Today WWE is the biggest wrestling promotion industry in the world and with the last ten years or so; WWE has managed to maintain the top spot in the world. WCW was the only major company back in 1990s who gave the WWE a tough fight in claiming the top spot but in the end it was WWE who bought WCW and merged it with them in 2001. Since then no other wrestling company has been able to stand toe to toe with the WWE. TNA attempted to challenge the WWE in the most famous Monday Night Wars but suffered a crushing defeat. But now let’s talk about the interest of the people in the present wrestling. It’s in front of everybody and it’s clear that WWE is witnessing a decline in their popularity. The biggest wrestling promoters are experiencing something which is missing within their company. It’s very hard to say that wrestling and WWE is not the same like it was before. Now what are those reasons? Well below is the top ten reasons that is playing a huge part in declining of the popularity of the WWE.
Change of Programming:
In 2008 under the order of Vince McMahon, the chairman, WWE changed their programming to “PG” ratings, which means that now all of the WWE shows including pay-per-views and weekly shows are family-friendly. This move has created a huge difference in WWE as compare to the 1990s and early 2000s. On those days wrestling was seen as much real unlike the present when WWE is more focused on less intense matches and feuds. In the 1990s, which is also known as the wrestling boom and the rise involved more bad attitudes and unsanctioned fights which created huge interest of the audience. Now due to the PG ratings, WWE prohibits all these extremism and intense sequences which is why WWE has lost its old taste.
The Rock and Stone Cold Factor:
Well who can forget these two great men. The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, two icons who were the top faces of the WWE during The Attitude Era created the legacy like no one else. These two great superstars have headlined three Wrestlemania together and were involved in one of the greatest feud in the history of WWE. The Rock who rose to prominence in 1998 due to his entertaining interviews managed to make himself the top performer in the company. The popularity of The Rock skyrocketed in no time and he became one of the most beloved superstars in the eyes of the fans. But he left the company in 2003 which was huge loss and still today WWE failed to find his replacement. On the other hand, the hard headed, loud mouth, beer drinking son of b***** Stone Cold Steve Austin who with his rebellious attitude gained a huge popularity and established himself as the top most superstar during The Attitude Era. His popular catchphrases, his beer drinking segments in the ring and his intense feud with Vince McMahon is one of the main reason that why WWE became the biggest wrestling company in the world. But also has to quit wrestling because of the injury he suffered earlier in his career. Since the departure of these two, the whole burden was then fallen into the shoulders of other big names like Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and Triple H.
Along with Stone Cold, The Rock and The Undertaker, DX which consist of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chyna and Rick Rude were the main faction in the WWE at that time. Their first incarnation in 1997 was met with great acceptance from the fans. They were often seen using sophomoric/crude humor and showing rebellious attitudes towards the authority figures. During this time Shawn Michaels also established himself as the top WWE superstar and then later Triple H became the top performer. Michaels and Triple H also shared one of the most intense feud in history of WWE but they reformed DX again in 2006 and then in 2009. Till this point WWE was doing fine, but since the retirement of Shawn Michaels and Triple H who is out of the action for more than a year, WWE is hugely missing these two as both of these great superstars have the ability to take WWE to the top alone.
Once in a lifetime superstar. The Deadman, The Phenom, The Demon of Death Valley who is technically out of the action for 8 months although he returned to wrestle at Wrestlemania 27 against Triple H, but this wasn’t enough. Last year The Undertaker ended Shawn Michaels 25 years career at Wrestlemania 26 but after that he was on and off from the scene. He was unable to return fulltime because of the injuries and still there is no word heard from him. The Smackdown show depends entirely on him and he alone from 2002 has carried the mantle of making Smackdown one of the popular weekly shows in the history. With The Undertaker still missing from the scene, WWE is losing its taste day by day and there are also rumors surfacing that The Undertaker will only return in the next years Wrestlemania which will mark the last match of his career.
