Opinion: Is WWE's PG rating really the problem with the current product?
One of the biggest topics of discussion within the IWC for the past few years has been WWE's PG rating and how it has affects their overall product. Many feel that the company's family-friendly approach has made WWE programming stale and bland, and has taken away the edge that made Vince McMahon's billion dollar company popular in the first place.
The counterpoint has been that WWE going PG has attracted some huge amount of younger audiences - especially children, who now form a major chunk of its fanbase - closer to the product. This has also led to the product becoming more sponsor-friendly with the company tying with some of the top brands in the world. But, the PG product is partially responsible for alienating some of its adult (18-49 years) demographic.
The benefits and limitations of the PG era aside, it cannot be argued that it has played a major part in WWE becoming a mainstream media entity. In many ways, they have grown beyond the professional wrestling industry - and a lot of this has to do with them catering to the younger members of their audience. Sure, the company was at its peak during the Attitude Era where edgy programming was the norm; however, the progression and evolution of WWE since then has made it unlikely that we see them revert back to pre-PG era days.
And, to be honest, PG is not really the problem here. If it were to be the case, NXT wouldn't have become one of the hottest brands in wrestling today. WWE's "Developmental Brand" has a dedicated fanbase, the majority of them being young adults in the 18-30 age bracket. NXT has worked within the shackles of PG, and has delivered on the big stage, time and time again. We can't remember blood being spilled (intentionally) in an NXT ring ever or mature themes being explored in the black and yellow brand.
The problem with the current WWE product is the lack of coherent storytelling and the prevalence of illogical angles and storylines, not the PG rating. WWE's main roster product has been on a downward spiral because of the company's lack of creative direction and a huge disconnect with its fanbase.
NXT's rising popularity proves that one can work in the PG era and still deliver a product which attracts young and mature alike. The debate surrounding whether WWE should revert back to TV-14 rating is a redundant one in my opinion and doesn't hold water, especially if one takes a look at how great the NXT product has been.