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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Lemonade & Wrestling
May 19, 2005 by Johnny LaRue


Let's say you ran a lemonade stand. Now you started out with just a simple stand and gave the customers what they wanted. You did this for many years and built up a great customer base. You tried other ventures like a hot dog stand but it never took off yet the lemonade stand was always there and always turned a nice profit for you. You had some down periods such as the time the kid across the street tried to put you out of business but you managed to survive. Yet instead of trying to attract your competitors customers you drove them away by gloating over their misfortune. You tried to make amends by copying their favorite drinks but they came across as watered down versions of the original.

Then one day you decided you wanted to make more cash and changed the entire makeup of your business. You expanded to every corner of the city which resulted in having more stands than you knew what to do with. So you had to let some stands fade away into obscurity and never utilized them to their full potential. Then you decided it would be a great idea if you had half naked chicks selling substandard lemonade. You created a slightly better tasting lemonade once or twice a month and had your customers pay extra for the privilege to drink it. To top it all off you started to listen to the people (who have little or zero experience in lemonade) that were backing you financially instead of your loyal customers who had stuck with you in good times and bad. My question is at what point does money come before the customers loyalty or happiness"

I ask this because the lemonade stand is the WWE and you are the loyal customers. As a former WWE shareholder (about 185 shares) I speak from experience when I say you fans come second. At a shareholders meeting I quickly found out the majority of large shareholders were NOT wrestling fans. After questioning the logic of having way too many PPV's I was also told that "more money makes the product better." Now I could buy into this notion if the WWE had a R&D section and made concrete objects. But I can't see how more money for the bottom line makes a better product" I think what they meant was more money equals more profit which means more people buying the stock which means a higher price for the stock.

I am well aware that a business needs to make money to survive and I am not against capitalism (or big business) by any means. Though I strongly feel once you put the almighty dollar first and your customer base second it is a recipe for disaster. Cutting costs by getting rid of talent like Molly Holly and hiring cheaper labour from the "Diva Search" may be great for the bottom line but bad for the fans. Especially when you depend on your base more than any other company. Most people who drink Pepsi (such as myself) won't turn down a Coke if they are very thirsty. WWE fans are deathly loyal and won't change brands on a whim. Some go as far as to defend anything the company does no matter how stupid it is.

The point of all this is that I would like to see the WWE cater to the fans instead of the shareholders who only care about the P.E ratio. If anything will cause the demise of the WWE it will be ignorant shareholders who will make poor decisions. These are the same people who will cut their losses and sell the stock at the first sign of trouble. Thus sending the stocks price into a deadly tailspin and at an all time low. My question to you is how would you run the lemonade stand" With a "more money the better" strategy or enough money to make a healthy profit but still keep the customers happy" Or a combination of both"

When Johnny LaRue is not watching old wrestling tapes he can be reached at Easyreader2@Hotmail.com..


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