I was reading the Heyman/Lillian Garcia Thread and it came to me that maybe the problem doesn't lay so much in the booking of the wrestling/wrestlers or in the recent over the top storylines, but in the television presentation of it all. The idea of too much WWE TV is an idea that I believe hasn't been looked at enough by the fans. To me, it feels as though not enough people realize it or know enough about it to comment.
Lots of former superstars used to say one of the main differences between WWE and WCW was that WWE was a wrestling company that survived by television and owned by a wrestling family whereas WCW was just another program on Ted Turner's TV stations. During the MNW, it was imperative that WWE went toe to toe with WCW's broadcasts by having a weekly live show and a PPV every month, but is ALL of that wrestling really necessary still without competition? I mean, the WWE has kept the same format of producing wrestling the same for almost a decade (i.e. RAW is Superstar vs Superstar, the audience "shadow-watching" of the events that happen in the backstage vignettes, and having 12 PPV's and recap shows).
I honestly don't see how the WWE needs more than 2-3 hours of television a week. We all know how WWE TV used to be and what it is capable of. We might all be misplacing our criticisms by putting them too much with the wrestling and the writing and not enough in the fact that wrestling has become way over saturated on television.
(edited by Whattaburger on 30.8.04 1346) Mmmmm...now that is a tasty burger!
The average prime time show has between 12-24 hours of new material each season (low end for half hour comedies, high end for hour drama, not deducting time for commercials and using a 24 episode season). Between RAW and SD, Vince has 208 hours per year of prime time each year (104 each for RAW and SD, not counting overruns for RAW which is about an extra 3 hours per year, or PPV's). Considering Vince no longer bulk tapes shows, that means no down time for the writing to staff to focus just on new ideas, rather they must focus entirely on turning around the next show without a summer hiatus. The downfall of WCW began when they expanded from 3 hours prime time each week up to 5 hours. Once the company became overexposed, the product suffered dramatically. Vince is not in that situation. Plus, unlike WCW, Vince makes more money the more shows he puts on TV, thus while quality may suffer and overexposure can possibly occur, that is a minimal concern until the overexposure causes Viacom to no longer want to broadcast Vince's product.
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Here's the thing: The WWE created a lot jobs during the Monday Night War by adding Smackdown and then by buying WCW. The brand extension was their way of maintaining those jobs while trying to make an extra profit off of things.
As for too much TV...
The RAW Brand: RAW (2 HR), HeAT (1 HR) and The Bottom Line (1 HR). RAW's the main show, Heat is matches and clips, and Bottom Line is all clips. All you *really* need to watch is 3 hours.
The SmackDown Brand: Smackdown (2 HR), Velocity (1 HR) and AfterBurn (1 Hr). Smackdown's the main show, Velocity's matches and clips, and AfterBurn is all clips. 3 hours gives you the entire week's action.
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I dont think it is too much tv but more the writing or the hurried nature of it. With a primetime drama with 13-24 episodes a year a team of writers has up to 6 months to fine tne and polish the ideas of the creator, and the head writer/creator has the off season to develop characters even further.
In the WWE the writers are constantly writing on the run covering injuries , pregnancies and sackings/dropdowns.The other issue the writers face is instant gratification of the fans. From house shows where a character doesnt click with the crowd to PPVs in Toronto which get wacky crowd reaction, the writers with guidance from management have to continually adjust to changing tastes.
The other and IMO biggest problem writers have is the IWC, yes dear readers we seek instant gratification more than the person who spent his hard earned buying tickets and we want it NOW. Countless forums have live comments on shows as they happen and then they have what I refer to as feeding time where everyone who has an opinion voices it, and what usually happens is you have a few senior forum members who influence the topics towards their own personal agendas/fan-favourites. And if you dont think VKM and his creative team dont read the IWC forums think again, one of the things you learn in Business school is ''market research'' and you and I are the leading tool of creatives market research and everything we say is noticed , maybe not used or even considered but they do look and listen.WE CARE ENOUGH TO HAVE AN OPINION AND THAT MATTERS.
Its not the tv that is too much its how you approach it.. we here in Australia have 4 hrs of Raw/Smackdown a week not including repeats( and your not counting them are you?) and I tried an experiment for a few weeks where I didnt go to my IWC forums and read any spoilers and my enjoyment of the wrestling doubled.It was still rubbish at times but I wasnt already bored as I hadnt read any spoilers.
Choose your shows carefully, I dont watch 60 Minutes, Meet The Press, A Current Affair all together I choose one or 2 and they are the shows I get my Political information from and it should be the same with your wrestling. Does Velocity give you fresh info? What about the highlight shows? They are repeating fights you have already seen?
I think that every wrestling fan, if he/she can afford it, should own a DVR. This makes the process of watching wrestling so much better. RAWs, Smackdowns, Heats, and Velocities all have something to offer, but when it bores you, you lean on the FF button. You bypass commercials and recaps. And you can rewatch segemts you dig.
But I do wish that RAW and Smackdown were better distinguished. One of the things I loved about the Smackdown Six era was that RAw and Smackdown really seemed like different promotion. If they had brought back the WWF and WCW names, I think fans would've bought it, because it was that different. To me, RAW's talent raids did more than decimate Smackdown; it blended the rosters until there really was no distinction. Now it's like WWE is MLB, separate, but not really all that different.
I have to second this. I've got a Tivo and it makes wrestling something that fits into MY life, not the other way around. I'll wait until 10pm to start watching Raw (it's recording while I watch) and that means no commercials, no slow walks to the ring, no Diva search unless it looks like it's gonna get viciously strange, and no long boring restholds. I end up catching up to 'real time' around 11pm, since there's 45 mintues of commercials and at least 15 minutes of filler.
Although I should note that I find myself deleting Smackdown outright off the Tivo rather than watching it lately. Checking the spoilers to see if anything on it interests me and realizing not much does other than the occasional match flagged as 'good' usually discourages me from even taking the time to zip through the show to the good bits. Odd. Maybe I'm just lazy. :)