Big Question: Will WWE ever be cool again?

Discussion in '[Hidden] World Wrestling Entertainment' started by Radical, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Radical

    Radical Championship Contender

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    The Big Question I pose to you, for your consideration is: Will WWE ever be cool again?

    The natural follow up to that question is: If so, how? And if not, why?


    But, I ask the big question if WWE will ever be cool again because I legit wonder if it will ever happen.

    I guess "cool" needs to be defined because it can be very subjective. If you and your friends all happen to enjoy pro wrestling, enjoyed it back in the day, still enjoy it now even if you don't think it's as good, but you can still appreciate a good WWE moment or show then it's "cool" to you guys. But that's not enough in this case.

    I think the definition of "cool" in this case has to go along the lines of general acceptance amongst the key demographic of 18-49 year olds (stretch this to 12-49), even if they themselves don't watch it.

    And "cool" would also have to be at the point where you can say publicly that you watch WWE and will generally get an "Ah ok, cool" response instead of a "LOL, really?"

    Because I think if you were a 12-49 year old back in the mid-to late 90s with WWF's Attitude Era (and WCW/NWO competition) and you said you watch WWF/pro wrestling you'd mostly get a "Oh, cool" response and more often a "Oh yeah, me too!" and maybe from a more conservative parent a "Ooh, that's pretty racy!" But that would be a good response because who doesn't enjoy watching something that is a little racy, controversial and edgy?


    My modern day comparison would be popular shows like Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Marvel's Iron Fist, Breaking Bad, 13 Reasons Why, etc. It's 'cool' to be watching any of those shows these days, yes, still personal exceptions, but they are generally seen as 'cool' shows to watch. And WWF Raw (especially) was seen as one of those 'cool' shows back in the mid-late 90s, early 2000s.

    There are only two modern-day examples of still quite popular shows that I can think of which would be much more likely to have a stigma and an 'uncool' general opinion and those are: Big Brother and Bachelor/Bachelorette pseudo-reality shows. I think if you ask the average person if those shows are 'cool' and most may say 'no, pretty stupid', which wrestling fans can relate to trying to explain why it's a good show. My un-fact checked guess is that Big Brother/Bachelor shows are very largely watched by the very same year-over-year group of majority females and technically a few guys who have to watch it with their girlfriends/wives! Anyways, I digress.


    So, 'cool', will WWE ever be 'cool' again?

    My current thoughts are that ... yes, WWE will be 'cool' again, however, I think it'll be a long time! I don't want to say never but current signs are not good.

    Most of WWE programming on TV barely appeals to most pre-teens and teens, which is really a super key demographic that the Attitude Era got, then lost. Because if pre-teens and teens think your show is cool, and it's a pro wrestling show, that's a good thing for business. Pre-teens and teens are just starting to have money of their own to buy things with and become adults with even more discretionary funds.

    I think what will have to happen is a rival wrestling company with some history gets a HUGE main network deal and feast or famine like financial backing from the network - with the directive: BE controversial, BE racy, HAVE attitude and ruthless aggression with SOME caution (AE could be done today exactly the same with some slight changes) and give WWE a run for their money like WCW did - THE ONLY THING IN HISTORY that has ever made WWE have to be 'cool' was serious competition.

    And I think the only thing in the future that will ever lead to WWE being 'cool' again is serious competition. AND, by the way, that would be AWESOME to be able to live through another WCW vs WWE wars era again.


    Your turn:

    Will WWE ever be 'cool' again?

    If no, why? If yes, how?
     
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  2. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    Ever is a really long time. So yes, this could happen. Though with the way TV is slowly dying, I'm not sure what the future looks like.

    They need to do a few things. Cut Raw back to 2 hours. 3 hours is way too much. Asking new fans to sit through 3 hours is daunting. Eliminate the brand split. Limit the writing staff so one vision can be seen. Loosen the restrictions on promos. Most importantly, a star needs to get hot at just the right time that fits the era.

    Eliminating Smackdown as well might be necessary to get hot again. Product needs less overexposure. Obviously not feasible.

    I don't think it is possible to sustain being hot though for WWE. I think it can only happen for a few years before crashing and starting over again. I attribute this to being on 52 weeks a year. Hard to sustain interest in that in the mainstream.

    Teens don't usually have a lot of disposable income. Fox apparently has a lot. So I'm not sure teens would really help all that much in terms of income (WWE made more money in 2010 than any year during the AE).

