Powell's Blog: Three hours of WWE Raw means longer matches and more developmental darlings!!!

Posted in: Powell's Blog, MUST-READ LISTING
May 18, 2012 - 11:30 AM

Friday, May 18, 2012 – 11:30 A.M. (CT)

Vince McMahon has lost his damn mind. WWE expanding to three hours of Raw every Monday is insane. One can only hope that they are going to introduce a new approach, perhaps the rumored pre-game show, that doesn't require the company to deliver an expanded version of the current Raw format each week.

I know some of you are thrilled by this news. You love pro wrestling. You can't get enough of pro wrestling. Another hour of Raw means more pro wrestling (insert joke here) which means you get another 60 minutes to feed your insatiable appetite for all things pro wrestling. How could this possibly be bad news?

Because you are in the minority.

WWE Raw ratings are not dropping because viewers want an extra hour of WWE programming on Monday nights. The ratings are dropping because the company is struggling to produce a quality two-hour show that keeps viewers from flipping channels. Do you really expect the product to improve now that they have another hour to fill each week?

Yes, I know, this could it lead to longer matches. It could lead to Tyler Black, Kassius Ohno, Jon Moxley, and every other developmental darling of the online masses getting called up from developmental. Never mind that at least two of those guys are working dark matches and seem to be on the verge of being called up soon, all praise the move to three hours. This could be the greatest thing ever!!!

You know, just like when WCW Nitro expanded to three hours and there was hope amongst the diehard wrestling fans that the cruiserweight division was finally going to be showcased via longer matches and better storylines. Oh, and the mid-card wrestlers were finally supposed to break through that proverbial glass ceiling because the company had an extra hour to fill.

Whoa, hold on just one second, WWE has an ace up its sleeve. They are going to make the show more interactive than ever before!!! That's right, Cyber Sunday is coming to Monday nights!!! Just imagine what will happen when WWE gives viewers a chance to let their voices be heard. For instance, would you like to see the WWE Champion face (a) Heath Slater, (b) Darren Young, (c) one of the two guys Ryback squashed the week before, or (d) JOHN CENA? Fans, you can finally make a difference this will keep you watching intently.

Make no mistake about it, fanatical pro wrestling fans, this move isn't about you unless you've put your money where your entertainment passion lies. This move is about Wall Street. This move is about World Wrestling Entertainment collecting a bigger programming fee, which in turn will make its financial reports look better. It's never enough to turn a steady profit. Wall Street wants constant growth.

WWE isn't getting extra revenue from the monthly pay-per-views. They are not seeing big increases from advertising, live events, the failure that is WWE Studios, etc. Meanwhile, they will have to spend a fortune to get the highly suspect WWE Network off the ground. This move is about generating revenue here and now, not what's best for the most fanatical fans or even the long term future of the company. I'm sure some within the company have convinced themselves that it's for the latter, just as I'm sure some people in the WCW office did when Nitro expanded beyond its breaking point.

I'm already counting down the days to the next shareholders conference call. I'm anxious to hear a bravado-filled Vince McMahon boast about the extra revenue they generated by shifting Raw to three hours. Unless WWE alters the formula of Raw in some major way, then I'm also counting down the days to the inevitable conference call speech with Vince (or maybe one of his corporate officers conveniently fills in that day) telling shareholders that it's not such a bad thing that Raw is shifting back to two hours because the third hour watered down the product. If it gets to that point, I just hope the second scenario occurs before it's too late.

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