Using new data from a poll commissioned by them and conducted by YouGov, Variety has released a new article lat week using lots of math, science, and fancy statistics to prove what everyone already knew: the reason people have stopped watching WWE over the past twenty years is that WWE has sucked. The article, written by Variety's Gavin Bridge, headlined WWE' Mounting Problems: Audience Declines, Saudi Arabia, Andrew Yang," is similar to the monthly hit piece Variety has been pumping out lately, which is, of course, finally expressing the same sentiment critics of WWE have been saying for years about the quality of WWE's writing, storylines, and characters as well as their questionable ethical decision-making as a company. But what's notable this time is that the article uses the first scientifically-conducted survey to find out exactly why WWE's ratings have been on a downward slide for the past two decades. And the results are… unsurprising, to say the least.
There are two major conclusions supported by the YouGov survey. The first shows the breakdown of people polled who currently watch wrestling, used to watch wrestling but no longer do, and have never watched wrestling. Only 12% of respondents said they currently watch wrestling, while the remaining two groups are evenly divided at 43% each. That seems to roughly mesh with WWE's longterm ratings decline, which almost four times as many people identifying as former pro wrestling fans as current fans. For the past twenty years, WWE has been virtually synonymous with pro wrestling since putting its competitors, WCW and ECW, out of business and buying their assets. Until the debut of AEW in 2019, there was no significant competitor to WWE in the United States that could even begin to compete in terms of national recognition.
The other major takeaway from Variety's data comes from the reasons former wrestling watchers gave for giving up on the sport. 30% said, "it seemed more cartoonish than when I liked it," signifying a distaste for the writing in WWE. Responders who said "storylines were not as good/interesting" numbered 29%. "Characters were not as good/interesting" made up 28% of respondents. Finally, "matches were not as good/interesting" was named by 26% of the people who had stopped wrestling over the years. All of these answers boil down to problems with WWE's creative, which is, of course, the same thing frustrated wrestling fans have been saying for years.
Other issues cited in the survey include "the content was more geared toward children" (14%), "announcing was not as good" (9%), and "the show was listening to the fans" (7%). 24% cited "other" as the reason, while 12% didn't know the reason they stopped. While the overarching message — that people stopped watching pro wrestling because WWE has sucked so bad — is clear. But also clear is the fact that, if pro wrestling were capable of providing the same level of entertainment in its storylines as it used to, there are a lot of lapsed fans out there who could potentially come back. If they're interested in my recommendation, it would be that they watch AEW.