MR. TITO: WWE and Wrestlers Need Better Marketing Submitted by Mr. Tito on 11/24/2020 at 11:57 PM
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Right now, many wrestling fans are either laughing or giving the Undertaker crap about his $1,000 Cameo videos that he has recently made. What gives wrestling fans the nerve to even criticize or ridicule one of the GREATEST WRESTLERS OF ALL TIME about this? He wrestled his last match at Wrestlemania 36 against AJ Styles and has earned the right to do whatever he wants in retirement. Why? Because mostly for the last 29 years, Undertaker has PROTECTED THE BUSINESS by keeping his personal life out of the spotlight and staying in character when he could.
When he didn't? Remember the 2001 stuff where he had a tattoo of "Sara" on his neck and DDP's character was stalking her? And then for a while, his then real life wife Sara was his valet? That didn't go so well...
Point being, the Undertaker is among the greatest of all time because we DIDN'T know about his personal life. We only knew about his "larger than life" character and that allowed us, as wrestling fans, to lose ourselves when watching the character perform. Just look at the many crazy things that actually happen in the Boneyard match... Yet, all of us were invested in the Undertaker's character as appearing "larger than life" that we were OK with that cinematic match.
Contrast that to the other cinematic match at Wrestlemania 36 between John Cena and Bray "the Fiend" Wyatt. Unlike the Boneyard Match were AJ Styles and Undertaker were actually fighting, John Cena and Bray Wyatt were actually cooperating in sketch comedy. On top of that, there multiple wardrobe changes and different sets. Unlike the Boneyard Match which appeared to be a continuous shot and fight, Wyatt and Cena were acting, not wrestling, and thus it was mostly hated by wrestling fans.
But there is more to that story on John Cena and Bray Wyatt...
John Cena's star started to diminish once he not only began to date Nikki Bella but when he began to appear on Total Bellas. Contrasting completely with his heroic character on WWE programming, he came off on Total Bellas as an uptight snob and real particular about the rules of his house. It painted an entirely different picture of John Cena and began to expose that his babyface WWE character was a total act. Then, the proposal to Nikki Bella... Total Bellas portrayed them as incompatible when trying to live together and yet we are supposed to believe in this in-ring proposal? It was no shock to me they broke up months later.
And then you have Bray Wyatt or the Fiend. On television, he's portrayed as being a psychopath who has produced Firefly Funhouse shows and then flips the switch to turn into the Fiend. Yet, if you follow him on Social Media, he's a normal dude. I'm 100% happy for him to celebrate things like the birth of his child or other family events, but this completely contrasts with the character that he's portraying on television. How are we to believe that he's this diabolical character when he's selling it himself beyond the ring? His last tweet from 11/22 was "#ThankYouTaker"... Why aren't you following his lead and hiding your own personal stuff to protect your on-screen character?
While I'm on the subject of Bray, what about Alexa Bliss? How am I to believe that she's under Wyatt's spell when she was previously portrayed as a self-confident character AND we've seen many glimpses of her family life with her Mom & Dad which paints her as something entirely different. Makes no sense and it confuses fans... What are they to believe?
Recently, I watched Lana's Chronicle show on the WWE Network. That show was GREAT and it's 100% worth your viewership. On that 30 minute show, Lana visits her real life Mom & Dad and you can see how wholesome of a family that she has. On top of that, they went into her backstory and showed elements of her personal life to show how GOOD OF A PERSON that the person behind Lana was in real life. And then you saw her real pain in dealing with her husband being terminated by WWE and getting harassed by fans online. Yet, what do we see on WWE television? Complete opposite... She's always pushed as an evil or incompetent character.
Speaking of Lana, how am I to believe that Miro (formerly Rusev in the WWE) is a complete badass in AEW when his character is feuding over video games? On top of that, he's openly talking about his Twitch channel and video games. Huh? Look at you, man... You're the kind of guy who looks like he could tear a dictionary in half if presented one. Miro looks the damn part of a top superstar and he's well trained to be one as well. But what the hell man? Video games?
And all of you in AEW and your video games... Omega, Bucks, etc. Come on.
Do you think that WWE was afraid of letting Zelina Vega go recently? If you are so loyal to that LESS THAN 500 viewers of your Twitch streams, then the WWE doesn't want you. They want a "larger than life" manager and/or wrestler and not someone staring at a video screen while streaming. The WWE wants to push characters that don't look or act anything like the general public.
AJ Styles telling people about his Flat Earth theories and bragging about bringing his Xbox on the road. Come on, man... We don't need to hear about that.
And then meanwhile, you have instances where someone's real life story is BETTER than their characters. Seth Rollins operated a training school that not only helped newer wrestlers get better, but provided shelter as well. Instead of trying so hard to get him over as a snobby heel and letting him troll fans on Social Media, why can't the WWE broadcast the GOOD parts about Seth Rollins? He's about to be a father and he's happily married to Becky Lynch. Isn't that an advantage to market? Can't both of them be pushed as the "first couple of wrestling"?
Then you have the Miz, the biggest Corporate Shill of them all... Recently, he has been a heel and he went to great lengths to steal Otis's Money in the Bank briefcase. Contrast that to him recently appearing on the Kelly Clarkson Show as a corporate type and nice guy. Granted, I wouldn't expect anyone to cut heel promos on Kelly's show but why have Miz on that show in the first place? Completely contrasted the character that he's portraying on television. In fact, just about everything he does outside of the ring contrasts what he does inside of the ring. Hence why he can't get over as a Main Eventer!
Braun Strowman is featured on WWE specials as a proud family guy... He's the complete opposite on television during several of his heel runs.
