer and such on telelvision but wrestling was the only place you could see violence, good stories, relationship, half naked women in mud matches all in one stop. This era was pulling in 10.1 ratings. WWE & TNA today are getting about 1/3 of that. That's the sad truth.


Reason #1: It was a phase/People grew out of it
Wrestling is one of those things that I think even Vince knew one day it would fall of for the simple fact its scripted entertainment. Eventually people grow up and realize you either love it for life or grow out of it. I'm the type that just loves it for life. With the stuff we see on wrestling today, its so easy to grow out of it but I can say I'll be watching wrestling even when I'm in my 80s.

Reason #2: Its not a real sport
This is a big one. Wrestling is a real sport, the pain in real and yes we know that. But the issue is, people won't take it serious as a real sport as they do for entities like the NBA, NFL, NHL, or the MLB. Those sports I mentioned above ratings are through the roof and for good reason. The NBA Playoffs average about 37 million viewers alone.

You also can't gamble on wrestling you can with sports like basketball. You wouldn't catch anyone saying "hey I bet you $50 Cena is going to beat the Rock at Wrestlemania". You wouldn't see that because its a scripted match beyond the control of the Rock or Cena. It isn't based on skill.

Reason #3: Too many options
There are so many other options to choose from on television now I mean the average American has over 200 channels to choose from. When its that much competition, your product has to keep the attention of the viewers in order for it to be successful.

Reason #4: Too watered down
I think these companies are watering down their material to the point where its just not fun to watch as much as it was before. I mean I can watch Raw and it'll have my full attention but then out of nowhere, Hornswoggle will pop up and bury a decent heel like Heath Slater for example and that's what forces people to pick up their remotes and change the channel.

Reason #5: Stone Cold & The Rock left
This is the more urban excuse for not watching wrestling. I'm black but I've always been in private schools since middle school. I grew up in a very diverse environments which is why I'm so colorblind when it comes to people. But getting back to the subject.

In middle school, the white people, the black people and the Asians and the Mexicans all said the same thing. "I stopped watching wrestling once the Rock & Stone Cold left". I can't possibly tell you many times I've heard that statement. That really took wrestling to the dark ages in my opinion.

Stone Cold & The Rock were the premier feud back in the Attitude Era that really captivated the eyes of the younger fans as well as the teenagers and adults. The talk in school every day was the Rock & Stone Cold. Every day. They led the Attitude Era as far as star power and drawing.

Yeah you had guys like The Undertaker, Triple H, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Kane and the Big Show but Rocky & Austin were the backbone of that era. When you take away the backbone, the others can't stand. That's what happened.

Statistics show that the WWE's biggest annual ratings drop came from the year 2003 to 2004. 2004 was a year when the ratings dropped heavy because it was the first year the WWE had to work with a roster without Stone Cold or The Rock.

Reason #6: The end of WCW (Survivor Series 2001)/The End or the Wars
A good group of people really lost touch with wrestling after WCW was officially bought out by Vince. We needed that second options as fans. That's what made it so special. Sorry I'm so young lol because this entire blog I've been making references to school but in 2001 I was 10 years old. Back in those days in middle school we were so excited about the wars. Man we would huddle in groups of about 50 damn near and debate on if Raw or Nitro was better that week.

When you end those wars, you end those discussions. Now the roster had to make huge cuts to sign the WCW guys they needed and alot of hard workers were out of a job and that's the part I couldn't stomach.

Reason #7: Sting not signing with the WWE in 2002
Sting is one of the biggest draws of all time. He's also a guy that you look forward to seeing every week and the fact that they couldn't work a deal made it sour for alot of his fans. Sting was the face of WCW. So typically that huge WCW fanbase stopped watching for the most part.

Reason #8: Wrestling went from the most out there product on television to the most friendly product:
This is a big reason right here. Back in the Attitude Era, wrestling was just plain out there. It was the most ruthless product on television at one point. Next thing you know around 2008, WWE started changing the foundation of wrestling and made it all family friendly which is cool but the cheesiness is what bothered people.

Next thing you know shows like The Bad Girls Club, Jersey Shore, Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives and all these shows came out. These are now the shows that are over the top and that's why they have huge ratings. These are the programs pulling in the 10.1 ratings now. The WWE used to be that until they changed the direction.

Reason #9: The Devaluation of Titles (WWE)
Right now in the WWE, titles don't mean nothing. I'd go as as far as to say that TNA's World Heavyweight Championship is a bit more prestigious than the WWE & World Championship for the past year or so.

The WWE makes guys like Cody Rhodes go months without defending his title yet he's still been involved in top feuds. Randy Orton not challenging Rhodes for that Intercontinental Championship really told me the fans that Orton is too big for that title and it means nothing. That killed the prestige for that belt.

Their are maybe 2 original tag teams left in the WWE. The rest of them are thrown together. The WWE killed the prestige of the tag titles when they started using it to form random teams like John Cena & HBK to win the titles to further their angle just to drop them in a week. That kills the credibility when you use titles as a place holder. This does nothing to actually put over the actual tag teams in the WWE.

Then you have the World Championship & The WWE Championship. The last real World Champion in my opinion was Edge and the last real WWE Champion was Randy Orton's last run as a heel. Other than that, these titles have been wasted on guys that were not ready.

