It’s no secret that many longtime fans of WWE’s product are not really enthused about the current state of the product. Injuries and lackluster creative have begun damper everyone’s favorite going into the journey to Wrestlemania 32. However, WWE released their fourth quarter numbers for 2015 yesterday. And the picture couldn’t be any different. In almost all divisions except for the movie division saw increases across the board. But still the driving force for the business going forward will be network revenues. The company really made it clear that it’s the over-the-top streaming initiative is doing much better than most traditional cable networks in terms of retaining the viewership. When asked about the site cable ratings, Vince McMahon clearly through the cable partner under the bus saying that their model has been slowly waiting for years. While that is indeed true for the most part in regards to nightly TV viewing. McMahon doesn’t seem to see any problems with his creative direction. Which should surprise nobody.

When looking at the WWE Network strategy versus the WWE television strategy, you can understand why. If you look at this week’s Raw ratings, the company did fairly well except for the third hour which included the emotional Daniel Bryan retirement speech. The third hour went down, It kinda shows no matter what WWE does. You can’t please everyone and with the options of online streaming through YouTube and other platforms people feel the need to wait to hear even what Daniel Bryan had to say. So that’s why more of the focus seems to have turned to WWE Network originals to keep you subscribed.

There’s a question that WWE has really nailed what makes fans happy in regards to original content. It’s intimate. It’s behind-the-scenes. And they really found their identity in what makes them special. This is something that YouTube’s new “YouTube Red” originals. The problem with Google creating original content is that YouTube is like the Costco of video. It is already seen in the eyes of many as the democratization of online video and asking for a premium price for no commercials and original content is rather counterintuitive. Whereas WWE is a niche brand that has a base that is instantly recognizable.

WWE announced a new slate of original series over the next few months including a new comedy show from Edge and Christian, the Robot Chicken influenced “Camp WWE”, more live specials and a second season of the prank show “Swerved”. These things mixed with “Table for 3”, “WWE Ride Along”, “Stone Cold Podcast” along with NXT makes WWE network attractive to growth and investment going forward.

It’s unfortunate that the television product cannot have the same level of intimacy as the WWE Network counterparts. But it seems like a change of the guard across the board as Impact Wrestling has been doing great television the last few weeks. But the ratings have gone down steadily. So as I said before if everything you do doesn’t seem to change anything why go outside of your comfort zone for anything. Especially when you have sponsors and investors to answer to. I will say that WWE has done great changes with the likes of the Dudley Boyz. Definitely watch this week’s Smackdown to see how you really utilize the roster in an interesting way.

The 2016, fans of a certain age often wonder why WWE put so much stock in their social media. But I think they’ve proven that even though their traditional television may not be hitting all folders for mainstream audiences on the cable model. But fans are still interested in what they’re doing as their YouTube channel is topping the likes of Justin Bieber and Adele. It’s a new day for television.

As network struggled to find original programming things like Lucha Underground, and other professional wrestling programs will become the old standards again as networks try to catch the eyeball of the more discerning viewer. It should be interesting to see how this year shakes out.

I’m sorry if this with a little ramble filled but I just wanted to get this off my chest.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on