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WWE Panorama: 10 Things to Anticipate from the Future of WWE

ChinmaySenior Analyst IIOctober 2, 2010

WWE Panorama: 10 Things to Anticipate from the Future of WWE

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    Is there light at the end of the tunnel??

    The recent raw ratings have sparked up an haute debate on present of the WWE. The product has become stale and let alone turning heads of new audience, loyal audience is turning back on what once used to their passion.

    There have been thousand cries for change. Innumerable suggestions are flooding wrestling blogs.IWC and fans are becoming desperate. 

    WWE too has been trying its share by promoting the youth movement. There has been a shift in paradigm as we are seeing different crop of superstars making their presence felt on the main event scene. We as the WWE fans and critics have been equivocal in admitting one fact that yes WWE is in the phase of transition. A baton is about to be passed.

    WWE is standing on a point where the peril of finale is imminent. WWE has to make choices that would get back its staple audience to arenas and TV sets. These are the desperate times for Creative and corporate departments of this media behemoth.

    Soon enough superstars we grew up watching, respecting and idolizing will fade into twilight. Soon enough, WWE will be a company whole new in blood and body. There will be a new generation and most importantly a new era.

    Therefore, in my humble opinion, it is the right time to dwell upon what the future of WWE might look like. This is the moment to look forward to changes, development and evolution.

    (Disclaimer: This is not a ranking)

Evolution of Randy Orton

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    Randy Orton is currently the hottest star on the global pro-wrestling scene. Unofficially he is the face of RAW and most probably, this will be acknowledged by WWE in coming times.

    However, the true enigma is what shape the character of Randy Orton will take. He is the anti-hero of PG era. The problem is such a character will become stale rapidly due to constraints that PG era enforces. There will be a limit on violence and audacity this character brings in.

    There ought to be many minor changes in the gimmick of the apex predator of WWE. He cannot be hot without turning heel once in a while. He is clearly not a material made for baby face.  He will have to be edgy, fierce and at the same time likable.

    Secondly, true flare of Randy Ortons’s current character will lose its sheen without mighty foes. John Cena turning heel is still a buzz of a share market without any known dividends it might pay off. Randy has had hundreds of face-offs with every current main eventer. There will be a dire need of new stars and characters that will suite Randy’s character.

    Therefore, the character randy is portraying will be in constant need of evolution.

    It will be matter of high curiosity that how does WWE tackles these challenges. WWE is well known for dropping the ball with every big thing. But, this particular ball is too significant to be dropped in any way at this point of time. 

Emergence of Indy Stars

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    This is already becoming a rule rather than an exception. Indy stars are shining bright in WWE arenas. C M punk’s success with fans opened the doors for Daniel Bryan, Kaval. WWE recently hit headlines with acquisition of current ROH champion Tyler Black. In most likelihood, WWE will give him the equal opportunity to excel as Daniel Bryan.

    WWE aways opted for relying on homegrown and multi-generational superstars. However, it only added to the staleness of the flavor. Indy stars will provide a completely new level of intensity and wrestling skills that WWE is falling short of as of now. They will provide a different set of possibilities for story lines and rivalries. The years of ring-work brings its own sense of ring psychology and chemistry. These facts are evident in the work of above-mentioned three superstars. Indy stars do also save WWE’s time on grooming of the stars.

    In coming years we will have influx of new stars from Indy and ROH roster on WWE stage. We would also see them rising to prominence.

Rise of Mid Size Wrestlers

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    For ages we have been crying and whining over the fact, that Vince loves big men just little too much. Hogan, Taker, HHH, Batista, and Cena the list just goes on. Jericho, HBK, Bret Hart were exceptions.  They were just too good on their own.

    However, times are changing. We have many mid size superstars that can go a long way. C M Punk, Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel, Miz, Heath Slater (Yes I believe he is going to stay) are just to name a few.

