WWE: Failure to plan continues to hinder promotion’s success

WWE, Vince McMahon (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)
WWE, Vince McMahon (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage) /

The WWE fails to establish long term planning that fans want to see. 

Daily television ratings may not be the most exciting topic in professional wrestling, but it is certainly become a lightening rod of one. WWE television ratings are continuing a downward trend of historic proportions, which is telling for a variety of reasons. Even as the numbers fall the WWE is in a position of financial success that gives them the ability to look the other way. They have that strength today, but how much longer can they ignore the glaring issues in the room? Regardless of if they attempt to answer that question, fans are leaving instead of waiting to be let down again.

The numbers for the July 22 edition of the “Wednesday Night Wars” should not surprise anyone. All Elite Wrestling rebounded to another resounding lead over its NXT counterpart. The final count was 845,000 viewers to 615,000. There is not a need to talk about the demos this time around either. Heading into Wednesday’s shows, it was clear that this was going to be the case. AEW had multiple, important matches announced well in advance, while the WWE did not. The only segments of their two-hour show that received major promotion was the William Regal special announcement (which did not turn out to be that special) and the main event match between Karrion Kross and Dominick Dijakovic. Outside of that, wrestling fans that decided to watch NXT were placed in a position of “hope for the best” for yet another week.

This does not have to be the case. The WWE has a massive platform that could be a marketing powerhouse for the product. The WWE YouTube channel has 63 million subscribers. Ten million on Twitter. Those numbers and others easily trounce the reach that AEW could muster. Yet, the WWE fails to plan and stick to a plan well enough to make it work. This issue is about more than star power, it is about the inability to effectively plan at the highest levels within the company to give them enough time to promote their product to build interest.

Planning has worked in the past

There’s recent examples to show where they have done things right. From June 17 through July 8 viewership numbers were exceptionally close, with WWE winning three of those four weeks. In that time span it was a point to promote major additions to the show such as the matches with Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Keith Lee. These matches were planned and promoted days in advance, building to their anticipation that was measured by strong numbers. Since then, very little of that same planning effort seems to have gone into the last two weeks’ worth of content. Which is also represented in the viewing numbers delivered.

It is well known that the WWE Creative process involves one major voice in the room that can cause changes up to hours before taping or broadcast. As with nearly anything else in life, failing to build a solid plan increases the chance of failure. The WWE is not struggling from a financial standpoint, but they are certainly failing in giving fans content they opine to see each week.

Next. NXT: Now is the time to move Kevin Owens. dark

AEW has already announced their card for next week’s show, featuring a big tag-team match, two title matches and a massive ten-man tag match. WWE, on the other hand, has one, albeit an important one, triple threat match announced. The WWE has the most talent rich roster in professional wrestling today. Unfortunately, the company struggles to plan how it is probably used each week. It is telling across every show but stands out the most as NXT continues to slide from the position of prominence it once had with wrestling fans. The trend of more of the same from the WWE continues.