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"It's a bad, bad time to be a fan in a lot of ways."

"It's a bad, bad time to be a fan in a lot of ways."
That was your quote from the blog today and it ties into something I've been kicking around in my head for awhile now  - it's not going to change. I feel like we (and by "we" I mean the "in our late 20's or early to mid 30's; formerly hardcore, lapsed to semi-lapsed, got smart to the business in the late 80's or early 90's" fans) are waiting around for something that's just never going to happen again. Allow me to elaborate.
 
 
It seems that every boom period in wrestling is triggered by the emergence of a break-out main eventer or angle. I grew up a WWF guy, so my example from the 80's is obviously Hogan, but I guess Flair would be his counterpart on the other side of the fence. In the 90's it was Stone Cold for the WWF (followed very quickly by Rocky); and the nWo and Goldberg for WCW. I think this ebb and flow leads to the myth (or self-fulfilling prophecy maybe) that the wrestling business is cyclical, and that drastic "up" periods will always be followed by drastic "down" periods. (I never believed that, incidentally. It seems to me that wrestling was cyclical because a wrestler would get hot and then the company would do nothing but the same formula that worked so well initially over and over until it got boring, while the top guys did their best to keep their spots and hold down anyone who had the potential to get over and business would cool off. And then the company would fumble around blindly for awhile until the next big thing caught on).
 
I think that's what we are all waiting for - the next wrestler, or angle, to come along and catapult our little guilty pleasure back into the mainstream so that we can all express our geek indignation and say"we were fans when it wasn't cool, while secretly enjoying the acceptance and validation that comes from seeing regular people walking around in an Austin 3:16 shirt. Only, I get the feeling its never going to happen again, because nothing/no one is ever going to be allowed to get over to that extent.  
 
I was watching the Stone Cold DVD set this weekend, and reliving his emergence from floundering midcarder to bonafide main event star. I remember being amazed at how it all happened back then, and still am now, particularly at how quickly he caught fire and how the company just ran with it. How Steve seemed to tap into the spirit of the time; the frustration of fans at the cartoonishness that was the norm in the early 90's; or even just the fact that he kicked so much ass and took no crap from anyone. But I realized it was more than that. It was the fact that he was ALLOWED to kick so much ass and take no crap from anyone. Its like someone in the back actually went "holy crap they like this guy, lets give them more!" But if King of the Ring '96 happened today, and Austin 3:16signs started popping up everywhere, Steve would be jobbed out to Kane for 3 months straight until the audience stopped caring. Its almost like they're trying to prevent another boom period from ever happening.
 
Maybe I'm stating the obvious, but I think the goal of the past few years has been to make the company, the WWE brand, bigger than any one wrestler. It's like Vince was so burned by Brock (and I guess Lashley) bailing on him that he's been determined NOT to create another true transcends-the-business, main event star ever again. Its like the company is content with giving us various iterations of the same 8 - 10 main eventers they already have on the top of the card, and doing "even-steven, no one gets over" booking from the midcard on down. So what that ratings will never be in the 7's (or 6's, or 5's, or 4's) ever again? So what that PPV numbers are in the toilet? At least if a wrestler leaves the company, it won't be someone they actually spent time pushing right? At least Vince will never suffer another broken heart… you'd think the company that spent so much time during the Monday NightWars telling us how they made all the stars and WCW stole them could just suck it up and make more.
 
Anyway, the reason I'm writing this is it seems like the industry is just so ripe for a change again. The frustration in the air whenever Cena is in the ring is absolutely palpable... At least it seems that way in my living room, and it reminds me of hating the product back when I was supposed to buy Freddie Joe Floyd, The Goon, Salvatore Sincere and TL Hopper as the new generation of stars.  Watching Cena this past Monday come out and cut a kayfabe promo on Laurenitis and Big Show just seemed… I don't know, wrong to me. It was aggravating to watch. Cena's pure babyface schtick, especially in the past few weeks, has seemed so over the top that I feel like it HAS to be tongue-in-cheek. I kept waiting for Cena to start firing off pseudo-shoot comments about what a turd Show has been every time they give him a main event push. But instead all we got was "why Show, why?" I feel like a change has to be coming…  Why is Cena even going along with this garbage at all? From all indications, he's a fan like we are. He can't possibly like the crap they have him doing. Right? Or am I just kidding myself?   
 
Sorry I just wrote you a novel. The answer probably is that I'm old, the business has passed me by, and I should stick to getting my nostalgia fix off the DVD's but whatever; I'm an internet geek, and as long as they're putting out a product I'm going to use my freedom of expression to complain about it, dag nabbit! Just like good Ol' JR used to tell us we could. Oh wait, they don't let us do that anymore either…

 

Yeah, but now you're getting THREE hours of RAW instead of two.  That's the change that people wanted, right?  Because WWE always listens to their fans, especially the idiot ones on Twitter.

Comments

  1. I appreciate your novel, but its the same story we have all repeated time and again on this blog.
    I sincerely believe that this blog should be printed out and sent directly to the desk of Vince. At least one thread. Like a Live PPV or RAW thread. Just so he can see what fans of 20-30 years think of his product.

    Now i know we arent the target demo, but we are the paying demo.

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  2. Excellent little missive there. The "Austin/Hogan/Goldberg were ALLOWED to kick all kinds of ass and get over" argument is true, and I think another contributing factor is that with no competition, things won't ever get to the point that they need to resort to that.

    Examples: The New Generation was born out of WWF getting its ass kicked by the nWo. The nWo was born out of Turner getting its ass kicked for a decade and suddenly realising money would turn the tide for good. Hulkamania was born out of the WWWF having its ass kicked on a national scale, relatively speaking in comparison to the NWA.

    While RoH stays small-time and Impact stays so poor-quality, there's no catalyst on the horizon that will make WWE go "You know what? We need to change direction here." They'll keep getting decent ratings, making decent merch sales, getting worthwhile PPV buyrates and they'll still be the destination of every aspiring pro wrestler in the western world.

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  3. "Why is Cena even going along with this garbage at all? From all
    indications, he's a fan like we are. He can't possibly like the crap
    they have him doing. Right? Or am I just kidding myself?"



    If his net worth from his divorce statement is
    accurate, he’s got $19 million reasons to do whatever the hell Vince McMahon
    tells him to. He makes a load of money every year. That’ll make almost anyone
    give up artistic integrity or being a fan. He’d probably dress up as the new
    GobbledyGooker if Vince promised him enough money.

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  4.  I appreciate that you feel this way but I'd like to respectfully point out that you're wrong. The target demo IS the paying demo: the moms with kids who decide where their family's discretionary income goes.

    As an example, I overheard a conversation a woman at work was having with another co-worker describing how excited she and her son were to be going to the arena that night to see John Cena. Not the WWE, or RAW, or HHH, all she could talk about was Cena. Repeat this scenario in offices all over the country and you'll see why the WWE packages things the way they do.

    As far as printing out the blog and putting it on Vince's desk: he won't read it and if you could somehow make him read it you still can't make him give a shit. WE ARE NOT THE FANS HE'S LOOKING FOR!

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  5. "Now i know we arent the target demo, but we are the paying demo"

    I don't agree with this. I have absolutely NO numbers, have done ZERO research, and have no qualifications that allow me to speak on things of this nature, but I think the kids are the real cash cows. I don't blame Vince one bit for catering towards them, it's what I would do if I was in his position. Going to shows (hell, just watching on tv) shows you every kid decked out head to toe in merch (usually Cena merch, occasionally Punk/Rey/Sin Cara/etc). Their parents order them the ppvs, take them to house shows regardless of the advertised main event, buy them $300 replica belts for Christmas (actually, that's one piece of merch usually carried around by adults so nevermind...).

    Fans like us are more likely to pirate ppvs, skip house shows cause Raw has been bland or we know that our favourite guy is injured, and buy *maybe* 1 piece of merch (coughPunkorBryanshirtcough). A lot of us are closet fans that don't spread the good word about WWE (regardless of whether we're enjoying the product or not) person to person or through social media. We're also EXTREMELY fickle, and hate being told "what to do" or "who to cheer" like we're 15 years old and Vince is our Dad.

