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2-hour Raw and HHH booking question


 
First, Hunter said in the Austin podcast what we all feel is true, that 3 hours Raws are too damn long and he prefers 2-hour shows.  The problem is USA and advertising sales for the third hour.  So why doesn't WWE run a 1-hour live pre-show on USA from 8-9 (I know its on the Network) but they can amp it up with interviews and recaps, and then have the actual new wrestling program from 9-11:05.  This way WWE programming is on live TV for USA to get their revenue boost, but they're not killing the roster and overexposing the brand.

Wait, so your solution is to add MORE interviews and recaps to the show?  I appreciate the thought, but 3 hours of any wrestling each week is just too damn long.  The fanbase just doesn't have the attention span or interest to sustain that long of a show.  KILL THE THIRD HOUR.  KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Comments

  1. I feel two hours is also too long for the most part.

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  2. They should fill some of the time by showing the chaperone and knucklehead and other wwe films classics.

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  3. I think the emailer was making his suggestion based on the assumption that the 3rd hour wasn't going anywhere (which is likely for foreseeable future). I for one would like the change if for no other reason that it breaks up the show and bit and gives us something different than 3+ hours of mini-matches, 20-minute promos and bad skits.

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  4. I concur. Maybe because I grew up watching 1 hour wrestling shows, but 2 hour shows have never held my attention fully. I always needed to record them and fast-forward the filler. NXT is perfect for me. 1 hour weekly shows with 2 hour specials.

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  5. 2 hours is fine with me if the show is mostly entertaining, which RAW is not usually.

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  6. The third hour would be fine if they actually utilized the time correctly. Despite having three hours of programming to fill, we continually get only one main storyline generally revolving around John Cena, and a rotating cast of the same 10-15 midcard goofs with no direction trading wins in meaningless matches. It's crazy that a guy like Justin Gabriel quits because he isn't being used. How is anybody on that roster not being used right now?

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  7. During my markish days, I couldn't get enough of wrestling and happily sat through 3 hour Nitros and I'm not sure if my wrestling fandom is waning or I have ADD, but I find it a chore to sit through 2+ hours of wrestling these days unless it's a really good show, but yeah, you're right, shows like NXT and even Main Event are great harmless shows to watch.

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  8. They should make it a structured split.


    Hour 1: Intro to the show, US and Divas divisions.
    Hour 2: Tag Division and Intercontinental
    Hour 3: Miscellaneous stuff and WWE Title.


    Rather than having the majority of the first hour as an intro, then some filler, then a recap, then some throwaway filler, then another recap, then a 30 second Divas match, then maybe one decent undercard match, then a recap, then the main event match/segment.


    I think attention could be held for three hours - it's the endless recaps and filler that turns me off.

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  9. They should show Big Bang Theory and Seinfeld re runs during the third hour.

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  10. Similar to your idea, I think Raw would be better if they built up three TV main event caliber matches at the end of each hour. And much like Fly Academic




    said they really need to strengthen and protect their midcard again.

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  11. I'm curious if Vince or Hunter came under fire from USA execs for that statement.

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  12. The answer is: MORE BATTLE ROYALS!
    "Tonight on Raw it's World War 9! Nine rings, 140 superstars. One winner!"

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  13. Because if the first hour is totally missable, that doesn't exactly provide what USA wants. If it's not and they have important things happen on the pre show, then it's still a 3 hour commitment if you want to watch the whole show.

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  14. The entire show has been miss-able for about 10 years. USA hasn't seem to notice or care yet.

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  15. It's missable if you don't enjoy watching, yes. My point is if you make it so nothing at all of any significance happens on the pre show, then you may as well just have a 2 hour show (which I think it should be). If you make it so important things happen on the pre show to keep people watching, then it's still a 3 hour show except you have less wrestling and more Alex Riley reliving the good ol' days with the Miz.

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  16. As long as it's profitable, the 3rd hour is going nowhere.

    I hate it just as much as the rest of you.

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  17. I think a pre-game show could be hilarious if done right. The idea of Sgt. Slaughter talking about fantasy points or public interest segments on Sin Cara and such. But, that would require good writers, so, nevermind.

    The better option is to make the first hour NXT, which would make me more likely to watch than I could turn it off when Raw comes on.

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  18. Is 3 hours really the problem or the fact that WWE don't know how to book/write anything remotely interesting, unique or appealing. If WWE was on a creative high I'm sure 3 hours would be fine but the product being this awful unfocused backward mess is the core reason 3 hours feels like an eternity each week.

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  19. Great idea except NXT killing the WWE roster wouldn't go over well.

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  20. I doubt they're watching an Austin podcast.

