If I was still an innocent wrestling fan who never discovered the IWC, read a newsletter or smartened up by my time on the independent scene, I would have been ecstatic about Raw moving to three hours on a permanent basis. My sense of occasion is non-existent because the company can barely write an entertaining two hour show, and three hours runs a great risk of watering down the product and burning out the fans. The ratings are always down during the first hour of a three hour Raw because people forget about the earlier start time and let’s face it, the steak and potatoes are not on the plate until the beginning of the second hour.
Vince McMahon stated the following: “WWE is proud to celebrate this historic milestone with our partners at USA Network”. “Our new three-hour Raw represents the next generation in interactive television where our fans won’t just watch the show, they will help create it.” The new era of three hour Raw’s begins July 23rd with an 8:00 pm start time as the company celebrates it’s 1000th episode.
When I promoted wrestling shows, my format was seven matches on a card. Four matches in the first half and three matches after intermission, all in two hours or less. In any form of entertainment you want to leave the audience wanting more. Three hours is just way too much and will cause fans to get bored with an already boring product. Remember when WCW Monday Nitro moved to three hours? It was great at first but overtime, people got bored and either switched to Raw, which was white hot at the time, or stopped watching wrestling all together. There is no alternative this time and where is the incentive to spend money on a three hour monthly pay-per-view event when I’m getting three hours for free every Monday night? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.