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Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING brought to you exclusively by Mr. Tito here at WrestlingHeadlines.com, a LordsofPain.net company. We are LOADED with topics this week… Unlike the Sports Media who are crying about content right now, I actually leave questions on the cutting board. We’re barely wrestling, too, as these empty arenas and staged mini-action films are boring as hell… Yet, the pro wrestling industry somehow creates drama and constant news headlines.
I’d like to get straight into the wrestling topics this week… Check out many of my prior columns for survival tips on this economic recession caused by the forced quarantines and fear of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus.
Oh, if you have Super Mario Maker 2 for the Nintendo Switch, check out my latest level which tries to recreate the WWE Titan Towers “race to the top” match at the Money in the Bank 2020 Pay Per View: QD1-9QF-X1H. You’ll have to climb your way through the WWE’s offices to make it to the very top to obtain the briefcase in a wrestling ring built on top of Titan Towers. Enjoy.
Onto your questions…
ASK MR. TITO – Your Questions, My Answers
What are your thoughts on Becky Lynch announcing that she is pregnant?
Of course, I’m very happy for her. Anytime that two people, who are madly in love, accomplish the wonderful gift of life… It should definitely be cheered. That, and I’m a big fan of Becky Lynch and have been for years. I have many columns to prove that and I even told her, to her face, during the Fall of 2016 at a Houseshow that I was “proud of her” from the first row seat that I had that night. She smiled and proceeded to give high fives to every single fan at ringside. I sort of wish that Seth Rollins would be less snarky with internet fans and wrestlers from other promotions, but if you watch his YouTube WWE clip of him growing up, he’s a good guy. Probably not main event material, but who is right now in the WWE? He’s been screwed by Creative (see Corporate Kane, 2015) that has limited his growth and I was the one, early on, who spoke out about how WRONG the WWE was for censoring his “Curb Stomp” finisher.
THAT SAID… Here’s the hard question that needs to be asked and only *I* have the stones to ask it in a wrestling column posted somewhere online… Did Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch inform the WWE that they intended to start a family? I’m only wondering, as Wrestlemania 36 was taped during March 25th-26th and I’m hoping that conception happened after that grueling match with Shayna Baszler… December is the expected due date and give or take 39-41 weeks or just over 9 months, that timing seems about right.
But was it planned? Did the pair speak to Vince McMahon and WWE management after Wrestlemania 36 was taped? OR did they just spring it on them as “we’re pregnant!”.
Reason why that matters is that Becky Lynch was Women’s Champion and had the WWE known that Becky was needing to take time off to start a family, then maybe Wrestlemania 36 could have had a different outcome? Just saying… Now, I did enjoy the surprise given to Asuka that she’d not just won the Money in the Bank briefcase but the Women’s RAW Title as well. That was a cool moment and makes for a good and quick transition of power.
My worries for both Seth and Becky are if this arrived as a surprise because Vince McMahon takes that personally, as history shows. If you wreck his Creative plans or waste a Wrestlemania moment, he’ll burn you later. Ask Rusev about his TMZ engagement announcement. How about Kharma getting pregnant unexpectedly? Just saying, if this was a surprise, expect to see less of a dominant “Man” and maybe Seth gets some depushing as well. I’m saying that the WWE should do that, I’m just using the past and precedents set to suggest what COULD HAPPEN if this was sprung onto Vince as a surprise. I’m sure that he is personally happy about it, but if it was a surprise, he’s professionally upset about it.
On a completely different topic, I’m surprised that more female performers for the WWE don’t get pregnant more often… I wonder if that culture will get more exposed by investigative journalists or whistle-blowers, as I can imagine the pill version of Birth Control is heavily consumed by the talent. People get lonely on the road and many wrestlers hook up… It happens, but very few pregnancies happen (that we know of).
I’m very happy for Becky and Seth… Just remember, if that child grows up and wants to be a wrestler, they’ll receive preferential treatment from the WWE’s Creative Team for being a 2nd Generation wrestler for the company. Good money making opportunity…
How do you think that Asuka’s WWE Women’s Title run will go?
