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WWE Rumors: WWE being taken advantage of by television networks

Is WWE being naive with its approach to TV?

Don’t expect RAW to revert back to two hours anytime soon

What’s the story?

On a recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, wrestling journalism icon Dave Meltzer spoke about how the thee-hour RAW format was detrimental to the WWE, and that the company was being taken advantage of by television networks in the process.

Whilst the three-hour format was a positive initially due to increased advertising revenue, in the long run, such over-saturation can only be bad for the industry. 

Meltzer believes that television networks are using RAW until the next big things comes along, when in reality WWE should be taking advantage of their position while they still can. 

In case you didn’t know...

Since changing to a three-hour format in July 2012, the length of WWE RAW has been a constant source of consternation for fans and performers alike. Almost everyone agrees that the three-hour format is simply too long for a television program of any kind, not least a professional wrestling one.

The subject was discussed by John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield and Paul Heyman on the WWE Network’s newest show, ‘Bring It To The Table’.

The heart of the matter

JBL and Heyman discussed the matter, but they mostly gave dismissive defences of unpopular company policies. A real debate on the subject is still missing, and it could be a debate that may well save WWE a lot of money and stress in the future.

In his show Meltzer talks about how this is a television trend, where a product gets popular and TV networks go wild, flooding the market with it. However, the product loses momentum over time and is eventually replaced by the next big thing. 

WWE has been somewhat lucky as the USA Network has been unable to produce another hit program over the last few years. This isn’t to say that they won’t, however, and WWE would do well to learn from history and grab what they can, while they can.

What’s next?

It seems unlikely that RAW is going to revert to a two-hour format anytime soon, and it is even less likely that a meaningful discussion on the positives and negatives of the three-hour RAW episodes will happen.

WWE is notoriously stubborn when it comes to unpopular policies, and one that currently brings in a good chunk of ad money is unlikely to be one that changes the mindset. As Meltzer states, however, this has happened before, citing the history of pro wrestling on TBS.

Sportskeeda’s take

At three hours long, WWE RAW is simply too lengthy. The resurgence of SmackDown Live over the last few months is proof that main roster WWE still has the ability to produce great professional wrestling TV, but it won’t do so over a three-hour format. 

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