From 1985-1990, or 1986-1989, Hulk Hogan almost never said or did anything patriotic besides use a patriotic theme song, until suddenly, after WrestleMania VI in Canada, he became very patriotic again. Was this deliberate? If so, it means the WWF planned to start shoving propaganda and cheap heat down people's throats to artificially keep themselves popular after the 1980s wrestling boom finished.
Most of the disastrous garbage in today's WWE has its earliest precedent in early 1990s WWF. Indeed, if one looks at the IWC, one finds that the biggest fans of this corny period where the first European smark crowds gathered are also the biggest WWE ass-kissers. Was this time and place, perhaps, the beginning of the end despite the presence of multiple megastars in the roster?
I wasn't watching WWF at the time, but I think Hulk's patriotic turn was due to the Gulf War.
>European smark crowds
Unlikely in the early 90s. Giving Ultra-American faces a heel response isn't smarky, it's a natural mark response.
>Was the early 90s the beginning of the end?
No. It was a down-turn in the business. WCW was doing very poorly, Vince was struggling himself, and Jim Cornette thought it was a fine time to set up in competition. Things picked up again in the mid-90s either because of or to the benefit of Bischoff and Heyman. Whatever the reason, millions of wrestling fans were made in that decade. The problem really arose in the 2000s. Very few new American fans have been won to wrestling since the closure of ECW & WCW - a point eloquently made by the average year of birth of WWE's domestic audience staying pretty stagnant since 2000. (The average American E fan is now in the mid-forties.)
But that may not be a devastating blow. WWE is doing good business internationally and so long as they can keep expanding their market they aren't going to go down. (As a point of interest, TNA is in a comparable position given their size. Their domestic market is a fairly small pool of people about the same age as the E fans - presumably ex-WCW fans? - but they're getting over in the UK.)
>Very few new American fans have been won to wrestling since the closure of ECW & WCW - a point eloquently made by the average year of birth of WWE's domestic audience staying pretty stagnant since 2000.
It's almost like the modern WWE product is totally unappealing or something.
If the product was totally unappealing, they'd lose their old base and wouldn't win new fans overseas. You may not like it, I don't like it enough to do more than check in every year or two, but it has an appeal to a non-trivial number of people.
If the question is why they're not expanding in North America, I think it's actually the volume of product more than anything else. When you dump 23 hours of "A-show" material on the market a month, plus B-shows plus NXT, most people won't casually watch enough to become hardcore followers. For a casual wrestling fan, something like Lucha Underground is much easier to swallow. That kind of explanation also makes sense of why the E is doing good business overseas. Their new markets are only getting RAW and the subset of the population that will pick up a thing and rabidly follow it hasn't already been completely exposed to the brand.
>If the product was totally unappealing, they'd lose their old base and wouldn't win new fans overseas
But they HAVE been losing their old base, ratings have been in constant decline since Fall of 2001.
If patriotism is cheap heat then Stone Cold is a whore. Also, Hogan's heat wasn't all red white and blue, he had shirt ripping Hulkamania brother, great feuds, that boot to the head and those big leg drops, hulking up, etc. Of course Vince is going to do anything to keep the WWF going and his creative is deliberate.
I have no idea how you got 1990's WWF as precedent for 2016 WWE. The demographics have changed throughout the years and I don't think they had fruity pebbles in mind while they were going through the attitude era.
WWE has been constantly growing so I don't know what you mean by beginning of the end.
Vince's super football thing was hilarious though.
>they have been losing their old base
When you still have millions of viewers every week, your product is not totally unappealing. As for the decline in viewers, I think most of it is just killing the casual audience (which WWE did themselves).
There's also a slow bleed out to internet viewing, which Nielsen doesn't track. I couldn't guess how many people are watching pirate streams - it's probably bigger in the international markets where this means getting to see the product live rather than waiting to see it on TV. They've also got a million+ subscribers to the Network, some of whom will be watching RAW at their convenience.
None of that says they're amazing, just that they're doing good business still. I mean, contrary to the doom and gloom message that OP began with, WWE's financials for last year were their best ever - hardly the sort of thing you get from a company in decline, let alone one on its deathbed.
(As a last point, they are playing a risky game going against the live audiences. Crowd reaction has always been a big part of wrestling, and I think it still makes a big difference to the casual viewer. Someone who watches RAW for the first time and hears the crowd totally at odds with the announcers is not going to be impressed.)
>WWE's financials for last year were their best ever
I, too, take whatever a company says about itself when doing marketing + publicity at face value.
In case you haven't been keeping up, millions of WWE's viewers are deeply, deeply stupid. Just look at their social media pages if you don't believe me.
Stone Cold was never a "patriotic" gimmick. You're posting outright revisionism.
>I have no idea how you got 1990's WWF as precedent for 2016 WWE. The demographics have changed throughout the years and I don't think they had fruity pebbles in mind while they were going through the attitude era.
WWF 1991-1995 was like a live-action cartoon.
>WWE has been constantly growing
They've done nothing but decline since 2001. Ratings have never been lower than they are now.
It's not. See http://finance.yahoo.com/news/wwe-reports-strong-fourth-quarter-133000601.html
>"Revenue increased 21% to $658.8 million, the highest in the Company’s history, including record levels of revenue from WWE’s Network, Television, Live event, Venue Merchandise, and WWE Shop businesses."
