I’ve been watching WWE since SmackDown debuted in 1999 when The Rock was laying the smackdown on jabronis and DX had their tour bus, which would be destroyed by the Texas Rattlesnake himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin. I kept on watching as all the stars of the “Attitude” era slowly faded away and the wrestlers of the “Ruthless Aggression” era took over the spotlight. Even as WWE went away from their edgier TV-14 demographic and moved towards the “PG” era, I remained a loyal follower. Through thick and thin, I’ve always stayed current with what WWE was offering, even Santina Marella wasn’t enough to deter me from watching. However, it has become much more difficult for me to keep giving my time to WWE’s current product and I’d like to explore why WWE is losing my interest in this article.
I would like to think that my current apathy towards WWE television is hopefully just a low point that WWE will soon rise from, but I’m beginning to think that there are far larger issues with the company as a whole that are preventing me from enjoying what they are offering. These are the present issues that I would like to discuss that I think might explain why I can hardly be bothered to check out the highlights of Monday Night Raw on Twitter:
- WWE doesn’t respect the viewer’s time,
- WWE doesn’t respect their talent,
- and legitimate competition has emerged for the first time in over a decade.
WWE Doesn’t Respect the Viewer’s Time
Let’s begin with how WWE expects its viewers to treat their programming as though it is their religion.
WWE content begins for the week with Monday Night Raw which is three hours, NXT has an hour-long episode every week, SmackDown is another two hours long, and the average PPV – oops, sorry, I meant “premium live event” – is three more hours of viewing, which occurs once per month.
Not to mention WrestleMania seems to have transitioned into being a two-night event now, so during WrestleMania week, that is another two four-hour long shows within two nights, and that’s not even counting the pre-show stuff which I can’t even be attempted to convince myself to care about. To recap, you’re expected to watch six hours of television every week on average.
If it’s a week that has a non-WrestleMania event, that’s nine hours of content, and if it is the week of WrestleMania, you’re looking at a bare minimum of 14 hours of content to watch.
I can excuse WrestleMania week somewhat, even though I don’t agree with it being split into two nights, since it’s a once-per-year extravaganza. But an average of six to nine hours of content to watch every week is just unreasonable for most people. Between people’s busy lives and the fact that many other shows and movies are vying for your time, for WWE to expect the audience to keep up with that much programming every week is just absurd.
Monday Night Raw needs to go back to being a two-hour-long show. Sorry, but with the brand split, I just don’t think there is enough talent on Raw alone to justify three hours of television. When you have a segment that is just a large chunk of your roster that you don’t know what to do with, chasing after someone that holds the effectively worthless 24/7 Title, WWE needs to look in the mirror and ask themselves if that needs to be on TV? It doesn’t, there, I just answered that question.
End the Brand Split?
Ending the brand split is something that draws a lot of debate from WWE fans. Not only does WWE play fast and loose with the “rules” of the brand split but they could still effectively operate as though there are separate rosters without actually proclaiming to the audience that the rosters are split between Raw and SmackDown.
What I mean by that is that, let’s say WWE wants AJ Styles to be a star on SmackDown. Well, you don’t have to split the brands and keep AJ Styles tethered to SmackDown. You simply book AJ Styles predominantly on SmackDown, while still allowing yourself to have him appear on Raw, should the need or want to arise. To me, the brand split just feels like WWE is opting to tie one arm behind their back for no apparent reason. By not having a brand split, WWE opens itself up to so many more interactions between the superstars, which would make things a lot more interesting on each show.
WWE Doesn’t Respect Their Talent
Speaking of the talent, explain to me how I’m supposed to be invested in a character on the show when it feels like at any moment WWE will release a statement on Twitter saying “we’ve come to the agreement on the release of that wrestler you were interested in, lol…”? I know that not all of the releases are things that WWE can necessarily control. But during the pandemic, WWE started a new trend of making large cuts to the roster, seemingly out of nowhere, with the reason being budget-related.
Related: WWE Rumours for May 23, 2022
I’m sorry, but when anyone who takes two minutes to search up how much WWE has made in profits year over year since the pandemic began, the whole “we need to save money” argument from WWE doesn’t hold up too well. I don’t claim to know all the reasons for the cuts and I don’t think anyone besides those who were cut and the powers that be at WWE ever really will know.
What I do know is that when you book a guy like Braun Strowman in the title picture one week, then he’s seemingly gone from your history books the next week, it becomes a bit too much of an ask for me to keep investing myself in your characters when you (WWE) don’t even want to be invested in them.
Something WWE hasn’t had to compete with since the Attitude era when they slew WCW is another wrestling promotion that can rival them in terms of star power and programming. Now, I know All Elite Wrestling (AEW) isn’t as big as the WWE in terms of sheer numbers, yet. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at the very notion of AEW even being close to the level of WWE.
If you watch an episode of Dynamite on any given week, though, I think you would be very hard-pressed to objectively say that the entertainment factor isn’t on par, or even surpasses WWE in many regards. You also have to keep in mind that AEW is still relatively new on the scene. WWE has had decades to build up a following, whereas AEW has only been around for a few years and already finds itself in the conversation as the best wrestling promotion in the world more often than not.
This stiff competition is something that is a large factor in where I choose to spend my time when it comes to which wrestling show I want to watch. Ever since Dynamite started, if you forced me to pick only one wrestling show to watch each week, I would choose Dynamite nine times out of ten. I think the show is booked a lot better, the two hours are filled with quality matches and segments from beginning to end (mostly) and AEW hasn’t done a whole lot to make me harbor any ill will towards them at this point – except for the exploding barbed wire deathmatch, which may go down as one of the greatest botches in history.
AEW is by no means perfect and has many of its own problems, but I find it much more entertaining than what WWE offers most weeks.
Wrapping Things Up
These are some of the more predominant factors that are causing me to lose interest in WWE lately. The most frustrating part of it all is that I know that when WWE is firing on all cylinders, practically no other entertainment medium on this planet can match them, and I mean no others, even outside the realm of professional wrestling.
Lately, though, they’ve been giving me a weekly dose of insulting my intelligence by expecting me to devote far too much time to a product that they can barely manage to consistently care about. Their issues are all fixable ones but it seems like WWE is content to stay the course with shows that are longer than they need to be and treating their talent as disposable cogs in a machine. I hope that WWE rights the ship soon, or I may find myself a former WWE fan before long.
While you’re here, check out some of the latest WWE rumors here.
Thanks for reading!