COMMENTARY | One of the reasons why the WWE has been the top professional wrestling promotion for decades is that it has always capitalized on hot social trends. From rock and roll music videos on MTV to social networking, the WWE has successfully monitored the pulse of what's hot in society. The most recent cultural phenomenon which the WWE has made use of is smart phone app mania.
The WWE App allows wrestling fans to access a number of features not readily available to those watching its television programming or viewing its website. For example, fans can keep viewing matches during commercials and they can see exclusive interviews and promos on the WWE App. Lately, the WWE has allowed its fans to vote on certain aspects of Raw through its app.
However, fan interaction is nothing new for the WWE. In the past, fans used the WWE website and Twitter to vote on things like which wrestlers would face each other, who would be the guest referee for an important match, which wresters would have to team together, etc. In fact, with the popularity of the WWE App for fan interaction, I believe it's time for the promotion to revisit an old concept.
From 2004-05, the WWE had a pay-per-view called Taboo Tuesday, which became Cyber Sunday from 2006-08. Originally, the pay-per-view was held on a Tuesday in the fall to capitalize on interest in national elections. Then it moved to Sunday with the rest of WWE's pay-per-views. The original concept was brilliant in that the predetermined world of pro wrestling was putting creative control into the hands of WWE fans.
I was surprised when Cyber Sunday went away in 2008 because it was such a revolutionary concept for pro wrestling. I can only guess that pay-per-views are too important to storylines to have fans deciding key aspects of the show. However, Raw is the most watched wrestling program in America and allowing fans to vote on important aspects of the show's creative direction through the WWE App isn't hurting the product.
On the July 8 edition of Raw, a record number of fans voted on the job performance of Vickie Guerrero through the app. Since she is a heel, that was a low-risk vote to put in the hands of wrestling fans if the WWE needed to write her off television for a while. If hundreds of thousands of wrestling fans are voting on something as innocuous as Vickie's job performance, imagine how many would vote on something important at a pay-per-view.
If the promotion is worried about surrendering creative control to the WWE App at a pay-per-view, I believe those problems can be mitigated. For example, if wrestling fans can choose John Cena's opponent, then let it be a match that Cena wins regardless. And choosing the stipulation of a wrestling match doesn't need to change the outcome. I also believe that some of the WWE App voting must take place during the pay-per-view.
Putting creative control of a pay-per-view back into the hands of wrestling fans would dramatically increase WWE App downloads and would likely increase buy rates as well.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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