Welcome to my debut column, “The Hart Grapevine,” exclusively on PWMania.com!
I recently posted on my twitter account, @smithhart1, a simple comment that in return received plenty of replies. The comment read:
Fans wonder why Cena gets pushes so hard its simple. Cena fans buy ppvs, punk/bryan fans are more apt to pirate ppvs
— Smith Hart (@SmithHart1) November 3, 2013
This comment was not meant to disparage CM Punk, Daniel Bryan or John Cena or for that matter any other talented internet darling.
To be honest with everyone I myself am a huge fan of the work of men like Antonio Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, The Shield, Daniel Bryan & CM Punk. My comment was actually searching more for a deeper problem associated with the business today; one completely out of the hands of WWE officials.
This problem can only be solved by the fans of professional wrestling. Wrestling today is built on 2 primary demographics, youth and adults. Much of the die-hard, internet wrestling audience falls under the latter. WWE has a long history of publicly stating that they do what they do for the fans. That when the fans speak they listen!
Although many of today’s wrestling fans would scoff at that notion, it does remain much truer than they could ever realize. The WWE as well as their distributors for both TV and PPV have very sophisticated instruments and have specially designated employees to cipher the viewing habits of the fans to see which superstars are drawing and which storylines are getting over.
It is quite evident and even blatantly obvious that piracy is bringing the bottom line down. Perhaps not to a totally dangerous level yet, but more and more with each passing year. The logic in my original statement is pretty obvious. Many John Cena fans are well-noted to be a younger audience, who are likely to ask their parents to order the monthly PPV events to support their hero.
Meanwhile fans of Punk & Bryan are more adult fans who find it hard to justify in today’s economy the purchase of a PPV event when illegal streaming is so readily available. WWE is a business, with hundreds of employees, licensees and investors that they are accountable to.
So at the end of the day their bottom line is the most important factor to deciding the direction of programming. When Cena fans are the ones paying for the product primarily, their voices are the loudest heard by Titan Towers. In simpler terms, if you do not show your support by paying for the PPV’s, your opinion of the product does not matter to anyone more than yourself. It’s like voting in political elections. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain about the result.
At the end of the day I’m a huge fan of all of the above internet darlings just as I am a big fan of the work and dedication of John Cena. But in addressing this issue a bigger and much more disturbing issue came to light. Can WWE find a new top star with the rise in piracy and if not, where will this business as a whole be in 5 years.
Fans of PWMania.com can reach me for comment or questions at Smithhart@hotmail.com. Also available for limited sale release are a select list of items signed by Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart, Bret Hart, Stu Hart and myself.