Definitely appreciate the responses by @BillyKidmansJorts (great name btw) and @Deezy
As the thread states: this is an opinion that about 75% of the board wouldn’t share.
I think if we are objectively looking at presence in main stream then we can’t argue that Twitter wasn’t around in the 90s. Objectively speaking, wrestling and people in wrestling have more platforms to be seen today which inherently enhances the chance it is “bigger” or more "visible’.
The LIVE TV Market being more valuable today also points to the importance of live properties - WWE is one of those valuable properties. If a property is more valuable today doesn’t that make it inherently important to those audiences than it was in the 90s.
Sure, WWE is not as hot as it was when we were all in middle school and the Monday Night Wars were raging, but we also should recognize we aren’t in middle schools anymore. I wonder if kids are still as into it. Just because our peer groups may have phased out of it does not make it less hot to a younger demographic. That is our bias and assumption, do any of us know for a fact 10-15 year olds aren’t as into Roman and Cena as we were Austin and Rock. Business certainly suggests they are in terms of dollars and sales. But I guess the answer to that is “inflation” (?)
That independent promotions have viable business models also suggests to me the stability and staying power the industry has found - as well as global presence - that did not exist in this so called heyday. It took Turner spending negligent amounts of money to get guys paid in that period, and it resulted in a defunct product. That guys now have avenues to make money in viable and sustainable ways is more impressive to me than a conglomerate dumping money into something to prop it up in importance. It didn’t work out for Turner did it? Heyman? Citing bigger promotions who flamed out because of horrid business models and practices does not suggest something was bigger - it suggests people were willing to back it in ways that proved to be failures. We mock TNA/Impact/Anthem for being this way in the late 2000s, but celebrate the companies that did it before them - ironic. And of course there is always a large portion of guys working two jobs and part-time indy workers, etc. That is the nature of any industry but if there is a path to sustainable success for guys that did not exist in the past, isn’t that an improvement over the past?
This is not a debate thread, but I view the rise of guys like Rock, Cena, Batista in mainstream roles outside of Wrestling as an indictment of just how popular they were or are because of wrestling - studios and morning shows are fully aware that having them bring eyeballs that may not otherwise tune in.
Rock has obviously transcended all of that but I still think NBC loves booking John Cena on its shows because they know he is bringing an audience with him. For me, that has to speak to how wrestling is viewed in the current media landscape. The fact we all don’t love booking direction does not diminish the fact that as an industry and vehicle there are elements of it that are more important to audiences outside the common internet fan. But what is value?
I guess the definition of what “big” or “mainstream” or “important” or “valuable” is provides different ways to slice this and analyze the take