5 Mistakes WWE Is Making with the 3-Hour Format and How to Fix Them
WWE Raw extending to a three-hour format has been somewhat of a blessing in disguise for both the company and fans.
While fans are treated to an extra hour of wrestling goodness each week, we are also being given a show that seems to drag at points, as well as come off as repetitive.
For every complaint, there is an explanation WWE could offer as to why it does something the way it does, but that will not appease everyone.
In this slideshow, I will look at five problems with the new extended show format, as well as offer solutions on how to fix them.
Stop Assuming We Have Short-Term Memory Loss
One thing WWE is known for doing very well is presenting video packages that are both engaging and informative.
When it shows a video recapping weeks' worth of feud coverage along with added music and effects, it makes the whole thing look a lot more professional, but the sheer number of these things is the problem.
Recapping what has happened in previous weeks is a great thing for WWE to do since many viewers may not watch religiously, but still wish to stay up to date.
What about the rest of us who watch faithfully each week? Do we need to be reminded three times during Raw about what happened between Brock Lesnar and Triple H the previous week?
The answer is no, we do not.
People have very good long-term and short-term memory for things they are interested in, and anyone watching is likely to have a level of interest where they will remember events from a couple weeks ago very easily.
WWE just needs to realize that we don't want to see the same footage over and over again. We want to see new developments.
Recapping a PPV is different because only a certain percentage of the viewing audience actually buys PPV events, but we all saw what happened last week on Raw, so there is no need to beat a dead horse and re-show it every half hour.
WWE should come up with a number of video packages it allows on an episode of Raw and then stick with that. A reasonable number for a three-hour show would be six, two for each hour.
As long as they do not exceed a couple of minutes, this would vastly improve the WWE viewing experience.
You Pay These People a Lot of Money, so Use Them Already
If you watched a typical month of Raw episodes and nothing else, you might think the WWE has reduced its roster size to about 15 talents.
It is the same people every week getting the spotlight during a show where there is more than enough time to go around.
WCW gets a lot of criticism for how it ran Nitro in the last couple years of the company's existence, but it did one thing very well in the beginning and that was featuring as many superstars as possible.
I re-watched a two-hour episode of Nitro recently, and do you know how many matches it had on the card?
It had 11.
Eleven matches in two hours seems insane when you consider that WWE only had eight matches during its three-hour show on Monday, two of which were very short.
This is why some of the talents are unhappy. They travel all year and then they don't get any of the spotlight come Monday nights.
What needs to be understood is that not every match needs a storyline. They can just throw two guys in there and let them put on a good match.
Put Alex Riley in the ring with JTG and see what happens. They don't need to be feuding to justify having them wrestle each other.
If I was an investor in WWE, the first question I would ask during an investors call would be, "Why the hell are we paying all these people when I never see them on television?"
The only way WWE can build up new stars is to actually feature them on a grand stage and allow them to be tested in ways they can't be tested at house shows.
Allocate Your Time Better
Did you know that the average hour-long television show is 36 percent commercials?
I didn't until I read this report that outlines just how much of our time is taken up by ads.
Thirty-six percent of an hour is 21.6 minutes, so let's just leave it at an even 21 minutes for the sake of argument, meaning each hour contains 39 minutes of actual show.
That means a three-hour show has approximately 125 minutes of actual show time when you include the five or minutes of overrun time WWE takes going into the next hour.
That is over two hours of time to feature matches. WWE needs to develop a ratio of how much time will be given to matches, promos, backstage/non-wrestling segments and video packages.
Matches should take priority and get the lion's share of time, maybe around 70-75 percent, or roughly 80-90 minutes of wrestling.
Take the other 25-30 percent (35-45 minutes) and divide it up accordingly for the other things, depending on what is more important to feature that week.
If You Are Going to Shove Social Media Down Our Throats, Use Better Judgement
Does Keeping up with the Kardashian have a big cross-section of fans who watch WWE Raw?
I am going to go ahead and assume the answer to that question is no. So why does WWE insist on using one of those sisters as a social media ambassador?
Nothing against the Kardashians, I do not know them so I will not judge them, but I honestly do not think the average WWE fans cares one bit about what any of them say on Twitter during Raw.
WWE has insisted on using social media to an extreme extent, but the least it could do is give us someone we actually care about as the social media ambassador.
It is not hard to find out what WWE fans are interested in outside of WWE. All McMahon and company have to do is take surveys. Find out what else we like before you just assume we like Pauly D or Khloe Kardashian.
Sometimes I think someone at WWE headquarters just looks at who is being talked about on TMZ and then contacts him or her to be a social media ambassador.
If that is the case, then expect Lindsay Lohan to be tweeting about why Alberto Del Rio's scarf is all wrong for him withing a few weeks.
If WWE is going to punish us with all this social media stuff, then the least it could do is make it a bit more bearable by using interesting people.
For the Love of God, Somebody Throw a Pie Already
Remember when WWE used to be funny?
Whether it was Rocky making Lilian blush when talking about pie, Rikishi dancing with Scotty Too Hotty or DX doing their usual shtick, WWE was always pretty funny back in the day.
These days it seems like the only time I even chuckle during a WWE event is when Michael Cole says something ridiculous or someone has a funny sign in the crowd.
Yes, I said Michael Cole. It has gotten so bad that he is the funniest thing in WWE right now. Jerry Lawler used to be hilarious before the PG handcuffs were slapped on his wrists.
Superstars, non-wrestling talents, managers and announcers used to all have a sense of humor about wrestling, and now it seems as if the everyone in the whole locker room lost their smiles.
Even in a PG environment WWE can be funny, but it stopped taking those kinds of risks when a certain family member decided she needed a nicer desk...on Capitol Hill.
Even John Cena barely cracks jokes these days, and he has been the resident smart ass for years.
Take some chances, WWE. Write a few jokes and see how they play. If they don't work then write some more, but please stop making us watch these endlessly unfunny shows.
A company can only take itself so seriously when its product is based around staged fighting, and Santino is not the only person who should be allowed to make some jokes.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts on what WWE can do to improve the three-hour format.