I’m a fan of Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” and WWE, for that matter, a big fan of Seth Rollins. For the life of me, I don’t see the recent angle bringing them all together making any sense.
Of course we know why Vince McMahon does these things. It dates back to Cyndi Lauper and Liberace. Vinny Mac likes getting mainstream media attention, way too much, if you ask me, for a Republican.
(Republicans, you know, they hate the liberal media.)
McMahon never met a camera that he wouldn’t throw himself in front of, but … Rollins? I’m not sure it makes much sense to waste the heat the company’s biggest heel has been getting on a vignette that lands at best a few seconds on CNN.
Sure, it’s WrestleMania season, and McMahon and WWE are forever trying to get people to sign up for the Network (nine-ninety-nine!), but honestly, how many people who see Jon Stewart kicking Seth Rollins in the nuts on a cable newscast with the anchor reader giggling over the package about wrestling being fake are going to rush to their Roku to sign up?
The hardcore wrestling fans still aren’t signing up. The big news about the WWE Network getting past the million-subscriber mark? Great. What is the audience for “Raw,” “Smackdown” on a given week? Three million? Four million? Some weeks it pushes 5 million. You’re maybe 20 percent there, at best, with your core audience.
Maybe figure out how to lure your loyals to give you money every month. And no, it’s not about giving them a free month here and there. My experience in business and marketing is that the people who jump on a product because it’s free for a limited time tend to be people who don’t sign on when the free trial is over.
Here’s how WWE can get more people to sign on to the Network: improve the product. Give matches on “Raw” and “Smackdown” more than four minutes with a commercial break in between. Slow the roll on all the backstage soap opera crap. A dose of reality here and there wouldn’t hurt.
The card for WrestleMania 31 has the makings of a run-of-the-mill monthly pay-per-view. One of the combatants in the main event is going to be on TV maybe once or twice between now and WM31. The Undertaker isn’t going to be on at all, at last word. Some of the company’s best in-ring talents are being wasted in tag teams, an Intercontinental Title match with about 20 participants and a friggin’ battle royal.
But dear God, Jon Stewart might show up and confront Seth Rollins. Gotta make sure to have the Network so I can see that.
How about we just give Rollins a match with Randy Orton on the undercard, have him cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase when Roman Reigns takes the WWE Title from Brock Lesnar, and call it a night?
Sorry. That’s me focusing on wrestling, and WWE isn’t even sports entertainment anymore.
– Column by Chris Graham