After reading today that Triple H has suddenly decided to admit there is a problem with RAW, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. It’s as though WWE’s check engine light has been on for more than a year, but now that the car has burst into flames they are willing to admit that PERHAPS they should take it in to the shop.
The problems that WWE are having are so much bigger than just RAW. At this point the A show is deathly ill, and the B show (SmackDown) is dead in the water. I’ve already made many, many suggestions about how focusing on better storytelling could help these problems, but maybe we try taking a different look at things. Just altering the storylines is not the only place to start – sometimes you have to start with the end result and work backwards.
(Hey, Ed, here’s your shout-out for helping inspire this blog post!)
What if WWE started by making RAW 2 hours. Maybe not in actuality, either. If Triple H is serious about fixing the WWE product, he needs a game plan. Where does the thread lead us if we start by cutting the RAW program down by a third?
Obviously WWE would have to limit the amount of content they can include in their show. If you have finite space, you have to edit down. This forces the WWE creative staff to start prioritizing. I don’t mean ranking the roster by their standing, or which feuds are the most important. I’m talking about at the core of the company, what trumps everything else. When you are watching the product, what does WWE want to convey to you that everyone’s end goal should be?
I would have to say it’s the championship titles.
If this is true, then everything can be set up as a pyramid from there. Anyone involved in the title pictures should be allotted time on the program – the champions and their challengers. From there, empty spaces can be filled by people who serve specific, unique purposes (for example, a non-title feud between Stardust and Goldust as Goldust attempts to draw Cody Rhodes out of his alter ego) or to give screen time to people who will eventually be moving into the title pictures.
Once a script can be set up with time slots for all of the matches involved in these storylines, WWE can go back through and make sure that all of levels required to make the product entertaining are reached: comedy, suspense, drama, etc. Knowing, too, that the format has changed gives everyone an opportunity to take stock of their characters and try to better fit what they do to how the layout of the program has changed.
Moving from three hours to two hours also means they can make a concerted effort to lay out all of the necessary plot points over four hours: two on RAW and two on SmackDown. Whether this means focusing certain belts on certain programs or simply writing four hours of programming and cutting it in half is up to them.
What is key here is that a two hour RAW would totally force WWE to reformat the show entirely. You couldn’t start with a twenty-minute promo every week if that 20 minute promo was 1/6 of your entire program. They would need to either start with a match or keep the promos far more concise than they have. It would also, hopefully, eliminate the phrase “why is this a thing?” from the fanbase’s lexicon. Limited time means everything that makes TV should be important. Otherwise it’s a waste.
Let’s do more with this tomorrow – maybe do a fantasy booking for transitioning the current WWE storylines into something interesting and watchable over two hours of RAW and two hours of SmackDown.
As always, leave comments or tweet me with your thoughts!