According to Wrestling Observer Radio‘s Dave Meltzer, WWE will be pushing more controversial content in an attempt to reach a more teenage audience and show their “edginess”. If true, that would be a mistake.
A company that moved to PG for a reason, there are many factors that go into being more family friendly. If you look at the reasons not to do so, they don’t provide enough fuel to change something that’s clearly been working.
But, under the pressure of AEW and a fear that a teen audience is abandoning the product, rumors persist that the company is shifting focus. Here are a few reasons we think going away from PG isn’t a wise move.:
The Problem Isn’t PG vs Not-PG
The fact that Kofi Kingston gave a middle finger on SmackDown Live and Corey Graves said “Holy Sh-t” on Raw didn’t make the shows better. It just signaled something was up and caught people’s attention.
When Graves said what he said, the response on social media wasn’t that this Raw is the best ever because he said it, the response was ‘whoa, did he just say that?’. It was the angle surrounding the “holy sh-t” and the idea that Strowman and Lashley brought the show to screeching halt because they were through the stage that fans enjoyed. That has nothing to do with PG or not-PG.
No, this was simply good storytelling. It was an angle WWE had never really done before. It was different. It made people curious and piqued their interest. If WWE could do that more often than not, the rating of the show wouldn’t matter.
Offer a better product and the teenage audience will watch. Abandon the PG product and a lot of kids will stop watching.
WWE is Family Entertainment
There are not many things a parent can take their young kids to these days. TV has channels that are no longer edited, theater shows are often crude and cover adult topics, and the Internet is a dangerous place to let your young child roam unsupervised. WWE, and their PG product was pretty tame and safe for all audiences.
Yes, I understand that at the heart of WWE, this is all about people fighting in the ring and some will argue that promoting violence is not “family friend;y”. But, WWE also now promotes that wrestling is a work. It’s not real. They’ve let people in behind the camera and shifted the focus of marketing their product to getting to know the performers.
If WWE moves into adult situations like the one they tried on Monday (where Maria talked about Becky impregnating her), parents will think twice about letting their kids watch the product. And, if kids don’t come, may of the parents won’t. And, if both the parents and kids don’t come, merchandise sales will drop, attendance gates will go down and ratings will decrease.
I’m sorry, but the teenager audience can’t possibly make up the difference.
WWE Can’t Bow to AEW Pressure
Healthy competition making everyone better is important. It’s good for the overall product and quality of each promotion. But, if WWE is steering the ship because of AEW’s early success (I don’t think they are, by the way) then that’s an issue.
WWE is WWE. And when guys like Roman Reigns say AEW can’t touch them, or Seth Rollins suggests they have the best in-ring performers in the world, they’re both right.
And, this is not because I’m pro-WWE or anti-AEW, but because simply looking at the facts, WWE has more talent, more experienced talent, travels globally, does 100,000 person gates, multiple times per year, has two huge tv contracts, has over 1 billion social media followers, the biggest sponsors and…
AEW has been good, they just simply have a long way to go to even come close to catching up to WWE, if that’s their intention.
If WWE moves to a non-PG product, the masses will say they were afraid of AEW taking too big a piece of their pie. If they knew better, they would know that if a teenager has enough reason to, they’ll seek out both products. They also know that the non-PG side of AEW isn’t what the fans are craving. It’s an alternative.