Posted January 28th, 2012 by Bill Apter

EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed by Jim Forzese are those of his own and do not reflect the opinions of anyone on the staff of 1WRESTLING.COM

Focus Group 2.0

The WWE is holding a focus group for people between the ages of 12-17 to see why that age demographic have left
watching wrestling over the last few years. WWE did this same thing a couple years ago. I wrote a column about it
then and I will do so again now on this same subject matter. Not sure why WWE needs to have a focus group to realize
what is wrong with the product and why teens really do not enjoy what WWE is doing every week. Great wrestling
matches are great wrestling matches and there have been plenty over the years so it has nothing to do with the quality
of the wrestling product. It always goes back to the characters and angles that dictate the success and or failure of the
company and their TV shows. So if it is not the quality of the wrestling matches then what would it be that teens dislike
about the current WWE product? First and foremost is the PG rating. Teens want R rated or mature content, check what
the most popular video games today are. Teens are getting out of the PG world and do not want to watch TV shows
designed for younger children. This is a major obstacle for WWE that WWE seems intent not to change. So what else
then after the most obvious flaw?

Who are the relatable characters that WWE promotes each week? Punk, Jericho, Miz, Ryder, that is about all. Look at
the movies that interest teens these days and you do not need to wonder why wrestlers do not connect well with the teen
audience. John Cena is everything that most teens do not like. Cena is the goody two shoes that never does wrong and
is undefeatable against all odds. That is not what teens, which are moody and rebellious by nature, for the most part are
like. The reason why Brodus Clay is getting over slightly is because Clay is different from the norm. Clay is fun and
unique. Clay is not like the generic assembly line wrestler that WWE has been churning out for years now. Teens and
all fans really, want some different characters and not everyone to look and act the same.

When teens like a certain band, record companies will sign all bands that look and sound alike. Teens will listen to
all these bands for awhile, and love them all, but eventually teens will look for something new and different. When
a certain band and or style become the norm and mainstream, teens will look for what is next. Teens want variety
and choices. WWE is continually giving us wrestlers that are the exact copy of everyone else. That is why Clay may
get over to a greater level than others that came before him. To many carbon copies that, even though most are great
wrestlers, do not have enough character or differentiation to separate themselves from the pack of new talent debuting.
Punk is the type of anti-hero that fans can rally around much like Stone Cold. Teens want Austin, Mankind, and
Undertaker and darker characters i.e. a Twilight character, which is why Kane is doing well since Kane’s return to the
darker gimmick.

What is one of the most popular TV shows going right now? The Jersey Shore unfortunately is very popular with the
teens. I hate that show but it is not my age demographic, however who in WWE is like those characters? Maybe Zac
Ryder slightly but for the most part no one is similar enough to one of the most popular TV shows teens watch right
now. I am not saying just blatantly rip off a character from Jersey Shore but WWE needs to look at what teens like for
characters and mimic that to some degree. I know TNA has done this idea already which is why I would not duplicate
that if I were WWE but I would pay attention to what teens like for actors in movies and TV and create someone

R-Truth was successful out of the gate because teens enjoy rap music. Teens could relate to Truth and enjoyed the fun
of rapping along with Truth each show. Fan connection and participation is vital for a wrestler to get over and very few
wrestlers are doing this right now. Punk connected with the fans and that is why Punk is on top. Too many wrestlers
cannot connect with the fans because of the generic nature of their character. If a wrestler can do things like get fans to
sing and or chant along then that wrestler has a far greater chance at success. Not a guarantee but certainly gives each
talent more of a fighting chance to get over. Music and movies and TV shows are the mediums that WWE creative
should be paying attention to if the WWE want to know what teens are interested in. That is what Paul Heyman did so
successfully; Paul kept in touch with teen pop culture.

WWE needs to remove both Michael Cole and John Laurinaitis. Very few want to see either on WWE TV any longer.
Cole yelling and talking over the action is really annoying and will get fans to tune out and change the channel. Not
that Cole is the reason but Cole is part of the problem why the second hour drops in viewers each week. Laurinaitis is
just a boring character that we have seen many times before. How many times do we need the evil GM trying to screw
the top face of the company? Why does WWE think that this angle needs to continually be done? Vince, Stephanie,
HHH, Vickie, Bischoff, do we need to keep adding to this list? Kill the GM angle as it is played out and awful on top
of that. If Vince wants to keep the Cole character than make him a manager but please stop allowing him to destroy the
announcing. Announcing is a crucial part of the show and Cole is ruining the programs enjoyment.

Bottom Line:

I am not sure what teens are going to tell WWE through this focus group but nothing seems to have changed from the

last time a focus group was used to tell WWE what is not working. Vince will only change course when money is being
lost and Vince’s empire is in danger. This focus group will fall upon deaf ears because any changes that are suggested
will never be used and will be thrown out as childish. I hope I am wrong but the issues that plagued WWE two years
ago when WWE did the last focus group still exist today. At least the fans are trying and that is more than I can say
for the McMahon’s at times. You have just read another chapter of the Forzese Files and as always feedback is always

Jim Forzese

Category: Wrestling.

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