AS I SEE IT 4/23: Are (not as many of) you experienced?

For those of you who read this blog, and are still fanboys
or apologists for WWE and tell people like me that Vince
McMahon is always right, I have one question for you:

“Viking Experience”?!? “VIKING EXPERIENCE”!?!?! WWE named
the Tag Team Champions of its third brand NXT, The War
Raiders… “The Viking Experience”?!?! WWE named Tag Team
Champions after something that sounds like a new ride at Six
Flags Great Adventure? Hell,
I can see the commercial complete with little bald Mr. Six
dancing along them (if you don’t live near a Six Flags park,
Google him).

Worse still, the other alternative was apparently The
Berzerkers (same as the cartoonish John Nord character).

There’s still been no definitive reason for why this took
place. One story claimed that Vince McMahon hates the word
“war” and finds it archaic and barbaric. The other suggested
that Comcast/USA has an issue with “war”, which begs the
question why The Shield were sometimes referred to on air as
The Dogs of War, or why Ember Moon referred to as the War
Goddess. There was still another that McMahon “simply didn’t
like the name”, despite it having existed for months and
months in NXT.

Usually when you go to WWE social media, there’s always
SOMEONE defending any decision they’ve made, no matter how
silly it might seem to most. Not this time. There were
literally hundreds, if not thousands, of fans complaining.

The usual reply after I make such a complaint is to show me
how much money WWE is making, their stock prices, and how
much the new TV contracts plus the Saudi deals are earning
for the company. Understand something…all that revenue is
dependent upon TV ratings and a successful product. When
it’s hard to find anyone defending them about a
decision…on their own social media…that tells you

Decisions like this are symbolic of the perception by many
that WWE is losing touch. As a result, viewers and fans have
been steadily losing interest in the product. It isn’t just
perception. It’s seen in real numbers of real viewers, and
it’s important to take a look at those numbers and the year
to year loss in interest that they represent.

Statistics are in format of Date/Viewers/+ or – previous
week/2018 stats/2017 stats

RAW numbers

1/7 2.324/+356,000/2.766/2893
1/14 2.722/+398,000/3.250/3.263
1/21 2.462/-260,000/4.530/3.284
1/28 2.703/+241,000/3.395/3.612
2/4. 2.509/-194,000/3.55/3.099
2/11 2.462/ -47,000/ 3.150/3.073
2/18. 2.771/+309,000/3.282/3.208
2/25 2.922/+151,000/3.180/3.093
3/4 2.783/-139,000/3.090/3.216
3/11 2.810/+27,000 3.352/3.232
3/18 2.695 -115,000/ 3.327/3.049
3/25 2.589/-106,000/3.367/3.292
4/1 2.639/+50,000/3.358/3.767
4/8 2.924/+275,000/3.921/3.429
4/15 2.665 /-259,000/ 3.622/3.346

Smackdown numbers

1/1 2.091/+187,000/ 2.720/2.596
1/8 2.032/-59,000/2.603/2533
1/15 2.143/+111,000/2.602/2652
1/22 2.142/-1,000/2.580/2556
1/29 2.137/-5,000/2.509/2.817
2/5 1.841/-296,000/2.505/2.627
2/12 2.034/+193,000/2.449/2626
2/19 2.269/+235,000/2.613/2795
2/26 2.150/-119,000/2.692/2.566
3/5 2.155/+5,000/2.590/2.738
3/12 2.198/+43,000/2771/2.628
3/19 2.208/+10,000/2.888/2.647
3/26 2.393/+185,000/2.576/2.698
4/2 2.141/ -252,000/2.467/2.885
4/9 2.199/+58,000/2.952/3.105
4/16 2.219/+20,000/2.796/2.544

The drop in weekly viewership numbers over a two year period
is scary. It can’t be explained away by cord-cutting or any
of the usual stock answers. It can’t all be explained away
by competition from the NFL, NBA, or NHL. It can only be
explained by weekly shows that feature a stale product style
fewer and fewer people want to see on a weekly basis, by not
having depended on certain lead characters over years…not
building replacement lead characters..and now struggling to
do so after the fact.

When you look at the above numbers, one thing has to jump
out at you. For all of 2019, WWE has yet to hit the 3
million mark for viewers, even during Wrestlemania season.
When Smackdown moves to FOX this fall, Ot should be clear
that FOX isn’t going to settle for those kind of numbers.

If numbers disappoint, Smackdown runs the risk of being
moved from the major achievement of their programming on a
broadcast outlet… to FS1…a cable outlet with far smaller
numbers than USA Network, their current home. Obviously, Fox
will do a lot of advertising for Smackdown Live, and has
already started doing so on NASCAR races this season. Ads
run on FOX’s NFL slate of games beginning this September
will be a great help as well. But in the end, all the
advertising in key spots imaginable won’t help if fans don’t
have a reason to tune in.

Until next time…

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