Anyone who has done research with men in the recent past knows pro wrestling TV, and WWE in particular, is a very big deal. And there’s a pretty clear reason for this: wrestling’s combination of soap opera plots and computer game progression offers a universal appeal that spans ages from young to old. We’ve recently spent a lot of time talking to men across the UK, using our unique 4D Methodology to better understand why certain media is resonating with them. Something that keeps coming up is pro wrestling…
Why does pro wrestling TV appeal?
For the youngest, pro wrestling TV appeals because it is an assault on the senses – bright colours, differentiated costumes, big sounds. When kids switch on the television and graze on wrestling there’s always something big going on.
Older boys straddling primary and secondary schools see in wrestling all the elements of a great computer game: larger than life characters, wildly varied finishing moves, end of level bosses and a tenuous storyline that has at least as much quality as a teen-focussed drama
Wrestling becomes a soap opera for grown up men. It’s a remnant of childhood that has stood the test of time; some of the wrestlers – like the Undertaker – have been around for 25 years. Simple plots, clear moral (or often immoral) messages, as well as being something that can be watched alone or with the kids all offer powerful appeal to grown up viewers.
“The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be” – so where next?
ITV recently scored a hit with Ninja Warrior UK – a show which has some of the elements of wrestling. However, Ninja Warrior lacks the powerful narrative punch and strong personas of modern wrestling. UK TV has a strong heritage in wrestling with performers like Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, who have become clear cultural touchpoints for many people. Given that, and the success American grappling currently enjoys, surely it’s time for one of our broadcasters to get back on the horse.
So come on ITV – dust down the spandex, lace up the boots and let’s give lads and dads what they really want: a mad, strange, silly, and very British assault on the senses.
We’ve recently spent a great deal of time exploring what it means to be a modern man – if you’d like to learn more about this exciting (and lucrative!) demographic, please get in touch!