WWE has become nostalgic once again for that brief period where they were actually cool, and have decided they need to market towards teenagers again. This is both a ridiculous decision that proves how out of touch Vince is and a potentially smart decision at the same time.
Stupid, because Vince McMahon is seeking to boost TV ratings by appealing to a generation that consumes everything online and doesn’t even watch TV anymore, let alone live TV. Smart, because they are a generation of content consumers who will tirelessly plough through hundreds of hours of content with ease. They are the generation raised on constant access and it has made them greedy.
However, it isn’t going to be easy, as wrestling is as far removed from anything in pop culture that is considered cool as possible. WWE has spent the better part of the last decade and a half exclusively aiming their content at children, which immediately means no self respecting teenager will ever go near it, and Vince and co. will have to do a lot to recapture that pubescent crowd.
There is something oddly poetic about Vince desperately chasing the ‘Cenation’ generation that he once grew fat and lazy on until they grew up and grew bored of Vince’s product. Now, he will have to shift gears and in some ways render his company unrecognisable if he wants that demographic back…
10. Keep It Short And Snappy
It’s no secret kids have attention spans as long as the average WCW Goldberg match. As such, if WWE want to appeal to the channel hopping, net surfing, live tweeting generation, then they need to keep the pace of their TV snappy. Teenagers do not sit down and watch TV in the traditional way anymore and they certainly aren’t going to sit through the ponderous slog that is Monday Night Raw.
No more 20-minute talky segments to open the show. No more protracted TV matches that sag through the break. In fact, no TV match should go longer than 8 minutes. Go back and watch any episode of Raw from the Attitude Era (aka the last time wrestling was cool with teens). Matches rarely went longer than a handful of minutes and many main event matches wouldn't even get clean finishes.
Teens are not tuning in for the minute beauty of a thirty-minute time limit draw. They want high-octane brawling, action that can be watched in self contained little nuggets. This does not mean that storylines need to become simplistic and shallow. Teens have shown, through streaming hits such as Stranger Things and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, that they love to consume long form storytelling and are willing to invest: just make sure the delivery system is pithy and fast paced.