Sunday, April 15, 2012

Is WWE Using Attitude Era Stars to Prop Up Sagging Ratings and PPV Buys?

by Brian Phelps

One thing I find amusing in the world of wrestling is the number of fans online that accuse TNA of being nothing but a bunch of old guys. The ironic thing is that WWE is guilty of the same thing but no one ever seems to mention that. Over the last two years the WWE has been a virtual revolving door to the Attitude Era, but no one ever says the WWE is over using older stars. The fact is the WWE has been constantly bringing back old stars to prop up sagging ratings and ppv buy rates. Every time an older star leaves another shows up to keep the ratings from going down.

Over the last two years, we've seen Bret Hart, Mick Foley, Booker T, Stone Cold, The Rock, Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, Trish Stratus and now Brock Lesnar. This is an alarming trend because it shows that the WWE is struggling to create new stars. They have to keep falling back on Attitude Era stars to anchor the company. The 3 headlining matches at Wrestlemania 28 featured The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, The Undertaker and Chris Jericho. This was also the 8th consecutive Wrestlemania that John Cena has headlined. So the only newer star was CM Punk.

Wrestlemania 27's line-up was so weak that they needed the Rock guest hosting, Stone Cold reffing, Trish Stratus wrestling, and Undertaker/Triple H headlining just to prop up buys and put make-up on an otherwise ugly ppv line-up.

Wrestlemania 26 featured the wrestling return of Bret "Hitman" Hart taking on Vince McMahon. It also featured Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker II.

In between these Wrestlemania's we've seen Bret Hart win the US title, Kevin Nash in a Sledgehammer ladder match, Mick Foley hosting "This is your life" segments, Triple H taking the spotlight off of a white hot CM Punk last Summer, Mark Henry and Kane win the World Title (people forget that Mark Henry has been with the WWF since 1996 and is 40 years old and Kane is 44 years old), and Brock Lesnar returning to headline Extreme Rules.

This is definitely an alarming trend because in most of these cases the older stars are not putting over up-and-coming stars, or else we would be having a different conversation. Think about it. With the exception of Chris Jericho putting over CM Punk the rest of the older mega stars are just putting each other over. Shawn Michaels and Triple H put the Undertaker over twice. The Rock fought John Cena which doesn't elevate anyone, especially when The Rock wins. Since Kane has returned with the mask he's buried up-and-coming talent Zack Ryder while feuding with John Cena and Randy Orton. Kane feuding with Cena and Orton doesn't elevate anyone. If these stars would spend more time putting over younger stars instead of burying them, the WWE might be in a better spot. Until the WWE starts to get past Cena and Orton, and stops relying on Attitude Era stars as a crutch the WWE's ratings will continue to slowly decline because they refuse to introduce fresh new characters and make them important.

Look at Kofi Kingston, a guy that became really popular to the point that he took out Randy Orton in Madison Square Garden at the Old School edition of Monday Night Raw and has since gone nowhere but downhill. Kofi Kingston won his first Intercontinental Title FOUR YEARS ago and he is actually less important now than he was then. Instead of capitalizing on Kofi's booming popularity, WWE thought it would be a greater idea to put the World Title on Jack Swagger. Funny thing is, Jack Swagger wasn't even over while Kofi Kingston had been over. It's poor business decisions like this that make you smack your forehead with disbelief. 

1 comment:

  1. How about Alex Riley getting leveled by A-Train... I mean Lord Tensai the other day? They buried Riley just like they are burying Zach Ryder. It does look though like they are bringing back the Miz after 8 months of being utterly nothing. This is Paul by the way...