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  21. It'd be awesome if instead of Vince feeling threatened and burying NXT, he saw it as competition and, I dunno, made the main product better? Friendly competition - everyone profits. Then again this is Vince McMahon and his ego probably wouldn't allow that. A man can dream.

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  22. The Rollins character and the way they've booked him are interesting and appealing to me. Not unique though.

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  23. The Love-Matic Grampa!February 7, 2015 at 1:12 PM

    If nothing else, it proves just how much the power has shifted in the USA/WWE relationship.

    Hindsight being 20/20, they never should have moved to Spike.

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  24. It would be nice but this guy didn't realize that he owned WCW and booked them weak.

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  25. Book a simple first hour of squash matches and THAT STUPID FUCKING 20 MINUTE OPENING INTERVIEW.


    Then book 9-11 like it's a different show.

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  26. Any idea why Raw is allowed to be listed in the ratings as 3 seperate one hour shows? I know they've been doing that since the Raw/War Zone days but Smackdown on Sci-Fi still gets listed as a single 2 hour show.

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  27. The opposite would happen: Vince would see all the "problems" on NXT and "fix" them.

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  28. I think it's their choice rather than anything that they are allowed or disallowed to do.

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  29. Three hours is just way too long. Even at the height of their creativity they couldn't fill that much time week after week without hitting the crapper.

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  30. Jesus, this is what Ive been advocating for over a year now. Three big "star" matches per show at 9, 10, and 11. Everything else is a squash, because that's already what it is with the midcard squashing each other and trading wins instead of building momentum over a permanent class of nobodies.


    Seriously, install a permanent group of enhancement talent composed of middle-of-the-road workers who are great at making people look good but aren't good enough themselves to get over on talent alone. I'm talking people like Roderick Strong and Tye Dillinger/Gavin Spears. They waffle on it now and no one knows how to react to someone like Tyson Kidd because of it. He spends months losing then picks up two or three quick wins over the Usos and we're supposed to believe he's a threat. It's dumb. I'm not advocating Kidd should be one of those guys, because if you put him under a mask and let him do his thing then he'd probably be a great midcard attraction, but decide what you're going to do with guys like him. Don't keep going back and forth because you like his work but "Creative has nothing for him."


    Also, it wouldn't hurt to bring back a concept like the Conquistadors or Doink. Unrecognizable undercard talent that can be fed to your actual stars. It accomplishes what I outlined earlier, but it also allows anybody of a certain body type to portray that persona while avoiding the taint of WWE's undercard. You also develop the NXT guys on the main roster without actually debuting them.

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  31. "Three hours is too long...."


    Then how come when I was a kid I had NO PROBLEM watching WCW whatever on TBS, then the WWF syndies, then WCW syndies, then wait impatientally all day to watch WCW Saturday night for two hours?

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  32. The Love-Matic Grampa!February 7, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    Three hours is too long for one show with an underutilized roster, a bad announce team and burned out writers. Plus, those shows you mentioned were structured better, featured more charismatic stars and you were a kid excited to watch wrestling.

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  33. So it's not the length of the show, it's the all the other problems.

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  34. You were a child. Children actually are much more patient than adults. I could sit an watch movies all day as a kid. Now my attention span is so short I have trouble making it through one without needing to stop it and do something else.

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  35. The Love-Matic Grampa!February 7, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    Pretty much. I mean, Six-plus hours of television every week and guys are quitting because there's nothing for them to do? That's just unbelievable.

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  36. So HHH and Vince need to stop whining about it and make it good. Or just stop whining about it.

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  37. People act like the USA Network is holding a gun to Vince's head. They're not. Vince can change RAW back to 2 hours if he wants, it just means giving up an armored truck full of money. Until the number crunchers at WWE can justify the loss of revenue as being offset by an increase in remaining product quality; or if ratings drop to a point where USA decides it's no longer cost effective to pay WWE for 3 hours, then its not likely to happen.

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  38. Someone with balls saying to Vince, "Hey, you know what would really help would be you not forcing us to rewrite every show every Monday" would probably help the quality too.

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  39. Go watch the episode of WCW Main Event where Ron Simmons wins the WCW Title. In the front row there is a black kid just LOSING HIS SHIT when Simmons wins. He is jumping up and down for like two minutes straight. It's quite a moment.


    Makes me wonder what would have happened if they'd invested a little more energy in Simmons chasing Vader and actually making Vader more of a monster.

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  40. CruelConnectionNumber2February 7, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    Yeah, he goes nuts and then they show him crying later.

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  41. I guess it's because I'm a cynical asshole who has been watching wrestling too long but my first thought when seeing that kid was that he was a plant.

