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THE WWE PROCESS, WHAT IS MISSING FROM WRESTLING THAT IS CAUSING VIEWER LOSS, STONE COLD KO AND MORE

By Dave Scherer on 2019-07-24 10:00:00

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I'm thoroughly confused about "creative" at WWE (aren't we all?) with the hiring of Paul E. and Easy E. What's the actual hierarchy now? Is Michael Hayes out? Was Hunter too busy with the various incarnations of NXT to take over a show? So, at the top of the food chain is Vince. Then...?

At this point in time, it's Vince in charge overall with Heyman and Bischoff reporting to him.  Vince still has final say.  Michael Hayes still has his role.  As for Paul Levesque?  Well, he is very, very busy.  No doubt.  If I were him, I would want to wait to run the product until I didn't have to bend my vision to fit Vince's.  I think WWE is wise to keep him out of the overall process too.  It will be very interesting to see what happens when WWE reports their second quarter earnings tomorrow.  I expect that the hiring of Bischoff and Heyman will probably be used as a means for Vince and George Barrios to say that they are making changes to try and turn things around.  It makes sense to save putting Levesque in that role for later down the line if things continue to flounder.  At that point, Vince could even step aside or over, and give control to HHH as a way to appease stockholders and possibly their TV partners. 

I read the recent question about Tony Khan and his interpretation of what AEW needs to be.  About it can't be just about great wrestling.  I agree the "sports entertainment" aspect is necessary.  The key is it has to be done well.  I would equate great in-ring work without the entertainment aspect to a great acting performance in a bad film.  I've been watching wrestling for probably 36 years or so and I've seen good, bad, and everything in between when it comes to the storytelling aspect of pro wrestling.  Why do you think some promotions find it so hard to present the product as a believable sport with great matches supported by interesting well written characters and storylines?  Those two things together are what will bring back fans to WWE and draw fans to AEW, ROH, NJPW, or whoever!

Vince Russo and his 100 mile an hour, let nothing grow or resonate style of booking is part of it.  In fairness to him, it's harder to keep people's attention now than it was back in the days of the Attitude Era, but he was doing that even then.  You need to build and tell stories that grow over time as opposed to instant gratification.  You have to make the viewer wait to see something at times, building anticipation.  That just doesn't happen enough anymore.  I think the bigger issue is that companies have lost sight of what Sports Entertainment actually is.  It has morphed into something that is so over-scripted that it's often unbelievable and farcical.  At its best, it's the opposite.  It's real person A having a real issue with person B and it escalating to the point where the fan can't wait to see them fight to settle it.  NXT does a fantastic job of it.

I've always been fascinated by the early developmental footage prior to the WWEPC and NXT.  There seems to be footage on the Network from early on, but does WWE fully own the footage from OVW, HWA and FCW where they can put the entire series up for streaming?

They own at least a lot of it but remember, that stuff was not meant for national presentation.  It was about learning.  With NXT, the learning happens off camera for a long time before the talents get on TV.  Back then, they were willing to put people out there and learn more on the fly.  That often made for less than ideal TV.

What makes Kevin Owen's similar to Stone Cold? Maybe because I only watch clips online I am missing the bigger picture. I understand he is using the stunner but beyond that, I'm at a loss. I'm not blind, I can see some scant similarities but they are no different than any wrestler who is after a title and against the McMahons. Was Seth similar to HHH? No one really made that connection but he used the pedigree, he betrayed his stable mates to get ahead, he became a corporate puppet. The presentations are so different that I can't connect this era with those from the late 90-early 2000s because they moves are still being used. It does show that even with the same premise, this version lacks the intensity that Austin and Hunter had in their characters. 

KO has gone a lot farther in the anti-authority bit than others have.  He's gotten thrown out of buildings, attacked the authority, etc.  Is he Stone Cold?  No, but I can see the similarity at this point in that he is calling out the (mc) man and saying what the audience is thinking.

Just read your article titled "Vince McMahon will not be happy today, not at all".  The news of the continuing ratings drop I know came as no surprise to you or PWI readers.  You reported that USA and Fox may be getting anxious.  Do you think that maybe just maybe Vince has dug a hole too deep and WWE could actually end up in REAL trouble?  As a fan who has been tuned out from Raw & Smackdown for quite some time now, it'll take good word of mouth over a period of time for me to commit to tuning back in.  I think it'll be the same for many fans who have left.  The networks may not have the patience!

To be fair, Variety reported that the networks were getting anxious.  Here's the deal, as far as I know there isn't an out clause in the TV deals.  As long as there isn't one, WWE has years to turn things around.  Even if there is some kind of clause, getting over two million viewers for the shows in 2019 is still good value for the price paid.  The key is for WWE to stop the bleeding and start to build the foundation to get people back.  It took a long time for them to all leave, and it will take a while to get them back, if they CAN get them back.

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