"This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper." TS Eliot, "The Hollow Men" (1925) The greatest fear for the WWE should be stagnation. Random House's excellent definition categorizes stagnation as "a failure to develop, progress, or advance". That adequately summarizes my fears. Should World Wrestling Entertainment stop growing as a company, should they cease developing new revenue streams, or should they no longer capture the imagination (and dollars) of their fanbase, it's going to be perilous, terrible and ugly. We've seen wrestling companies collapse. It's an unpleasant experience for all involved. Let's be clear - I do not think WWE is going to fail. This is not a "sky is falling" article. The company's fundamentals are sufficient. But it's just that - sufficient. WWE is reasonably situated to deal with how a professional wrestling organization survives. But they need to do more than just survive. They need to thrive. There are some worrisome trends which need to be acknowledged. I do not believe there's a single panacea which could rid them of their woes.
(Launch WWE Network Globally! End Scripted Promos! Run more International Tours! Push the Crusierweights!) - InternetVince McMahon has always shown great attention to specific metrics: House Show Attendance, Television Ratings and PPV Buys. He believes they can provide a health status of the WWE. While no one factor spells imminent success or failure, carefully observing the growth (or decline) of these measurements provides a compelling lens for predicting whether a boom or collapse is impending. It will be very insightful to see how WWE chooses to deal with each of these indicators. With difficult financial reality looming, whether WWE is destined for another slump or another boom is very unclear. We'll examine each trend (attendance, television ratings, PPV buys) in a separate piece. Up first: WWE Attendance.