Off Topic: Is Wrestling Dead?

Actually, that's a bit of a hyperbolic statement. Let's go with something a bit different.

Is wrestling in the process of dying?

Has Vince McMahon officially killed the territory? As someone who used to be a very intense fan of wrestling (I wrote a master's thesis on pro wrestling!) I've found myself drifting away from it over the last decade. Still, I can't fully let go. I still follow it on some level. I still listen to wrestling podcasts. I still read about it. I still follow along with the PPVs on twitter. Wrestling fans — like fans of anything really — tend to complain a lot so in that sense it's difficult to really gauge just how bad wrestling is at this precise moment.

My gut instinct is it's pretty bad.

Wrestlemania appears to have been booked terribly. The WWE, in America at least, is the only game in town to the point where the WWE had to invent NXT to train the next generation of wrestlers.

Now, weirdly, NXT appears to be better than the WWE on every possible level.

What the hell is going on here?


    Agreed. At least in the case of standard WWE... it's really falling on hard times. I only ever bother with the PPV's because I kinda assume they have to try and put in some effort (spoiler, they don't).

    Apart from that I just roll with NXT and Lucha Underground. They actually seem to understand what people want and care about the product they put out.

    Also, you've mentioned your thesis a couple of times... on a slow news day I propose you just upload that.

      yeah vince really needs to retire and Hunter needs to take over considering that Hunter is incharge of NXT

    I'd say its transitioning. We've finished with a golden era, and as often happens, the followup cant match it. The number of highly charismatic stars they developed through the Attitude Era simply cant be matched when they are developing by the numbers.

    They dont give the talent the same opportunities to have input in their development either, with many of them just happy to have the opportunity, but take a look at The Rock's comments last week after Wrestlemania 13, and what it took for him to become the name he is today.

    I remember that period well, mostly because I wasnt following it for a few months, and Rocky Maivia has transformed overnight into the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. You wont see that again.

      thats the thing with the attitude era, everyone on the roster always had something to do whether they were top card or midcard they were treated equally. All the championships where considered important, such winning the I.C belt would mean that that person was very close to becoming main event level material. Womens Wrestling weren't all bra and panties matches and the matches werent 3minute long bathroom breaks like the were from 2005 until 2014.

        Problem I have with the attitude era is that it was really carried by just a handful of guys (and girls). DX was about two wrestlers for the most part, the rest were just space fillers around them. Dont get me wrong, I loved that era, but when it was HHH, Michaels, Stone Cold, Rock every week it was their charisma that carried them.

        These days, the talent is still there, but they're getting injured far more often, and the injuries are getting worse. It's ironic that since they banned piledrivers (for good reason) there have been more neck injuries than in any era before hand.

        My point above though was that the emerging talent doesnt get the chance to have a say, and its for a number of reasons. Roman Reigns gets booed for being Roman Reigns, and its so entrenched that its never going to stop now, but how much was his fault, and how much was the fault of the jobbers and scriptwriters? They want him to be Austin, without being dramatic about it. Thats a writers job.

        On the flipside, someone like Orton has been screwing up lines since day 1, but is universally loved because he got the right chance to build into the star he became.

          In some ways, I think an injury was one of the best things to happen to Randy Orton. When he first started on WWE, he was a decent wrestler but storyline wise they just seemed to be focusing on the fact his father was also a wrestler.

          When he got injured, the "injury update" TV spots (some of which interrupted matches) helped turn him into an aresehole you loved to hate, which in turn laid the ground work for the character he became.

          Have they let anyone else do that kind of thing recently?

          Last edited 05/04/16 2:19 pm

    It's not dead, but it needs a refreshed look at it.
    A change of direction, if you will.
    It's no longer the case where people are unsure if wrestling is real or fake nowadays, and people are more clued in on where a feud is heading, and they are far less tolerant of sloppy booking and predictable match finishes, not to mention a poor quality of wrestling matches themselves.
    These next 12 months are going to be interesting insofar that WWE is now having more of an eye on it, but that the eye is a learned one, and they'll be dragged over the proverbial hot coals if they drop the ball this year.

      Don't forget the 50/50 booking.

