From the WWE Rumor Mill: 4-hour pay-per-views to be 5 hours?
The 'Big 5' pay-per-views to now be 5 hours each!?
What’s the story?
During the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer was speculating that WWE will move four-hour pay-per-views to five hours in length.
In case you didn’t know…
This doesn't just mean the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series, as last year it was revealed that WWE Money in The Bank would be upgraded to a four-hour show and now the 'Big Four', would be considered to be the 'Big Five'.
The first dual-branded pay-per-view will be Backlash on May 6, 2018. Ironically, when WWE decided to stop doing RAW only and Smackdown only pay-per-views during the original brand split, the first non-big four dual-branded pay-per-view was also Backlash, in 2007.
The heart of the matter
While speaking about the rumor during the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer said:
“While again not official, within WWE the belief was that, because of having to fit the top stars of both brands, that the former B shows will be increased an hour with two match pre-shows and four hour PPV shows. They will have both shows specifically pushing the same PPV every month and all the top stars would be on it. The negative is a lot of the middle and lower card acts won’t be on PPV as much, if at all. And if they’re not on the PPV, they’ll be focused on less on television. One of the benefits of the brand split, which, when it comes to ratings has been a success since Smackdown is more popular and Raw’s massive slide has decreased, is that more wrestlers are being featured each week as stars. Since they have to fill hours of television, you’ll probably get more stipulation matches on the television shows that would have been on PPV with mid-level guys.
It also makes having separate champions in each brand feeling even sillier since the key title bouts will be on shows with the other brand’s title also defended. You’ll have two women’s title matches and two tag title matches on most shows, along with two world title and two secondary singles titles and a cruiserweight title (which is likely to almost never be on the main PPV shows). There will be title matches relegated to the pre-show, hurting their significance. There will be less place for non-championship matches, and to get the top stars on the show, likely more multiple-person matches. Also, there will likely be more matches on the shows meaning less time or more rushed matches. So there’s good with the bad. The biggest complaint on WWE PPV shows has been the length of the big shows, and now every show will be five hours long.”
WWE Elimination Chamber will be the final RAW only pay-per-view which will air this Sunday. WWE Fastlane will be the final Smackdown only event, it airs March 11, 2018.
I know many fans won't be happy about this and may look at it resembling how three hours of RAW every week drags out a little, but I will be looking forward to the change. It will give longer time to big matches.