WWE Has Killed This Industry

September 23, 2013

This article is by Mark Madden. Areas in parenthesis are the opinions of (RICK LOVE)

Judging by the word-drool that fills the comments section below this column, most of you appear to like WWE’s booking. A lot.

I understand. For many of you, WWE is the only wrestling you’ve ever known. You think there’s only one way of doing things, because you’ve only seen one way of doing things. You believe the McMahons are infallible. If they do it, it’s right. (Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a whole world of professional wrestling waiting to be discovered by most “wrestling fans” This world includes online magazines, radio and television shows.)

I understand why you think that way. But you’re wrong.

Even though WWE is making lots of money – mostly because they’ve figured out and maximized every ancillary revenue stream – it’s not a very popular product. In fact, the wrestling industry has never been less popular. The proliferation of the IWC and WWE’s big-time feel obscure that fact, but it is a fact.

I know most of you don’t like to pay attention to facts, but here goes:

*During the height of the WWE-WCW Monday Night War, the combined viewership of Raw and Nitro often topped a 10 rating. These days, the Raw rating occasionally  tops 3.0 and mostly hovers around 2.8-2.9.

Question: Where did all those people go? Answer: They don’t watch wrestling anymore. Conclusion: Wrestling is A LOT LESS POPULAR. (The sad part is that the kind of pro wrestling that these fans would like to watch is still available on the Indy scene being held at local Night Clubs, VFW halls and National Guard Armories around the country. But, most of these promotions lack the thousands of dollars that it takes to market a local television and radio show successfully).

Some people were just WCW fans. That’s something Vince McMahon would have done well to figure out when he bought WCW and staged that sham “invasion.” The smart move for business would have been to absorb all of WCW’s contracts, maintain WCW as a separate promotion, maintain Nitro as a separate TV show, and gradually have a competitive invasion, not one that served an agenda.

But the McMahons have done nothing but serve agendas since they day they bought WCW. Hence the declining popularity.

*Before WWE started going national in 1984 and wiped out all the territories, there were far more wrestling fans than there are now. Far more wrestling fans than there were during the peak of the Monday Night Wars. There were 30-40 shows every weeknight, more than that on weekends, many of them well-attended. Every territory had its own TV show, and most were well-watched. (Pro Wrestling Fit USA is the only company in the USA in a position to bring back the territories and those popular shows. But they need the support of real wrestling fans. Not the folks who think that video games style of stuff done at WWE is wrestling.)

Wrestling was a much more highly-regarded staple of TV back then. The shows weren’t as well-produced as WWE, but had a certain regional touch that WWE lacks. They could be tailored to their audience. A national promotion must be generic. Regional promotions were booked and produced to appeal to that region. (This gives local wrestlers a chance to compete on a regional level in front of their home-town crowds instead of selling their soul for a contract full of loopholes that WWE can use at any time to drop them.)

McMahon-style wrestling is not the be-all and end-all. It’s merely an option. It was better when there was more than one option.

So, no matter what your inexperienced eye’s affinity may be for WWE’s current product – who I am to tell you what to like? – the end result of WWE’s takeover of the wrestling business is the industry being far less popular. It seems bigger because of the presentation and because the monopoly puts WWE in the mainstream on far more references. But wrestling is far less popular.

When 68-year-old Vince McMahon leads the charge back against his own corporation, it will be the wrong move. When McMahon “saves” Daniel Bryan, making him his stooge in the process, it will be the wrong move. When the main event of WrestleMania revolves around “the family,” it will be the wrong move.

But you will embrace it like a long-lost lover. Not your fault. It’s all you know.

There is only one way to judge the success of wrestling. The Raw rating is stagnant. The SummerSlam buyrate was way down. So, you tell me.

Follow Mark Madden on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX

If you would like to see the kind of wrestling that you loved return to television then be sure to support your local Pro Wrestling Fit affiliate shows. You will be glad that you did!) Like us on our Pro Wrestling Fit USA facebook page! We are currently recruiting talent to train at our Pro Wrestling School to appear on future television shows.


