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Cageside Quote - Jim Ross Talks "Transition Period" for WWE

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The recent ratings slide has everyone talking, including good ol' JR. From his highly recommended blog:

"....this is the old promoter coming out in me, if the attractions are spot on and personal issues are hot enough to create 'water cooler talk' then more viewers are likely to tune into Raw. After doing approximately 600 episodes of Monday Night Raw, we knew we always had to battle MNF and even Nitro back in the day. We always strived to create compelling TV and to earn our share of the marketplace. We were fortunate that we had a deep roster of talented, experienced athletes who, in one form or another, clicked with the audience. WWE has some very talented individuals performing on Raw and some are involved in thought provoking storylines. But the biz in general needs new stars to become established 'box office' sensations and that simply doesn't happen over night and honestly for some performers it will never happen. 

Personally, I see WWE going through somewhat of a transition period as it relates to the development of new, top talents. I still enjoy watching Raw each week to see how quickly these younger guys evolve and accept the personal responsibility and challenge of becoming a main event star that draws ratings and sells tickets and pay per views. I've said many times in this space that the journey from debuting on TV until a talent makes it to the next level, if they do make it, is 3-5 years and particularly starting from scratch and with little or no experience. 

Not having viable wrestling territories where a talent could ply their trade under a variety of philosophies and gain invaluable experience is a determent in today's wrestling world when developing new stars. Does that mean that new stars can't be developed? Of course not, but I do feel that the process to get from inexperience rookie to a PPV headlining main eventer is longer and more challenging"

We've talked about the fact that MNF is obviously cutting into the viewership for RAW and potential ways to fix it. JR brings up a point that I never bothered to mention, although it seems rather obvious; ut on a compelling show and the viewers will come. During the height of the Monday Night Wars, WWE was competing not only with MNF but also WCW Monday Nitro. And they were soundly beating both of them. They did it with stars that transcended the company. The Rock wasn't just a cool part of WWE; he was just cool. The fact that he was in WWE was a byproduct. Exact same thing for Stone Cold Steve Austin.

He's also right regarding the time frame for guys to become stars. Think of how long Steve Austin was around before he really hit it big. Same for guys like Triple H. Looking at the current roster, who has the potential to become as big as either of those two at their peak? Anybody? Heel CM Punk is amazing but can he be as big as heel Triple H in 2000? The Miz? I just don't see anyone on the current roster that can transcend the business and become bigger than it. I could be wrong, and I certainly hope I am, but nobody sticks out at me. Well, maybe a heel Cena. I guess I just don't trust the booking decisions made by the WWE anymore.

I thought the Nexus angle could push them over the top and really start to build more interest. The internet isn't typically a good barometer of how over certain guys or storylines are, but the web was buzzing pretty significantly during the initial push for Nexus. Then came the decision to bury them at Summerslam and they aren't likely to ever recover. It's salvageable but again, the WWE bookers have never given us any reason to trust them before so why should we now?

The fact is, they need a really big storyline or someone to break out and appeal to the masses on a level deeper than pro wrestling. The likelihood of that happening anytime soon is pretty slim.

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