Donald Trump, Black Culture And Five Ways WWE Can Reach Younger Viewers In 2017

June 8, 2017 - WWE

WWE has a millennial problem.


WWE needs to make unfortunate changes in sequence to attract younger viewers.

It’s not a form of millennial problem that implies babysitting a demographic that is overly supportive and disposed to outrage—although that is rather a box among today’s pro wrestling viewers—but rather a problem with millennials bothering to watch a product, period.


According to a story of a SportsBusiness Journal, pro wrestling has seen a biggest boost in median age among vital sports given 2000. More than NASCAR. More than baseball. More than golf.

Even some-more shocking is a fact that UFC, a arch rival, is many serve forward in attracting younger viewers than WWE according to a 2013 investigate by Scarborough.

WWE has survived, and to some grade thrived, by a constant hardcore assembly and their expenditure of a abounding WWE Network. But carrying an aging core demographic is not a possibly devise for a future.

Perhaps a many shocking aspect of WWE’s demographic is a median age is rising in annoy of a infrastructure being versed for a new world.


WWE has over 750 million supporters on amicable media and a many supporters come from a Indian market.

WWE has skilfully consistent to amicable media culture, it has been certified with a diamond play button on YouTube for leading 10 million subscribers and it has a live streaming network allied to Netflix, Hulu and several other platforms that are fast branch radio into today’s rotary phone.

So what’s a problem? Why are WWE’s New Era viewers still so old? And how can they get younger?

1. Embrace Black Culture

WWE has a unequivocally eclectic, opposite register and has finished a excellent pursuit pulling talent of all persuasions during a New Era. Naomi is a SmackDown Women’s champion, The New Day has been among WWE’s hottest acts for dual years and counting and Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil are…trying.

But there seems to be a undo between WWE’s essay staff and a Superstars themselves. The New Day flopped for several months during their micromanaged entrance in 2015. It was usually when a contingent was means to take tenure of a fundamental hip-hop inlet of their gimmick that they finally clapped their approach into a hearts of WWE fans.

New Day member Big E recently commented on a organisation carrying some-more permit to emanate a possess material, a routine that includes modifying old-fashioned references from WWE’s essay staff:  

We’ve been unequivocally fortunate. A lot of talent unequivocally don’t have that ability to only contend ‘hey we wish to rewrite this promo’ though it’s unequivocally helped us. And one thing we’ve beheld too is that as many as we – as a association – try to insert ourselves to cocktail culture, we felt also that a lot times they were a small old-fashioned or a small bit, outward of their window of freshness.

The New day rose to recognition by rapping Jay-Z lyrics, regulating tenure “booty,” creation an impromptu, nonetheless heartfelt, reverence to Prince and quoting Birdman’s “Respek” diatribe during a rise of a virility.

It’s all black culture, it’s succeeded in creation a New Day hipper than a genre of pro wrestling could ever wish to be and WWE needs some-more of it.

Legendary comedian Chris Rock pronounced it best when criticizing Major League Baseball for carrying identical problems in joining with younger viewers:

“Fact is, black America decides what’s hot, and what immature people get vehement about.”

With a Jul pay-per-view of WWE’s flagship uncover entitled “Great Balls of Fire,” named after a segregation-era strike single, we pronounce on interest of young, black males when we contend we are not excited.

If it’s pay-per-view song titles that WWE is into, given not Bad and Boujee by The Migos, that surfaced a Billboard 100.

For PR purposes, The Migos would be a outrageous “get,” not to discuss WWE’s register is filled with adequate operation to feature both a bad (Baron Corbin, a rising heel) and a boujee (Stephanie McMahon.)

The extravagantly renouned contingent is arguably a biggest thing in hip-hop during a moment, and propitious for WWE, The Migos recently expelled a singular entitled To Hotty [sic], in respect of a Attitude Era star.

2. More NXT Influence

There is a serious undo between what’s renouned in a lively, hipster sourroundings of NXT and what works on a categorical roster. Whether this is justification of incompatible tastes, or a form of domestic sabotage all too informed in pro wrestling, is a opposite discussion. But WWE and NXT miss synergy when it comes to furthering a movement of a renouned call-up.

Former NXT women’s champion Bayley is a many recent, and glaring, instance of WWE’s dumbfounding ability to take a hatchet to a gimmick that was extravagantly renouned in NXT.

Bayley can be seen as a microcosm of WWE’s onslaught to bond with younger audiences. Her core demographic are immature females, like superfan Izzy, that is a demo that has been historically asleep in WWE.

The mocking cheers and garage-band appetite of NXT skews young, and WWE needs to take cues from a tributary domain by consistent NXT’s colourful appetite with a unmatched prolongation values of a universe far-reaching celebrity in sports entertainment.

