WWE's ratings have been steadily declining for roughly the last twenty years. We discussed it more in-depth recently, but it basically comes down to creative stagnation, a lack of new stars with true drawing power, and a general waning of any kind of excitement or unpredictability in the product. The coronavirus pandemic struck the United States earlier this year. But according to WWE Hall-of-Famer Ric Flair, it's the pandemic to blame for WWE's problems, and the company will bounce right back to prominence once the pandemic is over and fans are allowed to attend pro wrestling events again.
"This past Monday night, they had a tremendous show," Flair said in an interview with TV Insider. "I don't care what the ratings say. I think the pandemic has hurt a lot of things. The wrestling product they gave out Monday night was great, which is what they do every week. I watch NXT too. Raw was a hell of a show. Randy Orton's interview to open it with Sasha and Asuka having a great match. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler are back out there now. Seth [Rollins] and Drew [McIntyre] and Dolph [Ziggler]. It's a hell of a show. They have a lot of talent."
Flair is steadfast in his praise for WWE talent, and there's nothing wrong with that. Flair is clearly a man who loves the wrestling business and has dedicated his life to it. But is anyone out there blaming the talent for WWE's issues? Well, maybe Vince McMahon, who keeps stressing the company's need to build new stars while avoiding responsibility for the problems on investor calls.
"I've been watching wrestling for a long time," the Nature Boy continued. "I don't pay attention to the competition. So I'm not sure what Raw or the other shows are really up against. I think it's the whole thing right now. Believe it or not, I do think sitting at home watching, it is fun to watch in front of a large audience. That can affect it. But in terms of the kids working hard, come on. They're busting their ass. I can't say enough about that. They are also missing some key players but keep marching on. That's what successful people do. They don't make excuses."
Excuses like blaming the pandemic for bad ratings? You know what, nevermind.
"They have that good work ethic that it will come back around," said Flair. "I don't think anyone is taking it personal. It's what is going on right now. Vince McMahon, WWE, will bounce back bigger and better a year from now. The pandemic has stopped a lot of things. It has given a different perspective on a lot of things, but it's not due to their attitudes or level of performance."
It's true that WWE's talent works hard at their craft. No one is disputing that. The writers in charge of coming up with the storylines and Vince McMahon himself, on the other hand, may be working hard, but they simply aren't doing a good job. The pandemic, unfortunately, has nothing to do with that. Read the full interview with Ric Flair here.