A marketer's dream...
Ask your standard wrestling fan who isn't in his or her tweens to describe the WWE and you will hear a tale of how the promotion has been circling the drain for a few years now, due to how the company has focused on PG wrestling and a body-builder image. Many of these people come from what has been described as the "Internet Wrestling Community," or the IWC for short. This group grew up with the likes of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and the Rock putting their bodies on the line in high octane matches that spewed forth blood like a sanguine volcano. Those people cannot accept the WWE as it is now.
Does this mean that the WWE is on a decline? Many articles published on B/R would argue that this is the case. Then, they would highlight Ring of Honour (I'm English, it has a "u") as a prime example of how to utilize talent. Are they wrong in promoting this ideal? Not exactly.
Here is where the ambiguity comes in. Some of wrestling's best talents are in independent promotions, but all of them dream of making it big in WWE. This is because of a certain factor called "money." This is also the reason why WWE has changed as a brand.
A quick show of hands would reveal that many of us in the IWC and in the naysayers category are over 20 years old. We would have to be in order to have fond memories of that first TLC three-way tag team match, or that Hell in a Cell. I don't even have to mention the participants, as these matches caught our attentions. They made us beg our parents for 30 big ones of whatever currency to buy a Hardy Boys shirt or to buy WWF No Mercy.
Now, what are we doing?
Personally, I am working full time, catching an episode of Raw or Smackdown when my schedule permits. Many of us "Attitude" era kids are in the same boat. We are no longer the target audience of mainstream wrestling. Hence the change in focus.
The dangers of professional wrestling are well publicized. Benoit became a murderer due to steroid abuse and one too many "fake" chair shots to the cranium. Jesse Sorenson had his C1 vertebrae damaged at Sunday's TNA pay-per-view. As such, the WWE has taken steps to both protect it's active employees, as well as fit into today's generation. In a world where most teenagers are playing Saint's Row and Grand Theft Auto, most parents would feel that the WWE has become a day out where their kids can watch a sport where the danger is limited, without losing them to a Gameboy by the second half.
Also, these kids are now WWE's bill payers. It is now them who buy Cena shirts and CM Punk ice cream bars, (seriously, where are they?). These kids will beg their parents, much like we did, to purchase this month's PPV. We, as in my generation, have fallen into the fiscal nightmare that is bills, rent and in-disposable income.
If you haven't caught the gist of my argument as to why the WWE has changed, look at this way: If you were a business owner who was given the choice of two audiences, the child with daddy's money, or the desk slave on a modest, low income, who would you market your product to?