    Vince is making the right call, this is a big reason I cut him so much slack. I don't see the upside in catering to the 18-34 male demo, cause that's a hard audience to retain over the years (hell, how about A year). MMA/UFC is always there as an alternative, and it's presence has only increased the stigma of being an adult wrestling fan. Even during the height of the SoP, with all the mainstream publicity, there was still a line drawn in the sand between the 2 and WWE can't win that fight. It's fake, UFC isn't. Most of the MMA/lapsed wrestling fans that came over seemed to think that Punk was going to be ushering in Attitude 2.0, and when they saw he wasn't they went back to their real sport.

    And I've made this point before, but ratings are down *all* across the board. The top rated shows on network tv pull in substantially less viewers than 10 years ago (I have no idea about cable). UFC was a ppv juggernaut for a while, but they've had a rough couple years (especially last year), and with no Brock and an injured GSP they haven't been too hot so far this year either. And their last FOX shows bombed in the ratings, too.

    Anyway, that was pretty long winded and didn't cover any new ground, but this topic brings out the worst in me. In summation, let's see where this is going... I mean, let's cut Vince some slack. Any man that could come up with the 3 foot long Kane penis idea can't be all bad.

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  6. The only chance we have of seeing any type of change is when Vince is gone. I know Steph is cut from the same cloth, but deep down I believe HHH will pull things in the right direction or he'll try his best to.

    I agree with a lot of what this article says and much of it has been said on this blog at one point or another in some form or another. The truth is and we all know it that unless Vince gets real competition or goes private again he's just not going to rock the boat. His ratings are flat, but at least USA knows what they are gonna get from him, so as long as they are ok with that level of ratings he's fine there. And obviously they are ok with it or they wouldn't be giving him a 3rd hour. He continues to make money churning out the same product over and over and he'll continue to do that until the day he dies.

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  7.  I think a lot of the success was the WWF/WCW understanding where the culture was going too.  When the wrestling product reflected the values of the culture at large in North America, they seemed to experience the most widespread success.

    The 80s WWF was all about dramatic superheros and villains, which fit in perfectly with a generation obsessed with superheros, Masters of the Universe, Gi Joe, etc.  Hulk Hogan vs almost every heel was basically the same morality play as most Saturday morning cartoons, tales of good and evil used to push the message that good guys always win if they play fair.  The NWO and the Attitude Era both tapped into the subculture of the late 1990s -- shows like South Park and Jerry Springer pushed the limits of what you could see on regular TV and were massively popular (Oprah almost called it quits in 1997, because Jerry Springer was the first talk show to surpass her in the ratings during her big run).

    So why has that stopped?  Maybe one of the things that makes it harder for the WWE to get it's pulse on the culture now is because they have become a more international company and it behooves them to find a product that appeals to the widest number of cultures possible.  Or perhaps it is that American culture itself has changed, becoming more fractured, making it harder to really find one thing to grasp.  Obviously the WWE has the Twitter thing down though, I suppose.

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  8. I don't think Cena is the problem. I forgot where I read but, about the Big Show feud...it's not Cena's fault he's been throwing into one crappy feud after another, he's just trying to make the best of it.

    I think you actually have to give Cena a lot of credit for staying a money-making machine. Obviously he's protected and while the males are sick of him, his fans aren't yet. It's not a Hogan 1992 situation where everyone was sick of the act.

    There's no doubt Cena needs to be freshened up as an act/character, but he's not the reason the WWE sucks right now.

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  9. If I'm TNA, I go live on Fridays and try to beat SmackDown. It won't be as sexy as a new Monday Night Wars but they could make more of an impact (no pun intended) against SD instead of the flagship WWE show.

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  10. I don't know about you guys, but I'd like to hear Drunk Ryan Murphy's thoughts on this subject.

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  11. I think Cena is probably too nice of a guy. From all indications, he's just a really good dude. And really good dudes tend to walk the company line.

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  12. Re: our vision vs Vince's

    I also want to point out that a lot of the people on this blog were bitching about the way Rock/Cena was handled. They didn't like the year long build where Rock was absent for months, didn't like the lack of physicality, HATED the rap battles/Rock concerts, thought Flo Rida was a stupid celebrity, etc. But the name if the game is making money, and WWE sold more ppvs (with the highest prices ever) than any show in history. And the WM that had an excellent build to its main event (whether you consider the M.E. to have been HBK/Taker or Cena/Batista) by IWC standards had the lowest buyrate of the last 8 years.

    Maybe we're not always right, and he's not always wrong.

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  13.  Bad dudes walk the company line too when they get paid a shit ton of money.

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  14. It's condensed because I don't have that much to say. And it's hardly new ground we're treading here. The main point is their business model is more concerned with selling junk at house shows and online than it is slaking the puro fanatics. If it means they pop less of a rating they feel they make it up in ticket sales and giant foam finger sales.

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  15. "Or perhaps it is that American culture itself has changed, becoming more
    fractured, making it harder to really find one thing to grasp."

    I believe this really is one of the key reasons. on this blog alone you have dozens of different possible "WWE would be better if..." directions. I mean, besides wanting an alternative to the current shows, how much do someone who liked the Russo-crash booking and would love it if the WWE hired him back and someone who is more or a less an old school-NWA "I want it to be about WRESTLING in the first place" type of fan really have in common?

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  16. In the short term, the product isn't going to get any better while Linda pretends to be a politician. They're going to play it as safe and boring as they can. It makes sense if you compare the McMahon family to the Corlene family. The wrestling aspects of the WWE are like the drug business and the entertainment aspects of the WWE are like casino business.

    WWE gave up it's wrestling interests to be more legitimate, but still kept around the entertainment to fund Linda and then Hunter's brood into politics when they get older. I truly believe the endgame for Vince, Steph, and Hunter is for the McMahon family to become a politician, banker, lawyer, etc family rather than a wrestling family. If it's ever successful, they will wash they're hands from wrestling completely.

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  17. to me, the first thing they should do is STOP WORRYING about being/become a competition for the WWE. focus on putting out great shows etc., the success is very likely to come eventually.

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  18. Great article and the point about how Austin would be booked today is exactly the point. In the old days if CM Punk had gotten the reaction that he did at MITB he'd have been pushed to the moon with an extended feud with John Cena leading up to a Wrestlemania rematch. Daniel Bryan wouldn't have been squashed at Wrestlemania in favor of pushing Sheamus yet again, he'd be involved with CM Punk and/or Chris Jericho in a series of crazy matches with stipulations for months. 

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  19.  Austin took his ball and left instead of walking the company line.

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  20. btw: examples like this are proof to me that all the talk about Cena not really being a huge star is bogus. like or not, but to a certain part of the audience he is the draw. and sometimes, as you demonstrated with that story, pretty much the ONLY real draw.

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  21.  The snarky cool nerd persona that CM Punk has would be most relevant to today's current culture but again it's the problem of how they ignore it or at the very least seem to bury it for whatever reason and not push him harder than they do.

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  22. Interesting point and I wonder if they would ever sell (and who would buy) their majority stake in the company. Picturing HHH in congress makes me chuckle, guessing the cerebral assassin would have his trusty sledgehammer not to far...

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  23. exodus316 exodus316May 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    This is a great point, one that I had not considered.  Damn politicians screwing up something else!

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  24. Because it was so unexpected and told such a good story that I marked out like a little bitch for it, I convinced myself that Cena defeating Lesnar was just fine. (Lesnar never took off like Austin or Rock anyway).

    But now when my students offers to download Raw and PPVs for me, I tell him, no thanks.

    After having lost to The Rock, Cena seemed to be going in an interesting direction. Now I understand why people hate his character.

    Had Lesnar bloodied him up and then immediately defeated him, disappard until the next PPV and done the same thing to Seamus or Punk and then only appeared once a month or so until the Rumble or 'Mania, at which point Punk or Cena or whoever finally defeated him (in exactly the match we just saw between Cena and Lesnar), that would have been epic. I maintain that they still could have told an interesting story after Lesnar lost, but they sure haven't opted to do so.

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  25. Im gonna be real succint in my response.

    8-10 year old boys and girls do not have jobs. They can not buy tickets.. t shirts or foam fingers.They do not have cars to drive them to the arenas. So how the fuck are they paying demo when they have no income?

    18-34 year olds are the paying demo. They are the ones with the kids who they lug to the house shows and ppvs. they are the ones that authorize the ppv buys in the house.

    Now I understand he wouldnt read the blog BECAUSE WE ARE NOT THE FANS HE'S LOOKING FOR... achem... I also like to point out just because fans are on the internet doesnt mean they are full fledged smarks. They are regular people with kids... kids who like John Cena and hate The Miz. So regardless if the parent hates the product, they have a kid who loves it and more often than not, they are gonna fulfill their kids wishes.

