Why WWE should focus on attracting the casual fans
Casual fans are the way to go!!!
WWE is the best pro-wrestling company in the history of pro wrestling. Period. It’s stayed at the top since forever and has eliminated its competition over the years to stay at the top. It’s not just the fact that it has eliminated competition over the years, WWE became the best because of, and as cliched as it may sound, the WWE Universe.
WWE’s fanbase is huge and when the topic of wrestling comes up, there sure is a reference of WWE in the mix. However, the WWE Universe is not just comprised of Hardcore wrestling fans or the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community), there exist people who just watch WWE for the fun of it.
They watch it just for the storylines and the wrestling. They love John Cena, a majority of them do, and names like Triple H, Undertaker, Kane, Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton to name a few are names they know. However, if you ask them who Braun Strowman is or Bray Wyatt for that matter, a majority wouldn’t know.
Same goes for companies.
A casual fan might not know about NJPW, ROH or PWG (Pro Wrestling Guerrila) while he/she knows about WWE. A handful of them might know about TNA (Total Nonstop Action) and there’s a possibility that these people might not know about the fact that TNA goes by the name of Impact Wrestling now, having dropped the TNA name after they were acquired by Anthem Sports.
The inspiration to write this article came from a conversation between me and my friend. My friend is a casual fan who identifies himself as a former hardcore fan of WWE, not pro wrestling, from 2005-2009. He follows Wrestlemania every year and social media keeps him updated about what’s happening in the WWE.
When he came across this photo of Big Show after a workout looking fit on social media, he showed it to me and I told him that Show was preparing to face Shaquille O’Neal at Wrestlemania 33. Being a huge basketball fan he was excited.
He asked me about the rest of the card and I told him that Rollins vs. Triple H, Lesnar vs. Goldberg were some of the matches that were finalised. This added to his excitement. The conversation got me thinking, besides the fact that some of the best spots on the Wrestlemania card will be taken by part-timers, why is it that WWE attracts more fans during Wrestlemania and not throughout rest of the year?
I get asked by a lot of people about Wrestlemania and the card and there are a fixed set of questions that I get: When is it? What time does it air? Who are John Cena, Undertaker, Brock Lesnar wrestling? Will The Rock make an appearance?
The answers to my question is pretty obvious and I’ll answer it myself, the fact that the WWE is attracting more people during Wrestlemania season just adds to their earnings and makes Wrestlemania huge. But won’t it be nice for the promotion to earn more?
Attitude Era was an important part of WWE’s rise because it garnered so much attention. It pulled so many people because the storylines were great, the characters were up to the mark and more importantly, the wrestling was great.
After the end of the Attitude era, WWE entered what is called The Ruthless Aggression era and people were happy with it as well because the promotion created some great storylines during this era and pushed the right wrestlers and the concept of part timers coming in and taking the best spots during this era was uncommon.
John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar are all products of the Ruthless Aggression Era. DX was greater than what it was during the Attitude Era. The rivalries created during this era were great.
The moment they transitioned into the PG era, things changed drastically. They lost out on the casual fans because casual fans began seeing it as “lame and fake” and the hardcore fans started exploring other options, which helped increase the popularity of ROH and NJPW, even TNA for that matter.
One feud from the PG era that stands out and is still considered to be a classic is CM Punk vs. John Cena in 2011. Thier MITB (Money in The Bank) match was spectacular and the build-up to the storyline was off-the-charts. It renewed fan interest, but WWE screwed it up and went back to square one.
We are in the “New Era” and the best thing about the New Era is NXT. NXT, if marketed well, can reach casual fans and spark interest along with great creative heads. Wrestlers at NXT are great at wrestling and with good storytelling, it can sell.
It is important to appeal to the casual fans because I believe only that will make WWE great again. People who express their discontent on the internet will be happy and so will everyone at home. With the number of nonsensical storylines, the WWE has done, it is difficult to get causal fans because of the opinions that people have formed.
However, it could be corrected. Legitimacy is the way to go. Great creative is another. And the fact that you push someone down people’s throats is something that never works (I am referring to Roman Reigns). With an amazing arsenal of wrestlers at their disposal, the WWE can do so much with them, it’s just that the company should learn how to use them.
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