It was around late summer 2008 when an event happened some wrestling fans would probably describe as an atrocity. It was something people described as the beginning of the end of WWE. It was the "idiotic" idea of turning all programming of WWE to the TV-PG rating.
Now this is of course talking about the American TV style of ratings. What does TV-PG mean exactly? Does it mean "kiddie" programming or "child” programming? No it does not.
Real shows that you'd see young children watch would be TV-G or lower down to the ratings of TV-Y7 and TV-Y. Yes some kids would watch TV-PG programming, but then again I remember many kids watching South Park which is TV-MA.
TV-PG basically involves moderate content such as moderate violence, some sexual themes, some suggestive dialogue, and not a big amount of "bad" language.
Those things make up the "D, L, S, and V" you'd see on some TV shows along with the rating. This is why when The Rock came back and said "ass" they didn't have to, or did, go back to TV-14.
Other TV shows throughout history don't have to be higher than TV-PG to be good. The famous Batman: The Animated Series is praised as being one of the best cartoons in history and IGN ranked it No. 2 behind The Simpsons as the greatest cartoon ever.
The Simpsons is also a show that has had TV-PG episodes, most noticeably in their earlier years.
But how was Batman so good without blood, cursing, and sexual themes? It had good characters and storylines, which is all you need to be a good story.
Pixar is another tremendous example of a product that is (in the movie world) rated PG. They have characters and stories that work, and work well to the point where kids and adults enjoy the product.
The 80's Hulk Hogan era in the WWE was even more "child friendly" than the current WWE (they had a cartoon show called Hulk Hogan's Rock n Wrestling), but had some of the greatest performers ever.
Wrestlers like Roddy Piper, Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, and Macho Man Randy Savage didn't need to curse to cut a good promo, or put on compelling matches.
The people who yell and scream for WWE to return to a TV-14 product say they want the blade jobs, the chair shots to the head, the cursing, etc. But that doesn't mean anything if the characters are total jokes and the storylines are dumb.
I personally don't want the wrestlers to get hit in the head with a chair, or have to fall on thumbtacks constantly to get a reaction. I actually care about their health.
Things like ECW and the Attitude Era spoiled and basically made fans build up a tolerance towards the violent and shock value product to the point where they act like the lack of violence means the product is bad.
Back in 1989 Terry Funk piledrived Ric Flair on a wooden table after Flair beat Ricky Steamboat for the NWA title. The table didn't break since it was a real table, but back then it was a big deal to do something like that since ECW didn't exist. The fans went insane because of it.
Back during that time and years before, if a wrestler brought a chair into the ring and used it, the fans would become rabid. Nowadays they barely make a real reaction to a chair shot. You'd have to give about three or four for the same reaction as one chair shot from the early 1980s.
A WWE Diva not being able to run around in a thong or be in a bra and panties match I say doesn't make a product bad.
I say a wrestler not having to take chair shot after chair shot to the head and possibly suffer a concussion or brain damage I say doesn't make a product bad.
I also say someone not being able to say "bitch" for a cheap reaction for the fans to go "Ohhhhhh!" at also doesn't make a product bad.
TV-PG is not the problem. The people who won't accept it and realize it's about the stories are.
(Quick note: PG-13 is for movies, so to those who bring up that rating in reference to WWE, please know the correct rating you want is TV-14)