How Can WWE Improve Ratings?

Every week, it seems like, WWE hits a new record for low ratings. Both Raw and Smackdown’s ratings are poor and continue to decline week by week. There are even talks of NBC terminating their contract with WWE, to take Raw and Smackdown off the air in 2019, when the contract is up for renewal.

So what can WWE do to improve their ratings and keep their spot on cable TV?

Here are some ideas:

Listen to the people.

We – as a majority – do not want Jinder as champion, and we want the company to stop pushing Roman. These two “athletes” do not belong in the Universal/WWE championship running. The title does not carry the same amount of respect when it is given to just anyone. Roman has about three moves: punches, spears, and clotheslines. I want to see WWE favor superstars with actual talent. AJ Styles, in my opinion, is the most talented wrestler in the business right now. He is not my favorite (character-wise) but he has some serious talent. I think that the WWE needs to reward those with actual athletic ability and wrestling skills by giving them long title runs until there is someone worthy of holding the title. I feel the same way about Charlotte in the Women’s Division. She is clearly the most athletically gifted female wrestler on the roster. So to give the title to someone like Bayley – who has a good amount of fans, no doubt, but struggles with wrestling and talking – isn’t right. Ultimately, superstars that can wrestle should have a place in the business, even if their mic skills need improvement. Generally, the fans will accept superstars that are impressive wrestlers, even if they can’t talk well. If you can speak naturally and believably, that’s great, and you can gain acceptance from viewers in that way. But there are only so many places on the roster for people that are only good on the mic. This isn’t a talk show. And for some reason, there are superstars on the roster that can’t talk OR wrestle (aka Roman & Jinder). This isn’t right.

Expand the roster.

I don’t care whether this means bringing back former WWE superstars, stealing superstars from TNA, recruiting Indy wrestlers, sending up more superstars from NXT, or going to high schools and scouting graduating kids. WWE needs more variety. We are tired of seeing the same matches week after week, and being able to predict what is going to happen based on storyline patterns. There are almost no surprises on Raw or Smackdown. They rarely have superstar returns, or championship matches on the two main shows. Rather, they save everything good for the pay-per-views. And yes, you want your jaw to drop for the PPVs, but I remember ten years ago when I had this reaction every Monday night when I watched Raw. It was pure excitement.

I have to believe it’s possible to recreate the atmosphere of what wrestling used to be.

Kurt Angle General Manager, Mic Skills

Fast forward to 0:45.

Kurt Angle was great on the mic as a wrestler. Now that he’s general manager, I feel like his mic skills could use some work. He never had a problem speaking before. Has he spent too much time away from the company? Maybe he isn’t used to such a large audience anymore, and he’s nervous? Is it because he is best known for being a heel, and he isn’t really sure anymore how to be a face? Either way, it sounds like he’s reading off a script. His eyes are all shifty, and he just looks uncomfortable.

Women’s Championship Match as RAW Main Event

The WWE has come a long way in its treatment of its female superstars. Women wrestlers are no longer called Divas, commentators don’t yell “puppies!” whenever a woman walks down the ramp, and their wrestling gear is much less revealing.

The 2016 WWE Draft was majorly significant for the women’s division. The most exciting part of the draft for most people was the integration of the NXT talent. Both Raw and Smackdown acquired female superstars from NXT, including: Nia Jax, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss. That means that half of the NXT acquisitions were women (only six picks came from NXT). It does not get more equal than 50/50.

Charlotte, the WWE Women’s Champion at the time, was chosen in the first round, as Raw’s third overall draft pick. However you feel about Charlotte, this fact is impressive and boundary-breaking. However, I think it says more about the WWE’s changing attitude towards women than about Charlotte herself, although she is very talented. A few months later, Bayley joined the Raw roster. In recent weeks, there have commonly been two women’s matches per episode, even in NXT’s one-hour segment.

Most recently, last night on Monday Night Raw (10/3/2016), Charlotte faced Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Championship in the MAIN EVENT. While NXT has had women’s matches as the main event, I’m pretty sure this was a first for the flagship show. While I personally believe that despite her loss Charlotte had a better performance last night, this match was career-changing for both women, and industry-changing for the WWE.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-2-11-23-pm

On another note, the Champ needs to do something about that hairline.

 

WWE Commentators’ Scripts

Most of us are aware that WWE matches are scripted. However, I have been wondering recently if WWE Commentators also follow a script, or whether their reactions and comments are genuine and spontaneous.

The moment that brought this question to my mind was a match during Monday Night Raw, on September 26, 2016. In this match, the New Day faced The Club, in a Clash of Champions rematch for the WWE World Tag Team Championships. At the end of the match, there is a moment of confusion. There is blood in the ring. Outside the ring, Luke Gallows’ hands and gloves are drenched in blood, but he does not appear to be in pain. The camera zooms out. You have to squint. Where is the source of the blood? The camera zooms in to the men in the ring, the New Day. Kofi Kingston is bleeding profusely from his forehead. Xavier Woods presses a towel to Kofi’s head. You ask yourself, when did Kofi obtain this cut that caused such a massive amount of bleeding? Was it when he was slammed into the steel steps?

Then you wonder why you have to wonder this at all. Shouldn’t the commentators comment on when the injury was received? But instead, they say nothing about the blood, the bleeding, still going on in the ring. They do not say a word. This appears strange to me. Obviously, they were not prepared for this injury. It was not in the script. But even if it wasn’t supposed to happen, shouldn’t they acknowledge it anyway? It’s a big deal when someone bleeds. It’s an even bigger deal when it’s not supposed to happen.

I did a little research on whether or not WWE Commentators follow a script, and found out that they do. However, some commentators are known to forfeit knowledge of the endings of the matches in order to better commentate and react honestly. One website, deadspin.com even released a WWE Raw script, which contains certain points they must hit during certain matches. The script even includes wrestlers’ speeches and promos. It’s pretty interesting. Here’s the link:

http://deadspin.com/this-is-what-a-wwe-raw-script-looks-like-1570327862

A nine page script of dos and don’ts for WWE Commentators was posted on a website called SEScoops (http://www.sescoops.com/photos-full-nine-page-wwe-raw-announcer-script-leaks-online/). One of the rules is “don’t call blood,” which might answer my question. However, the rules are in place to make the commentators sound natural and honest. The natural response to seeing blood is surprise, even in wrestling. The way the commentators ignore the blood achieves the opposite effect; it makes their response (or lack of one) seem illegitimate.