The ratings for WWE have been appalling of late. A recent episode of Raw attracted less than two million viewers. To put that into context at their peak TNA were able to pull more viewers then that for their Impact show. This is no longer a slump it is a very real problem.
Reason for ratings
While Vince McMahon and the cooperate team at Stanford may have their own theories as to why the ratings have dropped so drastically ultimately you don’t have to look too far for the issues. The recent “wildcard” storyline whereby superstars from the Raw and Smackdown brands can show up on the other card does little to hide the fact that the shows lack star power.
Star power = ratings
Weirdly Triple H was quoted as saying that he no longer wants to create franchise players within the company. He doesn’t want stars. This mentality has led to the WWE really lacking stars at a time when they need them the most. This is not a good time for them to be enduring one of the worst ratings slumps in the companies history. Why? All Elite Wrestling.
The new boy on the block is making a lot of waves in the wrestling world. They have a mix of the best independent talent in the world at their disposal plus massive star power in the form of Chris Jericho, one of the, most popular stars of the attitude era. They also have a lot of financial clout. The Khan family are more wealthy than the McMahons. And as if that weren’t enough they now have…
There was a buzz recently as AEW announced that they had secured a pay per view deal with one of Britains most prominent TV broadcasters ITV. But that has been eclipsed by the news that it now has a weekly slot on TNT. For those of you in the know that is the network where WCW you used to air. Not a lot is known about the show yet except that it will air in a prime time slot. It is rumoured to be on a Tuesday evening due to the fact AEW trademarked the name “Tuesday Night dynamite”.
What they need to do
If you watch any of the YouTube videos from wrestling channels you will have seen that there is a generally negative response to what the company is producing at the moment. Fans are starting to vote with their feet. Stadiums are not filling up in the way they used to and ratings are at perilous lows.
If you were to ask the casual fan on the street what the company has to do to improve they might say that the company needs to do the following things.
A little less conversation…
Raw is just too long a show. It drags, the crowd get restless and it makes the show feel stale. Also for some reason, they open every single show with a set up for the main event. It feels like the show is dumbed-down. The suggestion is that it isn’t a sporting event, that wrestlers (sorry sports-entertainers) cannot just face each other because the boss said so. That they have to have some deeper motivation.
50/50 booking needs to go too. Giving stars clean wins legitimises them. You don’t always have to have people get their heat back instantly. There are ways to keep wrestlers looking strong without using run-ins, tainted victories and post-match beat downs. Just let two guys work a strong match and they will both get over. If you have wrestlers that can put on good matches and they are charismatic as well then all they need is a few wins and creating stars is easy.