    I can agree to disagree though

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  26. Welcome to Tem Lesnar! :-)

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  27. I would fully support Drunk Ryan Murphy as a new blog contributor. Perhaps as a shitty PPV reviewer? Start with Heroes of Wrestling, sprinkle in a bit of GAB '91, and see how this plays out.

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  28. I mentioned Lesnar/Lashley leaving poisoning the waters for the dedicated wrestlers in a comment yesterday, so I'll instead cross it with the Vince-wants-to-be-famous-for-something else train of thought - maybe Vince isn't mad at the outgoing wrestlers for leaving, but rather not taking him with them? 

    Mind you, it's pretty unlikely you'd get yourself a job in the movie industry because you helped The Rock become a star in wrestling, but it's not beyond Vince to have that kind of train of thought. 

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  29. I don't know if anyone here is a big football fan, or sabermetrics fan, but one of the points that footballoutsiders.com makes is that a lot of fans who came of age during the late 70s early 80s have an extreme myopia.  They believe that "real football" involves a lot of ground and pound with a verticle passing game.  In other words, they want John Madden's Raiders.  Footballoutsiders points out that instead of this being "the norm" that has been sullied, this time period was an apparition.

    I think Vince, and to a large extent the fans mentioned in this e-mail are in the same boat.  We keep expecting those eras to comeback, and we keep thinking that's the default, when those time periods may have been nothing more than exceptions to the rule.

    I remember learning about the Chinese Dynastic cycle in school, and there were 5 very distinct points in the dynastic cycle.  One of the key points was that corruption eventual overran the government, and cause the downfall of the dynasty.  One of the other key points was a reform period where all the wrongs of the fallen dynasty were corrected in the laws.  Everytime I hear Vince or someone say "Business is cyclical" I grit my teeth because the only thing that keeps business cyclical is reforming all the errors that lead to an upswing.  Simply saying "business is cyclical" doesn't make it so.

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  30. I think Cult Status had it right. Did any of you ever watch "The Wire"? Recall that Stringer Bell felt above dealing narcotics and dealing with low-level street trash. He wanted to use that drug money for something bigger (i.e. real estate). 

    The McMahon family really isn't any different than a fictional character (who is the best example I can think of, for a few reasons). I think the implications that Vince is ashamed of his business is absolutely legitimate. TNT, WBF, XFL, WWF New York, etc., etc. were all attempts at legitimizing himself to the rest of the business world. I know it's easy to dismiss something like that because he and his family are worth close to a billion dollars and how could a billionaire possibly care about something like that, but it's true. It's all about ego and McMahon has too much of it. 

    In reply to the emailer, I'm not ready for another wrestling boom, I'm just ready for something that makes sense. The company has no idea what it wants to be and that makes it painful to sit through.

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  31. Whether it's people that I know, fictional characters, or celebrities, I can't think of anything more insecure than Vince and the WWE.

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  32. Christopher HirschMay 23, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I don't agree with this, Austin did nothing of note for about 5 months after cutting that promo.

    CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are getting pushes.

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  33. Honestly I don't think Vince is always wrong.  He's a very brilliant guy (I'm not quite willing to comment on the whole "genius" thing) and so I think it's less a single thing, and more a pattern of behavior that has become frustrating.

    You bring up the Rock and Wrestlemania, and that's a faar point, but it's also an outlier.  Rock was worth the investment.  He brought in the buys, he brought in the people.  But one great PPV buy rate doesn't change a lot.  You say that making money is the name of the game, and that's true, but popping one buyrate isn't really making money because it's only short term money.  Buyrates fluctuate from year to year.  Saying that what you did in 2012 must have been better than what you did for 2010 because it popped the extra buys is misleading.  People have a bit more money than they did two years ago, and as I said before, the Rock was worth the money to put him at the top of the card.

    In the end, I go by health of the product, because I believe that leads to more consistent business, and right now I don't think this is a healthy product.  I'm seeing a lot to be excited by, and I'm optimistic, but I think that Vince has traded an awful lot to keep his supposed cash cow running.

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  34. They all want something interesting to happen.

    I'm more of a WRESTLING guy (according to the types you listed), but there's a reason I don't really watch ROH PWG or a lot of the other indies.  At least not on a regular basis.  I like storylines.  I like matches that have story build.  While I don't like Russo's ADHD booking, some really good stuff came out of it, and if it meant giving the mid card something to do, I could put up with a wrestling pornstar, or even a hand fetus every now and again (I'm in a good mood, check back on that last one in a day or so).  

    Plus the elements of Austin/McMahon or Rock/HHH weren't that new.  Hatred, pride, actual stakes; all of these things were plenty old school if you looked.

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  35.  Hey, he beat Yokozuna in a free for all match before SummerSlam. Of course that was only b/c the finish was that Yoko was too fat and fell off the ropes...

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  36. This is great revisionist history.  People look back at the rise of Stone Cold with such rose colored glasses.  Austin spent the PPV after King of the Ring wrestling Marc Mero, and was left off of the SummerSlam card entirely.  And the PPV after that.  And wrestled in the opening match the PPV after that.

    It wasn't until the Royal Rumble SEVEN MONTHS AFTER THAT that Austin really got any sort of sustained push.  And he spent much of the rest of the year (before winning the Rumble again) competing over the Intercontinental Championship.  He didn't skyrocket up to the main event of WrestleMania at the snap of a finger.

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  37.  I'm also referring to people in other walks of life. I'm sure there are plenty of people who do bad stuff in their free time but when they're at work, they just do what's asked of them because they make money.

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  38. That sledgehammer will one day be his running mate in a bid for the White House.

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  39.  Actually the truth is in the middle.  No a rocket wasn't strapped to his ass immediately after KOTR, but he got major mic time and got to call out arguably the biggest star the WWF had in Bret Hart for awhile before getting a bit match that helped cement him as a major player.  So no, the next ppv he wasn't going over Shawn for the belt, but he also wasn't languishing until the Rumble either. 

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  40. It's like older fans of The Simpsons complaining about how bad the show has been. Hello, you're old, it's not meant for you anymore.  It's moved on to the next generation of viewers

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  41. This is a great point, and I think the most crucial in terms of people not relating to the product. But then the question is what is the culture of 2012? As Ken posted below the snarky hipster nerd persona of CM Punk is probably the most relevant. But what else? What more? The Attitude Era/nWo era WCW/ECW from top to bottom of their rosters exemplified the late 90's/early 00's (for better or worse) through their characters, what would or should a roster meant to exemplify the culture of 2012 look like?

    And as far as Cena goes there most certainly is a place for him at the top if they tried to really fit with the modern culture. He just needs some small things tweaked. I don't even think he should turn heel; just be more human and vary his emotions...Oh--and stop trying to be funny, because he's VERY bad at that.

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  42. I think Todd meant that if you hook the kids in then you have the parents buying tickets for the kids and themselves as well as all the merchandise attached to it as long as the parents see the product as something viable for their kids.

    Not saying he's right or I agree, just possibly clarifying.

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  43. Hated the rap battles/Rock concerts?

    Maybe the latter (and even then, I think "hate" would too be strong a word), but my recollection is that we loved Cena's raps b/c they were so edgy and just when we were sick of him, BOOM, he sucked us back in with a vicious rap.

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  44. CM Punk was able to walk a straight line b/c he was sober.

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  45. That is a ridiculous statement on so many levels...

    It has nothing to do with older or newer, it's either better or it's not.  The newer Simpsons seasons are just not as consistently good as they used to be, that's pretty much established fact. 

    Many of us "older" fans love Punk, Bryan, Ziggler, etc as much as we loved some of the stars from yesteryear (at least I do) and maybe feel that the show is not as good. 

    BTW, quality is not a matter of age.  If it's good, it's good.  I happen to think "Avatar, The Last Airbender", a show built for the same target audience as the WWE, but infinitely better written.  In fact, you could take some of the storylines from that show and insert them right into the WWE world and it would work.

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  46. It's funny watching people unable to cope with growing out of the coveted 18-24 demographic.

    Guess what guys, they aren't going to start playing videos on MTV either..lol

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  47. eh, I'm not in Pixar's main demographic, but I can still say they make excellent movies that I can enjoy and that make a shit-ton of money.  Not sure you can't objectively judge the quality of a show or movie just 'cause you're not part of the "demo".

