On last week's SmackDown, WWE presented a small portion of the show from the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival in Miami, Florida.
It was a great idea. The gorgeous sunset backdrop and the thousands upon thousands of fans in front of it brimmed with real life. The scene was antithetical to the horrifically sterile ThunderDome, and something every promotion should experiment with. Homogeneity is the death of pro wrestling as an artistic pursuit. The last 20 years in North America all but confirm this. In a small but not insignificant way, presenting shows in unique locales makes the action seem that bit more more beautiful, more big-time.
The Rolling Loud experiment also allowed WWE to gauge its popularity outside of the wrestling fan bubble. The vast majority of people simply aren't bothered by it. For whatever reason, they just can't reconcile that it is predetermined despite watching all manner of fiction. Nobody is suggesting that a great Rolling Loud showing would have converted a brand new audience, but WWE made almost zero effort to maximise this opportunity.
The execution was horrible, lazy and arrogant. It was a disaster, really; WWE presented its product to a brand new audience, and that audience could not have cared less. If Rolling Loud represented a focus group sample of people that might theoretically enjoy WWE, if they were confronted with it, the response was ominous. The sea of faces were static, literally unmoved by the action, and the way in which the action was presented to a clueless crowd really was an indictment. No effort was made to connect with them beyond Wale acting as a bridge between the two worlds. The content company pumped out its content. Nobody cared. It was almost as if WWE thought its product sans context was enough to generate a loud reaction.
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