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Discussion Starter #1
There's many reasons I think WWE killed their casual fanbase, I just can't decide which one was the biggest factor:

-PG rating.
-Lack of new stars. (Fed everybody to Cena)
-Too much product. (WAAY TOO MANY FUCKING SHOWS, RAW IS TOO LONG)
-Too much focus on hardcore fans.
-Too much focus on Workrate
-Too much hiring of small, athletic guys, rather than big, larger than life looking
wrestler.
-Lack of serious, compelling storylines.


Obviously a mix of everything, just can't decide what was the worse part of it. I think that even if the product was shit, but was easier to watch (Raw going back to 2 hours and the only main show, less PPVs), casuals would have hesitated to disappear a bit more.
 

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The biggest problem is the lack of stars. You can overcome bad booking if you've got star power. WWE hasn't been booked well (especially Raw) since 2001 but they were able to keep casual fans watching for another decade because they had so many stars leftover from that era as well as the 2002 class of Bork, Batista, Cena and Orton all becoming huge stars.

They haven't created a genuine star other than Punk in the last 15 years. Guys like Edge and Jeff Hardy were already over as fuck in the Attitude Era so they don't count.
 

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None of those things really, of course they didn't help, but the decline had started long before PG or Cena. It's been a steady and long decline. Wrestling stopped being cool in about 2001. Rock and Austin leaving really accelerated things, but the decline had already started. I remember being in school around 2002-03 time and most of the kids had stopped watching wrestling and it was starting to get called "gay"

By the time I finished school in 2009, nobody in my school watched it. In fact, nobody would admit to watching it even if they did, because the "gay" stigma was HUGE. If anybody liked wrestling they'd be bullied, and this is ten years ago, and it's only gotten worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The biggest problem is the lack of stars. You can overcome bad booking if you've got star power. WWE hasn't been booked well (especially Raw) since 2001 but they were able to keep casual fans watching for another decade because they had so many stars leftover from that era as well as the 2002 class of Bork, Batista, Cena and Orton all becoming huge stars.

They haven't created a genuine star other than Punk in the last 15 years. Guys like Edge and Jeff Hardy were already over as fuck in the Attitude Era so they don't count.
You are right in part, it's like they didn't have the tools to create any new stars post 2005.

But think the product adapting over Cena and the PG era was also part of this.
 

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fatigue. To me wresltemania 17 was the end of the story. It was the culmination of the era. No more WCW. Stone Cold turned heel (which i didnt mind). and at that point, i think a lot of fans just startd to watch other things.

For me it was also timing. Wrestlemania 17 i turned 16. i was in high school. Wrestling wasn't cool any more and i had a lot of other things to do and watch and keep my occupied.
 

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3 hours is where the eroding of the audience seemed to really begin. From there, the complete, complete de-emphasization of good talkers needing to be your main eventers. We have more talking than we've ever had on the WWE product before at a time when everybody who's pushed and who gets a ton of air time sucks at it. Nobody wants to hear Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns cut 15 minute promos.
 

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I don't think they did, do you know how many people still casually go to shows, casually catch an hour of Raw here and there , and casually read up on wrestling here and there I would say quite a bit

At times I would consider myself to be a casual, these days absolutely not although years ago at times I may have been a casual


and if you want an answer to want possibly made casuals into hardcore fans I would say the internet and DVRS
 

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i think you did a really good job of listing the reasons. i consider myself more of a casual fan these days....nothing close to where I used to be back in the early 90's.

granted i don't tune in every week to raw and smackdown. and if i do i usually don't watch the entire show. so maybe it's unfair to really critique or judge....but from what I do see, you are right.

to be brutally honest....i don't think any of them are good actors. the story lines and promos are not compelling at all. they just don't sell it the same way they used to be able to. how much that has to do with Vince i don't really know but i doubt he has anything to do with their acting abilities. using becky lynch as an example....you give her a huge push to the top and she can't even cut a promo. i saw her speak on raw this past week and it was just weird.

a big part to why wrestling was so good was because they put on a killer show. you got wrapped up in what was going on. not to mention that some of the characters were these larger than life figures.

the ironic thing is that this is the PG era, no? meanwhile i don't see any kids with the merchandise (t-shirts, backpacks, figures) i have two kids in school and my daughter won't wear her ultimate warrior t-shirt cause she has been made fun of. so who exactly is the WWE catering to then??

one last thing....there are too many PPV's. don't know why they felt the need to add all of these other PPV's outside of more $$$$. it was more of a build and more exciting when you only had the big 4 to navigate through.
 

