May 29, 2011

Ratings vs. Money

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of arguments pop up at More accurately, it's been the same argument popping up over and over again. This argument pertains to a certain group of people on the TNA/iMPACT Wrestling roster and whether or not they draw for the company. A few months ago, it was the Knockouts. More recently, it's been the X-division.

I don't know why this comes up as often as it does, but apparently, it's a topic people feel really strongly about. Let's face it, the people who post on TNAsylum either seem to love the X-division or hate it. Once again, I find myself wondering why there's virtually no in-between there, but that's not important right now.

When discussing the X-division/Knockouts, the issue of being a draw inevitably comes up, with certain people constantly screaming ad nauseam to anyone who will listen that the X-division/Knockouts are not a draw, never have been and never will be, almost to the point where I start to think that they must be nursing some kind of personal vendetta.

But here's my question: what really qualifies as "drawing power"? More specifically, what makes one person a draw, but another person not a draw?

When these people bring up drawing power they always refer to it as getting ratings -- being able to hook more viewers into the TV show. They don't seem to take into account what it means to be a draw in the broader spectrum.

For example, if Person A increases viewership in the minute-by-minute ratings when he or she is on the show, you would consider them a draw, correct? Even if this person's merchandise was an abysmal failure and never sold a single unit, they would still technically be a draw because they get ratings, right?

Now what if Person B did not get ratings? In fact, what if viewership tended to decrease when Person B appeared on the show? In that capacity, I suppose people would consider Person B NOT a draw. But suppose they moved tons of merchandise. What if Person B's merchandise sold like prophylactics at an orgy? What if the company made truckloads of money off Person B's merchandise? You would have to consider Person B a real draw as far as I'm concerned. After all, why should not getting ratings disqualify him or her from being a draw altogether when clearly they're doing good business for the company regardless?

And, BTW, that's not even hypothetical. Jay Lethal may not have gotten lots of ratings, but he had one of the top selling t-shirts in the entire company at one time (the Black Machismo shirt). And Don West outright said that in a youtube video, so don't even try to deny it.

This is what doesn't make sense to me -- when people qualify being a "draw" as getting ratings and nothing else. That's just silly.

Let me elaborate. I attended a TNA house show last year and another one earlier this year. During the one last year, Amazing Red -- one of those "vanilla midgets" certain people seem to hate so much -- came out to sign autographs.

Guess what happened? Tons of people got in line. And these people had purchased merchandise for Amazing Red to sign. Even though I was strapped for cash at the time, I dipped into my limited funds and bought a $20.00 program just so I could get the man's autograph. Whether he gets ratings or not, Amazing Red made TNA a lot of money that night. I would say with complete confidence that, at that show, on that day, Amazing Red was a draw.

Not a good picture, I know. 
This past January, I attended another house show, and the first thing I noticed when I got inside the building was a MASSIVE line of people carrying programs. You know who they were waiting to see? Mickie James -- one of the Knockouts certain people seem to think don't draw a dime. During the intermission, Mickie came out again to sign more autographs and damn near every fan in attendance got back in line, and they stayed in line even after the show resumed and the Jeff Jarrett match started. These fans cared more about meeting Mickie James than they did about watching Jeff Jarrett throw Tommy Dreamer off a balcony (yes, that really did happen. Dreamer even tweeted about it) -- Jarrett, one of those all-important established stars you people are so fond of pointing out are the only ones in this company that you think are real draws.

And get this. All those fans in line? They were loaded down with merchandise. These people had purchased t-shirts, 8x10s, DVDs and tons of other stuff, just so they could get Mickie James to sign it. That stuff isn't free, you know. Mickie must have moved thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at that event.

I say this with absolute certainty. On that night, Mickie James was a bigger draw than Jeff Hardy. After the main event, Hardy stayed in the ring to take pictures with fans for something like $20.00 a pop. Both lines for Mickie were longer.

A lot of you people are very quick to write off the X-division and the Knockouts as not being draws, but you seem to have it in your heads that getting ratings is the only thing that constitutes drawing.

And this leads me to my point: just because someone doesn't necessarily draw ratings, it doesn't mean that person doesn't draw money.

Is there a difference? Sure. But both things contribute to the company's bottom line, which is the most important thing anyway.

So the next time you guys sit down to write one of your oh-so-scintilating posts, saying, "the vanilla midgets don't draw!" or, "the Knockouts don't get ratings, so they should all be released!" or, "ESTABLISHED STARS are the ONLY real DRAW this company has, bitches! FACT!" please do us all a favor and think for a minute before you hit the 'submit comment' button, okay?

Peace. Out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. I saw the people on who hated the X Division and I'll tell you right now that those people are a bunch of f*cking snobs who wouldn't know entertainment if it jumped up and bit them in the arse.