The wrestling industry has fallen on hard times.
After the boom in popularity that took place during the 90s, wrestling has seemed to be in the midst of a slow decline. Many of the fans who surfaced during the era known as the Monday Night War have since given up on a product that has, in the eyes of many, grown stale and boring.
What happened to put the business on the dismal path that it now seems to be heading down?
The WWE purchased World Championship Wrestling in 2001 and it seemed as though the company was now on top of the world. However, since that time, WWE has seen a decline in their ratings.
The common belief is that the competition that WCW brought to the table forced WWE to produce a better product and that now the WWE is getting lazy. This may be a problem, but it is only a small part of the real problem.
The Monday Night War is also credited with killing off the era of kayfabe, which is the covering up of the inner working of the wrestling industry.
Revealing wrestling’s secrets and showing the fans that there is more to the product than clowns and dead people walking around and giants and that they are real people could have played a small part in the decline in popularity—but again, that is only a small part of the problem.
One of the most common reasons given for the decline in popularity in wrestling is the internet. You can type "WWE” as a keyword on Google and you'll get about 33,200,000 results. You type in “wrestling spoilers” and you will find about 1,650 results on Google alone.
Almost everywhere on the internet are websites where you can go to find the latest information on what is going on in wrestling. This very site provides information on the latest developments in wrestling. The internet wrestling community is largely responsible for the decline in popularity in wrestling.
There are countless people who now believe they know more than the writing staff that is hired by WWE or the booking committee at TNA. People watch matches and will sit through shows simply so that can say “That was so stupid. Those writers need to be fired because it should have happened this way instead.”
Or, they see a wrestler they like getting put into a situation that they don’t agree with so they will say something like “I hope he quits over this or just gets released so they stop misusing him.” These people take the fun away from the show and all they accomplish is ruining a good thing for themselves.
There are even people who will jump on other people for being fans of wrestlers that are not as popular among the internet wrestling community. “I hate John Cena” will give you over 425,000 results on Google and “I hate HHH” shows about 247,000 results. A fan coming into a wrestling forum for the first time may very well be turned away from the product after reading some of what is posted.
You can come online on Tuesday night and know everything that is going to happen Friday night on SmackDown. Spoilers are all over and it is often hard to go on some wrestling sites without seeing a headline that tells you what has happened, whether you want to know yet or not.
Many people watch wrestling to see what happens, and when you find out beforehand the results of every match—as well as what happens during interviews—it can bore you and prevent you from spending your time watching something that you already know the results of.
To top off the numerous other problems within the wrestling industry, drug scandals are running rampant. Everybody wants to put in their two cents as to what needs to happen and who needs to be fired for it. It is being credited by many as a reason for the problems, but it is truly only a small one.
Most casual fans don’t care if a wrestler is on steroids. The only problem is that when you have negative comments about wrestlers and steroids plaguing the internet, people come on and read this and will respond with “well I don’t want to be involved in this crap so I’ll just not watch."
Why are we so negative in regards to something we all love? Why do we even bother watching the shows if we spend most of the time just complaining about them?
If you stop criticizing wrestling for just a few minutes and watch, you may realize that you actually enjoy it. If we stop rushing to tell everybody else what is going to happen before it does, maybe people will want to tune in to see what happens.
Why dwell on the drug problems in wrestling? That is a situation that is out of our hands and the more we focus on that, the more we help spread negativity. If you see or hear somebody cheering for a wrestler that you don’t like, don’t jump down their throats or insult them for it; people are entitled to their own opinions.
Basically, we are responsible for a part of the decline in wrestling popularity. Let’s stop being part of the problem and try to be part of the solution.