WWE’s future is an hot topic of discussion in the Internet wrestling community. The picture that we paint is often gloomy and our tone is often acrimonious.
Therefore, this writer had started a series of articles that discussed various aspects of the future of WWE. The series has seen two articles already. You can read the earlier two parts here below.
Now, you might be wondering that what I am going to discuss in the third edition, after having looked at the so many sides.
This third and the final part of this series will analyze the potential of WWE’s future. Those 20 were the set of predictions, estimates and speculations. Here we will see that in which way they will function and how they will affect the future of WWE.
For simplifying our analysis, I am going to use the most common tool of marketing strategy. It is a SWOT analysis.
I will explain what it is in the next slide. Therefore, without any further ado, let the ride begin.
SWOT analysis is the most commonly used tool in marketing to assess the potential of any product or strategy.
“S” stands for strengths. “W” stands for weaknesses. “O” stands for opportunities, and “T” stands for threats. Strengths and weaknesses are factors that are inherent in the product, where as opportunities and threats are external prospects.
It is easy to analyze the potential of something when we categorize its different aspects in these four dimensions. Now, WWE’s future can be assessed in this way, too. And, that is what we will do now, my dear readers.
I do not feel the need to explain what the strengths are. We all fully understand the word.
When talking about the strengths of WWE, we will take into consideration only those aspects, which will serve WWE in the long run. Their impact has to be long lasting.
Therefore, aspects like recent heel/face turns etc. do not count. So, here we go.
Well, this is one of the strongest points of WWE. We all belong to this very category.
Every product has a reliable set of customers. No matter what happens, this set of people sticks to their love. It takes horrendous amount of mistakes to drive away these customers. They may criticise the product all they want, but in the end, they still stick to it.
Years of existence in the business has helped WWE to build such a rock-solid base of lifetime fans. It is half to their credit, and the rest is because of all the wonderful performers that have touched our lives for such a long time.
Loyal audience also has another tendency. It brings some new customers along with them. A boyfriend will perhaps bring his girlfriend to a live show of WWE to turn her believer. A father while trying to teach his son might say that, “A for Apple, B for Banana and C for Cena.”
WWE has so far enjoyed a base that has never gone away from the product, no matter how bad it may become. And looking at our patience, I feel that it will take much more than one Hornswoggle to get rid of us.
Another plus point of WWE is strong infrastructure. FCW, NXT, Tough Enough, the list goes on.
WWE has built a strong base of smaller promotions that train new talent and make it ready for the big stage.
Without their presence, WWE would have had a tough time in preparing these people and would have taken a time, that may have proved detrimental.
WWE has freed itself of the experiments with talent on main rosters by having secondary foundations. Of course, it is the financial clout of WWE that enables WWE such luxuries, but it still helps.
Tough Enough was already a success, and FCW has some extremely bright stars, too. In such a scenario, WWE has right to feel comfortable, as long as it does not turn into complacency. It is rather a big question.
This factor covers almost everything that comes under “extra-curricular” activities of WWE. It consists of PR agencies, merchandise sales, tie-ups with NGOs and ventures in other industries like book publishing.
WWE has created a fabulous marketing mechanism that is itself worthy of scholastic research. It does not only make money through merchandises, but it has also built stars like Cena, Undertaker and Hogan.
They were and are huge stars because of many reasons, but WWE’s marketing excellence has made them only bigger.
Such a mechanism has opened several avenues of profit and image building for WWE. It has a capacity to make a star out of nobody, and we have probably seen it already.
This is another strength of WWE, and fortunately, it has nothing to do with the creative team. The quality of pyros, effects, stage and video packages are highly significant parts of WWE’s overall supremacy.
In economics and business, it is often said that consumer not only needs a product, but he needs an experience. WWE exactly suffices this need of average customers, excluding IWC and smarks.
Let me give you an example, suppose you are attending any show or even bigger, say WrestleMania. When you witness the surreal entrance of the Undertaker, it is impossible that you will ever forget the chill, the extravaganza and its sublime appeal. This is experience, my dear.