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  42. Vince: "Hahaha, that's a good point, pal. I think we'll start doing that next week."

    Writer: "Why's next week?"

    Vince: "Because you won't be working for us anymore."

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  43. CruelConnectionNumber2February 7, 2015 at 1:34 PM

    Because every hour you MIGHT get one "decent" match and they were fresh. Imagine if on those show every match was mid card guys having the same match every single week over and over again.

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  44. I still don't get why Simmons only feuded with Cactus Jack and the Barbarian. It's like they weren't even trying with him.

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  45. Likely the difference in ad sales on USA versus SyFy. SyFy is considered a niche audience network and ads don't sell on there for as much as on USA, which appeals to and is seen by a larger audience. There's no incentive to count it as two separate hours because they can't really make much distinction to potential advertisers between the two hours in selling them ad time.

    By dividing RAW into 3 distinct hours with their individual ratings trends and demographics, they can target their marketing to different advertisers and at different rates.

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  46. The Love-Matic Grampa!February 7, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    I have no problem believing that a black kid in the Deep South would be excited about seeing the first Black World Champion ever crowned right in front of his eyes.

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  47. Not to mention Rick Rude was supposed to take the title off him and then feud with Ron into early 1993 but Rude got hurt and they put it back on Vader and he really took off.

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  48. Hell I had zero problem watching those WCW All Nighters for hours and hours when I was a kid.

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  49. Does anybody else think Hunters contrarian views were designed as a sort of damage control for Vinces Brass Ring/millenial madness?

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  50. True, but I'm sure somehow word spread to some higher ups that certain higher ups in WWE are unhappy with 3 hours.

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  51. I have long thought that'd be a perfect spott for Roderick Strong. He's a talented guy who deserves some recognition in the majors but he'll never ever be a marketable character on his own. Him, John Walters, Colin Delaney, Ricky Reyes, maybe Jimmy Jacobs. Even bring back some of the big stiffs that never counted for shit on their own and see if they wanna work as a jobber: Mason Ryan, Kevin Thorn, Eli Cottonwood maybe. That way you can get some shine off beating a big guy. Realistically, jobbers that have no future are a necessity.

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  52. I'm actually starting to suspect Vince's rewrites are a necessary evil. You have to remember that the script they come up with was banged together by a roomful of monkeys on typewriters (okay--TV writers--20-30 of them apparently) who think they are writing an Action/Adventure/Comedy/Drama series. Vince then has to come along and turn it into Sports Entertainment™. It's not too dissimilar from the Attitude Era days when McMahon was the filter for Russo. The problem then is that Vince is such a micromanager he will keep tinkering and rearranging and second-guessing right up til showtime that the whole thing no longer makes any sense. Everything is buried under layers and layers of "creative input".

    They desperately need to hold a summit where they loosely map everything out for the next 3, 6, 9 & 12 months, then reevaluate everyone who has creative input: from the writers to the road agents. They should shed all those people who are part of the process because they are supposedly good at *one* thing (like writing love triangles or the other nonsense we hear gets someone in the writing room). They need a tighter, more focused booking team: one that relies on the talent stepping up and working out the bulk of the show's action with the road agents. Longer matches, more shorter, unscripted promos. Let wrestlers be funny instead of writing them "funny" things to say. And once the format is set (Monday morning at the latest), then NO CHANGES (barring illness, injury or transportation issues).

    People have been doing this wrestling thing for a hundred years. So use your developmental process to identify who are the best at it, then get out of their way and let them go out there and do it.

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  53. Sometimes I would watch the same movie everyday or the same episode of a TV show everyday. I can't do that now. Things are different when you're a child.

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  54. Did anyone catch Vince Russo flipping his wig about Trips comments on Chyna?

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  55. I watched the first 10 minutes of that podcast this morning. I'll recap it

    Smart mark. Smark. Internet. Mom's basement. Never worked a match. They hate everything.

    Then I turned it off and went into Sam's Club.

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  56. YankeesHoganTripleHFanFebruary 7, 2015 at 2:22 PM

    Vince Russo is still around?

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  57. I think it's both. 3 hours of Raw and 2 hours of Smackdown is a *ton* of time to fill no matter how good your creative staff is or how many quality wrestlers you have. There's no excuse for most of it to suck for so long like it has, though.

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  58. Do we know if kids today are hanging on every minute of Raw?

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  59. Why is the USA Network so dependent on the WWE for 3 hours of programming anyway? Isn't USA a part of NBC Universal now? What's stopping them from just greenlighting a new show from 8-9 pm or rerunning Burn Notice or whatever?

