“Did you watch this week’s Raw?”
“Nah, I missed it. Was it worth watching though?”
“Well, the Brock Lesnar segment was interesting, rest was pretty bleh.”
“And storylines? Anything I should know about?”
“No actual developments. You can watch the Pay-Per-View directly and not miss much.”
Although, this might seem like a fictional conversation, it is not. In fact, this is probably one of the most common dialogues you would find between WWE fans.
The Raw Episode on September 28th, 2015, drew 3.32 million viewers, which is a record low for the show and also the lowest number of viewers for a non-holiday edition of Raw since 1997. As shocking as that sounds, it is actually not that surprising. The WWE has seen its viewership and TV ratings drop year after year, gradually and arguably so has their content quality. There are now reports that the WWE plans to use part time stars like The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and even The Rock more on TV to close out 2015 over this panic in the ratings drop. Once again, it's a band-aid solution for a larger problem.
The craze of watching a Raw or a Smackdown event has just faded away in the last few years. The fact that you can easily catch up on whatever is missed over the two or three hour show in a few minutes of highlights later makes it even worse. The action on the weekly shows seems to lack high quality of entertainment and since the ‘E’ in the WWE stands for Entertainment, you cannot do without that facet, can you?
As Paul Heyman recently said, the fans get recycled. Some old ones leave and other new ones join the WWE Universe, but when the number of those leaving outscores those joining in, the WWE should be worried about its popularity. It is certainly not easy to pin point at one or two aspects which has led to the decrease in popularity of WWE over the years, so here we look at the top 15 reasons leading to this cutback.
15 Titles Losing Prestige
The WWE scrapped European Championship, Cruiserweight Championship and Hardcore Championship (personal favorite) and fans slowly lost interest in the Divas Championship, Intercontinental Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship. The Tag team division lost its sheen, the quality of Divas went south quickly and hardly anyone cared about who wore that Intercontinental Championship. That is basically your entire mid-card roster’s richest prizes and it became irrelevant to the world.
14 Lack of Patience by the Creative Team
13 Over-dependence on John Cena
12 The Downfall of the Divas Division
11 No Enticing Storylines
10 The PG Era
9 Bad Booking Decisions
Okay, where do we begin with the bad bookings? John Cena burying a very hot Nexus? Or the fact that CM Punk’s WWE reign was ended by a part-time wrestler like The Rock or as if that wasn’t bad enough, The Rock went on to lose to title to John Cena the following WrestleMania. Or the time when the red hot crowd favorite Daniel Bryan was missing from the 2014 Royal Rumble match or the fact that a returning Batista won that Rumble match. Or last year when Dolph Ziggler cleared the ring in the 2014 Survivor Series match and then got pecked down the card immediately rather than getting a push after his heroics.
8 Not Giving a Push to Deserving Superstars
7 Targeting the Wrong Audience
6 Part-timers Headlining Pay-Per-View Events
5 The Internet
4 Making Shareholders Happy Rather than Fans
WWE has shares in the market, the company is public and now there are shareholders who need to kept happy. Before going public, WWE had complete freedom. They could write content, pull off antics which, though ethically questionable, guaranteed entertainment to the fans.
3 No Competition
2 Lack of Top Stars
1 Predictable Results
The fans are not new to the concept of WWE and how things happen. We know what is going to happen next in most cases and you cannot keep feeding us what we already know. And this has got worse in recent years. We know championships won't hands on Raw or Smackdown. We know regardless of who answers the John Cena U.S Open challenge, Cena will keep the belt unless it is a pay-per-view event, we knew that Sting wouldn't walk out as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion against Seth Rollins and we all know Demon Kane winning it at ‘Hell in a Cell’ is highly unlikely too.
The quality of matches is not the point of discussion here, it is the end result that is the problem. It is so obvious how the match is going to end that it flushes over any in-ring magic that the superstars produce. The sense of unpredictability and surprises has been lost among fans and when you know the climax of the movie, it sucks out some of the excitement out of the match.
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