Explaining WWE's Stock Selloff, Is WWE Network A Failure Already?, Bray Wyatt Stale?, WWE's Problems Deeper Than Roster Cuts

How bad are WWE's problems following the major stock selloff after their new TV deal with NBCUniversal was announced?

WWE and Vince McMahon have a major problem on their hands and will look to quell investor concerns in a conference call on Monday morning. Many were operating under the assumption that WWE was on the verge of a landmark domestic TV agreement and the increase of the stock price was a result of that. When the deal was announced, it was a moderate increase, which resulted in a stock selloff. The fact of the matter is WWE's stock was overvalued on the anticipation that a big deal was going to be announced. The company was very confident when speaking with investors they would be able to significantly increase their TV licensing fees and while they did, the number wasn't "double" or "triple" what was earned from their previous agreement. Of course if you followed our reports going back to February, you knew WWE did not have the interest they thought they would. While WWE thought they would have many bids on their programming, it came down to Viacom and NBCUniversal and when Viacom found out WWE was asking them for more than what they were willing to accept from NBCU, they pulled out. However, while the value of the company dropping over 40% in one day is a major problem, I see it more as a correction from a stock that had been trading at an inflated rate.

Are the days of the WWE Network numbered due to financial concerns?

The second component to WWE's tumbling stock price relates to the WWE Network. Lemelson Capital Management, a private investment management firm, called for major changes within the company due to concerns with the profitability of the WWE Network. Their concern stems from WWE losing $45-$52 million with the WWE Network at a steady state of one million subscribers. WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios has stated on numerous occasions the WWE Network will be profitable in excess of 1 million subscribers. The numbers do not appear to add up, however, Barrios and Vince McMahon will address that in Monday morning's conference call. The WWE Network is something the company views as an investment until it reaches its steady state and some have speculated this could result in a price increase. However, to answer your question - no - the days of the WWE Network are not numbered. WWE knew it was going to have to make an investment to get their network profitable and have very high hopes for it. They believe the WWE Network will turn into one of their biggest assets.

As good as Bray What's mic skills are, I have already found myself leaving the room during his promos which seem to get longer by the week? Do you think it will hit the point where it's too much and becomes stale?

If you are leaving the room during Bray Wyatt's promos, you are missing one of the best parts of WWE television. It's hard for me to even fathom how one could not truly appreciate the brilliance that is Bray Wyatt. I've been doing this for 14 years and I am as high up on Wyatt's character as I have been on any gimmick in that time period. The only gimmick I can even compare it to is The Undertaker. The only question regarding the success of Bray Wyatt will be the "stay ability" of his character. Your boredom with the gimmick would be problematic if it were the majority but you are actually the first reader I've heard from that is tired of it. Let me ask you this, if Bray Wyatt is not entertaining, what on WWE television is?

Do you see talent cuts coming in response to WWE's stock woes?

The issues WWE experienced last Friday go way deeper than the talent roster. Investors began to call into question the very core of WWE's business model. We're not talking about downside guarantees here, we're talking about millions of dollars in regards to how the company functions. WWE recently cut some developmental names that didn't have a clear path to the main roster, however, they could cut their entire talent roster and not fix the things being called into question on Friday. What Vince McMahon and George Barrios have to do on Monday is explain how the WWE Network and their new domestic TV agreement with NBCU will ultimately work for the company's prosperity going forward.

From the Ask WNW vault…

February 2013: You’ve gone on record several times saying that you are against blading and I completely agree. But how do you feel about WWE going out of their way to avoid blood when a performer is busted open the hard way like they did by showing only the left side of Brock’s head when he was standing on the ramp last night? - I missed the opening segment of this week’s WWE Raw and had to result to the black and white footage WWE posted on YouTube (link here). While away, my phone was blowing up about Lesnar bleeding like a stuck pig. After reviewing the footage and listening to my sources, it’s clear Lesnar cut his head on an exposed hook underneath the turnbuckle pad. The reason WWE tried to keep the cameras off the blood and made the footage black and white on YouTube has to do with their PG initiative. Excessive amounts of blood will cause the TV parental guidelines to change the rating from PG to TV-14, something Vince McMahon refuses to do.

Remember questions that are legible stand the best chance of getting answered. Check out the Ask WNW archive at this link.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

You can submit a question for the next installment of Ask WNW at this link. If you have problems with the form, you can send your question to [email protected].

