Socially Advanced: WWE’s tilt on social media is paying dividends

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and even Instagram: the WWE uses them all.

Each are forms of social media and there is no arguing that the WWE is ahead of its time with each form of social medium, in comparison to other global companies anyways.

However, the company’s use of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube for example, is bordering brilliance albeit it is also borders down the lines of annoying.

Those that socialize with the company and its ‘superstars’ are branded as the ‘WWE Universe’ whilst every platform of social media used by the WWE is bonded together by a program labelled WWE InterAction located on the company’s website.

Brilliant, right? This is where the annoying part comes in.

Those at the WWE know that they are global social media leaders, so much so, that they never stop talking about it! Each and every week, on Raw and Smackdown, Twitter and Facebook is mentioned by the commentators, the wrestlers and even in title cards between advertisement breaks, constantly.

Their strategy is palpable and successful, given that there is process that allows for the shows to be more interactive and influence casual fans to tune in on a more frequent basis.

Quite frankly, this is the beginning of the WWE’s social media era and while it may be annoying, it is working and paying massive dividends for the company.

Collectively, between the WWE’s talent accounts, they have over 20 million Twitter followers and 60 million Facebook likes.

Even during WrestleMania 28 in April, over 110 individual terms trended on Twitter during the night whilst the Wrestlemania Twitter hashtag was ‘tweeted’ over 600,000 times: potentially reaching over 130 million people.

The WWE has also utilized Youtube successfully in recent months to broadcast pre-shows for their pay-per-view’s (PPV) free of charge, on their Youtube channel. In these ‘pre-show’s’ they offer tasters, through matches, commentary and usually an announcement about the upcoming PPV.

Essentially it is the WWE’s final effort to entice its global audience to buy the PPV thus ultimately affecting the company’s global audience into surrendering their money to the product, all due to the influence of the Youtube ‘pre-show’, and in that, social media.

Anyone who dismisses WWE’s social media success since the fact that it is only due to it wrestling are completely missing the point.

In the end, the WWE is a global media company that is incorporating various components into its global media environment with the thought of social congeniality in mind.

The WWE is developing as technology and society develops as the company adapts new forms of interaction down through to its global audience.

Thus with the introduction of Tout it has allowed the WWE Universe to send to and respond to the “Touts” (small 15 second video messages) uploaded by the companies wrestlers, creating another way that the WWE Universe can interact with their favourite wrestler.

The WWE in this way has created a tool that can only be a positive smudge on the company’s social media ideals and an efficient way for the WWE to continue with the rumoured belief that the new Raw and Smackdown General Manager’s will be the WWE Universe themselves.

Social media is the core of WWE’s success and it is working, beyond belief.

Movie Review: The Amazing Spiderman

By Jack Brady

The Amazing Spiderman isn’t quite amazing.

Quite frankly, it is a redundant reboot of the Spiderman franchise.

Half the movie rehashes on the origins of Spiderman: an origin that most fans would already know from the Toby McGuire films.

However, whilst the origin story may seem distinctively similar to the previous Spiderman’s, director Marc Webbhas moved away from the Peter Parker formula. It seems that Webb has ignored previous reincarnations of Peter Parker (through comics, TV and movies alike) that depict him as an out and out nerd.

In the Amazing Spiderman, Andrew Garfield plays a skateboard carrying Peter Parker, who appears to be relatively unknown by most at his high school, an awkward social outcast as such who shy’s away from the public eye and creepily lurks in the shadows taking photographs of his love interest in the film, Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone).

I’m still undecided as to whether it worked for me.

Sure, it was a good movie with great action scenes and brilliant visual effects but plot-wise, it just didn’t seem to gel.

Parker, in the Amazing Spiderman, is raised by his Uncle Ben (played by Martin Sheen) and Aunty May (played by Sally Field), after his parents go missing when he was a young boy.

During the course of the film Peter discovers his father’s briefcase which leads him directly to Oscorp and the lab his father’s partner, Dr. Curt Connors (played by Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner.

Eventually, as if two streams of different storyline get smashed together, each of Connors and Parker’s different stories climax simultaneously as Spiderman and Connor’s villainous form, The Lizard, clash in brilliant action scenes.

Whilst it may’ve been a well selected cast, I still found it too soon for a Spiderman reboot albeit one with a plot that was well-plotted and very predictable.


Future Endeavoured: Children, the future of WWE

By Jack Brady

Cast your mind back to Wrestlemania 21: the night that John Cena won his first WWE championship and begun his rise as the face of WWE.

Brian Fitz, in his 2006 book “Between the Ropes” earmarked Cena to lead the WWE into the future.

“Cena is the man who will carry the company to its next great height.”

The now ten-time WWE champion has done that and then some. The man himself becoming a primary influence of the introduction of WWE’s PG era in 2008; the structure of this era now defines the production practice of WWE wrestling as the storylines, showcased on the company’s shows Raw and Smackdown, have now become a family- friendly substance.

For the WWE too have gone through the programming structures of the 90’s Attitude Era and the Early-2000’s Ruthless Aggression Era, their most recent change of programming to the more jovial PG rating was a bold and not necessarily popular move.

The PG era alienated the long time fans of wrestling as the live crowds and the global wrestling audience became divided over Cena, the face of the WWE’s PG product.
This divide is now personified through the chant “Let’s go Cena, Cena Sucks”.

According to the WWE corporate website approximately 56% of the WWE audience is made up of women and children under the age of 18, this is the audience that chants for Cena.
Vince McMahon’s change of WWE programming to PG saw that he could avoid controversial storylines and appeal to over half of the company’s audience that is women and children.

