Let me clarify by saying, I love social media. I think social media is great and any company, sports team or organization who isn't utilizing social media to their fullest is leaving money on the table. Social media is great, and the fact that World Wrestling Entertainment has embraced it so passionately is reassuring.
I don't have to tell you again how over the top their love for Twitter is with its constant messages throughout live broadcasts—you can just watch an episode of Raw to get that idea. No, their use of Twitter wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back for me. It was this "promo" on Raw Monday.
"I came here and I accomplished everything that I said I was going to do. There's nothing left for me here to conquer. I'm leaving the WWE and I'm never coming back."
In less than 30 seconds, presumably, superstar Brock Lesnar has quit the WWE. Most of us know that Lesnar will be back at some point (likely around Royal Rumble or WrestleMania), so you can take the actual message with a grain of salt. However, the idea of a TOUT to announce the retirement or self-imposed termination of one of your biggest stars is beyond logic.
Seems to me something of this magnitude would be better served for, I don't know, a backstage segment, maybe an in-ring segment. After all, it's not as if Lesnar and manager Paul Heyman were given nearly 20 minutes at the top of the show to get across any major angles.
Oh...wait...they were. In that promo, Lesnar stated he was the new "King of Kings" and bragged about putting Triple H out of the WWE. In fact, it was an awesome start to an otherwise dull and drab three-hour Raw.
Why then did the WWE decide to have Lesnar hold an announcement of this magnitude until later in the show, on a screenshot of a minimally used social network they've invested heavily in? Who knows?
I cannot think of one logical reason why this angle would occur via TOUT and not in the ring, not backstage, not shot with a thousand-dollar HD camera. Even the placement of the TOUT was perplexing; this screenshot was the lead-in to a commercial break.
Am I missing something here? Granted, we're only a day removed and this could all make sense by next week, but I'm in shock at how little thought seemingly went into this.
Again, WWE production values are top-notch; they've been one of the better looking television products for over 10 years and have seamlessly expanded into high-definition. Naturally, you'd want to shoot a major angle from one of your biggest stars—and frankly your star with the most mainstream appeal—on a non-white balanced, standard-definition smart phone camera. Perfect. This is all the more odd considering, as mentioned, there was a great segment at the beginning of Raw that featured Lesnar and Heyman.
This may make sense next week, I'm not betting on it, but maybe it does. Maybe there's something I'm missing here, but right now I'm perplexed.
An angle of this magnitude being relegated to TOUT status leading into a commercial is beyond reason. I love social media, I think in some cases, the WWE has done a great job embracing it, but let's reel it in a little, guys. Let's let major angles play out in front of the crowd or backstage. There's no need to be TOUT’ing huge announcements.
Even though the WWE owns a large portion of TOUT (rumored to be in the $5.5 million range), I fail to see the need for this. I can't say for sure, but I doubt the number of hits on TOUT exploded in the aftermath. Most fans either saw it during the show or barely knew it happened since it wasn't referenced again.
I'm not sure then what the benefit to the WWE was, as one of their biggest angles of the year is now an afterthought of poorly shot, low-quality, awkwardly spaced Web video.
Then again, that's kind of the WWE we live in today.
This article also appears on VoicesofWrestling.com, an intelligent wrestling blog owned and operated by the author of this article, Rich Kraetsch. You can also follow Rich Kraetsch and Voices of Wrestling on Twitter: @richkraetsch and @voiceswrestling.
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