WWE News: Three-Hour Expansion of Monday Night Raw Was a Risk Taken in 2012

Daniel Peragine@DPMajesticCoSenior Analyst IIJanuary 1, 2013

UNCASVILLE, CT - AUGUST 3:  Actor Jeremy Piven guest hosts WWE's 'Monday Night Raw' at Mohegan Sun on August 3, 2009 in Uncasville, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

With 2012 now officially in the past, WWE is set to move forward in 2013 beginning with the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

At this point in time, a three-hour expansion to its flagship show, Monday Night Raw, does not seem to be a bad idea. Given the fact that wrestling superstar The Rock is set to make a return to challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship, Monday Night Raw advancing to three hours would make sense at this present moment.

Unfortunately, the WWE pulled the plug too early by giving Raw that extra third hour in 2012.

Monday Night Raw had seemed to do just fine as a two-hour program, as the show was not dragged out with fillers and random matches. Raw just seemed to click and produce better television as a two-hour production. However, once the monumental 1,000th edition of Monday Night Raw came, WWE expanded the show to three hours.

Advancing Monday Night Raw to three hours could have been used effectively to help grow rising stars in the wrestling industry. The major benefit of that extra hour seemed to give the show some breathing room instead of trying to rush things into a two-hour format.

Nevertheless, it was a risky decision on WWE's part. Expanding Monday Night Raw to three hours brought new problems to the WWE. Suddenly, Raw became a dragged out program for viewers to watch, as the show became filled with video packages and talking segments. With a dragged out program, viewership began to take a hit, as the third hour of Monday Night Raw struggled to grip any sort of a strong finish for the WWE.

However, WWE could finally see some benefits moving to three hours in the early months of 2013. With the company set to go forth on its WrestleMania fever, the WWE has much potential to finally make Monday Night Raw worth watching for three hours.

2012 brought much excitement to the company, from Punk's WWE Championship title reign to the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw. Yet, despite all the highs, Raw could not see much benefit after moving permanently to three hours on Monday nights. This could mostly be blamed on its dragged out production and third-hour woes in viewership.

The biggest concern for Monday Night Raw going forward is will the show struggle once it moves on from its WrestleMania pay-per-view event?

Only time will tell whether that happens or not.