    The Attitude Era could absolutely not be done today. You can't have pimps and hos on this type of show anymore. You can't sacrifice people on symbols and/or hang them. This type of shit was rampant in the Attitude Era. Taker's MOD was full of this type of shit (trying to embalm Austin, cut Mabel open, hanging Boss Man, hanging Mideon in a cave with a camera in it for some reason, kidnapping a woman to try to force her to marry you). Other shows can do this because they aren't portrayed as real. Wrestling is so audiences will have different views. Imagine if Katie Vick happened today. The reason WWE went PG was for sponsors. Wrestling overall has a problem with fan income (lower than comparable programming) and perception of being lowbrow. So the chances of a wrestling show getting head-to-head with WWE on a major channel is very slim. Especially with how far ahead WWE is.

    I guess 2000 type programming could still fly but you still need two megastars like Rock and Austin. You can't pull those type of people out of your ass.
     
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  3. Psykohurricane55

    Psykohurricane55 Moderator
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    I don't see it ever being cool for everybody ever again. The problem is that while the smart audience might not find the product cool right now, they're what they see as the key demo for their products which are the kids that for them, the product is super cool and they are banking on that more then making a cool product for us.

    They see the kid demo as the future of the company and It's won't change anytime soon.

    The fact is, I started watching during the first of era of the 80's when the product was cool but was mostly a kid product so the WWE product will always be Cool to somebody and more then ever as been accepted in pop culture so maybe It's not as cool to the 18-49 demo, I don't know but I don't think that it will ever get to the level it was during the attitude era.
     
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  4. Jack-Hammer

    Jack-Hammer YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!!
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    I don't worry about what's "cool" or what isn't, I just simply go by what I like. In the minds of some fans, especially some internet fans, WWE hasn't been "cool" probably since the mid 2000s and never will be again. The biggest thing WWE has against it is that it's the big corporation and the big corporation is always an easy and convenient target, which is why anyone who seems to criticize anything about pro wrestling in general aims towards WWE.

    I do think that WWE allows its corporate image to get in the way of putting out an overall better product. At the same time, however, as I alluded to, WWE is the big boy on the block and, as a result, it's the most mainstream of anything to do with professional wrestling and it's always fashionable and easy for a minority, a vocal minority but a minority all the same, to say that it's not cook or hip or whatever. If WWE was a recording artist, it'd be the artist selling millions of albums & singles, winning Grammy awards and selling millions of concert tickets, meaning it's going to be targeted by haters and trolls, justifiably so in some respects and unjustifiably so in others.
     
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  5. SmattyG

    SmattyG Pre-Show Stalwart

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    This is a very interesting question. The concept of cool is obviously subjective. The TV shows you mentioned...I haven't watched one single minute of any of them. So I'm probably unqualified to talk about what is "cool".

    I'll give you two examples of how it could be cool again though. I have a young daughter who loves Braun Strowman, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt - basically anyone a bit, shall we say, special... She also loves the women wrestlers. I've shown her some of Stone Cold's stuff, like the cement in Vince's car; as well as Kurt's milk truck. I've told her stories of Mick V Taker, but she's still way too young to watch something like that. However, she likes what she likes, and some of her friends do too, without any embarrassment. This is what the WWE wants, I guess. Young and new fans, almost certainly introduced to the show by their parents, to form a life-long love of the show, as some of us have.

    The second example is the older demographic. I do a local radio sports show (nothing major - a city of 25,000) and I talk about wrestling as part of the show whenever it's relevant. The audience is an older demographic - mostly 40+, and I get some pretty cool feedback. Sure, the interest peaks when old school wrestlers die, but I also talk up guys like Styles, Seth, Dolph, and any major title match, men's and women's, especially at a PPV. I hear a few people are tuning in to see what the WWE is today, after moving away from it after the Attitude Era. And, it must be said, fans of the AE were mostly 15-29 males. A lot of us went to higher education, or got jobs, or started families, and wrestling kind of drifted away for many. Their kids just may lure them back.

    Sorry for the length of the post - I just thought it was a really interesting topic.
     
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  6. I_Like_All_Wrestling

    I_Like_All_Wrestling Championship Contender

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    I see what you are asking, but I don't think you really mean "cool." I think you mean "mainstream." I don't know, but I would guess it's a different beast not. Years ago when it switched to the attitude era, it was coming off the era of wrestlers being plumbers and mounties and prison guards. In mainstream eyes it was "wrestling is fake" then it became "it's for kids" then it became cool. It was never really "cool" as much as it was "popular."

