Jumped The Shark Part 2: Millions Less

Nick Paglino

I always enjoy the response to my columns. In the wake of JUMPED THE SHARK, my offering earlier this week, we’ve established that I’m fat. So, obviously, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Because I’M FAT!

Do you realize how stupid and immature you are when you write that? And how irrelevant that is? That said, I am eating as I write this.

No one’s saying that you can’t like WWE’s current product. No one is even telling you that you’re stupid if you do.

But one thing that can be said, with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, is that you’re part of a dwindling number.

Ratings are down. House show attendance is down. Outside of WrestleMania, PPV buyrates are down. Success for any wrestling promotion is based on those numbers. FACT: WWE’s numbers aren’t good. That’s not opinion. That’s FACT. That’s not me. That’s REALITY.

Compared to the boom period of the late ‘90s, MILLIONS LESS watch wrestling. And it’s not because of a bitter old slob excoriating the product.  It’s because a lot of WCW fans didn’t switch over to WWE. It’s because wrestling is a cyclical business. It’s because of more entertainment options.

But it’s mostly because WWE BLOWS.

Sure, that’s just my opinion. But the strong likelihood of my opinion being correct is undeniably reflected in the reality of WWE business.

I challenged readers to tell me what they liked about Raw. Many said Punk. I agree. I like Punk. I like Heyman. That’s it.

OK, I like AJ’s ass, too. A lot. But that’s really it.

Punk is really good, WWE’s best performer right now. Cena is still its biggest star. But Punk’s excellence and Cena’s stardom are being swallowed up by the ineptitude of the booking. Hit 30 home runs for a losing team, and not that many people notice.

Yeah, I know. You like it. You’re allowed to like it. But your opinion doesn’t define WWE’s quality, nor does mine.

The numbers do. It’s FAILING.

This isn’t a niche promotion swimming upstream like the original ECW, where no matter how good it was, it could never be good enough to survive. WWE has an impossible amount of resources, more than any wrestling company ever. There is no legitimate reason for its decline besides lack of creativity, originality and entertainment value.

Yeah, I know. You like it. So, tell me what you liked about Raw. Be specific. Don’t tell me about potential: This guy could be good, this storyline could be good, blah, blah blah. Tell me what IS good. Don’t play the “what if” game. Play the “what is” game. Don’t tell me what you’d do different, because we both know you’ll never get the opportunity.

Tell me what was good about Raw. Tell me how intrigue created increased the chances of Survivor Series being bought by a greater number. Take logic into account. Episodic booking, too. Did one quarter-hour lead into the next? Did the show, as a whole, lead into Survivor Series?

What WORKED on Raw? It’s supposed to WORK, you know.

Carefully consider everything I’ve asked. Then re-read my last column, sit down at your keyboard and tell me how right I was. APOLOGIZE.

Just because you like it doesn’t mean it’s good. It might mean you don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t understand the business.

Looking forward to hearing from you. I’m going to eat a dozen donuts and reminisce about eight years spent backstage watching the rise and fall of one of wrestling’s biggest companies ever. I watched. I listened. I learned. I paid attention. I had respect for those who knew more than me. Try all that sometime.

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA(105.9) . Check out his web page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark by emailing wzmarkmadden@hotmail. com. FOLLOW MARK ON TWITTER: @MarkMaddenX

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