When you let Del Rio & The Miz mainevent Wrestlemania 27 and have them both have reigns as the WWE Champion and World Champion only to push them down the ranks and have them fall off then damn. That takes credibility away from the titles.

Reason #10: Bad Writing
This is a big deal. WWE & TNA had their share of bad storylines. Russo has been addicted to the same heel stables form the NWO, to the Mainevent Mafia & Immortal and such.

Then you have the WWE writers who just plain lost their touch. Its not too late for either company. But trust me, it will get better.

Reason #11: The Divas Division
I remember when these chicks used to be known to whip ass. Chicks like Lita, Molly Holly, Victoria, Jazz, Trish and the list goes on. They were some dangerous women but they actually knew how to wrestle.

Then out of nowhere, Vince got sick of pushing actual female wrestlers. He decided he wanted magazine models with no wrestling experience. The WWE literally found Alicia Fox out of a magazine and thought she was hot and contacted her and molded her to a wrestler. You don't mold wrestlers, you find the ones already molded in the indies.

They started giving them these 2 minute matches just long enough to say "atleast we included" them and that destroyed them. Then shows like Bad Girls Club came out and they proved that they were more violent than the WWE divas that are actually paid to be violent.

Reason #12: Egos
It was a point in time when Paul Heyman, Vince Russo, Vince McMahon & Eric Bischoff were all with the WWE at the same time. They all are brilliant men with brilliant ideas but it was no way they all could have got along for the better of the business. They wanted to branch off and start their own thing just to prove they could be better than the WWE.

Imagine a creative team with Heyman, Russo, Bischoff and McMahon together. Imagine how intense and the variety of stories you would get. Man it would be insane. I think if that could've worked, wrestling today would be as big as it was in the Attitude Era. Unfortunately these men are hellbent on outshining one another.

So which company is doing a better job? WWE or TNA?
This is too close to call. They both have their strong points. Bascially if they were under the same management, they would be a perfect company.

TNA has the match quality, the realism, the Knockouts division and the smaller wrestlers in their favor. WWE has the money, the experience, the brand name, the star power and the viewers.

Hope you guys enjoyed this. In no way am I bashing either company or whining. I'm simply stating the reasons I feel like Sports Entertainment has taken a huge fall. Alot of it isn't even the WWE or TNA's fault. Like my boy said on an earlier blog, "Things Could be Worst. Punk & Bryan are doing pretty good as WWE & WHC so lets see how Wrestlemania shapes out. People grow up, their are hundreds of other channels. People nowadays have more of a social life. Wrestling is just one entity that was affected by this change. Many other businesses were also affected by these behavioral changes consumers experience. Its life.

Thanks again guys, please leave feedback. Be safe guys and I appreciate you all. Until then.

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Updated 03-08-2012 at 08:00 PM by knox



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  1. belleza's Avatar
    Lots of ideas in that blog that I had never considered before! Love it
  2. Dubs's Avatar
    Wrestling isn't failing. Its still pretty much popular. Honestly, I think people who compare both past and present eras only do that for a nostalgic point of view. I remember older people saying the same thing during the Attitude Era and about how they thought it wasn't the same as the Golden Era. Its just a phase you are going through about the wrestling product which isn't a bad thing but wrestling is far from failing right now.
  3. Y2JLionsault's Avatar
    So many things in this blog I agree with! The biggest to me at the moment would be title prestige. The days when a storyline for the IC or tag titles would be as good if not better than world title storylines. Days when solid main eventers would team together but not be able to beat a legit tag team who were together in the ring week in week out.
  4. Theicon's Avatar
    Well well good form you actually came through with a good blog well done i agree on most points
  5. jalambert's Avatar
    I agree with the titles not really having any prestige, WWE really need to sort this out. Id like to see the return of a solid tag team division.
  6. bm punk's Avatar
    very interesting blog. very in depth but nothing is wrong with wrestling. as wrestling fans we allways want more and call the past the better days. i have been watching since 1990 and people have allways complained and compared me including.....i remember reading online critisim during the attidude era like the rock is getting boring...when he left to do scorpion king people where glad for a break from him....during the invasion angle people complained about it being boring tv.during lesnar's rise people said the drop in rating was his and kurt angles fault.but now we look back and ask what went wrong.i agree alot happened and alot changed but at the moment alot is going right..Great Khali is not the main heel and hornswoggle is not in dx anymore so i like to hope something is going right.
  7. Renevious's Avatar
    Hey Knox, what's up man? I just finished reading your blog, and I really enjoyed it. As always, I'm not going to say I agree with every bit of it, but it was very well thought out. I personally think you give more credit to the quality of TNA these days than I would, but that's just our opinions. The one thing that I would like to mention from your blog that hit close to home on me was how you mentioned debating in the school yard about whether Raw or Nitro was the better show that week. I know you were in middle school at the time, but I was in college then. It's just funny to me to hear you say it, because it brought back a funny memory of when I took a speech class in college. We had to do an informative speech, and I did mine on the history of Wrestlemania. But the best was when I had to do a persuasive speech, and I actually did mine on why WWF was better than WCW (keep in mind this way '98 or '99). Oh it was good times. I had my only fellow wrestling fan friend in the class trying to stump me in the Q&A after and everyone else just laughing their asses off because they didn't even know what I was talking about. Thanks for making me think of that again. Good blog man, take care.
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