Its already widely known that in the summer of 2002 Vince McMahon held clandestine meetings with Vince Russo to discuss improving RAW and for Russo to rejoin the writing team. At this point RAW’s ratings had halved from what they were in 1999, and Vince was certain that change was needed. Unfortunately in the Autumn of 2000 Vince had inserted Stephanie McMahon, his daughter, as head of creative. Since that point WWE had seen ratings fall not to mention the hugely squandered opportunity during the Invasion angle. For whatever reasons, and there are plenty out there, Russo declined WWE’s offer of joining as a consultant and WWE carried on as normal. The RAW rating for this period was roughly around the 3.6 fast forward to June 2014 and they are at 2.9. That’s right in 12 years the rating has fallen.
Now WWE will offer up all manner of excuses for this such as TV boxes that record the show, other devices to watch RAW on and the internet and no doubt these play a small factor for sure. However these advancements in technology have not affected the NFL or the NBA when it comes to viewing figures. The fact remains that if fans want to watch a show enough they will stay in and watch it.
WWE are clearly not engaging there fans enough to make them feel like RAW is must see TV. While I am sure there are plenty of reasons for this here I am going to give 5 ways that I think will help WWE to improve RAW.
Don’t Start Every RAW With A Talking Segment
I can’t remember the last time RAW started with an actual wrestling match. I understand WWE have 3 hours to fill and storylines and matches have to be built. That’s all well and good but is it any wonder the ratings for the opening segment of RAW is down when fans have seen it time and time again. Week after week we start with HHH and Stephanie, generally its them 2 though occasionally it will be someone else, come out and reel off a speech that is more or less the exact same thing we heard the week before. Hell they are still bashing Daniel Bryan about being a B+ player which we first heard back in August 2013. Now there is nothing wrong with reinforcing a point so that it drives home with the fans but when it becomes repetitive fans, as proven, will tune out. Also I do believe that most wrestling fans tune in to watch actual wrestling as much as WWE wants to disassociate itself from that word. Like it or not RAW is a wrestling show that wrestling fans watch, no amount of “Soap Opera” will ever replace the “Rope Opera”
Make All Talking Segments Shorter
Think back to all the best talkers in the business over the years…..Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold and The Rock, what were they all known for? Catchphrases!! Could all of them ramble on? Of course they could if they wanted to and The Rock in particular does that now that his Superstar status is assured. Back in the day though The Rock was to the point, same with Hogan and Austin. You never saw Austin come out and give a history lesson, he came out and said he wanted to fight, it was simple and hugely effective. Promos don’t have to be long and drawn out, they should be sharp and to the point. Exactly how much does a fan take away from a 15 minute promo anyway? Its no different to when someone moans at you for a long time and by the end you’ve forgotten the majority of what was said at the beginning. Even the infamous CM Punk pipe bomb promo was no more than 7 minutes and that is widely considered the greatest promo of all time. Whether they like it or not long rambling promos are not whats best for business.
Stop The Constant Recaps
If WWE is wondering why certain fans only tune in at certain times its because thanks to the plethora of recaps they will see everything they didn’t bother to tune in and watch. A fan can literally miss the first hour of RAW and still find out what happened thanks to the recaps. WWE are making it easy for fans not to watch all of the show. Also how monotonous is it for the 3.5 million people who have already seen what happened have to watch a recap again and again? WWE already have Bottom Line and Afterburn which are recap shows, they really don’t need to do it constantly mid RAW.
No More Adverts During Matches
I understand that WWE wants people to download there official app, but surely there must be better ways to promote it than having bits of missing matches shown on it. How many times has RAW cut to a commercial break during a match only to return with the participants in a headlock or another interminable rest hold? While this tactic may encourage some to download the app its more likely to break the viewers interest in the match and annoy fans. WWE have ample room in the 3 hours to show all the commercials they have to and not break the flow of any matches. Again wrestling fans want to watch wrestling matches….just show the adverts before and after.
Stop Mocking/Jobbing Hometown Stars
Aside from CM Punk, and that is slowly changing, WWE always seem to have the hometown hero lose, humiliated or disparaged. Paige lost her first WWE televised match in England as an example. WWE use to take great pleasure in routinely humiliating Jim Ross in Oklahoma, and then had the cheek to moan when they stopped selling out the state. Fans like cheering one of their own, it makes them feel good to know that someone from where they live made it to the big time. Why WWE feels the need to do this is beyond me especially when, allegedly, the reason The Rock went over at Wrestlemania 28 was because Vince wanted to send the Miami crowd home happy. Now I don’t have the exact figures but I am guessing a lot of the fans in attendance that night were not Miami natives as is the case with every Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania is a global event that fans from all over the world travel to see. There is no hometown crowd when it comes to the grandaddy of them all. However I do endorse the idea behind sending the fans home happy, that is the correct way for WWE to go. Fans should leave the arena/stadium happy, after all they are more likely to buy a ticket again if they are happy. Now they should apply that philosophy to every RAW and consider the TV viewers as well, if a viewer is happy with what they saw then they are more likely to tune in the following week. That’s whats best for business.
What ways would you guys improve RAW?
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