"Too Many" Is the Answer to so Many of WWE's Content Issues

Justin LaBarFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2013

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

If you include NXT and Superstars, WWE produces eight-and-a-half hours of original weekly programming―no scripted entertainment show should have that much new programming a week.

WWE's different programs are aimed at different demographics depending on the show format, day and time it airs. Saturday Morning Slam is meant to target younger kids, whereas Raw is more for older members of the WWE Universe. From a branding standpoint, it makes sense. From a quality standpoint, it sucks.

The answer with so many issues within WWE is “too many.”

There are too many weekly programs. There are too many yearly pay-per-views. There are too many creative writers (16 on staff) with their hands in the pot.

WWE films all of the weekly programs on Monday or Tuesday in one venue. Two days of filming for a week of content. It's an efficient process that turns a profit.

There are too many pay-per-views. The more there is of anything, the less significant that anything becomes. The cost of putting on a pay-per-view is about the same as filming Monday Night Raw. Similar set up. Same amount of manpower. But with pay-per-view, WWE is charging higher ticket prices and people are paying $60 to see it at home. It seems to be an obvious money maker.

Today, one company is producing the same amount of weekly content that it took three national wrestling companies to turn out 15 years ago.

The too many hours of programming is highlighted by its repetitiveness. A viewer might watch a new episode of any show and not be crazy about it, but you never hear them request a rerun over new episodes. Sometimes WWE's content-boarders rerun with the same matches and video flashbacks.

Again, business wise I understand the aggressive selling of top angles/stars with the repeat matches and video flashbacks―but business justification doesn't null and void quality measurement.

If each program of Raw, SmackDown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam (and perhaps even the development of NXT) all produced matches or feuds that had payoffs at a pay-per-view, then it makes the eight-and-a-half hours worth it. Right now, stories that you pay to see advance on pay-per-view only get developed on Raw and SmackDown. It shouldn't be this way.

Let Raw and SmackDown sell the top five matches for a pay-per-view, but allow the lower-level shows to each create a match. You get a card with at least eight matches, utilizing more talent who you're already paying, and it creates an interest in those lesser known shows.

Even if the consumer doesn't care or isn't following the lower-level matches, it gives them more to watch of what they're already paying for. You also might turn new viewers on to some of the lower-level shows.

I always think that less is more. But if you're going to commit to eight-and-a-half hours of programming because of financial gain and efficiency, at least toss some quality justification in there as well.