Have you seen the history of Vince McMahon employing Japanese wrestlers?
With Becky gone, I would personally push Asuka HARD as a babyface wrestler. Fans love her dating not just back to NXT but most appreciate that awesome Wrestlemania match that she had with Charlotte a few years ago. They know that she’s been Creatively screwed by being stuck in the Tag Team division and don’t get me started on that Carmella crap from 2018. I still have nightmares from attending that Extreme Rules 2018 match.
I expect a short reign, as Vince will get bored with her quickly and probably put the title back on Charlotte when he realizes that the NXT Women’s Title was a major mistake for Charlotte.
What are your thoughts on Otis winning the Money in the Bank briefcase?
Complete joke. Sorry, but I’m happy for the guy having a moment and enjoying his comedic joke, but that’s a World Title shot in that briefcase. He’s been on the Main WWE Roster since January 2019 and wrestled mostly as a Tag Team wrestler. Suddenly, he’s a World Title contender?
Once again, it’s a comedic wrestler that gets briefly over and Creative pushes them to the moon.
It’s 2020… Can we treat the World Title belts as serious things already? There should be a clear divide between Main Event talent and Midcarders… They should NEVER blend together unless the midcarder is doing the J.O.B. for the evening. That’s it. This blending of the entire roster to all chase the World Title, while ignoring the midcard titles, is just killing the WWE. Otis is being pushed to fast and too soon… WWE fans will be burned out on him quickly, if they haven’t already.
And yes, I’m aware of the limited options that the THIN WWE roster has right now… But someone serious needs to be the one stepping up to Braun Strowman and make him appear like a credible champion. Otis is a comedy act period.
Do you have any thoughts on the latest legal trouble for former WWE wrestler Alberto Del Rio?
Tragic, very tragic. Trouble seems to follow him, anywhere he goes… The latest charges sound horrific if true, but Del Rio has every right to stand trial and defend that he is “innocent until proven guilty”. But he has a growing track record and a reputation building that’s just not good. That reputation and record will not only open him up for more accusations like this but will limit his work opportunities if he wants to remain a pro wrestler.
If you ask me, I believe that fame went to his head… Just another case of pushing someone too fast in the WWE. He should have remained on the Smackdown roster during 2011 and continued to chase after the World Heavyweight championship until he eventually got it. Instead, he was traded to the RAW roster where he was going to be WWE Champion at SummerSlam 2011 no matter how over he was. Vince McMahon, back then, loved the character back then and he had a Fall 2011 Mexico tour to sell. Vince wanted that WWE Title around his waste for that tour. Thus, the title had to be removed from CM Punk’s waist and Punk was on fire that year.
I enjoyed how he stood up for himself at catering and I disagree about the WWE terminating him after that incident… But then his WWE return was a disaster by being managed by Zeb Colter on a scooter and then being a part of the League of Nations. That wild ride that he had with Paige was crazy and I don’t believe either one has recovered from that relationship.
Let’s see what the justice system says about the latest incident… It just seems that bad things are following him lately and have stunted what could have been a great WWE career had more patient Creative been in place for him.
Do you believe that the Brand Split is doomed with the “Brand to Brand Invitational”?
The brand split has been doomed since the “Superstar Shake-up” ruined BOTH rosters during 2017… This is just a joke and outright proves what a MISTAKE releasing all of those wrestlers was. WWE is straight up admitting that (a) ratings suck on both channels and (b) they do not have enough talent to fill 3 hours of RAW and 2 hours of Smackdown each week. The SAME problems that occurred with the “Wild Cards” will happen here as well.
Just merge the rosters… Just do it.
Merge the rosters and then make your Midcard Titles be the THING for many of the midcarders employed by the WWE to fight over. You can strengthen your Tag Team division, too.
I seem to remember RAW and Smackdown having the SAME rosters from 2000-2001 and half of 2002 and the shows were just fine. You can use highlights to explain what people might have missed from one show to the next.
You need to have a THICK roster of GOOD wrestlers to execute a brand split properly, let alone having 3 brands with NXT also in place. WWE just shredded a bunch of wrestlers off of their roster recently with recessionary cuts.
