The Amount of 'Business' Decisions That Get Made and Hurt the Quality of WWE

Justin LaBarFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2012

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Oct.19, 1999―the first day WWE took their eye off the ball. This was the day the company became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

WWE's entrance to the NYSE changed the corporate culture. Changed how they prioritize. Changed what they view as important.

WWE wanted to grow but didn't need to go public for the empire to expand. WWE went public to make Vince McMahon worth more and bring WWE a step closer to mainstream notoriety.

Like Mom use to say, you can be whatever you want to be, but just make sure you don't try and be something you're not.

Pro-wrestling/sports entertainment is incredibly unique. Its not like a banking company or retail company where you can get a four-year education on it at a high-class university. The companies on the stock exchange are of businesses and genres that can be taught or readily consumed on a daily basis.

Wrestling is a special art and breed of entertainment. The genre is built on secrecy and surprise.

Those involved in the decision making should and are successful when its those who grew up in the business. Those who did learn it at one point and have been learning every day of their life. It's just not for everyone to understand or jump in on.
The point being when going public, you're now relying on the public and business world's satisfaction as a measurement for your success and decisions. You're relying on different standards. Different procedures. A new level of checks and balances.

WWE went public and started to lose control because of the changes it brought to the corporate culture of the company.

UFC isn't a public company.  Its a special, unique genre. You bring outsiders into the decision making process, bad business. UFC is owned by Zuffa which is a private company. Finances aren't public. Your corporate decision making isn't under a constant public spotlight.

Look at how many WWE “business” decisions get made in favor of making a decision on what is best for the product.


Raw is three hours. This format is doomed. Wrestling, football, baseball―the only people who sit and watch all three hours of programming with commercials included are the hardcore fans. Even the casual baseball or football fans tune out at points and tune back in at points. There isn't enough hardcore fans of wrestling to steadily consume the three hours.

Sixteen segments of programming per Monday night is a lot. WWE could bring back The Rock for more pay-per-views, could add elements of the Attitude Era...THREE HOURS IS STILL TOO LONG.

Fifteen commercial breaks that are three minutes long each during Raw. Raw is part of a week that includes seven hours of original programming plus a three-hour pay-per-view every four weeks. Raw is the same amount of time as the pay-per-views which people are being asked to pay $60 for.

They tape dark matches or the secondary shows before they even get to filming Raw or Smackdown, this is a big reason why the crowd comes off so quiet on television. That is a long time to be sitting in an arena and even longer when you work pauses in with commercial breaks.

The business decision is to be on television longer. The decision is that the extra hour of 8-9 p.m. Eastern time of WWE on the USA network does better ratings than what an episode of NCIS would do when previously in that time slot.

The rating and viewership for that hour for WWE isn't what they want or used to have in viewership but because it makes USA money, it stays. In the days of being a private company, no stress or pressure to go beyond your means of what is smart for the quality or what you're equipped to produce.


Every three to four weeks is another WWE pay-per-view. Not much time to build the feuds. So many events that it takes the prestige out of all of them.

However, it's all about how you present it to Wall Street. There isn't much difference in cost expense for WWE to produce a pay-per-view compared to one of their free viewing programs like Raw or Smackdown.

Therefore, no significant extra expense while ticket prices cost more and cost $50-$60 to view.

WWE does 12-14 of these a year, it provides money to show, despite the quality.


According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter via a post on, WWE didn't purposely mention Lafayette as the location of Raw this past week because it wasn't a big enough city.

We've heard rumors of this being the case in the past when WWE hasn't mentioned where they're at in smaller cities.

What a slap in the face. Who cares if its a big city, you got people to pay and come see you. Running a show in that city, making money off of it but not being willing to mention them on the air bothers me.

The idea of we have to keep a perception that we run in big cities comes back to the persona WWE attempts to uphold due to trying to be mainstream and public in my opinion.

WWE has gone public, but at what cost? WWE has took their product public, but what product is it?

Think about all the decision making and identity of WWE prior to October 1999. Don't focus on the content rating. Cursing and blood isn't an issue. We saw that after 1999.

The issue is think about those who were in the power positions of the company and how they were "wrestling guys." WWE wasn't looking for those to be talent executives who come from a different background than wrestling.

WWE was making money, people were rich and everyone wanted the wrestling/wrestlers to strive.

Today, it seems everything comes back to numbers, the bottom line and how many jars their hands can be in. 

WWE could have been private but continued rising to the top of the success mountain. Instead, it seems if WWE keeps with certain motives and decision makers for decisions, they'll fall off the mountain PUBLICLY.