>The shows are just there to whip up sales for toys and merch.
WWE earns more than twice as much from selling TV rights as it does from all of its consumer products. The Network spins them almost as much as that again. They're still very much led by their media wing, though other segments are important to their bottom line.
Stocks? Stocks? You're gonna fuckin' give me STOCKS as proof of success?
Ever heard of Enron? Or Lehman Brothers?
>Also, does that loss account for people switching over to the WWE network?
You mean their Network that doesn't get RAW uploaded onto it until a month later?
That's like bragging about your paycheck before you do tax.
I'm accusing a publicity puff piece of being ingenuine which it very clearly fucking is.
Ticket sales have been down for a long time now, with live events headlined by Reigns drawing well below even Orton vs. Sheamus house show loop.
The article goes on to show a profit of $68.7 million for the year. I'm not sure if that's their best year ever, but it's good by their standards. In 2010 they reported 2007 as their best year to date with a profit of roughly $60 million, so at worst 2015 is the E's fourth most profitable year ever after 2011, 2012, and 2013. (2014 was a loss year.)
You're accusing them of accounting fraud. The article you got linked to details WWE's financial reporting. It's not a publicity piece and they have legal responsibilities to present their financial situation honestly and accurately.
At this stage, I do wonder if you're false-flagging. One would think that a smark who really disliked WWE would bother to read dirt on them in order to sling it accurately. I mean, the whole reason I know about their financial position is so that I can rubbish the fanboys who declare that TV doesn't really matter to Vince anymore because of all that sweet merchandise money.
>It's not a publicity piece and they have legal responsibilities to present their financial situation honestly and accurately.
Oh yeah, like they did with their subscriber numbers after the Royal Fumble 2.0: Electric BOOOO-galoo last year.
Git wurkd, mark.
You seem like a reasonable person and that's a reasonable thing to do. To be honest, I wouldn't think any worse of you if you'd just said that other people had said that on the internet and you'd believed them. If that's never happened to you, you're a better person than I am!
Here's your .5 replies.
(this is the OP)
I may have forgotten that was contemporaneous with the Gulf War for a moment when I thought of this.
>Unlikely in the early 90s. Giving Ultra-American faces a heel response isn't smarky, it's a natural mark response.
It wasn't just Hogan that was booed (which was probably mostly in America anyway), but Savage was booed against Warrior in Britain during a moment when it was suggested he was the good guy - a clear case of the crowd 'choosing' the hero as they do now. Besides the booing and cheering, I was thinking of how they would ocassionally make noises that are unrelated to what's going on.
The booing of Hogan and censorship of it is reminiscent of Cena today, and there are several other slight similarities between then and now that I can think of. By "the beginning of the end" I mostly meant quality-wise.
I meant the pre-Attitude Era part.
also look at the segment at WM5 where Sean Mooney is in the audience, there's a sizable portion of Savage fans vs prime Hogan
Sid was cheered and Hogan booed at the 92 Rumble
Midnight Express got cheered over the Dynamic Dudes, during a heel turn
Flair got cheers over Steamboat
Everybody gets booed and cheered and the crowd makes unrelated noise, even in the 50s and 60s.
Obviously they will muffle sounds that hurt the presentation in post production, that should be expected.
I think overall the quality of program was higher in the attitude era than classic wrestling, except for Cactus Jack and Terry Funk cutting monster vignettes and the flesh and blood Japanese wrestling, but that's my opinion.
Pre-attitude I don't think they had plans past booking the next couple of events. They were basically flying by the seat of their pants rather than decades in advance calculated genius planning.
>Pre-attitude I don't think they had plans past booking the next couple of events.
If you mean early 90s, maybe. It wasn't a good time for the industry and a lot of people were kinda flailing around. But Vince definitely has a pattern of looking for a long-term "face of the company" at least as early as Warrior's big push. (I think it goes earlier, to making Hogan the new Bruno, but I'm not 100% on that.)
I was referring to what I thought was the suggestion of decades of planning of how the company itself would be ran, but yeah.
I think the big stars was pretty modular depending on who is getting the most heat until the Wrestlemanias where Hogan was able to cement his position as top card/earner by gaining favor with Vince. I wasn't backstage, but I believe in the years to come the crowd reaction mattered a bit less and the wins and pushes started to get political, with "who do we owe a push" rather than "who is hotter" although obviously they wouldn't push someone who couldn't get over.
>but I believe in the years to come the crowd reaction mattered a bit less and the wins and pushes started to get political, with "who do we owe a push"
Well you're half-right: it became a case of "who does Vince want to push"
Some wrestlers had Vince's ear.
Hulk vs. HBK Summerslam 2005?
Everyone knows backstage politics has been a part of the game (HHH says "hi"), obviously Vince is the commander, but wrestlers can get a lot of influence in the script.
>I wasn't watching WWF at the time, but I think Hulk's patriotic turn was due to the Gulf War.
Or was the Gulf War a fiction created by Vince to get the Hulkster's new gimmick over since people were starting to get sick of him?
Illuminati is real, also Half Life 3 confirmed.