With the WWE preparing to celebrate the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw on July 23, the program will be moving from its traditional two-hour format to a new, permanent three-hour format on the USA Network.
Following the first three-hour special with the "Raw Homecoming" in 2005, the WWE has experimented with the broadcasts in having presentations of the Slammy Awards and the full King of the Ring tournament in 2010.
Here are the details from F4WOnline (via WrestlingInc.com) on how the WWE will structure its flagship show moving forward when it moves to the new three-hour format next month.
The current plan once RAW moves to three-hours in July is to spend the first 50 minutes or so hyping up a top-of-the-hour match on both TV and Twitter, then kick it off at 8:55pm to run through the top of the hour. WWE will go with another big match or segment right around 10pm and the final angle will close out the show during the overrun as usual. RAW will apparently have a more structured feel to it.
The WWE's one-time competition, WCW, expanded Monday Nitro to a three-hour program in 1998, so the company will need to keep from storylines fresh so Raw doesn't go the way of the now-defunct promotion.
The reported use of the first hour as a promo for the match at the top of the hour could not be a more awful plan—the WWE could help build up new talent that the company so desperately needs in the past few months.
It wouldn't be bad if Raw started out with some kind of promo like the show currently does, but holding nearly the whole first hour hostage with talking would quickly get people to change the channel and have the show return to two hours.
With the WWE planning to use the first hour of the newly expanded Raw to push the match at the top of the second hour, what do you think the company should do to avoid becoming stale and to improve the recent inconsistent ratings?