Airing name Raw or SmackDown Live shows in smaller venues, via A marketplace venues like Chicago  or Los Angeles, would make a for a improved televised and live eventuality product. It could concede fad for WWE’s product to interpret to locus shows identical to NXT Takeover events, that typically sell out venues that are exponentially incomparable than a home bottom during Full Sail University.


3. Less Wrestling, More Fighting

WWE’s cruiserweight multiplication was launched as a jubilee of magnificently jaunty wrestling from all around a world, and nobody cares.

There’s an assembly for hardcore wrestling and it typically fills adult many of a high propagandize gym. WWE feuds and matches are during their best when they copy a genuine quarrel between dual ominous individuals, preferably with both representing contrary ideals of good and evil.


Samoa Joe choked out Paul Heyman Monday night on Raw.

There’s a reason Brock Lesnar is once again a Universal champion notwithstanding his part-time schedule. Whenever he is in a ring, there is a feeling of risk that heightens the fad for his matches.

Samoa Joe is a ideal enemy for Lesnar given he has that same appeal, and as a seasoned pro wrestler, there’s some-more gloss and control of his actions.

Joe and Lesnar will obey a form of UFC quarrel that has finished so good in joining with immature viewers. Unfortunately, this will occur during Great Balls of Fire.

4. More Hatable Villains

This is a epoch of outrage. People wish to dedicate their time to being dissapoint now some-more than ever, and they have a collection to tell a universe (read: a minimal Twitter following) only how dissapoint they are.

Roman Reigns is a ideal WWE Superstar for this era because he army people to have clever opinions about him. But there is something wrong with a fact that no heel on a Raw register is able of receiving a forms of reactions he perceived in front of WWE’s aging assembly a night after WrestleMania.


Elias Samson has shined so distant as WWE’s one loyal villain.

Kevin Owens isn’t a heel. Dolph Ziggler isn’t a heel. AJ Styles was so bad during being a heel WWE had to spin him babyface. There’s something people only aren’t shopping about a dishonourable characters who are ostensible to alienate fans to a indicate where they compensate to see them lose, although Elias Samson seems to be on his approach to doing only that. Some feel that Samson may not be removing a “right form of heat,” though don’t worry, those people are entitled rubes. 

Perhaps some-more real-life motivations among heels could improved alienate fans of today, that brings me to my subsequent point.

5. Stop Ignoring Donald Trump

For improved or worse, Donald Trump is a biggest star in a world. He’s a WWE Hall of Famer who has a obvious story with a graduation both on and off camera. He’s so famous his typos make inhabitant news.

Trump has brought pro wrestling to a Whitehouse, nonetheless WWE—likely in crippling fear of pushing divided sponsors—won’t hold him with a ten-foot table, ladder or chair.

Why not? WWE has an Indian universe champion whose summary opposite xenophobia in America is vagrant for a approach discuss of a Muslim-ban president. Instead, he’s personification a same dated, immorality immigrant that a Iron Sheik already lonesome decades ago.

The universe has changed. Like it or not, this nation is divided. Entertainment has successfully invaded politics, and when people collect a domestic side, party wins.

Now’s not a time to quiver in fear from hot-button issues. This is 2017, where a prohibited take has strike puberty.

Television celebrity Stephen Colbert performs on a building of a Wells Fargo Center forward of a Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Sunday, Jul 24, 2016. A feverishness call has staid over a City of Brotherly Love as tens of thousands of representatives intersect on a city for a Democratic National Convention. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Stephen Colbert has closed a one-million-viewer gap, and late-night ratings wickedness for CBS that dates behind to a 90’s, given he takes confidant opinions opposite Donald Trump while Jimmy Fallon opts to play an trusting diversion of Phone Booth with Shaquille O’Neal. Colbert was faced with a surge of a very political recoil in a Trump Era that WWE seems shocked of. The result? An 18% overnight boost to 3.3 million viewers, his highest-rated uncover given a premiere. Colbert has given taken a lead among a all-important 18-49 demo. 

Fox News ended USA Network’s 10-year dynasty on simple cable, by forever covering, fortifying and infrequently criticizing Donald Trump in 2016.

With eroding viewers and a miss of hum surrounding its product, and to quote the polarizing president, WWE: “what do we have to lose?”

WWE can feign that Donald Trump doesn’t exist in a fake, away universe all it wants. As it continues to do so, it will keep losing to Tucker Carlson on Tuesday nights. 

Alfred is a writer to Forbes Sports Money. Follow him on Twitter @ThisIsNasty LIKE him on Facebook and allow to his weekly wrestling podcast.

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