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  48. I agree with everything you have said, and I too have stopped watching (mainly b/c I had to get rid of cable). But what really sticks in my paw is this idea that something meant for children, or something meant to appeal to all audiences simply can't be good. I think that The Avengers proved that something meant for the whole family can be GREAT if it's written competently, and doesn't insult anyone's intelligence. I don't see how bringing Jeremy Piven or Maria Menunos appeals to children at all. I don't see how Kane attacking Ryder while he tries to change a tire appeals to children at all. I don't see how varying Cena's emotions and not having him make LAME jokes would be off-putting to children. And yet these are some of the main sticking points we have against current day WWE.

    And as far as pushing new talent, hey, Vince was looking for the next Hogan while Hogan was still very popular (per Bret's book). So I see no reason why he shouldn't actively be looking for the next Cena or whatever now.

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  49. What? lol

    Ok, here goes:

    While my kids do not have jobs, they are still cash cows. I am 32 years old, am I going to buy a ticket to the show? Ehh...probably not but for the purposes of this example let's say I do.

    WWE has just made, say, $50 off me.

    Am I going to buy shirts? No. Am I going to buy foam fingers? No. Am I going to buy programs? No.

    Like any good sporting event the only thing I'm buying is $60 in beer (that's three whole glasses!)

    If I take my kids, now we've bought at least 4 tickets (assuming I don't bring the wife or any of the kids' friends which I almost certainly would bring at least 1-2 friends on a normal night)

    Now WWE has made minimally $200 off me.

    And my son will want a Cena shirt (more accurately a Funk shirt if they even make those). And a program. And a foam finger. Or maybe some Broski glasses. Heaven fucking forbid they want a Rey mask...

    Multiple any one of those items by 3 for the amount of kids I'll have as you can't buy just one kid something, you have to even it all out amongst the group to "be fair" (i.e. shut them the fuck up for a few minutes)

    Now WWE has made something like $300-350 off me.

    The 30+ age group won't even pay for PPV's...let alone merchandise. EVERY company wants to market to kids. Not to mention marketing directly to kids established a brand loyalty that can potentially be worth millions in the future. That style of marketing is what gets a 7 year old who likes tassles to turn into a 32-year-old blog poster that's encouraging *his* kids to also be fans of the product, thus starting the cycle over again.

    That was unnecessarily long, I'm sorry, just woke up.

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  50. Like any good sporting event the only thing I'm buying is $60 in beer (that's three whole glasses!)

    Lol, so fucking true.  It's so ridiculous.  Check this out, I bought 2 tickets for last night's Heat game ($100 each, but play-offs..ok).  Then, beers were $14!!  For Bud f'n light! 

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  51. Yeah, but by that same token CM Punk's position now vs. a year ago are worlds apart.  Same with Daniel Bryan.  I think the point here is that people seem to think that Austin was shot right into superstardom and that wouldn't happen today.  The reality is that it was a very gradual build and he did languish for a bit after making his star making moment.

    Let's say CM Punk becomes a massive star and the unequivocal face of WWE and goes on to have a legendary career.  I'm sure, in a decade or two, everybody will look back at this peroid and somehow remember that he gave an awesome promo, won the title at the following PPV, and then went on to have one of the longest title reigns in modern history.  And that the Punk push blows away the treatment of the current hot topic.

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  52. He seems more like the Secretary of Defense.  I see Puppet H being the running mate.

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  53. Oh I'm not trying to suggest the product is super great and you all suck for not enjoying it or something, far from that.

    I just think a lot of the anger at WWE here is misplaced anger at just getting old in general. It took me several years (and several kids) before I realized that: "Of course I don't like anything that's on TV, I'm out of the demo. The point now is to enjoy this stuff *through* my kids."

    I feel like very few people around here have even made that leap.

    Of course it could just be that I have three kids and am basically done being a relevant person lol.

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  54. Want to really tear your hair out of your fucking skull?

    Do some research and find out what the arena actually pays per keg. You will go fucking apeshit.

    A newspaper here in Seattle did a story on the Safeco Field/Budweiser deal and found out that the arena...wai for it...pays NINE DOLLARS PER KEG...and then turns around and sells each beer for $8.

    Yes. After the first cup every single beer is 100% profit.

    Is it any wonder the stands are filled with airplane bottles at the end of every game? lol

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  55. I'm 30 years old and when I pay for things, I'm using money that comes from my 63 year old boss.  Does that mean the "payer" is 30 or 63?  Yeah I know it's not a perfect comparison, but the point is that it doesn't matter where the money is coming from, it's about who the money is being spent on.  Do you think WWE gives a flying crap if the money comes from the 9 year old or the 9 year old's 35 year old father?  No.  But the important difference is that if you take the 9 year old out of the equation, the 35 year old is no longer spending his money on your product.  So while the 8-10 year olds might not have a job, they are still the paying demo.

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  56.  Yeah, kegs cost about $50-$60 in Florida, wholesale.  Beer bottles, the 16 oz. ones they sell, are about $1.25 for Bud Light/Miller Lite fare...it's crazy.  The pull something like 5% cost on that shit.

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  57. Of course, he'd be the only congressman to get a theme song before presenting legislation.  "Time to play the gaaaaaaameeee!!"  He'd spit the water up in the air...

    He'd get things done, most of the old crusty congressmen would be too scared to dispute any of his ideas.

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  58. Of course it could just be that I have three kids and am basically done being a relevant person lol.

    Hot damn!  You're a better man that me...You must be exhausted every minute of your life, lol.

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  59. SasukespecialmanMay 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    This is true. The real difference was Bret Hart. Bret saw money in Austin (and, of course, a way to get himself back on top) and had Vince's ear. Today, the vets never go to bat for the new star. Bret and Austin revitalized each other, and Bret never seemed bitter about Austin becoming the bigger face (by all accounts, Bret loved his time as a heel). Today, HHH pops up, makes himself look like a million bucks and leaves. Having good veterans is the core of ANY wrestling company. For me, one of the big differences between WWF and WCW in the late 80s was that WWF had guys like Rock, Foley, Vader, etc. all of whom were always willing to make people look good. WCW had Hogan, Nash, Hall, etc. who never seemed willing to go the extra mile for the young'ns. WWE is going to have a lot of trouble until they find some reliable people; I do have high hopes for Punk and Bryan making the next gen look good, assuming they themselves are ever established enough to have that effect.

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  60.  true, but part of the point also is that once they did strap a rocket to Austin's ass, or HHH, or whoever, they didn't do 50/50 booking like they do today.  They put that guy OVER.  Repeatedly.  Now they do the half-ass push and then wonder why any wrestler that worked before 2005 can come back and be more over than their regular crew.

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  61. It's much easier than you'd think. The trick is staggering them out so one that's almost 6 that can watch the 4 year old that can watch the 2 year old.

    It's like management. I have the corner office and only get bothered if people want to get yelled at.

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  62.  I agree with the the fact that WWE isn't mean for me, but the Simpsons?  Um, it's not marketed to kids.  It was marketed more to kids in it's heyday with the Bart focus than it ever is now.  It's racier now than it was back then too.  I think your analogy fails because the Simpsons is marketed to the same people it always was (heck it's part of a night of shows that are all TV-14 other than the Simpsons), it's simply not as good.

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  63. Holy shit. The McMahon/Corleone comparison is epic.

    Does this make poor Shane Sonny or Fredo? 

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  64.  Yeah, the truth is that they should try to cater to both demos.  There's a reason that the most important demo on TV is 18-49.  If all the families and kids disappeared tomorrow, it would hurt the WWE and by the same token, if only families went to shows, they'd lose a good chunk of cash as well.  They should try to figure out a way to find a happy medium.  Want storylines more G rated?  Treat the titles with importance.  Want comedy characters?  Make wins and losses count.  You can do both and I think that's the critique most of us have.

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  65.  good point.  I'd argue that WWF was actively marketing to kids in 1987, yet it was great.  Being family friendly doesn't preclude being good.  I almost always love the animated movies that I take my daughter too.  Sure not Garfield or Marmaduke or things like that, but How to Train your Dragon, the Shrek movies, Enchanted, etc. that stuff is fun for me and her.  Being family friendly doesn't make a movie have to be boring for adults.

