COM0011 – Introduction to Social Media – Blog # 2 – Branding in Professional Wrestling

When I was young, I was roped into the world of Professional Wrestling. Now some will say that Professional Wrestling is not a sport, it’s more of Sports Entertainment. But the fact that it still exists today proves that certain branding techniques have helped the industry gain more and more followers on a daily basis.

Professional wrestling, a performing art, is a popular form of entertainment in Australia, North America, Latin America, Europe, and Japan. It developed in the early 20th century, with predecessors in funfair and variety strongman and wrestling performances, which could often involve match fixing, in the 19th century.

During the 1980’s when cable Tv started to grow in various markets in North America, it gave Professional Wrestling the exposure it needed to gain fans worldwide, and it also used pop culture and world events to make people aware of its brand. Some of the more popular wrestling federations are World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, Total Non-Stop Action and the WWF (now the WWE). Each federation has its own wrestling stars and to this day, different branding techniques or devices are used to get more fans over with a certain wrestling product and wrestlers. Before social media, one would watch wrestling on tv or buy magazines to get updates on their favourite wrestlers. But in today’s modern world, social media has literally exploded and that allows wrestlers and their federation to connect with fans like never before. Some of the ways are having their own Facebook page, twitter account, instagram accounts, doing live fanzone meet and greets before a wrestling show. Many wrestlers like to connect with fans so that they can keep in touch with them and keep track should they do something outside the ring some day.

Since the 80’s some of the biggest names like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage have kept Professional Wrestling in the minds’ of fans to this day. Most wrestlers have a gimmick that allows fans to recognize them. That gimmick becomes a branding technique that is recognized for decades to come. Entrance theme songs and a finishing move are just a few ways of doing that. A lot of wrestlers have retired have come and gone, but even with social media, fans can go back and relive some of the moments that they prefer. Merchandise with their logos on them help carry the wrestling to attract new fans of sports entertainment. Out of all the federations, WWE has been the most successful when hosting different cities for wrestling events, even the biggest one of all – WRESTLEMANIA. Their constant branding of wrestlers and their products in so many markets worldwide have helped them grow to new heights and levels that other wrestling organizations can only imagine.

In today’s society, other sports like Mixed Martial Arts have tried to compete with wrestling, but wrestling has been around so long and can be found in just about any part of the world, that it would be hard to see it fizzle out due to the branding and marketing it receives on social media.

What are your views? I invite you to discuss if sports entertainment has done all it can to become what it is today. Do you have a favorite wrestler?



2 thoughts on “COM0011 – Introduction to Social Media – Blog # 2 – Branding in Professional Wrestling

  1. I find it interesting that WWE wrestlers like Brock Lesnar end up branching out from fake wrestling to real competitive MMA. As you know, Lesnar held a heavyweight belt in the UFC, lost it and went back to WWE. This allows both the WWE and UFC to gain huge exposure as many people want to see a fake wrestler convert into a real fighter just to see exactly how strong they really are. I believe Dana White and Vince McMahon have a lot of business to do in the future.

    MMA is starting to take trends that work for WWE as well. If you notice recently, there are Russian MMA federations that do 5 on 5 group fighting… similar to WWE brawls. If these take off, I can see UFC implementing it as well, but interested to see how they will regulate those as they can be quite dangerous.

    All in all I do believe WWE has the best marketing… although personally I enjoy real fighting. I watch WWE for entertainment at times as sometimes I find it humorous how fake it can be. They are more athletic actors in my opinion.

  2. In the 1980s, my brother and I were huge fans of WWF wrestling. Reflecting on it now as an adult, it must have been in large part due to effective marketing since I was not much of a sports enthusiast as a child, but did enjoy the spectacle that surrounded the weekly matches we sought out on television. It was undoubtedly the interest generated by feature magazine stories and brief television interviews with each wrestler that saw my brother and I beg our parents to buy WWF brand products such as toy wrestling figurines of our favourite characters more so than the athletic performances of these individuals. However, as if being both an athlete and an entertainer isn’t enough to inspire fanaticism among consumers, today’s sports entertainers are now expected to make themselves available through social media at all hours of the day to remain relevant and sought after in the market! Although I’m not blind to the fact that professional wrestlers are likely supported by large marketing teams and social media strategists, this doesn’t take away from the fact that we place a lot of pressure on performers of all kinds to entertain us both while on and off stage. It clearly takes an extremely talented and dedicated individual to choose a career in sports entertainment.

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