Let that sink in. Unfortunately someone had to finally say it.
i hate that I had to write that headline. I really do. I’m a huge fan of women’s wrestling, but the bottom line is, it doesn’t draw.
Can some profits be seen? Sure. But you cannot tell me that women’s wrestling will ever be a massive blockbuster success. Most wrestling fans simply don’t care. Yes, we members of the IWC care but we are such a minuscule part of wrestling fandom. Even for those of us who are not WWE fans and prefer AEW, Impact or even the Indies. The draw on women’s wrestling is capped.
Tony Khan has been criticized for over a year now for his booking of women’s wrestling. But what it really comes down to, Tony sees what Vince McMahon knew going into the “Women’s Revolution” from several years ago.
The women simply don’t produce the numbers that men do. In ratings, in merchandise, or in ticket sales or money drawn. They are not consistent headliners, nor will they ever be.
The best stories in wrestling are the ones that people can relate to. Austin/McMahon. Or even something more recent and a very simple story to tell, when Otis and Dolph Ziggler feuded over Mandy Rose. The majority of wrestling fans are men. There is just no other way around it. Even the organic storytelling of a women’s feud just won’t be as relatable to men. Bottom line, men would rather see Sable and Trish Stratus in a bikini every week strutting around the ring than watching them attempt to have a 5 star classic. It’s human nature, and if anyone tries to deny it, they’re simply lying to themselves.
The WWE was backed into a corner to start the Women’s Revolution. WWE had been called out by former employees publicly about wage discrimination between men and women, and right around the corner from that was the “Me Too” movement. Vince McMahon simply saw this as a public relations stunt. While pioneer may be a strong word to call him, Vince made a bold and smart PR move pushing women’s wrestling to the forefront. He saw an opportunity and ran with it. He spent a lot of money for good press on an organization that desperately needs regular good press.
Think about it folks. It took another PR stunt in hiring Ronda Rousey to be the face of the division. The division was at its absolute hottest when Rousey’s first run was active. What happened after she left? The division went into the trash.
Need more evidence? How many women’s only premium live events have occurred since the first? Zero.
Every single women’s match that was considered new was marketed as “historic” or “groundbreaking” like the first womens Royal Rumble, Money In The Bank, or Hell In A Cell.”
I’m not saying these matches were bad. I’m simply stating that the majority of wrestling fans simply don’t care that much.
Every major moment in the womens revolution was a PR stunt. Seriously, prove me wrong.
I’m sure there will be arguments that Becky Lynch proved the theory wrong. If you people honestly think Becky’s run on top for a year and a half paid for the hundreds of millions of dollars invested into the entire womens division, you are absolutely wrong. Yes, Becky got over. But it wasn’t enough.
There is a reason why Total Divas and Total Bellas lasted as long as it did. People tuned in to see drama and to see the Bella’s dressed in scantily clad clothing. Nobody actually gave a crap about their matches on RAW or Smackdown.
Bottom line. Give Tony Khan a break. He knows now that womens wrestling is not a money grab. It’s simply a waste of money. Vince knows it is too, but the WWE is a machine that needs as much good publicity as possible, especially nowadays. Tony is focused on getting more eyes on his product, and he knows that womens wrestling will not grow the brand.
Stephanie McMahon was once quoted saying that philanthropy is the future of marketing and it is how brands are going to win.
Allowing womens wrestling as much time as they’ve had on TV over the past seven or eight years is the very definition of philanthropy, because nobody is making money off of it.
Let the accusations of misogyny begin. Again, I love womens wrestling. I just know that it does not draw good money. I hate that it doesn’t, but it is what it is.