    As for the Hogan thing, back then Vince was still close enough to when his dad ran things, that he was still fairly old school.  Now he's not.  And Hogan had HUGE amounts of power, which was part of the reason Vince prepped Warrior to replace him.  While Cena is powerful, it's nothing like Hogan in 1990 and these days Vince is just too fearful of risk, the unknown, and of another Lesnar to ever try to make the next Cena. 

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  66.  Ha!  You're Johnny Ace and your eldest son is David Bowtunga.  Excellent.

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  67. Let me put it this way, I wouldn't be shocked if Shane took one of HHH's kids on a fishing trip.

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  68. The thing with Rock/Cena, though, is that it's Rock/Cena - one of the biggest stars of all time coming back to fight the biggest star of today was going to do a huge buyrate no matter what.

    Seriously, the build-up to the match was pretty much universally panned, and even if Vince had purposely tried to mess it up, it wouldn't have mattered: the match itself was what people were going to spend money on, not the story attached to the match. There were plenty of people who don't even watch wrestling anymore that bought the PPV, proving my point.

    A similar thing happened with WM17 - much of the card had pretty lackluster build, but the card looked so good on paper that people just HAD to buy it.

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  69. I thought the disdain for the musical stuff tied in to the lack of physicality.

    Maybe it was just me, but in the week leading up to WM, as we reflected on the build I heard a lot of "instead of a pull-apart brawl they gave us dueling concerts! SMH... what happened to Andre yanking off Hogan's cross?"

    You're right in that Cena's rap was well received when it immediately happened, but it felt like the overall choice of having them cut musical promos on each other in lieu of actually hitting each other was shat on.

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  70. Everybody in this part of particular thread is going up the same mountain... just taking different routes.

    Im saying that the target demo is kids. We know this. All im saying is that they pay for nothing cuz kids suck, and have no jobs. Which leads to the parents to foot the bill for everything the crumbsnatchers want.

    We are basically discussing semantics. I think that since we (parents) pay for everything, then they (wwe) should cater to us albeit in a small way. Wrestling was always built on a three ring circus model. Dont like the lions, try the trapeze artists, dont like then heres some clowns, dont like them screw u we have your money anyways.

    Dont like Hogan, heres some Macho, dont like Macho heres great tag team action. Dont like that How about some whatever...

    Now its just John Cena vs _____ and while its profitable, its creatively stagmanat, but we have been through this song and dance before

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  71. Cena is a very talented performer and a class-act all the way, but he just has nothing to work with.

    The problem, though, is that there's a big difference between being one of the main characters of an ensemble cast, and being a one-man show. The WWE has been a one-man show for years, when there are plenty of other acts and performers that could contribute.

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  72. I'm a television executive's dream demographic. I'd venture to say the Simpsons is aimed directly at me with both barrels.

    And the modern incarnation is awful.

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  73. Exactly!

    It makes more sense to put out a good product first and THEN try to compete, instead of trying to compete with a bad product.

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  74. Yeah. People say "business is cyclical" like its some law writ into the fabric of the universe, as opposed to the result of people doing either _good_ or _bad_ things, to put it simply.

    Good times end when people start screwing up. Bad times end when people get their bananas together.

    The WWE needs to get its bananas together.

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  75. HHH is definitely Michael. Bret would be Hagen.(Non blood relative who was screwed/forced out in part 2) Shawn Michaels is Sonny.(hot head who died too soon. tollbooth/back injury)

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  76. The Love-Matic Grandpa!May 23, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    "Kid-Friendly" doesn't have to equal "Boring" or "Nonsensical". I completely understand that I'm no longer in the target demographic and that WWE considers the kiddie audience to be the ultimate cash cow (although I still think it's short-sighted to focus solely on families coming out to shows once or twice a year and dropping some dough on merchandise and ignoring the ratings, PPV numbers and so on the rest of the time). But the product can still be "PG" and compelling at the same time, and it hasn't been that for a long while (a few brief shining moments aside).

    Plus, WWE seemingly wants it both ways. How many 10 year olds really going to care about Brock and HHH's contract disputes? What audience are the WCW dvds being targeted towards? Because the company has been dead longer than they've been alive. What about the "nostalgia nights"? Or the occasion semi-shoot angles and interviews (like during SoP). It just seems like WWE still wants us older fans to watch and support the product even as they attempt to drive us away with goofiness and banality. If they wanted to go full-blown 1980's circus again, fine. Just make it entertaining and consistent.

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  77.  While it's scary to think about, there is one problem with that:  those McMahons love the business/sport whether they like to admit or not ("just when I think I'm out...they pull me back in").  Whenever you see behind-the-scenes footage of Vince going over angles or rehearsals, he is insanely passionate and having a fun time.  He loves performing in the ring, he loves marketing the big wrestling events, and he is so passionate about the end result that he'll order re-writes 3 or 4 times.  While Stephanie tends to be more conscious of the bottom line and revenue, she is still Vince Jr in a lot of ways.  And when her kids reach college age, you can bet she'll be breathing, sleeping, living WWE 24 hours a day.

    And, as an aside, I think almost any family would walk away from their business if the alternative was becoming a political dynasty.  But as much as there is truth to your statement, I don't think that's the endgame.

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  78. Those kids aren't growing up in the same business as Vince, HHH, and Steph did. It won't be in their blood like them because by the time they're old enough to appreciate WWE, it will be a boring, bland, passionless money maker. 

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  79. SasukespecialmanMay 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    I think this post is spot-on. PG or "kid friendly" seem like lame justifications for a poor product and creative bankruptcy. It provides an easy way to delegitimize critique because we aren't the "target demographic". Most of us don't need groundbreaking new storylines, just some coherency to it all - which should be a requirement for child-centric programming as much as it is for "adult" programming. Rather, the WWE is only nominally child-focused and really just produces lame storylines.

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  80. I think a lot of nostalgia stuff has this effect.

    The night it happens it's like "Ohhhhhh sheeeeet Dr. Funkanomics is back!"  and then afterwards you feel kind of silly like "Heh, that was never that good of a gimmick, was it?"

    I think a lot of the nostalgia/legends matches are not going to age well.  Let me ask you this, do you still think Rock/Hogan (the mania match) was a great match?

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  81. Well, if you wanted to be literal, Triple H is technically the son-in-law, which would make him Carlo Rizzi. So this means that Bret will soon have Andre garrot Triple H in the front of a car anyday now as revenge for orchestrating Montreal.

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  82. The thing that frustrates me most about the WWE currently is that it has enough capacity to be both the kid friendly unit shifter and the adult orientated wrestling show.

    This was what the brand extension should have established, but outside of a few isolated moments ( the smackdown six being the one that springs immediately to mind) the WWE has never established clear and unique identities for the brands.

    As a comparison consider this list; The Prestige, Cars 2, The Tempest, War Horse, Fright Night.

    All very different films, targeted at different demographics yet all released under various arms of the same company; Disney.

    There is no more family friendly company than Disney, yet having something as schlocky as the fright night remake on its books doesn't hurt their image just as a film as dense and dark as The Prestige doesn't.

    Why? Because the associate their core brand with the family friendly, mass appeal stuff (Pixar and Pirates movies) whilst the movies that sit less well under that brand image are released through a different imprint so you wouldn't even know the money went back to the house of mouse.

    This for me is Vince's big failure of the past ten years. Not the failure to create new stars, but the failure to create new brands. I completely understand the logic behind chasing the family $ but it's just one slice of the wrestling pie, and the WWE is pursuing it to the exclusion of all others.

    The brand extension should have resulted in something like;

    RAW for families
    Smackdown for wrestling fans
    ECW for attitude era antics

    Instead they've homogenised all shows so they're indistinguishable.

    That's left a big gap in the market that UFC marched into and that TNA should have claimed if they knew they're arse from their elbow.

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  83.  Yes you would not buy a Cena shirt or a Rey mask, but what about an old school Austin 3:16 or nWo shirt?

    You see? Every demo can be the paying one, there is only something needed, that attracts them.

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  84. Had to go digging a while this is from Tom Zenks old rants

    http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b157/rahminwright/mcmano.png

    You're welcome.

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  85. http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b157/rahminwright/vincegod.png

    You're welcome.

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  86. http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b157/rahminwright/mcmad.jpg

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  87.  Here's the ultimate point. He KEPT GOING FORWARD. Unlike what they do today and depush people, Austin kept getting involved in bigger and better feuds and more high profile matches. Now its main event today, gone tomorrow oh main event today, this time as a heel for no reason.

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  88. Bad Dudes wear sweats & tank-tops and fight ninjas on top of moving semi-trucks. 