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  60. WCW started a lot of Nitros with a 30 minute cruiserweight match. I'm thinking that it was only to kill time. Why not try that?

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  61. They do.

    Just replace the word "match" with the word "promo"

    And the word "cruiserweight"'with the word "boring"

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  62. I didn't really get that at all, just a slightly condescending tone (Which...I can't blame him for). The one that really irritated me off was the "WWE is a like a book that never ends" bullshit cop-out answer.

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  63. Even 2 hours of jobber matches were treated like something special and if you missed WCWSN you were hosed for the whole week, even worse during baseball season when Braves games would take precedence over rasslin'. I'm with you, I'd watch All American Wrestling on USA then Superstars on Fox 5 then go nuts waiting for WCWSN and switch to Worldwide on CBS when SNL would get into the post-Weekend Update shitshow. It all felt special back then.

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  64. Wouldn't another reurun of NCIS or CSI get just as much ad revenue?

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  65. They recently did one of those WWE top ten lists based around 'best fan reactions' and I was shocked that that kid didn't make the cut. Here's the full list, surely could've cut one of the Cena kids to make room for the Simmons superfan.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwTRHfEMq7k

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  66. the build the Luger-Simmons at HH 91 was great, they should have pulled the trigger there.

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  67. A tightly-written pregame show would actually work wonders for RAW. Put Renee and the three-legend panel backstage in a 'studio' (or just do it from Stanford every week) focusing on major storylines with fresh interviews, random skits, and all of the character-building stuff and they somehow can't find time for on the actual show. Going back to the blizzard Raw from a couple of weeks ago, that whole segment with Reigns, Lesnar and Heyman was terrific and worked 100 times better in that environment than it would've in the ring.

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  68. Since I don't' watch any network television - it blows my mind how high the ratings are for those shows.

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  69. Big picture is that the WWE corporation needs another revenue stream. It's not movies, bodybuilding, football, it's more wrestling. Adding the 2nd show in Cleveland after selling out Columbus tells me that someone is beginning to realize the potential of NXT, not just as a money losing training center, but an actual revenue stream with lots of potential benefits to both the main WWE wrestling and the corporation.

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  70. ...because 3 hours of Benoit, Jericho, Guerrero, Mysterio, Juventud, Psychosis, DDP, Goldberg, Flair, Anderson, Curt Hennig, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Lex Luger, Sting, Nash, Hall etc. is more interesting than 3 hours of Cena, Orton, Sheamus, Ziggler, Miz, Barrett, Ambrose, Rollins, Reigns, Wyatt, Harper, Rowan, Swagger, Rusev etc.

    Back then they were all stars with experience, while today even the guys who are there for 7 years have less experience and star power than anyone from back then.

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  71. Because Vince. He doesn't see money in certain guys so they aren't given time. They don't get over and then they Gabriel out of the company.

    If New Japan can put on cards with 20 wrestlers, the WWE should be able to do it too.

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  72. I still think a one-hour pregame show is too long.


    With that said, that's the biggest reason why I watch the Hulu version that's 90 minutes. It's perfect and basically trims all the excess fat.


    With that said again, if you can have a 90-minute version of your scripted show, your show is probably too long.

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  73. I didn't get that far into. I thought the whole "internet fans decided to piss on Reigns" thing was a cop-out. It's easy to blame the whole thing on the internet and forget about the last 12 months of booking.

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  74. If a third hour is something that they really have no say in, then why not at least do something different with that third hour? Showcase NXT, or mid-carders, or tag-teams, or anything OTHER than the main-eventers. Then at 9pm, head into the twenty-minute opening promo and Cena and Trips and Big Show.

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  75. It probably has but my understanding is USA makes more money from running other stuff but that they need Raw to remain the top cable network in order to charge higher ad rates for other shows besides Raw. So they're sort of stuck with each other.

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  76. So many thoughts:


    1. John Petrie mentions the need to loosely map out the next 12 months of TV. Problem with that is the Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns issues. They did map out the future and it didn't include Bryan in the WM main event. had to change that. They did map out Reigns ascending. Now they may have to change that. With fans being more fickle than ever it is tough. Fans cheer heels, boo faces, it doesn't matter to them.


    2. USA and Bonnie Hammer want stars on Raw. That means you can't keep Cena just in the 3rd hour (heck his key demo is 6 year olds in hour 1). It means they won't let Vince have an hour of "pregame" or squash matches.


    3. WWE is a public company. While Vince and family own the majority so that they can't be forced out, FTC regulations say shareholders can bring suit for financial malfeasance. Refusing a 3rd hour of revenue would be lawsuit worthy IMO. While one can argue that elminating the 3rd hour might make for a better product that would stimulate network subscriptions, house show tickets, merchandise, etc. a counter argument is simply "make a better 3rd hour."


