The October 1, 2012 viewership numbers for "Raw" were the worst non-holiday ratings for the WWE flagship show in 15 years. Of course football will typically take large numbers away from the wrestling show, but Vince McMahon needs to clamp down on the writers to recreate the company's overall product. There are changes which need to take place now if the WWE wants the "Raw" ratings to increase.
Stop Three-Hour "Raw"
In the past, the WWE has run special episodes of "Raw" which would be three hours in length instead of the typical two. The move to permanently adding an extra hour happened in July this year as the sports entertainment company tried to convince fans that there was more product to be shared than could fit in 120 minutes. Ever since, the show has appeared to be drawn-out and has placed more of a reliance on boring cutaways, such as those with Kane and Daniel Bryan, instead of packing in more matches for the superstars.
McMahon once stated, "I believe that given the audience attention level, we could do an even more compelling 90 minutes." By changing to a three-hour "Raw," the WWE is denying psychology. People do not always have long attention spans and committing to three hours for a show is difficult for many people. A person might set aside three hours or more to watch a game, but there is more action during a quarter of football than an average hour of WWE programming when you figure in the skits.
Give Fans a Need to Watch
The WWE is lacking a strong product right now because there is not a need to watch. Fans realize they can check out websites the day after "Raw" or "Smackdown" to see what happened. When WWE Legends were coming out each week to battle Heath Slater earlier this year, I found myself having a stronger need to watch. I did not want to read about Psycho Sid or Vader crushing Slater, I wanted to see it live so I made sure I tuned in. Triple H, the Undertaker, and Chris Jericho are all in semi-retirement and John Cena is injured, so the writers have to do something big to bring fans in.
Don't Sacrifice Fans for Votes
The PG-13 Era for the WWE began around the time Linda McMahon made her first congressional run two years ago. By toning down "Raw" and "Smackdown," the WWE is able to hold off political criticism of the current product but it distances the company from fans who were drawn to the Attitude Era and characters like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and those in DX. The McMahons have to realize the fans made them rich and powerful and should not be neglected on the path to more power.
L. Vincent Poupard has been following the wrestling industry, as well as the characters and storylines, for almost 30 years.
- Sports & Recreation
- Vince McMahon