    I would say that wrestling as a whole is borderline cool right now. John Cena is finally starting to have some crossover - and when he does, it's good. Everyone knows The Rock is a wrestler. Ronda is in WWE. Brock is going back to UFC and they mention WWE. PWG is nearly impossible to get tickets to. There are more indies that are able to survive. All In sold out. ROH and NJPW are doing MSG. Bullet Club shirts are a top seller at Hot Topic.

    It's getting close.
     
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  7. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

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    Something trivial, but I think WWE is cool right now for ages 0-15. The rest just see it as a nice attraction to attend and have a laugh.

    Here's the thing, it will never be cool again. It's like the circus now. Guys flying around, throwing fake punches and prettending to be in a soap opera. That's what it is. Only wrestling hipsters appreciate the actual wrestling.

    Now here's the deal. What I'm going to say completely breaks away wrestling as we now it, but I believe that selling a move, a punch.. selling as a whole, hurts wrestling. Guys like Ricochet, Seth Rollins and other high flyers. These guys will make wrestling cool again, because that's what sells, but what sells, goes against the norm that wrestling has been founded on: the 6'2'' badass.

    People know it's scripted and people don't really care about the storylines any more. The storylines don't draw fans in. Action draws fans in, and storylines can help keep them.

    If we want wrestling to be cool again, we need to focus on what's cool, and high-flying flippy shit is cool, plus monsters like Braun Strowman. Medium guys like Austin, Cena, Roman.. these aren't cool any more. They're boring.

    So, IMO, if you could somehow add match physiology and selling to high-flyers and sell your show around these guys, wrestling will become cool again.
    But as long as you have guys like Roman be your main focus, it won't.

    I hope I get my point across here.
     
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  8. filthyanimalz

    filthyanimalz Pre-Show Stalwart

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    In a word, NO. The reason is they are trying way too hard to be cool. More often than not they come across as an Indie promotion trying to garner attention and get put in the spotlight. When not that long ago they were the spotlight, being 'cool' is not something that is normally attained by people pushing for it. You either are or you aren't and WWE is miles away from being the naturally trend setting, ahead of its time, cutting edge promotion that it once was.
     
    #8
  9. Psykohurricane55

    Psykohurricane55 Moderator
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    Sadly, i have to agree with you on this, for a certain demographic, by that i mean that 18-35 demographic, what's cool fro them right now is the high flyers and they couldn't care less about psychology or selling a body part. For them what's cool is seeing what i like to call car crash wrestling. The more outrageous the maneuver the better. So because of that, this generation of wrestlers have to put all the rules of pro wrestling out the window to please these fans and that's why a lot of them won't have long careers.

    The problem with that like you mention is that WWE is a cool product for the younger generation, kinda like how WWF at the time was cool for me when i started watching it in the 80's. So how can you make a product that will be cool for everybody. I don't think it can be done. Not with the schedule these guys and girls have right now. You can't really have theses high-flying matches with no psychology every single week because they're a good chance that those guys will get injured within the year if the push too far every single week. Plus their the x-factor of will the kids gets into this type of wrestling on a regular bases. Kid like superhero stories and in a way WWE is giving them exactly that. Guys like Strowman, Reigns, Rollins, Bryan and AJ Styles are pretty much superheroes to them and that's what makes this cool in a sense.

    I for one thing the product isn't as cool mostly because i grew up in a different era where we had less hour of programming every week and less PPV, so it was easier to get those characters over to everybody. Now, because of how big the company is compared to back then, i don't see how you can please everybody. So even if you use the high-flyers as your main draw to give a cool product to a certain demo, you won'T be able to please everybody so the product will always be lame for somebody.
     
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  10. TheHitman316

    TheHitman316 Dark Match Jobber

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    I doubt wrestling in general will be cool again. It’s not the demographics or the storylines. It comes down to, no ones really interested in pro wrestling. Aside from the hardcore fans. With so much more forms of different entertainment, it becomes difficult to sit here and watch it. Teenagers have more other ways to stay entertained. Video games, smartphones, outside activities. Music and YouTube. Everyone knows pro wrestling is fake. And teenagers aren’t really invested in stuff that is fake. They rather go on instagram and snapchat. Make music and comedy snippets. They watch shows on the go, on tablets or smartphones. And if something interesting happens in wrestling they’ll tune in for all about 40 seconds and go onto something else. I live in NYC. And barely hear or see teenagers talking about any type of wrestling. Their all into sports girls and stuff. They only people I see
    Talking about wrestling are the long time fans from the 90s. Just my thoughts
     
    #10
  11. JoeMallard

    JoeMallard Getting Noticed By Management

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    WWE isn't cool anymore, yes. Wrestling outside of WWE is certainly thriving and cooler than it ever was more than it has been in years. Bullet Club are top sellers at Hot Topic, Cody, Kenny and the Bucks have a deal with Funko not to mention selling out 10,000 seats for All In, Busted Open is on seven days a week on national fucking radio, ROH/NJPW being the first promotions outside of WWE at fucking MSG, the mecca of Profesional wrestling. WWE fans change the channel because the product sucks, show me a wrestling fan that only watches 40 seconds of a product that that catches their attention.
     
