Write an Article

Analyzing the post-WWE Draft era

f

What are the repercussions for the WWE after a decade defining roster draft?

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09:  The WWE stand during the Beyond Sport United 2016 at Barclays Center on August 9, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York.  (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
WWE will now have 19 PPVs a year.

Off the back of a decade defining brand split with new faces and fresh ideas. The WWE looked set to enter into a new era, a new era that the fans had been crying out for, for years. "We're sick of John Cena." They cried. "It's the same old, same old!" They exclaimed. So what happened, the WWE started to push Roman Reigns and the hardcore fans subsequently rejected him. Now what? An NXT revolution and a brand split. You asked and campaigned for a new era without giving WWE the sufficient time to establish it, now it’s here and we have to deal with the repercussions.

John Cena equals ratings

It's all well and good asking for change but change takes time. New stars that appeal to a wider audience have to be built. People who are popular to a wrestling crowd aren't necessarily enough to be the face of a company. John Cena gets booed out of 50% of arenas around the world but he's a household name that appeals to the mainstream society. Yes, it's nice to see new talents such as; Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews, Alexa Bliss & Carmella being given a chance on prime TV but the company cannot solely rely on them yet if they want to succeed. Accept it or not, the wrestling society is not big enough to sustain a worldwide business like WWE, they need a wider fan base. That's why they've ventured into shows like Total Divas & Total Bellas, pop culture is key for the expansion of WWE. Daniel Bryan was the most 'over' wrestler in 2014 but even at his peak he wasn't drawing more Cena at house shows or selling more merchandise.

With Cena's impending absence after No Mercy looming, WWE has to think of new ways to draw people in and fast. If you research the recent attendance figures for SDLive without Cena in comparison to when he is advertised, there's a considerable difference. According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE Backlash, SDLive's first ever PPV only drew 7,000 fans with the WWE having to give out free tickets at nightclubs. This almost sounds like a TNA storyline. SDLive should have been established as a brand first before trying to sell out a PPV. Because 7,000 fans for a WWE PPV is a disgrace and embarrassing for all involved. Whilst, in contrast, the No Mercy PPV is almost sold out, why? The Cena effect.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Robby Gordon (R), driver of the #7 Mapei/Menards/Speed Energy Dodge, speaks with professional wrestler John Cena in the driver's meeting prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
House Shows with Cena on the card approximately sell 26% more tickets.

Ratings are at an all-time low for WWE due to the decline in wrestling popularity, more on demand content is available and the use of DVR recordings is on the rise. SmackDown's move to the USA network on Tuesdays was a move to increase ratings for the blue brand. SDLive and RAW are now neck & neck in the ratings. SDLive drew a 1.86 cable rating for the 15/9 episode while RAW drew a 1.88, was this Vince's plan all along? And things are set to only get tougher for RAW as the American Football season is back in motion.

UNCASVILLE, CT - AUGUST 3:  Actor Jeremy Piven guest hosts WWE's 'Monday Night Raw' at Mohegan Sun on August 3, 2009 in Uncasville, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
WWE’s current U.S TV deal expires in 2019.

Ratings are not the be all and end all of WWE but they can have an effect on TV revenue from  deals with the USA Network and NBC. It's simple to understand, the fewer people watching wrestling LIVE, the less the WWE is worth to the TV network. People may be still watching the show through recordings but the live element is important due to the adverts that are shown throughout the show, adverts control television.

 

So how do we go forward from here?

 

I know both brands belong to the WWE but there is definitely room for healthy competition that could benefit the company holistically. Don't make fans choose between the brands, but instead, make them feel invested in both shows for different storylines and personalities. Fans need a reason to tune into both shows, they need gripping storylines, fresh concepts and a placed importance on every show. A continued focus on social media engagement is also key, we need to have more 'break the internet' moments, making fans who missed the show more determined to tune in next week. 

Kevin Owens is one of the faces of the new era

Create stipulations for every episode make them have knock implications on the upcoming PPVs, whether it's for the main event or mid-card, let each show mean something. On RAW, turn Owens into a heel reluctant to defend his title, make the fans tune in just to see him get his ass kicked. I want to be able to tune in to RAW and SmackDown without feeling like I've watched too much wrestling, I want the week to race towards Monday & Tuesday. The draft era can work, and we need to ensure it does. Never has there been a time where the WWE has had this much talent on their roster, there's never been a better time to have two thriving shows. 

Create stipulations for every episode make them have knock implications on the upcoming PPVs, whether it's for the main event or mid-card, let each show mean something. On RAW, turn Owens into a heel reluctant to defend his title, make the fans tune in just to see him get his ass kicked. I want to be able to tune in to RAW and SmackDown without feeling like I've watched too much wrestling, I want the week to race towards Monday & Tuesday. The draft era can work, and we need to ensure it does. Never has there been a time where the WWE has had this much talent on their roster, there's never been a better time to have two thriving shows. 


For latest WWE News, live coverage and rumours visit our Sportskeeda WWE section.


Fetching more content...