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  89. Finally finally - I was more or less about to type this post myself. There is a basic marketing principle called segmentation which divides customers up into different groups and then targets brands/products at each.

    Disney's brands are one example - but it can be something as simple as economy plus on United where there is a group of passengers willing to pay more for enough space to use their laptops.

    The WWE had the perfect opportunity to so something like this with its three brands:

    RAW - heavily storyline driven for families with some nostalgia acts like the Undertaker for their parents. You can probably put the women there as well to give the dads a little guilty pleasure.

    Smackdown - more wrestling based product with emphasis on realistic story lines (CM Punk's contract). Put the cruisers and wrestlers like Rey and ADR here and market the heck out of it to the Hispanic community.

    ECW - underground vibe with lower production values and more hardcore wrestling style.

    You can then tie different sponsorship deals to different brands so Mattel can sponsor Raw while some more edgy brand like Red Bull can tie up with ECW. Each show gets sold to a different TV station with the most appropriate demographics and away you go.

    To be honest this is freshman year marketing stuff and its shocking that the shareholders and board members at WWE Corp continue to allow to Vince to hose away stockholder value like this.

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  90. THIS. This is what I allowed myself to be tricked into thinking was going to happen when ECW relaunched in 2006. When it failed to materialize I went from regular fan to guy who checks the internet on Tuesday to find out what happened on RAW. My fandom still has never completely recovered.

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  91. Honestly, we older fans, 25+, as far as the WWE goes, it's like we're in an abusive relationship, you know?

    That's it! I'm sick of this shitty product! They won't get a dime from me anymore!

    Ooh...Summer of Punk....Money In The Bank PPV? Take my money, please!

    That's it! No more...no more...I'm done with the abuse, I'm done.

    Oh, Best of the Clash DVD? My wallet's in the car!


    Unfortunately, they know that we're in for life. All they need is a hot angle, or an awesome DVD set to get a few more bucks from us, and we never disappoint. 

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  92. Hey man, I'm the original emailer, and I agree with you, I did stop watching. When the ECW revival failed to deliver the edgier alternative I bailed on the product. Its the DVD's that brought me back. I guess I'm just frustrated that the the current product is nowhere near as satisfying. Or entertaining. Or fun. Or, you know, watchable.

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  93. There used to be a lot of legitimately middle-aged (not like, "Oh man I'm 29 I'm *so old* lol!") fans of wrestling, because wrestling hasn't always been something just for kids.  Some people act like "it's not for adults" is an inherent trait of wrestling, rather than a symptom of the current misguided product.

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  94. I knew WWECW wasn't gonna be worth shit the moment that the Zombie appeared on the first episode.

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  95. I'm at the the point where I'm just going to embrace it. I'm 33 years old. Wrestling was better 15 years ago than it is now. Hip-hop peaked with Cuban Linx album in '95. The Simpsons ruled from Seasons 2-7ish. None of it is ever getting better. Kids today are nothing but punks, and I used to walk to school in the snow with no shoes on, uphill both ways..

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  96. For the longest time I always thought that when WWE went back to being PG in 2008 is when I stopped really caring about wrestling. I thought it had to do with the fact I was used to the attitude era and the really edgy product and without the blood and half naked women, it was the major turnoff to why I became a casual fan again. Turns out it wasn't the rating that was doing it, it was their boring ass storylines and the bland feel to the product. I don't care what it's rated, as long as it's not boring as hell and has really good storylines they get me invested. Plus PLEASE make new stars. It's like everyone is part of the machine and nobody can get out of it.

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  97. I never meant to imply they pushed Austin to the moon immediately after KoTR 96. He DID start getting cheered after it. Austin 3:16 signs DID start appearing though. And they noticed and reacted accordingly; by BUILDING him up into a main eventer. Even when he was languishing, as you say, he was calling out Bret,getting great mic time, cutting great promos, doing fun stuff like crashing Byte This and abusing Todd and Sunny, all stuff to continue getting his character over. Without any ridiculous company-manufactured obstacles (like getting squashed by Sheamus in 18 seconds) to derail him. Hell, Austin's first real high-profile match came against Bret at Survivor Series that same year. Yeah he lost, but just being in that match was a step up for him.

    And that's sort of my point, everything they did was a step FORWARD for the character. No half-assed, 50/50 booking. At no point did someone backstage go "Whoa, Austin's getting TOO over... better job him out to Fake Diesel for 3 or 4 weeks to maintain the status quo". 

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  98. The Simpsons really did rule in those seasons though.  I think it's more a case where most things that start sucking can not be relied upon to stop sucking.  The WWF pulled a miracle by un-sucking in around 1997, because the few years before that, my target-demographic self wanted nothing to do with them.

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  99. I think bad booking makes things worse, but I do agree with the cyclical element of The Business (copyright HHH). 

    1. Wrestling typically hasn't done well as an entertainment medium when there is a war.  Take the early 70's which weren't a high point for the WWWF and around the First Gulf War.  People don't turn to fake violence for escapism when there is real violence on television.

    2. Some of the cycle is economically related.  We've been in a recession for a while.  People have less disposable income.  They tend to spend less on merch & house shows.  Take the mid 80's and Mid-South Wrestling.  That was a very well-booked show for the time, but the economic conditions in Texas, Oklahoma, and Lousiana due to the oil bust made for empty arenas.  The early 90's sucked in general for the WWF in part due to the economic downturn in the US economy. 

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  100. "I'm a white male, age 18-49.  EVERYBODY listens to me, how matter how crazy my ideas are!"

    Nuts and Gum, together at last!

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  101. Exxxxxxactly.

    I guess a nuts n' gum tag team would be Santino and Orton. Santino 'cause he's nutty. Orton because WWE seems to stick him everywhere I don't want him to be.

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  102. You've hit the nail on the head.  The kids are the target demographic whether they can pay for the tickets, merchandise, etc. or not. 

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  103. Every time they start to make some progress on their product they go diving off a cliff.  TNA has had brief periods over the course of their history with some solid wrestling and storytelling, but they can't seem to figure out how to sustain it.  Things are going well, fans are happy with the product and instead of giving them more of what they want...wham more Mr. Anderson promos, over the age (and in some cases way over) promos and central focus points of the product.  I was hopeful that with Russo gone things would get on the right track. 

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  104. You are so very, very right. And ya know, why didn't Vince just create a new company name when the split happened? It never HAD to be called WCW, but the split was meant to manufacture competition for themselves. And the thing is in storylines this COULD still happen, the power struggle storyline still exists, HHH can lose some important match banning him from WWE, he goes off to start his "own" company which they can name whatever they want (Titan Wrestling Federation for example), and have it be its own thing.

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  105.  Hey, HHH steps up to the plate for a lot of young guys. The problem is that they're all his buddies and not because they're talented or anything. That's why so many guys quit the buisness. Not to say Sheamus isn't talented but he wasn't pushed based upon that talent and more on the fact that he had connections. Hart wanting to work with Austin was purely out of a standpoint that he thought they could do buisness well together. Same with Sting and Cactus in WCW.

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  106.  But once they committed to that push they didn't stop. That's the thing. Today more often than not pushes are aborted and guys are shunted down the card inexplicably for no reason at all.

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  107. Pretty much agree with everything the emailer wrote.

    Wrestling is funny. It's the only show on TV people watch and openly wish was something else a lot of the time. That never happens with other TV shows. When something like Glee starts to suck, teen girls find something else to watch and tune out. They don't watch and study the storylines and remark how they want something different. When it sucks, they leave. The end.

    When Sopranos got convoluted, I quit watching. When Simpsons turned into a cartoon, I quit watching.

    Wrestling is different. It's the one show where some fans will stick around and watch and openly wish the booking/storylines\marketing plan\etc were different. I don't know if that adds to the appeal or makes it worse. It's just.....weird.

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  108.  People do the same thing with sports a lot of the time.  Either their team is terrible and poorly coached but they keep watching and complaining about how badly the team sucks, or they think Bud Selig is ruining baseball but they keep watching.  I guess if you really love watching baseball or watching football or watching wrestling, it's hard to find an exact substitute.  This is why people used to stop watching WWF and switch over to NWA or whatever.

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  109. Yeah, I was gonna say that part of the weirdness of wrestling is that it's enough like sports to make you watch it when it's shitty cause there's that optimism. But it's too much like fiction television to truly be a sport. When wrestling is done right, it's the best of both worlds. When it's done wrong, like it is now, it's the worst of both worlds. Bad athletic competition with even worse fiction.

