Planet Kayfabe: Second Sighting Submitted by Kayfabe Candyass on 09/23/2017 at 12:07 AM
Planet Kayfabe: Second Sighting, Ratings in the Can and Heads in Sand
By: "Kayfabe Candyass" Paul Matthews
Greetings Humanoids. I'm back. With that, I'll start off with passing my condolences to Bobby Heenan's family and loved ones. I used to use that word in my columns as a tribute to The Brain and since this is MY planet and you're just visiting, it seemed appropriate. Everyone, including those far more qualified than myself have given their thoughts on Bobby Heenan. I agree with everyone who has said he's the best manager of all time. Himself with Monsoon is also my favorite commentary team. I've heard many like Bruce Prichard and The Solomonster say that Bobby is one of the top 5 all-around best wrestling performers on any level and I agree with that, too. So, there isn't much I can add. Bobby will be missed. He was truly one of a kind. If you're a younger fan... or even if you're about 30 and never watched Prime Time Wrestling, go check it out on the WWE Network or wherever you can find it and I'm sure you'll find yourself loving The Brain as well. He's gone, but his art is still out there for you to enjoy and it's never to late to appreciate his life's work, so thanks for everything Bobby.
So... Did you miss me? If you're the type who thought I was too negative in the past, I promise it will be a short lived honeymoon. It was around this time last year that Planet Kayfabe went dark. At the end of this column I'll get into the personal nonsense, without great detail, but just to give an understanding for the old readers and what's changed since.
Back to business.
A recent tweet from the 'Road Dogg' Jesse James had him addressing the recent reports and overall concern of poor live attendance at WWE events lately. The response was everything I expected. A thin veil of truth over the big issue and quickly ignored in true WWE post-Monday Night War fashion. Kinda like if your dog takes a huge dump on the carpet and instead of addressing the issue with the proper solution, you put a fancy doily over it instead and say it goes with the curtains anyway.
He says: "September is historically a tough month for Sports Entertainment. Not making excuses, just want all the variables figured in."
Well... He's right. September is a tough month for many live forms of entertainment. A dip is expected, but is this drop in attendance new? No. Despite what Roman Reigns blurted out in a recent promo, ticket sales are not great and revenue is... fine. Mainly due to their television contract with USA, not because Roman Reigns is the fans of a new ratings and sales boom for the company.
The bottom line is wrestling is not hot. On my personal Twitter @PlanetKayfabe I replied to the NoDQ post saying that in September of 2000 when business was hot, they drew better than some B-PPV's today. In September of 2000 the average house show drew just over 11,000 fans. This year's Backlash PPV drew under 10,000. Also, house shows from any month during the late 90's boom out draw pretty much any TV taping today. I'm not expecting WWE to get Attitude Era-esque numbers over night. I'm just giving you some perspective of how well WWE can do when they're hot regardless of what else is on TV. If it's hot, the masses will want to be at the party.
Wrestling today simply isn't hot like it was in past generations. Yet, you get the same corporate talking points, like how The Big Dog boasted about great ticket sales... Like hell ticket sales are great. While I don't expect or think a company should express their woes on air to the public, you hear this all the time in shoot interviews and see it in tweets about how WWE is "bigger than ever".
Normally I'd offer a solution. This situation is different. Sure, it is easier said than done to create stars, but WWE's stubborness with Roman Reigns (yeah, sorry if you're sick of people complaining about Reigns but it's really the company's direction that is the focus of the heat towards him) is one key reason why they are stuck in the mud and not really gaining new fans. Then they will point at a successful WrestleMania weekend last year and next year as to why the current product is hot, when WrestleMania is mainly sold on the event itself and the OLD names they bring back. Look at the WrestleMania cards since The Rock came back to face John Cena. It's been heavily nostalgia based because they aren't stupid. Rock was going to get more attention than anyone else was just like how Goldberg this past year in his 50's was going to get them more eyeballs than any match they could have put together with the current talent.
That's not a good thing and when WWE runs out of old 90's favorites to milk for one more big show, I'm not sure what they're going to do. I know in the past I've said WWE has relied too much on nostalgia in the 2010's but on the same token it's not like they have had much of a choice. These old names are putting more asses in seats than guys like Roman Reigns are and no promotion in history has tried to get one guy over as a top babyface so hard than the WWE has tried with Roman Reigns and if he was going to set the world on fire, he would have by now. Of course there's money in him with his look and presence, but unlike what Cena said in his first promo against Roman, the fans don't decide who is a star. At least not anymore. Now in the days of no direct competition the WWE can push whoever they want in whatever big or as little role they want and the fans who stick around are just going to have to put up with it. If it were really up to the fans, it wouldn't have taken so long (and the whole CM Punk walk-out thing) for WWE to have given Daniel Bryan his big moment at WrestleMania 30.
I'm not sure who the top babyface should be right now. It is hard to say who is a big star in an era where WWE already set the precedent at the start of the 2010's that the "real stars" are the older part timers who just show up for the big shows and the weekly workers are a bunch of cogs in the machine meant to keep it steaming throughout the year.
As for "The Big Dog". Roman could be a money heel with the heat he can generate. I know in the past some of what I say regarding him can easily be misinterpreted as your typical smarky grumblings who just want to boo the babyface, but that's not it at all. If Roman is a babyface (which he technically is) he is the least babyface babyface ever. Especially if he is going to regularly remind the fans that he "retired" The Undertaker. Even Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman still get booed whenever 'The Steak' ending comes up in a promo. Get the right babyface against Reigns and you have a money feud. You might say they have that now with John Cena, but he isn't the future of WWE and I don't know how "money" a match at a PPV like No Mercy will be... but that's a topic for another day I guess. The irony is that a guy like Roman Reigns could make someone else a top babyface just by being a great heel to work off of, but WWE is set in their ways and are just fine coasting by. While I may not have all the answers, as obvious as the rise of Daniel Bryan seemed, the huge potential in a monster heel with Roman Reigns against any half-way-decent babyface could be just the spark to maybe not ignite another boom in mainstream attention and live attendance and viewership, but at least make things seem interesting and make all those hours of weekly programming worth while rather than being fine with drawing in casual fans just to watch WrestleMania which they give away for FREE now to new WWE Network subscribers... ugh... Man.
Like many have said since WWE is the only big wrestling promotion around... no one runs their hardest when alone in a race. So, spend another 4 years force feeding a hero the fans have rejected and give away your biggest show for free and then by May hear enough excuses to fill every empty seat on the hard-cam side of every arena they do tapings in.
Ahh... Guess I gotta get a little serious for a moment...
Thanks for reading Planet Kayfabe again. If you're wondering where I was, I'll just say the recent situations around Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington have been real eye-openers. If you can relate to them, avoid that path. Someone will be let down and miss you a lot once you're gone. You may want to die right now, but once you go through with it... that's it. You're not coming back. So, make the best of your time on this planet... or Earth where you fat marks nest and feed.
So, I'm back and ready to do what makes me happy and that's complain like an internet geek who's never so much as taken a bump or laced up a pair of boots.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Follow me on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe
Send me your ideas for future columns. Tell me what you want to read. In the past I wrote about anything from entrance music to opinions on the current product to just anything I feel like bitching about, so send me your ideas.
Until next time time, see you again. Same Candyass time; same Candyass network.