    4. As a kid and a young adult in my 20s, I had no problem watching 3 hour wrestling shows and over 10 hours overall. As a kid between 3 or 4 WWF syndicated shows, primetime, JCP/WCW, AWA, GLOW, etc. I as putting in major time. During the attitude era, 3 hour nitro, 2 hour thunder, 2 hour Raw, 2 hour SD, and Heat. maybe if i was bored then WCW Saturday night or Jakked or Metal or Shotgun or whatever. It wasn't the quantity but the content that interested me enough to watch the quantity.


    5. Storylines that go from minute one to minute 180 aren't going away. This is what sports entertainment means to Vince McMahon and everyone else writing and booking WWE. They hit on this concept during the attitude era and it won't change. The idea is to keep people watching for the "payoff" to the 3 hour storyline. It absolutely is beyond the realm of WWE groupthink to change out of that concept. See how rarely they are comfortable advertising a big match outright for the next week rather than a teaser for "something big," whether that teaser is during the opening promo or even the week before.

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  77. Who actually sits down at 8 oclock and watches til 11:10?

    Trust me, it's way easier to watch it in 30 minutes on DVR the following morning.

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  78. They never EVER had a cruiserweight match that long. Hell, there were only a handful of 30 minute Nitro matches, period.

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  79. The Spike deal was part of a larger package involving UPN and MTV that was too good to pass up at the time.

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  80. Does NJPW run 5-6 hours a week of first run programming in addition to specials?

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  81. Even during the heart of the wrestling boom I don't remember many good three-hour weekly shows. Nitro going to three hours should have taught everyone a lesson.

    In HHH's perfect world he'll get RAW to either 8-10 or 9-11 and get a Saturday mid-morning time slot for NXT.

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  82. I use to watch Raw, Nitro AND Thunder in one night back in the day and I liked it. I live in the UK and all 3 shows would air on Friday night.

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  83. Just talking about No. 4: You watch many hours a week, but it's difficult on a Monday night after a first day back at work for someone to sit down for three hours and watch a mostly mediocre show. I agree we can all watch several hours a week, but it's tough all in one shot in a non-PPV format.

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  84. They must have just felt that long then.

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  85. Because that was all you got. Saturday was the wrestling day for so many years. You watched Challenge and Superstars and Saturday Night and whatever territory you got (USWA, WCCW and Mid-south at various increments) and you took it all in because back then it seemed like so much during the course of a week.

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  86. Well ya, you're comparing the current product to the peak of pro wrestling when it was must-see every week.

    Of course you watched it then. We all did. The difference is that the product is atrocious now.

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  87. I bet as big of an NWA fan as he was, that a saturday 5 central slot would be more to his liking.

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  88. The best I can do is the condensed hulu version

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  89. BRING

    BACK

    SILK

    STALKINGS!!!!!!!

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  90. There was some japanese kid doing the same thing on some puro comp I watched once. Can't remember the match th

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  91. I laughed at Baltimore being the deep south.

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  92. I agree, fast forward through all the ads and promos. No probs watching a 3 hour show when I was 20. Now I'm 40 with one kid and a 2nd on the way, how on earth can I sit for 3 hours to watch a wrestling program?

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  93. "KILL THE THIRD HOUR. KILL IT WITH FIRE."


    "Scott Keith suggested pushing Kane in the main event. I think that's a great idea. Kane vs. Big Show vs. Roman Reigns for the World title at Wrestlemania!" - Vince

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  94. He watched Thunder! That was hardly ever a good show!

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  95. I'm surprised they haven't started doing NXT "Showcase" matches just to kill 15-20 minutes. You could even write that in to the NXT shows where the guys fight for the chance to be on Raw.

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  96. Well, I don't think he can go back to work at a Blockbuster since they're all closed down. I think that's his only skills outside of being involved with wrestling.

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  97. Hell, they don't even need to hire full-time jobbers. Just go to whatever popular local fed is in the city you're in, send someone out there and ask 3-4 guys "You know how to bump and want to make $500?"

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  98. Same, but the business was also red hot and I was 14. At 31 and with Raw in the state it is, I just can't stomach it.

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  99. Zack Ryder: Am I in the the nine ring, 140 superstar battle royal?

    Creative: We have no plans for you at this time. There is literally nowhere we can squeeze you in.

    Zack Ryder: So...I can go?

    Creative: No, you have to stay and look at these postcards that Brock Lesnar has sent us. Oh, and this one from Batista!

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