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THE FINAL COUNTDOWN - In Addition to WWE Network, Top 10 Ways for WWE to Further Improve or Enhance Revenues
By Mr. Tito
Jan 9, 2014 - 10:38:34 PM
IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN and today we're bring you a Top 10 List of WWE Revenue Enhancements and Ideas on the heels of the WWE Network's announcement. For over a year now, the Tito offices have been laughing at the idea of the WWE Network being on traditional Cable/Satellite TV. The start-up costs to get on traditional TV is high and getting carried by the big providers has its difficulty. Furthermore, the channel tier that the WWE Network could be placed on would limit access.
WWE, however, hit a "home run" with the online version of WWE Network instead and they are giving you absolute steals for just $9.99 per month.
Getting all of the upcoming WWE Pay Per Views (saving TONS of money in the process), having access to new WWE content, access to past WWE/WCW/ECW Pay Per Views and RAW/Smackdowns, and much more that you can stream to multiple type of devices. The WWE nailed it. They have just extended the life of not just the WWE company, but pro wrestling in general by showing flexibility out of the old, dying Cable/Satellite TV model. Younger fans are watching more and more content from their phones or tablets and opting not to get screwed by the big Cable/Satellite companies. Additionally, and you're seeing this with TNA Wrestling fearing the loss of its deal with Spike TV, the WWE is no longer fully dependent on Cable/Satellite TV to exist.
Furthermore with the WWE Network and it being inexpensive at $9.99 per month, the WWE might solve its massive piracy problem of its Pay Per Views. Much like the music industry did by investing heavily into Apple's iTunes to sell singles at a reasonable price (because full albums were starting to suck and enticed people to steal music instead), the WWE Network purchase makes many consumers who are streaming WWE Pay Per Views illegally into WWE customers. Fans who don't want to pay $50 or more for monthly Pay Per View can now be enticed to buy the WWE Network thanks to the additional content shown on the network. It's a win for both the WWE and fans. The start-up costs and servers for streaming will be a cost to the WWE, but much of the aired content is something that they are already airing on television or have aired in the past. WWE is very good at selling older content over and over again.
Absolute homerun for the WWE and congrats to the McMahons for the big announcement night.
For today's FINAL COUNTDOWN, we'll suggest some possible revenue enhancements or ideas to further enhance the WWE product. Obviously, nothing can top the "game changing" idea of the WWE Network. But what you'll see below are simple fixes or revenue generating ideas to further help the WWE grow as a company and improve quality.
Let me stress that this is NOT a column ripping on the WWE Creative Team. Whether you like the McMahons, Kevin Dunn, or Triple H or not, they are here to stay and aren't going anywhere. Vince McMahon is top shareholder by a mile and his kids will inherit his riches. WWE will be a McMahon controlled company for a long time... Thus, it's a waste of time to suggest "fire WWE Creative" because you can't fire the top owners of a company. Besides, Triple H just took over the Creative Team duties with Stephanie becoming "Chief Brand Officer" and Triple H deserves time to succeed or not with this responsibility change. These are ideas outside of the Creative realm.
As always, you can further enhance your experience reading this column, you have to check out this "awesome" cover of Europe's FINAL COUNTDOWN
FINAL COUNTDOWN: Top 10 WWE Revenue Enhancements and Ideas to Improve Product
#10 - Basic fixes to WWE to make it more like an athletic contest, many are stating the obvious:
a) No more non-title matches. Title must be on the line whenever the wrestlers perform. Non-title matches, especially when the champion repeatedly loses (see Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett) completely undermines the champions. Put the champions in tag matches if you need to build heat versus a possible opponent.
b) Losses aren't the end of the world. Start selling "losing effort" by wrestler instead of making every loss appear detrimental to career. WWE has too many protected finishes that ends up hurting both wrestlers. Clean pinfalls are actually appreciated by fans.
c) Announce at least 3 matches on RAW/Smackdown for Smackdown/RAW. On RAW, announce at least 3 Smackdown matches occurring on Friday. On Smackdown, announce at least 3 matches occurring on RAW. At least 3... you have to give wrestling fans something to look forward to instead of just tuning in to be surprised.
d) Define a contenders' list for World and Intercontinental/US Titles. Have a Top 10 list for the WWE Title and then Top 10 list for the midcard titles. The wrestlers in each grouping cannot wrestle for either title. The Intercontinental Champion, however, can challenge for the 10th ranking spot for the WWE Title and he has give up the title if he wins the 10th spot. WWE has to put a wall up between the wrestlers and the titles in order to establish much needed credibility for the midcard titles.
e) WWE.com Injury List. WWE.com does announce injuries. But to have a full blown NFL-like injury listed posted with both REAL and FAKE injuries. For one, it could help the WWE create sympathy among fans for wrestlers legitimately injured. However, for the fake storyline injuries, the WWE could sell that list as legitimate and the heels can attack those injuries on babyfaces and fans would believe it.
f) Show wrestler weights/heights, years of experience, etc. on the wrestler graphics before a match. Simple change to make the WWE look more like an athletic contest.
g) More realism in matches. The irish whips and just about any moves off the ropes are lacking realism, especially when younger viewers see the MMA and then watch WWE. The fighting style of Brock Lesnar has created the model for how the WWE could evolve and make their matches appear more real than they actually are. Much more focus on mat based wrestling and striking rather than finesse and too much downtime between moves.
