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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A possible (but not sole) factor in the downturn in WWE ratings may in fact be the staleness of the characters. I was thinking about this era versus the Golden Era and Attitude Era. WWE is currently populated by a host of wrestlers who have been there a long time.

Let's take notable wrestlers from the Golden Era, and how long that their run lasted:

Andre the Giant: 17 years
Tito Santana: 11 years
Hulk Hogan: 9 years
Randy Savage: 9 years
Greg Valentine: 8 years
Andre the Giant: 7 years
Ultimate Warrior: 5 years
Jim Duggan: 6 years
Mr Perfect: 5 years (followed by tenures as an announcer)
Big Bossman: 5 years
Dino Bravo: 4 years
Honkytonk Man: 4 years
Akeem: 3 years
Killer Bees: 3 years
Rougeau Brothers: 3 years
Kerry Von Erich: 2 years

Then let's have a look at the wrestlers populating the Attitude Era:

Undertaker: 21 years (as regularly active wrestler)
Kane: 18 years (as Kane, as regularly active wrestler)
Big Show: 18 years
HHH: 16 years (as regularly active wrestler)
Edge: 12 years
Billy Gunn: 10 years
Steve Austin: 7 years
The Rock: 7 years
Kurt Angle: 6 years
Chris Jericho: 6 years (original run)
Test: 6 years
RoadDog: 4 years
Mick Foley: 4 years
X-Pac: 4 years
Chyna: 4 years
Jeff Jarrett: 2 years
Ken Shamrock: 2 years

Let's compare this to now:

Mark Henry: 21 years
Big Show: 18 years
John Cena: 15 years
Randy Orton: 15 years
The Miz: 11 years
Kofi Kingston: 10 years
R-Truth: 9 years
Primo: 9 years
Dolph Ziggler: 8 years (as Dolph)
Sheamus: 8 years
The Usos: 7 years
Heath Slater: 7 years
Darren Young: 7 years
Curtis Axel: 7 years
Epico: 6 years
Brock Lesnar: 5 years
Cesaro: 5 years
Roman Reigns: 5 years
Seth Rollins: 5 years
Dean Ambrose: 5 years
Titus O'Neil: 5 years
Bray Wyatt: 5 years (as Bray)
Luke Harper:5 years

I could be wrong, but it seems that there is a higher percentage of wrestlers with half a decade or more in the company than previously. Perhaps that is a consequence of a roster that is 2x as big as that of the Golden Era, and perhaps the lack of competition. Or perhaps WWE is less apt to cut bait on wrestlers who have been around for awhile. But staleness of characters may be a factor in what we are seeing today, despite the influx of talent from NXT over the last 18 months.
 

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Could be a factor but the bigger factor to me is that guys get stale way faster when we see them every friggin week. Back in the day the top stars weren't on TV every week. We mostly had mid carders vs jobbers on the weekly shows and might get lucky with a low card vs low card guy. Nowadays we have matches that should be PPV matches on Raw every week. Nakamura vs Owens, Reigns vs Balor, Miz vs Ambrose, etc, etc, you get the point. You don't get nearly as amped for ppvs as you would back in the day.

NxT does it right by not having every star on the show every week. I understand they are only an hour show, but their roster is tiny compared to the main roster. It's not an excuse.
 

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Mizark and Show are all but retired at this point, while John Boy will be jumping ship sooner than later. Aside from them, the only guys on the modern day list who are expendable due to having virtually no significant upsides are The Colons, Young and Axel.

Every other guy on the modern day list has shown to be deserving of TV time:

- Orton is a solid worker when he's fully invested in cocaine and has ascended to meme status
- Miz's "The A-Lister" gimmick has rejuvenated him as a perfectly fine mid-carder
- Kofi's an excellent athlete and finally showed personality thanks to The New Day
- R-Truth is a solid worker and is very entertaining when given the chance
- Ziggler is, has and practically always will be a reliable workhorse
- Shesaro are criminally underrated workers that have finally rediscovered their strides thanks to their team
- The Usos are the most consistently cohesive team and rejuvenated themselves thanks to their heel turn
- Slater rivals Ziggler as the WWE's best seller and thrived as an underdog due to being so hilariously goofy
- Brock is Brock ('Nuff said :brock)
- Reigns can pull his weight in the ring very well on his best days
- Rollins is one of the few talents who is the closest to being believable FotC material
- Ambrose is the same as Reigns, but also damn-near burial-proof because the fans love him that much
- O'Neil is an underrated talker, a good tag wrestler and could become a solid manager via The Titus Brand
- Wyatt oozes dedication to his gimmick and is among the best talkers in the company
- Harper is a great worker who could easily become a multi-time mid-card champion when given the chance
 

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I think the key word here is characters.
If WWE had their way Reigns character would be like this for the next decade just as Cena's never changed. The best workers know how to change their gimmick to keep things fresh. That's what WWE is lacking these days, the freshness of tweeked characters. Just look what it did for SCSA, JBL, Henry had the tweek, Punk, Bryan, Jericho is the master of staying relevant and fresh.

Reigns hasn't evolved, neither has Bray, Orton, Ambrose, Ziggler.
 