    The reason I believe my hypothesis is the change in type of wrestling we are witnessing. Agility and flashy maneuvers create more jaw dropping moments for current audience than a physical brawl. The recent antiques of JoMo are just an indication of what I am talking about. The constraints PG era is putting on moves just corroborate my claim. VKM is smart enough to realize the direction of wind.

    I have another card. We can see the apparent change in Hollywood action hero’s physic. Times are changing there too. Gone are the days of beasts. It is the moment of agile wolves. The slim (perfectly built) and toned heroes are money. This change in trend has direct connection with superstars in WWE.

    There is one more factor called MMA. This is going to play a major role in defining the style of wrestling in WWE. WWE will have to acknowledge its competition and will have to offer its product accordingly.    

The Fate of Diva’s Division

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    Along with the Tag-team division, diva’s division is also one of the endangered species.

    The wrestling ability of current divas roster is not really worthy of talking about. NXT roster has so far offered nothing special. It is evident that WWE is least bothered about it. This is an utter misfortune to say the least.

    I do not have any hope of seeing a woman superstar in future. It is not that they are incapable of doing it, but WWE is too complacent to put some efforts there. Divas are not trophies that are showcased in glitz. However, WWE is never going to realize this.

    What WWE is forgetting is women constitute 50% of the population. Even 1% of them tuning into the program means money.

    Just like pre-attitude era, I expect this division to extinguish for a while before returning to its routine fate.

    Nonetheless, a change that we are waiting to take place actually happens, we can expect some good here.

Competition

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    This is one of the most significant points in my opinion when we talk about WWE’s future.

    Competition is not only important for innovating and improving a product, it is a catalyst in bringing new customers to the industry as well. WWE is a business and it holds true every fundamental theory of the economics.

    A legitimate competition (so forget current TNA) to WWE is the answer to all the woes of this industry. However, the problem is from where this competition will come.

    We can mull over two possibilities here.

    First is the rise of TNA. This is highly unlikely given their current strategy and direction. They are just going backwards. However, stranger things have happened in past. Nobody in 1930’s thought Hitler and Stalin will join hands. Therefore, we can never discount probability of the impossible. Who knows, if TNA hits the bull’s eye or even WWE integrates with TNA in some or other way? This is a slim possibility but that is how world goes.

    The significant and crucial aspect is MMA/UFC in my opinion. They are en vogue these days and the most potent threat to the WWE. VKM might spend centuries in refuting this cold fact, but it will not change.

    What fans of pro-wrestling need is relentless action. MMA suffices this need. There is a distinct difference in product of both the companies, but similarities are vital as well. I will come back to what I have said earlier. WWE is a business and it holds true every fundamental theory of economics. 

    It is most of the times close substitute not the perfect substitute of the product that poses the biggest threat. WWE has to acknowledge it; otherwise, future will not be as rosy as they dream.

Transition of PG Era

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    Dynamism is the heart of growth and sustainability of any business. VKM is the master of this art and that is why when many promotions are history, WWE is still there.

    Every era has an expiration date. PG era has its own too. The direction WWE has taken has little chance of changing given current circumstances. However, they will have to keep their product in accord with what goes around. I had written an article on the very subject. Those interested can try it here.

    I am going to reproduce a part my comment on Ashley Morris’s amazing article (which btw you can read here)

    “Pro-wrestling and especially WWE has always been reflective of the society around. Each and every era of Raw mirrored what was going around. Current programming flatly fails on this front. The PG era does not reflect any undercurrent of the society except for consumption propensity of children. There is no sociological and psychological connection strong enough”.

    This fact is going to make it imperative for WWE to think and get back to doing what it is best at. That is mirroring the society around. We cannot say what society will be like in next five years, but WWE will have to be toes to follow the community.

    We will see a change in type of action, a change in nature of story lines and the brand of superstars. However, what kind of era is upon us is hard to be seen at the moment.


Rebirth of Controversies

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    I was not really sure about calling it ‘Rebirth’ of the controversies. However, when I decided what kind of controversies I am going to talk about I decided to go for it.

