Originally Posted by King Patrick Star
Back when TNA was airing their weekly pay per views, I thought, “$10 a show is too much for a company that’s a distant second place from the WWE.” Fast forward to today, and now Impact Wrestling is on its 6th network. The key word I’m using here is “Network”.
If the WWE were to somehow do so bad that USA drops WWE TV altogether, would the WWE Universe be against having to watch Raw and Smackdown on the WWE Network for $10 a month?? Even if they were to increase it to $20, would you have an issue with this??
My point is, with the WWE Network, I don’t believe ratings matter anymore. I attended Smackdown Live last night, and it looked to be a packed house. People may or may not watch TV as much as we used to, but people also stopped listening to the radio as much as we used to as well. That doesn’t mean musicians should stop making music, and it certainly doesn’t mean the Professional Sports Wrestling Entertainers should stop “fighting” for Leather and Gold props.
I’ve been practicing McMahonisn for 27 years plus. If the WWE were to leave TV, but kept the WWE Network up and running, I think we’d all be okay.
While you are 100% correct and ratings don't matter as much as they used to since there are so many other revenue streams available and other methods of gauging how successful a business is (actually, ratings were never the measuring stick to begin with, that's a metric we care about more than the companies themselves), it is indicative of the company as a whole.
Lower ratings won't force WWE to shut its doors down, but they are a symptom of something being wrong. At the end of the day, when your audience melts in half in about a decade - something's rotten. When you go down to the nitty gritty, WWE's main products are TV shows. Without the TV shows, there is no WWE. How many people watch these TV shows is indicative of many other things. And yes, they could always transfer the shows to a smaller Network a-la TNA or even turn the entire thing into a subscription service, but that is horrible for the WWE in so many ways and it's the last thing they want.
Keeping a show alive does not equal success. TNA is alive, some-fucking-how, and the last thing I'd call them is successful. When you have to move your show to a smaller network or God forbid take it off TV entirely and make it all digital, that's called life support. TNA is on life support, desperately trying to recover. Thing is, TNA can do it, because TNA was never that healthy to begin with. TNA is not dealing with major stakeholders, major advertisers and investors. WWE is. If WWE goes to a smaller network and is cornered in that way it's going to produce a domino effect which I'm not sure they'll survive like TNA has.
It's a lot like a really rich person going broke and a middle class person going broke. The middle class guy never had that much money to begin with so while it's a set back, no one depends on him and he probably doesn't depend on no one. But when a rich person goes broke it brings a whole mess of things with him because, low and behold, money trickles into many different ways and once its gone, the base that all this was built on just crumbles. That's a fall the WWE won't take.
It's a numbers game. Less people watch on a weekly basis - less people invest in all of their other ventures (merchandise, subscription service, live events, God knows what else), and it all equals less money.
And not just less money, less of an appeal for sponsors and advertisers. All these people care about is exposure. If WWE can't provide the exposure they take their money someplace else. That's what WWE should be concerned about. If the sponsors and advertisers dash, WWE is threading in TNA's muddy waters. Not to mention that all of these fancy investors are certainly not going to be happy with whatever's going on - it goes against their interest. How are they going to get a return on their investment when the company's audience is shrinking? They'd want to pull out faster than Bieber. And guess what - WWE stops being a good prospect for other investors so the cash stops flowing in - now it just trickles.
So in the end, yes I don't think one single awful rating is something to cry over. Ratings are a metric that fluctuates up and down non-stop. There are so many variables that impact it both positively and negatively, outside of the realm of how good the show was or how chubby Kevin Owens is. Variables that the WWE would pay big league money to know.
That's why looking at singular cases is pointless. We should look for patterns in these things over long periods of time, allowing these metrics to aggregate. From what we're seeing, and this is public information, it's been going downhill every single year. That says something.
The WWE is a corporation. Corporations like to think long term. If this is the current pattern and WWE lost half its audience (if not more) in 10 years, and we know how fast time flies with wrestling, what's going to happen in another 10 years? It's scary to think about and I'm sure it's keeping some people up at night.
The whole scene is changing rapidly. Wrestling is dying off across the board. This is hardly a WWE problem, TNA's going through the same plague. Question here is: is this a wrestling thing, or is it simply that none of the major North American wrestling promotions are doing wrestling right? In other words, is it the genre or the execution?
When you see boxing pretty much die after the McGregor and Diaz fights and the UFC being bought for 4 billion dollars, that makes you think. And while people can go ahead and say that the UFC is not direct competition to WWE - you're right, but I'll tell you what, ever since I started watching UFC as of a few years ago, wrestling's become less and less of an interest. We watch wrestling for the contests, for the drama, for the athleticism. UFC is going in that direction, they're telling stories with their fights, they're learning how to thread the fine line between good storytelling and great action that happens to have the thrill of being real. I'm getting the same thrill from UFC these days that I used to get from wrestling years ago. I'm hyped for certain contests. I ain't hyped for anything going on in wrestling - I don't give a fuck.
You look at the build up for both McGregor vs Diaz fights and you tell me UFC wasn't taking a page of wrestling's book. The promos? The press conference where Conor started flinging bottles and cans at Nate's team? You saw Dana White telling Conor "Conor don't throw those fucking bottles" but inside he was going "Please Conor throw the fucking bottles".
I'm just saying, things are changing and the only one that isn't is pro wrestling. It's sad because pro wrestling is the most versatile and flexible genre out there and it's controlled by people who don't know how to do it right. They can literally get away with anything if they felt like it. If the UFC managed to make MMA, which was this moronic, savage and frankly horrible "thing" into a legit sport and have people breaking limbs on live TV and have advertisers salivate over it, then why the hell can't wrestling get their shit together?