Video packages are another factor that deserves a mention. It has truly justified great matches like Stone Cold vs. Rock, Taker vs. HBK. And, it has also made lacklustre events better, am I talking about Cena vs. Miz at WM 27?
You can guess it, right?
This is our favourite topic, is not it? We so love to discuss the weaknesses of WWE that sometimes we forget that it is supposed to be entertainment.
When we are talking about weaknesses, let me clarify that it is related to something that is present in the product.
It is often perceived that lack of competition is bliss and paradise. I will just add one more word to the popular perception. Lack of competition is bliss and a fool’s paradise.
Lack of competition diminishes challenges; it hinders the evolution of industry and essentially kills the development of ideas. That is exactly what is happening to WWE, right now. TNA, ROH and others are nowhere in the position of challenging WWE.
It is almost as if WWE and others are operating in two different sectors.
This aspect hampers in two ways: internal and external.
When we talk about external aspect, it is making this industry as a whole weaker. It is becoming monotonous. Consumers are lacking choices and naturally they are looking elsewhere. We will discuss it in depth later on.
And, for the internal aspects, let us move on to the next slide.
This is what lack of competition has done to the WWE internally. An assurance that our loyal viewer has almost no better option is a deep rooted feeling in WWE at this moment. Every action of the WWE is suggesting it.
This, however, will prove to be a great felony of WWE. They are not taking risks, they are not innovating. They are failing to realize that the current rate of profit has an equilibrium point, after it has reached the maxima, it will dwindle.
This short-sighted, narrow-minded approach has taken down many empires, and WWE is not an apple fallen from the heaven.
WWE is bound to face the same fate, if they do not open up their eyes as soon as possible. To say “Never give up” is cool, but actually doing something to move forward is all that matters.
P.S. The picture of John Cena does not mean to imply that is he is complacent. It means to signify the approach of WWE towards their apex star.
This complacent nature has paved a way for lazy creative. It amuses me to see that how the same mediocre ideas mushroom in the head of these so-called creative writers.
It is a common knowledge that Vince has hired writers from Hollywood. But the fact that Hollywood is still producing good movies, even after these writers have gone and WWE is still churning out mediocrity, speaks volumes about the capability of these talents.
Secondly, failure of these writers to grasp the true pulse of pro-wrestling fans is baffling. WWE is almost like a soap opera, but “almost” is a keyword.
It is now hoped that Triple H and Stephanie will change the landscape in this department. We’ll discuss it later.
We do not even need to revise all the sorry tales of underutilized talent and wrongly pushed stars here.
The fact that Stone Cold had to appear two consecutive weeks and HBK is already lined up for the next week is enough to support our argument. WWE is banking on our memories to make money while still targeting children.
Well, I got a question here. If WWE fails to create stars of the magnitude of Austin, Rock, Taker and HBK in future, whom they will bring in as a guest in year 2020? Well, tough question, is it not?
Well, please pardon me for taking Threats before the opportunities and breaking the standard sequence. But, I hate to end my articles on a sombre note, especially threats.
Threats, as I had earlier said, are external prospects that may hamper a product and sometimes dampen too. Threats lie in the environment of the subject entity. They have the potential to eat the demand for product.
Now, let us get down to the business and discuss the potential factors that are threatening the future of WWE.
It is a common knowledge that the ratings of WWE’s television shows have dropped by a substantial proportion over the last decade. Where this audience has gone is a great question.
Various factors have attributed to this exodus. Some of them just gave up on pro-wrestling. Some of them found something better to entertain them. The changing tastes of the people, WWE’s focus on children and the downturn of the US economy are a few aspects that have done their bit for this cause.
The bottom line is WWE failed to keep them.
I refuse to blame the PG era for this situation or the potential exodus of even more fans. WWE is failing to read people, contrary to their capacity to smell money. What they are making is money, and what a company should focus is on wealth.
