Random Thoughts from the Office: October 8, 2010

I'm in hell.

I am seriously in hell right now. I must be. It wasn't bad enough that I had to sit through that abomination of a main event at the Hell in a Cell pay per view, one that so totally sucked the life and enjoyment for what was actually a pretty decent show for me up till that point. Now the Antichrist of WrestleCrap Radio shows back up? Boy am I just one happy lawyer? But hey. Ain't nothing gonna break-a my stride, not even Nintendo John.

I've been thinking a lot since Sunday's pay per view about the current state of wrestling and how I personally feel about it. I mean, I hate being so negative all the time here in my column and on the WrestleCrap forums. I still love professional wrestling as a means of entertainment, but more and more recently I find myself a lot more negative than positive about the current states of both the WWE and TNA. Although there are still moments that excite me in wrestling: Ring of Honor, the Dragon Gate USA shows, SHIMMER. There is still a lot to like about wrestling.

However, when it comes to wrestling choice on a weekly basis when I live I have basically the WWE and TNA, and their product recently has left me cold and wondering I even bother with wrestling any more.

First, before I go deeper let me say that TNA actually has improved a lot. Their storylines and shows most of the time are still stupid and filled with holes a five year old autistic child could see through, but at least they're trying to get better, not always succeeding but TRYING, and to some extent it's working. I no longer want to take a trip to the Impact Zone just to burn it down anymore, which is more than I could say after Genesis.

The WWE has had its moments too: Taker-Shawn II, the well booked surprise return of Daniel(son) Bryan, The Miz has usually been entertaining and this current season of NXT is most certainly the Wrestling Gods gift to comedy.

But I wonder now if perhaps we as wrestling fans have been spoiled. A lot of us began watching wrestling during one of the greatest eras ever: The nWo running rampant in WCW; while it did get frustrating when it got repeated over and over ad nauseum but when it began on the night Hulk Hogan turned heel, it was the biggest thing in wrestling ever, an epic moment we thought would never be repeated. Only the WWE answered back with the Attitude Era: stars like Triple H, The Rock, Kurt Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin became household names. And wrestling was epic, The Monday Night Wars created the best television wrestling had ever seen as Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff tried to outdo each other. And if you ever needed a break there was always ECW, Paul Heyman's little promotion that could, with its compelling storylines and hardcore attitude they survived and in some cases even thrived by being different.

Even when WCW and ECW folded there was still great times ahead. The WWE had enough talent to make compelling matches for years. Even if they horrifically botched the InVasion angle, fans could look forward to guys like RVD, Jericho, Guerrero, Benoit and others to put on great matches to add to the top tier talent the WWE already had. Then they bettered it with Tag team wars featuring The Hardys, The Dudleys and Edge and Christian. Plus you had smaller independents like Ring of Honor springing up to provide great wrestling.

A year or so later TNA opened, and though their business model didn't look great, we still made sure to enjoy it while it lasted with them introducing us to new stars we hadn't really seen before like AJ Styles. It was a great time to be a wrestling fan.

Nowadays though it just seems all the fun is gone. the WWE seems perpetually stuck in 1995 when horrible gimmicks like Doink the Clown, TL Hopper and The Goon were all around and the focus was on the young children. TNA on other hand likes to party it's 1999......way past the point that any star from then is actually relevant.

The bigger problem though, believe it or not, lies with WWE, not TNA. Their push towards wrestling for a younger audience didn't work in '95 and it's not working now. The problem is the business has changed, and changed for the worse; a lot of parents still believe wrestling is just as violent as it was back then.

Go to any parent nowadays and ask them to associate names with wrestling, Number one, even now, is going to be Hulk Hogan, that's a given. As much as I dislike him, the man DID revolutionize the way people looked at wrestling. But I'm sure in the top five somewhere will lie the name Chris Benoit, and we all know why. Fair? No but you can understand why parents aren't bringing their kids to shows as often. Not that some parents don't but my point is they're not coming in the numbers the WWE needs to offset the people of our generation, the Attitude Generation who are leaving.

Look at Summerslam's buyrate, approximately 196 thousand buys domestically, 350 or so world wide. For the number three pay per view in the WWE calender, it would've been a lock to do at least DOUBLE that, or at least close to it. And most of the people leaving are the people who swore allegiance to the WWE way back when, the hardest of the hardcore fans. And as TNA as shown with the stars of WCW, once you lose them, there's a very good chance they're not coming back. Not a problem for WWE in 1995 when it was just Vince's money. Big Problem in 2010 howeber when you have to answer to shareholders wondering why one of your main revenue streams are going down, down, down. The "hook them young and keep them forever" mentality just doesn't work anymore, Meanwhile your main audience you've had since you won the Monday Night War, the 18-35 male demographic, is turning to other alternatives like the UFC because the product doesn't appeal to them anymore.

I don't mean to sound all doom and gloom; the WWE isn't going anywhere for a while yet. I'm just saying that the day may come, hopefully well off into the future where it may hurt them. So much so that even the great Vince McMahon can't recover

Time is forever after all. The patience of fans, who still so love and reminisce about the "Good old days" however, is not.

Clarence "Showstealer" Mason

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