WWE has been declining for sometime now. A good portion of this downward spiral should be blamed on how out-of-touch Vince McMahon has allowed himself to become with today’s youth and their pop-culture/social interests. In the past, having an ear to the ground has helped WWE stay current and produce entertainment that seemed to speak convincingly to its loyal fan base.
Diehard fans feel that’s changed in the WWE, which seems to be more determined than ever to disregard and ignore its supporters and what they care about. Even If you look back, in McMahon’s golden days he’s actually never been in touch with his fan base. Even during the times there was good booking, he still pulled the weirdest crap.
He produced poor storylines, having great younger talents job to old timers past their prime while giving fans bizarre moments like Mae Young giving birth to a hand. Why did we see that? Because the chairman thought it was funny.
Possibly his sickest idea was Triple H dressed as Kane having sex with a fresh corpse in a casket. Who could ever forget the “Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club” where he humiliated legends? I am amazed that William Regal, Jim Ross, Shawn Michaels, Shane McMahon, and Mick Foley even agreed to do this.
What sent fans like myself over the edge was the constant showcasing of John Cena. When Cena debuted his free-styling gimmick, the crowd still stuck on the perceptions of the Attitude Era got behind him. If you go back to Wrestlemania 20, in front of one of the most critical and hardcore crowds in New York City, you could see that the reaction to Cena was absolutely off the charts.
A year later, he won the WWE Championship. The crowd in Los Angeles was a lot less enthusiastic and there was a rift between the fans. A lot of them still cheered for the new champ because he was still entertaining and likeable. But the smarter fans began to see McMahon pushing him as the next Hulk Hogan.
Almost 10 years later, the fans perception of the 15-time World Champion has ranged from favoritism to rejection. McMahon has stayed determined that he should be the number one guy based on his persona as well as the financial status throughout his run.
There’s only one other character who reached Cena’s level of financial success for the company: CM Punk. Punk’s reality based promo in June of 2011 created mainstream attention and boosted the product perception. They told a story that mirrored a realistic view of not only how a large portion of the fan base feels about the WWE, but how the talent perceives their own employer.
This has led WWE down a long and winding path that they don’t understand how to navigate. Punk’s success created a rift between WWE and a growing proportion of their audience.
Vince McMahon has lost sight of how to entertain the fans. After all these years, his perception of the performer is still determining whether a wrestler is a face or a heel instead of focusing on telling a great story about that character. This thirty-year old mindset will continue to drive a strong disconnect between a growing proportion of the fan base and the WWE product.
Will Vince McMahon ever get in touch with today’s era of Wrestling? Let me know what you think of the article in the comment section below. Also, check out all of our content here on BTR as we continue working hard to build the Between The Ropes brand.