Last week in WWE, the Road to WrestleMania got underway. The ever expanding world of NXT put on NXT Worlds Collide. NXT and NXT UK put their best against each other in a series of matches that looks to be an annual event in the making. This was a precursor to WWE’s yearly event – The Royal Rumble. Men and Women Rumble winners were crowned. The victors garnered many a reaction. Regardless of how anyone felt, it looked as it the path to WWE’s future was clear..
Then came Friday, January 31st.
WWE investors (including myself) woke to some startling news. The first bit of news was WWE Co-Vice Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson were either fired or quit depending on which story you believe. Both made very impressive presentations during WWE’s Business Partner Summit during WrestleMania weekend a few years back. Conflicting reports say they either quit due to disagreeing with Vince McMahon’s vision for the future or they were dismissed by Vince because they didn’t fit into said vision. The second bit of news came a result of the first bit. WWE stocks plummeted 22 percent. This is not the news anyone wants to hear on a Friday.
Is WWE caught in the middle of a perfect storm? What conditions have brought for this natural disaster?
• SATURATING THE MARKET: Ever since the demise of WCW nearly 20 years ago, WWE has not had any real competition. TNA may have made some headway in its early days and was mildly successful. Still, they didn’t have the capital invested to compete with WWE. As the years have gone buy, WWE has added more layers onto its foundation. WWE has its own network. Its presence is felt all over cable and network television with countless amounts of television. There is a saying: too much of a good thing is a bad thing. WWE has proven that over the last few years
• DWINDLING ATTENDANCE NUMBERS: House show attendance has been a problem for WWE over the past few years. This is where the oversaturation comes into play. The good thing about WWE’s product is that it is accessible on smartphones, computers, Roku players, tablets, and anything that houses WWE Network. The drawback: pay at least $50 for a WWE experience to attend a live show or catch wrestling from almost any decade for $9.99 a month. Dwindling attendance means dwindling revenue. If you aren’t making money, it’s not a good look for current or potential business partners.
• PLENTY OF COMPETITION: For years, people have asked for someone to step up and give WWE some competition. While no one still cannot match WWE in cash flow, there are many great and viable options for people who have grown tired of the WWE product. AEW is the obvious favorite as it has mostly bested NXT on Wednesday night in their head-to-head ratings war. New Japan Pro Wrestling is making its mark on this continent and offering fans something different. Major League Wrestling continues to form strategic partnerships and lives up to its original moniker of “hybrid wrestling”. Ring Of Honor still keeps going along with countless others.
So how will WWE bounce back from this latest setback that has costs them billions of dollars? No one knows but don’t count them out. Historically, they have bounced back from things most business could never recover from. Whether they strike gold with an original idea or pump money behind someone else’s idea and call it their own (cough cough Attitude Era), WWE has a great chance to come back stronger. They can’t waste time. The clock may indeed be ticking for WWE’s very existence.