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  12. Ceen

    Ceen Pre-Show Stalwart

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    "Cool" is pretty subjective.

    WWE works as every other human thing. You really don't change anything if you are not in danger. If WWE was really losing money, or losing tons of fans, they would change something. But today they still winning that much that they don't have to change.
    For me, there are some changes which must be done:
    1) Unify World Championships. Have just one.
    2) Make divisions and relate it to the shows (RAW, SD, NXT, 205,...)
    3) Book better storylines, with more long terms feuds, not just that short storylines.
    4) Make Triple H the top CEO
     
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  13. Navi

    Navi With the safety off!!

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    Was wrestling ever "cool" or just seen as a pretend sport? Like I've always said, wrestling fans are a niche group, it's something that either you like it or you don't.

    Been watching for over 30 years now and never shouted from the rooftops that I was a wrestling fan. Didn't care if anyone knew it or now, didn't go out of my way to let people know either. I guess years ago with Hogan and before the end of kayfabe it was taken more seriously, with the advent of the internet however, that ended.

    I suppose to kids it's cool, I see it now as more of an ongoing soap opera. Soap opera's aren't cool to most unless you get invested in the characters and storylines. With the way they are booking right now, finding it very hard to stay interested to be honest.
     
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  14. neildittmar

    neildittmar Getting Noticed By Management

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    If I had to critically describe the overall WWE product in a single word, that word would be complacent. Not coincidentally, complacency often represents the last mile in the cool lifespan of generally anything. The thing in question becomes so well known, well defined, and well integrated into pop culture that it simply can't be cool anymore.

    Cool is rebellious... cool is renegade... cool is something your parents wouldn't support, approve of, or like. Cool goes above, around, and sometimes even straight through the established system. Currently, I can't think of anything within the current WWE product that's synonymous with those descriptors.

    It's not as though WWE hasn't been afforded opportunities at being cool. For me, Bray Wyatt was cool... until the character "evolved" (read: was toned/watered down) into the seemingly directionless afterthought he has become. Enzo and Cass were cool in my book too... up until the moment that "Real1" apparently couldn't keep his mouth shut and ended up ticking off seemingly everyone backstage. Nonetheless, it seems that every time the company has a breakaway character or faction, WWE takes great pride in filtering them down/out until there is only a shell left.

    In my view, one of the key components of cool is controversy. The current WWE wrestlers, storylines, television shows and PPV events are about the least controversial content that you can get nowadays. I'm absolutely positive that this is by design. So no, the WWE isn't "cool" and will never be cool without a paradigm shift the level and scale of the Attitude era some 20+ years ago.

    Don't get me wrong. though.. I'm not pining for the years gone by of the second coming of Stone Cold and Rock, let alone Val Venis and the Godfather. I'm also not saying that WWE has bad programming. It can be an entertaining show with talented wrestlers putting on stellar matches while telling interesting, perhaps even intriguing, stories. That might be a successful (if albeit, safe) formula for sustained television ratings, advertising revenue, and stock prices... but it's not cool.
     
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  15. TheHitman316

    TheHitman316 Dark Match Jobber

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    I don’t think it’s just WWE that isn’t cool. It’s all of pro wrestling in general. It’s not like wrestling is gaining new fans. The same people who once tuned into WWE are the ones looking elsewhere for entertainment. Wrestling doesn’t have pop culture by the balls like it did during the golden era and attitude era. That’s an era you would call cool. You don’t walk outside anymore and see Austin316 shirts or kids doing crotch chops. It’s a different time and era now. Wrestling fans are being recycled and shared. Those same 10k that purchased All in tickets are probably disgruntled ex WWE fans looking for something else. No one watches wrestling in its entirely unless it’s WM or the Royal Rumble. Anyone with a mic and google can open up a podcast. Does that means it’s a boom period no? Just means fans are trying to cash in on each other. Maybe in the future it’ll be cool again. But right now it’s not. Right now other companies are showcasing better entertainments. But they will not light that fire under the wrestling business.
     
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