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Modified 03 Jun 2020, 10:42 IST
If there’s one notion unique to the modern world, it’s the concept of celebrities as a cult of personality in and of themselves. This concept extends to the world of pro wrestling and sports entertainment, and their entwined history goes back a lot further than you might think.
In its golden era in the 1940s and 50s, pro wrestling reached mainstream appeal thanks in part to the advent of the television. The burly he-men and their archetypal portrayals of the struggles between good and evil resonated well with that somewhat simple-minded audience.
But as time passed, and global politics and social strata became more complex issues, people turned away from pro wrestling. By the 1970s it had descended into blood-soaked events in smaller venues, for the most part.
When Vince McMahon Jr. took over the then-WWWF from his father Vince Sr., he wanted to make pro wrestling mainstream again. Vince capitalized on celebrity involvement at the very first WrestleMania and the War to Settle the Score. While there’s no doubt this was a good tactic at the time, these days it seems like wrestling fans are less warm toward celebrity involvement in pro wrestling events.
Take Mike Tyson’s involvement with the AEW TNT title picture. Ratings for Dynamite decreased during Tyson’s segment, the exact opposite of what the promotion was hoping for.
So, why do wrestling companies continue to hire celebrities to appear at events when it seems to have diminishing returns? Here are five reasons why.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article belong to the writer and doesn’t necessarily represent Sportskeeda’s stand.
#1 Pro Wrestling is forever seeking new fans
Firstly, like all forms of entertainment media from cinema to young adult romance novels, pro wrestling companies are forever seeking a new audience.
Why? Not every wrestling fan has children to pass their love of the sport on to, for one thing. For another, most businesses prefer steady growth. To grow, you need new fans in addition to the ones you already have.
A sure-fire way to get attention in pro wrestling is to involve a celebrity. As we’ve seen with Mike Tyson, it’s not always good attention, but it got the world buzzing about AEW none the less. Take WWE’s decision to make Kyle Bush their temporary 24/7 champion as a recent example. WWE was hoping that Nascar fans would tune in to see Kyle Bush, and become hooked on the wrestling content.
The drive for new fans is one of the factors which inclines promotions to involve celebrities in their programming.