In a new interview with Forbes, Major League Wrestling co-founder Court Bauer and lucha legend Konnan talked about the current wrestling climate, and how fans are craving a different take on the product. Bauer and Konnan also dissect the gradual decline in WWE, and the effect it’s having on the rest of the business. Highlights, which also includes Konnan speaking on diversity in wrestling, are below.
Bauer on WWE’s Decline:
WWE has been tracking downward in the ratings since I was at WWE in 2007. Fans are sophisticated. They’re selective. They are pursuing other outlets for pro wrestling. The climate is eerily similar to 1995 in that consumer appetite was sinking for WWE but the hunger was still there. Fans, including myself, sought out something different and I found it in ECW and WCW. Technology has also helped move it along as with just two or three clicks you can be streaming something from anywhere at any point. I see wrestling represented on the streets of New York, I see it threaded through the cultural fabric today maybe more than ever before. WWE is like McDonald’s: they’re global, affordable and readily available anywhere, anytime but society wants more gluten-free, organic or just something different. Sure McDonald’s, like WWE, is everywhere—ready to be consumed but not many enjoy digesting it.
Konnan on WWE not Listening to Fans:
I always remember thinking ‘what do you mean they don’t know what’s good for them? They’re not going to pay money to see something they don’t like.’ They know what they want to see, and a lot of times they would fight the fans, like ‘this is what they want.’ And I would think to myself ‘no, they’re telling you what they want!’ They ignored them for a long time.
Konnan on Minority Representation in Pro Wrestling:
For a while, you just saw Latinos portrayed in one way, especially in WWE where there were coming out in lawnmowers or whatever the case may be. They kind of flipped the script when Alberto Del Rio came out, he was kind of an aristocrat. You never really see a Latino in that position but I think they’re more inclusive than before, wrestling as a whole, but they’ve still got a long way to go.