    Socially relevant Key-Fabe controversies are the ones I am putting forth. The man in picture ‘Muhammad Hassan’ epitomizes this term. That character was introduced during the aftermath of 9/11 and may have easily been one of the hottest characters to step in to the ring. Sergeant Slaughter is another example.

    Secondly, Montreal screw-job or Stone Cold-VKM moments were also the factors that escalated WWE

    The common element in these controversies, controversial gimmicks is that they resonated the issues of social life. They were moments everybody could feel and relate too. These controversies are essential for the involvement of people in the action.

    Therefore, WWE will have to create some gimmicks or Story lines that will coax sentiments of the people in an entertaining way. There will be less cash without controversies.

    I do expect WWE to create some such moments with lasting impact in coming times. However, for that they have to be relevant with social life as I said in former slide. 

Political Influences

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    This one is a curious point, Isn’t it? The reason PG era descended upon us was Linda McMahon’s entry into politics. She did not want her image to be tarnished by routine controversies of WWE. A kid friendly programming full of ‘Entertaining’ material was what thumped upon us in consequence.

    All the WWE fans kept praying for her defeat. These prayers are close to go in vain. There is a mighty chance that she will win the election. If she does, then we are going to have PG era on us for a long time of our adulthood.

    However, do not celebrate if she loses either. The current democratic administration is rather hell-bent on giving republicans what is theirs. So, by the time nest presidential comes, because of their fame and fortune McMahon's will have risen only to prominence.

    Apart from PG era, the political influence will have a huge impact on the practices in WWE. right from the employment relations to health and wellness policy, everything will come under scanner. There will be a pressure to form a system that benefits (to whom?).

    Therefore, in my opinion increasing influence of politics and political matters will be a highlight of next decade. We are going to see many subtle changes. Some will be for good, others to our dismay.

Development Health and Wellness Policy

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    In last few years WWE has taken a nice initiative by enforcing stringent health and wellness policy. It is still in the gestation period and we can expect it to be in full force in coming decade.

    Health and wellness policy currently monitors physical conditioning of wrestlers. It keeps a tab on which drug are being used. It also makes sure that prohibited substances are truly prohibited.

    In coming time we can see WWE adding different dimensions to this policy. I for one will be happy, if they add psychological assistance to wrestlers as well. It is a need of time and highly necessary. Those interested in finding why so, can try here.

    So, expect WWE to market their health and wellness policy a lot in future. That is going to be their ace in brand management.

HHH/Stephanie Era

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    Now, that is the real future. With Shane leaving WWE and VKM getting no younger, it is official that Steph along with the HHH will take over the legacy of her father.

    Almost all in the IWC shudder at the thought of having her along with HHH at the top. However, HHH being at helm will be a rare occurrence of a legendary superstar running the business.

    I am an optimist. I do hope for good things. I think that the man, who could work his way up in the WWE in such a way has got enough brains to run the business. Furthermore, he has spent his life in the ring and has been exceptional performer. He knows how to work the crowd very well. Therefore, ascension of HHH is a good thing.

    Stephanie on the other hand might not be so well as the creative head, but her passion is unquestionable. In future, I am sure she will prove to be a good CEO.

    So, in my opinion this is the biggest thing we can anticipate from the future of WWE, change of reigns.

Epilogue

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    In the end, i am not a fortune teller to predict whether WWE's ship will sink or sail. however, I do have confidence in VKM and i am going to say that most likely it will sail. 

    I am certain about few things i have discussed in my attempt. WWE is not going to be the same in 4-5 years. We are going to witness major changes in the functioning of the organization and the product it has to offer. It is bag of beans. Some will be sweet and some will be bitter. 

    One thing is sure as hell, am going to keep watching my staple program no matter what. If these changes take place i will be more than happy.

    i would like to have your take on this now. Feel free to comment, praise and critisise, now it is you yard.

    Thank you very much for bearing me for such a long time.

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