July 2008 was the birth of the PG era and for the last three years we've seen the best and the worst of the PG Era. Everyone is either bashing the PG driving WWE product left and right or trying to look at the bright side of the PG Era. So I have decided to list the top three major pros and top three major cons regarding the PG Era.
Let's look at the bright side first!
Creating Long Time/ Die Hard fans
We all remember that cherished moment when we became fans of pro-wrestling. Maybe it was hearing the rock saying he was going to shine something up and turn it sideways and shove it up somebody's candy ass. Perhaps it was seeing Stone Cold stunning someone. Maybe it was seeing the Guerreros lying, cheating and stealing.
It's is the long time and die hard fans that keep the wrestling business alive. Some fans just follow their favorite wrestler or wrestlers until they retire. Some fans watch wrestling just to nitpick it in every way. Many just love the art of pro-wrestling.
What all theses fans have in common is they most likely started watching pro-wrestling at a young age.
So the current WWE program will end up having a lot of parents allowing their kids to watch their programming. This will create a lot of new long-term fans who will continue to watch for many years.
"Mommy, mommy I want that new John Cena action figure. I want to see the Royal Rumble, daddy. Can you get me that Rey Mysterio mask grandpa?" Millions of little wrestling fans are cash cows and the PG Era will attract more kids to the product hence more cash in the merchandising aspect of WWE.
The bottom line is that the revenue stream will increase thanks to the little kiddies. Almost all the products the WWE sells is aimed at kids, so more kids watching WWE means more money.
PG is an advertiser's best friend! For advertisers, PG means their reputation will be safe and money will be made. The Attitude Era was everything advertisers did not like. It was a very successful period in wrestling lore, as we all know, and the ratings for WWE were through the roof at the time, so the need for advertisers was non-existent.
Once the Attitude Era ended and the crowds started to get smaller, the need for advertisers became evident. In order to nab great advertisers, WWE needed to do a 360, turning their product PG to help attract advertisers like moths to light. With four WWE shows on the air every week, it’s crucial for WWE to get and maintain advertisers.
Pushing fans away
People in my age group, late teens to early 20s, despise the PG Era to the point of turning the channel or simply losing interest due to the programming not being targeted at them.
Heels are cowards nowadays, when back in the '90s they would not run, but fight. Even the baby faces were hellish in their ways. Steve would flip the finger to the crowd and DX would tell every one to suck it. No wrestler today is an anti-hero and all are the quintessential good guy. It's great for the kiddies, but it alienates older fans. It’s inevitable that every new wrestling era will push the fans from the last era away.
With a TV-14 rating, it’s a desert-size pool of ideas for storylines. With a PG rating, you only get a measly sandbox filled with ideas. You had Stone Cold pointing a gun at Vince, which in turn made Vince pee himself and this was the epic McMahon vs Austin feud.
You had Vince McMahon's kiss my ass club and DX promos. Yeah, a lot of storylines weren’t great, like Mark Henry dating a transvestite and the Katie Vick incident, but this made for unpredictable programming and created many fond memories to cherish or laugh at.
With WWE being PG you get Hornswaggle doing his antics and you get stale characters like John Cena and redundant storylines.
Nowadays, WWE ratings on Raw are averaging 3.5 by my estimate, and in the mid '90s the average was 5.88 rating! So the ratings dropped dramatically since things started to become stale and PG.
Some of you who keep track of WWE ratings may remember that the ratings were falling in 2008, so WWE thought a change to PG would get higher ratings as families would be watching. The ratings could be contributed to stale characters, sub-par storylines and turning to PG. The ratings will not be back to what it was a decade ago.
As we can see, there are positives and negatives to the PG era. When the Attitude Era ended, ratings were falling and WWE had low attendances in stadiums, so the change to PG in their perspective was needed out of survival.
The PG era could be short-term or long-term, depending on who works for the company at the time and what all the key demographics want. We all must realize the WWE is building up the younger generation into long term fans, and maybe, just maybe when they become the group of late teens to early 20s who are clamoring for a edgier programming then the Attitude Era will come back!
I know many will agree and disagree with my negatives and positives and I also realize that there are more negatives and positives I have missed in my article. Comment if I missed anything or just to express your viewpoints on the subject.