      AJ Styles and Chris Jericho faced off at Wrestlemania. It was their fourth match in two months, twice during normal programming and once at the Fastlane PPV. Their match was remarkably similar to their first three and ended with Jericho winning to bring their record to 2-2.

      How can anyone bring themselves to care about storylines like that when there is outcome is "they both got the upper hand at various points, now they'll move on."

    A couple of things that may be killing WWE is the fact it has no real competition which in turn makes them think ahh well we don't really need to do 100% here. I also think the PG era has really killed it alot for me its almost unwatchable. I also think the final thing is UFC, i honestly believe it has stolen alot of fans away from wwe.

      Especially when you've had more than a couple of wrestlers transition over to actual fighting and their fans following them...

    This could be my rose tinted glasses speaking, but I've been of the belief that WWE was going downhill since the Attitude era ended. There needs to be another competitor on the WCW level (pre-Hogan being creative director)

      100% agree and that's because they introduced the PG Era. For me its really unwatchable.

      I was a fan of the WWF back then but was definitely a WCW golden boy, loved it. They both pushed each other to do the next crazy thing. I understand times are different and half the stuff they did back then wouldn't fly today, but mix that with no competition and bingo, stale ass writing.

      I was excited when TNA came around, watched it religiously for 1-1.5 years, it went downhill pretty bad. It managed to take on all the failings of WCW at one point and thats when I gave up.

      I have this theory that traditional "wrestling writers" are still manning the helm. They need to mix things up as the whole franchise is essentially story driven. We need remember-able characters, we need emotionally charged feuds, we need some highlight reel moves, emotional highs, lows, backstabbing, unlikely friendships etc etc etc.... All we're getting is the same stale crud we've seen a million times before..... oh wow, im super invested in this match between generic guy1 vs generic guy2.... oh sick, stock standard moves that makes me feel like I chose the worst moveset from N64's WCW vs NWO, biggest highlight of that match was a suplex.... whoopdie doo.

    I still think it's the writers. It's a shame that it takes the likes of the Social Outcasts to use social media to build a name/story when there are guys getting paid to do that for them. Prime example is Zack Ryder. Started off his Internet Championship and he rode high for a while. The talent is there, they just have to know how to write them in....

    .....they also need some competition... Jeff Jarrett is taking way too long to step up

    We're coming off of the back of the biggest Wrestlemania in WWE history. It was hot garbage.

    That says a lot about the state of wrestling. That it can do so well while being so bad. WWE seems insistent on telling the fans what they want and they probably think it's working because they're still making money.

    I first got into wrestling just before the Chris Benoit incident. I cared for a while and slowly drifted away. I almost came back after CM Punk's pipebomb promo. Last year, I heard a lot of complaints about the state of WWE and caught up with what I'd missed. The Shield seemed interesting. The Wyatts seemed interesting. NXT seemed interesting. I stuck around.

    WWE is not good. The only reason I stick around is because they manage to feed a few juicy morsels in between all the bullshit. Even then, there seems to be some sunk cost fallacy going on where I've already invested so much time that I may as well keep watching.

    On the other hand, Shinsuke Nakamura exists and that alone pretty much counteracts everything else.

      There's definitely been worse Mania's in the past 5-6 years... this was middle upper I thought. Good first match, good womens match (surprisingly, I usually skip them), cage match was slow but the highlights were worth it in the end. Rock, stone cold, foley was good... rumble was pretty crud.

      I remember watching other ones and thinking.... wow, that was so boring. At least with the few highlights we had in this one I can remember something. Definitely could have been better, but has also been worse.

        Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks were absolutely killing it in NXT before they got called up to the main roster. If you enjoyed that triple threat match, do yourself a favour and look up pretty much any of the NXT Takeover matches involving any of them.

        I really loathe how The Rock was used. Comes out, cuts a lengthy promo with the same stuff he always says, gets interrupted and wins a 6 second match. I've seen that before. I've seen that pretty much every time he's shown up since I got back into wrestling.

        So many of the matches were just mediocre. League of Nations vs The New Day was a rehash of their recent matches on Smackdown and Raw. AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho was a rehash of their recent matches on Smackdown, Raw and Payback. Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose seemed really phoned in and completely at odds with the build up of Ambrose being impossible to keep down.

