Brian Damage, Craig Wilson & Jamie Lithgow
Let’s be honest, the WWE in recent months and some might even say longer than that….has been stagnant. It seems shoddy, short term booking and the lack of new stars has hurt the company. Add to it the financial debacle that has been the WWE network this past year and the WWE has been in a state of flux. What if the WWE went out of business? What if the largest “sports entertainment” company folded. What would be the after effects? Would pro wrestling wither and die or would it go through a much needed renaissance? Today on the Sermon, the crew look at this very subject.
Brian: First off, the WWE isn’t going out of business…but that’s not saying it couldn’t. We’ve seen strong wrestling companies go under in the past….WCW, ECW…the AWA etc. If it did, would pro wrestling suffer? I am of the mindset…that it just might get better. It sounds crazy…but the industry needs a shot in the arm. Something that can open fans eyes that only know the WWE.
Craig: It would take quite the fall from grace, am sure we all agree for the WWE to go out of business. But what exactly would it take? We saw staff cuts as the Network struggled but only a trimming, not a full scale restructuring. What would need to happen for the WWE to go, for want of a better phrase, tits up?
Raw ratings would need to plummet for the networks to pull the plug. Advertisers,whilst probably not over the moon with ratings, still see some merit in placing their commercials during Raw. And the WWE has just entered into a lucrative new contract with Sky in the UK.
It does need a shot in the arm though. It’s far to safe. But I don’t think Vince has ever been anything but safe. He’d have never taken the risk of the Attitude Era had it not been out of necessity. The last gamble he took, really, was in the first few years of Wrestlemania. Therefore, unless some billionaire comes along that is a huge wrestling fan and with the focus being on making a great wrestling promotion, rather than necessarily making his self or her self money, then this is a rut were going to be stuck in.
Sure, Lucha Underground is cracking viewing but it’s not going to challenge Raw and without a PPV outlet the storylines have a very limited pay off. By all accounts Wrestle Kingdom 9 was very impressive by I doubt that association is going to make Global Force Wrestling the force it’s name suggests it could be. As for TNA, I’m hopeful for 2015 but we saw what happened last time it tried to go head to head with the WWE.
Brian: The funny thing is, despite the WWE’s creative and somewhat financial struggles (network wise) wrestling seems to be attempting another boom…at least here in the States. Lucha Underground, TNA on a new network, ROH….and New Japan wrestling starting in a couple of weeks. The thing is…would any of that be possible…if the WWE wasn’t around?
Craig: isn’t the challenge for these promotions to tap into the ever increasing disenchanted WWE fans? Offer them a product that they want and that Raw isn’t?
Brian: Absolutely….that has always been the case. I think ECW and for a brief time WCW were the only two to really be successful at it. The thing is…if the WWE wasn’t around for fans to be disenchanted….what would the wrestling world look like? Better? Worse?
Craig: Certainly different… If WWE folded I think a lot of their fans would stop watching wrestling rather than move on to TNA or Lucha Underground etc. Much in the same way as many wcw fans just disappeared after that company closed down.
It would also level the playing field for everyone but I’d be staggered if a wrestling world not featuring the WWE would even be able to reach the relatively low heights of just now, let alone peak periods like the 80s boom or the Attitude Era.
Brian: It seems that pro wrestling needs another shot in the arm….something or someone to come along and help push the WWE much like WCW and ECW did in the 90’s. Could it be the Jeff Jarrett Global Force Wrestling project? Perhaps…although, we still don’t know much if anything about it yet.
Jamie: Are we erasing everything to do with WWE, or just the company itself? For the most part, the top talent in the industry does work for them. Even without a WWE to make these guys stars, that would still be a lot of performers with star potential released into the wider world of pro wrestling. Simply put, the rosters of the other promotions mentioned would be better without WWE. But would fans watch?
It’s an interesting question, a lot of pro wrestling fans are also WWE fans, but how many WWE fans are pro wrestling fans? The fact that comparatively few of these people register an interest in TNA on Thursday nights – or any other promotion for that matter – would suggest to me that they aren’t that interested in anything other than the Vince McMahon brand of wrestling. Based on this current lack of interest outwith WWE, if the company did just disappear for some reason I sincerely doubt this type of fan would seek an alternative within the pro wrestling genre.
Craig: I think that’s hit the nail on the head. Like when WCW went under and many of their fans just stopped watching, I’d imagine the same would happen if the WWE went under.
Now, if, say, TNA snapped up John Cena and Daniel Bryan then maybe some would drift over but I doubt the majority.
Brian is right. Wrestling needs a shot in the arm. It did in the 80s and Vince provided that injection – quite literally in fact – and the same can be said with ECW and the nWo in the mid 90s.
God only knows what the injection needed could be but it’s crying out for it. The most obvious thing I can think of is someone investing big in another promotion to jolt the WWE into action. How likely is that? Not very.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.