  • thepowerserge

    I know WWE is a publicly traded company and all, but this whole “fire the board or sell the business” crap sounds a bit too much like the plot of a bad episode of Suits (hostile takeover and all).

  • Chris

    I don’t think Wyatt’s promos are entertaining at all. Its gotten to the point where I don’t even know what he’s saying. Wyatt is a great performer on the mic no doubt, but the problem isn’t Wyatt, its the script he’s following. Half the time you don’t know what he’s on about and the parts that you do understand is just the same thing each week.
    I watch Raw with a bunch of kids most weeks and they don’t even know what the Wyatt/Cena feud is about! And to be honest, neither do I anymore!

    • Xavier

      Just think of The Dark Knight. Like Joker Bray just wants to see the world burn just for the hell of it.

      • Evon Callaway Bitterweed Reese

        Lmao. That’s one way of putting it.

    • Once again, if you do not like Bray’s promos, what parts, specifically, are entertaining? It’s a serious question that I’m not getting a response to.

      • Jbreed

        Maybe they find entertaining Paul Heyman repeating a million times how his client conquered the streak.

      • Chris

        I enjoy most other things on WWE programming to be completely honest Richard. The Bryan/Authority stuff is great, the Shield/Evolution feud is awesome! I love NXT, I still watch Smackdown (which should say a lot), and really the only part of raw that I want to fast forward are the Wyatt/Cena segments.
        I remember there was a time a few years when they had the same problem with Del Rio where he would come out and talk for 5-10 minutes without actually saying anything at all. I feel like WWE is giving these guys that are good on the mic, more mic time than they actually need! If your character has nothing new or of importance to say then why are they speaking? (watching the same promo every week is not entertaining).
        WWE would be much better of giving that mic time to guys who rarely ever get mic time in order to expand and grow those characters (ie. Kofi Kingston, The Usos, Hell even the Miz now)

  • M.C. Elroy

    Bray Wyatt is brilliant and I don’t believe his promos are getting old. Fans complaining about him “burning out” is getting old. The idea of not understanding what he is professing is part of the gimmick. Wrestling fans will be wrestling fans I guess; always finding faults in the best part of the show.

  • Scott Davies

    I have no problem with Bray Wyatts promos, but John Cena is not helping matters at all.

    • Avalanchian

      What is wrong with Cena’s promos? He cuts them like the face of the WWE. He’s usually always had a little joke time here and there.

      • Snap

        That’s part of the problem when the program is Bray trying to bring the monster out of Cena. Cena was excellent in the segment involving the choir prior to Extreme Rules but compare that to SmackDown and the typical low brow Cena-style insult. For every step forward Cena makes, he inevitably takes two steps back. In such a case, it is hardly Bray Wyatt’s fault if he constantly has to rebuild because Cena has to be Cena and turn it into a corny joke that isn’t even slightly funny.

        Cena can certainly deliver when he wants to, but when he “wants to” needs to be on a constant basis, rather than once in a blue moon.

        • Evon Callaway Bitterweed Reese

          You can’t blame everything on Cena. If someone succeeds or fails that’s on them not Cena.

          • Cubed56

            That’s a valid point, but in this case Cena is killing this feud and making it become another typical corny joke making, overcome all odds and win cena type feud we’ve seen for years.

          • Evon Callaway Bitterweed Reese

            That’s the writers fault. They have the talent but not the story lines.

          • Cubed56

            It’s well documented cena only answers to Vince, if he wanted to do something different then what the writers write up for him, mainly being corny jokes and everything else that goes with the SuperCena gimmick, he easily could do that. Cena refuses to change in any way and it has been hurting feuds for far too long.

          • Bob’s Diner

            I’m pretty sure John Cena doesn’t get scripted promos – Randy Orton has certainly made that claim and I’ve heard it from others before. Hence we get moments like that bizzarro promo before last year’s Royal Rumble

          • Snap

            I’m not blaming everything on Cena. In fact, I’ve stated Cena has been excellent at time and has the capability to be so on a consistent basis. It’s not my fault if Cena fails to live up to that potential. Furthermore, you cannot simply say “if someone succeeds or fails that’s on them” when it’s clearly not accurate. A well executed program with Cena could elevate a mediocre talent, but a poorly executed program with Cena can bring down a promising talent. You can’t have a match with just one person and it takes both of those wrestlers to make each other look good.

  • K!NG

    Please tell me who is more captivating in their promos then bray wyatt in WWE? the guy sucks both the live audience in and the people watching on tv.