        Shane O'Mac vs Undertaker was always going to have Shane jumping off of the cell. That was rad. The rest of it didn't really resonate for me. What Shane was doing vs the Undertaker was exactly what Ambrose should've been doing vs Lesnar. They neutered that match in order to make the HIAC look better and I'd have preferred the reverse.

          Can't disagree with you on any of those points hah.

          I guess I haven't been following WWE (even thought I'm paying for the network haha). I tune into the occasional NXT but have been out of the loop for the past 4-9 months, mainly just watch some old WCW or WWF in that similar era.

          So yeah, I literally expected nothing and I got the intro match, epic moonsault from Charlotte, jump from Shane, tackle from Reigns and a few other bits and pieces. It definitely wasn't amazing but I guess I literally expected nothing.

          On a side note Stone Cold is still a freakin magnet catcher to those beers flying at him. His little round the world middle finger thing was delivered epicly. Massively shows how lacking the current superstars are in charisma when a retired guy can come out and steal the show. I actually found the rock a little bit OTT this time around, came off very preachery.... was fine.... but was just waiting for it to be over (his lines on Bray Wyatt were pretty gold though).

            Your point about SCSA is exactly WWE's biggest problem.

            A retired guy can come out and outclass on the current roster. The problem there is not that the current roster isn't capable of stealing the show. The problem is that WWE puts the show on a silver platter for the old guard and gives the current roster scraps.

            They bank so heavily on nostalgia that it's really hurting everything else.

          If it's any consolation, apparently Ambrose was fighting upper management for the right to bring out harder weapons in the match - think barbed wire bats - but kept getting shot down due to injury worries.

          Apparently, Ambrose fighting for tougher weapons in ANY of his 'hardcore' matches is quite common...along with getting shot down for TV rating concerns, injury concerns, the now standing ban on bloodying...

          What I would give to have seen Ambrose go against Mankind or Cactus Jack (he woulda lost, but yeah it would've been good).

          Naw, heck, gimmie Ambrose and Hardcore Holly. THAT would've been a match.

          Ambrose just got into WWE in the wrong era, so he's fighting Brock...which isn't a bad thing, but Brock isn't a hardcore fighter ala the above guys I've mentioned. Brock is just a big, bad ball of tough muscle.

    is young and the restless dead? is home and away dead?
    this isnt going to die anytime soon. its a soapie aimed at blokes mainly but caters for women too.
    im not saying wrestling is bad, ive enjoyed it when i was younger and enjoyed playing the n64 games and gamecube games.

    I don't watch it, but second hand from fans the tone seems to be one of disappointment, with characters being poorly written, stories being poorly played out, and the fights being unentertaining.

    I've said this before but I haven't watched wrestling since the royal Rumble in, I dunno, '97? When Stone Cold re-entered the ring illegally taking out Undertaker and Vader, leading to a final four with those three and Bret Hart. I was around 14 or 15 at the time.
    Around that time, Wrestling became ridiculed at my high school. It was seen as "low brow" entertainment, and my peers assumed anyone who watched it for any reason was an imbecile who thought it was all real, so open mockery of the sport and its fans commenced.

    Thus began the period of my adolescence where I was "too cool" for things. I stopped watching wrestling (though I'd been little more than a casual fan at best anyway) and let slip my childhood cartoons in favour of more mature pastimes like video games and anime, which were apparently ok.

    Sometime after that I watched some wrestling and found it all very confusing. There were weird plots and posturing that took up more and more air time. I didn't know who all these people were and why they were all so very angry. Why every single match was ruined by people interrupting them by ambushing the fighters in the ring, and every single episode ended mid-match because "that's all we have time for!" because I didn't understand that the outcome would probably be on some PPV service we didn't have access to, even if I cared enough to find out.

    I'd have said, then, that wrestling as I knew it was dead.

    I'd say now, that it evolved. It has its fans. It endures. It changes. People tire of it and it becomes something else, adds new elements. The time of wrestling waxes and wanes, I guess. Personally, I thought it might be rejuvenated again if it returned to athleticism and fighting instead of gimmicks, OTT violence, and soap opera.

