Former WWE, WCW, and TNA creative writer Vince Russo has posted a new blog at PyroAndBallyhoo.com talking about WWE's financial problems and their television ratings:
"But HERE is where the problem with the WWE and its current ratings lie.
Moments after the baby bull was decapitated from behind, John Cena was in the middle of the ring telling Bray Wyatt, “Payback is a B***H!”. Whoa—now wait a minute. If I brought little Johnny, and he came to see the baby bull—what do I do now? Do I cover his ears? Do I up and leave? Do I never come back to see another WWE event live? Do I stop watching the show all together? What do I do with this BLATANT MIXED MESSAGE THAT WAS JUST THROWN MY WAY?!!!
“You can’t be half pregnant”.
Vince McMahon said that to me many, many years ago, and it has become my #1 rule when scripting wrestling. What Vince meant was that when you make the decision to do something—YOU GO ALL THE WAY WITH IT! So, the WWE made the decision to go family friendly—they told us all–however, the problem is that they’re not going all the way with it—-they are BEING HALF PREGNANT. Is this because in reality they, themselves as a company, haven’t bought 100% into it, and are just trying to “appease” the board, or, are there other reasons simply steaming from greediness?
Could the reason they haven’t committed one way, or the other, be this simple—from a philosophic point of view—the WWE is trying to capture EVERYONE!? Whereas networks these days are going for the demo P (people) 18-49, the WWE is going for P 5-65. In other words—in typical Vince fashion—they want it ALL!!! And, in theory, there is nothing wrong with that—it’s how Vince made all that money. Go for it all—and leave nothing behind. But that’s only in “theory”.
Back in 2002, I almost went back to the WWE because I took it personally that, within the matter of a little over a two-year span, their ratings had split in half from the time that I had left–they had fallen below a 3.0. Today–a DOZEN years later—the ratings are still where they were then. When it comes to eyeballs on TVs every Monday night—half of the people are watching now, compared to when the “Attitude Era” was in full stride. Yeah—they’ll fling every excuse at you. Primarily—the television landscape has changed with the internet, iphones, ipads, whatever–OK, good argument. HOWEVER–if that were the case, then why hasn’t the NFL lost half its audience in the last 12 years? They’re on TV, right? Other ways to watch their product are out there—just like in the WWE’s case.
No–that’s a BS excuse. We saw within a five-minute span on “Raw” last night why the ratings are HALF of what they used to be. In attempting to obtain ALL—the WWE has literally alienated, or “turned off” half their audience in the process. Don’t believe me—see what the IWS community has to say about last night’s “Raw” today. Yeah—they loved the Shield brawling with Evolution at the end—but, the baby bull—not so much. And what about the “families”? Oh, yeah, that bull thing was “cute”, but John Cena swearing—not so much. Now, if you keep doing this week in, and week out, the things you “don’t like” will eventually start to build, or add up—until all of a sudden—it’s OK if we miss “Raw” this week. Well, this week turns into next week, and the next week—until they’re not watching anymore.
By trying to be “all things to all people”–which they can’t be—nobody can–the WWE has shot themselves in the boot. For every kid they are gaining, they are losing an adult, and for every adult they are gaining—they are losing a kid. It a switch-off, an exchange, a vicious cycle."