Over the years, many fans and writers alike have reasoned that perhaps WWE should have itself some form of an off-season. So often we hear wrestlers getting burned out, or complaining about how much time they are on the road. Fans can go read any number of stories from wrestlers, rehashing crazy stories from lives spent on the road. To some, it may be fun, but it’s grueling and eventually wears on anyone. While we can understand that, from a business perspective, more shows means more chances for fans to enjoy the product-and of course, more money, perhaps WWE really needs to help balance things out better. Keep in mind that, as competition emerges from All Elite Wrestling, one thing AEW has that appeals to many of the talent? Lighter schedules. So, is it time for WWE to follow suit? Not exactly, but something close to that would possibly make sense…and the boss is pushing us down that path.
Recently, Vince McMahon issued a change impacting RAW and SmackDown
-no more breaks in the middle of matches anymore. The reasoning? It does not happen for major sports, so why for us? While this change has been annoying (to be nice) on RAW, at least SmackDown seems to have stuck with the picture in picture option, allowing for advertising and breaks, while ensuring fans don’t miss the action.
On one hand, I get it. WWE wants to be presented as a bit more legitimate perhaps. They have awards and coverage from ESPN
. SmackDown is moving to Fox, allowing the product to get even more mainstream than it already has been. It is, perhaps, an admirable goal.
However, for the product that they deliver, it’s unrealistic. The forced breaks, created via two out of three falls matches and bouts that get interrupted and then expanded, come off as scripted-which of course, we know they are. But, while we know wrestling is scripted…it doesn’t always come off as overly scripted…not like this anyways. When we get two falls in the span of a couple minutes, between Superstars who could run with a 30 minute match? It’s really not a good look. But, I digress.
The main point here? if WWE, or specifically Vince McMahon, really wants to better emulate major professional sports, there is one thing they should move to adopt almost immediately.
Bring about an off-season.
Yes, this might seem unrealistic too…but here’s something to consider (don’t worry, we will expand upon this a bit next week). WWE has unprecedented roster depth. Superstars are complaining they aren’t used. This says that WWE has too many people but not enough time…so if they fixed that, by changing the way they schedule things…suddenly they have more time for the same amount of roster, and can appease people more. At least, that’s one theory.
The thinking here is this. With an off-season, or some sort of adjustment, it immediately could make WWE more appealing. That isn’t just for free agents, but also for talent already within WWE. Who knows, maybe if WWE was still offering a ton of money and a lighter schedule, some who went to AEW might have more strongly considered WWE (though, there’s still a hangup relative to creative control and input, so I acknowledge that the scheduling isn’t the only challenge here). Less wear and tear, less grueling travel? That usually means healthier and happier employees too. If, as reports have indicated, morale is low in the backstage areas…imagine if you had folks working less? So many employers talk about a work-life balance. So many employees seek it (and for the sake of this, WWE Superstars are considered employees). It’s time for WWE to get this right.
As for the “how”? Tune in next week to see what ideas we’ve cooked up!