We are just days away from the Wrestlemania of the summer, SummerSlam 2015. WWE has really made leaps and bounds in the perception of its third longest running pay-per-view extravaganza into a media juggernaut. John Cena, Brock Lesnar and others have been doing interviews with ESPN, Rolling Stone and other entities for the last few days. Add this to the addition of Jon Stewart as host has really captured the minds of the outside media. WWE has done well in making it really seem like the biggest party of the summer. For God sakes Jon Cena’s hosting NBC’s “Today Show” this week

That’s not even going into the monumental weekend NXT will have as Takeover will have its largest audience ever of 13,000 fans under one roof. They have added a lot of attractions to make this quarterly special something to remember. The debut of Jushin Thunder Liger in a WWE ring, a very rare ladder match for the NXT championship, the debut of Apollo Crews and what I hope to be the coronation of Bayley as NXT Women’s Champion. Put all this together and you really see the growth and popularity that WWE still has in the minds of many.

There’s been a discussion in our Facebook group that we as hard-core fans don’t see the overall picture when it comes to WWE’s business. And for the most part I think that’s true. But it’s more based on the psychology of people in general and the way our culture breaks down these days.

An argument is always made that wrestling is not a popular as it was in the Attitude Era. Pundits point to the ratings saying that the numbers are the lowest they have been in a decade. And while that number is definitely concrete. It only tells one fraction of the picture. Television, particularly cable, is down across the board. So the loss in WWE ratings in America is more of a trend of television watching overall as many of the target demographic no longer describe the cable service and instead use streaming services or piracy their wrestling.

Secondly I think as our world becomes more and more compacted next international news and services along as to follow foreign events live. That the US number is only one number and we don’t really see the international ratings. This isn’t the first time that the US has been egocentric in their view that what they like is the most important. If you look at twitter the amounts of social media chatter albeit good or bad shows how much in the public consciousness the WWE is in.

And realistically some lapsed fans are their own worst enemies. What I mean by this is the use of overgeneralization and sweeping comments like “nobody watches Smackdown” or who watches___. WWE programming is some the highest rated international syndicated properties on television right now. We as American fans don’t really get what plays in international market. It’s just like those of us the US may not know of the latest hit that gets millions of viewers on Sony Six in India, but it’s still popular. Same thing with the BBC or Tokyo Broadcasting System in Japan.

Wrestling may not be popular in the perception of some US fans but I can tell you just by looking at the amount of wrestling pop culture crossover it may be reaching a watermark that goes higher than ever before. WWE has begun breaking into markets such as India, China and having a stronger presence in Malaysia and Singapore. With these markets WWE has always been a strong ratings leader in those areas.

And let’s not forget one thing television and media are changing rapidly. WWE is now the benchmark of what an over-the-top network can be. In the 18 months since WWE Network launched. HBO, Showtime, Dish Network, PlayStation, TBS and many more services have come into the marketplace as IP TV is reaching critical mass. I say this not to toot WWE’s horn but to make a point that cultural viewing is not what it once was. Think about this how many series do you watch live? How many do you timeshift through personal video recorders and how many do you watch on streaming service after the show ends. The era of water cooler viewing is slowly dying and the era of no spoilers has taken its place. Everybody watches at their own pace at their own time and very rarely for award shows or sports events do people experience anything together anymore. Even those numbers are dropping though.

And maybe that’s a sign that my generation is longing for the days when we were younger. Wrestling is as popular as ever. As popular as anything can be in today’s culture. There as popular as YouTube celebrities, Vine stars and Snapchat standouts and just because you don’t know about that sort of thing doesn’t make it any less relevant to the culture. It’s just not relevant in your world. Wrestling fans can be very insulated in their own worlds and aware of wrestling’s true reach outside of their arguments on the Internet. Trust the guy that sees news stories from media outlets all over the world. Pro wrestling has the public consciousness now more than ever.

It just feels different these days than it did back then because the world is different. Entertainment is different. And communication is different. All I’m saying is nostalgia in a strong aphrodisiac to think yesterday was a better day but if you stand back and look he may be amazed at the future.

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 PWpop.com.