      Now it's just mindless soap opera and gimmicks, less violence, less actual wrestling and mostly punches, rest holds, taunts and slow walking with only a small amount of actual wrestling moves. But that's only the WWE.

    I think wrestling will never die. It dies down but it plays well with a demographic that is constantly being renewed. WWE appears to have the market cornered right now, but if it collapses then others will eventually pop up and take it's place. Actually, in that sense the WWE probably has a degree of immortality. If it dies someone will get the name and bring it back.
    I think a lot of what we've seen in the past decade can be attributed to the rise of UFC. It's sort of the missing link between WWE and 'real' sports. It chips into the older audience which is rough on the WWE which became very dependant on having two age brackets, but long term I think the WWE can find a better place without the constant pressure to remain compatible with the older audiences.

    WWE is dead inside, so watch other wrestling that is actually good.
    It's like going to a restaurant that is unclean and always gives you food poisoning but only ever going back to the same restaurant because it's popular and never trying out the better ones.

    It just seems so bland now. I got in to wrestling during the Monday night wars. I loved the nWo, DX, the Ministry of Darkness, all those stables. It was always so over the top and not at all realistic. It was entertaining!

    Now though, I find the stories so boring. Angry man is angry at the other angry man. They fight for four months then they get angry at other angry men. I get that that's what wrestling was like before the attitude era, but I just can't get excided any more.

    I think those of us who watched it in the 90s were spoilt. Too many amazing characters and moments.

      That was literally the golden era for wrestling, 96-2001-ish.

      They had charisma and there was an element of it being a show/video game and they were playing out the part. At some point it all turned into generic white guy vs generic white guy (like you said). Whilst watching WMania last night, when New Day came out I was like.... that's the difference. These guys would have fit perfectly into the monday night wars era. You can't just have every guy being a generic male and you can't have every guy being a Golddust, there's a balance.

      Normal guy - Brock Lesner, Batista, Dean Ambrose
      Half characters - Dudley Boys, Cactus Jack, Mr Kennedy, Scotty 2 Hotty, Big Poppa Pump, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, HHH, Kevin Nash
      Full characters - Golddust, Sting, Kane, Abyss, Yokozuna, Sgt Slaughter

      I feel like vintage wrestling had a high level of full characters and then normal guys
      90's/early 00's was at least 50% half character, 30% full and 20% normal
      Modern - feels like 15% full, 25% half and 60% normal

      To me, the ratios for the 90's stuff was perfect. It's not the be all and end all of problems with modern wrestling, but without that change happening I can't even get over the initial hurdle of watching it.

    Is wrestling dying? Not at all.
    Wrestling is in its highest point in the last 10 years. NXT, Lucha Underground, NJPW are all expanding. While the WWE main product may not be consistent, it's a lot better than that Cena/Orton/HHH period.

      Yeah, I thought it had been dying since the mid 2000's.

    All I know is, I saw pictures of Mick Foley in my Stalkbook feed this morning and that tickled my nostalgia bone.

    i miss the days of WWF and WCW.
    The Rock, HHH, Stone Cold, Undertaker, Kane, Goldberg - you just cant beat that sort of lineup

    I figured I just got old - I loved it as a kid in the 80s (The Hulk Hogan/Jesse Ventura era) and got into it again in the late 90s early 2000s when the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker seemed to be the main draw

    Nowadays I figured UFC has eaten it's lunch and most aficionados of the sport seem to lament the direction it has taken

    Without knowing much about surely if someone wrested control of this thing from Vince McMahon you'd see an improvement

    You're being worked good.

    I don't think it is, so many companies outside of WWE are experiencing the biggest growth they've ever seen - New Japan, ROH, Lucha Underground and even ICW in Scotland are all reaching or about to reach international audiences, which wouldn't have been possible ten years ago. WWE failing to provide compelling viewing so consistently has led to the rise of alternatives, it seems more popular than ever. The fans that have dropped the WWE seem to be getting their wrestling elsewhere.

    P.s. Watch Lucha Underground somehow.

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