by Brian Phelps
RAWs rating has been slowly declining year-to-year since the Monday Night Wars ended. The December 3, 2012 edition of RAW scored a measly 2.55 rating. But why? Is Monday Night Football making that big of a dent in WWE's ratings? The answer is no. I'm here to break down a bucket full of reasons that the WWE's product has been going down hill.
1) UNRESOLVED STORYLINES - Why did the Nexus help Kane bury Undertaker at Bragging Rights 2010? Why did Kevin Nash speed away in a limo with John Laurainaitis? Whatever happened to the conspiracy storyline in 2011? I can't count the number of storylines that are started and stopped with no explanation or resolution. When you get people hooked on a great story and then you just abandon it on a cliffhanger all the time, you begin to disenchant the casual viewer because it slowly becomes obvious that the writing makes no sense. People want a beginning, a middle, and an end to a great story.
2) A DECADE OF IGNORING THE TAG TEAM DIVISION (Pro wrestling history tells us that many legendary stars get their big breaks in the tag division... whether its Bret Hart in the Hart Foundation, HBK in the Rockers, Triple H in DX, Booker T in the Harlem Heat, Scott Steiner in the Steiner Bros etc). TNA has proven that to still be true today as main eventers like Bobby Roode and James Storm both got their big breaks as tag team stars in Beer Money. Tag team wrestling used to be a sort of barometer for sizing up potential break out stars. A solid tag team division is the foundation for a solid wrestling company, and WWE has ignored the tag division for years.
3) TWO WORLD CHAMPIONS - Having 2 World Champions makes no sense... especially given that there is really no "brand separation" anymore. Having 2 world champs devalues each world champion individually. It's like the old NFL saying "When a team has 2 quarterbacks you have no quarterbacks". Being the World Champion means NO ONE is as high up as you are.... so having more than one "World Champion" at the same time is a total contradiction of the entire concept of a World Champion. There is supposed to be only one.
4) HIRING WRITERS WITH NO WRESTLING KNOWLEDGE - Hiring soap opera writers with no knowledge of pro wrestling simply because they have experience writing daily scripts 52 weeks a year with no break (similar to wrestling) is stupid. It's like a school hiring a plumber to teach Biology simply because he works a similar schedule.
5) THIN MAIN EVENT - If you have a thin main event then you wind up seeing the same matches all the time, and as a result fans begin to lose interest because it's the same matches every week. This has happened to WWE. How many PPVS in a row in 2008 did we see John Cena vs Randy Orton? How many times can we see John Cena vs CM Punk before it gets old? WWE used to have 8-10 legit main eventers (Triple H, Rock, Austin, Kane, Taker, Angle, Foley, Lesnar, Big Show) competing for ONE world title at the same time. Now you have 3 or 4 guys fighting for 2 world titles which means you only have 2 maybe 3 guys fighting for one World Title on each show. So there's no match variety anymore so it makes the product stale.
6) INABILITY TO CREATE NEW STARS - WWE has successfully created 1 star in the last 3 years (CM Punk). The WWE's inability to use John Cena to create new stars has now come back to haunt them. They have no main event anymore. The ONE guy that WWE allowed to go over Cena (CM Punk) has become a huge star. Aside from Punk, Cena has buried anyone who has come close to him (Wade Barrett, The Miz, R-Truth, Bobby Lashley etc). The few stars he didn't bury he simply avoided and never fought like (Jeff Hardy and now Ryback).
7) STRETCHING THE PROGRAMMING TOO THIN - Instead of rebuilding RAW back into a ratings juggernaut with solid writing and building new stars, WWE watered down the product even more by adding 2 new shows (WWE Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam) and a 3rd hour to an already weakly written 2 hour RAW.
8) MAKING A MOCKERY OF YOUR OWN PRODUCT - WWE can make fun of WCW all they want but how many times did you see Tony Shiavone main event Nitro? Or Mike Tenay main event Impact? Over the last year or two, the WWE has had ppvs headlined by Jim Ross vs Michael Cole. The 3rd most hyped match of Wrestlemania 27 was Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler. We've seen MacGruber "blow up" R-Truth, Vickie Guerrero and Michael Cole in dance offs, Khali's "Kiss Cam", Seth Green in a tag match, and battle raps with Jim Ross. I'm sorry but how much more can the WWE alienate their own fan base? When the entire WWE roster walked out on Triple H in 2011, Jim Ross got the biggest crowd pop. Something is wrong when a commentator got the biggest response over your ENTIRE ROSTER. Even their world title belt looks like a joke now.
I could go on but do I need to? If WWE stays on the same path... eventually we're going to be watching the "Rise and Fall of WWE" on DVD/Blu-Ray.