Lucha Libre School

September 21, 2013

People have asked me “Leroy, who was the one man who when you were a child you watched pro wrestling TV shows, you said that’s the guy I wanna be when i grow up?” Well that answer came two-fold and I am going to write a 2 part article on the answer for this. One man was a manager but we will get to that in the next article. But for this article, I’m going to write about my favorite professional wrestler growing up, Mil Mascaras. It might sound crazy but when I was a kid I wanted to be a Luchador! I wanted to go to Lucha Libre  school and learn to fly like the amazing Mil Mascaras.Lucha Libre School

Mil Mascaras was probably the most graceful athlete in any venue I had ever witnessed he could fly through the air like no one before him. Mil Máscaras (born Aaron Rodríguez, July 15, 1942) is one of the original “Big Three” (the other two being El Santo and Blue Demon) of the lucha libre tradition in Mexico. He is considered to be one of the most influential wrestlers of all time for enhancing and popularizing the lucha libre style around the world. His brother Dos Caras is as widely well known in the Mexican pro wrestling circuit as him, but it was Mil who came to the WWF and changed what I thought wrestling could be. A lot of kids had baseball or football posters but I used to buy Pro Wrestling magazines as a child just to get his pictures to hang up in my room.  I remember listening to sports radio shows hoping that they would give a report on professional wrestling and talk about my hero.

He was widely respected in the wrestling world. In a business where allegiances come and go and wrestlers turn face and heel on the drop of a bucket, I can never once remember seeing Mil turn his back on the fans in the 30+ yrs I watched him. He was a classy gentleman in and out of the ring. Some say he had an enormous ego behind the scenes but I’m speaking as a fan of the business and I have never seen anything but class from him. the original Tiger Mask, has described Máscaras’ impact on Japanese professional wrestling, “If it weren’t for Mil Mascaras, there would be no Jushin Liger, no Último Dragón or the Great Sasuke today,”. Mascaras’ success in the U.S. also paved the way for other luchadores such as Rey Mysterio, Jr., who has become one of the most popular luchadores in US wrestling history.

One other thing that made him stand out in the wring was the fact that he rarely ever spoke a word. There were no flashy promos, no long interviews, no bad mouthing others—–he just went in the ring and did his thing. He didn’t need all the intimidation factors given by those who scream and holler at the mic—his presence in the ring alone was intimidation enough. He brought fear into the eyes of all his opponents with his sole presence. The other thing that I admire about him was his vast array of masks. Known as the man of 1000 masks, he always came to the ring sporting a different one before unmasking into the Original Mil Mascaras classic mask. He kept his privacy until his death and even outside the ring was never seen without his mask.

So there you have it. This Boston kid of mixed ethnic background had a hero who was Mexican, who made me dream of going to Lucha Libre school and learning how to become a Luchador. At six foot five inches tall and nearly three hundred pounds I doubt that I ever would have mastered his high flying moves, but as a pro wrestling manager I still dream of maybe someday managing the next great Lucha Libre star! If you think that you have what it takes to become a Luchador be the next Mil Mascaras then I highly recommend the Pro Wrestling Lucha Libre school in Florida.

Part 2 of my article will be about how the greatest manager in my opinion of all time—the Grand Wizard of wrestling—influenced my decision to be a manager. But if it weren’t for Mil mascaras, I probably wouldn’t have the interest I have in the sport today. And for this I thank him. He gave a little boy a super hero to look up to. A standard of goodness and purity in a wrestling world of evil. He is the living breathing definition of legend.

About the author: Leroy Jenkins is a freelance professional wrestling manager working shows on the East Coast of the United States. He is currently one of the leading managers of Pro Wrestling Fit USA. Be sure to look him up on facebook or talk with him at the PWF International FB Group.