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Based on the WWE conference call this morning, executives were apparently disappointed with the Summer Slam PPV buys and the term 'attraction' was used as the reason. Couldn't agree more. PPV's are all attraction driven and they've always been.
However, the more that is given away on free TV and the more free TV that is provided in general the harder it is for attractions to be considered worth spending extra, big bucks on and adding to one's cable or satellite bill.
Plus, too often major storylines are 1. over thought and 2. over exposed in largely a 'sameness' presentation on free TV to make them feel special enough for one to want to invest significant money on PPV to see more.
I'm a believer that TV ratings can be achieved without giving away multiple, PPV attractions but only if long term, creative planning is firmly in place. Changing things on the fly and making 11th hour decisions regarding direction, etc will never be a successful formula.
PPV's should generally feature one of two things. if not both, in different, main event level bouts, 1. The 'blow off' of a well told storyline or 2. The first bout of a well set up issue. It gets very tricky when one is trying to get multiple, PPV's out of two talents on successive PPV events. It can be done but it's getting harder and harder or so it seems.
Storylines need to be simplified and made to be more plausibly believable and relatable to the average fan. That allows for the talents to create a discernable, personal issue and create an emotional investment that is required to manufacture success and to warrant spending more PPV dollars.
How some in the business can discount the lack of disposable income for the average Joe to buy monthly PPV's is beyond incredulous to me. Most fans cannot buy 12 PPV's in today's economy...no matter if it be in pro wrestling or MMA.....or both.
Plus, what new talent in the business today is truly "hot?" What new talent(s) provides must see TV and is in a professional ascension? Until someone new gets hot and connects organically with the audience then the shift in the perception of the genre, in general, isn't likely to change any time soon.
Stars sell tickets, it's always been that way, and until company's figure out how to commit to making new stars the business is going to on its current course.
The good news in another big picture item for WWE is that their TV rights fees are dramatically under valued, another prime example of the old, pro rasslin bias in my view. When WWE TV programming gets what they deserve and what the market will bear, business, at least on the financial side, will definitely pick up.
Getting several emails here and Tweets @JRsBBQ about 'deserving' NXT talents not being called up to the main roster in a more timely fashion. Firstly, specifically why are they "deserving?' Seconly, any new talent who's naive enough to think that they can become a star simply by showing up on TV without introductory vignettes and an established game plan in place for the first 12 months of their 'run' is being naive and foolish.
If the powers that be cannot agree upon an introductory 12 month plan then the talent is better off staying 'off Broadway' and refining their game.
Plus, it's obvious that several TV wrestling talents have arguably overstayed their welcome and either need to go away and regroup or simply just go away. It's not automatic that everyone who's currently appearing on a weekly TV wrestling show deserves to be there or that the business is their calling.
Rosters need to change and to be tweaked regularly and to systematically add 'new' talents to the mix. However, that requires that all decision makers make a commitment and to encourage that their support staffs have the courage to stand by their ideas and to also think outside the box.
The creative aspect of the sports entertainment genre is one of the most over thought, under achieving elements within the business especially when many fundamental aspects of the business are largely ignored and those within creative are afraid to express themselves or feel compelled to reinvent the wheel in hopes of endearing themselves to those in power.
Top talents back in the day had an open door to the bookers who made the decisions regarding the matches and the creative utilized in all bouts because the goal was to sell tickets as that was the way that revenue was generated, by and large. The talents had an agenda, to draw money, in which everyone involved benefited. When the business started becoming more diverse it was thought that a 'writing team' had to be created, then expanded and to eventually to experiment with more 'entertainment' ideas rather than 'competition' ideas which seems, in hind sight, to have been a fundamental mistake.
Too many cooks in an unorganized kitchen doesn't produce tasty meals.
Decision makers have to establish the long term direction of their companies and then rely on the creative minds within the organizations to help navigate the pre-determined route.
The lack of adequate, long term planning in the world of TV pro wrestling creative is the proverbial kiss of death.
That issue is followed closely by the lack of talent development as fans of every sport's team and entertainment entity love to have something 'new' added to the mix. (Think the NFL Draft...the introduction or a breakout star in a film, etc.)
We live in a society of 'new' and that self indulgent theory isn't likely to change any time soon.
Wrestling decision makers have to start looking longer at how an idea might be successful rather than automatically reacting to a suggestion as to why said idea won't work.
Getting great feedback on the new, WWE 2K WrestleMania mode of the new video game released in North American a few days ago and coming soon every where else. Jerry Lawler and myself recreated the commentary on the WrestleMania mode and had a great time doing it. This project was nostalgic in many respects and not only because of the historic nature of the matches that we called but the fact that it will likely be the last time that King and I work together on a project such as this.
Too early for me to care about the NBA or the NHL. It's still football season to me, DAMMIT!
I hope that you will participate in our 'Ask JR' Q&A section of the site. I do my best to keep it updated and it makes for some entertaining reading.
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I keep getting asked when my autobiography is going to be released however I have yet to start on it. There is zero reason to start writing, at least in my view, until I have a deal in place with the right publishing company who is as excited about the project as am I. We have several suitors and expect a deal to be in place soon. I'd like to start writing in early 2014 if all goes well.
Read online where a WWE talent was allegedly thrown under the bus in a production meeting and the info 'leaked' to the IWC. I hope that rumor isn't true and if it is I'm wondering what was to be gained by those that spoke out of school?
One would assume that if WWE was going to launch their long awaited, ballyhooed, WWE Network that it would be leading into WM30 in New Orleans as that would create a buzz for two, major events. So, my best guess regarding the Network's launch would be in the 1st quarter of 2014 but that is merely a guess and arguably not an educated one.
Because of what I perceive will be the WWE's target audience with their Network, who ever programs the network is going to have to have significant product knowledge and/or be surrounded with those that do. This might provide some former students of the game IE ex-wrestlers with job opportunities as time moves forward. (No, I'm not wrangling for work here.)
We have multiple, major promotion companies looking to promote my 'Evening with Jim Ross' shows in 2014 and I'm looking forward started. I'd like to do approximately 100 shows next year.
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Still wanting to hit Vegas for the @UFC PPV in December.
Traveling down to Waco next week on my annual road trip there to watch my Sooners play a powerful Baylor Bears team. Life is good as it's generally what we choose to make of it.