#9 - Return of Nintendo 64 video games, but for handheld gaming systems. Most of you console owners are probably laughing... But consider this... The Nintendo 3DS is essentially an enhanced Nintendo 64 (regular DS was a weaker version of it). Nintendo has made a mint on re-releasing Nintendo 64 games such as Mario 64, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Star Fox 64. Given that the gameplay and graphic models are already in place, just a few tweaks here and there and making it compatible with the Nintendo 3DS's touchscreen has been the bulk of the work. But the games have already been built. WWE should seriously consider bringing back the Nintendo 64 games such as Wrestlemania 2000 or WWE No Mercy for both the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita.
For one, it's inexpensive to just port the games... But in particular with Nintendo, younger individuals own the handheld systems as games to take on car rides or trips. Giving the youngsters a great WWE handheld game with very simple controls, thank you AKI engine... Furthermore, fathers today who played Wrestlemania 2000 and WWE No Mercy for the Nintendo 64 can play their sons on the handheld systems. That's right, Papa Tito on the Nintendo 3DS versus Son of Tito on the Nintendo 2DS. Attitude Era parents would be glad to get their kids an enhanced port of WWE No Mercy. WWE would just simply have to add current wrestlers. That easy.
Nintendo 3DS just broke the 10 million unit mark during December... If the WWE sells their enhanced port of WWE No Mercy with 1 million units of sales at $40.00 a piece (very possible), that's a simple $40 million earned for just porting a game. That simple.
#8 - WWE Films used for Pro Wrestling Documentaries If you buy any WWE DVD, you often get GREAT documentaries on the life and times of a certain wrestler. Many bash Kevin Dunn for his creative ideas, but he's an excellent producer and he delivers compelling stories for WWE videos. But he and the WWE could do more. Using the WWE Films shield, they could go deeper into documentaries on not just wrestlers, but specific events. A great example was the Wrestlemania 19 documentary that covered Steve Austin's anxiety attack before his match against the Rock.
But the WWE could go further and I believe that a significant event covered could get ESPN's attention for a "30 for 30" special. After all, ESPN enjoyed the success of the Scott Hall story on their E60. WWE could do more of that to get easy mainstream attention while also getting some critical acclaim for its documentary. You never know when a documentary about a certain wrestler's death could draw attention and get the WWE some legitimate awards. Kevin Dunn and the WWE production staff have have proven that they can compel fans with just a few hours of talking about a wrestler's career.
#7 - Eliminating the United States Title and Creating the WWE Television Title. The United States Title and Intercontinental Titles are too similar. Which one is better than the other? Get rid of one! While you eliminate one of them, introduce a new title: WWE Television Title and make it oldschool. This TV Title MUST and I repeat MUST be defended on every WWE television show (Pay Per Views, possibly). The champion must defend the title on RAW, Smackdown, and even the Main Event. Title is always on the line... It creates a "sense of urgency" among the midcarders because the TV Title guarantees that a wrestler gets a spot on RAW, Smackdown, and the Main Event to display themselves. It gives fans at least one title match to look forward to on each show. It worked well for WCW and ECW... See Rob Van Dam's ECW TV Title reign that essentially made him.
#6 - Instant Replay for Title Matches. One way to place a special importance on a Title match is to allow "Instant Replay" to be called by the losing wrestler. If interference or a foreign object is used when a title is on the line, it should be disputed to add credibility to title matches. Simply put, you could install a system where a 10 Count is used AFTER the match for a wrestler to challenge the finish of the match. Then, the referee stares at the Titantron to watch the finish of the match... He could then reverse the ending or create TONS of heat by acting like a blind referee and not seeing the controversial finish. Creates lots of storyline possibilities.
Better yet, add a provision that managers are allowed to challenge finishes to matches if the losing wrestler is completely unable to get up from the 10 count. This would create many opportunities for managers or valets to accompany wrestlers to the ring.
This move just adds credibility to the title matches but allows for the WWE to create fixed controversy from the referee's instant replay interpretation. Very simple change that could be added soon.
#5 - Survivor Series Match outcomes determine spots in the Royal Rumble. Survivor Series has lost its spot a "Big WWE Pay Per View", with probably Money in the Bank now being the 4th biggest WWE show only behind SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, and Wrestlemania. One way you could fix that is by placing a "sense of urgency" on the outcome of a Survivor Series elimination match or matches. The 30th spot in the Royal Rumble, for example, could be up for grabs in an elimination style match and better yet, the 1st spot in the Rumble could go to the first loser of a Survivor Series match. Should more than 1 wrestler of a Survivor Series of a team win a match, a match is to be held either on RAW or the December Pay Per View to determine who gets the 30th spot.
Point being, Survivor Series has lost its value in the wrestling world and linking it to the Royal Rumble could help it out, bigtime. With the World Heavyweight Title now gone and merged into the WWE Title, the WWE could just move the Elimination Chamber to Survivor Series as the 30th entry qualifier match and create a brand new Pay Per View between Rumble and Wrestlemania (I loved the "No Way Out" shows).
#4 - Sponsors on the WWE ring and wrestler apparel. Many traditionalists will shit on this one, but the WWE ring looks somewhat bare. Wrestlers look very plain with often nothing on their tights... Why can't you make additional money and begin to put sponsors on the ring and on the wrestlers? Why can't Nike or Under Armour be on wrestler tights or wrestling boots? CM Punk has a freakin' Pepsi logo on his arm as a tattoo. I'm sure Pepsi would love to sponsor the guy and have their logo on his tights as well. Ads on the turnbuckles, ads on the ring mat, ads on the apron, you name it... Lots of money by slapping sponsor logos on things. There is a point of overkill, but sponsors have overtaken just about everything so it won't matter as much as you'd think. Furthermore, if you give wrestlers a slight piece of the action on the ad revenue money, they'll work harder to get quality sponsors.
#3 - Make Individual Matches available on iTunes/Amazon/Google+, especially the older ones. In addition to getting full Pay Per Views on the WWE Network, wrestling fans should be able to buy individual matches on iTunes. Now, I understand that iTunes does in fact have recent Pay Per View matches. But I'm talking older matches.... For example, if I'm talking to my friends about how great WCW Great American Bash 1989 was and how Ricky Steamboat actually pushed Lex Luger to a great match, I wish that I could have easy access to a quality version of that match. I would be more than willing to pay $1.99 per match if given the chance and selection of the deep WWE library of WWE, AWA, World Class, NWA/WCW, and ECW matches. It is seriously not much expense to the WWE other than making individual matches available and iTunes houses the downloading. Remember - Not everyone will get the WWE Network, especially older fans who haven't watched current wrestling in 20 years. This is perfect for them to download on their tablet devices.
#2 - WWE "Trademarks" on Finisher and Submission holds. Hear me out on this one... If the RKO, Attitude Adjustment, or Pedigree are such dominant finishers... Why aren't ALL wrestlers performing those moves? The psychology is completely missing as to why other wrestlers can't perform other wrestlers' finishers. The entire WWE should be trying to hit RKO's, Attitude Adjustments, or Pedigrees given how they finish an opponent 99% of the time. Makes absolutely no sense why no other wrestlers would try those finishing moves.
To counter this lapse in psychology, the WWE should come up with their own Trademark Office and allow wrestlers to "trademark" at least 1 finishing move and 1 submission move. You could maybe establish years of experience in the WWE or Championships held as a determinant as to when they could trademark moves, but something allows for Randy Orton to "trademark" the RKO and completely disallow wrestlers to perform that move. In fact, WWE referees would be instructed to automatically disqualify any wrestlers performing trademarked moves. For example, if John Cena performs an RKO during a match, it's a disqualification called on John Cena for the match due to Cena performing that trademarked move. It adds a rhyme and reason as to why other wrestlers can't perform the best finishing moves in the company. Plus, it would allow fans to know which moves are trademarked and that helps the wrestlers moves to get over.
#1 - Creating a dominant stable of wrestlers. Just look back during the course of history... 1980's NWA Mid-Atlantic wrestling that eventually became World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Dominated by the Four Horsemen. Bobby Heenan's Family was always a force in the WWE and helped corrupt Andre "the Giant" into going after Hulk Hogan to make history for Wrestlemania 3. New World Order(NWO) allowed for WCW to overtake the WWE during the Monday Night Wars while Degeneration X (DX) helped the WWE take the lead back. In addition to DX, the Corporation drew huge fighting against Steve Austin. Evolution did a good job as a group until they were quickly broken up. I've thought that the Shield has done a good job as a stable despite being a new trio of wrestlers with the WWE.
History shows that stables of wrestlers, particularly heel ones, draw huge in the pro wrestling industry. Don't botch it like the Nexus or Aces & 8's, but create something strong and forceful that eventually "gets theirs" in the long-run. WWE, right now, has a chance with the Authority storyline to build a stable of heels to attack John Cena and CM Punk. Quite possibly, we'll see the Wyatt family grow to become the dominant force. Either way, putting a strong heel stable at the top of your card has proven to mostly be a success.
Hey - Let's help the WWE or possibly TNA. If you have any ideas to add to this column, just post in the comments section below.
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
SO JUST CHILL TILL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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