Wednesday, December 28, 2011

You Wanted the Best in the World, You Got the Best in the World

I love the band KISS. Sure, they're pretty terrible musicians, Gene Simmons is an unlikable douchebag and they're the biggest product whores in the history of entertainment, but they're also one of the best live bands I've ever seen. Despite line-up changes, endless gimmicks, and again, the fact that they're not very good, they've managed to remain a major act for nearly 40 years and are scheduled to put out their 20th album in early 2012.

But the band was not an overnight success. Three albums into their career, they were on the verge of losing their record deal, but at the same time, they were selling lots of tickets. Why were people paying money to see them perform live if they weren't throwing down a couple bucks for a record, even the record with the iconic "Rock and Roll All Nite" on it? Simple, their albums were a bit lifeless but their concerts were (and continue to be) amazing.

So the band released Alive, a double live album and the general public finally got a taste of what they were missing when they didn't go to the KISS show. Here we are now, 35 year, millions of records, movies, and condoms later and there's not a man, woman or child in the civilized world that hasn't seen that makeup.

It makes me think about all this uproar over CM Punk's ratings (or lack thereof) on last week's Raw. Ignoring the fact that it was a holiday week when most networks don't even bother running new programming, let's just accept for the sake of argument that Punk isn't getting the numbers on TV. Well, you wouldn't know it if you were just paying attention to live crowds, who have been going batshit insane for Punk since July.

So why isn't it reflected in the ratings? Because overnight successes are rare and when WWE tries to force it, it usually backfires. Steve Austin was no overnight success, he didn't even wrestle at the SummerSlam following his King of the Ring victory (unless you count a Free For All match against Yokozuna) and his first WWE Title reign didn't happen until almost two years later. Obviously wrestling moves much faster now than it did then, but CM Punk isn't going to turn ratings around all by himself in a month, especially with WWE's chaotic booking.

But he is resonating with the audience, judging from reaction alone, he's probably the #1 active wrestler in the company and his performances are consistently stellar. As long as WWE continues to let him do his thing and starts plastering his face on every piece of merchandise they sell, it should translate to ratings success. Just please, no CM Punk coffins.

Thanks to Andrew Southern for the graphic and Boss Lady Rae for letting me borrow him. Now, in the spirit of KISS, let's sell some shit!

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