  • LeftyTosser

    Let me add to the group that think Wyatt’s never ending long winded self serving diatribes are past the point of getting old. He has shown the ability to be much better than the past few weeks have shown. He is difficult to understand at times, seems to ramble and just isn’t on the edge anymore.

    • May I ask what on WWE TV you find entertaining?

      • mike

        Bad news barrett and prior to the injury DB Authority. I think the problem isnt the promos hes cutting but the fact there is maybe a 1% chance of him “breaking cena”. which is imo the selling point of this feud. We all know cena will rise above it and stay true to who he is ….blah blah blah. As a fan i,ve lost interest in the feud but think bray wyatt is amazing.

        • Well done Mike. If you enjoy Bad News Barrett’s new run as IC Champion and Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority over Bray Wyatt, I respect that. The point I’m trying to make is the majority of people that criticize Bray Wyatt, criticize the other programs as well. If not Bray then what? And if nothing, then why watch?

          • Michael Antonió

            Agreed. A complaint without a solution is pointless. I don’t think Bray is “bad” at anything. I just don’t personally enjoy anything he does on the mic. He’s probably the ONE thing I’m okay to leave the room for… but as a fan… I cannot do such a thing lol

          • mike

            Yes i see your point richard. I think you,ve hit the nail on the head with the iwc. I think a lot of them complain for the sake of complaining.

      • LeftyTosser

        Richard, you keep asking the question and no one answers, so I will. Right now I find nothing about the WWE entertaining. Zero, zip, zilch, nadda. I record it and the entire 3 hours can be viewed in about 20 minutes. I also record ROH and TNA, both of which actually take longer to watch because of the in ring work. One of the problems that WWE has right now is the lack of entertainment value. It reminds me of the last 18 months of Nitro where nothing makes sense or has any long term value. The sad part is that the personalities are there, the skill of the workers is acceptable, but the writing stinks. Hunter and Steph are certainly not on the level of VKM when it comes to crowd pop no matter how much they put themselves in front of the cameras. Everyone rags on Dixie Carter being in front of the camera and yet Hunter and Steph are doing the same thing but with even more camera time.
        I don’t know who at the WWE is teaching mic skills but they are failing miserably.

  • Big Boss Man’s Breakfast

    I too am finding Bryatts promos boring. I notice I am now hitting the fast forward button more when he comes on

    • As I asked the person the asked the question, what do you find entertaining?

  • Xavier

    I think Bray is very good on the mic, he’s very comfortable on the mic and deeply invested into his gimmick, however half the time I have no idea what the hell he’s saying, don’t get me wrong though, his delivery is off the charts amazing but half the time what he ‘s saying doesn’t make sense at all but still I love this gimmick and think he can be the guy to replace The Undertaker as that special attraction similar to how Undertaker replaced Andre as that special attraction over two decades ago.

  • skidmarkgn

    Funny, I keep seeing people go on about not liking Wyatt’s promos yet not one person has answered Richard’s question. Even the obvious Shield vs. Evolution answer hasn’t shown up. Everyone just wants to complain, complain, complain.

    • Yep, that’s the IWC. If Bray isn’t entertaining what is?

  • Avalanchian

    “Many were operating under the assumption that WWE was on the verge of a
    landmark domestic TV agreement and the increase of the stock price was a
    result of that.”

    Hell no most of the reasonable people thought they were crazy with the figures they thought they could get. They aren’t a sport and simply an action drama.

    • Not true. Vince McMahon himself told an investor in August 2013 if WWE didn’t double their TV rights fees, he could put him in a headlock.

      • Avalanchian

        I mean lots of people on this site. A decent amount of us said WWE doesn’t deserve sports money.

        • I’m not sure I follow your point.

          • Jason

            I think the logic that Avalanchian is going off is the same as mine. Vince kept saying he wanted something along the lines of NASCAR’s deal, but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen. To expect a deal of that magnitude with something that costs a fraction of NASCAR to put on each week, not to mention only 7 hours of total TV airing time to upwards of 50 hours each week, was out of this world. If WWE was airing 50+ hours of programming each week on TV, then I could see some sort of deal of that magnitude working out, but I knew not to expect it because no one in their right mind is going to pay that kind of money for 7 hours of programming each week. And that 7 hours is factoring in Total Divas, which isn’t even aired all year. So for most of the year, it’s 6 hours total.

