Critical vs commercial success

Hi Scott,

Wanted to get your thoughts on the following:

You hear it all the time with regards to music, tv, and especially movies: "despite being a box office disaster, such-and-such was lauded by critics all over."  However, whenever we talk about wrestling, it always comes back to the bottom line: did rating or attendance go up when the focus was on so-and-so?  No?  Then nothing they did mattered, and the entire exercise was a failure.

So my question to you: why is *wrestling* of all things held to a different standard?  Why are the usual suspects so dismissive of Becky, for example, as a success story?  I think Becky's awesome, I love her work, but I have no desire to buy a Becky shirt or buy a ticket to a show JUST to see her.  But she's definitely a highlight for me, and if someone asks, "what's good about WWE right now," she's an easy pick.  Why is that not good enough?  People act like unless ratings and attendance and merch sales skyrocket, strong crowd reaction and all around praise (from fans and "professionals" and likely peers) are artifacts that contribute nothing to one's career.  "Becky didn't reach Austin levels of popularity.  Now don't all you Becky homers feel silly for having liked her?"

I think what sparked this idea was a comment someone made on the BoD about the WON HOF, and how they go by their gut feeling as to whether they consider someone HOF worthy (for whatever it's worth), drawing power be damned.  The classic example of late is most of Sting's career (disclaimer: I don't recall whether he actually got in, but I remember plenty of people saying he didn't deserve it): he didn't move the needle for attendance or PPV buys, etc. etc.  But seriously, anyone who doubts Sting's appeal and firm entrenchment in the wrestling consciousness – especially for the time he was in his prime – is taking quite a myopic view of what it means to "matter."  You think of prime WCW, you think of Sting.  You may never have bought a shirt or bought a ticket to see him, but you still know that he *was* WCW.

(snark about "because WCW"-type decisions aside) How can that in any way be considered meaningless?

I'm so glad that Sting actually did make it into the WON Hall of Fame because at least this argument can be put to rest.  Although I still don't think he qualifies.