WWE News: First hour of Raw and SmackDown Live to air commercial-Free
What’s the story?
USA Network will broadcast the first hour of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live commercial-free next week to celebrate the holidays.
In case you didn’t know..
Raw and SmackDown Live will air from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois (billed as Chicago) next week and will air on Monday, December 25 (Christmas Day), and Tuesday December 26 respectively.
The heart of the matter
The following is the press release WWE issued regarding the hour of commercial-free programming for Raw and SmackDown:
Celebrate the holidays with WWE as USA Network airs the first hour of both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown LIVE commercial-free this Monday, Dec. 25, at 8/7 C and Tuesday, Dec. 26, at 8/7 C. This also marks the first time that USA Network will air Raw live on Christmas.
With no commercials to cut to, any matches that begin at the start of Raw and SmackDown will go completely interrupted if they don’t go into the second hour.
In past years, Raw would air entire episodes commercial-free occasionally, but that will not be the case for next week’s programming.
The last commercial-free Raw episode aired on May 17, 2010 which featured Bret Hart defeating The Miz to win the United States Championship and John Cena vs. Sheamus. The last commercial-free SmackDown aired live on December 18, 2012 and featured The Miz TV interview of Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E.
The match originally planned for Raw was The Shield vs. Samoa Joe, Cesaro & Sheamus, but Dean Ambrose will not have recovered from elbow surgery and is expected to be replaced by Jason Jordan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The match promoted for SmackDown is AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship with SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan serving as the special guest referee.
Having no commercials in the first hour may be of great benefit to Raw and SmackDown’s viewership, but the subsequent hours may suffer due to the commercial’s return.