World Wrestling Entertainment is not going anywhere soon. With new lucrative TV deals and endless resources to go off of, WWE is still the first thing that comes to mind when you think of professional wrestling. However, ever since the company became a monopoly in 2001, WWE have driven off a massive amount of their audience. Now, with the rise in popularity of companies such as All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling, let’s take a look at why WWE has lost so many viewers over the years.
The wrestling is much better than it was back then, but WWE booking has been getting closer and closer to World Championship Wrestling circa 2000 in recent years. For any WWE loyalist who says otherwise, WCW never booked a Hell In a Cell match to end in a disqualification. Take a look at NXT, which is run by Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, under the company banner. While the show is still a WWE show, the presentation and booking is leaps and bounds ahead of main roster television. Vince McMahon is unwilling to let go of the reigns at 74 years old, and his out of touch philosophy has succeeded at driving off viewers in droves. By focusing on the brand as opposed to building new stars, nobody feels special like a Stone Cold Steve Austin did back in the peak of their business. That is just one of a million different problems with the booking of WWE, and it doesn’t look to be changing any time soon.
Too much content
Let’s look at the hours you have to dedicate to be a “true” WWE fan. Monday Night Raw is three hours every Monday. NXT is two hours plus an overrun every Wednesday. Friday Night Smackdown is two hours every week, and then there’s the occasional PPV or special event on the WWE Network that could run as long as four hours. Not only that, but if you have the WWE Network, you also have an hour of NXT UK and 205 Live each week. Not to mention shows like Wrestlemania now run as long as seven hours. Do you have all that time to dedicate to WWE programming?
A more recent development in the decline of WWE, the companies dealings with Saudi Arabia are one explanation to a proven drop in ratings and network subscriptions. It seems clear that many have taken issue with Vince McMahon seemingly selling his soul for money. Even amidst all the chaos and bad news that comes out of the Saudi empire, the company continues to take trips to do shows there and promote the country. This includes, allegedly, leaving their own performers stranded in the country due to disputes the day of the shows. Not all publicity is good publicity, and it would appear that people would prefer to not watch a company that takes blood money.
Disregard for fans
You would think a company would do everything to try and make their fans happy, but WWE seems to be in the business of making its fans miserable. For years, the audience rejected the superhero push of Roman Reigns, and the company continued to shove him down their collective throats. This problem goes further than just who they’re pushing unfortunately. For example, their first show on Fox for Smackdown on Oct. 2: WWE advertised legends like Sting, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker. None of those stars made an appearance. WWE feels that they can say the card is subject to change, so they don’t have to deliver on advertisements and people will fork over their money to them anyways. This is a huge problem, and all of these issues are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why the WWE isn’t as almighty as public perception may have you believe.