Opinion: WWE increasing edgy content is courtesy AEW's Non-PG start.
WWE is in a tough position right now. There has been a significant drop in TV ratings for both SmackDown Live and RAW in recent weeks. The quality of content has also taken a step back, and while the company is taking measures to bring back viewers, it's just not happening right now. The 24/7 Championship belt, the Wild-Card rule, and other changes were all introduced to give something new to the viewers, but the ratings are only plummeting to all-time lows week after week.
WWE's rise as the number one professional wrestling organization was born out of stiff competition from the rival company WCW. As things are today, AEW stands as a threat to WWE and seems capable enough to seriously challenge them once its weekly programming commences in October of this year. Presented with formidable competition for the first time in almost two decades, WWE appears to be worried about AEW's growth and the kind of edgier content that they have been able to provide in their last two, very well-received Pay-Per-Views. In the most recent episodes of RAW and SmackDown Live (1st and 2nd of July, 2019), there were many moments that were reminiscent of the Attitude Era.
While many can call this a return to the Attitude Era or Attitude Era-lite, WWE is just trying to generate interest through adult-oriented content without actually going back to the former wrestling product. WWE can potentially lose many young viewers to AEW; a jump back to content which is not exactly PG, but isn't explicitly a reversion to TV-14. helps the company in many ways. AEW and WWE both boast of a talented roster. AEW's sudden rise in the business can be explained by the superstars that they have in prominent positions. Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, and The Young Bucks' absence from NJPW and Ring Of Honor has left both companies relatively depleted. On the other front, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley have left WWE and are boosting AEW's chances to vie for the top spot in the industry, without the constraints that a PG show carries.
Double or Nothing and Fyster Fest - both Pay-Per-Views were critically acclaimed as top-quality wrestling shows. They have helped established AEW as an upstart promotion with real potential. With edgier content on offer - whether it is in the form of Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes, the unprotected chair shot to Cody Rhodes (which was a major talking point after Fyter Fest), or the overall vibe of the product - Tony Khan's company has set itself apart. Rhodes has said that blood and violence will help make AEW different from WWE, and WWE is trying to combat it with a fresh direction targeted more toward the adult demographic.Published 06 Jul 2019, 20:52 IST