  • Robert Olley

    It’s not often i watch raw or smackdown but the ones ive seen over the last 3 months have had a bit too much hes got the ahold world in his hands

  • David Jr.

    I might be way off, but do you think why the business model is bad now because Vince is the CEO now and not Linda McMahon?

    • Interesting thought David Jr. I thought the same thing, but not about this. It was about a year ago, with something else that I was wondering how things would be if Linda was still CEO.

  • What on WWE TV is entertaining if Bray Wyatt is boring?

    • Ken

      Not BOO-tista, that’s for sure.

    • Evon Callaway Bitterweed Reese

      He just needs to go back to shorter promos. The whole world in his hands was great at first but now it’s like Heyman. Heyman is great but he has said so much about breaking the streak I could care less about it now. Bray is very good I can’t see how anyone could deny that. But after awhile I want to see new material from him and less of the whole world.

      • Snap

        That’s a good point, but how is it any different from “The Champ is here!” or “You Can’t See Me?” or “I am The Game and I am that damned good!” or the various other mantras wrestlers have used?

        In my opinion, the reason why the material feels like it gets stale so quick is because the talent has become overexposed and the show has very little diversity than it used to. If we only saw the talent every few weeks or so, then it wouldn’t seem like we are constantly being fed the same thing over and over again. Unfortunately, I don’t see the situation changing any time soon.

        • Malboja

          Yep , I remember around 8 -10 years ago when the shows were only 2 hours but we could fit 8 matches and half a dozen promos in one show
          Lots of talent got to be on tv
          All divisions were strong -tag team, woman’s even cruiser weight

          Seems now half the show is showing what just happened in a replay or what happened last week
          We are lucky if we get 5 matches on a 3 hour show

          Sometimes I just miss the old days :'(

      • Brian Quiñones

        Totally agreed

    • Michael Antonió

      To answer your question, the matches (is what I find entertaining). I feel the promos are a little dull at times. Paul Heyman gets me interested and so does Triple H… but the Wyatt family just doesn’t do it for. CM Punk (if he counts) is probably my favorite of this era, and Daniel Bryan is also starting to get me behind him on his mic abilities.

      I actually rather see Bray Wyatt wrestle, than speak.

    • Dave Barton

      Well, I don’t find Bray boring at all, although I do question what the blowoff will be before he moves on from Cena.

      As for what is entertaining aside from Bray, I have to go with Evolution vs The Shield. Talk about making chicken salad out of chicken feathers. Everyone HATED that WM30 was going to be HHH’s best buddies against each other for the title, with Batista returning & getting pushed over everyone else without any buildup (well, they TRIED but the return was leaked). Who’d have seen the solution as being an Evolution reunion to face The Shield in a dream feud? It’d be like seeing the Fabulous Freebirds vs the original NWO. And the best part about the Evo/Shield feud is that despite some beatdowns on The Shield (there HAS to be some give and take in a feud worth watching), its The Shield who are winning the matches. Hell, Reigns has been pinning Orton CLEAN in singles matches during the current tour.

      So there you go Richard, a direct & precise answer on what (besides Bray Wyatt) is entertaining.

    • Cubed56

      Evolution vs the shield, the questions surrounding the wwe WHC, Brie vs Steph, bad news Barrett, Cody and Goldusts inevitable breakup, what are they doing with Sandow this week, are all things I find interesting, and I I wanted to waste more time and think of more things I’m sure I could. However, I do find Bray Wyatt entertaining, but feuding with cena is making him become somewhat stagnant. While Bray has been good, cena has been lackluster and is killing the feud by being typical cena and basically making Bray repeat himself and start over every week. Not saying cena has to go full blown heel, but for god sake could he at least make it believable that he’s beginning to doubt himself and show doubt in the fans backing of him one time.

    • Super Crazy

      The gimmick is good, the feud has gone on too long with the same material week in week out. Overexposure to the same material has resulted in the gimmick stagnating and becoming stale. You can compare him to Taker but with Taker and to some extent the Monster Kane gimmick, two nearly 7 foot monsters who you knew were unstoppable and would come in and clear a ring with awesome power moves. Wyatt is not even close to this and would never be believable in a similar role.

      As for what’s entertaining? The shield consistantly deliver at a high level and are always exciting to watch. Ceasaro consistantly blows me away. The return of the Monster Kane reminds me of when he would destroy everything ( even just having him “sit up” is awesome again). Bad News Barrett is pure gold as a gimmick. Paul Heyman and his unique ability to cut a promo like no other, any time RVD hits a five star frog splash. Hell even Alicia Fox is adding some interest back to the Divas!!!

