As a wrestling fan, I'd like to be excited for the news of more wrestling on Monday nights, as reported by WWE.com today. As a participant in the wrestling and entertainment business, I fear the results.
I have a video series on Wrestlezone.com called "Chair Shot Reality" and every time a part is under 9 minutes I hear, “the parts need to be longer.” I take it as a compliment people request more rather than less, but there is a reason someone created the phrase “short and sweet.”
Leave the audience hungry for more, not developing a case of bulimia where they take it in and send it back up. Unless drastic changes are made, three hours of RAW is five more segments to overexpose the WWE's weaknesses: a lot of guys who aren't speaking in their own voice or don't know what their voice is, and a lack of storylines with depth that get carried out in a suspenseful manner.
I think the WWE is in a better position in the pure talent department than they've been in the past, but many of the guy's full potential isn't being tapped in to. Many of the guys don't have the right person to work with them continuously in the necessary departments.
WWE wants to go three hours; Vince or Triple H better bring in some of the guys who will challenge them. Paul Heyman, Jim Ross, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and even Lance Storm. Bring in the guys who can be at television each week. They need to have input on creative, they need to be able to share their talents with the younger guys. There are some like BG James with WWE now, but he's only one man.
What happens to pay-per-views? They are now the same billed length as a RAW. This shouldn't matter. It should matter that RAW builds the stories, pivotal moments and the endings happen at PPV's. That's how it should be, but it isn't.
Find me a weekly wrestling show on free television that was good each week at three hours. When WCW Monday Nitro was that long, there was a whole bunch of guessing who is in the limo? Who will be the next member to join? Who will jump ship from promotion to promotion? Wrestling doesn't have that interest anymore.
There has been talk for a long time of the WWE beginning some type of a RAW pre-game show. I was the first to report this on Wrestlezone in the summer of 2011. WWE has shot and worked on production pilots in secret for this concept for a while. They kept trying to center it around the WWE Network launch which continues to get delayed.
The video editors for WWE's production team are fantastic, but there is even a limit to how many times we can see a video package a night.
WWE supposedly wants to bring fan interaction in the mix with this longer format for RAW. On paper it sounds nice, let the fans get their tweet seen on television. Let their voice be heard. Honestly, who cares? What does that really add to the program other than for the one person who gets to see their name scroll on the screen.
The NFL made the draft longer; NHL trade deadline coverage is endless; and the UFC has more live fights a month. They all went longer. The difference between all of them and the WWE – all of them were seeing business go up across the board prior to the extending their programming. Reality.