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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With WWE, AEW, and Impact now well into a period of television with either no audiences, or wrestlers themselves as the audience this thought occurred to me....normal live crowds are a key indicator as to whether a wrestler was succeeding in their push or not. Or how a previously less regarded talent began to shoot up the roster as the fanbase got more behind him or her.

In today's world - in WWE, the wrestlers in attendance are given strict instructions on how to react. This completely ossifies the roster and prevents organic rises and falls. It strips away the company's ability to determine the success or failure of a new wrestler. To use prior examples, a Rocky Miavia or a Friar Ferguson or a Mantaur would always get a wild response, if it was so desired by WWE management. A Daniel Bryan, Stone Cold or Becky Lynch could never catch fire and emerge from the midcard because there is no crowd metric to gauge as to whether they are overperforming.

An immediate response would be that WWE can look at the quarterhour ratings, but this can be misleading. Back in the late 1990s there used to be a Wrestlenomics type newsletter that treated pro wrestling like a sport, and in it one of the features was that the wrestlers were ranked based on average quarter hour ratings for RAW. In 1997, Crush had the highest quarter hour rating of any WWE wrestler. Not because he was the most over wrestler on the roster, but he had the fortune of appearing in a slew of higher rated quarter hours. Literally, it was luck on Adams's part, but if you were to look at that list you would think that the Disciples of Apocalypse version of Crush was the most popular member of the WWF roster.

Without the live crowd, how does WWE even know that an Austin Theory or Angel Garza are succeeding? Or Akira Tozawa. Or perhaps Adam Cole when he makes his debut in the near future. How much risk does WWE (and to an extent AEW) have in overpushing the wrong talents and holding back on potentially popular, game changing talents because of the lack of a gauge of success?
 

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The Babyface of WF
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I like your logic but if anybody knew Vince well enough through his reputation then you would know WWE is his playhouse and how do people treat their playhouse?

Favoritism and bias with enough money in his hand to not bother worrying if ratings reduce I take his words seriously when he said the fans like what he tells them to like with few exceptions such as the pushes of Daniel Bryan or Becky Lynch.

He has a crowd he can control and it works for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I like your logic but if anybody knew Vince well enough through his reputation then you would know WWE is his playhouse and how do people treat their playhouse?

Favoritism and bias with enough money in his hand to not bother worrying if ratings reduce I take his words seriously when he said the fans like what he tells them to like with few exceptions such as the pushes of Daniel Bryan or Becky Lynch.

He has a crowd he can control and it works for him.
True, but eventually live crowds will return. The danger for WWE is that he'll be pushing out a collection of Ringmasters, Spellbinders, Rocky Miavias, Real Double Js, Rockabillys, Globledy Gookers, and other characters that Vince will believe are the future. And when actual real fans rebel, WWE will have a real challenge on their hands because they'll have convinced themselves to go all-in on characters that in any other circumstance would be quickly identified as failures.
 

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They might be less distracted by a vocal minority and the writing might improve.

Either that, or they’ll look at Twitter reactions.

God help us...
 

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social media, video views, merch sales, quarter hour segments...I think all this are taken into consideration.

And keep in mind, in the past few years even the "over" wrestlers did not necessarily translate to actual ratings/sales growth.

I honestly don't think anybody moves the needle anymore. There can be "over" people who don't draw a dime. There could be people the regular crowd hates that the casual crowd tunes in to see--Roman, Brock, and Goldberg are examples of these.

Cena was hated for years and now the crowds beg for him to have matches whenever he appears. Vince has realized that WWE fans have stockholm syndrome. If the WWE shoves someone down everyone's throat enough times, they will eventually consider them a big deal once they are at the end of their careers, regardless of whether they were liked or not during their heyday. I think Roman and Charlotte will be examples of this.
 

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They never listen to the audience anyway, not in the last 15 years, so they're just doing what they think is best like always.
 

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social media, video views, merch sales, quarter hour segments...I think all this are taken into consideration.

And keep in mind, in the past few years even the "over" wrestlers did not necessarily translate to actual ratings/sales growth.

I honestly don't think anybody moves the needle anymore. There can be "over" people who don't draw a dime. There could be people the regular crowd hates that the casual crowd tunes in to see--Roman, Brock, and Goldberg are examples of these.

Cena was hated for years and now the crowds beg for him to have matches whenever he appears. Vince has realized that WWE fans have stockholm syndrome. If the WWE shoves someone down everyone's throat enough times, they will eventually consider them a big deal once they are at the end of their careers, regardless of whether they were liked or not during their heyday. I think Roman and Charlotte will be examples of this.
I think at this point more people just feel sorry or empathize with Joe as much as they absolutely despise the Roman character. They know that WWE has screwed up so many times with the way they presented him and his booking. He also never should have been placed in the position he was because he straight wasn't talented enough. He'll eventually be looked at in a favorable light, but that will have nothing to do with his character
 

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Youtube views are a better indicator of what its working on their weeklies shows that standard Tv ratings anyway, Youtube analytics makes it easier for them to find out which talents are most attractive internationally.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Did that ever stop wwe before?
History is filled with WWE changing directions or getting cold feet due to fan responses. Here's a few off the top of my head:

1986: Honkytonk Man is brought in as a face; three months later turns heel after the gimmick was rejected
1987: Jake Roberts is turned babyface after getting massive pops from the fans in the latter half of 1986
1994: Bret Hart wins the WWF World title at WrestleMania instead of Lex Luger
1995: Bret Hart wins the WWF World title at Survivor Series after the company gives up on its megapush of Diesel
1997: Realizing Rocky Miavia's character is not working, they allow him to go heel
2001: WWF abandons the idea of WCW as a separate entity after Tacoma fans bury a Bagwell/Booker T match
2004: John Cena goes from being on the cut list to being prepared to be the 1a to Batista as a future main eventer due to fan response to his gimmick change
2006: WWE abandons ECW exclusive tapings after hardcore fans embarassingly rip on the main event shortly after relaunch; the company instead tapes ECW before RAW or Smackdown in front of traditional WWE fans
2011: CM Punk becomes a main eventer based off of fan responses to his promo
2014: WWE abandons a Sheamus/Bryan program and inserts Daniel into the main event of WrestleMania 30 due to fan response
2015: WWE decides not to have Roman win the belt at WrestleMania 31 due to fan response; instead pivots to Rollins as heel champion with the idea that Seth's one year cowardly rulebreaker reign would build support for Roman
2018: WWE gets cold feet due to fan response to Roman and books Brock Lesnar to beat him at the main event of WrestleMania 34
2019: Becky Lynch is made into the cornerstone of the women's division following wild fan response to her the previous fall - the plans originally were for Ronda or Charlotte to have that role

Take away the ability of the company to see what is working and what is not - none of these changes would have happened.
 

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Honestly, since I've been watching early 90s WCW, today's smarky audience doesn't seem to be an accurate barometer of anything.

The broken booker-fan dynamic has created an audience that wants to get themselves over, and reacts to booking decisions and dirtsheet gossip rather than the actual performance. Both WWE and the fans constantly break the 4th wall, which completely undermines the ability to measure audience engagement as all of the reactions are inauthentic. Take Edge for example: he was booed out of Toronto because the smarky audience knew he banged Lita behind Hardy's back. Sure, WWE ran with it, but is it really indicative of whether his booking was working or not?
 
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