WWE Desperately Needs to Make Changes to Flagship Shows RAW and SmackDown
"If I cannot overwhelm with my quality, I will overwhelm with my quantity." - Emile Zola
For better or worse, gone are the days of the WWE brand split. Gone are the days of SmackDown and Raw being marketed as two separate shows competing against each other for dominance within the WWE Universe.
WWE fans are now subjected to twice as much weekly programming but seemingly half as much original weekly content. Nowadays, Raw is the "A" show and SmackDown is largely a recap of said "A" show. Main Event and Superstars can be worth watching, but do they ever advance any major story or feud sufficiently enough for fans to consider the content unmissable?
I am not suggesting that the brand split has any chance of returning, but fans are beginning to tire of the current state of Raw and SmackDown.
Raw's most significant problem is that the show has become so crammed with filler, recaps and tedious plugs for the enthralling content of the WWE app that most fans can not stomach sitting through three hours of it every single week, and we're only at Monday.
As a fan from the United Kingdom, Raw is televised live at an inconvenient time, so I began to record the show with the idea that I would be able to skip segments and matches that seemed futile. At first this was great, but I soon fell into the trap of skipping most of the show, as fast-forwarding the squash matches, movie plugs and adverts essentially turns Raw into an hour-long broadcast.
A second problem is, of this now trimmed single hour, the content itself appears to become less and less original every week as we witness rematch after rematch after rematch. For instance, since Dec. 30, we have seen Randy Orton and Antonio Cesaro face off nine times.
Across these matches, Cesaro has never been victorious, only once scrambling to a no-contest draw against the Viper on Main Event. We know the story. Please spare us the weekly reminder.
Another example of unforgivably repetitive booking is that of Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston, who have had the same Ziggler-wins-by-pinfall match countless times recently.
Of course, it must be acknowledged that WWE's thin roster means that repetitive booking is almost unavoidable given the amount of television it's are required to produce each and every week, but it does nothing to capture the imagination of new or old fans.
Finally, the match statistics from last night's episode of Monday Night Raw highlight an absolutely crucial flaw in the three-hour broadcast. Of the eight televised bouts, only two ran over five minutes.
Why, on a three-hour wrestling show, was United States champion Kofi Kingston given just over two minutes to put on a match with Damien Sandow? Why did the producers have Randy Orton go over Antonio Cesaro in just three minutes? Why could former United States champion Zack Ryder not last more than 63 seconds against Ryback?
Ultimately, WWE's primary problem appears to be that it values quantity over quality, which has led to a watering down of the product and a poorer weekly television broadcast.
WWE needs to do something to remedy this fundamental flaw before its fans, new and old, up and leave.
I look forward to debating those of you who feel I have displayed an unnecessarily negative attitude toward the current product in this article.
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