There are many parts of professional wrestling that not only attract younger kids, but any demographic. Since the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. went to TV-PG, however, the shows have been boring and juvenile. This makes me believe that professional wrestling cannot thrive in a TV-PG setting.
The WWE switched from TV-14 to TV-PG in 2007. While the WWE’s revenue is higher since 2007, the ratings are beginning to dip, according to the Inquisitr article “WWE programming heading back to an edgy TV-14 rating soon?”
I’m not surprised by this at all. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised ratings didn’t dip a long time ago.
It’s evident to me that the WWE’s switch to PG-TV was made to accommodate the younger fans. For a long time, especially in the late 1990s, the WWE was not appropriate for young kids to watch, and that period was known as the “Attitude Era,” according to the Inquisitr article.
From Stone Cold Steve Austin coming out to the ring to chug beers and give middle fingers, to The Rock cussing three times for every two sentences, WWE shows were much more entertaining.
In my opinion, the WWE’s switch to TV-PG was made possible by the lack of competition within the professional wrestling industry.
WWE bought out its rivals on Jan. 11, 2001. World Championship Wrestling was a very successful wrestling business for years and was owned by Ted Turner, who owns TBS, according to Wrestling Online’s article, “The Sale of WCW to WWE.”
From June 17, 1996, to April 13, 1998, the WCW actually beat the WWE in ratings. according to Wade Keller’s Pro Wrestling Torch article, “Streak is over: Raw beats Nitro in TV ratings with teased Austin vs. McMahon match.”
Since that time, no company has ever come close to competing with the WWE. With this in mind, the WWE took a gamble on the TV-PG rating, and until now it has worked out okay.
In my opinion, ratings are going down because fans are not interested in the wrestlers. Many of the personas of these modern day wrestlers are either too corny or lacking charisma.
Many of the older wrestlers were not only wrestlers, but icons of pop culture. Wrestlers like the Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were able to take their talents to other entertainment sectors of society. Both those wrestlers starred in movies after their careers, and that not only marketed themselves, but the WWE as well.
The fans aren’t the only ones seeing the decline of the WWE. Legendary WWE Wrestler Bret Hart was not thrilled with the latest WrestleMania, according to the Total Wrestling Magazine article “Bret Hart: ‘They’ve done an awful job with Roman Reigns for WrestleMania.”
“I’m just being honest and I have to say that this year’s WrestleMania card is the worst WrestleMania card in history,” Hart said. “I won’t be watching it. I couldn’t care less about it. The characters mean nothing, the titles mean nothing. I’m embarrassed by it.”
The latest WrestleMania was the perfect example of what the WWE has become since its TV-PG rating: an embarrassment.
It has wiped out all the entertaining facets of professional wrestling. Instead of throwing each other off steel cages like The Undertaker did to Mankind, now you have wrestlers dabbing and twerking. There’s a lot more talk but also a lot less action.
Ultimately, at the end of the day, the fans have the final say because they are in control of the ratings. The WWE is a great brand of wrestling, and it’s a shame that physical and vocal talent is being wasted because of a TV rating.