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  110.  You're clearly new at the internet. Go to almost any forum, and I guarantee you that you'll find plenty of people bitching about shows, even though they'll continue to watch it.

    I'm pretty sure that half the people that stuck around for all of Lost did so only to continue to complain about what they felt was wrong with it.

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  111. I'm not a fan of the PG-13 direction, mainly because I'm 26. I don't watch kids shows, I don't want wrestling to be a kids show. But I could deal with it if they went about it a different way. Just remove aspects of the show that aren't PG-13. It doesn't mean you have to dumb down everything else. If you can't do good, funny PG-13 comedy, don't try doing it. As far as matches/feuds, you can have intense feuds without blood and over-the-top violence. Let guys cut passionate promos, let them have long, intense matches. Make titles or wins/loses important.

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  112. If most of my reviewing wasn't done when my wife is working and I'm alone with my kid, I'd probably do it. As it is, you'll all just have to stick with Exhausted And Distracted And Ready To Choke DJ Lance Rock and Muno Ryan Murphy doing ROH recaps.

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  113.  Wait, The Simpsons is a cartoon?

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  114.  Holy balls, you guys sure do love to over analyze this subject to death.

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  115. All sorts of good points here. One that I want to comment on is this idea that keeps coming up, here and other posts, that keeping their image kid friendly is the ticket to selling more merchandise. Bull hockey. The Attitude Era was as racy as we remember it, and they sold merchandise out the fucking asshole. There was a WWF EVERYTHING. T-shirts, hats, action figures, sunglasses, videos, posters, chains, teddy bears, Pogs, Christmas tree ornaments, candles, shot glasses, video games, toothbrushes, condoms (condoms, for fuck's sake!), travel mugs, underwear, even, briefly, ice cream bars (though not the awesome ones we all remember). And EVERYONE had merchandise. There was a Sexual Chocolate shirt, and a Kaientai shirt, and a Spike Dudley shirt, and a couple different Taz shirts. Clearly the edgier content was no barrier to selling all that merchandise then, so it doesn't make for a good excuse as to why they need to soften their edges now. But it did make the product more exciting, which made people spend more on all the stupid merchandise.

    The problem is the same thing as it is with every other TV show: TV is expensive. It's made from a narrow group of people and it needs to appeal to a wide group of people to make its money back. It'd be excellent if there could be wrestling shows that appeal to all the tiny little fringes of wrestling fans out there and gives them exactly what they want, but no one could afford to do that and still be a viable company. So when it's a regular TV show, like say Community, if they get low enough ratings because their appeal is too niche-oriented, they risk getting cancelled or retooled to appeal to more people. WWE can't really get cancelled, or if they did someone else would come up in their place, because for whatever reason as a culture we demand to always have pro wrestling as an entertainment option. So, to get enough ratings to afford the mammoth amount of money they have to spend to produce their show the way they do, they have to try to appeal to as many people as possible. And in this case, that means people everywhere, including in foreign countries who are more sensitive to sex and violence than we are. And since the people running WWE aren't necessarily creative geniuses or business visionaries (Vince has a business degree from East Carolina University, which probably puts him about on pair with someone who owns a couple Burger Kings and a carwash), they don't always have a lot of success doing that. But sometimes they do, and we keep coming back.

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  116. Ugh...is there something about wrestling blogs that attracts some many trolls. Maybe you should go check out 411 if people analyzing wrestling upsets you

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  117. That's a very good question and not something I can really answer either due to being almost 30 and/or being 'out of the loop' as far as culture goes.  Perhaps it is just because it is so fractured and fragmented that it's hard to really pin down what it is exactly. I agree with you -- I certainly get the feeling Punk represents a larger thread in society that they could tap into more for sure.

    Perhaps the modern values of males in general are at odds with pro-wrestling?  Pro-wrestling seems to work when you have strong contrasts -- good and evil, american and non-american in the 1980s in the WWF and playboy Ric Flair vs the working class in the NWA.  In the 1990s in the WWE certainly the heel and face roles were blurred in the traditional sense, but we had ass-hole bosses vs rebellious trouble makers.  Men aren't expected to be so brash today though -- and are supposed to be more in touch with their feelings.  I mean, can you make wrestling reflect the values of the metrosexual male?

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  118. Hey don't knock ECU!!! They have great tailgaties for football games and their co-eds are fresh off the beach.

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  119. I think some people would continue to watch football even if they were guaranteed that their favorite team would be terrible forever.  There is something about the mechanics of any athletic event that just clicks with a lot of people, and they want to see the poetry of those specific situations and physical acts.  I think wrestling is the same way.  WWE can be terrible, but ultimately, I never stop wanting to see wrist-locks and arm drags.

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  120. Wrestlingsucksvincesuckscenasuckstriplehsuckshogansuckssimpsonssuckfamilyguysucksgleesuckstheofficesucksmyfantasybookingwhichmeansnothingtoabsolutlyanyonerules!!!!

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  121.  This place has literally gone bananas!  -Gorilla

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  122. That was value added

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  123.  I thought the Zombie was a hilarious piece of satire, poking fun at fans and critics that thought they'd have to go all supernatural because they were on Syfy.  Then Sandman came in and said, "F--- that," and crushed him in a minute.  I thought that was a cool moment.  Has history been rewritten where people actually think the Zombie was legit?

    I think the turning point was Big Show being ECW champ on one show and a hired gun on Raw for the McMahons.  Suddenly, brand identity didn't matter.  

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  124.  THIS. It should've been the philosophy and business model.  Stop reading this post and reread stagger's post.

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  125. I've never believed in the "wrestling is cyclical" myth.  It may have seemed that way in the days of the territories, but with WWE as the only game in town, and with them locked into play it ultra-safe by their status as a publicly traded company, it is impossible for them to take the risks necessary to create another "boom" period.

    As the word implies, to create a "boom" requires you to take the risk to destroy what is already in place.  WWE remains profitable even at far worse performance than now, and with the firm kiddie base in place, things probably can't ever get THAT bad for them to change.

    And really, are things so bad now?  WWE has given us all at least two HUGE markout angles within the past 12 months (Cena/Punk, Cena/Brock)...I can't recall that happening even during the Attitude Era days.

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  126. Like I said, if it wasn't for my kids I wouldn't even go watch the show in most cases. Even as a fan of Punk I wouldn't go watch. I was a huge fan of Stone Cold and while they swung through my area many times the only time I ever actually went to a live show was WrestleMania 19 and that was strictly because it was WrestleMania.

    I'm not saying I'm the majority, maybe there's lots of 30-somethings that haven't had an opportunity to get an nWo shirt but I'm not among them.

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  127. That would be the idea, yes.

    Even if I buy my kids nothing the product being geared to kids has quadrupled the amount of tickets I'll buy.

    And even if I bought my kids absolutely zero merchandise, which is silly to begin with, I'll still spend at least $50-60 on food for them during a 3 hour show.

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  128. Nah things are terrible. Punk vs Bryan wasn't enough. We want...umm...MORE Punk vs Bryan. Oh wait the feud is going to continue? Well then we want...PUNK VS BRYAN AT THE TOP OF EVERY HOUR!!! Yes that'll do, (but just to warn everyone ahead of time the ratings might drop and even though it will really be Triple H and Cena's fault Vince will blame Punk ande Bryan

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  129. When has Vince's product not been marketed to kids? 3 years in the late 90's? I mean, the big Attitude boom basically lasts from WM14 to X-7 right? That's how I always interpreted it anyway.

    I think it's always been the same general product with a few very bright spots every decade or so.

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  130. as far as atmosphere and crowd heat, its a great match. workrate its the shits, but its rock hogan, not the two most polished technical catch as cath can wrestlers... but two showmen and performers, so with me that match always gets a pass.

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  131. not only is there a huge turnaround, but the beer they send out to arenas is only around 3% (for the budweiser stuff, at least). my friend worked at one of the places where they send out the bud kegs, and the stuff they send to arenas is specifically the 3%. so not only are you paying double or triple what a regular glass of bud would cost, its not even the normal alcohol concentration. motherfuckers.

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  132. I like the football analogy. I'm a Minnesota Vikings fan. Truth of the matter is that they have sucked, fairly consistently. But they has a brief shining moment In '98-99 where they went 15-1 and lost on a last second missed field goal in the NFC championship. I will always keep watching every year in the hope that can happen again. Like the poster said, is it likely? No. possible? Yes. Which is why I'll always keep coming back no matter what.