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There's no larger than life characters anymore.

The roster is full of vanilla geeks with no presence or charisma at all. We basically have a roster full of Dean Malenkos now.

Brock turns up a handful of times a year and the ratings shoot up. What does that tell you?
 

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In my opinion wrestling stop being cool when Austin and rock left. The honest truth is that hogan brought the casual fans in the 80’s. By the time he left wrestling went though a decline in viewership even though Bret and hbk and taker were awesome. The attitude era boom led by Austin and rock wwf and nwo wcw brought in more casual viewers. By the time those guys retired or left it was over. Let’s be honest wrestling only had 3 transcended stars hogan, Austin and rock. In other for wrestling to hit another boom again u need another hogan, Austin or rock and they come around once in a lifetime.
 

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We could analyze this for hours, but succinctly speaking for this decade, booking/ increasingly stingy creative has for years completely shot 99 percent of wrestlers' momentum, the show has become way too "safe" since Benoit died/Vince ramped up his efforts to globalize and the show isn't written for casuals anymore and hasn't been for some time.

That latter point is truly a driving force. Wrestling's first boom period entailed Gorgeous George being a cultural force right when television (which featured extremely limited options) was accessible to the middle class. The second boom entailed Vince wisely tailoring the show to the overall cheesiness of 80s culture mixed in with big celebrities at key times to get maximum visibility so the sports entertainment ball could start rolling. The third boom period has more factors, but oversimplifying, the NWO equipped with Hogan's stamp of approval embraced the gangster rap genre that was at its zenith at the time and WWF eventually embraced the edginess and sleaziness of the late 90s, a culture that lingered through the first years of the 00s. I'm not a ratings expert, but since then, we have only seen similar numbers briefly during Edge/Lita's escapades right? That angle obviously adhered to the "sex sells" motif.

Look at the trends of this decade. Cool, badass superheroes/villains have dominated the box office, while intricate storytelling has captured all the show acclaim. One would think wrestling would be a prime benefactor of that environment, but nobody in WWE knows how to apply comic book influences to wrestling and whenever WWE tries, the results are closer to Dungeon of Doom than Dc ie: the stupid vegetative state storyline or the terrible Bray Wyatt supernatural direction. Even if we are just talking coolness, as Kevin Nash says in his shoots, you have a show on from 8-11 eastern where the average watcher is in their early 50s and wrestlers are saying "crap" and threatening to kick butt. Meanwhile, Xbox kids have said far worse for years.

The last intricate storyline we had was arguably Bryan vs. Authority way back in 2013-2014. Even that has an asterisk, as I'm convinced that was a serendipity from fans rabidly hijacking shows, as opposed to Vince being smart enough to intentionally engineer that story. Instead, I safely assume his plan was legitimately Orton vs. Batista or an Evolution triple threat. We are now FIVE YEARS past that.

A lesser culprit imo. is the 3-hour Raws. I realize SD isn't 3 hours, yet it hasn't experienced an uptick either, but more relevantly, SD is treated as the blue-haired, lesser stepsister of Raw. I'm not sure what the consumer behavior literature suggests, but speaking for myself, if I go to a movie, if it is anything short of excellent, I'm frequently checking the time once two hours pass wanting this to conclude to get on with my day. Keep in mind I have that attitude, despite paying for an one-time, immediately consumed experience. That restlessness exponentially increases when hundreds of channels or endless streams of popular content are at consumers' disposal in an instant. Additionally, Raw obviously does not have the luxury of Hollywood's production, the theater's aura or
 
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