    • Brian Quiñones

      I’m the one who submitted the question. I didn’t mean he was boring, it’s just that’s it’s every single week….it loses the mystery and impact. What if undertaker spoke every single episode for 15 min? You even said yourself they over killed Bret Hart at one point when he returned. Now, I 100 percent respect what Bray Wyatt is doing, his mic skills are awesome……but eventually it won’t be must see tv in my opinion cuz there is not a single thing on this planet that doesn’t eventually suffer from overkill.

  • Mohit Khatri

    Bray Wyatt is Gold. He is without a doubt the most entertaining thing on WWE TV right now. Now you guys say this is not good but mark my words a few years down the line you would be saying i liked bray wyatt more back then. Blah, Blah, Blah

    • Evon Callaway Bitterweed Reese

      In all honesty I really like him but he can get on the nerves lately. I like his promos short. He’s talented there’s no doubt about that

  • mike

    A bit off topic but i live in the uk and hogan was doing an interview on radio one her and he referred to the devastating powerbomb the dudleys did on “mae west” botchamanias running wild.

    • That’s Hogan for you! Was it in the Silverdome?

      • mike

        Haha funny enough the dj brought that up and told him not to call the o2 arena tonight the o3.

        • I think you just gave me my title for Raw Is Blogged – if JBL doesn’t say anything that I can’t pass up! Thank you!

          • mike

            Lol not a problem. But id wait hes bound to say something else wrong tonight

          • I’m sure he is, but I also have Raw Results that will need a title! JBL has been the best for his wild comments, but Hogan is wonderful for his botches when he’s on mic! I love the freedom of needed two titles for every episode of Raw, and love it more when they come from WNW commenters!

  • ldb

    Daniel Bryan/Authority has been the most entertaining for me. Then Bray/Cena. And I m liking Sheild/Evolution more and more. It can take the number one spot for a little while

  • John

    The only thing stale about Bray Wyatt is this ongoing program with John Cena. He needs to move onto something new.

  • BIG M

    I’ve said it before I’ll say it again the WWE network will only get to 1 million subscribers when it goes international.
    For whatever reason American fans just arnt subscribing.

    • Bob’s Diner

      But 1 million isn’t their international goal – I believe 2.5 million was the goal from that. That is never going to happen.

      Also, what if they are forced to change the content of some international versions? Currently Sky in the UK have the broadcast rights to almost everything that airs on the WWE Network – I’d be surprised if that doesn’t effect the airing of shows like NXT and PPVs on the network, which won’t exactly make it that enticing to UK fans.

      • BIG M

        Kind of the same situation here in Australia with Foxtel.
        But I’m still subscribing when the network gets here purely for the on demand library.
        Think UK fans will sign up for the same reason.

  • Jbreed

    If anything the Yes movement was starting to get stale.

  • Michael Antonió

    I agree. He bores me too. None of the promos in this day and age actually capture me like they used to… but that shouldn’t automatically make him the most entertaining. I’d much rather listen to The SHIELD or Daniel Bryan, but the Wyatt Family lost me after the inferno match with Kane.

    Maybe if they put him with someone other than John Cena.

  • Rob Bob

    So you’re a stock broker now?

  • Cubed56

    there is possibly a simple fix here for PPV bonuses. I’m not sure exactly how it works so someone please correct me if I’m wrong or fill me in more if I’m missing something. PPV bonuses from what I gather have always even based on the amount of buys correct? Well with PPV buys going down cause of the network, couldn’t they help offset some of those losses by paying the workers with money made from ticket sales and merchandise sales at those events?

  • Whammaster

    I really feel like those that feel this way are just quick. They really enjoy something, then a few weeks later hate it because its the same stuff. Everyone is so use to quick fast things that if something lasts longer then a few months its starts to get “boring” or “stale”. Not a lot of people in this age seems to appreciate a long lasting feud. I can understand the cena factor however, in that his character never EVER evolves though, but to single out Bray? =|

  • Stoney

    I think I’m the only one that sees a bit of Raven in Bray Wyatt’s promos

  • Brian Quiñones

    I’m the one who submitted the question I’m not bored, I just think it’s overkill

  • DW

    I like Bray…but you guys don’t think he is saying the same things in different ways? I think it’s getting stale…definitly slowly but surely.