It’s been no secret that if you follow and watch WWE, the product has been stale over the last year.
This is not the first time the product has been stale, boring or unwatchable. Back in 2008, current WWE employee Paul Heyman wrote a blog as to why the WWE product uninteresting and tiresome. While that blog is currently 13 years old, there are commonalities in what he wrote.
Heyman called out the WWE creative because everything the company does is “based on an audience of one.” If you are a fan of wrestling then you know who that “one” is, Vince McMahon.
At the time of Heyman’s blog, he connects the dots as to why WWE was disconnected to pop culture and what the WWE Universe might want to see.
In his blog, he also references Cody Rhodes, who then was a WWE employee, underutilized but someone with fresh ideas. Fast forward to present day, Rhodes is now a vice president for WWE’s main competition All Elite Wrestling.
Since the inception of AEW, it has given the passionate wrestling fan another option. There hasn’t been a legitimate competitor or option since WCW folded in the early 2000’s.
Wrestlers or performers now have the option to chose between multiple brands and earn a competitive salary outside of the WWE. Despite the new competition, the WWE program mundane leaving the fan wanting more. They feature recycled matches, long drawn out feuds that aren’t interesting after three months and they bring back older veteran stars that take away from new talent.
How can WWE shake things up?
In early October, the WWE announced that they had added Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini to their board of directors. Nardini has been the Chief Executive Officer of Barstool Sports since 2016. She has been very influential in her role with the well-liked pop culture blog.
During her short tenure with Barstool, she oversaw the partnership with Penn National Gaming. Penn has a 36% control stake in Barstool after they paid $163 million in cash for their partnership.
She has been part of launching over 35 brands, 1,500 plus social media accounts, a deal with SiriusXM radio, which recently came to an end.
The WWE took notice and her moves with Barstool has led her to McMahon’s sports entertainment business.
“Erika is a seasoned executive with a tremendous track record of building businesses, developing experiences and engaging different audiences across the media ecosystem,” Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Her entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and understanding of today’s consumers will serve as a perfect addition to our board of directors.”
The WWE has tried to weather the storm like every major company during the coronavirus pandemic. They haven’t been able to have a true live sporting event in over a year and while the product has been stale, they’ve tried to create a real life experience.
Tag Team Champions?
Barstool has the pulse of the target market that WWE desperately needs to reconnect with. The one thing fans of the WWE have been asking for is to be emotionally invested in their characters and product. Barstool does that better than anyone in the business right now. They have turned their bloggers into personalities and their podcasts and shows are a desirable watch.
One of the biggest brands Barstool has right now is “Call Her Daddy”. This was clearly evident from the rise of the show, to the drama surrounding the podcast to the exit of Sofia Franklyn.
Barstool turned the drama into dollars and rallied Stoolies around their cause.
Nardini and Barstool founder Dave Portnoy have the ability connect with the 18-35 demographic. The WWE desperately needs that connection back. AEW seems to have figured out how to get that market share. Barstool can help WWE get that back and fast.
With the success of Portnoy’s Pizza Reviews, to “Call Her Daddy” and “Rough N’ Rowdy”, Barstool gets the attention of their fan base.
Following the announcement of Nardini to the WWE board, Barstool released a wrestling podcast. In December, “Rassln’ with Brandon Walker” debuted on their platform. That isn’t a coincidence that a wrestling podcast dropped on the Barstool network.
Recently, Walker was a guest host for NXT’s Vengeance pay-per-view creating speculation that WWE and Barstool could be collaborating.
If the WWE is looking to change its course and get back into the eye of pop culture, Barstool is the tag team partner they need to win.
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– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)