So, in case you guys didn't here, RAW is moving to three hours starting with their 1,000th episode. And in case you didn't see my small write up in my Over the Limit Preview, I think having a 3 hour RAW every week will be bad for the long run. The WWE is having enough problems putting together two hour RAWs recently, why should I have any faith in them to put together a good three hour RAW every week? Plus, the WWE's most recent three hour RAWs don't exactly have the greatest track record. Outside of the Old School RAW at the end of 2010, no three hour RAW has been good from beginning to end. We did get the Nexus invasion in the summer of 2010, but that came at the tail end of an absolutely abysmal show.
If the WWE wants to make three hour RAWs successful from the start, they are going to need to do a handful of things to right the ship. In fact, they could do a lot of those things now to become prepared for 3 hour RAWs in July. While I still think this plan won't work out long term, if they want to have short term success, then they need to do some major over-hauling to their creative ways. Their booking practices will need to become different. Now they need to keep the audiences attention for another hour.
So what does the WWE need to do to keep their audiences attention? Well I'm glad you asked, because I came up with a list of ten things the WWE should consider with their move to 3 hours. And here they are for you right now!
1. Don't Over Expose Your Wrestlers/Characters
This is a problem the WWE is having with 2 shows that have 2 hours of wrestling each week. I fear this could become an even bigger problem with the 3 hour format. Having too much of someone on TV on one show makes certain people unbearable. The perfect example of this to me is John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis was decent in his role a few months ago when he was on TV for a short time. But ever since he became GM of both shows his character has become way over exposed. Johnny Ace was decent as the goof heel authority figure when he first started out, but now that he is on TV for what seems like once every quarter hour on RAW he has become a pain to watch.
At maximum, I think someone should appear about 3 times on TV for every show. One in ring/promo segment, one backstage segment, and one match. It is pretty much the trifecta of TV. They shouldn't be involved in multiple backstage segments. It is draining on the viewer. Despite what the WWE tends to think at times, the less a person is on TV, the more likely they are to catch on and gain fans. If they are on about half the show, then they get completely over-exposed and people will start picking out their flaws more then they will point out their strengths.
2. For the Love of God, Get Your Announcers to Call the Action
It has gotten somewhat better in the last couple months, but there are still times where I find the announcing team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler to be unbearable. For instance, if Dolph Ziggler is wrestling, I don't want to hear Jerry Lawler go on for the entire match about what Vickie Guerrero is wearing and how she looks terrible in it or is ugly. Some witty banter back and forth is okay, but not the majority of the match. Have Michael Cole call the action, and have Jerry Lawler give his thoughts. Also, don't talk about other wrestlers the whole match that aren't involved in it. I don't want the announcers talking about the whole John Cena/John Laurinaitis angle during a match that has nothing to do with the two. Getting the announcers more focused on the in ring action than secondary things will help.
3. Don't Make the Divas An Afterthought
If you read my RAW and PPV Reviews, you know I don't care too much for the Divas Division. But the main reason I don't care for it is because it seems like the WWE doesn't care for it either. They get at most 5 minutes a week on TV. Now I'm not saying the Divas should be getting a half an hour each week. But giving them a good 10-15 minutes of TV time would help at least develop some characters and personality for them. But the WWE also needs to find more Divas that are competent in the ring. The WWE needs to put some added focus on the Divas Division so they aren't losing hundreds of thousands of viewers every time the Divas come on TV. Let them talk a bit and give them a reason to stand out.
4. More Tag Team Wrestling
Wrestling fans have been hoping for this for years. The Tag Team Division has pretty much been non-existent for the last handful of years. At times I bet you couldn't even name the Tag Team Champions. The problem is that Vince McMahon and his YES men don't think tag team wrestling can get over, its boring, and fans don't want to see it. So for this reason, the WWE fails to introduce wrestlers as a tag team. Instead, they introduce guys as singles competitors. How different would it be if the WWE debuted a tag teams and they said that they were out to go through the tag team division and win the Tag Titles?
If the WWE wants to make the tag team division strong, then they need to debut wrestlers as tag teams. Instead, the WWEWWE puts together guys who aren't getting over as singles wrestlers and hopes that they can stick as a tag team. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, the WWE Tag Champs, are perfect examples. So are Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. The WWE also has Primo and Epico, as well as Titus O'Neil and Darren Young and Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins. A couple of face teams are needed, but an emphasis on tag team wrestling will help get the viewers re-focused on the tag team division.
