Tag Archives: wrestling

Why We’ll Never See the Attitude Era in the WWE Again

I hear a lot of wrestling fans clamoring for the return of the Attitude Era in the WWE, when Stone Cold Steve Austin’s beer-swilling and middle-finger-flashing mayhem reigned supreme, bra-and-panties matches seemed to happen on a titillatingly regular basis, you had porn stars and sex addicts as actual character gimmicks, and not a week would go by without DeGeneration-X finding some douchey new way to shock us.

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Bring back the Attitude Era, they say. Get rid of today’s PG-approved storylines and content!

I recently came across the actual 2014 investor report for the WWE here. I’m still digesting it, to be honest, but some things just jumped out at me, and made me believe that for everything the WWE is doing right these days in being socially-savvy and attentive to its audience, we will probably never see the Attitude Era again.

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1.
Content will have to be smart, not shocking.

The WWE’s core audience today are the 50+ year-old baby boomers and flower children. They’re the single largest age segment, at almost 4 in 10 viewers. Despite the recent thrust for PG-friendly content, less than 1 in 5 are kids or young teens.

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Surprisingly, almost 40% of viewers are female. So we probably shouldn’t expect too much blood, lewdness, or foul language – yes, it has to be intelligent and mature content, but not shocking and titillating.

Especially since today’s millennial market – despite having lower purchasing power than ever before, at least for the US ones – will be the cornerstone of growth, at just over 1 in 5 viewers. They have a very idealistic, ambitious set of values and world view, and will likely not appreciate content as degrading or as shock-core as before.

Are we going to see the return of crotch chops and Jerry Lawler squealing over jello lingerie matches? Most likely not. Sorry D-X fanboys. The age of puppies ain’t coming back.

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2.
Big growth ambitions means they can’t slice small

They’re calling 2011-2014 as “Investing in the Future” years, investing in content and infrastructure, particularly in their movie-production arm and the WWE Network.

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But they’re being very specific in declaring 2015 onwards as a return to growth levels comparable to the Attitude years.

The WWE is smart; they know that they grew back in the late 90s by stealing the young adult male demographic away through more mature content, storylines, and characters that were a huge departure from the traditionally cartoony pre-Attitude Era WWE, where wrestling plumbers and garbagemen were actually a thing.

Duke

They can’t re-achieve that same ambition in today’s pop culture environment simply by catering to their existing loyal audience to increase their consumption value per capita. I don’t see today’s 50 year old daddy spending on eight more “Viper” t-shirts just because they look cool. The whole TapouT aesthetic just doesn’t work for that segment.

Randy

A growth vision this large can only be fueled by aggressive acquisition of a new mass audience – and that means we probably won’t see too much insider, meta programming epics in the coming year.

WWE doesn’t have the luxury of an HBO or Netflix, who know they’re creating content for mostly well-to-do, well-educated viewers, letting them go as intelligent as they want. So if we’re hoping for complex Sopranos-style storylines, we’re probably not going to get them.

3.
Content will have to carry across cultural barriers

The biggest key to this aggressive growth ambition? WWE Network roll-out to the rest of the world, particularly calling out Malaysia and Thailand in SEA as key growth markets.

It’s absolutely critical, since US TV rights revenues are pretty much a fixed source of revenue. International revenues are now a bigger part of their business than domestic live events.

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Of course there’s a higher operating cost involved to stage these, but given that their critical KPI’s seem to be revenue growth rather than profitability, that shouldn’t be a deterrent.

That means content will have to be meaningful and comprehensible across multiple cultures; the WWE will be making sure that they build storylines and characters around universally-relatable, broadly-relevant themes and tensions. They can’t write for the traditional US audience alone.

This matters especially since social is such a key part of WWE’s forward plan.

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Content has to be shareable, and by default that pretty much means it will have to be relatively safe. You’re not going to get a lot of conversations happening across platforms if its stuff that’s generally best hidden in brown paper bags or behind incognito browser windows.

4.
Casual fans are king; the smark audience won’t matter.

Only about 1 in 10 US fans are hard-core passionate fans – these are probably the smarks like me who surf the dirt sheets and Internet message boards for the latest news and gossip.

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The rest aren’t as involved, and it seems that their strategic value consumers are the casual ones.

Unlike a typical Game of Thrones fan drooling over every detail and nuance in each episode, they may miss episodes here and there, and won’t be as fastidious about catching up with developments on the WWE’s other platforms on what they missed.

Will we see more smarky “breaking the fourth wall” moments like CM Punk’s infamous pipebomb segment, or the 3-year-long chase and reconciliation between “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Elizabeth?

I doubt it.

Content will have to be bite-sized and punchy, more appetite-whetting than deeply-involving. Sadly, it will most likely have to cater to the lowest common denominator; more Friends than Breaking Bad.

Content can’t be TOO clever, since a large bulk of the market aren’t as hard-core invested as the smark crowd, so don’t expect storylines to be too long, complex, or drawn-out. Expect a lot of snappy resolutions and pocket storytelling.