Drifting audience will not only go themselves, but they are going to take away prospective new customers with them too.
I have briefly spoken about it in the earlier segment. We focused solely on new stars there. But here, this aspect encompasses a wider scope. It has not only got to do with new stars, but it has all to do with overall nature of the programming.
In retrospect, we will realize there are some more aspects than only stars. Emotion, mystery and larger than life element, these were the culprits that fascinated us. These are the exact three elements WWE is missing right now. They create a possibility for them but fail to capitalize.
Without such a programming, these children will have very few things to cherish in future. They have not experienced the true grandeur of WWE, and it is not their fault.
Pro wrestling is fed on memories. It is what makes one generation to pass the torch of fan hood to the next generation. WWE is tampering with this flow, and they are bound to pay for it.
In any business, it is a common knowledge that indirect substitute of the product is always more threatening than the perfect substitute of the product. It suffices the original need of a consumer with own added flavour.
MMA is the indirect competition of WWE. They are catering to two different masses, but the consumer base of these two has one major common set of people.
This set is substantial in numbers. If they choose one product over other, when both are on TV, ratings are bound to see a twist.
WWE needs to acknowledge at least this simple fact, and then they can do all they want. So far, WWE had denied any intersection of the fans itself. This is a mistake of perception-blind company.
Sooner they accept, better it will be for all of us.
This is one interesting aspect. Wrestlers are the heart and soul of this business. It was legends who inspired the next generations and created new legends.
Currently, the trend of reality stars becoming pro wrestlers, while the proportion of true wrestling fans wanting to become a pro wrestler is dropping, is dangerous one. It is depriving us of an opportunity to see new legends.
And the bigger question is, if there little possibility of seeing another Hogan, Austin, HBK or Taker, then who will inspire future generations?
Such a situation is the biggest threat to the WWE, in my humble opinion.
Here, we finally come to the last part of our long ride through the plausible future of WWE. Here, we will discuss about the opportunities that are presented to the WWE in the present scenario.
Please don’t for a second think that these opportunities have anything to do with improvement in the product. It is a rather a chance to reinvent and more importantly a chance to make profits.
Neither essentially guarantees better product.
WWE has already grasped it. Major importance given to the Alberto Del Rio shows that. Monster pushes of Sin Cara and Jinder Mahal prove that. And, the fact that Great Khali still has a decent job makes it scarily evident.
In the second part of this series, I had discussed the opportunity of some integration with a foreign smaller league to enter the untested waters. It is one way to capitalize on this opportunity and aforementioned focus on international stars is another one.
Markets like India, Mexico and UK present WWE with an opportunity to offset the losses they may face in US.
Again, this is another factor that I had spoken about in the second part. Getting people like HBK, Edge, Jericho or the Undertaker will only help the business.
They know how to mentor new guys. They know very well how to entertain us. Having these guys who understand the business and audience so brilliantly, is a great opportunity to renovate the business.
Since this point is so apparent, I wrap up here and move on to the last point, and we’ll discuss the man who is not mentioned here.
Ascension of Triple H and Stephanie is an old news by now. What they may bring to the table is the true prospect to discuss about.
Triple H is a legend of this business. He knows how to go up and how to bring people down. These are the two basic attributes needed to become a tycoon. Triple H has it.
Stephanie on the other hand, has seen this business from a privileged corner. She has seen how a low point can come and she has seen how to overcome it. She is more of a business woman than performer, who has a passion that can rival with the former.
Together, these two have a potential to make up for one Vince McMahon. It is a time when even a genius of Vince is in danger of becoming old.
Therefore, changing of guards is the biggest opportunity for WWE to explore experiment and succeed with an open mind.
Here, I conclude my biggest series of articles so far. It was a pleasure to discuss so many different aspects of WWE's future from various perspectives with all of you.
I am extremely grateful for the reception of earlier two parts, and I hope that the finale has not disappointed you.
As usual, it is your yard now. Any appraisal or criticism is greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much and cheers.