Posted April 16th, 2017 by 1Wrestling News Team

By Travis Voeltz

Sunday: seven hours of Wrestlemania; Monday: a red hot crowd the for three hours of Raw; Tuesday: two hours of Smackdown Live. Wow! Those shows alone certainly provided a plethora of viewing pleasure for fans of the WWE. For more devoted fans there is another hour of 205 Live, and then Wednesday brings another hour of NXT. Even without the yearly spectacular of Wrestlemania, the average viewing week of a devoted WWE fan could consist of a seven hour committment. Is this possibly over-indulgence good for the wrestling fan appetite, or is it leaving the WWE Universe with a belly ache?

Prior to Vincent Kennedy McMahon’s global expansion and subsequent domination of the pro-wrestling world, the country was divided by what was called wrestling territories. Distributed by geographical location, promoters such as Joe Blanchard for Southwest Championship Wrestling, Bob Geigel for Central States, Herb and then Don Owen for Pacific Northwest Wrestling, Jess McMahon and Toots Mondt for Capitol Wrestling (which eventually turned into the World Wide Wrestling Federation). Not to forget Vincent J. McMahon, and many others shared the landscape of wrestling. One of the benefits of this system was when a wrestler became stale or over exposed, they’d end up losing a “Loser Leaves Town” match, or otherwise they’d simply disappear for a while—and end up in another promotion and/or territory. Also lending to this was the lack of the constant access to worldwide news and results, via the internet at the fans finger tips. This system allowed many wrestlers to have fuller careers as when they became stagnant somewhere, they could have a career rebirth in another area. That is no longer the case.

Between the dirt sheets, cell phones, and the ever present internet, any and all availability exists to see and/or hear about what your favorite wrestling star did on a given night. While media availability can be great for the wrestling consumer in the moment, it truly may damage the overall career longevity of a given superstar. What’s now been many years, it was a rare occasion you got to see the likes of a Hulk Hogan, or any such main eventer in actual in ring competition…unless you bought a ticket for your local non-televised event. The closest fans currently have is that of superstars that have what is considered a part-time schedule like a Brock Lesnar. Therein lays a perfect example. Like Hogan formerly, when the average fan only gets to see Lesnar on rare occasion, it somehow lends to making it more meaningful. While a die-hard fan may initially complain at the limited schedule, the average fan will make a point to turn on and tune in when Lesnar makes that appearance. Would they do the same if he was on weekly and for several segments?

If you’re old enough and have been a fan long enough, you enjoyed the sport on a more limited basis. Many fans would long for Saturday to come where they could watch just one hour of WWF Superstars on a Saturday morning, then enjoy two hours at 6:05pm eastern of WCW on TBS. The lucky fans may even have had access to shows like WWF’s Prime Time Wrestling, or WCW’s Main Event. The majority of the extra shows though were only available to those in a big markets like Chicago, Miami, New York, or LA—leaving the rest to eagerly anticipate that short period each week to enjoy their favorite wrestling program. And what a special event was when you’d get a Clash of Champions from WCW, or a Saturday Night’s Main Event from WWF. In 2017, we get this much and more content on a weekly basis. Not only are you seeing your favorites several times per week, but the formerly pay-per-view mega-events seem more and more like just more weekly programing. All this content is great for a die-hard fan, but it can tend to lend to a given star’s performance becoming stale much sooner than it would’ve prior to all the exposure. The additional programming isn’t the only change in the business nowadays.

For some die-hard fans, somewhere in their possession may be their prized belonging, a collection of old VHS wrestling tapes. While they may not get played over and over again as they once had due to the endless library available on the WWE Network, there’s something nostalgic about watching those old tapes. With the ever growing slick presentation of today’s wrestling, what’s old is suddenly becoming increasingly popular again. The darkly lit arena’s, simple rivalries of good versus evil, and wrestling presented as sport is something fans may be clamoring for again. The evidence is proven through pulling out the original versions of their favorite event on VHS, the popularity of the more straightforward NXT, and most recently the attractiveness of WWE’s mock Southwest Regional Wrestling. In addition, we now have apps allowing the user to employ a retro look to photos, videos etc. It really seems what was once a presentation to improve upon, is now what is the it thing to do.

Like many things in life, less can often mean more. Whereas wrestling programming of old may have left fans wanting more, with the business no longer a live event driven product, it won’t soon be returning to less availability. We can all hold fond memories of days of old, but one should not dismiss today’s product. When we were left wanting more, we may also have not had the opportunities to get to or afford those live events. With that no so much a concern anymore, we can take solace in the ever present availability in a favorite pastime. While a given superstar may become flat due to over coverage, we now also have the benefit of many different options to fulfill our pro-wrestling appetite.

The best news of all is that wrestling is alive and well and shows no signs of slowing down.
-Travis Voeltz

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