Saturday, February 2, 2013

The WWE, Wrestlemania, and the Need To Look At The Long Term

Well, it looks like my post from about a month ago will have some weight to it after all. The results of the Royal Rumble all but guarantee us a Rock/Cena rematch for Wrestlemania 29. As I stated earlier, the match does nothing for me. I just don't care about seeing it again.

The WWE will tell us all that the short term results from this will be great. Wrestlemania 29 will be a huge revenue gainer for the WWE. Most people believe that it will be the highest grossing gate Mania of all time. That is fine and dandy. I still don't buy the idea that this Wrestlemania will have the most PPV buys of all time. There are a lot of people just like me who do not want to see Wrestlemania headlined by two PPV matches that have taken place in the last year. Wrestlemania is suppose to be about big, new matches that haven't taken place before. Instead, the WWE has decided to take the safe route and book matches that have already succeeded for them. It is lazy booking at its finest. Why try something new when you can go with something that has already done well?

So while Wrestlemania 29 will be good for the short term ratings, revenue and PPV buys, it won't help the long term success of the WWE at all in 2013. You would think that the WWE would put some effort into making new stars with The Rock back and with more viewers returning. But what did the WWE do? They put out possibly the worst RAW of the last few months this past Monday. Because once again, the WWE straddled themselves with a gimmick RAW. They went for the comedy route rather than making their young stars look like potential main eventers in the company. RAW did its highest rating since the 1000th episode. Do you really think seeing Lord Tensai in lingerie or Ryback making jokes will keep around some viewers who tuned back in to see The Rock? Most people probably watched it and said "This is what wrestling is nowadays?" It was bad booking on the WWE's part.

I say this time and time again when it gets to Wrestlemania season. This is when casual fans kind of start to sniff around the product again. And with The Rock now WWE Champion, you know there are more than just a few fans who are coming back to the product. And the WWE gave them that horrible show on Monday. People who defend the Rock/Cena rematch will tell you that the WWE will give their mid-card guys a chance to shine at Wrestlemania with everyone watching. Lets go back the last few Wrestlemanias. When has there been a new star made at all in the process? Often times in the past Wrestlemania was looked upon as the changing of the guard in the WWE. But not since Wrestlemania 21 with John Cena and Batista has that happened. Miz won at Wrestlemania 27, but he was immediately pushed back down the card and lost the WWE Title at the next PPV. Plus, the show ended with Rock standing tall after a Rock Bottom to the Miz.

The WWE likes to use Wrestlemania as their big money maker. That's great. It is their biggest PPV of the year and the show should generate a lot of money for the WWE. But the problem is that the WWE fails to look past Wrestlemania when it comes to the financial success of their company. Why do you think the PPV buyrates and ratings always go down in the May, June and July months? Because the WWE does nothing to keep the casual fan around after Wrestlemania. This year people know that The Rock and Brock Lesnar will more than likely be gone after Mania. What incentive do they have to stay? Do we expect the WWE to do a good job of building up guys like Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan for the casual fan? If the WWE invested as much time in building their mid-card stars as they would building up their big matches, then the WWE would continue to be strong in the summer months.

But even for a life long fan like me, this Wrestlemania will be a tough pill to swallow. Why? Because the WWE is once again going to go the safe route and have John Cena win the WWE Title. Once again, this rematch wouldn't be necessary if the WWE took the time to build someone up as a main eventer. Imagine if Dolph Ziggler had just gone on a tear all of 2012 and then won the Royal Rumble, and went on to challenge The Rock at Wrestlemania. Would it be the money maker that Rock/Cena would be? No. But the story would be just as good or even better.

And do we really need another year of John Cena ruling at the top? Even last year when he didn't hold the WWE Title, he still main evented 9 out of 12 PPVs last year. Why should we not believe that the WWE would give John Cena a year long Title reign like they did with C.M. Punk? I think there are a lot more people getting sick of seeing John Cena at the top then the WWE thinks. And with Wrestlemania being held in the New York/New Jersey market, you can all but guarantee a negative reaction to him winning the WWE Title. Hell, there may be just a negative reaction to the whole match overall. That is why I don't think the WWE will put C.M. Punk in the match, even if the Undertaker can't go. That crowd will be pro-Punk. I just don't see any way around that.

So while the WWE may be banking on the WWE bringing them in a lot of money, they really need to be looking towards the long term future of the product. With The Rock apparently ready to give the WWE some publicity by carrying the WWE Title around a bunch of places, the WWE needs to be ready too. If they want to make Wrestlemania a real success, then they need to make people care about the mid-card guys underneath the main players. But if this past week's RAW is any indication, we could be in line for a long, painful traffic jam on the Road to Wrestlemania.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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