Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday Mashups: World Wrestling Entertainment

Growing up, WWE was a staple in our household. We'd gather around the TV and cheer for our favorites--Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin. There was never a dull moment. From Sweet Chin Music to the Stone Cold Stunner, it is no surprise World Wrestling Entertainment has stayed fruitful in this changing industry. Even recently, they've been able to expand their market to keep their audience growing.

The WWE has started to live stream Chinese-language matches and commentary, as well as scouting China’s provinces for new wrestling talent. They will be bypassing state-controlled broadcast television by teaming up with a video-streaming company to reach fans though computers and mobile devices. They have also geared up efforts to introduce a new audience to the suplex, the body slam and the drop-kick by hiring four full-time social media directors in Shanghai to maintain local-language social media accounts for its wrestlers and executives. WWE is also hosting viewing parties, like one last month in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, in which locals devoured pizza and cream sodas while watching a pay-per-view wrestling match and playing the WWE’s latest Xbox video game.

Wrestling’s cartoon violence and sometimes salacious story lines could attract unwanted attention from China's government. And while it has its fans, American-style wrestling-as-scripted-entertainment is largely unheard-of among mainland Chinese. Success requires exposing Chinese audiences to this new type of entertainment — a choreographed drama in which the outcome is known, though its dangers and injuries are sometimes shockingly real. Saturating this market will be a test of the WWE's livelihood.

Current WWE superstars like John Cena, are even doing their part to make this opportunity happen. “There is no presence of product over here,” said Cena, the square-jawed wrestler and action movie star who has learned to speak some Chinese as part of the push. By tackling the language, he added, “I’m kind of a vehicle to leverage what we’ve done.”

We are anxious to see what this strategic move brings for the WWE as they devour the details of this new market and potential new super stars!

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