I have not seen the Monday Night ratings yet (I don’t think that they are out by the time that you are reading this), but I have to think that the WWF took it again. Not because they are on such a roll, but because of another reason.
When RAW started, we had a segment with Austin, McMahon, and the Undertaker. These are, arguably, the three biggest male personalities within the WWF in their respective genres. Austin is the biggest face in the WWF, just about everyone loves to hate the Undertaker and his Ministry, and how many asshole chants have you heard for Vince? These guys are big! They give the viewers around the television world what they want to see and the reaction in arenas around the world show it on live TV. So what does all of this mean? Well, they have followings and they are there. Why does NITRO perform so terribly when RAW is on? Their stars are lacking this element.
Not that I didn’t love seeing the Hulkster strut his stuff down to the ring (nWo still? come on), but I think that another Hogan -v- Macho match is not as big as an Undertaker -v- Austin match. Why? Well, it has been chronicled for the past few years that most of the WCW’s big names are very up there in the age department. Yeah, they can still put on a good match and go at it when they want to, but everyone basically knows them in and out. They know what is going to happen. The WCW’s entire product has gotten a little too predictable when it comes to the big shows and the main events. People are switching to RAW more and more because they don’t know what the hell to expect. Who would have thought that they would see Droz and Al Snow in an evening gown match? I didn’t think so!
On a side note, they could have put a little bit more clothing on Droz. I guess that that was for all of the ladies out there after the the guys had seen so much of Sable and Debra.
Folks, I do not want to see everyone take the Stephanie getting knocked out angle as real life. I’m sure that most of you know that that was part of a scripted storyline. Do not take it as the WWF beating women like Macho did. What Macho did is inexcusable, what Shane did was scripted and part of an angle.
Back to the point here! You will see that when you look at the quarter hour ratings for NITRO, the segments with guys that no one cares about get low ratings and the segments with the stars in them get slightly higher ratings. This is because the stars have a following. There are people that care about them. There are people that want to watch them. Not as many people as there are that want to see the WWF guys, but I will explain that next.
Why do so many people tune into RAW? Again, people care about what is going on. This is not only because of the storylines and the angles that far out shine WCW in every facet, but their undercard wrestlers have followings and they have a history. What do we know about Vampiro? Well, we know that he is as good as it gets and that he can mix it up very well. Granted we know a little more about him from the internet, but that is not a part of NITRO and the storylines. What do we know about…let’s take Droz again. We know that the big guy that comes out with him is his personal piercing artist. We know that he is a former pro-football player and that he puked all over a ball once. We know that he was the deciding factor in the Legion of Doom’s destruction in the WWF. We know that he likes wearing dresses. We know that he is a little off the deep end. You know, there is a lot more that we know, but you all have it down pat. The sad thing about this whole thing is that Droz and Vampiro entered their respective companies at about the same time.
That goes to show you how much a single character development segment or two can do to make a regular wrestler a star. There are other examples. Compare a guy like Dave Taylor (frequent on the undercard of NITRO) against someone like Al Snow (a frequent on the undercard of RAW). There are other examples, but I’ll let you go through them yourselves.
To try to make this a little more interactive, send me your best ways to develop the characters of the WCW undercard and I’ll post some of the better answers. Remember to check out The Balrog’s Lair! Thanks for your time!