Ahh the WWE knows exactly how to stir up the social media world, and have managed to do that twice in the space of 2 days. Firstly with the ending of the WWE title match at Battleground and second with the announcement on RAW of John Cena to face Alberto Del Rio at Hell In The Cell for the World Heavyweight Championship. Both issues have split the WWE universe and sent the online world into a flurry of people either abusing or commending the WWE on their decisions. Either way, what we have is the online and WWE universe talking about the WWE which is exactly what the WWE wants us to do.
What the WWE has been able to do, especially over the past couple of years is use the negative aspects usually associated with social media and turn it into one of their best advertising weapons. Where other entertainment industries try everything they can do to avoid negative reactions or controversy to their shows, the WWE looks for it. If you look at how Battleground ended on Sunday (Monday Australian time), people hopped online and complained about the poor, cheap, screwy ending to the Pay Per View. There was talk about never ordering PPV’s again, that the WWE screwed its fans etc. But what did most of those people (including me) do the next day…… we tuned into RAW to see what would happen to the WWE Title, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and The Big Show.
What did the WWE then do with all these people tuning in? It gave us another controversial issue by announcing that Alberto Del Rio will be defending his title at Hell in a Cell against…..John Cena! After RAW went off the air, again the online world was a buzz with fans either agreeing this is a great idea for the World Heavyweight Championship, or complaining that John Cena gets yet another shot at a world title while other superstars miss out again. But what are we all going to do? Are we going to switch of and not watch again…no we are going to tune in to Smackdown and then RAW and see what happens. And then there are many people like me, who thought that due to the poor Battleground pay per view, and since Hell in a Cell is only 3 weeks a way we might not order this pay per view…..we are now already reconsidering that decision.
Social media and the internet have changed the way fans of wrestling interact with each other and the companies that makes this form of entertainment. How many of us 16 years ago spent the time to write and post a letter to the WWE to complain about the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series in 1997? But could you imagine if it happened at Battleground the emails, complaints, blogs etc. the WWE would have received. My guess it would have shut down numerous sites due to the overload. The WWE has realised it cannot stop the online negative talk, so instead they accept it and in then use it on their shows…as Stephanie did on the opening segment of RAW this week by suggesting to The Big Show to apologise and beg the fans for forgiveness for wrecking the end of the WWE title match at Battleground.
The WWE has taken the fact it cannot please everyone all the time and used this as a way of getting all of us talking about them. All wrestling fans are secretly WWE writers, just ask us, and we will tell you exactly how we would run a story, and why our version would be better than what the WWE came up with. We tell our friends, family and the online world about what happened, why we are annoyed at the WWE and we won’t watch ever again. But we will tune in anyway because we can’t help ourselves and just have to see what happens next. And then who else tunes in?? The friends, family and online fans we complained to, who now also want to see what happens next.
So I say again, touché to the WWE for turning a perceived poor pay per view into a great marketing tool!
I cover more on the way the internet has changed how we view wrestling in my book ‘Stop telling us its Fake : A wrestling fans Journey 1977-2012’
Hooroo and see you next week.
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