5.
The next big star of the WWE has to be a conventionally-acceptable face – and that’s good for Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler.

A common thread among today’s internet wrestling crowd is that John Cena is tired, over-exposed, and stale. Elevate new faces! Down with Cena! Feature our internet darling instead!

But one thing I noticed about the investor report – they use Cena a hell of a lot throughout the deck. You wanna know why? Because’s he’s presentable.

John Cena is damn handsome.

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Seems like if you want to be the face of the WWE across all its forums, you need to look broadly acceptable, relatively clean-cut, and well-put-together by mainstream standards – not too rebellious, not too non-conformist. That didn’t bode well for CM Punk, and probably not for guys like Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, or even internet-darling Daniel Bryan either.

To be honest? They look weird.

I love Daniel Bryan, but he looks like a hippie activist .

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No wonder Roman Reigns has the rocket strapped to his ass. He’s a good face to insert into corporate decks, and is an incredibly presentable face for public relations.

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So you know who stands to benefit the most from this thinking? WWE may be over-pushing the hell out of Roman Reigns to eventually be the face of the company, but they are not going to overlook their greatest existing asset, presentation-wise: The Show-Off, Dolph Ziggler.

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I mean seriously, we all have a little bit of a man-crush on him, right??

More importantly, they’re both good guys. They seem affable, approachable, and benign. They may not necessarily be as complex as Dean Ambrose’s “Lunatic Fringe” persona, or as intriguing as Bray Wyatt’s cult leader “Eater of Worlds” schtick, but that’s a good thing for them.

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So in summary, the big theme for WWE in 2015 will be intelligent content to fuel global growth and get casual fans more invested in the product. That doesn’t sound like Attitude Era programming to me.

1. Content will have to be smart, not shocking.
2. Big growth ambitions mean they can’t slice too small.
3. Content will have to transcend cultural barriers.
4. Casual fans are king; smarks don’t matter.
5. The next big faces will have to be conventional, popularly-conventional faces, and that’s a good thing for good guys like Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler.

A majority of viewers are relatively more intelligent and mature, but will have sensitivities towards extreme content, so expect a moderate sophistication of content moving forward. Lapsed fans are one of the greatest opportunities for growth, so expect a healthy mix of throwback/nostalgia-driven content to balance off investments in newer, younger rising stars, the most important of which will be Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler.

They will invest in strongly building up the international markets, both through more live events and Network roll-out, Southeast Asia included. So expect content that translates better and less problematically across cultures; edgy and controversial doesn’t seem like it will work.

Sorry, folks. No “Rated R Superstar” live sex celebrations in the offing.

We’re not going to see the Attitude Era again.

And honestly? That’s a good thing.

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How To Wrestle

It’s no secret that I love wrestling.

I’ve been a wrestling fan for 22 years, and an honorary member of the Baby Oil Boys’ Club since 2010.

I hate it when people dismiss wrestling as being “fake.” You know what’s fake? “Gossip Girl.” Now THAT shit is fake. Go drown in your Haagen Daaz, women. I also hate it when they deride it as a showcase for “sweaty men in spandex rolling around in each other’s arms.”

There’s a technical term for that, you know. It’s called a gogoplata.

Kinky AND sweaty!

Kinky AND sweaty!

Growing up, I wanted to be a wrestler. I dreamt of being the first ever Filipino WWE wrestling champion, the Manila Mauler. So every once in a while, I tune in to this YouTube channel called “How To Wrestle,” and try to pick up tips on how to pull off the fabulous, death-defying stunts I get to see the likes of Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan do on a weekly basis.

It’s cool stuff, but I really do feel sorry for these guys.

They claim to be professional wrestlers. But how seriously are we supposed to take their lessons, when one dude looks like Seth Rogen’s midget doppelganger…

Seth Rogen

The World’s Least Intimidating Hairy Man

…and the other looks like Daughtry?

The World's Least Intimidating Bald Man

The World’s Least Intimidating Bald Man

I’m happy they’re out there pursuing their dreams in such a public way. More power to you, guys, and may you be fruitful and multiply.

But seriously. If we’re setting the bar this low for professional wrestling trainers, then I might as well be publishing tutorials of my own.

Now where did I put those damn Speedos…

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Viva El Grande Pututoy!

It’s no secret that I grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler.

The lights. The chants of the crowd. The glory. The spandex. The baby oil.

Oh, the wonders of being a play-for-pay grappler.

The Mexican luchador, a practitioner of the ancient high-flying wrestling style of lucha libre (literally, the “free fight”), holds his mask as most sacred among all his possessions. It represents honor, purity, heritage, and strength – things that MDJ Superstar has long stood for in Philippine society.

Such is the level of reverence held for their masks, that literally the greatest shame for a luchador is to be unmasked in public. Such legends of the sport as El Hijo Del Santo, Dos Caras, Mil Mascaras, and Rey Misterio, Jr. have been known to shower in their masks, and even be buried in their masks.

Heck, I once even bought myself a plastic championship belt, just so I would know the feeling of walking into a room with a sparkling gold plate slung over my pulsing deltoids.

But I digress.

