Monday, 1 August 2011

The Wrestling Frustration

For many years, with a few glimpses of hope that has sustained the hopeful, professional wrestling, read WWE, has been completely irrelevant to real world situations preferring to return to the more fantasy based routes of the 1980's. This was initially a bold move as it did wonders bringing in new, younger fans, who were the children of those 80's kids and 90's young adults who would naturally introduce their own children to the product.

This is rarely appreciated by fans who fondly remember the attitude era's more extreme and contemporary feel but it was important to develop these new fans and new talent that keeps future of the wrestling industry bright. It was also necessary to separate from the time of the Monday Night Wars as that intensity was never going to be maintained without legitimate competition. Splitting the rosters and adding Eric Bischoff as Raw general manager only showed how much of that heat was lost.

Spearheaded by John Cena, the modern day Hulk Hogan, wrestling returned to its pantomime route and it achieved its objectives however the failure to move with the times has undone a lot of there hard work. This is partly down to the WWE failing to notice that those new fans had become teenagers themselves, looking for an edgier and more dynamic product but mainly due to the reliance on the merchandise sales that certain stars produce, week in and week out.

The merchandise in question is mainly influenced by their golden goose Cena who has done an excellent job in selling himself as the crusader for the light side against the dark, even if booking has made the dark look more like the bad girl from the power rangers and less like a legitimate threat. The sales, which the last financial statement was around 30% of there merchandise revenue means that removing or even altering Cena would leave the company with a significant whole in their budget.

Part of the blame falls on the financial crisis that has bitten across the board with everyone suffering for money  and the fear that a bad year could potentially put the business under even more pressure however it can also be attributed to not trust the audiences reaction. People have been hot at different stages, Randy Orton in his run at the end of 2009, a classic example. This was a character that older fans were starting to identify with, someone who had flaws as well as abilities but he did not sell enough T-shirts. A now sanitized version walks around on Smackdown with his worst problem being the fear that the vein his head may rupture when he pulls his angry face but he sells more T-shirts.

Which brings us to the present day and the rise of CM Punk, the reintroduction of the Game Triple H and the changing character of the aforementioned Cena. There is no doubt that Punk's charisma has changed the situation for the WWE as he has brought in viewers and advertising so his stay of execution unlike others will be longer but whether the WWE finally breaks out of the cartoon world will depend largely on how many "best in the world" and when it comes out HHH "I'm the Boss" T-shirts sale.

Time for that evolution to a trend setting product is well overdue however money talks and for the wrestling industry which takes its lead very much from the WWE, it may well be resultant of fans sticking there hands in their pocket to support such an revolution. So where is that order form...?

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