WWE Hall Of Famer Gerald Brisco has given his opinion on why WWE, and wrestling in general, has been losing fans.
Gerald Brisco has been part of the wrestling industry for over five decades. He began his career in 1967 alongside his brother Jack. The Brisco Brothers teamed for nearly 20 years and during that time captured the NWA World Tag Team Championships on three occasions. They joined WWE in 1984, but soon retired from in-ring competition and hung up their boots in 1985. Gerald Brisco then moved into a backstage role as a producer and booker for the company.
In the late 90s, Gerald Brisco became an on-screen character alongside fellow veteran Pat Patterson. The pair were the now-heel Mr. McMahon’s bumbling ‘Stooges’. They were an integral part of McMahon’s ‘Corporation’ stable, but unfortunately for the WWE Chairman, they weren’t very effective henchmen and often found themselves in strange and hilarious predicaments.
With decades of experience under his belt, Gerald Brisco is in a good position to compare the old territory days of wrestling to the situation it is in today.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Wrestling Inc. Daily, he gave his thoughts on the difference between the crowds then and now, saying that today audiences are more “educated” about wrestling.
“Crowds back then didn’t know nearly as much as today’s crowds. Today’s crowds are the most educated crowds. And I’m talking about not just your casual TV viewer, I’m talking about somebody who buys a ticket, goes to the arena, sits down, and watches the matches at a live event. Those people are so much more educated now and have so much more knowledge. Not only about the people in the ring wrestling now, but most of them have done research and know about guys like me and know about guys like my brother. They know a little about it.”
He then moved on to something he believes is contributing to the shrinking wrestling fanbase, something he calls “soundbite matches” which don’t allow enough time for fans to get invested.
“Those are your fans that I think we’re losing a lot of because of the soundbite matches we’re having and the quickness of them. When we were [wrestling] we had time to tell people a story and draw them emotionally into a match. And very few of those guys have that opportunity now. And that’s a shame for them to lose that skill. We had [fans] emotionally involved with us because [they] knew we were going to go out and kick ass. [They] knew they were going to see a wrestling match when [they] saw the Brisco brothers.”
“Nowadays you know you’re going to be entertained when you see John Cena, but you don’t get that same feeling as [older fans] did when [they] knew they were going to see some ass-kicking. Well, John Cena, he’s going to make me laugh and we’re going to have a great time. And I love John Cena, I think John Cena is a great performer and I think John Cena would’ve gotten over back in my day bigger than hell too because he’s an athlete and he can go. But it’s not that same emotion, it’s not that same, what we call, ‘heat.’ There’s a different type of heat. We had heat and they’ve got interest now.”
Following his departure from WWE in 2020, Gerald Brisco has started a podcast with John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield called ‘Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw.
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the above transcription.