This latest present, sent to me all the way from the South American chapter of the International MDJ Superstar Fan Club of the World, takes the cake. It’s now my new favourite fashion accessory.

I have now arrived at my new alternative career: Mexican luchador.

Let the world beware, for El Grande Pututoy has now arrived.

Today, I put on a mask. I stop being a man. And start being a legend.

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How A Playgirl Centerfold Model Put On The Greatest Wrestling Match Of All Time

It was 1997, and DeGeneration-X was riding roughshod all over World Wrestling Entertainment.

They had exiled longtime fan favorite Bret “The Hitman” Hart over to WCW, along with his real-life brothers-in-law, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.

They formally ushered in the legendary “Attitude” era that transformed the Monday Night Wars.

They brought edginess, danger, and ultimately a touch of mainstream acceptability to professional wrestling, which to that point had always been seen as a realm for kid fantasy, what with all the over-the-top cartoonish characters that had grown to populate the industry at the time – a wrestling garbageman, a man who claimed to hail from the future and had a jetpack to prove it, Doink the Clown, and a slow-witted Ugandan savage who needed the audience to “coach” him to roll his opponent onto his back before pinning him.

It had been that kind of world.

“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels & the newly renamed “Triple H” Hunter Hearst Helmsley, together with their muscular female valet Chyna, turned everyone on their ears with their degenerate ways and crotch-chopping antics. They were assholes to the highest degree, less socially-acceptable than a jelly-covered grandma, and lived to torment authority to its absolute limit. They introduced “Suck It!” into the popular lexicon of 12-year olds, and made dry-humping, thong underwear, and gay jokes part of wrestling legend.

They were irreverent, insufferably too-cool-for-school, and knew they were just That Damn Good. Nobody could do a thing to stop them.

Shawn Michaels had even posed for Playgirl Magazine, with nothing but a WWE Championship Belt to cover up his Little Showstopper.

Enter Sergeant Slaughter, an All-American Hero who stood for justice, discipline, and integrity. He even had a GI Joe action figure of his own to back up how upstanding and righteous and all-around awesome he was.

His plan? Fracture DeGeneration-X from within, by forcing Shawn Michaels to lay his coveted European Championship on the line against his own stablemate and real-life best-friend Triple H in the main event of Monday Night Raw.

Their match, as it turned out, was nothing less than epic…

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“Imagine What I Could Do To You” (A Theme Song for Manly Men)

There are four things men need in life to prove they are truly rugged, manly specimens worthy of the Manly Man Manifesto:

1. A sizable bottle of Axe deodorant.

2. A hairy chest at Hasselhoff-ian levels of furriness.

3. A Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band handlebar moustache (with the guiding principle being, if something can make Paul McCartney look totally butch, then it must be manly).

4. A marching song.

The first three items have been easy to acquire on MDJ Superstar’s lifelong quest to achieve legendary status as a truly tremendous Titan of Testosterone.

But the fourth, a marching song raging with thunder and fury, sure to set panties dropping and lesser men fleeing as a Manly Man enters a room – that is something that MDJ Superstar was sorely lacking.

Until today, that is.

After years of searching, MDJ Superstar has finally found a song worthy of his raging manhood.

It’s the entrance theme to pro wrestling legend, the Exotic Adrian Street, a man who knew what true dude-itude (the science of dude-ness) was all about.

The lyrics are stellar. Here’s a sample:

I can tear a telephone directory in two
Bending iron bars is something else that I can do
I always pick my teeth with the nearest billiard cue
So imagine what I could do to you

I can crush a housebrick with one movement of my hand
And laugh while I reduce it to a dusty heap of sand
I cut a splendid figure when I make my chest expand
So imagine what I could do to you

Pretty butch, huh?

I performed a live rendition of this for my Marketing colleagues, accompanying myself on the bagpipe as I slowly unfolded interpretative dance steps inspired by Toni Braxton’s immortal classic, “Unbreak My Heart.”

I assure you, by the time I was done, there was not a single dry eye in the room.

Just listen to this, you manly men. And imagine, what I could do to you.

It’s preposterous! It’s testosterone! It’s.. PREPOSTERONE!!

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William Shatner Sings WWE Superstar Entrance Themes

There are very few things I like better than WWE pro wrestling, and few men I hold in higher esteem than the Sultan of Shat, William Shatner.

That’s why it blew my mind to see him on WWE Raw last week, holding guest host duties, and singing, in his usual impassioned, imploring manner, the greatest, most iconic theme songs of today’s generation of WWE superstars.

Nobody owns spoken word the way he does. All hail The Shat.

If The Shat sings it, we all needs to brings it.

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The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be

Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The greatest hero of my childhood, and the man who made me believe back when I was just a fat little prepubescent Superstar that invoking the excellence you wished yourself to be was the first big step in actually achieving it.

Even a career-ending concussion from a misplaced Goldberg thrust kick, a subsequent stroke from a biking accident, and the tragic in-ring death of his youngest brother Owen couldn’t stop him from coming home and making peace before the entire WWE Universe.

Truly the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.

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