Re: How can WWE recreate and reinvent itself so as to create the next biggest boom?
It's an extreme unlikely possibility that a boom period could happen in the next two decades, but if it does, it can't be because they made their show safer and it can't be because they made their show trashier. The Golden Era in the 80s (as well as WWE's product over the past four or so years) already covered safe; and the Attitude Era already covered trashy, so going into those two extremes are unlikely to work bacause there's fans who already associate those elements with wrestling's past. The one thing true about every boom period throughout wrestling history is that it involved general industry reform. The industry completely changed the way it was presented. The first boom period involved the Gold Dust trio making wrestling a work when previously it was legitimate competition; the second boom in the 1950s happened because wrestling was introduced to television instead of radio; the third boom of the 1980s happened because Vince created the first national wrestling company, coined the term 'sports-entertainment', became relatively honest with the audience about the fact that they were watching a show, added cartoonish elements to the gimmicks, and created a larger than life television and PPV product when previously it was simply a kayfabe-driven 'sport' powered by territories; the 1990s boom happened because of the industry's shift to adult content/situations when previously it was seen as a show for kids.
That kind of reform hasn't happened since. Risks like that rarely work, so top promoters (I.E. Vince and to a smaller extent, Dixie) have either avoided that kind of general change or they don't know what direction to go in. I don't claim to know more than those people, but I have an idea: Make wrestling smarter.
If history is any indication, the wrestling industry experiences boom periods when it takes the common cultural perception of it, and then go the opposite direction. The world thinks wrestling is stupid...well, make it intelligent.
It doesn't have to be the most intellectual show in the world (that would severely limit it's audience)...just move in that direction. Make it as smart as an episode of Homeland, for instance. Take socially provocative concepts and make characters (or stables) represent those concepts. For example, we live in a world where same-sex marriage is a divisive subject in the U.S...well...sounds like the time for a gay character. And not the kind of gay character from the 90s who'll grind on his opponent to play 'mind games'; make him being homosexual one single (and completely secondary) part of his character, and then give him a general, more important character, like him being a badass muscle for hire. At the forefront you have the wrestling character (hired muscle) and at the back end you have numerous human characteristics which, because of the natural irrational nature of the human mind, will result in the audience reacting a certain way whether they want to or not. There's people reading this post right now who are uncomfortable with my idea because the concept socially or creatively offends them. Good. That's the kind of provocativeness I want and those are the kind of natural reactions I want. I'm not trying to write shows about gay people, that's just an example.
And even if the 'social provocativeness' isn't an option for some cowardly reason, wrestling could at least start with some story continuity. If you're gonna have an angle where the board of directors fire AJ for fraternizing with talent, maybe they shouldn't hire Vickie Guerrero. And maybe (because of AJ's documented history with Bryan, Kane or Punk), the board of directors shouldn't have hired AJ in the first place. These are massive plotholes and should never make television. Even a small step like that could help wrestling become smarter, boost the industry's credibility and help it compete with other television. Write storylines and stick to them. Get the fans used to these characters and their traits. Don't change them every 12 months and then wonder why the fans don't care when these characters are put in so called 'challenging situations'. They can evolve, but they can't change. If that doesn't boost the industry on a major level, I'm not sure what would work. They would need sheer luck.
That's just an idea. An idea I'm sure people are gonna feel uncomfortable reading. But it's my (very unimportant) two cents.
"I'd like to die like my father died... My father died fucking. My father was 57 when he died. The woman was 18. My father came and went at the same time." - Richard Pryor