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WWF and WCW wrestling have the highest rated programming of all cable television. Their shows air throughout the week and have higher ratings than sports on network television. Many reasons exist for the success of the two organizations.
Wrestling has transformed from a “sporting event” to a soap opera. Its characters need to be athletic and charismatic on the screen. Some wrestlers have taken the acting experience they have received from the shows and launched movie careers. Both the Rock and Goldberg have co-starred in highly successful films.
The soap opera attitude has allowed wrestling to turn from an 18-30 male viewing group, to a show that appeals to the masses. Every week millions of children, women and middle aged people turn on their televisions to see the next twist and turn of the wrestling world.
The storylines on the wrestling shows add much drama. Recently there have been matches where the characters burned each other with fire. Other times wrestlers have fought over the love of a woman, or the rights to a name or catchphrase. Catchphrases have made middle card wrestlers into great showmen as people identify the phrases with the wrestlers.
Of course wrestling’s greatest attractions is its world championship belts. These belts have the greatest story-line twists and developments. These belts generate interest from the crowds and also have the ability to elevate mediocre wrestlers. With the popularity of wrestling, more belts have emerged as Intercontinental, Tag-team, and US title belts have all emerged to increase fan support and interest in lower card wrestlers.
The soap opera that is wrestling draws huge crowds and huge television audiences. Its charismatic athletes have found a successful route to making these two organizations highly profitable.