Never Believe What You Read

Translating the Latest WWE News Article

Ahh, I love the mainstream press. 

In all my years of following wrestling, I have yet to see ONE well-written article in the mainstream press by someone who isn’t a wrestling fan.  Is it really that hard for journalists to get their facts straight? 

This is yet another example.  This article, which I found on and was carried nationally by Reuters in many newspapers, discusses the recent dip in popularity of WWE’s TV shows.  Let’s not waste any time!

With the Rock making like Arnold Schwarzenegger on the big screen, the WWE doesn’t have the big-draw, marquee wrestler to keep the kids enthralled,” said Garnett Losak, vice president and director of programming for Petry Media.

So who is Steve Austin?  Like maybe he was the guy who turned WWF around 4 years ago, before Rock was a main eventer??  And if Rock is so important, Mr. Losak, why did WWF’s ratings tank last year when Rock was back?  Why were they declining rapidly when Rock was a full-timer for much of the last 18 months?  And why will they not increase much over the next few months when Rock wrestles a more active schedule?

Why can’t anyone just admit that the reason ratings are down is simply that the quality of the TV has stunk since last spring?

Steve Austin, another star wrestler, walked out after a disagreement with the WWE and then got into hot water with the San Antonio cops for allegedly beating up his wife Debra, who’s also his manager.

I love these mainstream articles.  They’ll talk about something so real like spousal abuse, and then go right back into WWE storyline and say Debra is his “manager.”  I think whoever wrote this article thinks Debra is Steve’s manager the way Sharon is Ozzy’s manager.  So funny.

Another problem for the WWE is that the attention span of teenage boys keeps getting shorter and shorter.

No, it’s that the WWE writing keeps getting shittier and shittier.

“You’ve got extreme sports like the X Games drawing young men, reality shows like ‘American Idol’ and ‘Dog Eat Dog’ cropping up all over the place and a whole array of video games,” said David Carter, a principal in the Los Angeles-based Sports Business Group.

Like these things weren’t around since the early 90s?  Can you believe these companies are headed by people as delusional as David Carter?

Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming for Katz Television, another television rep firm, said UPN’s dropoff is attributable, at least in part, to tougher competition on Thursday from CBS’s “Survivor” and “CSI,” both big hits that have attracted some of the “Smackdown” viewers.

I seem to remember “Survivor” being around last year, and it was drawing far bigger ratings then.  And of course there was “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in ’99 that the whole world watched.  Again, these shows were always on.  People are simply tuning out of WWE because the WRITING STINKS.

Overall, “the declines by the WWE don’t appear to be any more drastic than the declines we’re seeing across all sports,” Carroll said.

OK fine, then how do you explain the declines in attendance and PPV buy rates?  I’ll explain it: the WRITING STINKS.

But David Carter is still convinced that “the McMahons are going to have to develop new talent and manufacture new personalities” — which is precisely what the WWE is doing, according to the federation’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer Julie Hoffman.

Who is Hoffman trying to fool?  Yes, the McMahons do have to develop new talent.  But will they?  I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.  That Undertaker squash of Jeff Hardy on RAW last Monday was all you have to watch to understand that.

It’s funny, us hardcore fans have been clamoring for 2 years how WWE needs to develop new stars.  And now, everyone just seems to be catching on.  But what do we know, we’re just armchair bookers.

She cites the casting under way for the third cycle of 13 episodes of the MTV primetime series “Tough Enough,” which puts wrestling candidates through “Survivor”-type challenges, with the winner landing a contract with the WWE.

Oh my God.  THAT’s our future?  You’d think she mention Ohio Valley Wrestling or Heartland Wrestling Association, which has thus far spawned Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and Rico on WWE TV.  But who needs them when you have Nidia?

The WWE has two other outlets for the incubation of new talent, both weekly hours on TNN: “WWE Velocity” Saturday at 10 p.m. ET, leading into “WWE Confidential” at 11.

That should read, “The WWE has 2 other outlets that no one watches or cares about: WWE Velocity, which leads into WWE Confidential, which so far has been good but certainly hasn’t devoted any time to creating new talent.”

Hoffman said the WWE’s goal is to make “Raw” and “Smackdown” into two distinct programs, each drawing on its own stable of wrestlers, with very little cross-pollination between the two. The cross-pollination will occur with the monthly pay-per-view events, featuring grudge matches between the stars of “Raw” and the stars of “Smackdown.”

Some goal!  If that was my goal, I certainly wouldn’t cross-promote on the TV shows within 1 hour of the first show of the so-called split.  Yet there was Vince McMahon on RAW, one week after he said he was banned from RAW forever.  You think that bait-and-switch has anything to do with viewers not giving a shit anymore?

But if “Raw” and “Smackdown” continue to experience Nielsen erosion, Carroll said Vince McMahon will go all out to get the viewers back.

Now that I agree with.  But it sure ain’t a good thing.  It means pushing big guys, hiring Vince Russo, gross bathroom humor, and constant hot-shotting.  In other words, some of the exact same things that helped put WCW out of business during its last year.

“McMahon is a master at adapting to changing circumstances,” Carroll said. “He’s not only a showman, but one of the savviest marketers in the business.”

In what business?  The wrestling business?  That isn’t hard when your competition is John Collins, Andrew McManus, Paul Heyman, Vince Russo, Jim Herd, Bill Watts, Kip Frye, Joe Pedecino, Verne Gagne, etc.  In the entertainment business, (cough, XFL, cough, WBF) Vince is hardly a marketing genius.  He’s had some incredible successes, but a marketing genius doesn’t market his business the way Vince has for the last year.  A marketing genius doesn’t kill WCW and ECW after buying them.  A marketing genius builds them up, creates this killer competition invasion angle, signs all the top WCW talent and pushes them hard, and rides it out for years while generating millions in revenue.  Vince McMahon did not do those things.  He’s a great success running a profitable company, but when I think of how much MORE profitable it could be, I cringe.

I’ll say it again.  Whether it’s Middle East peace issues, the War on Terrorism, or Elizabeth Smart… take EVERYTHING you read in the mainstream press with a grain of salt.  Articles like this show just how clueless journalists can be.