Since he had already bought out all the other major wrestling companies, McMahon realised he could centre the company more on profits and sponsors throughout the global environment especially through the company’s PG focus in terms of merchandise and the marketing of kid-friendly wrestlers like Cena, Santino Marella and CM Punk.

The resistance, the old-school fans who chant “Cena Sucks” are those that enjoyed the hardcore storylines of wrestling. This form of wrestling according to former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista was killed by Cena.

“The girls love him, he’s good looking guy, says all the right things, does all the right things, but the hardcore fans can’t stand him,” Bautista said in a 2011 interview.

“He is Mr. PG… to me; he [Cena] killed hardcore, edgy wrestling.”

The WWE’s flagship shows, Raw, introduced in 1993, and Smackdown, introduced in 1999, prior to the PG era were embroiled in controversial storylines and the older fans loved the antics of the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Era’s: such times that were defined by the beer-drinking, finger-flipping Stone Cold Steve Austin, crowd-favourite The Rock and the emergence and dominance of Brock Lesnar.

Since the emergence of the PG Era, and as wrestling journalist Asif Lalani points out, a lot of cool things had gone away.

Essentially what the PG era and wrestling nowadays encompasses is pretty simple: no boobs, no blood, no controversy, and no swearing.

Mr Money in the Bank: Cena with the briefcase he won at last Sunday’s PPV.

Long-term fans of the company don’t have the same enjoyment from the current product of the WWE: they are bored by John Cena.

What these fans are failing to realise is that the continuance of the WWE in later years will come from the appealed audience of today, the kids.

More critically: why would McMahon kill something the kids love? They are the future of the company’s success. Many children, whom the company is targeting through its product now wouldn’t even remember the wrestling of old.

There is no need for it to change to secure the businesses global environment. The children take it a face value already and love it as it is.

It will be little Sam’s or little Zoe’s first John Cena shirt that they wore with pride in their childhood who will still be watching Raw and Smackdown in twenty years time with their own children.

These kids in the company’s global audience today are the focus of the business production practice and released mediums of today and of the future. Not the old geezers reminiscing that the WWE was better ‘back in the day’.

Sure. Wrestling isn’t edgy, isn’t as hardcore and may not even be as haphazard in its storylines as it once was. Yet what McMahon has done with his product and with his stars like Cena shows that he is appealing to the majority of the company’s global environment through the company’s expressed media.

It’s just good business.

Mid-Season Madness

By Jack Brady

It’s the 2nd of July.

June 30 is behind us.

Sure it means that the financial year has ended and sure it means that the Carbon tax in Australia has begun but for NRL coaches, club administrations, the players and even fans of all 16 NRL club, they are simply relieved.

The June 30 deadline will now come into play, the mid season signings of players is over for another year as each team can now knuckle down and concentrate on their final charge towards September football.

This season alone saw 18 players switch their club colours midway through the year.

Out of the 16 clubs in the National Rugby League, only the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Gold Coast Titans remained unaffected by the mid-season signing rollercoaster, however, if the June 30 deadline of mid-season player movement failed to exist, the rumoured departure of Knights player Junior Sau to the Rabbits just may’ve come to fruition.

Many fans of rugby league are critical of mid season transfers. It is just another example that loyalty in the sport nowadays is wavering. However, is it the players who want to leave or is it the coach and/or administration of the club pushing the player out the door?

Of course there are many different reasons as to why a player leaves one team for another, for example, this season such transfers have occurred because of disciplinary reasons, salary cap pressures and the better opportunities that a player may gain through their switch albeit for financial, footballing and family reasons.

These latter reasons demonstrate the necessity of the June 30 deadline.

It gives these players another chance before the season ends to strike a deal with another club for whatever reason whilst also preventing coaches and clubs alike to release all their unwanted players after the deadline comes into play.

I’m sure Wayne Bennett would’ve loved to free up some space in the salary cap for next season by releasing Sau and Wes Naiqama elsewhere but alas the deadline now prevents this. The same thing goes for players as well. Eels front-rower Justin Poore, for example, was prevented leaving the club before June 30. With the deadlines existence, Poore must stick it out with the Eels for at least the rest of the season.

Sure it has been a bit of a merry-go-round of player movements in the last week or so with all the different signings, but it is what makes this game unique. With the deadline intact, these signings shall never get out of hand and in that, they allow for another exciting niche of the game to exist, for fans to enjoy, and even mourn, the signing of a new addition to their club, controversially or not.

List of the 2012 Mid-Season Signings

Mitch Brown: Wests Tigers to Bulldogs

Ray Cashmere: St George-Illawarra to Wests Tigers

Masada Iosefa: Penrith to Wests Tigers

Shane Shackleton: Parramatta to Penrith

Sandor Earl: Penrith to Raiders

Drury Low: Raiders to Bulldogs

Samisoni Langi: Bulldogs to Roosters

Sam Perrett: Roosters to Bulldogs

Michael Lett: Bulldogs to St George Illawarra

Nafe Seluini: Penrith to Roosters

Lloyd Perrett: Roosters to Bulldogs

Dane Gagai: Broncos to Newcastle

Richie Fa’aoso: Newcastle to Melbourne

Luke Kelly: Melbourne to Parramatta

Krisnan Inu: Warriors to Bulldogs

Albert Kelly: Sharks to Newcastle

Willie Mason: Unattached to Newcastle

Anthony Mitchell: Roosters to Cowboys