Here’s a better idea… Invite most members of your Creative Staff to walk out the door and never come back. Invite many of your do-nothing Executives, Senior Management, VPs, etc. to also walk out that door and never come back. The DECISION MAKING group of the WWE is what is failing the WWE. They control what talent gets signed, how talent is developed, and how talent is used on WWE television. They are the reasons why the WWE is terrible right now and have to resort to this Invitational gimmick to place a Bandaid on the product’s deep wounds.
What are your thoughts on the new WWE Video Game called “Battlegrounds” by 2k?
I’m OK with it… Yes, it looks cartoony, but look at the latest 2K efforts for the WWE. Or should I say LACK of efforts? Just complete messes of glitches, stiff gameplay, and not much upgrades from one year to the next. And if you’re a Nintendo Switch owner, you cringe at the thought of WWE 2K18’s port. What a dumpster fire!
Video Games are supposed to be fun… Sometimes, they add too much realism that it removes it from being a quick game that you can play for about 10 minutes. I personally love me some Rocket League because they are just 5 minute matches and they just give you a few bumps of excitement. It doesn’t take up your entire day… Ditto with Tetris 99… As I attempt to fight against 98 other Tetris players, they can cause added garbage blocks to appear on your screen and cause problems for other players. Maybe 6-7 minutes per game? It’s so ideal.
I personally loved Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game because it gave you wrestling action but in a brief match. As much as I love the AKI Nintendo 64 games, I’ve seriously had 45 minute singles matches against friends that are too competitive. If this is just goofy fun as a video game with a finite stamina bar, I’m in. This game is being made for the Nintendo Switch, so therefore, I shall review it.
And now, my final rant…
THE LAST WORD
Each week, Viewership news of the AEW Dynamite and NXT shows and I just laugh… No, I’m not laughing at how both shows struggle to reach 800,000 weekly viewers DESPITE being on the TNT and USA Networks.
No, I laugh at the interpretation of these numbers.
When AEW Dynamite wins, the AEW fans thump their chest that they are beating the WWE machine. However, whenever NXT wins, the following excuses are given:
– WWE is placing their top talent on NXT
– WWE advertised NXT heavily on RAW/Smackdown
– AEW still won the 18-49 Demographic
The 3rd point is what I want to emphasize today… The 18-49 Demographic.
Take this week’s viewership. AEW Dynamite won with 654,000 total viewers against NXT’s 604,000. Yeah, I understand that empty arena shows are difficult to produce but most Americans are staying inside right now due to forced State quarantine measures regarding the COVID-19 Virus. Both TNT and USA Networks are available in over 85 Million homes.
To me, AEW won handily by 50,000 viewers. Good for them.
But let’s look at the vaunted 18-49 rating for the demographic. For one, I find it highly funny how wrestling insiders are only posting the rating and not the viewership numbers. It’s funny how both AEW and WWE won’t give out the raw number of viewers for that demographic. Why would that be? They provide just the rating and forces anyone to perform the mathematics ratio analysis to figure it out. AEW Dynamite had a rating of 0.23 for the 18-49 demographic versus NXT’s 0.15.
Now, back in my day when I wrote during 1998-2001 with my Phat Daily Column, I performed the “Ratings Analysis” every Tuesday after WWE Monday Night RAW and WCW Monday Nitro happened. If you look at the data back then, the Nielsen Ratings were always rounded to the Tenth digit. For example, RAW would have 4.9 and Nitro would see 2.9…
But now, we have ratings to the Hundredth Digit… Why is that? That’s a trend that began by wrestling news outlets during the late 2000s, sort of around the time that TNA was trying to grow into a real competitor. It almost seemed as though that hundredth digit was added to help spin things.
If we were to take today’s ratings and round them up to the Tenth digit, what do you see? AEW Dynamite had a 0.2 rating for the 18-49 Demographic and NXT also had 0.2. Uh oh…
If you have taken a Statistics class in college, you’d probably find out that there really isn’t much statistical significance between receiving a 0.23 versus 0.18. After all, AEW’s rating was only 0.05 ahead of NXT… If you take into effect Standard Deviations and how they convert into T-Scores or even Z-Scores to fit under a Bell Curve, I’m willing to bet that both numbers are very much interpreted to be exactly the same.
