ViRTUE's RAGE: Wrestling Will Always Need Sex Appeal Submitted by Virtue on 11/01/2020 at 08:16 PM
November 1, 2020
Miss Elizabeth, Shawn Michaels & Sensational Sherri, Goldust & Marlena, Lita & Trish Stratus, Ric Flair & Woman, and the Bella Twins. Need I continue? My point is that sex appeal has been a major foundation of the professional wrestling business for the better part of four decades. Whether it be the Golden Era of the 1980s to early 1990s, the Monday Night War during the Attitude Era, the Ruthless Aggression Era, or the WWE Network Era, the fact remains that ratings are at their highest when sex appeal is strongly prevalent within the product. It is no secret that the Attitude Era was the smuttiest and raunchiest of them all, but coincidentally, it was also the highest rated of all the eras. However, with such a culture change in today’s modern era of wrestling, does sex appeal still matter as much as it did in the past? In my opinion, it absolutely does. Let me try and explain…
I am sure I will get some heat for the following question, but do you really think the Bella Twins made it on their pure wrestling skill? Sure, they did improve over time with more experience and repetition in the ring, but it is no secret their appeal for the longest time was because they were sexy (identical) twins, which clearly represented a high appeal to most of the male demographic. In order to not come across as sexist here, I can list some male wrestlers who initially used sex appeal to get over, and it worked: The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, Ravishing Rick Rude, Val Venis, Buff Bagwell, and John Morrison. As a counter example, how far up the ladder did Skull and 8-Ball (The Harris twins) make it? Historically, not as far up as the Bella Twins did because they were more of a rugged bar fighter type than they were sexy models. I am confident if the Bella Twins did not look like they do, chances are they would not have had as much success as they did. That is just the cold, hard truth.
Sex appeal will always sell in wrestling. The main issue is it does not sell much to the 1.5 million niche fans that are the core base fan demo remaining. All those fans mostly want is wrestling and nothing else. Based on my interactions with some of these people on social media, this is not just speculation, but it is verified that sex appeal is furthest from their minds when watching wrestling. While that is perfectly acceptable for those fans to feel that way, it cannot be denied that it is also preventing many casual fans from coming back and joining the party. I have estimated that there are still about 500K casual fans remaining beyond the niche 1.5 million. That number would surely increase the more female wrestlers like Lana, Mandy Rose, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella were showcased on TV in sultry gear. Just look at how many views the videos on WWE’s YouTube page have garnered for the Lana in lingerie segments, Alexa Bliss with just a towel around her top half, and the Mandy Rose with Otis segments. The Mandy and Otis clips are the most telling because many casual male fans subconsciously put themselves in Otis’ role. The human curiosity naturally brings their eyeballs to the product.
I do respect the growth of women’s wresting over the years. They have earned more TV time for longer matches and have even main evented some shows and events such as WrestleMania. Keep in mind that during the long evolution of women’s wrestling, most of them still wore sexy gear and continue to do so today, not because it may be comfortable for them to wrestle in, but because it is an attempt to still showcase some sex appeal, whether they realize it or not. I tend to believe that most of them realize it. Many of these female wrestlers even post glamor shots of themselves in lingerie and bikinis on their PUBLIC social media accounts. Aaron Rift will be sure to keep you updated on those via the NoDQ.com Special Features section. Trust me folks, female wrestlers know what they are promoting. I do not think it should be considered creepy for male fans to want to see sex appeal in female wrestlers. This should also be the case with female fans and male wrestlers. It is simply human nature. It is no secret that many of Roman Reigns’ fans are females. I am sure many of those female fans would rather see him with his shirt off than see him spear his opponent for a 1-2-3. Jeff Hardy is another male wrestler that has always had a high volume of female fans, which is perfectly acceptable.
Imagine a world where fans who just want their wrestling can get it in the same place where fans who want their sex appeal can get it. Today’s product is not too far off from that; however, the focus on in-ring action and longer matches with the combination of a culture full of snowflakes and social justice warriors does create a conflict of interest and seemingly turns many casual fans away. It is almost as if the remaining niche diehard fans want the product all to themselves and go out of their way to dislike and shoot down anything that would appeal to the casuals. Perhaps the greatest story ever told in wrestling was that of Miss Elizabeth and the Macho Man Randy Savage, and it went on for the better part of four years from WrestleMania IV to VII. It had wrestling action, sex appeal, drama, turmoil, and redemption. Is it just me or did more people care about the Mandy Rose and Otis saga than the Sasha Vs Bayley feud in 2020? While there have been a decent number of fans invested in the Sasha/Bayley feud, it still has not brought casual fans back. By the way, ever notice how skimpy Sasha’s gear is? Whether she wants to admit it or not, she is flaunting her sex appeal. Angles like Liz/Macho, Mandy/Otis, and even Reigns/Uso are what WWE needs to attempt more of in order to bring casual fans back. And whenever, wherever sex appeal can also be implemented within stories like that, ratings will increase. The fact of the matter is compelling stories sell better than just wrestling, and sex appeal sells it all even more.
Thanks for reading Virtue’s Rage and I WILL BE BACK…