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  133. I think in Lost's case, most folks were so invested that they had to ride it to the end to see if any questions would be questioned.

    Your general point is right though.  99% of us posting here bitch because we want to see it get better AND will continue to watch, lol.

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  134. Hmm, definitely some food for thought here.  I had never really thought about it before, but wrestling fans who were born between approximately 1975-1985 could be forgiven for thinking WWF/E was catered directly to them.  When they wanted Cartoon Superheroes in the 80s, they got it, and then when they grew up and wanted something edgy and rebellious with lots of sex and violence, they (eventually) got it.  Now, though, we're all sitting around waiting for the next "Boom" period, with the unwritten assumption, based on our past experience, that said "Boom" period will appeal to us.  Trouble is, there's no real reason for expecting it to.  We're passing out of their key demographic, so our desire for a Boom matters less every year.  Meanwhile, they have more and more fans who will barely remember the Attitude era, and won't remember the Hogan era at all.  The lack of a Boom won't really matter to today's kids, as long as they can cheer for Cena for a few years, buy the merchandise and attend a couple of live shows.  And as long as WWE's the only real game in town making a tidy profit, that's all they'll really ask of their fans.  

    I do wonder, though, what a Boom period today would look like.  The previous two were very much products of their era.  Hulk Hogan joined cartoon icons like He-Man and GI Joe in the 80s' excess of Ronald Reagan-inspired patriotism and superheroics.  In the edgy 90s, Steve Austin rebelled against all that just as Seinfeld and The Simpsons rebelled against family sitcoms and Nirvana rebelled against hair metal.  The wrestling Boom was both a product of and helped define the era in which it occured.  Maybe it's just that I pay less attention to pop culture these days, but I'd be hard pressed to think of a way in which wrestling could capture the spirit of our time, because that spirit seems a lot harder to pin down and define.  The closest I can think of would be something like a Zack Ryder where a wrestler (or superstar or sports-entertainerist or whatever you're meant to call them) harnesses Youtube and Twitter to get themselves over on their own initiative, but just look at what happened there.  They either didn't get it or didn't like it because it wasn't their idea.  A Steve Austin rebellion against WWE where he drinks beer and beats up Vince is acceptable.  A rebellion against WWE like Ryder's, that speaks to the self-published world of Internet celebrities, is not acceptable, and so we're left with WWE's trite obsession with who's trending on Twitter, which doesn't capture the spirit of social media and Youtube any more than Rad Radford captured the spirit of Grunge Rock.  

    I guess my thesis here is that we-the fans of the last two Booms-are the only ones who really want to see another Boom.  WWE and the kids don't care and don't understand what the problem is.  

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  135.  those of us who are also driving home from the arena are thankful for the lower alcohol content

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  136. I think a Ted DiBiase/JBL type character would kill if done well.  The one part of culture I can tell you is that Americans are fed up with CEOs, corporate fat cats, the so-called 1%, etc.  Politicians too, but that doesn't really lend itself so well to a wrestling character or angle, plus you have the Linda factor on that one

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  137. DJ Lance Rock is awesome.  So what if his playset contains a character that looks like  a spiked dildo

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  138. how is he not a business visionary and creative genius? he built a billion dollar global company from scratch!!  of course not every idea pans out, that's what happens when you take risks and are an entreprenuer.  And who cares where he went to school????  WWE plays the IWC market like a fiddle.

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  139. He didn't build it from scratch, he bought it from his dad.

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  140. No joke!  That is the perfect angle for the time, and I imagine the Linda factor plays a big role in why they won't touch it.

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  141. They are unable to sell their majority stake in the company.  The McMahons have a special stock class where each share is worth something like a bazillion of the regular people shares, and if they ever sell it then it immediately turns into regular people shares and the remaining McMahon Shares are increased in value to compensate.  Basically it means that whoever in the McMahon family that holds shares at any given time literally controls something like 90% of the company and only 10% or so is actually for sale on the open market.  

    And as a caveat I know nothing about stocks, I'm just going by what I had read in the Observer when they went public.  

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  142. Can someone explain to me why people such as yourself, buckdiddy, and exodus316 post on here? If the opinions expressed here bother you so much (and are frequently shared BY THE GUY WHOSE BLOG IT IS), why do you post here? What exactly is the point? Masochism? 411 might be more your speed. You might be happier there. Unless that's not your bag; happiness.

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  143. Great post and you are spot on about the how the WWE isn't capitalizing on its brands.

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  144. "Only Cena is not replaceable and Vince is just sorry he doesn't have another daughter to marry him off too."  Great line and it's sad because it's so very true.  I think some of the reasons I keep watching are two-fold.  

    (1) I became a fan in 1995, when the WWF was not very good (someone posted around here than they couldn't watch a full year of 1995 stuff) so I must've developed a high tolerance for bad booking and 

    (2) I always figure that each time I watch on a Monday night it might be THE night when things start to change.  I still remember the feeling I had in April 1997 when Austin destroyed Bret's knee and beat him up in the ambulance.  I had a feeling that the product was getting much edgier/cooler and this would FINALLY be what got the WWF back to #1 (since I was a WWF partisan in the Monday Night Wars). I had a similar feeling about the Nexus, but we saw how that went.

    But still, I don't watch nearly as much as I used to and there's very few people that I'm interested in following.  I'll still go to a live event every once and a while or buy the WrestleMania DVD to keep my collection of those going, but aside from that, I don't put much time, effort, and energy into the company anymore and stick with the older stuff.

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  145. so I guess you didn't even like the old Simpsons season which afaik where almost completely rated PG?

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  146. I disagree. I guess I am a good example for that. I still watch How I Met Your Mother and Family Guy out of habit (and because I loved them in the past) but think they are terrible today.

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  147.  That is what I mean. Bizarro is missing that while the money doesn't come directly out of the kid's pocket, his Cena fandom is what got Mom to buy the ticket and the merch. And you can multiply this by millions; there are a lot more families to target than smarks.

    Ryan Murphy argues in a later thread that the WWE sold plenty of merchandise in the Attitude Era. I don't have numbers but what I do know is the WWE's perception is that they can sell more this way, and that's not going to change.

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  148.  Why would I call 411 for wrestling?

    Also, would it kill you guys to talk about something else. Can we analyze the rise and fall of Ted DiBiase Jr instead? That seems more appealing than the status quo.

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  149.  Because we are the voice of the people.

    Just think how bad it would be if Republicans told Democrats to leave and they listened. Let's try a wrestling analogy instead...think how bad it would be if CM Punk left the first chance someone told him he wasn't wanted.

    You need both sides of the coin. We are that side of the coin you guys don't want here and we're probably not going to leave because you guys get butthurt that we get butthurt about you guys getting butthurt all the time.

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  150.  Well, if people were watching LOST to see if any questions would be questioned, they got their wish.

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  151. Hmm, maybe the answer is wrestlers who are more "human."

    Like Ryder for instance, I think a big reason he got over isn't exactly the content of Z Long Island Stories, or his on-screen character per se, but more the do it yourself nature of it all.

    Maybe having faces who want to do the "right" thing, but are unsure what that even is. Or deal with their own esteem issues...like for instance:

    on say 3 consecutive shows Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise against his opponent only for the opponent to kick out, then you have Kofi in promos wonder why this is happening, and try to figure out how to make his move more effective... I don't know if that's good, but it's different.

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  152.  Sigmund Freud came back from the beyond to create Muno. He could spend a full week just on the studded dildo/sharp fangs connotations.

    FWIW I actually don't mind Yo Gabba Gabba, I was a big ska fan in the day so I love the Aquabats sensibility. My friend in FL who's an even bigger ska guy than me managed to get his kid completely obsessed with Aquabats from watching YGG, to the point where he was Bat Commander for Halloween last year.

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  153.  I don't fault him for what he accomplished, for sure. But if you know anything about the way Vince has spent money over the years, he's never thought like a business man, he's thought like a wrestling promoter and tried to extrapolate that out into other businesses. He reacts with his gut and makes short sighted decisions, and he sinks tons of money into projects with very little chance of being viable or self sustaining. And apart from a short run as a traveling salesman, he's never really worked in any other form of business, so he's never really had a chance to learn.

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  154. What my post agreed with you all. Whats the problem? Oh right Hogan's to blame too

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