Doing some research on Nielsen ratings, I came across some Ratings versus Viewership analysis to help explain the difference in a 0.23 rating versus a 0.18 number. The definition of the Nielsen Rating takes a percentage of the total television households in the United States. Using a conversion ratio of recent viewership where I could find BOTH the Rating and the Viewership numbers, I found the following estimated results regarding the 18-49 Demographic:
AEW for May 13th – 18-49 Viewership = 265,139 Viewers
NXT for May 13th – 18-49 Viewership = 207,500 Viewers
When you look at it that way, that is quite the margin, as AEW Dynamite beat NXT by almost 60,000 more viewers in that demographic. That is even BETTER than the Total Viewership margin of about 50,000… I’ll be damned.
But it goes to show you how adding that Hundredth digit to the rating, we’re we’re now doing for the past 15 years (go figure), matters. Had both been just 0.2 under the older reported system, both would have seen 230,556 total viewers in the 18-49 demographic.
However, in the grander scheme of things, if 265,139 is my correct estimation of viewership… That accounts for 40% of AEW Dynamite’s viewership…
So where is the rest of the audience coming from?
Do you remember THIS ARTICLE from Forbes that suggested that the Median Age of WWE wrestling fans went from 28 years old during 2000 to freakin’ 54 years old through 2016.
When you dig into the numbers, the full story is told… Check out the numbers from Showbiz Daily who creates a convenient chart for everyone to enjoy.
AEW Dynamite did, indeed, have a 0.23 Demographic for the 18-49 Demographic which places them tied for 12th for the night on that demographic (but they have the lowest total viewership among those shows). The devil is in the details and this is what many wrestling fans who are defending AEW don’t want you to see…
For the 18-34 year old demographic, AEW Dynamite only pulls in 0.14… By my Math, we’re looking at 161,389 viewers. Yikes… But then you get deeper into the older Demographics. 25-54 year old demographic has a 0.26 rating, which is higher than the 18-49 number at 0.23. Uh oh… Then, the 50+ number is at 0.27. In other words, it is easily estimated that almost HALF of AEW Dynamite’s audience is 50 years or older.
By comparison, NXT did 0.18 (but I’m seeing 0.15 on Showbiz Daily, uh oh) for 18-49 and did 0.08 for the 18-34 year old demographic (good lord, that is terrible!!!). But check this out… For the 25-54 year old Demographic, they did 0.18 (maybe that is the mistake of our news reporting?) while the 50+ Demographic did a whopping 0.32 rating! In other words, while AEW Dynamite has about 47% of its audience as 50+, the WWE NXT Show has 56%! Damn that WWE audience is OLD!!!
However, is that a bad thing?
Sure, the older the audience, the higher rate of losing that audience by attrition. Just look at today’s news that shows if you are younger than 54 with zero pre-existing conditions, your likelihood of surviving the Coronavirus is quite strong. Once you get above 54 years old, the odds of getting sick and potentially dying goes up. Certainly, you want a younger audience watching your shows.
Problem, however, is that younger people are NOT watching wrestling right now. Just looking purely at this week’s numbers, just over 250,000 people aged 18-25 watched either NXT or AEW this week. THAT IS SCARY and paints a picture that wrestling isn’t “hip” to younger audiences. While AEW is doing a better job at it, attracting just over 161,000 in that age group is nothing to sneeze about.
Let me look at the brighter side of it… AEW’s audience is 47% over 50 years old, NXT sees 56%.
If you look at Income Levels among age groups, things are quite fascinating (using Indeed.com‘s report) for Average Annual Salaries:
16-19 = $22,620
20-24 = $29,962
25-34 = $41,236
35-44 = $51,272
45-54 = $52,308
55-64 = $50,440
65 or Older = $47,372
Isn’t that fascinating? From the numbers, it would seem to me that the 35 to 54 numbers should be more important to wrestling companies, as that represents the PEAK earnings for humans. But damn, look at those numbers after 45 years old… They stay consistently high. Even for 55-64, we’re still at 50 grand and that is with many using 62 as an early retirement. 65 or older is still pretty good at 47 grand.
