Thursday, July 27, 2017

WWE: Why Watch Everything?

For the first time in a very long time, the WWE product is definitely worth watching. The wait for lifelong wrestling fans to watch their favorite wrestlers in the same promotion has become a reality with WWE's signings over the past few years. Have you ever dreamed of watching John Cena go one on one with Shinsuke Nakamura? You're now able to see that happen. How about Kevin (Steen) Owens continue his long running feud with Sami (El Generico) Zayn on the grandest stage of them all, Wrestlemania? You're wish will come true in due time. And have you ever dreamed of seeing the Demon (Finn Balor/Prince Devitt) go one on one with the Deadman (The Undertaker)? Well, that might be a long shot but it's still possible. Then why are the ratings getting even lower?

The most logical reason is that the product has been boring and just plain bad for too long. Even the most die-hard wrestling fans have found themselves watching less and less as they had been disappointed time and time again by what they have witnessed. To give up on something you have loved for so long is hard to do and is not easy to go right back, no matter how much better it may seem now. Some people have just moved on to other things, new shows, new forms of entertainment, they have lost hope. There are people out there that do not miss it and are fine without it in their lives but there are others that wish it was the Attitude Era all over again. Those people will continue to keep an eye on it with hopes that it will be exactly like it once was, which it may never be what they remember again.

The next and most likely reason for the continuing decrease is that there is just alternate ways to watch the shows you want, when you want. WWE Network has every Pay-Per-View and NXT show right there for you to watch whenever you want and Hulu has the episodes of Raw and Smackdown for you to watch whenever you want as well. In this day and age of SportsCenter and Facebook and Twitter showing you clips, telling you the highlights and allowing you to pick and choose the moments you want to see, watching a whole episode of Raw or Smackdown has become unnecessary. Why watch a whole Pay-Per-View when really you only care about one of the matches and you can skip to it whenever you want to after it's over? The need to watch full episodes of anything live has really become more of a burden and a waste of time in most people's eyes.

Reality is that if you can read a quick overview of a show, see which segments you would have enjoyed and then either go on YouTube, Hulu or the WWE Network to watch these segments, why sit and watch a whole show? Die-hard wrestling fans, such as myself, as fallen into the same routine that even if I were to want to sit down and watch Raw or Smackdown or even a Pay-Per-View, I find myself only partially paying attention as I know I can re-watch it whenever I want. I am not as dialed into the television when my favorite wrestlers are on the screen. Nothing that is being done or said is drawing my 100% attention because I know that I can go back and watch it later. Unfortunately, this is the real issue with wrestling as a whole. There is just too much to keep up with and not enough that I care to see.
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If I were watching AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Bobby Roode and The Miz (yes, I am a fan of The Miz) competing on the same show, each and every week, only one night a week, I may pay a little more attention to and actually sit down and watch them live. But with the brand split, the overabundance of talent with the very little screen time per talent, the forcing of guys who are just not as interesting or talented as some of the other guys, the constant recaps and interviews and behind the scenes conversations that fill up the number of hours all of the WWE programming spits out a week, it makes it impossible for me to keep up with everything else in my life, all of the other television shows and sporting events, as well as WWE.

As a child, with little interest in watching most sports on television, absolutely no interest in watching most television shows on a weekly basis and not much to do except for my homework, I could see keeping up with everything that WWE has to offer but it's become almost impossible to do it as an adult. I am not saying that is impossible, but the effort that must be put forth to keep up with every show that WWE produces, not counting any pre-shows or post-shows or specials that they provide, simply is not worth it for most people. The quality of the product, unfortunately, is not the issue with the WWE anymore, it's mostly due to the quantity and the access.

I believe that WWE has seen this being foreshadowed and realized that when they developed the WWE Network and it's possible that they hold very little stock in ratings anymore due to this. It's been long rumored that Raw and Smackdown will eventually find itself on the WWE Network as well on a weekly basis and that may become a reality if their ratings ever drop far enough that the USA network finds itself not needing their programming anymore. The problem WWE may find themselves with is can they bring back the excitement, the intrigue and the hardcore wrestling fan viewers that have began to dwindle to keep their own Network alive and maintain that level of interest to keep the seemingly short attention spans of people now-a-days high enough to become the weekly viewers that they once were.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you think there is another reason for the ratings decline? Comment on the article and give us your feedback. Let's discuss.

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