Feature: Steve Anderson on WWE-PG


Thereâ<80><99>s a new Batman cartoon coming this fall to the Cartoon Network. Dubbed â<80><9c>Batman: The Brave and the Bold,â<80> it is a lighter approach to the darkest of Dark Knights. Bats teams up with a variety of super-heroes from the DC Universe. No brooding. No emotional trauma. No getting to the edge only to pull back. Nothing like the current mega-blockbuster appearing in theaters now.

While hella-geeks are freaking out over a lighter, happier Batman, there is a method to the madness. The creators are realizing that they need to build a foundation of Batman fans who are children. Children who shouldnâ<80><99>t be seeing the Dark Knight (and donâ<80><99>t get me started on the idiot parents who took their kids to that movie, only to gripe about the violence). Children who should be watching a hero, not an anti-hero. That will come as they get older.

No, I havenâ<80><99>t forgotten which site I write for. I am making an analogyâ<80>¦or just dovetailing two of my intense interests.

Welcome to WWE, rated PG (some scenes may be too violent for children or cause their heads to explode when Mike Adamle appears on the screen).

Donâ<80><99>t get me wrong. I find it to be a strange move. After all, the basic premise of wrestling is two people resolving their differences by fighting. That alone is a poor example to establish with the younger lot. No matter how family-friendly you make the product, it is two people using their fists, feet and other appendages.

For fans who think that the WWE is abandoning you, get over it. For the faithful who believe that this is the beginning of the end, take a deep breath. The company has to think of their future. They need to build a foundation of new fans. You cannot do it with the existing base. They get older and move on to other things. The â<80><9c>Attitudeâ<80> era is over, never to return. It was a one-time sensation that you cannot replicate.

The way you keep your business chugging along is hooking younger fans. Get them to watch your shows. Get the parents to see that WWE isnâ<80><99>t so bad after all. Their sons and daughters can watch it after all. And buy the t-shirts, action figures and other assorted merchandise.

And so onâ<80>¦and onâ<80>¦

The sponsors see a lack of offensive or extreme material and they follow suit with advertising and cross-promotion. Next thing you know, wrestling is enjoying another renaissanceâ<80>¦a surgeâ<80>¦the â<80><9c>anti-Attitude Era.â<80>

WWE-PG is not a permanent move. Marketing is fluid. It changes constantly. WWE is merely responding to a need that exists at this moment in time. Get the kids into wrestling. Advertisers flock. Kids get older and still remain wrestling fans. Then, you slowly amp up the material to a PG-13 levelâ<80>¦without any fanfare, of course. You change the approach of one brand. Say Raw, since it is on cable, suddenly starts pushing the proverbial envelope again. Smackdown could remain PG, but Raw is, well, raw.

This is not the XFL, WBF, IcoPro or the WCW/ECW Invasion. Yes, those were debacles, but this is a proactive, long-term plan that is merely in its infancy. Comparing WWE-PG to those missteps is comparing apples to staplers.

Or Batman.

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