But that doesn’t tell the entire story… As you get older, you accumulate WEALTH in the form of Assets and other savings. With age and higher salaries through your late 30s and into your early 50s, your bills are paid and you begin to live comfortably.
Furthermore, you have children as well that you’re spending money on… And who is taking their kids to wrestling events? Who are paying for Smartphones and Tablets? Who is paying for the Broadband Internet and Cable/Satellite services? Those older guys.
Sure, you as a company, want that younger audience… But they don’t have the income spending power as the older guys. This was PROVEN during the early 2000s that analyzed WWE Smackdown’s demographics and income levels on the UPN Network. While it was found that the WWE had a younger audience, the income levels were found to be extremely low. If you think about what you made straight out of High School or when you are a starving College student, you’d understand what I’m talking about. This CRUSHED the WWE on advertisers during the early 2000s and in fact hurt Viacom’s annual revenues after they purchased WWE programming through September 2000. TNN and later SpikeTV were unable to charge a higher advertisement rate on WWE shows despite their higher ratings. TNN/Spike TV paid a higher rate for WWE than other shows but received LESS advertisement revenues. Remember how many Toy and Video Game advertisers that WWE content used to have?
Then, when USA Networks reacquired the WWE during 2005, they began to see higher paying advertisers return to the WWE… Why? Because the WWE audience was proving to be OLDER and hitting those OLDER AGE Income Demographics. Through 2016, the Median age of the WWE fan was found to be 54… Well, that’s right at the heart of the HIGHEST Income Demographic group and the average fan makes $52,000 per year…
NOW do you see why the Comcast and FOX is willing to pay the WWE $1 Billion each (combined $2 Billion) for the next 5 years? Both companies are actually making significant advertising dollars off of the WWE’s 2 Million viewers per week on both RAW and Smackdown. For the next 5 years, those 54 year old fans will be 59 years old and still making, on average, around $50,000. Both FOX and Comcast could just walk away from their deals and will likely be counting the high advertisement dollars made from those deals. Trust me, they are making profits on their TV deals… Both FOX and Smackdown are paying roughly $200 Million per year for 52 weeks of RAW & Smackdown content. Thus, they are paying about $3.8 Million PER SHOW to the WWE. Just count how many damn commercials that you endure during that 3 hour Monday Night RAW marathon and you’ll understand quickly that Comcast is “getting theirs” from this deal.
So yeah, I understand the concept of the 18-49 demographic… But the front half of that demographic is NOT tuning into to watch Pro Wrestling. That’s a FACT… 250,000 viewers combined for AEW and NXT, both shows actually try to appeal more towards a younger audience. It’s worthless. The older wrestling fans are carrying their water.
But to use it as an EXCUSE to protect your favorite brand of wrestling is sad… “NXT won but AEW still won the 18-49 demographic”. So?
Quit making excuses, AEW marks and fans… Just take your loss with a grain of salt that AEW Dynamite is LESS THAN A YEAR OLD as a show on the TNT Network. Did Eric Bischoff see higher ratings when he first took over WCW during 1993? Hell now, in fact, they got worse as he implemented much needed cost cutting measures. It wasn’t until 1996 that his hard work began to see benefits and then things really exploded for him. Then, look at TNA… Took a long time to receive a decent television contract.
AEW is still a young promotion that only started during January 2019. It is TOUGH to build a new brand and to assemble a roster of mostly unknowns that the WWE hasn’t already snatched up. Sure, I question many on the AEW’s roster as well, a bunch of undersized Indy guys who are too dependent on a gimmick. But again, look at WCW’s roster during 1993-1995… They were trying to find themselves and test which newer talents would stick to the wall. By 1996, 3 freakin’ years later, things were working out and that was attracting STRONG 18-49 demographics.