5. Get the Mid Card Over
The WWE is always focused on their main event talent. They get the majority of TV time and rightfully so. They are the guys that attract the most viewers, sell the most merchandise, and get the biggest reactions from fans. But sooner or later, the John Cenas and C.M. Punks of the world will be gone. It probably won't be for a few years, but they will be. Or heaven forbid, one of them gets hurt. Then you could run into a major problem. Could you imagine how much ratings would struggle if John Cena suffered a long term injury?
That's why, with 3 hours, the WWE really needs to get fans to care about their mid card wrestlers. And don't give up on them either. Don't pull the rug out from the pushes of Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, and Jack Swagger for what appears to be no reason. If the WWE hadn't pulled the plug on those guys pushes you would have guys that you could elevate to the main event level when needed and fill in a slot on a PPV. And if a rating or buyrate isn't great the first time they are in the main event, so be it. Don't let it ruin the push or have it be a reason to stop said push.
So how does the WWE get these guys over? Give them time to speak on the mic. Let the fans decide whether or not they like them or not. Give them time to showcase their talents in the ring and on the mic. And I'm not talking about getting over like Santino with comedy. Get over with your work in the ring. Not every over wrestler needs to be a comedy act. Because when it comes to PPV time, you need to be able to work a 10 minute match and not just say a bunch of lame jokes to help get the crowd on your side. Another thing I would like to see is the mid card guys getting a chance at the main eventers. Why not have someone like Tyson Kidd wrestle a competitive match against C.M. Punk? Having a good mid card helps you lessen the need to have your main eventers out on TV half the show.
6. Longer Wrestling Matches
This is something that the WWE can help get their viewers used to now. If you are going to have a 3 hour RAW, you need to be able to have longer matches on TV. We can't have Brodus Clay and Ryback squash matches every week. Or the Big Show crying in the ring for 30 minutes. This may be sports entertainment, but it is also professional wrestling. As I said, give your mid carders time to work in he ring. I would like to see at least 3 matches on each RAW go over 10 minutes. While we have guys like C.M. Punk and Chris Jericho who can cut a good promo, let them work in the ring too, which is what they are best at and love to do. The more good wrestling on the show, the less likely you are to have a viewer tune out.
And of course, knowing the WWE, they will give us a 20 minute Great Khali/Kane match.
7. How About A Couple Managers and Stables
The WWE seems to be starting this process, possibility, with A.W. and his group of wrestlers. Right now he has Primo and Epico as well as Mason Ryan. But that group needs a main event player to make it seem legit. But if you have a mid card guy that is struggling on the mic, the best thing to do would be to find a manager that can get them over. Can u imagine putting a mid card guy in a stable with Vickie Guerrero? That guy, even if he struggled on the mic, would get instant heel heat and can use that in his matches and to help get him over. The WWE has the roster to have a stable or two. I usually like stables or factions to have about 4 guys: a tag team, mid carder and main eventer. It could be three as well if you don't want to have a tag team. But the whole "power in numbers" thing can be effective for a stable.
8. Limit Your Replays
I'm pretty sure Big Show getting fired was replayed about three times in the last hour of that show. That's about as annoying as it can get. One or two replays spread out through the entire show works fine. Maybe have one at the top of the hour and one right before a match that is happening as a result of what happened. But replaying it every ten minutes takes away from TV time that could go to other wrestlers.
9. Shut Up About Twitter
Yes, I know the show is going to be interactive. But if Twitter is mentioned every minute I may just go ahead and get rid of my own Twitter account. It is getting to the point where their Twitter plugs are becoming unbearing. Talk about over exposure.
10. Balance Everything Out
I don't know if its just me, but it seems like the timing of RAW has been off lately. Commercials back to back in quick time, too many commercials during matches. Over runs that go longer than expected. Too many backstage segments in a row. Everything should be spaced out better than that. Its ok to have a couple of matches in a row without any backstage nonsense.
So there you have it. Do I think these will last? No. I don't think the ratings will hold up in the long run. That first hour will normally be low rated, causing the rating of the show to go down. If anything, I think what the WWE could do is move RAWs start time up to 8 p.m., then have the show end at 10 p.m. Then, if the WWE Network launches on time, a recap show could be done from 10 to 11 on the Network. Three hour Nitros didn't work for WCW in the long run, and I can't see RAW working for the WWE either.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka