How WWE Turned Heel

Why WWE enjoys trolling each and every one of you.

stone cold steve austin royal rumble 1998
WWE.com

^Hello. I get smacked in the head in this video, so if you hate me...

The WWWF, and the WWF, were babyface territories. The WWWF, and the WWF, were both more popular than WWE in its current incarnation. Less lucrative, sadly—but certainly more popular.

The business model operated under a core principle that underpinned the company’s creative throughout expansive cultural changes. The rabid local support encouraged on behalf of the unbeatable, humble Bruno Sammartino drew the New York crowd for decades. The genuine magic and à la mode musculature of Hulk Hogan propelled the WWF into the mainstream. During the company’s next—and last—cultural peak, Steve Austin, with his hilarious deadpan and wild brawling style, capitalised on a more cynical time as a vicarious outlet to it. Ultimately, they made fans happy. Their wins, and there were several of them, were cathartic.

Those fans were encouraged to turn up or tune in in massive numbers. Hogan and Austin’s fans, which, incredibly, still make up WWE’s highest demographic of 50+ adult males, are now tuning out, and failing to turn up to tarped-off TV tapings and a fading house show circuit.

There is no outlet to the worldwide misery of 2018, because WWE is a heel territory now.

WWE’s new business model is thus: produce a daunting amount of content prohibitive to potential new fans that is designed instead to milk the existing, ageing core fanbase—while at the same time antagonising this demo and depriving them of the triumph to which they dedicated years of their life (!).

Isn’t this counterproductive?

CONT'D...(1 of 5)

Contributor
Contributor

Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!

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