NXT is a show fully backed by the WWE Corporation and marketing machine. Yes, NXT has been a WWE Network exclusive but it has been an established brand of the WWE that packs houses for its Takeover Pay Per Views. The fact that this show cannot overcome 800,000 weekly viewers is SAD. They have freakin’ Charlotte Flair as its Women’s Champion and they can’t draw crap.
For any AEW fan who shields themselves with this 18-49 Demographic number is just a mark… You have too much love for the connections that many of the AEW roster has with either New Japan or California-based Independent wrestling that it creates a bias for you as a wrestling fan. Same can be said for anyone growing up on Southern wrestling who dislikes AEW or long-time WWE loyalists who dislike AEW. Biases happen and loyalties are created.
Just give it up, AEW fan… Quit trying to use the 18-49 year old demographic as a security blanket to shield yourselves against any night where NXT defeats your precious AEW on total viewership. The FACT is that the front half of that 18-49 demographic is terribly low and for all of the higher impact spots and hardcore matches that you try, it’s only drawing 161,000 younger viewers. Whoopee… And those fans need older fans to help pay for their phones/tablets, internet service, cable/satellite, cars, car insurance, food, housing, college tuition, room & board at college, etc.
When you can draw a much higher younger audience number, call me… I’ll care then about your puny 18-49 Demographic.
By the way with AEW, as talented as Chris Jericho remains at his tender age of 49, why was he AEW Champion for much of this brand’s existence? Maybe to attract many of those OLDER WWE fans to check out AEW? Why would a familiar voice like Jim Ross or Tony Shiavone be hired? Or even Tazz recently? Wonder who those guys are appealing to?
The goal should be just getting more bodies in the seats at arenas and butts in front of the television screens. Until either the WWE or AEW finds a MAIN EVENT DRAW that can captivate a nation as Hulk Hogan, John Cena, the Rock, or Stone Cold Steve Austin did or to create an angle that fascinates the world like the New World Order or Degeneration X… You’re not going to grow younger viewers. Period. If you keep censoring your content to keep things clean for Corporate interests, that will keep away fans too.
Thus, you can take that 18-49 Demographic and shove it!!!
So just chill… Until the next episode!
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Play my Super Mario Maker 2 courses on the Nintendo Switch:
WWE Money in the Bank 2020: QD1-9QF-X1H
Super Mario Bros. 2 Multiplayer Mayhem: XHP-W6B-JGG
Attack of the Murder Hornets: GGN-9QT-LFG
Die Hard (themed after the Bruce Willis Film): 2YH-48W-HMG
Die Hard 2 – Die Harder: QQ1-MHW-YTF
Die Hard with a Vengeance: 5MB-2YG-VRG
Die Hard 4 – Live Free or Die Hard: MP2-3SL-RPF
Under Siege: BYG-8YQ-XNF
Under Siege 2 – Dark Territory: CKB-RLR-WYG
Can You Dig It, Sucka?: 884-G0H-FFF
Michael Jordan Overcoming the Detroit Pistons: RTK-LJ6-JDG
Hoarding the Toilet Paper: 43G-S79-TVG
Star Trek 2 – The Wrath of Khan: 1LV-L7L-KDF
Inside Her: FC1-TW9-7YG
Star Wars vs. Star Trek: N3X-R6M-Y9G
Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time Wrong Warp: 2RX-QCV-N9G
Super Link Bros: HBD-H5C-QRF
Santa Bowser Came Early: GL8-F48-3XG
Super Wrestling Bros: 0H6-9HT-S5G
WWE Royal Rumble: SDH-JC2-HFG
WWE Elimination Chamber: P3B-5DJ-91G
WCW World War 3: BT4-W1Y-HRG
Extreme Championship Wrestling: 42J-4GT-W3G
BEST OF TITO’s POLITICAL CARTOONS
– Alfred E. Vince McMahon on Wrestlemania 36
– WWE’s “Developmental System”
– How Triple H views CM Punk’s physique
– How Pro Wrestling Controversies keep pulling me out of the Retirement Home
– Seth Rollins cannot resist the Internet!
– Truth About WWE’s “Executive Directors”
– More Truth About WWE’s “Executive Directors”
– Jim Cornette as Godzilla against Indy Mudshow Wrestlers
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