Making The Case For A WWE Off Season, Part 2: The Possibilities
As we said last week, if WWE is intent on emulating professional sports, the best move might be to bring about an off-season. Sure, that might not be what investors want to hear, and yes, I am sure that USA Network and Fox executives want content from WWE on their networks each and every week. Rest assured, we have a plan for that too. So let’s lay out just how we would get WWE an off season, where it would fit in, and how we’d still provide content to the masses year-round.
First, the when of it all. WWE has what we know to be the “Big 4” PPV. Those are the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series. Of the four, Survivor Series has really lost it’s way, but that’s a different topic for a different time. The Rumble officially sets us on the Road to WrestleMania. Mania itself tends to be the finish line for most major feuds, with the following RAW or SmackDown a jumping off point into whatever programs come next. SummerSlam? Well, it’s the Biggest Party of the Summer. So where would you schedule some time off?
Making The Case For A WWE Off Season, Part 2: The Possibilities
Honestly, I have two thoughts here. First would be shortly after WrestleMania…if not immediately after. This way, you could position WrestleMania to be the same as any other major sports championship. The NFL does not continue to have games after it’s big game, right? This would allow things to sink in a bit, and there are ways to have content without necessarily having shows, but that’s a bit later.
If you don’t want to do it right after ‘Mania, then perhaps you run a reduced or limited schedule in November and December, on account of the holidays. You’ve spent all year running your Superstars and crew ragged, give them a good chunk of time off to be with friends and family over the holidays. This could actually be more palatable in the long run, if WWE opted to have a few times a year where things were on hiatus. They could even resort back to taping some RAW and SmackDown matches for those “off” days, if they wanted (it happens for NXT and for the international shows). But, while that’s an option…there are better ones.
So, let’s say WWE agrees to time off. Either it’s a few weeks at a time, a few times a year, or one bigger chunk of like, a couple months before SummerSlam serves as the “season opener”. In either case, you could use the canned content…or you could get really wise.
WWE already has some other content it runs, that they could actually elevate during these doldrums. Imagine if, for a few weeks a year, in place of RAW or SmackDown, you had entire shows where NXT, NXT UK, 205 Live or the like “took over”. You could have entire evenings to showcase the Mae Young Classic live, or the Dusty Classic. Or, you could even go so far as to create (or revive) a third brand, and run THAT brand just during the off-season period (ECW or WCW?). A third brand (assuming they don’t do cross-over anymore), could actually also open things up to a pseudo-free agent market (look how hot the other pro sports off seasons are), and could also create trading scenarios. Brands could effectively “draft” NXT talents, so while you’d know wrestler X was a RAW draftee, you could see them get the call at any point in time, much like a player in baseball or hockey.
Also, considering how friendly WWE and EVOLVE are, who’s to say WWE doesn’t just further leverage THAT relationship and put that brand front and center for a few weeks a year, giving the main crew a break?
Alternatively, WWE has the ability to run studio shows. While that doesn’t address the live shows and that revenue stream, occasionally replacing RAW with a 2 or 3 hour show covering highlights, news, opinions and the like might not be such a terrible idea.
There is no perfect answer, that much we can all agree on. At the end of the day, wrestlers will miss time, with or without an off season. However, having some more structured off season could make sense. It gives the talent less of a grind. It helps provide scarcity of product-less is more, at times, right? And it also generates new opportunities as well-because we aren’t saying that, for stretches of the year, there’d be no WWE…just that it wouldn’t necessarily be live, main roster programming. However, if you watched main roster matches as compared to 205 Live or NXT, you might actually prefer the junior brands.
This may never fly. I don’t work for WWE, and I’d be shocked if they even read this. But it’s a crazy idea that might at least be worth some serious consideration, in some variation or another. WNZ readers, what do you think?
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