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It does feel like a lot of guys have been around for a long time, I feel thats an issue that goes hand in hand with what @Thecreepygeek said about stale characters, and also the fact that WWE butchers people like Miz, Ziggler, Sheamus, etc. There's a lot of guys on the roster that WWE pushed to the top years and years ago and have since jobbed into oblivion. Those guys are hard to care about because they're ruined by WWE's booking, and the new era's chosen ones being the only people who ever get pushed.
 

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It does feel like a lot of guys have been around for a long time, I feel thats an issue that goes hand in hand with what @Thecreepygeek said about stale characters, and also the fact that WWE butchers people like Miz, Ziggler, Sheamus, etc. There's a lot of guys on the roster that WWE pushed to the top years and years ago and have since jobbed into oblivion. Those guys are hard to care about because they're ruined by WWE's booking, and the new era's chosen ones being the only people who ever get pushed.
I never mentioned The Miz because he's one of the few who does try to change. Its not to my tastes but if you enjoy his work, than yeah more people need to be allowed to change up their gimmick just to test if it works. I never mentioned Sheamus neither. 5/10 years from now Reigns is still going to be wearing that attire, I just know it.
 

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I never mentioned The Miz because he's one of the few who does try to change. Its not to my tastes but if you enjoy his work, than yeah more people need to be allowed to change up their gimmick just to test if it works. I never mentioned Sheamus neither. 5/10 years from now Reigns is still going to be wearing that attire, I just know it.
Some guys like Miz and Sheamus do change up their gimmick or their look but it doesn't really change anything in the grand scheme of things when WWE keep them in the same spot.

There is a big issue with stale characters like Cena and Reigns and it's made worse by WWE relentlessly super pushing them.
 

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Some guys like Miz and Sheamus do change up their gimmick or their look but it doesn't really change anything in the grand scheme of things when WWE keep them in the same spot.

There is a big issue with stale characters like Cena and Reigns and it's made worse by WWE relentlessly super pushing them.
I agree. A recent guy who do have some freedom to change his act was Wade Barratt. They dropped the bareknuckle boxer gimmick, give him different theme music every week and when he does get something original over himself they cut off his steam by giving him a KOTR title and turning him into an anti-american KING which has never been done before. I think Nevilles got that privilege now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Or maybe you have the attention span of a gnat.
The point is, how many possible unique matches can a Dolph Ziggler have after nine years? Or Randy Orton after 15 years? Or Bray Wyatt after five years? This isn't the WWE of 30 years ago, where for the most part the only competitive matches were on USA Network's Prime Time Wrestling or Saturday Night's Main Event.

We have 5 hours of USA-related WWE programming, and for a Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose we have seen them wrestle most of the roster.
 

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thing is there is so much more programming on these days, its only asking you to get bored with guys quicker etc, back in the 80s etc stories couldnt progress as quickly as there wasnt so many PPVs, nowadays, new stories have to be ready to go for the PPV in 2/3 weeks.

Id say its greed over quality, they are trying to maximize everything rather then slim lining stuff and making it better.
 

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Vince didn't give any guaranteed contracts until 96'. In the 80's into the 90's he would bring in alot of people for short periods to serve his immediate needs/desires and then throw them back on the street. As WCW and then ECW came along in the 90's, wrestlers had more of a chance to go to the place they thought would best help their career. Alot of people worked for all three at some point and most worked for WWF and WCW. With the smart ones changing and evolving. The overload of weekly tv programming also didn't start to happen until the end of the 90's when WWF and WCW added a second show.

Now you have people signing multiyear developmental deals, oversaturation through tv and ppvs, Vince only wanting to play with one toy, and everyone else left to just be filler until the Divas come back to work periodically.

Some wrestlers don't change for the same reason the ones of yesteryear didn't, they don't want to. Others don't change because they're not allowed to. Stuck being a dentist instead of a demon.
 

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Wrestlers lasting a long time is not the problem, the problem is when a wrestler lasts a long time and they either suck or they can't adapt their character and change it to something different. A perfect example is Randy Orton. He has one thing he does, he's angry. That's the only emotion he's capable of portraying. Chris Jericho has been on tv far longer than Orton but I feel like I've been watching Orton for far longer because every time Jericho gets really stale, he recognizes that he's gone stale, he leaves and then when he comes back, he adds something new to his character that wasn't there when he left.

John Cena. Good talent, but never changes his character. Compare him with Punk. First he was just the guy who wanted competition, then he turned heel and became the anti-drug guy, then he went from just being the anti-drug guy and took that a step farther and became a cult leader, then he dropped that entirely and he became the babyface who the producers were afraid to let near a microphone because they couldn't control what he was gonna say, then he turned heel again and he used his real life friendship with Paul Heyman. He never got stale.

You've gotta tweak your character. It doesn't always have to be dramatic gimmick switches, sometimes Jericho will just add one aspect and it'll make a ton of difference. This is the reason comic book characters get re-invented, because when you see a character for 50, 60, 70 years, you have to freshen them up and make them accessible to the time period they're in. The problem isn't that the character has been around that long.
 
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