Ryan Simmons here. I’m ProRasslin’s resident social media nerd. I video chat, I Skype, I text, I tweet, I phone, I WUPHF. So when WWE started utilizing social media, I paid very close attention. In recent week’s WWE’s biggest star John Cena has started using Twitter more and more. Sometimes he thanked fans, other times he mentioned injuries he suffered during recent matches. While not groundbreaking, it was a sign that the WWE wanted to keep fans engaged in the WWE Universe 24/7 online.
The desire to incorporate social media became quite apparent when the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was announced as this year’s Wrestlemania host. The promo he cut on Raw a few weeks ago became an instant classic. He expressed his gratitude, he fast-tracked a feud with John Cena and he plugged his Facebook page. In the 2 weeks since his return, The Rock’s FB page has grown to over 2 million fans. Social media soon became a part of Cena and The Rock’s feud. More after the jump…
Cena tweeted about how unimpressed he was with The Rock’s return on Feb. 14th. A week later, the morning after the Elimination Chamber PPV, Cena told his Twitter followers that he grabbed a chain from the cage he fought in the night before. All good wrestling fans knew that meant the return of John Cena’s Thuganomics on Raw that night. The social media hype machine continued this week with the Rock posting a photo of his foot crushing a Cena hat.
This brings us to Monday’s Raw. The buzz among wrestling fans, both online and in real life, has been Cena and The Rock. That’s great news for WWE, but there’s only one problem: 34 days away from the grandaddy of them all, no one is talking about the WWE Champion The Miz. To get fans talking, WWE put The Miz and Cena in the ring last night. During their confrontation, Cena proposed a match that would ‘shake social media to it’s core’: Cena vs. The Miz’s sidekick, Alex Riley. If Cena won the steel cage match, The Miz would have to fire Riley. If Riley won, Cena would have to tell the world how awwweeeeeesooommeeee The Miz is.
Once the main event rolled around, The Miz made his way to ringside and got in on the social media trash-talking. His first live tweet contained almost no punctuation and declared his presence at the commentary table. His second tweet was accidentally directed at @John rather than @JohnCena. Poor John Shahidi of Rock Software must have been quite confused when he woke up to a message from The Miz telling him he needs a tan. Tweet #3 reminded Twitter that The Miz was ‘so awesome’.
Meanwhile in the ring, Alex Riley had gained the upper hand. With Cena’s face against the cage, Miz jumped up and snapped a photo (posted above). He said he was about to tweet it. Moments later, a tweet reading ‘say cheese’ was posted but Miz forgot to attach the photo (it was corrected and added after Raw). Miz then slid his phone in the ring for Alex Riley to use as a weapon. Yes you read that correctly. WWE commentator Michael Cole first identified the weapon as an iPhone but his counterpart quickly corrected him noting it was a Blackberry. Hopefully there wasn’t a lucrative product placement contract at stake with Blackberry.
So what effect did this have on The Miz’s status? Well I checked his followers total at 11PM: 148, 749. Thirty minutes later: 144,451. When you lose that many followers that quickly it’s usually a terrible thing. For the Miz though, this is great! As champion, he should be the company’s top heel. His tweets last night drew so much heat, over 4000 fans decided to unfollow him! That is awwweeessoommmeeee. As for Cena’s on-air comments about shaking the social media world, he was right. At midnight last night, ‘Alex Riley’ was one of the top ten worldwide trending topics.
WWE will surely use Twitter and Facebook more and more leading up to Wrestlemania. So here are some crucial players to follow: