For David Herro, there is more to the wide world of wrestling than what happens inside the ropes.
If you listen to him on 540 ESPN on Monday nights with Dameon Nelson, watch him on his Web site, or follow him on Twitter @DavidHerro, you'll know how much he enjoys his sports entertainment.
"Milwaukee loves wrestling," Herro said a few days after taking in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) shows in Milwaukee and Green Bay a couple of weeks ago. "Our audience (for the radio show) is about fifty-fifty with local listeners and international on the Web. In Milwaukee they remember the Crusher and Baron Von Raschke."
These days he's talking more about Wrestlemania and matches between the likes of the Edge and Alberto Del Rio.
Image plays a huge role in professional wrestling, from the days of early television to the entertainment empire Vince McMahon created with the WWE. And these days, through social media, the ability to communicate with the fan base is more amped up than it ever has been.
"With Twitter and Facebook there is more access to the fans than there ever has been," said Herro, "The reach is really all over the world."
Herro said, that through his involvement in putting on local wrestling events and interacting with the wrestlers, he's found that 99 percent of the people involved are really nice and it is more like a true community. He's developed deep relationships and with the use of Twitter that community has grown.
When I interviewed Herro, I brought up a time when wrestling was huge on television and people like me would have debates with die-hard fans if the sport was "real." Between then and now, that focus had changed and so did the marketing strategy.
"Wrestling in 2011 vs. 1997, the attitude has changed. The push from the nicknames went back to the wrestler's regular names. There was The Rock, but there was also Stone Cold Steve Austin and then John Cena," said Herro, "It goes back to when McMahon had to change the name."
Herro was talking about image, branding and marketing and some cost savings. Just in simple logistics, by acknowledging professional wrestling was entertainment instead of a sporting event, there were different legal liabilities and emergency response needs. And, in 2000, the World Wildlife Fund (also WWF) took the World Wrestling Federation to court over the WWF name, likeness and Internet address.
When the WWE needed to change the name, it took the time to market itself and ramped up efforts.
"You look to WWE and even the old XFL, and the NFL now uses some of the things they do, like the shots from inside the stadium and the walking in the hallways," Herro said.
And there's that belt thing that Aaron Rodgers does, too.
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