Lack of Intense Matches:
Just remember the wrestling in 1990s and early 2000s. The Ladder Match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, The Iron Man Match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind, Iron Man Match between The Rock and Triple H, Three Stages of Hell of Match Triple H and Stone Cold. All these matches were full of high powered and exhilarating action sequences with lot of pain involved. These matches are among the greatest matches in the history of the WWE. But today although WWE has punishing structures like Elimination Chamber and Hell in Cell, the action in these matches are very trimmed and boring. Just take the example of the two Elimination Chamber matches which took place earlier this year and two Hell in a Cell matches which took place last year. There were no intense and unsanctioned fights instead the match was concluded very early.
Lack of Show Stealers:
Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Triple H, The Rock and Stone Cold, all of these men have the charisma to attract all the people around the world when they stood in the ring. This kind of charisma is very hard to found in the present superstars who are currently performing for the WWE. Excluding Randy Orton and John Cena, there are only two or three guys left who gets the loudest cheers when they enter the arena. WWE is hugely lacking the show stealing talents that can take the crowd to their feet, just like when Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H and The Undertaker did
Overrating John Cena:
John Cena made his WWE debut in 2002 and he was indeed the potential superstar who can establish himself as the main event wrestler and he did. In 2005 he won WWE Championship and then became the top performer on the WWE. But since then WWE is overrating him, making him the champion every now and then and putting him in the main events of every Wrestlemania since 2005. Although he has posted his name in the list the greatest superstar but everyone wants a change and everyone wants to see a different name other than John Cena. Just like in the Attitude Era, we saw number of new champions like Stone Cold, The Rock, Mankind, Triple H, Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho.
Retirement of Main Event Superstars:
WWE is experiencing a very hard time nowadays because of the departure of many big names. The list includes Shawn Michaels, Batista, Edge, Chris Jericho, Jeff Hardy and now CM Punk. Well WWE may be still mourning over the loss of Kurt Angle who left this business in 2006 and joined the rival promotion TNA. Now with Shawn Michaels and Edge retired, Batista and Chris Jericho left, loss of Jeff Hardy to TNA, there is almost a 0% possibility of these big names to return to the WWE. CM Punk whose contract has just expired and who was doing great with his villainous attitude, WWE will be thinking of to get back as many names as they can mentioned above.
Underrating of Deserving Superstar:
The WWE has underrated number of superstars who are potential main event wrestlers. This list includes Big Show, John Morrison and The Great Khali. Big Show who hasn’t won the World Championship since 2002 and The Great Khali whose character is now more of a comedian and has very few matches in recent months are the potential wrestlers who can become the dominant force in the WWE. Other than these two John Morrison who is a tremendous athlete and a great in-ring performer has been held back. John Morrison has a lot of potential of becoming a dominating World Champion and a main event wrestler but every time he has been over-looked. Just like the case of Rey Mysterio Jr, Kane and Christian. Rey Mysterio who was finally given a chance to become the World Champion last year and Kane who become the World Champion after almost 12 years. But Rey Mysterio who only headlined one main event at Wrestlemania that was 2006, since then he performs as a mid-card wrestler most of the time. Kane also has never been given the chance to perform in the main event at Wrestlemania.
Poor Storyline and Less Intense Feud:
Remember the feuds between Stone Cold and Vince McMahon, Stone Cold and The Rock, Triple H and The Rock, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, Triple H and Stone Cold, The Undertaker and Kane. Well these feuds were so intense and personal that left audience to find out the conclusion of what will happened next or what will be the end of this feuds. Well clearly WWE is lacking these types of feuds and storyline. If we talk about the latest 3 or 4 years, only two or three storyline and feuds were worthy enough to praise and that were Triple H vs Randy Orton in 2009, The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels in 2009 and in 2010 and The Nexus vs WWE. Other than these feuds, all the storyline and feuds are either poorly handled or poorly performed.