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When did WWE get micro managed?


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Watching Dynamite this week it made me wonder when exactly did WWE become do micro managed that it feels so robotic?

Aew's biggest draw for me is the promos feel so much more natural and the angles feel flexible and intuitive. There's no question WWE has some of the best in ring talent on the planet but the 20 minute promos and predictability of the matches has suffocated much of their output. 

I remembe, like many the attitude era where RAW and Nitro felt much more in line with Dynamite's current product. Now there's no question WWF felt more managed than WCW which was actually part of the appeal of Nitro and the NWO but RAW also felt way more natural than the current product.

I've literally watched ever WWE main show and PPV since late 98 and yet I can't quite pin point when it transitioned to the current micro managed style. Obviously there have been many moments that feel natural but they are clearly the anomaly to the week to week product.

So when was it?

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I think it started happening when they went public which was around the 2000 point as they were answerable to more people having shareholders, however sometime from about 2008 onwards it certainly felt like they took it up a notch more and then it's got more noticeable in stages over time which off the top of my head i'd put as sometime in 2011/12 then again in 2016 and then probably as recent as 2018 to get where we are now. 

Edited by simonworden
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I don't really think it was too bad after the Attitude Era. Raw in particular - because of the live aspect - still had plenty of moments of brilliant spontaneity and heat around 05/06, it just wasn't as grungy as it was before. 

With what I think you're getting at, you're looking at 2008-2011 or so. The switch to HD pushed visual bells and whistles being added to everything so that when Kane walked down a corridor, it was now bathed in red. The feel of Raw became a bit like a video game, or kind of like the way sports broadcasts in the future looked as depicted in an 80s science fiction film. LEDs, graphics and idents everywhere. 

The other side of it then is just the language, terminology etc. WWE have always had a tight control over that to an extent, but it's around those years it started going a bit crazy. The term 'WWE Universe' coming in was a benchmark for that sort of stuff. Michael Cole moving to Raw and becoming the Michael Cole he has been ever since, rather than the ropey to occasionally great play by play he was during his Smackdown run. Tweets becoming an active part of the product. The rampant self awareness they got of being the music makers and the dreamers of dreams - the wish givers and memory makers - rather than just the biggest wrestling promotion in the world. 

That's all around 2008-2011. I associate loads of it with Rock coming back for his run as the inspirational one. They've just lost the plot ever since and walled themselves in to a glass castle of corporate narcissism and neverending digital content. 

Edited by Gay as FOOK
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For all the deserved criticism of them, it's easy to see why it did become so managed. The pre-attitude era was full of gaffes caused by people going long on promos or saying whatever they wanted. It was a bit wild west.

That said, by 2000, they had a good formula that probably just needed elements building in to ensure it didn't die with Vince. They seemed to have tightly written TV back then that allowed enough creative freedom but didn't spill over in terms of time or content. 

@Gay as FOOKmade a point I was going to make (I started this post about 7 hours ago!) that there has always been a level of this with Vince's liking for certain phrases and terms and his dislike of others. 

A lot of this stems from the company becoming far more professional if we're giving them some credit. The set up for writing and the communication streams in the company lend themselves to establishing more control.

In general, they just employ people who will do as they're told and not question why or bite back. That's also helped create this mad environment. 

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To be fair to them, one of their headline WrestleMania matches involved a flat earther and a guy who wears nutty right wing tshirts. How much freedom do you really want to give those guys?

The format of the shows has needed a change for the longest time but then their business model seems to rely heavily on producing a million hours of content a week. 

Plus, the last time they went off script was that awful Vince/HHH/HBK birthday segment. Even those 3 couldn't hack it. Before then wasn't it Austin doing some awful promo during a RAW Reunion? Then The Rock was the pretty bad during his return. The only one who seems capable of doing that kind of thing anymore is Goldberg. 

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I think the idea to micromanage has always been there but due to financials and other things, it was more of a slow boil than an instant change.

You could say his developmental system of 1998 (DSW, HWA, UWA) was the first hint of trying to micromanage, in this case up and coming talent.

I'd say Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara leaving for WCW was the noticeable starting point. I got the feeling that Vince didn't like the idea of solely relying on one person to deliver the goods when it came to the in-ring product, so he spread the load so if one person leaves, the majority remains in place. I doubled down on this mindset when around 2003 they shifted from their formula of promoting the company off the back of a top star (Hogan, Austin, Rock) and shifted towards promoting the brand rather than a single wrestler. From that period onwards slight changes are made here and there to slowly introduce more micromanagement of the company.

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At the time when Lesnar left in 2004 I think Vince/WWE were pissed they invested time and money to really push and solidify him as the man only for him to walk out not much notice.

Think that's where the brand is the draw rather than a name, although Cena, Batista, Orton, Edge etc for next few years were draws and promoted.

Definitely since maybe Cena slowed down, Punk left, Bryan injured etc it became "Come see WWE" 

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