Recently, Roman Reigns turned heel... That seems to be working. Why? Because we really don't know much about Roman other than what you can look up yourself and how he had Cancer. What you KNOW is that WWE fans have been booing him as a babyface from 2015 through 2018, as fans had some sympathy for him after his Cancer announcement. But the context that you know of Reigns is ALL WRESTLING. Thus, you aren't reminded by a real life person because he rarely reveals it. Your memory is fixated only on his WWE character and thus when he turned heel, it made sense because you, as a fan, were so invested in hating his babyface character that it works for you when he turned.
If you look at past greats, it's very obvious on what worked and what didn't.
Stone Cold Steve Austin is just an extension of the REAL GUY behind that gimmick and name. Steve Austin is a legitimate Texas redneck who likes to drink beer, have fun, and raise some hell. The character that you saw from 1996-2001 was the real guy behind the gimmick but amped up. Obviously, the heel turn was a BAD DECISION during 2001... But what really finished Austin off was when his real life began to overshadow the character. His 2 walkouts and then the domestic violence during 2002. He was never the same in the WWE after that and it was a tough watch to see him as the "Sheriff" on RAW during 2003.
The Rock that you saw from 1997-1999 is an extension of the real life guy as many of his former football teammates have indicated. He loves to be loud and proud but is also super competitive as well. As a heel, he plays up his natural personality perfectly... As a babyface, the act feels a little too corporate especially as those Hollywood acting gigs lined up. Then, when he came back during 2011, he was good in moments but clearly an image change has happened from being an actor. It was cringeworthy to hear him talking about what was "trending worldwide" during his promos. Consequently, John Cena's star power also reduced when Hollywood became more important to him, too.
Hogan Knows Best wasn't good for Hulk Hogan's career... The guy was a walking Comic Book Superhero and now we're seeing him as a family man. And then, of course, that all came crashing down when we knew a little too much about Hogan behind the scenes.
Contrast that with what do we know about Andre the Giant... Well, he liked to drink a lot and play cards with his friends. Other than that, you just know him as a wrestler...
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair LIVED his character... He was always stylin' and profilin'. The man partied like there was no tomorrow and guess what? Fans were either jealous or wanted to be him and thus paid tons of money to see him.
When did we start hating on Triple H, however? When news broke during the middle of 2000 when it was fully revealed the was actually dating Stephanie McMahon in real life. Once that was wildly known, we stopped trusting that Triple H earned his spot... That's a shame, too, because I'll take Triple H's 2000-2001 work over most wrestlers. Triple H has never been able to shake that vibe DESPITE being a great worker.
While I enjoy the many WWE Network documentaries, they are confusing fans by portraying their wrestlers in real life that is a complete contrast to what fans see in the ring. MEANWHILE, the wrestlers themselves are doing the same by presenting themselves on Social Media that is 100% different than what fans see on television.
IF all of the WWE wrestlers, right now, SAY that they respect the Undertaker... Then why not follow his lead and act like him?
Protest your characters and be LESS revealing about personal life or Tweeting about things that everyday regular people do. Stop bragging that you play video games... Your fans do that. We need to believe that you're walking Comic Book Superheroes. We need to believe that you are SO UNIQUE that we couldn't train to become wrestlers ourselves and take your job. We need a reason to tune into television or drive to arenas to see fascinating people fight over title belts.
And don't give me the "Kayfabe was over" BS...
EVERYBODY knew that Pro Wrestling was scripted during the WWE/WCW Monday Night Wars of 1995-2001. Fans had suspicions that wrestling wasn't a legitimate combat sport during the 1980s and then Vince McMahon admitted it as such to Athletic Commissions. Talk shows, newspapers, etc. exposed the business during the early 1990s. Yet, when Scott Hall appeared on WCW Nitro and then Kevin Nash soon thereafter, we thought that they were truly invading. And then when we found out that they weren't, the way that Hall and Nash acted as characters kept us watching. And then Hulk Hogan turned heel and sold it everywhere he went, that kept us going too.
Most fans have KNOWN that wrestling has been scripted for 30 years now.
Difference between NOW and THEN is that wrestling characters weren't confusing to fans. Bray Wyatt is a psychopath on RAW yet he's very nice guy on Twitter! Miz is a heel on WWE television but he's so charming to Kelly Clarkson on her show. Everyone wants to stream their video games online instead of working harder to sell their characters as legitimate inside the wrestling ring.
Most fans have been attacking the WWE for preventing wrestlers from utilizing Third Party web services (Twitch, Youtube, etc) and yet many fans don't realize how much that fully exposes and overexposes wrestlers to them. How am I to believe someone is a "Larger than Life" character on WWE or AEW when they are streaming "Among Us"? I understand the economic side of it, but Pro Wrestlers are the LAST group of people that I'd expect to be streaming on Twitch. Anybody could do that by simply buying a capture card and computer equipment. It takes dedication to want to be a pro wrestler.
For all of the WWE wrestlers who are THANKING the Undertaker for his 30 years of service... Why don't you watch what he actually did and accomplished while you're at it? Be more like Taker and less of yourself... Undertaker lasted 30 years because we believed in him even when his body was breaking down. He was over 50 years old yet we were curious what magical moments that he still had left.
Undertaker mostly protected the business and his own characters by staying in character and not revealing much about his personal life. He appeared "Larger than Life" to us for over 29 years... Seriously, look at the antics pulled in that Boneyard Match yet most of us have it in the running for 2020's "Match of the Year". THAT is how you do pro wrestling.
Learn from the Undertaker... I'm sure if most wrestlers called him for advice, he'd give it. Hell, maybe he'd give y'all advice with a $1,000 Cameo?
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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