Apparently two weekly TV shows just wasn’t enough.
Last Wednesday the WWE debuted its latest weekly TV show, Main Event, on Ion, and the company is already touting the success of the show’s first episode. The company sent out a press release last week, noting that Main Event drew the “highest male audience in the last year” on Ion, which is obviously a great way to kick things off for the WWE’s newest venture.
The debut episode of Main Event, of course, featured one of the biggest matches that the WWE could have put on: A Champion vs. Champion match pitting WWE Champion CM Punk against World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.
Clearly, the WWE wanted to pull out all the stops for the first Main Event show, and after seeing what the premiere episode did in the ratings department, it’s safe to say that its plan worked.
Still, that hasn’t rid the WWE Universe of skepticism surrounding the future of the show. Though it started off with a bang, many fans expect it to slowly, but surely, lose its luster—and perhaps more specifically—its star power over time.
In layman’s terms, the expectation is that Main Event will follow in the footsteps of one of its predecessors, Superstars.
As many of us remember, Superstars debuted on WGN on April 16, 2009 with a star-studded show. The premiere episode featured Christian vs. Finlay in a match to determine the No. 1 contender for the ECW Championship, Cody Rhodes vs. Shane McMahon and The Undertaker vs. Matt Hardy.
Much like last week’s debut of Main Event, the WWE wanted to put on an absolutely loaded show to start Superstars off on a good foot and, hopefully, build up a loyal audience that would tune in week after week. Although it worked for a while, it didn’t take all that long for Superstars to turn into “Midcarders and Lower-Card Workers.”
The big names gradually disappeared from the show, and rather than seeing pay-per-view-caliber matchups and the advancement of storylines, Superstars quickly became the WWE’s C, if not D, show, with little focus on storylines and a very big focus on stars working at the bottom of the card.
While I’d like to be optimistic about the future of Main Event, I can’t help but think that it’s going to turn out a lot like Superstars has.
As mentioned before, Main Event’s debut episode featured a huge match pitting Sheamus against Punk, and it also featured a tag team tournament match pitting Santino Marella and Zack Ryder against Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel. That’s a pretty loaded “card” for a show on a network that airs no other original programming.
But just because Episode No. 1 of Main Event was a must-see show and Episode No. 2 will also feature a big match between Big Show and Randy Orton, that certainly doesn’t mean that this trend will continue. In fact, I think the opposite is true.
The WWE is already wearing out its top stars by having many of them consistently appear on both Raw and SmackDown—not to mention that they often make multiple appearances on the three-hour Raw shows—and I have to believe that this will catch up with the company in the long run.
I mean, can WWE officials really expect Punk to wrestle in the main event on Raw, compete on Main Event and work SmackDown…and still stay healthy? I’m not sure that’s even possible.
How long will it be before main-event stars disappear from Main Event?
What seems to be more likely is that the WWE realizes this in the not-so-distant future and that Main Event goes the way of Superstars. That is, it gradually (but definitely) starts phasing out its upper-midcarders and main-eventers and brings in midcarder and lower-card workers to replace them.
It’s more an issue of when, rather than if, this will happen.
Since it’s October now, I’d expect the WWE to try to fill Main Event with (pun intended) main-eventers to keep the show going strong until the end of 2012, but once 2013 comes around, the phase-out process will begin.
We won’t be seeing matches like Sheamus vs. Punk. We won’t see someone like The Undertaker appear. We won’t witness much storyline development on Ion, either.
No, it’ll be very early on in the year when Main Event becomes Superstars 2.0. Let’s just hope that things don’t get so bad that the show has to make the dreaded move to WWE.com.