By Ryan Kester
Monday, September 19 – 10:20 A.M. (CT)
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
― Albert Einstein
For the past several weeks, WWE has been in an absolute state of panic. Their ratings began to slide and the great monster that is Monday Night Football was swiftly approaching. However, this wasn't the first time WWE has had to deal with this problem so they buckled down and did what WWE does best - they resorted to the same stale crop of talent that has been the focus of the main event picture for years.
WWE was showing some promise with their renewed attention to more than just the two main belts in the company, the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. However, after Night of Champions, it is blatantly apparent that WWE has, in their panicked reaction to the recent ratings drop, elected to return to the same well in an effort to stave off any further drop.
WWE has to realize that having Triple H dominant at a PPV and John Cena holding the WWE Championship gives a great deal of its audience an overwhelming feeling of "been there; done that." WWE is once again back to pushing the tried and true old hands of the company, relying on the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, Triple H, and to a lesser extend The Rock carry them through their ratings slumps. However, WWE has forgotten entirely what made those men the mega stars and main eventers they are today.
At some point or another, the men I listed above were not on top. They had to actually work to get over with a crowd and to get recognized by management and the main eventers that came before them. WWE had to get behind those guys and give them feuds and stories that would stand the test of time and would resonate with their fans. It may be a cliché, but they had to climb up the WWE ladder until they were finally at the top. They had to dethrone the old guard and assert themselves as main event talent in their own right.
However, WWE seems to have forgotten a crucial part of the equation of what makes a main event career legendary. They have to be at risk of getting pushed off the top of the mountain by talent that comes after them.
Case in point, John Cena. WWE made him their poster boy in 2005 when he won his first WWE Championship. Since then, Cena has gone on to win the top prize in the industry a staggering 12 times in just six years. There is no doubt that he has succeeded in getting to the top of that mountain. However, every time he loses possession of the top title, he does so in some fluke fashion and then proceeded to dismiss his opponent and guarantee that he will walk away from his challenge for the title with it around his waist. The problem is WWE makes sure that he does exactly that.
John Cena, despite being the man for six years running in WWE, has not once been at risk of some young blue chipper coming along and taking that position from him. WWE became comfortable with Cena and proceeded to put everything they have behind them, logic and growth be damned.
With six years of Cena and Orton at the top of the WWE mountain, and WWE failing to develop any young talent, things have gotten extremely stale. Fans are leaving the product en masse, and those that stay become disenfranchised with constantly seeing the same faces in the main event picture and not being given any reason to care about the young men just starting their journey. Apathy for the product is at an all-time high.
WWE knows this issue exists. They have been flirting with the idea for almost two years now that they need to develop a youth movement. However, every time they get close to doing so, the ratings begin to slip, and WWE puts the same faces right back into the title picture and main event. This quickly leads to some ratings return, but they never stay consistent and they certainly never grow past the point they were originally.
The only way that WWE will be able to break out of this cycle and begin to actually grow ratings is if they allow their babyfaces to become vulnerable. There is a great story to tell in the established stars fighting to keep their spot and the young guns working tirelessly to take the place they covet.
Now, I have no doubt that if John Cena starts taking some losses there will be an initial blow to the ratings, but WWE has to be willing to take that hit while they work to repair their stale roster. If they stick to the change, and provide good stories and feuds for the young talent to get over, then I am confident that the ratings will not only improve, but actually grow past the point they were originally.
Something needs to change, and the longer WWE waits, the more damage they will be doing to their business. WWE has become insane, and it's time for that to change.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter at @TheRyanKester.
Kester's Blog: WWE has gone insane
Sep 19, 2011 - 10:20 AM
Sep 19, 2011 - 10:20 AM
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