Recently, The Wrestling Observer conducted a poll that asked if you were more or less interested in some major promotions in wrestling and MMA than you were a year ago. The results were disturbing if you fear change.
UFC, Bellator, TNA and ROH… all were at least 66-34 to the “no”, meaning interest has decreased in the past twelve months or at the very least, fans are less interested now than they have been. The only promotion that was to the positive on the interest scale was the WWE… 55%-45%.
First, not knowing the sample size, I’m not sure the poll could be considered scientific but the point was made. Fans like something different. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are giving fans of the WWE something different. They are breaking the rules and norms associated with the regular flow of the show and this poll was conducted the week after Extreme Rules.
Now, this poll was conducted by sampling opinions of online readers of a wrestling newsletter. Not exactly talking to “Mr. and Mrs. Casual Fan” but would the WWE be encouraged by these poll results? The only numbers they care about are TV ratings and $$$ but if this poll reflects a boost in either, then yes…
For UFC and Bellator, I think the poll results may have to do with matchups and saturation. I’m still a fan but it’s on TV every night, it seems. Are the new top guys in UFC getting over? Is the recent string of injuries and suspensions taking their toll? I think each respondent to the poll would have their own reasoning, as MMA fans are as smart and passionate as it gets.
With TNA, I think they’ll poll badly anytime you ask the IWC their opinion on the promotion. With Ring of Honor, I think many fans are discomforted with the changes the promotion has made over the past two years. Loss of many top stars has to be a big part of the reason. As many as seven main-eventers have departed the promotion in the past 18 months and while new names have moved up the cards, it takes time for those new names to become household names. A promotion that was built on always bringing in the biggest names possible from all around the world has confronted the reality of a necessary change in business plans based upon sustainability.
There are other reasons too for all four companies who saw their “interest” poll numbers roll downhill. It’s never one thing…
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