Rumors are abound on this Christmas Eve that the ever-patient WWE creative team are considering dropping the belt from internet darling CM Punk due to low ratings. In a quick aside it begs the question, have they not noticed these low ratings for about the last five years?
It seems that in the always 'equal opportunities' enterprise of the WWE that everyone is to blame except for those who make the matches, advertise the matches and scribe the story lines. Lets face it, those guys have been at fault for a lot and still kept their jobs! Vince Russo, I am subtly referring to you. In fact if anyone could weasel their way out of a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick I reckon Russo is that guy.
There is a strange phenomena in pro-wrestling known as the IWC. I am part of it, if you are reading this then so are you. No other sports or entertainment enterprise has surrendered so much to its internet fans as the WWE and pro-wrestling. The current champions in WWE back up that statement.
Vince McMahon is all about muscle, big men, strength and fake tan. That sounds exactly like Daniel Bryan doesn't it? Perhaps creative had an off day and instead of typing Mason Ryan into the script they punched in Daniel Bryan instead?
We are responsible for the push of Zack Ryder to realize his dream and become U.S. Champion. We got behind Punk when his promo echoed our exact thoughts and ramblings on the internet and I suppose we can take credit for the relentless campaign of hate towards one 'John Cena'. Sensing a movement far greater than anything WWE has experienced before post WWF, creative moved quickly to insure that our guys held the gold.
Now, in their offices, glued to a computer screen WWE staff monitor, stalk and collate what we say on social networking sites and pass that information down the food chain until it eventually reaches bottom feeder Michael Cole. (Coincidentally I like Cole)
As a marketing student I must firstly commend WWE's social media strategy. They are miles ahead of the game and have a monopoly over Twitter on Monday Nights and PPV events. They also remind us constantly of their dominating presence on Twitter and the decision to air the 'It Begins' promos on YouTube first was a stroke of genius.
So the situation we are in now is that the WWE have given us what we wanted; gold on Punk, Ryder, Bryan and John Cena not being the pinnacle of a PPV. Earlier in the year we had Christian win the title also. Are we happy? No! We will never be happy and that is the nature of the beast.
Already members of the IWC are now using the terminology, "oh no here comes 'super-punk'," as opposed to 'super-Cena'. We have people belittling Mark Henry's push, Zack Ryder's gimmick and Daniel Bryan's status as a World Heavyweight Champion. We are in truth looking for the next 'internet darling' to push for, to cheer for and to insist that they get propelled to the main event scene.
Nowadays there is no need to watch Raw or Smackdown or even the PPV's. You can just log on here to see whats happening and critically for the WWE that means we are open to misinterpretation of the product and the desired effect of the match, gimmick or show. We become immersed in the opinion of fellow IWC members and begin to do that one thing human beings always do—criticize.
Even if the story lines were structured 100 percent water tight we would still find fault. We have a thirst for perfection, a desire to see our ideas exactly as we envisioned them in our heads. But this is simply not possible. In the day of the sub headline, "Spoilers—contains information on an upcoming event," we have the unique opportunity to criticize something before it even airs on TV, leaving the WWE with an uphill battle. Smackdown ratings are low. The fact that it is pre-taped is the sole reason in my estimation. WWF never succeeded against WCW until Raw was live. The same can be said of Smackdown. PPV ratings are also down and Punk has done nothing to improve that. Maybe because the majority of IWC members pick up the action online?
In a perfect world the IWC's wants and needs would equal good business for the WWE but in reality is does not. Each member of the WWE roster equals a '$' sign to them, some bigger than others. Regardless of who works well, tries hard or impresses the IWC, the guy with the most '$' floating above his head will be the face of the company.
Low ratings are due to an overall lack of creativeness, drama and action within the entire industry. There is no breakout star that impresses the true wrestling fan and the casual fan. The IWC will always buck the trend, root for the underdog and in light of this will always be thirsty for more. At least for the WWE that means that some people are talking about them.
This is not an attack at the IWC, I am of course a participant in the above but a look at how we effect pro-wrestling and my thoughts on that effect. I hope you enjoyed my musings and feel free to sound off below.