As the WWE Network prepares to launch – on very scaled-back, Internet-only terms – it’s got to be time for WWE to ask: Are we doing things right? Why are we shrinking? Why weren’t cable/dish companies interested enough in our network? Why do Raw ratings stink? Do we need to rethink facets of our philosophy?
Their answers: Yes, we’re not, they were/are, they don’t and no.
The real answer: Follow the buzzards.
WWE, in life as on television, often refutes the truth by reinventing it, or substituting a lie. If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. Dr. Goebbels said that. He should run WWE.
Instead, it’s Mr. & Mrs. Levesque-McMahon, anointed to run things by birth and marriage, and by no other qualification. Lots of cracks are showing.
Understand what matters in WWE: The main priority is to be right. Not to get things right. But to be right. To invent the truth, then maintain it.
If something isn’t working, don’t revise. Keep doing it, and say it’s working. If something works organically, kill it. It wasn’t your idea. Be right.
I’ve worked with a lot of coaches in various sports who espouse that philosophy: “We’re going to do things our way. Play to our strengths.”
OK. But if you lose more than you win, maybe you’ve misidentified your strengths and need to reinforce those perceived strengths. More likely, you need to figure out what your strengths really are, and pursue those. Or maybe you just stink.
But adjusting means recognizing and admitting you were wrong. Coaches don’t like to do that. They would rather lose. Really. WWE would rather lose, too.
Want proof? WWE just won’t fix its problems. Panic, yes – as exemplified by doing a title unification match with almost no advance promotion. But they won’t fix.
WWE programming is far too scripted and clichéd. The promos consume far too much time, and are predictable almost to the word.
Steve Austin has always said as much and said so again recently, adding that his Austin 3:16 promo was cut organically, and could never have occurred on today’s WWE programming. Ted DiBiase did a Q&A in Pittsburgh over the weekend and said, “I consider wrestling to be improv…and it’s not that way anymore.”
What opinions should carry more credibility: Those of Austin and DiBiase, or those of Trips, Steph and WWE executive producer Kevin Dunn? Dunn maintains too much control of the show. His production is top-notch. But the shows feel stale.
The shows also feel saturated. Raw is obviously too long. Social media is emphasized to an overwhelming degree. WWE is creating a nirvana for fans that are consumed by the product 24/7. But are they alienating casual fans? The ratings, the buy rates…most domestic revenue streams indicate so.
Yeah, I know: You like it. Let’s be frank: You’re not very discerning. You would watch no matter what. The opinions of those who used to watch matter more. Right now, people who used to watch wrestling outnumber those who still do.
These columns are getting harder and harder to write. ROH is Class AA wrestling. TNA is bad beyond description. WWE is bland, cookie-cutter nonsense. The most over guy in recent memory got sabotaged and demoted. Some say Daniel Bryan is nothing more than a reaction. OK. If that’s true, what’s Randy Orton?
If WWE is good, why are less people watching? Business will regenerate as WrestleMania approaches, but that’s by rote and will have nothing to do with an upgrade in quality. Looking at ‘Mania, what are the obvious matchups? Nothing WWE might hang its hat on strikes me as exciting.
Bring back the part-timers. IS THIS YEAR 'TAKER LOSES? Don’t create. Recycle. Bray Wyatt = Kevin Sullivan. Does anybody in WWE creative watch TV, go to a movie, or visit a mall? When will pop culture spawn a new character? Has that really happened since Raven?
I have seen the future of WWE – and it's Bill Ding, the evil architect.
That’s it. Please pile up stupidity below. Pay me.
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX