WWE has been in the social media business for a long time now. From touts to tweets to apps, the company has ridden the wave of networked technology as it changes the way fans watch and interact with their entertainment.
Whatever you want to call the reign of Chief Operating Officer HHH that has loomed over the WWE product since SummerSlam, however much you've been enjoying it...one thing that's for certain is that Creative has leaned heavily on the perceptions of so-called "smart" fans in presenting the characters and conflicts.
These two trends have come together extremely well in the company's crafting of the Rhodes versus McMahon family drama. Just as the story stems from "real world" situations like the gimmicks that Dusty Rhodes and his eldest son Dustin have been given by Vince McMahon, and the re-introduction of both The American Dream and Goldust to WWE television was built and booked via Twitter - the latest chapter in the story that is scheduled for tonight's Raw has been promoted as much online as on TV.
Start with the set-up itself. After Cody and Goldy attacked The Shield from the seats last Monday, Aitch used one of his recurring internet interviews with Michael Cole to plant the seeds for tonight. The previously WWE.com exclusive interview with the COO where he extends the invitation has now been released on the company's official YouTube channel:
It's not clear whether this bit of intrigue concerning The Dashing One's future endeavors was started by him or the independent promotion Pro Wrestling Syndicate, but given Rhodes' quick response, WWE has at least approved of his participation in PWS's smart bit of marketing:
(The story of these tweets first broke in The Open Thread, where enterprising Cagesiders get all their news!)
Finally, Dustin Runnels has long been lobbying for a WWE program or at least a high-profile match against his half-brother Cody. While he'd probably still take a pay-per-view (PPV) payday if it was offered, for the sake of the angle, he's denying interest in it during interviews during the current storyline. In an interview with Monday Night Mayhem this weekend, The Bizarre One was asked about his dream match. Here's his response:
It could take place in the foreseeable future or whenever, you never know what is going to happen in the WWE. But, I'll say that I don't want that anymore.
I probably would have been hyped for this angle no matter what - I'm a Cody mark and have been hoping for a push up the card for him since before the Rhodes Scholars days, and I'm a firm believer that the best angles have a grain of truth to them. But throw in enhanced storytelling and using new media to promote the whole thing. As they say at the Golden Arches, I'm loving it.
How's it working for you, CSS? Has anybody seen anything on the interwebs that we've missed?