When they were on Vice TV, MLW Fusion drew their largest audience on beIn Sports TV at around 10k viewers. Before, and after that, they draw around 4k to 7k views per show. On YouTube the shows get 60k to 110k views on average. To be more than fair, let’s say with everywhere they can be seen, they draw 200-250k views per episode. My question is, who are they trying to reach with their current presentation, with the Lucha Underground, and midget comedy stuff? Is there an honest belief that those things will draw larger numbers than they typically get? Would it honestly be "riskier" to present MORE of the style that they presented pre-pandemic? Or, could there be more lapsed fans out there looking for that, the old school, pre-pandemic style, than there are looking for Lucha Underground, and midget comedy wrestling? I'm being straight up here, calm, cool, collected, wondering these things. Look at how excited so many are for the changes they HOPE are coming to WWE. More wrestling, less Sports Entertainment. Guys getting their full names back. John Laurinaitis leaving. Bruce Prichard losing control. Kevin Dunn possibly being done, etc. Doesn't this tell you that people want more legitimate WRESTLING? AEW cannot grow in audience/ratings at all. Not even with Punk, Danielson, Regal, etc. They can’t at all. Why is that? In my opinion, it’s because they are NOT the sports based wrestling they promised. They book “indie style” with little to no sense to most of it, just presenting matches for matches’ sake. There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of fans out there craving GOOD pro wrestling. WWE is going to get most of those, if Triple H makes the changes he’s promising, but if a guy like Court Bauer, and MLW, would see what's happening, and jump on it NOW, they could syphon some of those fans to them and MLW. But will they instead keep insisting that a failed Lucha show, and overly scripted interactions, from it’s former “match maker” in his dimly lit office, as well as a 3’ midget wrestler being pushed like Roman Reigns once was, as the answer to drawing in more fans?
I used to be a big “Walking Dead” fan. The main reason that I stopped enjoying the show was that I found the Whisper’s way too over the top. Yes, I understand that the story is in a make believe “universe.” I understand that there’s nothing similar in real life to compare it to. I even understand that you have to completely suspend all disbelief in order to enjoy the show at all. You see, I’ve always had a vivid imagination. As a child I played with action figures from numerous fantasy worlds. Star Wars, Star Trek, Clash of the Titans, and countless Superhero’s from the Marvel and DC Worlds. So watching a zombie apocalypse television series was right up my alley. Yet still, I want my fantasy to be as “realistic” as possible. Maybe a better way to explain what I mean is that I want the characters in it, to act, and behave, in a manner that I can accept, and believe, that they might actually do, if they were really in that environment. The creators, writers, show runners, of “The Walking Dead,” asking me to believe that people would skin zombies (walkers) and wear said skin as a mask, and walk among the dead, just go to be too much for me to accept. To believe people that were willing to do this were also intelligent, cunning, wise, and able, made it even worse. If this situation were “real,” anyone that would chose to behave this way, would have to be mentally unstable, and not very bright. To believe these people were so “together” in their mental faculties, that they posed a serious risk to anyone “normal,” was too much for me to not laugh at. To believe that dozens, or even hundreds of people would make the decision to be a “Whisperer,” was eye-rolling stupid to me, so I stopped watching.
Professional Wrestling, while “scripted,” and the matches/fights being “cooperative,” is similar to a written television show. However; I would argue that wrestling isn’t “fantasy” programming. I think this is where so many wrestling companies get it wrong, because they too often present their product as if it is. Too many present wrestling as if it’s science fiction, or horror, or fantasy. Too often today in wrestling, “anything goes!” because it’s “fake” anyways, so who cares? Just because wrestling is “scripted,” and “cooperative,” doesn’t mean it has to be silly, stupid, or accepting of almost anything within its story telling, and presentation. Professional wrestling is based on “fighting,” and is presented as a sporting event (or should be). You have to suspend some disbelief to enjoy wrestling, but not 100% of it, not if it’s “done right.” The biggest moves in wrestling should be presented (SOLD) as if they actually hurt. The problems began in wrestling when the moves got bigger, and wilder, but the presentation of them doing any real damage (SELLING) went away. Professional wrestling matches became all about ohhhhs and ahhhhs, rather than about making the audience believe two men were actually fighting. Professional wrestling then transitioned into over the top silliness, mostly in part thanks to the industry leader, World Wrestling Entertainment.
Much like what the “Walking Dead” did to me, wrestling has done to the vast majority of its fans. Wrestling has ran off millions, embracing the small, niche, audience that remains, that wants silliness, and car crash style matches, where no one gets hurt. Wrestlers that bounce around like crash test dummies, incapable of being injured. Worst of all though, wrestling has opened its doors to all types of “gimmicks,” meaning any way a wrestler wishes to portray his or herself is more often than not accepted with open arms. So on a show where you will have two men face off in a match that looks like a legitimate fight, a real athletic competition, you’ll also have a man powered by car batteries facing off against a man that looks like he’s cosplaying a character from Phantom of the Opera, and talks like a character from Lord of the Rings. If you complain about this, you’re called names by other fans, and often times, even by the professional wrestlers themselves. If you try to explain your feelings with logic, your again scoffed at, and told “logic isn’t needed in wrestling!” For most of today’s fans, and sadly, even to most in the business of professional wrestling, it doesn’t matter if the silliness, and over the top unbelievability, takes away from the realistically presented characters (gimmicks, in the world of wrestling) and matches (fights) because “wrestling is for everyone,” and all styles, and presentations, are not only welcome, but needed, in order to draw in the small audience professional wrestling gets these days. I started this article talking about how much I hate the Whisperer’s on “The Walking Dead.” To say what wrestling is doing to fans like myself is like that, isn’t fair, because what wrestling is doing to fans like myself is even worse. Imagine if you were a fan of “The Walking Dead,” and one day you tuned in for the next episode, and the crew entered a new town, and discovered all the zombies in this town rose at midnight each night, and did the Micheal Jackson Thriller Dance. If you were bitten by one of these walkers, you joined their dance crew, it’s what you were destined to do, for all eternity, unless someone put you down. This didn’t seem so horrible to the crew, because they weren’t really a danger, these Walkers just wanted to dance! Maybe there were other Walkers out there that were similar, maybe they could create colonies where Walkers didn’t have to be put down because they just wanted to dance, or do something similar? Imagine the Walking Dead wanting to weave an idea like this into their story, and the writers/show runners insisting this wasn’t a bad idea, that it’s all fantasy anyways, and if you didn’t like it, don’t watch. If you complained, you’re out of touch, an old man yelling at clouds, and unwilling to accept the evolution of fantasy television! This is where professional wrestling is today.